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Monica Lara Apr 2016
Yesterday I came to realize my level of unhappiness.
This, of course, knocked the wind out of me.
My throat tightened restricting my breathing.
The more I struggled
The less the air came my way.
I fought and fought
but the air was nowhere to be found
I fought and fought
panic filled my eyes
I fought and fought
oxygen-deprived blood cried for help
I fought and fought
voices whispered in my ear
3... 8... 10....
there seemed to be no end
I fought and fought
but the voices were too soothing
too convincing
I fought and fought
but the day wore on
I fought and fought
the day came to an end
the object upon my shoulders grew to be too light
I held it down with a pillow
I fought and fought
until the voices came to an end.
Erin Perkins Mar 2014
Saw a man with a cardboard sign
Wrinkled skin and bloodshot eyes
An untrimmed beard and matted hair
Thin legs strapped to a wheel chair
I sat with him and he told his tale
Of his senior trip to the gates of hell
He said ,when you were just a thought
I was sent to Vietnam and there I fought

Cause I made a promise to defend
Our constitution to the end
I vowed to serve and to protect
I took that oath without regret
I fought for freedom fought for rights
I fought for peace both day and night
For this country the home of the free
Fought for you I fought for me

I took a bullet to my spine
Still carry remnants they left behind
I came home to no parade
I guess you all were too just afraid
And from his pocket with a weathered hand
He pulled the flag for which he stands
I watched his body fill with pride
And felt the pain that he kept inside

You know he.. made a promise to defend
Our constitution to the end
A vow to serve and to protect
He took that oath without regret
Fought for freedom fought for rights
He fought for peace both day and night
For this country the home of the free
He fought for you he fought for me

oh oh oh..Forgotten Hero~
©
It was quiet strength that did you in.
Your belief that pain was simply the cost of life,
You had been crippled for so long
Leg straight and fused,
Tremors assaulting your once strong hands,
Still you coped.
You pushed through.
As if to laugh at the hand you had been dealt.
Like you were betting the house would go bust.
You fought.

You fought getting out of the your truck at the doctors office
You fought when they forced you into a sleep study
You fought when they ran a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia
And when they said cancer
You fought

Who cares that they said Stage 4.
Cancer didn't know who it had picked its newest fight with
It didn't know your 25th wedding anniversary was two weeks away
So you fought
Because it wouldn't take this from you
You wouldn't let it,
Stubborn ******* you were.
You fought

You fought
Having purchased a card for the special day
Having it delivered by a friend
In tears she read and she knew
You had fought
And on that following day we sang you to Heaven
There was Power in the Blood
As you found Amazing Grace
And as your last breath escaped
Tooth then Lip.
I was reminded
You fought.
This a poem about my father's death. There is no hyperbole.
SS Apr 2014
I've fought for so long

I fought my feelings for you
Fought seeing you
Fought dating you
Fought falling

Head

Over

Heels

For you
Fought you to stay
Fought back my tears
I've fought for so long
And I think it's time

For a peaceful surrender
Doris Jan 2014
"With tears in my eyes and love consuming my soul,
I fought for you.
In the war we met each other
To how we became one,
I fought for you.
In the days of mixed colors, a sweet warm breeze; it was picture perfect,
I fought for you.
In the twisted night, trapped willfully;  screaming silently to escape,
I fought for you.
I watched you as you held me in the soft secrets whispered we promised each other,
I fought for you.
In the dim light of morning we were lost in hopes and dreams of what could be,
I fought for you.
In the moments I thought the dim would magically turn to bright,
I fought for you.
In the moment of what could have been your last breath, I held mine and,
I fought of you.
When it was said and done, when the light crept up, I was blind; in a wild twist of only skin and bare bones, naked, shaking my head to hold your hand, blaming the boy...
I fought for us.
In parting ways, a river always flowing together we have reached the bend together parts of us will always be shared; parts of me, I would never asked to be returned.
In the dim of morning, in the dark of night, in the shadow of two.
I fight for me. "
NELSON MANDELA, NUMBER 46664 IS DEAD; EULOGICALLY ELEGIZING DIRGE FOR SON OF AFRICA, HOPE OF HUMANITY AND PERMANENT FLAME OF DEMOCRACY


Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret, Kenya; aopicho@yahoo.com)

Nelson Mandela, South Africa's anti-apartheid beacon, has died
One of the best-known political prisoners of his generation,
South Africa's first black president, He was 95.
His struggle against apartheid and racial segregation
Lead to the vision of South Africa as a rainbow nation
In which all folks were to be treated equally regardless of color
Speaking in 1990 on his release from Pollsmoor Prison
After 27 years behind bars, Mandela posited;
I have fought against white ******* and
I have fought against black *******
I have cherished the idea of a democratic
And a free society in which all persons live together
In harmony and with equal opportunity
It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve
But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die,

Fortunately, he was never called upon
To make such a sacrifice
And the anti-apartheid campaign did produce results
A ban on mixed marriages between whites and folks of color,
This was designed to enforce total racial segregation
Was lifted in 1985
Mandela was born on July 18, 1918
His father Gadla named him "Rolihlahla,"
Meaning “troublemaker” in the Xhosa language
Perhaps  parental premonitions of his ability to foment change.
Madiba, as he is affectionately known
By many South Africans,
Was born to Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa,
a chief, and his third wife Nosekeni *****
He grew up with two sisters
In the small rural village of Qunu
In South Africa's Eastern Cape Province.
Unlike other boys his age,
Madiba had the privilege of attending university
Where he studied law
He became a ringleader of student protest
And then moved to Johannesburg to escape an arranged marriage
It was there he became involved in politics.
In 1944 he joined the African National Congress (ANC),
Four years before the National Party,
Which institutionalized racial segregation, came to power
.
Racial segregation triggered mass protests
And civil disobedience campaigns,
In which Mandela played a central role
After the ANC was banned in 1961
Mandela founded its military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe
The Spear of the Nation
As its commander-in-chief,
He led underground guerrilla attacks
Against state institutions.
He secretly went abroad in 1962
To drum up financial support
And organize military training for ANC cadres
On his return, he was arrested
And sentenced to prison
Mandela served 17 years
On the notorious Roben Island, off Cape Town,
Mandela was elected as South Africa's first black president
On May 10, 1994
Cell number five, where he was incarcerated,
Is now a tourist attraction
From 1988 onwards, Mandela was slowly prepared
For his release from prison
Just three years earlier he had rejected a pardon
This was conditional
On the ANC renouncing violence
On 11 February 1990,
After nearly three decades in prison,
Mandela, the South African freedom beacon was released
He continued his struggle
For the abolition of racial segregation
In April 1994,
South Africa held its first free election.
On May 10,
Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first elected black president,
Mandela jointly won
The Nobel Peace Prize
With Frederik de Clerk in 1993
On taking office
Mandela focused on reconciliation
Between ethnic groups
And together with Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
He set up the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
To help the country
Come to terms
With the crimes committed under apartheid
After his retirement
From active politics in 1999,
Madiba dedicated himself
To social causes,
Helping children and ***-AIDS patients,
His second son
Makgatho died of ***-AIDS
In 2005 at the age of 54,
South Africans have fought
a noble struggle against the apartheid
But today they face a far greater threat
Mandela he posited in a reference to the ***-AIDS pandemic,
His successor
Thabo Mbeki
The ANC slogan of 1994; A better life for all
Was fulfilled only
For a small portion of the black elite
Growing corruption,
Crime and lack of job prospects
Continue to threaten the Rainbow Nation,
On the international stage
Mandela acted as a mediator
In the Burundi civil war
And also joined criticism
Of the Iraq policy
Of the United States and Great Britain
He won the Nobel Prize in 1993
And played a decisive role
Into bringing the first FIFA World Cup to Africa,
His beloved great-granddaughter
Zenani Mandela died tragically
On the eve of the competition
And he withdrew from the public life
With the death of Nelson Mandela
The world loses a great freedom-struggleer
And heroic statesman
His native South Africa loses
At the very least a commanding presence
Even if the grandfather of nine grandchildren
Was scarcely seen in public in recent year

Media and politicians are vying
To outdo one another with their tributes
To Nelson Mandela, who himself disliked
The personality cult
That's one of the things
That made him unique,
Nelson Mandela was no saint,
Even though that is how the media
Are now portraying him
Every headline makes him appear more superhuman
And much of the admiration is close to idolatry
Some of the folks who met him
Say they felt a special Mandela karma
In his presence.
Madiba magic was invoked
Whenever South Africa needed a miracle,

Mandela himself was embarrassed
By the personality cult
Only reluctantly did he agree to have streets
Schools and institutes named after him
To allow bronze statues and Mandela museums
To be built
A trend that will continue to grow.

He repeatedly pointed
To the collective achievements
Of the resistance movement
To figures who preceded him
In the struggle against injustice
And to fellow campaigners
Such as Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Luthuli
Or his friend and companion in arms
Oliver Tambo who today stands in Mandela's shadow,
Tambo helped create the Mandela legend
Which conquered the world
A tale in which every upright man
And woman could see him
Or herself reflected,
When Prisoner Number 46664 was released
After 27 years behind bars
He had become a brand
A worldwide idol
The target of projected hopes
And wishes that no human being
Could fulfill alone,
Who would dare scratch?
The shining surface of such a man
List his youthful misdemeanors
His illegitimate children
Who would mention his weakness for women?
For models
Pop starlets
And female journalists
With whom he flirted
In a politically incorrect way
When already a respected elder statesman?
Who would speak out critically?
Against the attacks
He planned when he headed the ANC
Armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe
And who would criticize the way
He would often explode in anger
Or dismiss any opinions other than his own?
His record as head of government
Is also not above reproach
Those years were marked by pragmatism
And political reticence
Overdue decisions were not taken
Day to day matters were left to others
When choosing his political friends
His judgment was not always perfect
A Mandela grandchild is named
After Colonel Muammar Gaddaffi
Seen from today's perspective
Not everything fits
The generally accepted
Picture of visionary and genius,
But Mandela can be excused
These lapses
Because despite everything
He achieved more than ordinary human beings
His long period of imprisonment
Played a significant role here
It did not break him, it formed him
Robben Island
Had been a university of life for Mandela once posited
He learned discipline there
In dialogue with his guards
He learnt humility, patience and tolerance
His youthful anger dissolved
He mellowed and acquired
The wisdom of age
When he was at last released
Mandela was no longer
Burning with rage,
He was now a humanized revolutionary
Mandela wanted reconciliation
At almost any price
His own transformation
Was his greatest strength
The ability to break free
From ideological utopia
And to be able to see the greater whole
The realization
That those who think differently
Are not necessarily enemies
The ability to listen,
To spread the message of reconciliation
To the point of betraying what he believed in,
Only in this way could he
Serve as a role model
To both black and white humanity
, communists and entrepreneurs,
Catholics and Muslims.
He became a visional missionary,
An ecclesiast of brotherly love
And compassion
Wherever he was, each humanity was equal
He had respect for musicians and presidents
Monarchs and cleaning ladies
He remembered names
And would ask about relatives
He gave each humanity his full attention
With a smile, a joke, a well aimed remark,
He won over every audience
His aura enveloped each humanity,
Even his political enemies,
That did not qualify him
For the status of demi-god
But he was idolized and rightly so
He must be named in the same breath
As Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama
Or Martin Luther King
Mandela wrote a chapter of world history
Even Barack Obama posited
He would not have become
President of the United States
Without Mandela as a role model,

And so it is not so important
That Mandela is now portrayed
Larger than life
The fact that not everything
He did in politics succeeded is a minor matter
His achievement is to have lived
A life credibly characterized
By humanism, tolerance and non-violence,
When Mandela was released
From prison in 1990,
The old world order of the Cold War era
Was collapsing
Mandela stood at the crossroads and set off in the right direction
How easily he could have played with fire, sought revenge,
Or simply failed; He could have withdrawn from public life or,
Like other companions in arms, earned millions,
Two marriages failed because of the political circumstances
His sons died tragically long before him
It was only when he was 80 and met his third wife,
Graca Machel,
That he again found warmth,
Partnership and private happiness,
Setbacks did not leave him bitter
Because he regarded his own life
As being less important
Than the cause he believed in
He served the community humbly,
With a sense of responsibility
Of duty and willingness to make sacrifices
Qualities that are today only rarely encountered,

How small and pathetic his successors now seem
Their battles for power will probably now be fought
Even more unscrupulously than in the past
How embarrassing are his own relatives
Who argued over his legacy at his hospital bed
Mandela was no saint
But a man with strengths and weaknesses,
Shaped by his environment
It will be hard to find a greater person
Just a little bit more Mandela every day
Would achieve a great deal
Not only in Africa
But in the bestridden geographies
Epochs and diversities of man,

In my post dirge I will ever echo words of Mandella
He shone on the crepuscular darkness of the Swedish
Academy, where cometh the Nobel glory;
Development and peace are indivisible
Without peace and international security
Nations cannot focus
On the upliftment
Of the most underprivileged of their citizens.
FIRST DAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chicago,
could this be
Sandburg’s City?

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Chicago,
Sandburg’s Chicago,
Could it be?

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

Now also
tourist attractions
for a cafe society.

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

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

Great restaurants
serve liquid jazz
al la carte.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Its mouth our Dixie Trumpet
guarded by righteous Cajun brethren.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.
There is faith in everything in Chicago!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.
Does Chicago have a future?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The analysts say
it’s all about capturing liquidity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorghum,
I think its hardy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is an efficient market
that crosses the globe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many striver rows compose
its many neighborhoods.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SECOND DAY

1.
Out my window
the sun has risen.

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

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

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

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

I set my watch
to Central Standard Time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Always more.
Much much more
in Chicago.

2.
Sandburg
spoke all the dialects.

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

Sandburg understood
what it meant to laugh
and be happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What level
is he speaking of?

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

I wonder
if I detect
condensation
in his voice?

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

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

This seditious talk!

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is the true level
of this city.

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

Splashing
the nation,
anointing
its people
with its
blessing.

A blessing,
Chicago?

All rivers
come here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sandburg knew
a Chicago
I will never know.

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

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

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

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

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

Hell even Chicago
got its own brand
of Blues.

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

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

The Blues live
on in Chicago.

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

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

Music:

Robert Johnson
Sweet Home Chicago


jbm
Chicago
1/7/99
Added today to commemorate the birthday of Carl Sandburg
Well, my daddy left home when I was three,
and he didn't leave much to Ma and me,
just this old guitar and a bottle of *****.
Now I don't blame him because he run and hid,
but the meanest thing that he ever did was
before he left he went and named me Sue.

Well, he must have thought it was quite a joke,
and it got lots of laughs from a lot of folks,
it seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
and some guy would laugh and I'd bust his head,
I tell you, life ain't easy for a boy named Sue.

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean.
My fist got hard and my wits got keen.
Roamed from town to town to hide my shame,
but I made me a vow to the moon and the stars,
I'd search the ***** tonks and bars and ****
that man that gave me that awful name.

But it was Gatlinburg in mid July and I had
just hit town and my throat was dry.
I'd thought i'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon in a street of mud
and at a table dealing stud sat the *****,
mangy dog that named me Sue.

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
from a worn-out picture that my mother had
and I knew the scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old
and I looked at him and my blood ran cold,
and I said, "My name is Sue. How do you do?
Now you're gonna die." Yeah, that's what I told him.

Well, I hit him right between the eyes and he went down
but to my surprise he came up with a knife
and cut off a piece of my ear. But I busted a chair
right across his teeth. And we crashed through
the wall and into the street kicking and a-gouging
in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell you I've fought tougher men but I really can't remember when.
He kicked like a mule and bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laughin' and then I heard him cussin',
he went for his gun and I pulled mine first.
He stood there looking at me and I saw him smile.

And he said, "Son, this world is rough and if
a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
and I knew I wouldn't be there to help you along.
So I gave you that name and I said 'Goodbye'.
I knew you'd have to get tough or die. And it's
that name that helped to make you strong."

Yeah, he said, "Now you have just fought one
helluva fight, and I know you hate me and you've
got the right to **** me now and I wouldn't blame you
if you do. But you ought to thank me
before I die for the gravel in your guts and the spit
in your eye because I'm the nut that named you Sue."
Yeah, what could I do? What could I do?

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun,
called him pa and he called me a son,
and I came away with a different point of view
and I think about him now and then.
Every time I tried, every time I win and if I
ever have a son I think I am gonna name him
Bill or George - anything but Sue.
Cass was the youngest and most beautiful of 5 sisters. Cass was the most beautiful girl
in town. 1/2 Indian with a supple and strange body, a snake-like and fiery body with eyes
to go with it. Cass was fluid moving fire. She was like a spirit stuck into a form that
would not hold her. Her hair was black and long and silken and whirled about as did her
body. Her spirit was either very high or very low. There was no in between for Cass. Some
said she was crazy. The dull ones said that. The dull ones would never understand Cass. To
the men she was simply a *** machine and they didn't care whether she was crazy or not.
And Cass danced and flirted, kissed the men, but except for an instance or two, when it
came time to make it with Cass, Cass had somehow slipped away, eluded the men.
Her sisters accused her of misusing her beauty, of not using her mind enough, but Cass
had mind and spirit; she painted, she danced, she sang, she made things of clay, and when
people were hurt either in the spirit or the flesh, Cass felt a deep grieving for them.
Her mind was simply different; her mind was simply not practical. Her sisters were jealous
of her because she attracted their men, and they were angry because they felt she didn't
make the best use of them. She had a habit of being kind to the uglier ones; the so-called
handsome men revolted her- "No guts," she said, "no zap. They are riding on
their perfect little earlobes and well- shaped nostrils...all surface and no
insides..." She had a temper that came close to insanity, she had a temper that some
call insanity. Her father had died of alcohol and her mother had run off leaving the
girls alone. The girls went to a relative who placed them in a convent. The convent had
been an unhappy place, more for Cass than the sisters. The girls were jealous of Cass and
Cass fought most of them. She had razor marks all along her left arm from defending
herself in two fights. There was also a permanent scar along the left cheek but the scar
rather than lessening her beauty only seemed to highlight it. I met her at the West End
Bar several nights after her release from the convent. Being youngest, she was the last of
the sisters to be released. She simply came in and sat next to me. I was probably the
ugliest man in town and this might have had something to do with it.
"Drink?" I asked.
"Sure, why not?"
I don't suppose there was anything unusual in our conversation that night, it was
simply in the feeling Cass gave. She had chosen me and it was as simple as that. No
pressure. She liked her drinks and had a great number of them. She didn't seem quite of
age but they served he anyhow. Perhaps she had forged i.d., I don't know. Anyhow, each
time she came back from the restroom and sat down next to me, I did feel some pride. She
was not only the most beautiful woman in town but also one of the most beautiful I had
ever seen. I placed my arm about her waist and kissed her once.
"Do you think I'm pretty?" she asked.
"Yes, of course, but there's something else... there's more than your
looks..."
"People are always accusing me of being pretty. Do you really think I'm
pretty?"
"Pretty isn't the word, it hardly does you fair."
Cass reached into her handbag. I thought she was reaching for her handkerchief. She
came out with a long hatpin. Before I could stop her she had run this long hatpin through
her nose, sideways, just above the nostrils. I felt disgust and horror. She looked at me
and laughed, "Now do you think me pretty? What do you think now, man?" I pulled
the hatpin out and held my handkerchief over the bleeding. Several people, including the
bartender, had seen the act. The bartender came down:
"Look," he said to Cass, "you act up again and you're out. We don't need
your dramatics here."
"Oh, *******, man!" she said.
"Better keep her straight," the bartender said to me.
"She'll be all right," I said.
"It's my nose, I can do what I want with my nose."
"No," I said, "it hurts me."
"You mean it hurts you when I stick a pin in my nose?"
"Yes, it does, I mean it."
"All right, I won't do it again. Cheer up."
She kissed me, rather grinning through the kiss and holding the handkerchief to her
nose. We left for my place at closing time. I had some beer and we sat there talking. It
was then that I got the perception of her as a person full of kindness and caring. She
gave herself away without knowing it. At the same time she would leap back into areas of
wildness and incoherence. Schitzi. A beautiful and spiritual schitzi. Perhaps some man,
something, would ruin her forever. I hoped that it wouldn't be me. We went to bed and
after I turned out the lights Cass asked me,
"When do you want it? Now or in the morning?"
"In the morning," I said and turned my back.
In the morning I got up and made a couple of coffees, brought her one in bed. She
laughed.
"You're the first man who has turned it down at night."
"It's o.k.," I said, "we needn't do it at all."
"No, wait, I want to now. Let me freshen up a bit."
Cass went into the bathroom. She came out shortly, looking quite wonderful, her long
black hair glistening, her eyes and lips glistening, her glistening... She displayed her
body calmly, as a good thing. She got under the sheet.
"Come on, lover man."
I got in. She kissed with abandon but without haste. I let my hands run over her body,
through her hair. I mounted. It was hot, and tight. I began to stroke slowly, wanting to
make it last. Her eyes looked directly into mine.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"What the hell difference does it make?" she asked.
I laughed and went on ahead. Afterwards she dressed and I drove her back to the bar but
she was difficult to forget. I wasn't working and I slept until 2 p.m. then got up and
read the paper. I was in the bathtub when she came in with a large leaf- an elephant ear.
"I knew you'd be in the bathtub," she said, "so I brought you something
to cover that thing with, nature boy."
She threw the elephant leaf down on me in the bathtub.
"How did you know I'd be in the tub?"
"I knew."
Almost every day Cass arrived when I was in the tub. The times were different but she
seldom missed, and there was the elephant leaf. And then we'd make love. One or two nights
she phoned and I had to bail her out of jail for drunkenness and fighting.
"These sons of *******," she said, "just because they buy you a few
drinks they think they can get into your pants."
"Once you accept a drink you create your own trouble."
"I thought they were interested in me, not just my body."
"I'm interested in you and your body. I doubt, though, that most men can see
beyond your body."
I left town for 6 months, bummed around, came back. I had never forgotten Cass, but
we'd had some type of argument and I felt like moving anyhow, and when I got back i
figured she'd be gone, but I had been sitting in the West End Bar about 30 minutes when
she walked in and sat down next to me.
"Well, *******, I see you've come back."
I ordered her a drink. Then I looked at her. She had on a high- necked dress. I had
never seen her in one of those. And under each eye, driven in, were 2 pins with glass
heads. All you could see were the heads of the pins, but the pins were driven down into
her face.
"******* you, still trying to destroy your beauty, eh?"
"No, it's the fad, you fool."
"You're crazy."
"I've missed you," she said.
"Is there anybody else?"
"No there isn't anybody else. Just you. But I'm hustling. It costs ten bucks. But
you get it free."
"Pull those pins out."
"No, it's the fad."
"It's making me very unhappy."
"Are you sure?"
"Hell yes, I'm sure."
Cass slowly pulled the pins out and put them back in her purse.
"Why do you haggle your beauty?" I asked. "Why don't you just live with
it?"
"Because people think it's all I have. Beauty is nothing, beauty won't stay. You
don't know how lucky you are to be ugly, because if people like you you know it's for
something else."
"O.k.," I said, "I'm lucky."
"I don't mean you're ugly. People just think you're ugly. You have a fascinating
face."
"Thanks."
We had another drink.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Nothing. I can't get on to anything. No interest."
"Me neither. If you were a woman you could hustle."
"I don't think I could ever make contact with that many strangers, it's
wearing."
"You're right, it's wearing, everything is wearing."
We left together. People still stared at Cass on the streets. She was a beautiful
woman, perhaps more beautiful than ever. We made it to my place and I opened a bottle of
wine and we talked. With Cass and I, it always came easy. She talked a while and I would
listen and then i would talk. Our conversation simply went along without strain. We seemed
to discover secrets together. When we discovered a good one Cass would laugh that laugh-
only the way she could. It was like joy out of fire. Through the talking we kissed and
moved closer together. We became quite heated and decided to go to bed. It was then that
Cass took off her high -necked dress and I saw it- the ugly jagged scar across her throat.
It was large and thick.
"******* you, woman," I said from the bed, "******* you, what have you
done?
"I tried it with a broken bottle one night. Don't you like me any more? Am I still
beautiful?"
I pulled her down on the bed and kissed her. She pushed away and laughed, "Some
men pay me ten and I undress and they don't want to do it. I keep the ten. It's very
funny."
"Yes," I said, "I can't stop laughing... Cass, *****, I love you...stop
destroying yourself; you're the most alive woman I've ever met."
We kissed again. Cass was crying without sound. I could feel the tears. The long black
hair lay beside me like a flag of death. We enjoined and made slow and somber and
wonderful love. In the morning Cass was up making breakfast. She seemed quite calm and
happy. She was singing. I stayed in bed and enjoyed her happiness. Finally she came over
and shook me,
"Up, *******! Throw some cold water on your face and pecker and come enjoy the
feast!"
I drove her to the beach that day. It was a weekday and not yet summer so things were
splendidly deserted. Beach bums in rags slept on the lawns above the sand. Others sat on
stone benches sharing a lone bottle. The gulls whirled about, mindless yet distracted. Old
ladies in their 70's and 80's sat on the benches and discussed selling real estate left
behind by husbands long ago killed by the pace and stupidity of survival. For it all,
there was peace in the air and we walked about and stretched on the lawns and didn't say
much. It simply felt good being together. I bought a couple of sandwiches, some chips and
drinks and we sat on the sand eating. Then I held Cass and we slept together about an
hour. It was somehow better than *******. There was flowing together without tension.
When we awakened we drove back to my place and I cooked a dinner. After dinner I suggested
to Cass that we shack together. She waited a long time, looking at me, then she slowly
said, "No." I drove her back to the bar, bought her a drink and walked out. I
found a job as a parker in a factory the next day and the rest of the week went to
working. I was too tired to get about much but that Friday night I did get to the West End
Bar. I sat and waited for Cass. Hours went by . After I was fairly drunk the bartender
said to me, "I'm sorry about your girlfriend."
"What is it?" I asked.
"I'm sorry, didn't you know?"
"No."
"Suicide. She was buried yesterday."
"Buried?" I asked. It seemed as though she would walk through the doorway at
any moment. How could she be gone?
"Her sisters buried her."
"A suicide? Mind telling me how?"
"She cut her throat."
"I see. Give me another drink."
I drank until closing time. Cass was the most beautiful of 5 sisters, the most
beautiful in town. I managed to drive to my place and I kept thinking, I should have
insisted she stay with me instead of accepting that "no." Everything about her
had indicated that she had cared. I simply had been too offhand about it, lazy, too
unconcerned. I deserved my death and hers. I was a dog. No, why blame the dogs? I got up
and found a bottle of wine and drank from it heavily. Cass the most beautiful girl in town
was dead at 20. Outside somebody honked their automobile horn. They were very loud and
persistent. I sat the bottle down and screamed out: "******* YOU, YOU *******
,SHUT UP!" The night kept coming and there was nothing I could do.
potionslover Aug 2012
Say something about me, now that I'm no longer around
Say she was no good
Say she was the best
Say she was never to be messed with
But remember to say I fought

Say I did no good
Say I never hurt a soul
Say I flew for others
Say I never cried by myself
But remember to say I fought

Say whenever whatever
Say "her pride and ego"
Say what I believed
Say "all the lies and truth"
But remember to say I fought

Say I never kept my word
Say I was loyal to the core
Say my corpse may rot in hell
Say I healed your heart
But remember to say I fought

Say prayers and curses
Sing lovely hymns and songs
Say you hate me, say you love me
But to remember to say I fought

Show them my wounds and trophies
Show them my life wrought with disdain
Show them my laughter and tears
Show them how I fought through it all

Say whenever whatever
Say "her pride her ego"
Say what I believed
Say "all the lies and truth"
But remember to say I fought

Say what others don't say
Say what others won't say
Say what others didn't know
Say what others wouldn't know

But say along with the others

"She was a fighter"
Eiliv Advena May 2015
Enjolras lead the students
He lead them in the fight
There upon the barricades
They fought to get their rights

There upon the barricades
They fought without much chance
There upon the barricades
They fought to save their France

There upon the barricades
They fought to soon be free
They fought for a freedom
They could only dream to see

But the frightened people
Soon left their side
And there upon the barricades
All the students died

There upon the barricades
With a red flag in his hand
There upon the barricades
He made his final stand
andy fardell Nov 2012
Poems of Remembrance

War is defined as a form of political violence however I rather hate to like the following quote by this Prussian military general in 1832

"War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will."

We vote in our leaders to refrain from such yet allow them to use us as pawns in their world.I will be remembering and thanking all those who have will and do give up their life's so that i can at least be free to make such thanks

............................................
Lest we forget

The stench of decay hung in the air
Along with the gases from the badlands
Rain had turned the trenches into another bog for the day
STAND TO LADS !!!
the Sergeant barked his mornin song

Spell broken by the first shell of the morning
lucky day ...BOOM .....lucky day
Breakfast usual as the new boys showed no fear
Hide ya head son as another disappeared
Snipers doing their work already...
A scream now silenced short

The morning hate over
Patrolling life began
SHhhhh!! no gunfire
The 2 sides master plan
Machine guns a ready shall cut you complete
Hand to hand and man to man
Bayonets flash besieged

Returned to base to lick their wounds
A fight amongst the rats
Black and brown did rule the roost
A feeding frenzy plan
The lice did all they could to help
Trench fever did its dance
Another day
STAND TO!!! he barked
We stood with baited breath

This was what they signed for
A short war all at plan
And what did they all die for
This life I thank you man

Lest we forget

.......................

A Poppy Remembered

A flower held hand as the young girl
reaches up for her mothers grasp
The reddest of velvet's reflected from
her tears on eyes as her poppy
stands proud and straight

Remember their sacrifice
As you join in their stand
An honour to hold one
Red poppy to hand

She knows why she's standing
She know no return
Her father not here now
His never come home

He fought for his country
He fought for his life
He fought for his honour
His family
Our life

Remember this girl that cries every night
No father to hold her
Is gone from this earth
Yet she is the proudest
A daughter could be
Because of her father
Gave life
For you
...and for me

........................
Poppy day

In between the hills lays a land of green green grass
Where the heavens made their love of life
And gods sung of such sight
Be the lands that they did fight for us the green green grass

Oh green the land of warriors
The land we all do dwell
Green the grass the layman loves
True paradise be felt

In battle times and truces found the land did best it could
Yet all of them who fought for us they knew and understood
The green land see found their place to die for poppy's blood
A land we wished we all could live a world of peace and love

Oh green the land of warriors
The land we all do dwell
Green the grass the layman loves
True paradise be felt

Someday the land will fill our souls and peace will win the day
The green green land will be our rest god bless to all we pray
In those who fought so we could see the green green land this way
We praise and silence once a year remembrance poppy day
.....................

Remember

Remember what they fought for
Remember why they fell
Remember all the killings
The living life in hell

Remember what they did for us
Remember who they were
Remember all the people
That they did fight and fall

A day to show our pride
A day to bow our heads
A day to mourn our family
Lest we forget
Mr E Sep 2012
I fought
I fought
I fought my friends.
I fought with all my might.
I fought until the air in my lungs dispersed into the night.
I hacked I slashed and crumpled my foes
And one by one they fell.
With victory near, and victory close
Tonight I dine in hell.
Michaela Ferris Jun 2014
Today is the 70th anniversary of D-day.

We will never forget all who fought for us,
We will always remember them.

Everyone who fought, died, were injured and those who survived will always be in our memories. They fought so we could live life the way we want to.

Although I don't know anyone who fought personally in the terrible battle in June on the Normandy beaches, I am still thankful and grateful for all those men who lost their lives and fought for us... we will remember them and never forget what they did and what they gave up for us.

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-day.

We will never forget those who fought for us to live the life that we have now.

We will remember them.
Ingrid Ohls May 2014
I can’t breathe,
My chest feels like it is caving in  and I just can’t push any further.
I can’t think of anything else.
My stomach turns quicker than anything I have ever known.
My eyes, sting from the tears, which just keep flowing,
Endlessly.
Unforgivingly.

I want to run to him,
I want to run so far away from him.
Never ever stopping until I forgiven for all my faults.
And my mind gives me grace and forgets his memory.
I want crawl into a ball on the floor,
Sobbing, never to stop.

I want to scream, and my body wants to explode.
It is completely unable of holding this pain inside.
I want to be beautiful enough,
I want to be strong enough.
I want to have the perfect ***.
I want the body he wants to touch.
I want the mind he wants, instead of this one.
So damaged from all the hurt.
That it never seems to cease.
I want his love.
I want his support.

I want him to fight for me like I did for him for years.
I want to be worth something,
Instead of being this piece of ****** garbage.
I want to wake up and be in his arms.

I want to never wake up again.
The mornings for the rest of my life are going to be a rude awakening.
To know, I had it all.
I had my dream,
And its gone.
To know the arms I sob for,
Are holding someone else,
The voice I want to hear, that can’t stand the sound of mine.
Whisper the words I love you to someone else.

But it can’t be that I was nothing…
How is it that just a few days ago, I had him inside of me.
I had him hold me and kiss me.
Consuming all of my senses, complete passion and love.
I had him lay beside me,
I whispered in his ear that I loved him.
Did he say it back?
He couldn’t have meant it.

I fought for years for him,
I watched him stop believing in himself and his worth and I told him he was priceless.
I hugged him when he cried, I yelled when he didn’t see his worth.
I fought when he was losing himself.

I am alone,
I am too hurt to think.
I am terrified and am too ******* in love to think I will ever be okay again.
I am nothing to my everything.
I am a piece of ******* garbage,
I am useless and worthless to my world.
My dream come true,
I wish I never had it,
I wish I didn’t know what I lost.
I wish I didn’t know it was me, who wasn’t enough to have my dream come true.
I wish he loved me as much I loved him.
I wish my pain was the reason he fought harder for me.
I wish he could see he was the one who could fix it.
If only he had.

If only he had loved me enough to let everything lesser go,
Instead of keeping it close by for when my pain was too much for him to be near.
If only he had loved me enough to see I needed him to be strong for me.
If only he had wanted to help me stand.

To know that someone so special to has someone else they would rather be near,
Is not even heartbreaking.
Heartbreaking does not describe how I feel.

I can’t think.
I can’t breathe.
Every step feels like a thousand going up the side of a mountain.
The thought of faking a smile makes me want to jump off a cliff.
The sound of music is like knives inside my head.
The emptiness in my body consuming me,
Slowly but efficiently taking the little jagged pieces of who I was and destroying them.

I will never feel loved again,
I will never know what it is like to be complete again.
I fought, and I tried
I fought for me to be enough.
I fought for him to notice who I was
I fought for our life and how it was.
I was left beaten and bleeding,
I was left alone,
I was left to be forgotten, and laughed at.
To be made a mocker, a nut case,
A woman who gave her everything to a man.
A woman so lowly and pathetic and utterly unlovable.
That when he stands before her,
With his eyes showing his disgust,
He says to me,
Look at you, what is wrong with you?
I say you did it, and he walks away.
He doesn’t want me, he doesn’t care if he loses me forever.
He doesn’t want me.
I am nothing
He doesn’t love me, and he never did

All the years were a lie, all the tears I have cried were for nothing.
The consuming pain that makes it unable for me function,
Just makes me that much more pathetic.

He loves someone so wrong,
But at least its better than the waste of a life I am.

You, with her,
Me with the kids, who lost us both.
I am no mother now, I am nothing
I am not who I was
I gave it all away to try for him

How do I keep going in a world,
Where he hates me and I lost it all.
I just wanted love.
NOLWAZI JOUBERT Jun 2015
So many of us sit, think and still
wonder,
But have we ever gave ourselves the chance to ask?
Well no!
We just rejoice and find oursleves
floating on cloud nine because
"it is just another public holiday"

So many of us have cherished this day,
as a day of drinking, parting
and being in the family way.
Which "Us" am i refering to?
Well it is the youth of South Africa,
That can only sing "Freedom is coming tomorrow" very well
without knowing the significance
of that freedom
and what it took for this freedom
to come

well let me take you back to the
hands of time.
In June 16, 1976
the mongoloid youth of South Africa
marched down the streets of Soweto for this freedom we have today.

BLOOD SHADE,
SCREAMS,
EXPLOIDING SOUNDS
and the cries of faces without races
filled the streets of Soweto.

Parents feared for the lives of their children,
but who knew that adolescents
could be so brave?

They stood together in unity,
the same unity we lack today.
Fought for what was right and that came with their African roots,
which we nolonger honour today,

they fought against the usage af
Afrikaans as the main language of communication at schools.
And look where it left us today.
We have the Right to choice
and the Freedom of association.

And not forgeting that,
they left us with the courage to say "WE ARE PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICANS"
One of my longest poems ever!
At Flores in the Azores Sir Richard Grenville lay,
And a pinnace, like a fluttered bird, came flying from far away:
"Spanish ships of war at sea! we have sighted fifty-three!"
Then sware Lord Thomas Howard: "'Fore God I am no coward;
But I cannot meet them here, for my ships are out of gear,
And the half my men are sick. I must fly, but follow quick.
We are six ships of the line; can we fight with fifty-three?"

Then spake Sir Richard Grenville: "I know you are no coward;
You fly them for a moment to fight with them again.
But I've ninety men and more that are lying sick ashore.
I should count myself the coward if I left them, my Lord Howard,
To these Inquisition dogs and the devildoms of Spain."

So Lord Howard passed away with five ships of war that day,
Till he melted like a cloud in the silent summer heaven;
But Sir Richard bore in hand all his sick men from the land
Very carefully and slow,
Men of Bideford in Devon,
And we laid them on the ballast down below;
For we brought them all aboard,
And they blest him in their pain, that they were not left to Spain,
To the thumbscrew and the stake, for the glory of the Lord.

He had only a hundred ****** to work the ship and to fight,
And he sailed away from Flores till the Spaniard came in sight,
With his huge sea-castles heaving upon the weather bow.
"Shall we fight or shall we fly?
Good Sir Richard, tell us now,
For to fight is but to die!
There'll be little of us left by the time this sun be set."
And Sir Richard said again: "We be all good English men.
Let us bang these dogs of Seville, the children of the devil,
For I never turned my back upon Don or devil yet."

Sir Richard spoke and he laughed, and we roared a hurrah, and so
The little Revenge ran on sheer into the heart of the foe,
With her hundred fighters on deck, and her ninety sick below;
For half of their fleet to the right and half to the left were seen,
And the little Revenge ran on through the long sea-lane between.

Thousands of their soldiers looked down from their decks and laughed,
Thousands of their ****** made mock at the mad little craft
Running on and on, till delayed
By their mountain-like San Philip that, of fifteen hundred tons,
And up-shadowing high above us with her yawning tiers of guns,
Took the breath from our sails, and we stayed.

And while now the great San Philip hung above us like a cloud
Whence the thunderbolt will fall
Long and loud,
Four galleons drew away
From the Spanish fleet that day,
And two upon the larboard and two upon the starboard lay,
And the battle-thunder broke from them all.

But anon the great San Philip, she bethought herself and went
Having that within her womb that had left her ill content;
And the rest they came aboard us, and they fought us hand to hand,
For a dozen times they came with their pikes and musqueteers,
And a dozen times we shook 'em off as a dog that shakes his ears
When he leaps from the water to the land.

And the sun went down, and the stars came out far over the summer sea,
But never a moment ceased the fight of the one and the fifty-three.
Ship after ship, the whole night long, their high-built galleons came,
Ship after ship, the whole night long, with her battle-thunder and flame;
Ship after ship, the whole night long, drew back with her dead and her shame.
For some were sunk and many were shattered, and so could fight us no more -
God of battles, was ever a battle like this in the world before?

For he said "Fight on! fight on!"
Though his vessel was all but a wreck;
And it chanced that, when half of the short summer night was gone,
With a grisly wound to be dressed he had left the deck,
But a bullet struck him that was dressing it suddenly dead,
And himself he was wounded again in the side and the head,
And he said "Fight on! fight on!"

And the night went down, and the sun smiled out far over the summer sea,
And the Spanish fleet with broken sides lay round us all in a ring;
But they dared not touch us again, for they feared that we still could sting,
So they watched what the end would be.
And we had not fought them in vain,
But in perilous plight were we,
Seeing forty of our poor hundred were slain,
And half of the rest of us maimed for life
In the crash of the cannonades and the desperate strife;
And the sick men down in the hold were most of them stark and cold,
And the pikes were all broken or bent, and the powder was all of it spent;
And the masts and the rigging were lying over the side;
But Sir Richard cried in his English pride,
"We have fought such a fight for a day and a night
As may never be fought again!
We have won great glory, my men!
And a day less or more
At sea or ashore,
We die -does it matter when?
Sink me the ship, Master Gunner -sink her, split her in twain!
Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands of Spain!"

And the gunner said "Ay, ay," but the ****** made reply:
"We have children, we have wives,
And the Lord hath spared our lives.
We will make the Spaniard promise, if we yield, to let us go;
We shall live to fight again and to strike another blow."
And the lion there lay dying, and they yielded to the foe.

And the stately Spanish men to their flagship bore him then,
Where they laid him by the mast, old Sir Richard caught at last,
And they praised him to his face with their courtly foreign grace;
But he rose upon their decks, and he cried:
"I have fought for Queen and Faith like a valiant man and true;
I have only done my duty as a man is bound to do:
With a joyful spirit I Sir Richard Grenville die!"
And he fell upon their decks, and he died.

And they stared at the dead that had been so valiant and true,
And had holden the power and glory of Spain so cheap
That he dared her with one little ship and his English few;
Was he devil or man? He was devil for aught they knew,
But they sank his body with honour down into the deep,
And they manned the Revenge with a swarthier alien crew,
And away she sailed with her loss and longed for her own;
When a wind from the lands they had ruined awoke from sleep,
And the water began to heave and the weather to moan,
And or ever that evening ended a great gale blew,
And a wave like the wave that is raised by an earthquake grew,
Till it smote on their hulls and their sails and their masts and their flags,
And the whole sea plunged and fell on the shot-shattered navy of Spain,
And the little Revenge herself went down by the island crags
To be lost evermore in the main.
DK Sep 2015
I lost it all,
then I fought to get it back,
I fought to fill the void,
fought to find love again,
fought to save my heart,
fought to feel safe, secure, happy,
fought to take the easy route,
I crashed so hard,
head first into the ground,
I fought until it burned,
it burns so bad,
I can't fight this way anymore,
can't be tough like this anymore,
I have to change my fight,
have to fight through the pain,
fight through being alone,
fighting is all I can do,
at least now I know the proper fight.
Patrick Austin Sep 2018
Our Backgrounds before we met...

I'm an only child born in Montana in 1983, from a divided home. Parents divorced at seven, Mom was unstable and unfaithful. Dad obtained custody of me and we moved to Oregon Coast to live with my Grandma. I had unhealthy visits and relationship with Mom thereafter. My Grandma died at 12 and at 13 my Dad remarried an alcoholic woman, I had a strained relationship with them until adulthood when she stopped drinking. I had exposure to trauma; alcoholism, mental illness, verbal abuse and juvenile troubles. I rebelled by using drugs in my late teens and early twenties, I lived on my own for a few years after high school but had little direction.

My bride is the eldest with two little brothers, parents stayed in same area of Portland during childhood with lots of family support and her parents stayed married. They had Christian values but some anger and anxiety issues at home. She was sexually assaulted at 17 and never had good closure with this. She told me her parents didn't provide her enough help with things like this growing up. Status quo was the backbone of the family dynamic, challenging emotions were discouraged. She rebelled by being reckless with herself, financially and sexually. She decided to join the Navy at 19. She lived alone briefly, but mostly with Grandparents & Parents before our marriage.

I loved how we both grew up reading Archie comics. No other girl I had ever met had that in common with me. I think we wanted a surreal life like the one in Riverdale.

2002

She and I were 19 when we first met in my home town on the coast at an arcade. We became friends and secretly liked each other. I was too nervous to ever make a move on her. We traveled together, she stayed with me, we used drugs together and drank at times. One night she drank too much and had *** with a guy I knew at a party. I was devastated by this. She was Navy bound and I didn't see a real future for us. The next morning she left and I didn't talk to her again for two years. I figured she would be gone with the Navy soon and that she must not have been interested in a relationship with me despite the time we spent together.

2003

I was depressed about this rejection. I dated an older woman who was interested in me but was no substitute. I eventually moved to the Portland area to work and live. I still had few plans and was lonely, in or out of the few brief relationships I attempted. I never found someone that I felt safe with or had a true connection, let alone true love. She ended up not following through with the Navy and continued working her way up in her job at the call center. She attended community college and dated a few guys. She dated one guy for a couple of years who was not a good match for her but stayed with him off and on despite issues. His family was wealthy and treated her well. He slept around on her as did she. At one point he gave her an STD. She also had an ongoing affair with a married man in the military that she went to high school with. He had a child and a wife with mental health issues. She was still hurting a lot at times and not always doing well.

2004

She reached out to me via email after two years of no contact. We emailed back and forth a couple times over the next few months. We talked about meeting up. We spoke on the phone and eventually met up in Portland. We had an amazing night getting to know each other again and work past the confusion of our earlier days of friendship. I realized that she did in fact like me before but since I was timid and trying to be proper and take things slowly she didn't understand my motives. She apologized for her actions at the party as well. She claimed she was in a really messed up place and was making bad choices at that time. Getting our feelings out in the open was good and she appreciated my attitude towards being slow to make moves on her when we first met. I was worried about falling for her based on our history but eventually I was determined to give it a shot. We soon after starting dating and being intimate. Our love was extremely powerful and beyond all others we had both experienced. She broke ties with other suitors and shortly after we talked about marriage and started planning a wedding for the next year.

I remember when we first held hands. We were so shakey and she was quivering on my couch as I had my arm around her. We felt so safe with each other. We could finally be ourselves and do what our hearts desired. We knew we were on to something new and so amazing. We were so patient with each other as we navigated our new love and emotional thresholds.

I remember when we saw Matisyahu in concert together. That was a once in a lifetime experience and a life-changing moment for us. I feel it set the tone for things to come in our future.

I remember how creative my proposal to her was, in the Arcade where we first met. I hid the ring in a prize container from one of those claw machines. Pretending I got the ring from inside by reaching into the machine on one knee I was so nervous and wasn't sure if I could pull it off before she caught on. She looked so shocked and surprised. I was so excited she said yes! We took pictures in the photo machine and had burgers afterwards, I'd do all of it all over again just to see her face in that moment.

2005

We found an apartment for us in Portland. I moved in while she was still living back with her parents until the wedding. She had to change her number because the married man she was previously involved with kept calling her about changing her mind about marriage and continuing their relationship. She was offered a job in Denver and we decided to move away together after our sandy wedding in Cannon Beach. I still had a very hard time and was embarrassed with my past history with her. Many of my friends knew what had happened at 19 and how much it hurt me but I was so crazy about her I think I tried to pretend it didn't happen or that it was not a big deal because we were younger. We got married and moved to Colorado soon after. We made friends at a church, I became more active as a Christian and really loved being married. We were very involved in keeping spirituality in our marriage. I began to notice her poor financial decisions and practices more. This caused conflict but we always tried to communicate and work on things.

I remember when we went down to my folks for New Year's in 2005. We sipped tea in my Datsun as we drove to the coast over the snowy mountain pass. We told them of our engagement. We were all so blissful and excited. We never knew what was to come. We didn't even know about the opportunity in Denver yet. Our story is amazing!

I remember when I wanted to go see her in Portland and the roads were iced over. I left my car at a park and ride before I caused a wreck. I took the light rail across town then rode a bus to the Eastside shopping mall. The bus to her house was not running because it wasn't safe so I walked the rest of the 4 Miles sometimes having to crawl on my hands and knees to make it up hills in the ice and then I finally made it only to just spend a couple hours with her and fall asleep on her parents couch. Her Dad drove us back the next morning to my car so I could get to work. It was all worth it just to see her for that little extra time. I would have done anything for her.

I remember when she was interviewing for the new position in Denver? I drove all over Portland trying to find little toy cars to help with her illustration about how a team is like a car having all four wheels and how they work together to accomplish a goal. I was so proud of her for giving it her all and succeeding at earning that position. Now that I think of it, that car analogy applies to our family and us. We all need each other to be better and keep on track and be a team. I am so motivated by that and our boys. I lose my way without that and I want to be her reflection and motivation as she has been that for me. I truly thought we brought out the best in each other when we were together.

I remember when we were given tickets to see Fiona Apple. That was so spontaneous and a great way to kick off our time in Denver together. We always used to watch our same movies over and over again. Like the Friends DVDs and White Christmas every winter break and The Wedding Singer. We walked everywhere and lived simply. "I wanna be the guy, who grows old with you"

I remember in our first Denver apartment when we took baths together in our claw foot tub in the big bathroom. We put a board over the top and played cards. I liked playing Uno with her in bed too. She was so funny being slightly color blind and in the dark, mixing up the greens and blues. We played Uno in Breckenridge too at that cool bed and breakfast in the fall.

2006

We had continued fun and adventure in our new home of Denver. She was doing well as a trainer for the bank and I started working in health foods. We went camping in New Mexico a couple times with friends and we both took individual trips to Oregon as well as one together for her uncle's wedding. We had marital spats on occasion but always bounced back. The issues we had seemed like part of a normal marriage and were far better than what I had grown up around. I realized that marriage was a lot of work but I was up for the task. She occasionally became aggressive throwing things at me or breaking things during conflict.  I believed I was the problem and tried to change for her in many ways. With two incomes we still had trouble making our bills at times. She had debts that I never knew about that started to catch up with us but I took care of getting them settled and we paid off her car and traded it for an older Volvo Wagon that we both loved, I even had it repainted her favorite color for a birthday gift. Overall things seemed like they were progressing in a positive way.

I remember when we saw Midnight in concert in Boulder. That was the peak of our hippy days. We were alive with pleasure in our healthy vegetarian diets and practices living in a time and place like no other. I want to be like that again. Reggae was our music. We had much in common.

2007

We really fell into our roles in our marriage and the community; church and culture, friends etc. Things seemed very balanced and appropriate for us at that time and that age (24-25). We had separate bank accounts and jobs. I had money in savings. We started the process of buying a house so we could invest in something. She became pregnant shortly after. I embraced the challenge with positive energy but we were both in for a big change. We started having more fights. I didn't have many friends and would write to old friends via social media just so I could to catch up and tell them things were going great with being married to make myself feel better than I actually did. She hated the dawn of social media and also felt isolated I'm sure. She felt I should be doing more for her and I didn't know how to do what she needed but I failed to ask a lot of the time. After one argument, she left the house. My instinct told me to look at ******* and ******* as a retaliation. I had not done this much once we were married because she always met my needs but when things were difficult between us I felt more emotionally isolated. She walked in and realized what I had been doing. She was very upset, and because she was pregnant, thought I was not attracted to her. The truth is I found her even more beautiful and in fact when I looked at ******* I tried to look at women I found less attractive than her so that I feel good about what I have. I mostly fantasized about how these women were more submissive and loving than her. That is the part I needed to feel good about and feel better about myself with because I felt very dominated and controlled. She has never forgiven me for this and I will never stop feeling sorry to her for my brokenness. During one particular argument that year she was getting close to being violent towards me again and I pushed her away on the chest with my fingertips. She got very mad and said I hurt her. I immediately felt terrible and apologized. I never let something like that happen again. I have always avoided violence towards others especially women and of course her. I was defenseless against physical and emotional abuse.

2008

Our eldest son was born at the beginning of the year, it was a traumatic birth for everyone. We wanted a natural birth with a midwife but we were transferred to a hospital and she ended up having an emergency C-section, nothing went as planned. We had a really hard time coping with the emotions of this experience. A lot of buried feelings and trauma from both of us started coming out. We moved a month later into our new home outside of town. No more walking or biking to places, we had to drive everywhere. This house was next to our friends from church. We thought this would make us feel less isolated but we didn’t really have the community with them that we had hoped for. They were upset that they didn't have a child of their own yet and being around us might have been hard for them. My wife stopped working and stayed home with our son. All these changes made for a very difficult time. I did my best to support them but this was the first time we shared a bank account and needed to follow a budget more than ever before. We had no debt at the beginning of the year with money in savings but then the hospital bills put us down about $7,000 and rising with new home and moving expenses and baby needs. My job could barely keep up. She and I had a hard time adjusting. We could not afford to travel home to Oregon and visit family as much and we felt more and more isolated. She started showing me more signs of instability, locking herself in the bathroom with kitchen knives and scraping her legs which continued off and on for years to come. Talks of divorce and suicide threats seemed to happen more than before. I felt responsible and tried to fix her ever changing issues with me.

I remember when herr ******* were full and swollen with milk. It is so beautiful the way she could feed our babies. I wanted her in every way, our bodies belonged to each other. I was there for her and our shared pleasure. I loved it when she told me that she was mine in the heat of passion. This spark could only be a bandage for so long but I didn't know that yet.

2009

I tried to promote within my company but was not selected, they were cutting budgets and employment all around me. I felt worried about our future. I had always thought the military might be a good opportunity and could move us closer to family back home. My father-in-law encouraged me to look into the Coast Guard. I felt this would be a good way to get moved closer to Oregon.  I ended up joining the Navy because we found out we were pregnant again with our second son and that was the only way I could join a military branch. She worked off and on as a nanny and later in the year at a coffee house working nights. We barely spent time together and when we did it was a lot of hard conversations or arguments about finances with making up intimately in the middle of the night between times of caring for the baby. She once scratched my neck with her fingernails during an argument. People I worked with noticed. It was a hard time and we knew change was on the horizon with jobs and moving. We did visit Oregon that summer though and had a great vacation at the beach with a borrowed 4x4 and staying at a hotel and picnicking out of a cooler as well as going to her brothers wedding. I was 26 and about to join the Navy to provide better for my family at all costs sacrificing myself for their benefit because I would have rather died than look like I didn't try my best for them.

I remember when our babies would kick and move around inside her belly. I loved laying by her and feeling her tummy. I would hum to the baby and hear them move and squirm. I loved giving our boys baths when they were babies too. We had our little bundles of our love, wrapped in a towel in our hands, so tiny and vulnerable. I miss those days and want to remember them with her, aside from this state of melancholy.

2010

The Navy recruiters would only take me if we rented out our home and had her stay with family during boot camp and training. We moved to a furnished apartment in Denver and put our things in storage. She was 5 months pregnant and our eldest was two. I shortly after was let go from my job. Our second son was born in April. I got a contract with the Navy at the last minute but didn't leave until August. We sold our beloved vehicles and lived off retirement funds for six months and moved down to Florida where her parents had just moved out of the blue for work, to stay with them until I left for boot camp. I applied for temporary work in Florida at a dozen places but had no luck in my three months there. I took care of our eldest a lot while she took care of the new baby. Being in Florida was a culture shock for us but we had our moments of romance and made the best of it. Eventually I left for boot camp in August. It was really hard and sad to be gone. She stayed in Florida and came to visit me with the baby at boot camp graduation in October. I then went to Connecticut for five months of training. It was also hard but at least I could call home every day and be in the same time zone. I visited Florida during the winter break and saw my boys and her. We went to Disney world and had a great time on her parents. We also made a romantic home movie I could enjoy while away from her. I flew back to Connecticut and tried to make the best of things. My roommate was very abusive of substances and I resisted the temptation for a long time but the threat of being submarine service bound and missing my family pushed me to drinking every weekend and getting messed up to escape before I left.

I remember when we drove to Key Largo, Florida and stopped at a crazy bird wildlife center. I remember our oldest was so amazed hearing a bird say hello back to us. It was so foreign and fun there. I am glad we all shared that experience together.

I remember our trip to the citrus grove in Florida. That was such a great day for our family. I always look back on that with really fond sentiment. I felt like I was in a beautiful family music video with them.

2011

I finished Submarine Training and got orders back to the Northwest. The plan was all coming together. I arrived first and bought a car and got our items moved from storage in Denver to our townhouse rental in Washington. She and the boys joined me a month later. I didn't report to my Sub for another month as they were at sea. She became pregnant again with our third son right after arriving. We had just bought a small car and were not planning on another child. Towards the end of the year I was working a lot and having a really hard time, being bullied and treated poorly at work plus our financial situation was still very difficult. Adjusting to the military was hard among younger men being 28. I dreaded each day in that environment but I tried to endure it for my family. I went to sea for a couple months at the end of the year stopping in Hawaii and California. During this time She reached out to her ex married affair partner after six years of no contact. She didn't tell me until later. She said she needed closure with him, we were not in counseling yet but she decided this was appropriate. I flew home early from sea and wanted to surprise her. The stress and trauma of this quick transition home after being to sea for the first time (which was also traumatic) made me want to drink and get messed up before flying. I arrived home and surprised her but I seemed off to her which I was but didn’t explain why, I have never done that since. I got to be home for two months almost work free while we celebrated the holidays and prepared for the new baby to be born. She started getting more involved with a church and building a community for us which was great. Our financial struggles almost led us to foreclosure of our home back in Colorado but by the grace of God we got it sold with a short sale just in time.

I remember when I came back from Hawaii and brought her a beaded necklace and she wore it naked with her big beautiful pregnant goddess belly and we made passionate hippy love together. I want to grow out my beard again and spend my life making hippy love and feeling free again.

2012

Our third son was born in January. It was a very positive birth experience and much less stressful than the other two. Shortly after I flew out to finish the other half of the deployment I had missed. I really focused on being positive and spiritually connected by reading my Bible at sea which was helpful. I called her when I arrived in Japan halfway through being gone. She was upset because she tested positive for an STD while trying to get on birth control. I became suspicious of her yet she was suspicious of me. We both got tested again and I was clean, she told me she had a false positive after all. This put a big strain on our trust, especially being so far away. This forced us to be honest with each other about some things such as her contact with her ex lover and my drinking to cope. We were both very upset until I returned home and we could start some counseling to work through things. Forgiveness seemed to be difficult for us. It brought up hurts of the past when we were 19. She also had severe postpartum depression that became worse after each birth. I was still having a hard time with work and the submarine environment. Our church friends tried to counsel us but it was not the most helpful. My submarine was scheduled for extended repairs and not going to sea for three years, I would be transferred before the end of that period. I used this time to bond with her and my boys. I wanted to get better involved in our community and do volunteer work and side jobs to earn extra money. Our boys were all given diagnosis's for autism which begun to fill our lives with appointments and challenges for years to come but we were a good team in dealing with all of it. It gave us something to work together on but took our focus away from working on our own personal issues and relationship with each other as much as we should have.

2013

We had new years with both sides of our family in a snowy mountain setting in Oregon. It looked like it was going to be a great year until her Grandpa passed away suddenly. It ripped our entire family apart but especially her. He kept the family grounded and she was very close to him, he really loved all of us. She and I started going on dates again because we had Navy sponsored child care. It was the beginning of a really good thing for us. Tragically one night after a date we were dancing with the boys on the patio and I tried to pick her up and I lost my balance and fell on her, breaking her collar bone severely. She needed surgery and was very mad at me for years to come. She has a scar, a metal plate and numbness in her chest. We worked through it with our community from church but she still is very mad at me. I feel more terrible about this incident than she could ever know. I would lose a finger in place of that incident if I could. I continued having a really hard time in the Navy and I didn't want to stay in but She insisted our boys needed care only the Navy could offer. She also said she would divorce me if I ever left the Navy. I took this threat seriously even though she assured me later that she would never actually do that. Against my own convictions I reenlisted because I wanted to do the best thing for my family. We moved into base housing at the end of summer and didn’t go out to do things as much anymore. The house was nice but it ****** us in, we also had less community with people around our home. I started volunteering at church more and doing work with special needs people. I felt like I was doing good things and that I had purpose all around. I think she appreciated this about me.

2014

We started seeing a professional counselor together and individually. It became a regular event. I worked on myself and she worked on herself. I had a lot of issues with my Mom and eventually broke off communication with her for my own well-being and the betterment of my family. I got past a lot of the bad feelings I had. She worked on her traumatic experiences and our relationship dynamics. Just when things were going well I got a new boss who made things hard for me and others at work and I started messing up more. I got in trouble for messing up a job at work and was given strike one on my record. She lost respect for me as a provider but I tried to stay strong showing her that I would continue to do my best.

I remember when we had an appointment in Tacoma and we had a brunch date together afterwards. She looked so beautiful that day, I took her picture and was so proud to enjoy  huevos rancheros and momosas with her. I remember going to the Tacoma Art Museum seeing the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, we have a great time together doing new things and feeding each other's interests. I loved laughing with her too, sometimes we just bust up like nobody's around. I loved the sound of her laughter. I loved watching Portlandia with her, it is so funny to remember the funny place where we became close and be able to relate together.

2015

I kept working hard and being involved with family and appointments for my boys and her. I still maintained my volunteer work and part time side jobs. I got strike two with the Navy for messing up again... I had just gained orders to leave the sub for local shore duty. I could not get out of the extended repair situation soon enough. She was very disappointed in me and not so understanding. I worked through this situation with our counselor as did she. He always told her I am a good man and that I do a lot for her and the boys. It's true, I care more than anything about them, I made mistakes and I feel bad especially when I cause my family stress. I left for shore duty in April. It was a hard time adjusting to the new routine but eventually we seemed to make it work. That summer we took a trip to visit Texas where her parents had just moved from Florida. We spent a great night together for our 10th anniversary in a hotel in Texas and went dancing. We had a lot more time together as my work schedule was less. The more people we had in our home working with our kids on issues the less useful my input seemed. I was not included as much in making family decisions because they all seemed to happen while I was at work, despite my objections. We tried to get our budget under control but she still had anxiety discussing spending. She continued to struggle with depression and was put on medication because she had still been harming herself. She was put on Prozac daily and anti anxiety medication as needed. He family members were not very supportive of medication which upset her but I always tried to be supportive in seeking help and continued care for both of us.

2016

We had a busy routine of kids in school now and home school and preschool and appointments for all of us. She wanted to go to church less and less. I started drinking a couple beers at night almost every day. I tried to mask my stress from her mood swings. She decided not to go to church at all anymore and focused teaching the boys about Jewish traditions exclusively which was hard for me to adjust to and confusing for the boys. I loved her and wanted to be supportive. As usual I was submissive and removed myself from the Christian church and some friendships. I feel like we lost our community at that point. We searched for a good place to have a new community with Jewish people but it was like starting over. I felt like I converted to Christianity for her when we got together and now I had to convert again, either way I would have done it for her because I loved her that much. The kids were confused by this change. After trying and failing at many synagogues we finally found one that seemed right for us.

2017

We finally had some money in savings because I kept it a secret and ended up planning a trip to visit her parents in Texas but it fell through due to lack of military flights. Instead we spent three nights away in a nice hotel resort as a family in February. We had three days of pure family time. Playing Battleship and other games in our room as a family, watching movies and eating at all the different restaurants and getting room service. Going swimming everyday in the foggy pool. I love our family and how we can have a great time together doing nothing but at the same time so much. That was so peaceful and relaxing. I wanted to keep doing things like that together as a family before our boys got too old. Shortly after this vacation she wanted to go back to school, then we bought a third vehicle so she could. Shortly after this she changed her mind about school and wanted to buy another house instead. I went along with it to please her and we practically killed ourselves trying to get the move accomplished with not much help or money. We had a good year over all. We got away for a romantic anniversary together in the summer. Just before the boys were going to start public school in the fall, her parents moved back to the area. She had anxiety with this and cut off contact with her parents and brothers for a while. Her Dad called me very upset and I tried to keep the peace until they reconciled. I was doing better with work and made up for lost progress as well as making arrangements to change jobs in the Navy to something more fitting. Since the boys started public school, I planned on leaving for Navy training in my new position after the beginning of the new year when they would be at a more settled place in their routine.

I remember when we went to the Olympic Club for our anniversary and we stayed there for a night away. We drove the long way through the countryside talking about new music that she wanted to share with me and she made notes of it on my phone notepad. We brought our own cooler and picnic that included Session Lagers and chocolate. We checked in to our room and made noisy bohemian love on the edge of the creaky bed in our small European room inches from the door. Then we went to the theater downstairs and watched the late showing of a really interesting Sci-fi movie "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". We took showers and slept sweetly together. We made love again in the morning before we had a delicious brunch outside on the patio. We took the long way home and drove around on new roads and found our way out of cell phone reception. We figured out the road less traveled to get back to our home. We loved being alone and away together, just one night can make such a difference and mean so much.

I remember going to the Forest Theater to see Tarzan with our boys. That was such a great time. I would love to get our boys into theater and go see them someday. I wanted to keep our dreams and goals together alive and not lose opportunity and fall short by losing our partnership.

I loved going camping in Seabeck. Loading the truck with all our gear and getting away. Archer got sick from the cowboy caviar and I had to clean him and the tent up in the night. I was glad we had each other to be a team in our marriage in that situation as with all the other times. These sorts of things are what escape a person's mind when they are determined to get a divorce.

2018

We had a lot less money than the year before, again buying a house took its toll on finances as did the boys school and after school activities. I stayed very involved taking the boys to appointments and sporting practices. We stopped going to synagogue but tried to practice Judaism at home as much as possible, which I was very supportive of and involved with. She was still depressed and talking about suicide at times. I encouraged her to get help as I always had. Eventually she was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 and manic depressive by a new provider. She started taking new medicine for this and was worried I would want to leave her. I assured her I would never leave her and that I always wanted to work on things with her and help her. I left for training in Mississippi February 8th. It was going to be hard but I thought it might be good to have some time apart from each other to miss one another and reflect on things as well as prepare for times when I would be away at sea. I got in trouble in Mississippi for giving junior personnel a ride and being negligent of people who might be underage and possibly drinking, this became strike three. I never thought this could happen. I became recommend for separation from the Navy shortly after and was stuck in Mississippi for six months instead of six weeks. She was supportive through most of it but seemed to fall into hopelessness. Money was spent by her that we didn't have without discussion. She quietly leased appliances and tires and purchased a vehicle as well as having a secret bank account and email address. I discovered through our insurance company that she wanted to leave our policy for divorce. I didn't know this and she had even told the boys she wanted a divorce before I even knew. I was caught off guard and confused. I kept trying to communicate and reason with her but she didn't want to talk. I refused to give up and wrote emails and a letter but it only seemed to push her away further. By the time I left Mississippi she had filed for divorce and a restraining order against me saying I was unstable and a threat. I couldn't return to my home. My whole life fell apart in just a couple months. I found out she had been talking to other men in the Navy and keeping more secrets. I assumed this was her way of taking control during a difficult situation. I really needed her support during this hard time of transition out of the military. I became homeless, jobless and without my family in a month. I prayed to God that given time things might change between us but it was of no use. Bipolar had consumed whatever was left of my bride and there was no turning back.

I felt that our love was not one to be cast away. Other people might not understand or agree but what we had was truly special. We may have surely needed some time and space to get counseling as well as reconfigure and repair our marriage but I didn't feel like our relationship was irretrievably broken. She was so important to me and I thought she was the love of my life and would always have my heart. I wanted to be her partner in love and life, watching our boys grow up and being there to support each other. Being that she is Bipolar I knew she will need a lot of help and I was more than willing to assist her in making sure she was taking care of herself and not throwing herself into harm's way, ensuring she sticks with a plan we agree to for consistency. I cared about her deeply and had much compassion for her. I didn't believe she was thinking this through or thinking about the future. I really wanted to look at the long and short game with her, neither seemed appealing to me if we progressed but here we are. Things are not going to be easier. She will still have to face her problems and deal with me on a regular basis for the rest of our lives no matter what happens. She can believe her lawyer when they promise she'll get the moon and stars out of this in the end but they only see half of the story. Above all they want our money. It would have been good for her to face me in person and tell me she wanted to divorce and we could have started talking about it with a counselor to figure out how that could even work. Instead she chose to avoid as much responsibility for her actions as possible by doing everything in my absence as if I am not a real person. I had to find out about it from our insurance company and was last to know.

Immediately after I hear the word divorce I looked into her cell usage history and find she has a new military boyfriend that she talks to 20-30 times a day. She felt she owed me no explanation for this and it was none of my business. A mature person would have let me know about this months before and I would have seen it coming but there was no sign until it was seemingly too late. She strayed down a dark path and never turned back.

Her proposed parenting plan was cruel and had no thought put into it. Two hours a week with supervision, no holidays but father's day? She said she’s not trying to keep me from the kids but this is the exact opposite of what she’s saying with the paperwork she filed. She seems very mixed up and still you continues to make rash and sudden choices. Like a completely bogus restraining order against me that contradicts so many facts she has stated herself on record during my Navy retention process. She was so bold as to want to change her identity and even put it in ink on the divorce paperwork as well to a whole new name. That is not the actions of a stable person. She has since changed her mind again on that just as quickly as everything else in her recent life choices. I can't trust that any decisions she is making right now are for the right reasons or that she is of sound mind. I have never seen her so conflicted and confused, grasping at straws and running scared from herself.

Using the legal system so carelessly and going back and forth makes me feel like she is not ready to be making big choices and changes for her and our family. It is very unfair that she can’t consider my feelings on things and what I wish for the boys as well. Very reckless behavior. She can’t anticipate that the day would come where she has to face me and talk to me like an adult. She wants to hide behind the legal system which only leaves much to be unresolved. Ghosting me is not really an option in a marriage of 13 years with children.

Having relationship conversations is too difficult for her at this time and she would rather avoid it and skip to divorce because she thinks that will somehow be easier. I suspect she knows she is making poor choices, possibly out of fear and lust for something new and less painful than the reality of things right now. Our marriage was nowhere close to divorce when I left. She was sad to see me leave and woke with me at 3:30 am to say goodbye, making me coffee and cookies for me to take with.

Our community and accountability seems to be gone due to the continued trend of isolation that she is drawn to. The God fearing loving committed wife I thought I had is gone or trapped inside a terrified shell of herself. She cut me off from her family members and I can't discuss my concerns about her with them either. She only seems to have community with those who are not going to discourage her from these destructive choices.

I understand we have had issues and struggles but we are no worse off than other couples during challenging times. I think that because we loved each other so much it just hurt more when things got hard. I can't accept or believe this is justified or the right choice based on the positive trend we were on before I left. This was the longest break we have ever had from each other and I think she just needed someone to be there more for her, no matter who it was. Time can heal all wounds and I hope that is true for our relationship as co-parents.

She still refuses to tell me about why she wanted a divorce or talk about anything beyond caring for the kids. I have fought the restraining and I can see my boys again but I am still not allowed to my home without her permission.

I have risen from the ashes in just a couple months. I rent a room from a nice couple from our old church and obtained a good paying job while I continue paying the household bills.

This is a really hard time, this difficult spell could have been a tool to better our relationship. I wanted to experience more beautiful memories with her. We had so many more beautiful memories and dreams left to create. This is what marriage looks like to me now as I lower the casket.
This is a timeline of the major events during my 13 year marriage. Amidst the reality, I injected all the lovely memories that refuse to leave my mind.
Wayward Jul 2018
What is it about you that haunts me?
I let you go so I can set you free.
You meant everything to me and we were forever,
But it isn't our time to be together.  

I was completely lost before I met you.
You gave me reason to live and direction to follow.
But now we're back at square one,
And the loneliness has already begun.

I promised you I'd never leave.
You promised never to let go of me.
Yet here we are, far apart in distance and in thought.
I wonder how we'd be if we hadn't fought.

Blocking is a blessing, and you used it well.
I regret my decision, now I'm in hell.
A life without you, is no life at all.
I just wish you'd pick up my call.

With several attempts I lost faith.
I think it's goodbye, this is our fate.
I'll always wonder if I made a mistake,
If I could've avoided all our heartache.

                                                     ­             -Wayward❤
I didn't really know how else to let go of my emotions. Its really bad, I agree, but I needed some sort of an outlet for the hurt I was feeling. Much love.

*Update*
It's really sad that so many of you can relate to this poem. I'm so sorry for whatever you're going through. Stay safe loves!
Isabel Jimenez Jan 2015
The day I found out about you
You lit my face like constellations light up the night sky
Patiently waiting for nine months to go by
My mom received a called
And within a blink of an eye and four and a half hours later
You came into this world
And it was like suddenly you became the center of my whole world
And you know it's funny how someone so young
Can make an impact on someone so much older
But the moment doctors said "he has disinflated heart valve"
At that very moment it felt like my own heart was torn in two
And I asked God why did you take this fragile human being
With small hands who can not possibly bare to hold all this pain and misery
But from that point on, you became a little soldier
fighting your own battle between life and death
Not knowing what the outcome would be
Because you were only a day old
But the day you went under
You were all alone and you fought and fought and fought
Until you finally won the fight
Until you could finally sought the day where you will open your eyes once more
And feel the ray of sun touch your soft pale skin
and even though you won the battle you still have a war to go up against
But I just want you to know you won't have to fight alone anymore
Mystery Man Jul 2014
The white man, can't say the word "*****". They say because its offensive, it's rude, but I know the real reason why. I know, because that's what I am; a ******. Born as a ******, lived as ******, I know why the white man can't say the word ******. They say that it makes no sense for the blacks to use this insulting, disgusting term for themselves, but only because they don't know the true meaning. We bear the name as a scar, as a reminder of what we fought, of what we were. We bear the name as a reminder of our ancestors, and their long hot days in the cotton fields, picking until their finger tips were raw with blood, whipped until their skin was indistinguishable from the raw fleshy pulp that was their aggravated flesh laced with the crimson nectar of their veins. We bear the name, to remind ourselves, that even amidst all this we lived. We fought our way through the darkness of the tunnel. We bear our scar, to remind us, to remind you, that we survived, that we are survivors. I bear the name, I bear the scar of a ******. That is why we call ourselves the name ******. It is our word of honor, our mark of surviving. The white man is not worthy enough to call me a ******.
Pieces of me
thrown away
like trash
Never consulted
Never asked
The direct result
of another’s conviction
or more commonly seen
consequences
from blind ambition

Paranoid
The fix is in
But no invitation
for me,
former me
or forever me
and all of my imitations
beset by my
limitations

Forwardly I lean
step in between
lines upon lines
hidden;
can’t be seen
Falling ill
Now trapped
by its machine
And from my vein;
My blood I spill

A still surface
with sticky sheen
amber tones
from which
I glean
a reason
Thrilled
What it might mean
A hunger
that
can not be filled

Nothing but lies
giving me chills
A shell
with values
not instilled
Instead
it’s dread
Their words
I’m fed
"Nutrients"
to fill my head

My outer skin
Its layer
thin
Not to attacks
No single act
or prayer
could patch
and fill it in
A hole
that’s black
is my first sin

A game
in which
no way to win
and no ending
once it
begins
With opened eyes
commence to see
The dorsal fins
surrounding me

Head starts
to spin
What could have been?
It doesn't matter
in the end
because
there's nothing
here for me
A demon-like reality

Where what you seek
Placed at your feet
The icing; sweet
Choices; not three
Have cake or eat
One choice not two
But want to eat
and have it too

All efforts
to retrieve the treat;
An outcome that
ends in defeat
A princess swept
off of her feat
But this feature
princess;
a creature
Spirit of
a soulless seeker

Deceitful speaker
Flames;
he’ll eat ya
Offers pain
Can’t heal;
life drained
Then reaching out
to use
life-line
but with each ring
hope further wanes

An answered call
done just in time
The chills
running all down my spine
Stand tall
just like Douglas-fir pine
With racing thoughts
filling my mind
I will be saved
Free from it all
God must exist
No time to stall
In battle
warriors
may fall
but no man's ever left behind

Only to find
With said spent dime
A dynamite kind of answer
-
A type
that might
cause strife
Can't plan for
Needed answer
Plight
like cancer
New chance to live
Worldly romancer
On planet Earth
A tiny dancer

A romantic thought
to think
fight fought
Instead a sinking ship
just dropped
This life?
If could
an ‘OUT’
would opt
No more
can take
Just make
it stop
Written: April 17, 2018

All rights reserved.
I read a quote somewhere that said,
"I don't know how many times I have survived myself, without telling anyone else."

And I felt those words shoot through every nerve in my body. I felt them so deeply.

And I wonder how many of us feel the same way.

How many nights we fought off the suicidal thoughts, the urge to cut, the urge to purge, the urge to run or to hide out, alone, too afraid to worry or bother our friends and family.

How many days and nights have we all suffered in our own darkness alone?

People like us fight a battle no one can ever fathom because it's a battle no one can see. And we don't let them.

I've fought myself and survived myself alone so many nights.

There were nights I use to lose my own battle. But some how still came out alive.

I guess that's how we keep going. Because every time we give up we come out stronger.

You fight yourself and beat yourself up for so long that eventually you become a master of surviving a war.

We're warriors.

"I don't know how many times I've survived myself, without telling anyone else."

Tonight, I'm telling all of you.

I survived myself.

And if you're still here and you're reading this, you survived yourself too.

It's not easy but you did it.

And I'm so proud of you all.
The original quote "I dont know how many times I survived myself, without telling anyone else.", which triggered the whole poem was written by @deadwatered. A talented poet I follow on tumblr.
Isabelle Apr 2010
This nation
once fought
for its liberty,
its redemption,
its freedom.

Now it sets all its
rights aside
just because those who reside in this nation
simply lost the fire
that once burned in their heart.

The freedom that this nations heroes fought long ago
is being disregard.
The countrymen act like the
notion of freedom is nothing.

I dream about the nation this
piece of land used to be.
How nationalistic it once was,
how love used to fill the air.

Now, nothing remains but the memories
of what used to be.
I would honestly rather live and die
in the time wherein this nation fervently fought for its
freedom and its rights, wherein each and every person
loved its homeland, than live today
where apathy rules.
D A W N May 2018
i remember the way your hair shined through the sunny day
studying the way your eyes flutter every time you stutter
the words you cant say
i remember how pleasing your voice was beneath my ears
i remember being with you
washed away my fears
do you remember the days where we used to lay in the shade?
forming figures in the clouds
having long conversations for hours
nights where we stayed up late
getting into stupid debates about who's right or wrong,
picking out the right song to play over and over again.
remember how we fought over stupid stuff?
and even though times get rough, we'd just laugh it all up
do you remember when we met in September?
in english class where the hours didn't last
and that's where it happened so fast
creating memories that we thought would remain
but all we created
was pain
and that was the last day i saw you.
sitting on the bench
with another girl
my heart clenched
cheeks tear-drenched
my pride craving for revenge.
listen darling,
i just want you to remember
from the beginning of september
remember the long-lasting splendor
the last moments of us being together
because i remembered
and dare i keep it in my heart forever.
first poem i wrote way back 2016
A Mareship Sep 2014
Daniel, Peter, George and I sat in various stages of drunkenness.  Dee was sober and on the water. It was our annual dinner, the great catch-up, and most of us were drinking champagne. A great bouquet of peach roses sat in the middle of the table dropping petals by the hour.
“She’s got ginger hair.” Peter laughed.
“It’s more auburn.” George defended, pouring himself another drink.
“No.” Said Peter. “She’s ******* ginger.”
Daniel leant back in his chair with his arms behind his head, wearing his face of perpetual amusement.
“Dan. Come on, now. What colour is Melanie’s hair?”
“Oh…I don’t know.” Dan smiled. “A sort of strawberry blonde.”
Peter punched George on the shoulder."See! She’s ******* ginger!”
Boys will always jostle to be top dog. Daniel was the alpha and Peter resented it, but Daniel was everything that Peter would never be: good-natured, strong, calm, in control. Peter was loud and insulting, a bit of a bully but sort of sad with it, prone to fits of melancholy and drunkenness. We all had our role to play. George was fey and funny and got offended easily. I was the madman who did the things they didn’t dare.  The dynamic worked, most of the time.
Dee was quiet and an ‘outsider’, so he didn’t count. He sat with his glass of tonic water which was packed with slowly cracking ice, and he stuck to his usual routine : no food, no alcohol, no cigarettes, no smiling, no chit chat. Any time I laughed or told a joke, his silence would shame me. He reminded me of how desperate I was to fit in, to be one of the boys. He always shamed me just by sitting there, by not joining in, by being so ******* above it all, by being so himself.
“So, what exactly are you doing these days, Art?” Peter asked.
“Teaching. You know that.”
“Yeah but…why? Do they even allow mental patients around kids?”
Daniel leaned forwards in his chair and glanced at me, checking for discomfort.
“God.” I sighed. “******* Peter.”
“And what do you do?” Peter asked, looking at Dee. Dee took a long while to answer, focusing his eyes and adjusting his posture.
“PhD. Physics.”
“Sounds boring.”
“He’s mathematically gifted.” I said proudly.
Peter smiled with one side of his mouth.
“If someone gave me the gift of maths I’d return it and buy a calculator.”
Everyone laughed, including me. Dee started to fold his napkin, and then he unfolded it. Then he folded it again.
“Do you love maths, then?” George asked.
Dee pushed the napkin into his lap and shrugged.
“There’s something wrong with you if you love maths.” George said. “Maths is *******.”
“Do you want another tonic?” I asked Dee, putting my hand on his knee. He pushed it off with force.
“No. In fact - I think I want to go home.”
“Don’t go home!” Daniel said. “Please Dee, stay a while.”
“No, I really think I ought to go home now.”
“Hey.” I grabbed his knee again. “Come on.”
“No.” he stood up, the candlelight winking wildly in the silk wrinkles of his shirt. “I really want to leave.”
“The evening’s just getting started.” Peter said.
“The evening is not the problem.” Dee said quietly. “The problem is you.” He closed his eyes. “The problem is you.”
I felt my skin shrink. Dee stood up to his full height and exhaled.
“In fact, the problem is all of you. You’re all awful human beings. All of you. Awful, awful, awful.” His eyes sparkled as he warmed to his theme. “And you’re all so ******* boring!
Peter and George were speechless. Daniel leant back and laughed beneath praying hands.
“Yes, you’re bores! You’re such ******* bores! Even the waiter is bored! Even the flowers are bored!”
“Dee, love.” I stood up and grabbed his shoulder. I was quite drunk.
“No Arthur, I’m going home, I’m tired. I’ll get a cab, you stay here with your awful, awful, awful, awful bores.”
He stomped off and Daniel blinked at me, his eyes wrinkled and drunk.
“Go on Art, go home. It’s ok.”
“God, Arthur.” Peter said. “What a lunatic. There’s something seriously wrong with him.”
“Oh *******, Pete.” I snapped, for the second time that night.
“Take this.” Dan said, thrusting his bottle of champagne at me. “I don’t want it. Go on, run and catch him. Go and get drunk with him.”
“No use. He doesn’t drink, remember?” I said, putting on my coat.
“Drink some water with him then. Tell him…” Dan grabbed my head and whispered into my ear, “…tell him that he’s right, that we are ******* bores.” He burst out laughing and sank down into his seat, watching me do up my buttons. “Oh my God!” he laughed, grabbing my hand like he was about to kiss it. “We’re so boring! We’re so ******* boring! Look at us! Even I’m bored!”
Daniel winked at me, still laughing. Daniel was one of Dee’s greatest defenders, and he admired Dee because Dee was honest, because he could not fail to be honest, and because Daniel loved the people that I loved, and I loved Dee most of all.
I grabbed the roses from their vase, just in case I needed them. They were wet, and dying, and they had no smell.
I caught up with Dee outside Angel In The Fields. He complained that he had a headache and told me he wanted to go home. He told me that he couldn’t have stayed one second longer.
He took the flowers from me, and buried his face in them until I hailed a cab.
Flowers were a running theme with us. Flowers in buttonholes, wisteria in gardens. Roses in his face. Buttercups in the grass. So terrible, when I think about it now. Perhaps someone was trying to tell me:
Arthur -  this story will start and end with flowers.

Dee had a habit of ruining social occasions. Perhaps the stress got to him, the terror of communicating, the fear of conversation. He became easily overtired and quickly over stimulated, if a conversation was getting too personal or staying at chit-chat level, he would begin to stress and flounder. If someone annoyed him he could not pretend to like them – he had to let them know that they were ****** or boring or dumb. He didn’t fully comprehend how offensive he could be. He didn’t understand that in order to maintain peace, you must suppress yourself a little bit, tailor yourself to fit the rest. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe in suppressing himself, it’s that he simply couldn’t do it.
Most of all, he hated people taking up my attention, whether they were talking to me, amusing me, or even hurting me – he made it very obvious that he did not like to share.
Once, he emptied an entire bottle of red wine into a young woman’s handbag because she had been talking to me all night. He placed broken bottles in front of his mother’s car tires. He sent anonymous emails to my father, threatening disembowelment.  He beheaded ivory chess pieces, snipped the heads off anniversary roses, kicked people's shins under tables.
And he had the worst temper I had ever known.
When people didn’t understand where he was coming from, when he felt isolated and flustered by his own emotional poverty, he would begin to fragment. He would rock back and forth and moan. His voice would change, his face would change, and his anger would be frightening in its desperation, he would tear at his own clothes and hurl himself into walls. A few times I had to physically restrain him, pulling his sweater or shirt over his head to trap his arms, sitting on him, trying to calm him down.
But I could always deal with it, the crazy stuff – it didn’t bother me at all. The rage, the disconnect, the alienation. I knew what it was like to lose control. I knew what it was like to feel different. I used to say to him, “I was with Dee today and I seen hell in his face, Guv’nor. It was all red and blotchy looking.” And then, sometimes, he’d smile.
It was the eating thing that devastated me. It was the eating thing that made me feel useless. That was the one thing that I didn’t understand.

We took a cab from Angel In The Fields and went back to no.23. He went straight upstairs to get undressed, and took a pair of new cashmere socks out of their little beribboned box.
“It’s too warm for cashmere.” I said. He didn’t listen, and put them on anyway.
Dee had never had much of a *** drive, so I knew I was pushing my luck by kissing him – we had made love the night before. He kept his mouth closed and pushed me away.
“No, I don’t want to."
He picked the fluff from his black velvet computer chair.
“I’m not cross.” I said.
“Cross?”
“About…tonight. With the boys.”
“Oh. Ok.”
I went to kiss him again. God, I loved it when he bent his head back and his tongue met mine, his arms relaxing at the elbows, his limpet legs clamping around my own. But his mouth pursed up at me. No entry tonight, sorry.
“Goodnight, then.” I said. “I’m going to bed.”
Something cruel took over me as I opened the door to leave.
“Y’know, Dee – sometimes I think you really hate me.”
He looked at the wall behind me, scrunching his face up, wound up and stuck.
“Forget it.” I said. “Just ******* forget it.”
As I closed the door I heard an animal noise, a miserable animal noise.

Dee was the only thing that had ever made any sense to me. I had no real connection to my parents, I loved my mother but she was silent and neurotic, full of nervous energy that set me on edge. I never felt like I could fully confide in her. I hated my father because he had never loved me, and he had told me so. The only people I loved, my grandparents and my sister, were far away and mostly busy, unavailable, and I caught up with them through letters and telephone calls and occasional rushed visits - holidays, weekends away from school, time away from parents and *******.
I once walked to my grandparent’s house after running away from school, and I fought through a cage of conifers just to ring their bell, turning up at their door wild-eyed and full of pine needles.
I always fought to be with the people that I loved. I fought and fought and fought.
I loved Dee because he was mine and he was never too busy for me. He was as quiet as my mother, as vengeful as my father, but he was mine and I loved him, and he loved me back.
Perhaps that sounds very naïve. But it wasn’t naïve. My love was grown up, full of sacrifice and sleepless nights and heavy talks that left me exhausted. I searched for him when he wasn’t there, I talked to his mother about his health, I took his blood pressure, I poured his fortisip, I calmed him down, I made him laugh and I loved him, ******* hell I loved him, and I watched him like a God and reached out for him in the morning because he reminded me that I was alive, because he made my realness real, because he was my cold fire and he burned by the side of me, coldly, to balance out the crazed orange bonfire of me.

He followed me to bed soon afterwards, brushing his teeth and taking off his clothes, sitting down next to me.
“I hung up my blue.” He said. “Could you fetch it for me?”
His ‘blue’ was an oversized shirt that he slept in sometimes. He put it over his head and it fell around him.
“You know.” He said, “Sometimes I think that you hate me.”
“Please tell me you’re joking.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
He got in next to me.
“I don’t hate you, not now, not ever.”
“I’m not one of your friends, though. If you had to choose a friend, you wouldn’t choose me.”
I didn’t reply, because I didn’t understand what he meant.
“Daniel is your best friend, isn’t he? But you’re my best friend. What happens when I have to talk about something, something that I can’t talk to you about? I don’t have any friends because I don't like anyone else. So who am I supposed to talk to?”
“Me! You can talk to me! I tell you everything.”
“Well, what if I wanted to do something, but I knew that you would try to stop me from doing it?”
“I wouldn’t stop you from doing anything you wanted to do. Not ever.”
“Forget it. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Please Dee, you can’t just start a conversation and then abandon it.”
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore, I’m tired and I want to go to sleep.”
“What is it? Come on, please. What is it?”
He turned away and curled up.  I stayed with my head against the headboard, looking down at him.
‘I love you.” He said, without moving. “I thought I should tell you. I thought you should know.”
“I love you, too.”
And then he went to sleep, leaving me to the house sounds, the clanging inside the walls, the discordant duet of two sets of breathing and the occasional cough.

When I woke up, he was in the shower. His socks were bunched up at the edge of the bed, shrugged off in the night.
Like I said. It was too ******* hot for cashmere.
anne p murray Apr 2013
Mary Rose, the mighty sailing sea vessel glided majestically across the waves
She had robustly and bravely sailed the briny waves for many a night and day
With the ocean's heaving gusting squalls blowing off proud stern and mast
Sailing victorious and proud - her billowing white sails were cast
The calm, liquid waters of the sea flowed quietly purple for now-
Unaware of the coming storm that would beat furious against her bow

Her alabaster sails whipped violent and furious in the oncoming storm
Impending doom was yelling its cries while the ****** went unwarned
Down below, inside their cabins the ****** peacefully slept
Wrapped in the secure watch that their gallant captain kept
The oceans black, boiling waves beat savage against starboard and port
As Captain Noe standing fearless - at first quake, did not the storm report

The old wooden beams of the Mary Rose began to restlessly moan and creak
While the blackened roaring, rolling waves beat furious against her feet
Her alabaster sails rose proud- beating mighty against wailing squalls and gusts
While deep inside the bow in bunks, the sleeping ****** ******

Suddenly...they heard the captain's distraught voice cry out
When the ****** heard his voice -they heard fear without doubt
“Awake, all of ye’ ”,   Captain Noe forcefully roared
“Alive! Awake… all ye’ ****** come quickly up on board”!

The savage spirit of the sea reigned fierce with rage and fear
While the brave captain fought - loyal ****** brought up the rear
They courageously fought together - not silenced by the eye of death
As the sea raged violently against them with its brutal, menacing breath

To save their mighty Mary Rose, they’d dip their very souls in blood
Leaving themselves merciless against this drunken, mighty flood
With plank and bow standing fierce between them and their fate
The raging ocean’s fierce, blackened waves - the sea they could not hate

The morning brought the warming sun which rose broad above the waves
The winds had tamed their violent voice against captain and ****** brave
With unshakable courage and ******’s wit not once were spirits broke
Each cheered his mate and captain strong as they fought with steady stroke
Their peril fought in days of danger and night filled with pain
Their manly courage did not wane - their fight was not in vain
For all the courageous ****** and their brave Captain Noe
Joined together in hand and spirit to save...their proud Mary Rose
Either peace or happiness,
let it enfold you

when I was a young man
I felt these things were
dumb, unsophisticated.
I had bad blood, a twisted
mind, a precarious
upbringing.

I was hard as granite, I
leered at the
sun.
I trusted no man and
especially no
woman.

I was living a hell in
small rooms, I broke
things, smashed things,
walked through glass,
cursed.
I challenged everything,
was continually being
evicted, jailed, in and
out of fights, in and out
of my mind.
women were something
to ***** and rail
at, I had no male
friends,

I changed jobs and
cities, I hated holidays,
babies, history,
newspapers, museums,
grandmothers,
marriage, movies,
spiders, garbagemen,
english accents,spain,
france,italy,walnuts and
the color
orange.
algebra angred me,
opera sickened me,
charlie chaplin was a
fake
and flowers were for
pansies.

peace and happiness to me
were signs of
inferiority,
tenants of the weak
and
addled
mind.

but as I went on with
my alley fights,
my suicidal years,
my passage through
any number of
women-it gradually
began to occur to
me
that I wasn't different

from the
others, I was the same,

they were all fulsome
with hatred,
glossed over with petty
grievances,
the men I fought in
alleys had hearts of stone.
everybody was nudging,
inching, cheating for
some insignificant
advantage,
the lie was the
weapon and the
plot was
empty,
darkness was the
dictator.

cautiously, I allowed
myself to feel good
at times.
I found moments of
peace in cheap
rooms
just staring at the
knobs of some
dresser
or listening to the
rain in the
dark.
the less I needed
the better I
felt.

maybe the other life had worn me
down.
I no longer found
glamour
in topping somebody
in conversation.
or in mounting the
body of some poor
drunken female
whose life had
slipped away into
sorrow.

I could never accept
life as it was,
i could never gobble
down all its
poisons
but there were parts,
tenuous magic parts
open for the
asking.

I re formulated
I don't know when,
date, time, all
that
but the change
occurred.
something in me
relaxed, smoothed
out.
i no longer had to
prove that I was a
man,

I didn't have to prove
anything.

I began to see things:
coffee cups lined up
behind a counter in a
cafe.
or a dog walking along
a sidewalk.
or the way the mouse
on my dresser top
stopped there
with its body,
its ears,
its nose,
it was fixed,
a bit of life
caught within itself
and its eyes looked
at me
and they were
beautiful.
then- it was
gone.

I began to feel good,
I began to feel good
in the worst situations
and there were plenty
of those.
like say, the boss
behind his desk,
he is going to have
to fire me.

I've missed too many
days.
he is dressed in a
suit, necktie, glasses,
he says, 'I am going
to have to let you go'

'it's all right' I tell
him.

He must do what he
must do, he has a
wife, a house, children,
expenses, most probably
a girlfriend.

I am sorry for him
he is caught.

I walk onto the blazing
sunshine.
the whole day is
mine
temporarily,
anyhow.

(the whole world is at the
throat of the world,
everybody feels angry,
short-changed, cheated,
everybody is despondent,
disillusioned)

I welcomed shots of
peace, tattered shards of
happiness.

I embraced that stuff
like the hottest number,
like high heels, *******,
singing,the
works.

(don't get me wrong,
there is such a thing as cockeyed optimism
that overlooks all
basic problems just for
the sake of
itself-
this is a shield and a
sickness.)

The knife got near my
throat again,
I almost turned on the
gas
again
but when the good
moments arrived
again
I didn't fight them off
like an alley
adversary.
I let them take me,
I luxuriated in them,
I made them welcome
home.
I even looked into
the mirror
once having thought
myself to be
ugly,
I now liked what
I saw, almost
handsome, yes,
a bit ripped and
ragged,
scares, lumps,
odd turns,
but all in all,
not too bad,
almost handsome,
better at least than
some of those movie
star faces
like the cheeks of
a baby's
****.

and finally I discovered
real feelings of
others,
unheralded,
like lately,
like this morning,
as I was leaving,
for the track,
i saw my wife in bed,
just the
shape of
her head there
(not forgetting
centuries of the living
and the dead and
the dying,
the pyramids,
Mozart dead
but his music still
there in the
room, weeds growing,
the earth turning,
the tote board waiting for
me)
I saw the shape of my
wife's head,
she so still,
I ached for her life,
just being there
under the
covers.

I kissed her in the
forehead,
got down the stairway,
got outside,
got into my marvelous
car,
fixed the seatbelt,
backed out the
drive.
feeling warm to
the fingertips,
down to my
foot on the gas
pedal,
I entered the world
once
more,
drove down the
hill
past the houses
full and empty
of
people,
I saw the mailman,
honked,
he waved
back
at me.
Robert Ronnow Aug 2015
You can feel it spinning
                                         fast
the Chinese, Japanese, American and European junk
orbiting at several thousand miles per hour could
                                                           ­                             punch
a hole in your armor, future. Thanksgiving passes, then Christmas.
A nuclear detonation, we absorb that fact. The scientist in us
delays sadness by recording observations. What is is,
sorrow's for tomorrow.

By reducing probabilities to near zero I hope to avoid sorrow.
In yr suburb.
In history when there were many fewer people we still found reason
to cross space, explore, trade and war. Now
                                                             ­                 overpopulation
may not be the problem but food and water shortages
get our attention.
                              I have Korf's fears.
And hear what I want to hear.

Some hear singing, some hear speeches or complaining.
Martin Luther King sang his complaints, dreamed of a brotherly nation
which came to pass, spinning fast, past Thanksgivings, past jailings
into reconnaissance, small wars, drones, renaissance, inventions.
At the border,
                         where the Juaristas fought Maximilian:
Benito Juarez (1806-1872) Zapotec Amerindian who served five terms as president of Mexico. He was the first Mexican leader who did not have a military background and also the first full-blooded indigenous person to lead a country in the western hemisphere in over 300 years. For resisting French occupation, overthrowing the Empire, and restoring the Republic, Juarez is regarded as Mexicoxs greatest and most beloved leader. 

Each soldier chooses what war at what border, or just
                                                            ­                                   shows up
spinning with the planet.
The neighborhood and surrounding nature is orderly.
But always there is implied force, violence holding it together,
                                                       ­                                                       chaos
is contained
kept out of the playground, government buildings, childrenxs games
but lies within
the force maintaining order, a spinning tumor, a gyroscope of
                                                              ­                                                inertia.
The force of the spinning, the speed of the force bring one to one's
      death
seasons, weather, earth.
                                         While the emperor's being beheaded
enduring seeds are discovered and invented, cross-fertilized and bred.
Corn, yams, potatoes, sunflowers, rice.
                                                           ­       Food is life and a good study,
useful discipline
                           daily meditation.
                                                     ­   The fighting man protects the farmer
and the farmer feeds the fighting man.
They elect the governor
                                        who serves the people. Peace out.

Peace and war are transitory manifestations of spinning
electrons, planets.
                               The sun's a nuclear detonation, essential
to spring and planting. Food is life. Seeds endure
if man goes to his daily discipline. If woman is man.
Birth and death
                           together are orderly, the border can be known,
voluntarily. How we live together, by prayer or force,
is our story.

Knowledge
from laboratory to starry corridor keeps us very
                                                            ­                         versed.
Did Juaristas consider the rights of animals not to be eaten?
Not during that spinning.
                                              And perform the history that surrounds us.
All that can be done
is written in the spinning:
"The people of the land, the Indian farmers of North America - like their counterparts in Mesoamerica, the Andean region, and the Amazon - have continuously cultivated maize, beans, squash and other crops for more than five thousand years. One of the salient features of their traditional farming systems is the high degree of biodiversity. These traditional farming systems have emerged over centuries of cultural and biological evolution, and they represent the accumulated experience of indigenous farmers interacting with the environment without access to external inputs, capital or scientific knowledge. In Latin America alone, more than 2.5 million hectares under traditional agriculture in the form of raised fields, polycultures, agroforestry systems and the like document indigenous farmers' successful adaptations to difficult environments."
--Wikipedia,  "Benito Juarez"
-- Altieri , Miguel A., Foreword to Enduring Seeds: Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation, by Gary Paul Nabhan, The University of Arizona Press, 1989

www.ronnowpoetry.com
Jackie White Feb 2015
The strings tightened their grip on her wrist.
She couldn’t fight them.
She needed help.
The knives were so close, yet so far away.
If only she could reach them.
If she fought hard enough
She could.
It’s happened before
They have escaped before.
They fought, and they won.
But there are those who didn’t win
Those who fought and lost.
They were replaced.
They were ignored
They were left behind.
That’s why she didn’t fight.
She was scared
What if she couldn’t fight them?
What if she lost?
The strings moved her hands
As the marionettist gently moved them.
Her hand rose above her head
The little girl below her covered her face
No. NO! STOP!
She had had enough
The strings broke her skin as she resisted.
The blood flowed down the strings
As she fought.
The marionettist was getting impatient.
I helped you. Now you help me. That’s only fair, right?
He said. For a second, she believed him.
No. It’s not.
She reached for the knives. She was winning.
But they were still out of reach.
Then the strings broke.
She had won.
She was free.
And she was done with the strings.
This is about letting yourself be controlled by other people. The marionette would represent those who control others and have them do their ***** work. The puppet didnt want to hurt people anymore so she fought and broke free.
But there were those who tried and failed, those who were left behind and abandoned.
Think about high school.
Marionette - Populars, the ones who manipulate others
Puppet - Shy ones, the ones who can be manipluated
Lost Puppets - The bullied, the ones who had fought for whats right and lost
Little Girl - Think of her as the friend that was there for the Puppet for the longest time, but then met the Marionette and the Puppet left the Girl. Maybe she tried to get the Puppet back, but the Marionette wouldnt let that happen. The Puppet wouldnt hurt the girl though, so she fought and finally won her freedom back.
Ted Scheck Jan 2014
She visited my house, home
Wife, Boys:
Soaking up what little she could of Little Brother’s life;
And I hugged her, I put my arms around her frailty,
My big sister, now tiny and ravaged by the word
That shouldn’t rhyme with
Dancer, but
Does.

Here in her last September, last
September.
A
Final tour of her
Favorite Places, a
Preacher’s Mountain.
And looking into her
Eyes kind and squinty,
I had the feeling that
One hand held the
Times I would see her.
I was off by two,
minus the thumb.

Forward-fast to Dec.
27th, my Niece’s Wedding
I held her again, and
She was more frail
And unsteady and her
Eyes rimmed red with
Spreading Pain;
The rain relentlessly
Hammering on the roof of the
Membrane-thin
Quonset Hut-Shell.

Walking unsteadily steady back
To her Dear Friend’s car
My heart in tatters, sad, yet
Glad for her to visit that
Distant Shore
That her eyes so longed for.

And now, in this frozen January of
2014
Wintry-Mixed Nut Group
(That is my family)
I enter her ineptly-named
Living room, where she is
Laid prostrate before God
And everybody.
And I enter into such a blender of
Sweet-sour-bitter-salty
Emotional juices.

I take her hand
And kiss her cheek, and an
Eye perks up at the sight of
Little Brother.
Yet that eye is tired of
The uphill worn treadmill that
Life has turned into.

(Please God take her away
With You. Deliver my
Sister Amy
From the planet’s
Gravi-pain-tiful
Pull)
And that prayer flew out of
Me driving back to Indy
Sunday at about 2:00 pm
Central Time.

And at 11:30 pm UGT
(Universal God Time)
An Angel wakes a
Slumbering Saint.

And Amy Scheck closes her
Eye on this world
(And opens the eyes of her
SPIRIT
To the
Next)

(And we are in the presence
Of God’s Messengers,
That Warrior Race of
Angel Guardians).

He is of a height much,
Much greater than her
Small yet intensely curious
Form.

He has mysterious and utterly fabulous
Wings tucked and tightly-sprung
Beneath impossibly-broad
Shoulders; his sword
Gleams like a hundred
Suns glistening on the dew of
A thousand worlds.
Radiant! Radiant and
Mighty is he!
And he is here
For her.

A voice of velvet thunder, low
Mixed with music and fury.
“Rise, Little One.
Child of God!
Rise, and grab hold
Of my tunic!
It’s time to enter
Into the Throne Room of
The Most High!”

And, forgive me for imagining
(What cannot be imagined, but
Longed for, yes. Longed for
By countless numbers).
I write in faith, hope, and
Love for my dearly-
Departed sister.
I use the tool
God gave me
Before I was born.

I imagine the transition
Of death to life
Of life from death.

A unimaginably-large soul
Trapped in a dead husk of
A Mortal Shell
Winds down like the biological
Clocks we resemble; metering,
Measuring heart beats of time,
Of counted breaths breathing
No longer. Of pain, and suffering,
And the emotions swirling off both
Like streamers moved by the wind.

Amy Winifed Scheck
Dies. She breathes in/not out, or
Opposite so.
Her heart goes
Blub/Dub
And then stops
Forever.

But something amazing begins to happen.
In her soul is a key.

This key has a name unknown to us.
That name defines the soul of
Her New Existence.
To me - to us - it is...
UNSPEAKABLE.

The fleshy fleshly tongues
Are as worthy as uttering it
As slugs are equipped to hit
102-mph fastballs.

It’s her soulprint, though it does
Not belong to her;
It’s the print from the Soul
Of Jesus Himself.
HIS mark. HIS claim.
HIS.
It is the manifestation of
Amy’s Name
(Written in the Book of Life).
There can be no better assurance
Than to know, without that
Demon of Uncertainty, known as
(Doubt?)
That YOU are in THAT BOOK!
Are you?

So Amy’s soul is
Delivered, birthed, taken-
TRANSFORMED and
Enters the Waiting Room
Of Heaven.
Holy, Holy, Holy...

Feathers weigh millions of
Tons compared to the
Lightness of Being
Amy feels as, nearly
Transparent, she is a more
Solid creature than the largest
Pod of Blue Whales ever to
Swim and sing.

Her Angel takes Amy
To the Throne Room.
Falls prostrate for a moment,
Amy sees a burly tree
Fall, then, instantly,
Stand; the tree rumbles words.
“I have done my duty,
Precious Little One, as
Your Angel Guardian.”
He bows his head,
And then is on one knee,
So that his great shaggy head
Is nearly level with his
Little Charge.

His voice is surprisingly gentle, for
Before Amy was created:
This supernatural being was
Assigned this precious little bundle
Of joyful humanity, and he fought:
Fought! Fought the great battles
Against the ravages of the earthly
Realm; the seizures, the sickness, the
Angel Guardian was inside the baby's
Heart as it struggled to do its job, to
Deliver the blood to the extremities, to
Live, to grow, to fight, fight!
This one, in a little over half a
Century, became close to Jesus,
And, by proxy, close to the Being
Who created Angels!
Man! Woman! Child!
Did she not have the heart of a
Lion?
Did she take on the Spirit
Of a prayer Warrior?
Yes. Indeed she did.

Heaven's tears are thick, syrupy. Alive
With the Immense Sadness and
Immeasurable Joy of Christ Jesus.
They flow slowly down the shaggy
Angel's scarred face. God only
Knows how close this Angel was/
Is to Amy.

His voice is choked with emotion.
“It was my pleasure to serve and protect you,
Amy Winifred Scheck.
You must Wait."
He wipes tears from his eyes,
Knowing he has done his job,
HIS job, protecting, serving,
Ministering to this Little One,
As he soon will Minister to
The next Little One.
"You must wait. Wait upon the Lord
You heard His Call
In your life on Earth."

The Angel looks gravely
At the tiny, frightened
(Yet terribly excited)
Little Child of God.
And does something rare,
Even for the Guardians.
He spreads massively-wide arms and
Draws the trembling
Child into his protective embrace.
Her small hands grasp mountains
Masquerading as shoulders,
Hugging the Being with surprising
Might.
And Amy does quite an amazing
Thing. She senses her Angel's
Distress, and gently, lovingly,
Pats his shaggy beard, his cheek,
Praying! For the Messenger and
Deliverer!
Her little form squeezes strength
(Love)
Into her own Angel Guardian.
And Jesus, Everywhere,
Smiles and wipes tears of His own
From his face.

The Angel speaks in a
Whisper as gentle as a soft hush of
A breeze after the first
Spring shower.
“You will hear His Call
Again.”
And the Angel does not
Vanish comically in a puff
Of cloud; it is as if he
Fades away into the
Multitude of the
Heavenly Fold.

Seraphim, and Cherubim,
And fantastical wing’d and claw’d creatures
Amy has only dimly dreamed about,
Sing, and shout with sound-ful colors that
Could never exist on earth, for
They would melt the bonds
Of reality itself
And drive mad all the ears and eyes
Which suffered to sense it.

Off in the strange
Far-close distance
One Figure Stands
Above, Most High Above Every Thing
He created:
The Most High
Being Who Was Ever,
Is, Will Be,
And Is To Be.
It is Him

Jesus Christ
(And the people of earth,
Myself included, sing, sing! SING!
Blessed is the Name of the Lord!)

“My Child, Precious child,
Enter the Holy Throne of God.”
And in steps that cannot be
Measured by any earthly
Standard, Amy Winifred Scheck
Enters Her Savior’s Throne Room.

With her new feet, Amy
Walks bravely, surely, securely,
Eyes low, her countenance recognizable
To the One Whom it resembles;
And:
All around her is a Living
Chorus of Beings shouting
Holy! Holy! Holy is The Lord!”
Yet within the cacophony resides
The Still and Quiet Presence
Of The Lord of Lords.
The Prince of Peace.
Upon His Throne, He sits,
Waiting and Being
Waited Upon.
Worshiped.
As only God should be.
It is Through Him - Jesus Christ -
That Amy enters into the Kingdom of God,
The Presence of the King of Kings.

Amy speaks, using a voice that she never dreamed
She had with her long-gone forgotten
Vocal chords.
“Here I am, Oh Lord.
Oh Lord, I am Here!”
Her life is Measured
Judged.
Because JUDGMENT
IS HIS!

Of:
The Judgment Seat
Of Christ:
I will not insult
My Creator
By imagining the content
Of my sister’s
Heart,
Or what goes on there,
In the most important moment in the history of a human being.
I will experience it;
So shall you, Dear One,
Who reads and contemplates the meaning
Within these words.
(ALL will experience
The very same thing)
So, human beings, get
Your affairs in order, for
We know not the hour
Of our demise.
If there is any doubt about what
Happens to you when you die...
Seek Him!
Accept Jesus Christ as your
Personal Lord and Savior!

Amy Scheck
Loved Jesus, and spoke His Name
With a rare form of deep and wide
Conviction.
She was a Christian, a Child of God.
She had a smile for everyone,
And most everyone left her
Smiling.
She loved Jesus on earth.
She was an obedient servant.
And what do we take with us
To Heaven?
What is in our HEART.

Jesus loves us all, all of us.
So I will believe,
Believe, I will, that
Amy’s love for Her Savior,
And her acknowledge, public,
Amidst scorn, ridicule, love, and
Acceptance
Were the Words
That Jesus used
To write
Amy's Name in His Book
She sowed and reaped, and
Reaped and sowed, and led
Others away from sin,
And, more importantly,
To Jesus Himself.
Amy’s life was full of
Good Fruit from
The Vine.

Interlude: The Other Side of Grace
And Jesus Christ spoke to Satan,
Who said, of this new soul:
(As he says to EVERY single
New soul entering into God’s
Eternal Kingdom):
Because, you see, we are fallen...

“What of THIS one, Lord?
She is MINE, I should think!
I have a long list of her
Considerable
Sins.”

And His voice the Thunder of Heaven,
Jesus stands for Amy Winifred Scheck.
(As Amy counted times stood for Jesus)
Her love for Him in no way can equal
HIS love for HER, but that is the great
Sacrifice that Jesus took upon Himself
On the Cross-the staggering weight of
Humanity's sin.
The equation does not have to be
Equal to be right, and true, and real.

So now Jesus raises His voice, and
Speaks, and the Foundations
Of Eternity shake, and every One
Within Heaven’s Realm
Trembles at Glory
Personified in Voice,
At Love, walking upright.
“CAST YOUR GAZE AWAY FROM HER, SATAN!
GET THEE BEHIND ME!
THIS ONE BELONGS TO ME.”
And Satan slinks away, knowing,
Knowing the answer already,
Yet eagerly awaiting one of
His
Coming to him soon, soon...
Soon.
Satan is, if anything,
Patient.

“You are Amy Winifred Scheck,
Born to Ed and Mary Scheck on
January 11 of the year
1960! Your body died
January 27, 2014.”

Amy is simply in the State of
Eternal Awe.
Jesus. Is speaking. To her.
Her new tongue must not be
Functioning properly.

“Well done, good and faithful Servant!
You have been faithful with what
I bestowed upon you! I gave
You a seed, which you
Planted in good soil, and
Tended it; watered it; pruned it
So that it
Multiplied many, many times over!
The Fruit of your life resides
All around you!
You led many who were
Astray to My Kingdom!
Enter!”

“OH! MY JESUS!”
She exclaims, her voice
Accompanied by the blasts
Of trumpets and a chorus
Of Angels.

Amy runs with joy as her feet and
Hugs the shoulders
Of The Almighty, feels
Scarred hands cupping her
Tiny face, as eyes blazing
Brighter than a thousand
Stars gaze into hers.
Everything that ever mattered,
That matters now, that will
Matter on down mortality’s
Road
Resides in the Sweet, Lovely
Kind eyes of Our Savior,
Jesus Christ.
He speaks:
“I’ve a place prepared for
You, Dear One.
For there are many rooms
For the Names in the Book of Life!
I have great
Adventures planned for you!
Eternity awaits! Does your new
Spirit thirst? Are you ready for
Your celebratory banquet?”

Amy can only cry and weep and sob
With joy so pure she will have
To learn an entirely new
Vocabulary to give it substance, depth, and
Clarity.
She looks around, seemingly,
For the first time, and sees the
Familiar form of Mary Elizabeth,
Her earth mother, now
Transformed, as she herself has been
Transformed.
Amy sees her new form in
The form of her loving mother.
They embrace, Mother and
Child.
And the applause of Heaven
Is Sweet Thunder.

Amy’s earthly father,
Edward James, is there,
Joking and smiling
With his older brother
Michael and his wife,
Tess.
He sees his daughter,
And shouts with Joy.
More embraces.
Heaven is a place of
Embraces, the birth
Place of Joy itself.

“WELCOME, TO HEAVEN’S TABLE,”
And Jesus speaks Amy’s new name.
“LET US REJOICE, MY FRIENDS,
FOR AMY IS NOW,
FINALLY,
HOME.”
Dorothy A Jul 2010
It was the summer of 1954. David Ito was from the only Japanese family we had in our town. I was glad he was my best friend. Actually, he was my only friend. His father moved his family to our small town of Prichard, Illinois when David was only eight years old. That was three years ago.

Only two and a half months apart, I was the older one of our daring duo. I even was a couple inches taller than David was, so that settled it. In spite of being an awkward girl, our differences in age and height made me quite superior at times, although David always snickered at that notion. To me, theses differences were huge and monumental, like the distance of the sun from the moon. To David, that was typical girlish nonsense. He thought it was so like a girl, to try to outdo a boy.  And he should have known. He was the only son of five children, and he was the oldest.

At first, David was not interested in being friends with a girl. But I was Josephine Dunn, Josie they called me, and I was not just any girl. Yet, like David, I did not know if I really liked him enough to be his friend. We started off with this one thing in common.

I knew he was smarter than anybody I ever knew, that is except for my father, a self-taught man. The tomboy that I was, I was not so interested in books and maps, and David was almost obsessed with them. Yet, there was a kindred spirit that ignited us to become close, something coming in between two misfits to make a good match. David was obviously so different from the rest. He came from an entirely different culture, looking so out-of-the-ordinary than the typical face of our Anglo-Saxon, Protestant community, and me, never really fitting in with any group of peers in school, I liked him.

David knew he did not fully fit in. I surely did not fit, either. My brother, Carl, made sure very early on in my life that I was to be aware of one thing. And that one thing was that I did not belong in my family, or really anywhere in life. Mostly, this was because I was not of my father’s first family, but I came after my father’s other children and was the baby, the apple of my father’s eye. But that wasn’t the real reason why Carl hated me.

During World War Two, my father enlisted in the army. He already had two small sons and a daughter to look after, and they already had suffered one major blow in their young lives. They had lost their mother to cancer. Louise Dunn was an important figure in their lives. She was well liked in town and very much missed by her family and friends.
  
Why their father wanted to leave his children behind, possibly fatherless, made no sense to other people. But Jim Dunn came from a proud military family and would not listen to anyone telling him not to fight but rather to stay home with his children. His father fought in the First World War, and three of his great grandfathers fought for the Union Army in the Civil War. It was not like my father to back out of a fight, not one with great principles.  My father was no coward.

Not only did my father leave three small children back home, but a new, young wife. Two years before World War Two ended, he made it back home to his lovely, young wife and family. Back in France, my father was wounded in his right leg. The result of the wound caused my father to forever walk with a limp and the assistance of a cane. It was actually a blessing in disguise what would transpire. He could have easily came home in a pine box. He was thankful, though, that he came away with his life. After recovering for a few months in a French hospital, my father was eager to go home to his family. At least he was able to walk, and to walk away alive.

This lovely, young woman who was waiting for him at home was twenty-year-old Flora Laurent, now Flora Dunn, my mother, and she was eleven years younger than my father. All soldiers were certainly eager to get home to their loved ones. My father was one of thousands who was thrilled to be back on American soil, but his thrill was about to dampen. Once my father laid eyes on his wife again, there was no hiding her highly expanding belly and the overall weight gain showed in her lovely, plump face. She had no excuses for her husband, or any made-up stories to tell him, and there really nothing for her to say to explain why she was in this condition. Simply put, she was lonely.

Most men would have left such a situation, would have gone as far away from it as they possibly could have. Being too ashamed and resentful to stay, they would have washed their hands of her in a heartbeat. Having a cheating wife and an unwanted child on their hands to raise would be too much to bear. Any man, in his right mind, would say that was asking for way too much trouble.  Most men would have divorced someone like my mother, kicked her out, and especially they would hate the child she would be soon be giving birth to, but not my father. He always stood against the grain.

Not only did Jim Dunn forgive his young wife, he took me under his wing like I was his very own. Once I knew he was not my true father, I could never fully fathom why he was not ready to pack me off to an orphanage or dump me off somewhere far away. Why he was so forgiving and accepting made him more than a war hero. It made him my hero. That was why I loved him so much, especially because, soon after I was born, my mother was out of our lives. Perhaps, such a young woman should not be raising three step children and a newborn baby.

My father never mentioned any of the details of my conception, but he simply did his best to love me. He was a tall, very slim and a quiet man by nature. With light brown hair, grey eyes, and a kind face, he looked every bit of the hero I saw him as. He was willing to help anyone in a pinch, and most people who knew him respected him. Nobody in town ever talked about this situation to my father. To begin with, my father was not a talker, and he probably thought if he did talk about it, the pain and shame of it would not go away.

One of my brothers, Nathan, and my sister, Ann, seemed to treat me like a regular sister. Yet, Carl, the oldest child, hated me from the start. As a girl who was six years younger, I never understood why. He was the golden boy, with keen blue eyes and golden, wavy hair, as were Nathan and Ann.  I had long, dark brown hair, which I kept in two braids, with plenty of unsightly brown freckles, and very dark, brown eyes.  Compared to my sister, who was five years older, I never felt like I was a great beauty.

I was pretty young when Carl blurted out to me in anger, “Your mother is a *****!”  I cried a bit, wiped away the tears with my small hands and yelled back, “No, she isn’t!” Of course, I was too young to know what that word meant. When my brother followed that statement up with, “and you are a *******”, I ran straight to my father. I was almost seven years old.

My father scolded Carl pretty badly that day. Carl would not speak to me for months, and that was fine with me. That evening my father sat me upon my knee. “Daddy, what is a *****?” I asked him.

My father gently put his fingers up to my lips to shush me up. He then went into his wallet and showed me a weathered black-and-white photo he had of himself with his arms around my mother. It was in that wallet for some time, and he pulled out the wrinkled thing and placed it in front of me.

My father must have handled that picture a thousand times. Even with all the bad quality, with the wrinkles, I could see a lovely, young lady, with light eyes and dark hair, smiling as she was in the arms of her protector. My father looked proud in the photograph.

He said to me, his expression serious, “whatever Carl or anybody says about your mother, she will always be your mother and I love her for that”. I looked earnestly in his somber, grey eyes. “Why did she go away?” I asked him.

My father thought long and hard about how to answer me. He replied, “I don’t know. She was young and had more dreams in her than this town could hold for her”. He smiled awkwardly and added, “But at least she left me the best gift I could have—you.”  

I would never forget the warmth I felt with my father during that conversation. Certainly, I would never forget Carl’s cruel words, or sometimes the odd glances on the faces of townswomen, like they were studying me, comparing me to how I looked next to my father, or their whispers as the whole family would be out in town for an occasion. It did not happen every day, but this would happen whenever and wherever, when a couple of busybodies would pass me and my father walking down Main Street, or when we went into the ice cream parlor, or when I went with my father to the dime store, and it always made me feel very strange and vaguely sad, like I had no real reason to be sad but was anyway.


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


That summer of 1954, I was a bit older, maybe a bit wiser than when Carl first insulted my estranged mother. I was eleven years old, and David was my equal, my sidekick. Feeling less like a kid, I tried not to boss him too much, and he tried not to be too smart in front of me. I held my own, though, had my own intelligence, but my smarts were more like street smarts. After all, I had Carl to deal with.

David seemed destined for something better in life. My life seemed like it would always be the same, like my feet were planted in heavy mud. David and I would talk about the places we would loved go to, but David would mark them on a map and track them out like his plans would really come to fruition. I never liked to dream that big. Sure, I would love to go somewhere exciting, somewhere where I’d never have to see Carl again, or some of the kids at school, but I knew why I had a reason to stay. I respected my father. That is why I did not wish to leave. And David respected his father. That is why he knew he had to leave.

David Ito’s father was a tailor. David’s parents came from Japan, and they hoped for a good life in their new country. Little did they know what would be in store for them. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, their lives, with many other Japanese Americans, were soon turned upside down. David was born in an internment camp designed to isolate Japanese people from the nation once Americans declared war on Germany and their allies. David and I were both born in 1943, and since the war ended two years later, David had no memories of the internment camp experience. Even so, David was impacted by it, because the memories haunted his parents.

There was no getting around it. David and I, as different as we were, liked each other. Still, neither he nor I felt any silly kind of puppy love attraction. David had still thought of girls as mushy and silly, and that is why he liked me. I was not mushy or silly, and I could shoot a sling shot better than he did. David loved the sling shot his parents bought him for his last birthday. They allowed him to have it just as long as he never shot it at anyone.

David Ito, being the oldest child in his family, and the only son, allowed him to feel quite special, a very prized boy for just that reason. Mr. Ito worked two jobs to support his family, and Mrs. Ito took in laundry and cooked for the locals who could not cook their own meals. Mrs. Ito was an excellent cook. Whatever they had to give their children, David was first in line to receive it.

The majority of those in my town of Prichard respected Mr. Ito, at least those who did business with him. He was not only able to get good tailoring business in town, but some of the neighboring towns gave him a bit of work, too. When he was not working in the textile factory, Mr. Ito was busy with his measuring tape and sewing machine.  

Even though Mr. Ito gained the respect of the townspeople, he still was not one of us. I am sure he knew it, too. Yet Mr. Ito lived in America most of his life. He was only nine-years-old when his parents came here with their children. Like David, Mr. Ito certainly knew he was Japanese. The mirror told him that every day. But he also knew felt an internal tug-of war that America was his country more than Japan was, even when he was proud of his roots, even though he was once locked up in that camp, and even when some people felt that he did not belong here.

If David was called an unkind name, I felt it insulted, too, for our friendship meant that much to me. How many times I got in trouble for fighting at school! My father would be called into the principal’s office, and I was asked by Mr. Murray to explain why I would act in such an undignified way. “They called David a ***** ***”, I exclaimed. “David is my friend!”

Because David and I were best buddies, we heard lots of jeering remarks. “Josie loves a ***! Josie loves a ***!” some of the children taunted. And Carl, with his meanness, loved to be head of the line to pick on us. He once said to me, “It figures that the only friend you can get is a scrawny ***!”

In spite of my troubles at school, Father greatly admired David and his father, and he thought that David and I were good for each other’s company. Mr. Ito greatly respected my father, in return, not only for his business but because my dad could fix any car with just about any problem. Jim Dunn was not only a brilliant man, in my eyes, but the best mechanic in town. When Mr. Ito needed work done on his car, my father was right there for him. It was an even exchange of paid work and admiration.

Both my father and David’s father felt our relationship was harmless. After all, everyone in David’s family knew and expected that he would marry a nice Japanese girl. There was no question about it. Where he would find one was not too important for a boy of his age. Neither of us experienced puberty yet and, under the watchful eye of my father, we would just be the best of buddies.

David pretended like the remarks said about him never bothered him, but I knew differently. I knew he hated Carl, and we avoided him as much as possible. David was nothing like me in this respect—he was not a fighter. Truly, he did not have a fighting bone in his body, not one that picked up a sword to stab it in the heart of someone else. It was not that David was not brave, for he was, but he knew the ugliness of war without ever even having to go to battle. Nevertheless, he used his intellect to fight off any of the racist remarks made about him or his family. He had to face it—the war had only ended nine years prior and a few of the war veterans in town fought in the Pacific.      

Because of the taunts David had experienced in school, I was not surprised what David’s father had in store for his beloved son.  Mr. Ito could barely afford to send one child to private school, but he was about to send one. David was about to be that child. When David told me that when school resumed he would be going to a boy’s school in Chicago, my heart sank. Why? Why did he have to go? I would never see him again!

“You will see me in the summer”, he reassured me. He looked at me as I tried to appear brave. I sat cross-legged on the grass and stared straight ahead like I never even heard him. I had a lump in my throat the size of a grapefruit, and my lips felt like they were quivering.

We were both using old pop bottles for target practice. They sat in a row on an old tree stump shining in the evening sun. David was shooting at them with his prized slingshot. I had a makeshift one that I created out of a tree branch and a rubber band.

“You won’t even remember me”, I complained.

“I will to”, he insisted. “I remember everything.”

“Oh, sure you will”, I said sarcastically. “You’ll be super duper smart and I will just be a dummy”. In anger, I rose up my slingshot, and I hit all three bottles, one by one, then I threw the slingshot to the ground. David missed all the shots he took earlier.

David threw his slingshot down, too. “For being a girl, you are pretty smart!” he shouted. “You are too smart for your own good! The reason I like you is because you are better than anyone I ever met in my entire life. Well…not better than my parents, but you are the neatest girl I ever knew in my life!”

For a while, we didn’t talk. We just sat there and let the warm, summer breeze do our talking for us. I pulle
copywrited 2010
Mitchell Duran Dec 2013
In the Fall, when the temperature of the Bay would drop and the wind blew ice, frost would gather on the lawn near Henry Oldez's room. It was not a heavy frost that spread across the paralyzed lawn, but one that just covered each blade of grass with a fine, white, almost dusty coat. Most mornings, he would stumble out of the garage where he slept and tip toe past the ice speckled patch of brown and green spotted grass, so to make his way inside to relieve himself. If he was in no hurry, he would stand on the four stepped stoop and look back at the dried, dead leaves hanging from the wiry branches of three trees lined up against the neighbors fence. The picture reminded him of what the old gallows must have looked like. Henry Oldez had been living in this routine for twenty some years.

He had moved to California with his mother, father, and three brothers 35 years ago. Henry's father, born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, had traveled across the Meixcan border on a bent, full jalopy with his wife, Betria Gonzalez and their three kids. They were all mostly babies then and none of the brothers claimed to remember anything of the ride, except one, Leo, recalled there was "A lotta dust in the car." Santiago Oldez, San for short, had fought in World War II and died of cancer ten years later. San drank most nights and smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day. Henry had never heard his father talk about the fighting or the war. If he was lucky to hear anything, it would have been when San was dead drunk, talking to himself mostly, not paying very much attention to anyone except his memories and his music.

"San loved two things in this world," Henry would say, "*****, Betria, and Johnny Cash."

Betria Gonzalez grew up in Tijuana, Mexico as well. She was a stout, short woman, wide but with pretty eyes and a mess of orange golden hair. Betria could talk to anyone about anything. Her nick names were the conversationalist or the old crow because she never found a reason to stop talking. Santiago had met her through a friend of a friend. After a couple of dates, they were married. There is some talk of a dispute among the two families, that they didn't agree to the marriage and that they were too young, which they probably were. Santiago being Santiago, didn't listen to anybody, only to his heart. They were married in a small church outside of town overlooking the Pacific. Betria told the kids that the waves thundered and crashed against the rocks that day and the sea looked endless. There were no pictures taken and only three people were at the ceremony: Betria, San, and the priest.

Of course, the four boys went to elementary and high school, and, of course, none of them went to college. One brother moved down to LA and eventually started working for a law firm doing their books. Another got married at 18 years old and was in and out of the house until getting under the wing of the union, doing construction and electrical work for the city. The third brother followed suit. Henry Oldez, after high school, stayed put. Nothing in school interested him. Henry only liked what he could get into after school. The people of the streets were his muse, leaving him with the tramps, the dealers, the struggling restaurateurs, the laundry mat hookers, the crooked cops and the addicts, the gang bangers, the bible humpers, the window washers, the jesus freaks, the EMT's, the old ladies pushing salvation by every bus stop, the guy on the corner and the guy in the alley, and the DOA's. Henry didn't have much time for anyone else after all of them.

Henry looked at himself in the mirror. The light was off and the room was dim. Sunlight streaked in through the dusty blinds from outside, reflecting into the mirror and onto Henry's face. He was short, 5' 2'' or 5' 3'' at most with stubby, skinny legs, and a wide, barrel shaped chest. He examined his face, which was a ravine of wrinkles and deep crows feet. His eyes were sunken and small in his head. Somehow, his pants were always one or two inches below his waistline, so the crack of his *** would constantly be peeking out. Henry's deep, chocolate colored hair was  that of an ancient Native American, long and nearly touched the tip of his belt if he stood up straight. No one knew how long he had been growing it out for. No one knew him any other way. He would comb his hair incessantly: before and after a shower, walking around the house, watching television with Betria on the couch, talking to friends when they came by, and when he drove to work, when he had it.

Normal work, nine to five work, did not work for Henry. "I need to be my own boss," he'd say. With that fact stubbornly put in place, Henry turned to being a handy man, a roofer, and a pioneer of construction. No one knew where he would get the jobs that he would get, he would just have them one day. And whenever he 'd finish a job, he'd complain about how much they'd shorted him, soon to move on to the next one. Henry never had to listen to anyone and, most of the time, he got free lunches out of it. It was a very strange routine, but it worked for him and Betria had no complaints as long as he was bringing some money in and keeping busy. After Santiago died, she became the head of the house, but really let her boys do whatever they wanted.

Henry took a quick shower and blow dried his hair, something he never did unless he was in a hurry. He had a job in the east bay at a sorority house near the Berkley campus. At the table, still in his pajamas, he ate three leftover chicken thighs, toast, and two over easy eggs. Betria was still in bed, awake and reading. Henry heard her two dogs barking and scratching on her bedroom door. He got up as he combed his damp hair, tugging and straining to get each individual knot out. When he opened the door, the smaller, thinner dog, Boy Boy, shot under his legs and to the front door where his toy was. The fat, beige, pig-like one waddled out beside Henry and went straight for its food bowl.

"Good morning," said Henry to Betria.

Betria looked at Henry over her glasses, "You eat already?"

"Yep," he announced, "Got to go to work." He tugged on a knot.

"That's good. Dondé?" Betria looked back down at her spanish TV guide booklet.

"Berkley somewhere," Henry said, bringing the comb smoothly down through his hair.

"That's good, that's good."

"OK!" Henry sighed loudly, shutting the door behind him. He walked back to the dinner table and finished his meal. Then, Betria shouted something from her room that Henry couldn't hear.

"What?" yelled Henry, so she could hear him over the television. She shouted again, but Henry still couldn't hear her. Henry got up and went back to her room, ***** dish in hand. He opened her door and looked at her without saying anything.

"Take the dogs out to ***," Betria told him, "Out the back, not the front."

"Yeah," Henry said and shut the door.

"Come on you dogs," Henry mumbled, dropping his dish in the sink. Betria always did everyones dishes. She called it "her exercise."

Henry let the two dogs out on the lawn. The sun was curling up into the sky and its heat had melted all of the frost on the lawn. Now, the grass was bright green and Henry barely noticed the dark brown dead spots. He watched as the fat beige one squatted to ***. It was too fat to lifts its own leg up. The thing was built like a tank or a sea turtle. Henry laughed to himself as it looked up at him, both of its eyes going in opposite directions, its tongue jutted out one corner of his mouth. Boy boy was on the far end of the lawn, searching for something in the bushes. After a minute, he pulled out another one of his toys and brought it to Henry. Henry picked up the neon green chew toy shaped like a bone and threw it back to where Boy boy had dug it out from. Boy boy shot after it and the fat one just watched, waddling a few feet away from it had peed and laid down. Henry threw the toy a couple more times for Boy boy, but soon he realized it was time to go.

"Alright!" said Henry, "Get inside. Gotta' go to work." He picked up the fat one and threw it inside the laundry room hallway that led to the kitchen and the rest of the house. Boy boy bounded up the stairs into the kitchen. He didn't need anyone lifting him up anywhere. Henry shut the door behind them and went to back to his room to get into his work clothes.

Henry's girlfriend was still asleep and he made sure to be quiet while he got dressed. Tia, Henry's girlfriend, didn't work, but occasionally would put up garage sales of various junk she found around town. She was strangely obsessed with beanie babies, those tiny plush toys usually made up in different costumes. Henry's favorite was the hunter. It was dressed up in camouflage and wore an eye patch. You could take off its brown, polyester hat too, if you wanted. Henry made no complaint about Tia not having a job because she usually brought some money home somehow, along with groceries and cleaning the house and their room. Betria, again, made no complain and only wanted to know if she was going to eat there or not for the day.

A boat sized bright blue GMC sat in the street. This was Henry's car. The stick shift was so mangled and bent that only Henry and his older brother could drive it. He had traded a new car stereo for it, or something like that. He believed it got ten miles to the gallon, but it really only got six or seven. The stereo was the cleanest piece of equipment inside the thing. It played CD's, had a shoddy cassette player, and a decent radio that picked up all the local stations. Henry reached under the seat and attached the radio to the front panel. He never left the radio just sitting there in plain sight. Someone walking by could just as soon as put their elbow into the window, pluck the thing out, and make a clean 200 bucks or so. Henry wasn't that stupid. He'd been living there his whole life and sure enough, done the same thing to other cars when he was low on money. He knew the tricks of every trade when it came to how to make money on the street.

On the road, Henry passed La Rosa, the Mexican food mart around the corner from the house. Two short, tanned men stood in front of a stand of CD's, talking. He usually bought pirated music or movies there. One of the guys names was Bertie, but he didn't know the other guy. He figured either a customer or a friend. There were a lot of friends in this neighborhood. Everyone knew each other somehow. From the bars, from the grocery, from the laundromat, from the taco stands or from just walking around the streets at night when you were too bored to stay inside and watch TV. It wasn't usually safe for non-locals to walk the streets at night, but if you were from around there and could prove it to someone that was going to jump you, one could usually get away from losing a wallet or an eyeball if you had the proof. Henry, to people on the street, also went as Monk. Whenever he would drive through the neighborhood, the window open with his arm hanging out the side, he would usually hear a distant yell of "Hey Monk!" or "What's up Monk!". Henry would always wave back, unsure who's voice it was or in what direction to wave, but knowing it was a friend from somewhere.

There was heavy traffic on the way to Berkley and as he waited in line, cursing his luck, he looked over at the wet swamp, sitting there beside highway like a dead frog. A few scattered egrets waded through the brown water, their long legs keeping their clean white bodies safe from the muddy water. Beyond the swamp laid the pacific and the Golden Gate bridge. San Francisco sat there too: still, majestic, and silver. Next to the city, was the Bay Bridge stretched out over the water like long gray yard stick. Henry compared the Golden Gate's beauty with the Bay Bridge. Both were beautiful in there own way, but the Bay Bridge's color was that of a gravestone, while the Golden Gate's color was a heavy red, that made it seem alive. Why they had never decided to pain the Bay Bridge, Henry had no idea. He thought it would look very nice with a nice coat of burgundy to match the Golden gate, but knew they would never spend the money. They never do.

After reeling through the downtown streets of Berkley, dodging college kids crossing the street on their cell phones and bicyclists, he finally reached the large, A-frame house. The house was lifted, four or five feet off the ground and you had to walk up five or seven stairs to get to the front door. Surrounded by tall, dark green bushes, Henry knew these kids had money coming from somewhere. In the windows hung spinning colored glass and in front of the house was an old-timey dinner bell in the shape of triangle. Potted plants lined the red brick walkway that led to the stairs. Young tomatoes and small peas hung from the tender arms of the stems leaf stalks. The lawn was manicured and clean. "Must be studying agriculture or something," Henry thought, "Or they got a really good gardener."

He parked right in front of the house and looked the building up and down, estimating how long it would take to get the old shingles off and the new one's on. Someone was up on the deck of the house, rocking back and forth in an old wooden chair. He listened to the creaking wood of the chair and the deck, judging it would take him two days for the job. Henry knew there was no scheduled rain, but with the Bay weather, one could never be sure. He had worked in rain before - even hail - and it never really bothered him. The thing was, he never strapped himself in and when it would rain and he was working roofs, he was afraid to slip and fall. He turned his truck off, got out, and locked both of the doors. He stepped heavily up the walkway and up the stairs. The someone who was rocking back and forth was a skinny beauty with loose jean shorts on and a thick looking, black and red plaid shirt. She had long, chunky dread locks and was smoking a joint, blowing the smoke out over the tips of the bushes and onto the street. Henry was no stranger to the smell. He smoked himself. This was California.

"Who're you?" the dreaded girl asked.

"I'm the roofer," Henry told her.

The girl looked puzzled and disinterested. Henry leaned back on his heels and wondered if the whole thing was lemon. She looked beyond him, down on the street, awkwardly annoying Henry's gaze. The tools in Henry's hands began to grow heavy, so he put them down on the deck with a thud. The noise seemed to startle the girl out of whatever haze her brain was in and she looked back at Henry. Her eyes were dark brown and her skin was smooth and clear like lake water. She couldn't have been more then 20 or 21 years old. Henry realized that he was staring and looked away at the various potted plants near the rocking chair. He liked them all.

"Do you know who called you?" She took a drag from her joint.

"Brett, " Henry told her, "But they didn't leave a last name."

For a moment, the girl looked like she had been struck across the chin with a brick, but then her face relaxed and she smiled.

"Oh ****," she laughed, "That's me. I called you. I'm Brett."

Henry smiled uneasily and picked up his tools, "Ok."

"Nice to meet you," she said, putting out her hand.

Henry awkwardly put out his left hand, "Nice to meet you too."

She took another drag and exhaled, the smoke rolling over her lips, "Want to see the roof?"

The two of them stood underneath a five foot by five foot hole. Henry was a little uneasy by the fact they had cleaned up none of the shattered wood and the birds pecking at the bird seed sitting in a bowl on the coffee table facing the TV. The arms of the couch were covered in bird **** and someone had draped a large, zebra printed blanket across the middle of it. Henry figured the blanket wasn't for decoration, but to hide the rest of the bird droppings. Next to the couch sat a large, antique lamp with its lamp shade missing. Underneath the dim light, was a nice portrait of the entire house. Henry looked away from the hole, leaving Brett with her head cocked back, the joint still pinched between her lips, to get a closer look. There looked to be four in total: Brett, a very large man, a woman with longer, thick dread locks than Brett, and a extremely short man with a very large, brown beard. Henry went back
Samara Kae Gibbs Sep 2014
you say that it's all over.
you say that it's the end.
you say that it's finished.
you say lives cannot bend.

see that's your problem,
you only think that hearts can break.
but ive been around long enough,
to know that that's not the case.

for I have been beaten,
I have felt defeated.
I have fought and fought
for a reason.

And oh darling im gonna keep on fighting
For
You.
Kiara Malig Aug 2018
You see, the meaning of it,
Has now changed
What once calmed the seas,
Now causes harsh waves.

There is always two meanings to it
One which holds equality dear,
Which carries it upon steady hands,
Which carries it upon those who have fought, and fought, and fought.
And then, there’s another.
It’s the one we see on the news,
It’s the one not wanting equality,
But the sameness of all,
We are all equal, I believe,
but we are not the same.

The definition has changed so much,
On the tongues of those who speak of vile things,
On the articles of those who wish it had not dawned in such wary times,
On everything.
The definition ought to keep peace,
The definition ought to be applied and kept real,
The definition ought to remain the same.
When I call myself a feminist,
I mean it in the realest sense.
So the son of Menoetius was attending to the hurt of Eurypylus
within the tent, but the Argives and Trojans still fought desperately,
nor were the trench and the high wall above it, to keep the Trojans in
check longer. They had built it to protect their ships, and had dug
the trench all round it that it might safeguard both the ships and the
rich spoils which they had taken, but they had not offered hecatombs
to the gods. It had been built without the consent of the immortals,
and therefore it did not last. So long as Hector lived and Achilles
nursed his anger, and so long as the city of Priam remained untaken,
the great wall of the Achaeans stood firm; but when the bravest of the
Trojans were no more, and many also of the Argives, though some were
yet left alive when, moreover, the city was sacked in the tenth
year, and the Argives had gone back with their ships to their own
country—then Neptune and Apollo took counsel to destroy the wall, and
they turned on to it the streams of all the rivers from Mount Ida into
the sea, Rhesus, Heptaporus, Caresus, Rhodius, Grenicus, Aesopus,
and goodly Scamander, with Simois, where many a shield and helm had
fallen, and many a hero of the race of demigods had bitten the dust.
Phoebus Apollo turned the mouths of all these rivers together and made
them flow for nine days against the wall, while Jove rained the
whole time that he might wash it sooner into the sea. Neptune himself,
trident in hand, surveyed the work and threw into the sea all the
foundations of beams and stones which the Achaeans had laid with so
much toil; he made all level by the mighty stream of the Hellespont,
and then when he had swept the wall away he spread a great beach of
sand over the place where it had been. This done he turned the
rivers back into their old courses.
  This was what Neptune and Apollo were to do in after time; but as
yet battle and turmoil were still raging round the wall till its
timbers rang under the blows that rained upon them. The Argives, cowed
by the scourge of Jove, were hemmed in at their ships in fear of
Hector the mighty minister of Rout, who as heretofore fought with
the force and fury of a whirlwind. As a lion or wild boar turns
fiercely on the dogs and men that attack him, while these form solid
wall and shower their javelins as they face him—his courage is all
undaunted, but his high spirit will be the death of him; many a time
does he charge at his pursuers to scatter them, and they fall back
as often as he does so—even so did Hector go about among the host
exhorting his men, and cheering them on to cross the trench.
  But the horses dared not do so, and stood neighing upon its brink,
for the width frightened them. They could neither jump it nor cross
it, for it had overhanging banks all round upon either side, above
which there were the sharp stakes that the sons of the Achaeans had
planted so close and strong as a defence against all who would
assail it; a horse, therefore, could not get into it and draw his
chariot after him, but those who were on foot kept trying their very
utmost. Then Polydamas went up to Hector and said, “Hector, and you
other captains of the Trojans and allies, it is madness for us to
try and drive our horses across the trench; it will be very hard to
cross, for it is full of sharp stakes, and beyond these there is the
wall. Our horses therefore cannot get down into it, and would be of no
use if they did; moreover it is a narrow place and we should come to
harm. If, indeed, great Jove is minded to help the Trojans, and in his
anger will utterly destroy the Achaeans, I would myself gladly see
them perish now and here far from Argos; but if they should rally
and we are driven back from the ships pell-mell into the trench
there will be not so much as a man get back to the city to tell the
tale. Now, therefore, let us all do as I say; let our squires hold our
horses by the trench, but let us follow Hector in a body on foot, clad
in full armour, and if the day of their doom is at hand the Achaeans
will not be able to withstand us.”
  Thus spoke Polydamas and his saying pleased Hector, who sprang in
full armour to the ground, and all the other Trojans, when they saw
him do so, also left their chariots. Each man then gave his horses
over to his charioteer in charge to hold them ready for him at the
trench. Then they formed themselves into companies, made themselves
ready, and in five bodies followed their leaders. Those that went with
Hector and Polydamas were the bravest and most in number, and the most
determined to break through the wall and fight at the ships. Cebriones
was also joined with them as third in command, for Hector had left his
chariot in charge of a less valiant soldier. The next company was
led by Paris, Alcathous, and Agenor; the third by Helenus and
Deiphobus, two sons of Priam, and with them was the hero Asius-
Asius the son of Hyrtacus, whose great black horses of the breed
that comes from the river Selleis had brought him from Arisbe.
Aeneas the valiant son of Anchises led the fourth; he and the two sons
of Antenor, Archelochus and Acamas, men well versed in all the arts of
war. Sarpedon was captain over the allies, and took with him Glaucus
and Asteropaeus whom he deemed most valiant after himself—for he
was far the best man of them all. These helped to array one another in
their ox-hide shields, and then charged straight at the Danaans, for
they felt sure that they would not hold out longer and that they
should themselves now fall upon the ships.
  The rest of the Trojans and their allies now followed the counsel of
Polydamas but Asius son of Hyrtacus would not leave his horses and his
esquire behind him; in his foolhardiness he took them on with him
towards the ships, nor did he fail to come by his end in
consequence. Nevermore was he to return to wind-beaten Ilius, exulting
in his chariot and his horses; ere he could do so, death of ill-omened
name had overshadowed him and he had fallen by the spear of
Idomeneus the noble son of Deucalion. He had driven towards the left
wing of the ships, by which way the Achaeans used to return with their
chariots and horses from the plain. Hither he drove and found the
gates with their doors opened wide, and the great bar down—for the
gatemen kept them open so as to let those of their comrades enter
who might be flying towards the ships. Hither of set purpose did he
direct his horses, and his men followed him with a loud cry, for
they felt sure that the Achaeans would not hold out longer, and that
they should now fall upon the ships. Little did they know that at
the gates they should find two of the bravest chieftains, proud sons
of the fighting Lapithae—the one, Polypoetes, mighty son of
Pirithous, and the other Leonteus, peer of murderous Mars. These stood
before the gates like two high oak trees upon the mountains, that
tower from their wide-spreading roots, and year after year battle with
wind and rain—even so did these two men await the onset of great
Asius confidently and without flinching. The Trojans led by him and by
Iamenus, Orestes, Adamas the son of Asius, Thoon and Oenomaus,
raised a loud cry of battle and made straight for the wall, holding
their shields of dry ox-hide above their heads; for a while the two
defenders remained inside and cheered the Achaeans on to stand firm in
the defence of their ships; when, however, they saw that the Trojans
were attacking the wall, while the Danaans were crying out for help
and being routed, they rushed outside and fought in front of the gates
like two wild boars upon the mountains that abide the attack of men
and dogs, and charging on either side break down the wood all round
them tearing it up by the roots, and one can hear the clattering of
their tusks, till some one hits them and makes an end of them—even so
did the gleaming bronze rattle about their *******, as the weapons
fell upon them; for they fought with great fury, trusting to their own
prowess and to those who were on the wall above them. These threw
great stones at their assailants in defence of themselves their
tents and their ships. The stones fell thick as the flakes of snow
which some fierce blast drives from the dark clouds and showers down
in sheets upon the earth—even so fell the weapons from the hands
alike of Trojans and Achaeans. Helmet and shield rang out as the great
stones rained upon them, and Asius the son of Hyrtacus in his dismay
cried aloud and smote his two thighs. “Father Jove,” he cried, “of a
truth you too are altogether given to lying. I made sure the Argive
heroes could not withstand us, whereas like slim-waisted wasps, or
bees that have their nests in the rocks by the wayside—they leave not
the holes wherein they have built undefended, but fight for their
little ones against all who would take them—even so these men, though
they be but two, will not be driven from the gates, but stand firm
either to slay or be slain.”
  He spoke, but moved not the mind of Jove, whose counsel it then
was to give glory to Hector. Meanwhile the rest of the Trojans were
fighting about the other gates; I, however, am no god to be able to
tell about all these things, for the battle raged everywhere about the
stone wall as it were a fiery furnace. The Argives, discomfited though
they were, were forced to defend their ships, and all the gods who
were defending the Achaeans were vexed in spirit; but the Lapithae
kept on fighting with might and main.
  Thereon Polypoetes, mighty son of Pirithous, hit Damasus with a
spear upon his cheek-pierced helmet. The helmet did not protect him,
for the point of the spear went through it, and broke the bone, so
that the brain inside was scattered about, and he died fighting. He
then slew Pylon and Ormenus. Leonteus, of the race of Mars, killed
Hippomachus the son of Antimachus by striking him with his spear
upon the girdle. He then drew his sword and sprang first upon
Antiphates whom he killed in combat, and who fell face upwards on
the earth. After him he killed Menon, Iamenus, and Orestes, and laid
them low one after the other.
  While they were busy stripping the armour from these heroes, the
youths who were led on by Polydamas and Hector (and these were the
greater part and the most valiant of those that were trying to break
through the wall and fire the ships) were still standing by the
trench, uncertain what they should do; for they had seen a sign from
heaven when they had essayed to cross it—a soaring eagle that flew
skirting the left wing of their host, with a monstrous blood-red snake
in its talons still alive and struggling to escape. The snake was
still bent on revenge, wriggling and twisting itself backwards till it
struck the bird that held it, on the neck and breast; whereon the bird
being in pain, let it fall, dropping it into the middle of the host,
and then flew down the wind with a sharp cry. The Trojans were
struck with terror when they saw the snake, portent of aegis-bearing
Jove, writhing in the midst of them, and Polydamas went up to Hector
and said, “Hector, at our councils of war you are ever given to rebuke
me, even when I speak wisely, as though it were not well, forsooth,
that one of the people should cross your will either in the field or
at the council board; you would have them support you always:
nevertheless I will say what I think will be best; let us not now go
on to fight the Danaans at their ships, for I know what will happen if
this soaring eagle which skirted the left wing of our with a monstrous
blood-red snake in its talons (the snake being still alive) was really
sent as an omen to the Trojans on their essaying to cross the
trench. The eagle let go her hold; she did not succeed in taking it
home to her little ones, and so will it be—with ourselves; even
though by a mighty effort we break through the gates and wall of the
Achaeans, and they give way before us, still we shall not return in
good order by the way we came, but shall leave many a man behind us
whom the Achaeans will do to death in defence of their ships. Thus
would any seer who was expert in these matters, and was trusted by the
people, read the portent.”
  Hector looked fiercely at him and said, “Polydamas, I like not of
your reading. You can find a better saying than this if you will.
If, however, you have spoken in good earnest, then indeed has heaven
robbed you of your reason. You would have me pay no heed to the
counsels of Jove, nor to the promises he made me—and he bowed his
head in confirmation; you bid me be ruled rather by the flight of
wild-fowl. What care I whether they fly towards dawn or dark, and
whether they be on my right hand or on my left? Let us put our trust
rather in the counsel of great Jove, king of mortals and immortals.
There is one omen, and one only—that a man should fight for his
country. Why are you so fearful? Though we be all of us slain at the
ships of the Argives you are not likely to be killed yourself, for you
are not steadfast nor courageous. If you will. not fight, or would
talk others over from doing so, you shall fall forthwith before my
spear.”
  With these words he led the way, and the others followed after
with a cry that rent the air. Then Jove the lord of thunder sent the
blast of a mighty wind from the mountains of Ida, that bore the dust
down towards the ships; he thus lulled the Achaeans into security, and
gave victory to Hector and to the Trojans, who, trusting to their
own might and to the signs he had shown them, essayed to break through
the great wall of the Achaeans. They tore down the breastworks from
the walls, and overthrew the battlements; they upheaved the
buttresses, which the Achaeans had set in front of the wall in order
to support it; when they had pulled these down they made sure of
breaking through the wall, but the Danaans still showed no sign of
giving ground; they still fenced the battlements with their shields of
ox-hide, and hurled their missiles down upon the foe as soon as any
came below the wall.
  The two Ajaxes went about everywhere on the walls cheering on the
Achaeans, giving fair words to some while they spoke sharply to any
one whom they saw to be remiss. “My friends,” they cried, “Argives one
and all—good bad and indifferent, for there was never fight yet, in
which all were of equal prowess—there is now work enough, as you very
well know, for all of you. See that you none of you turn in flight
towards the ships, daunted by the shouting of the foe, but press
forward and keep one another in heart, if it may so be that Olympian
Jove the lord of lightning will vouchsafe us to repel our foes, and
drive them back towards the city.”
  Thus did the two go about shouting and cheering the Achaeans on.
As the flakes that fall thick upon a winter’s day, when Jove is minded
to snow and to display these his arrows to mankind—he lulls the
wind to rest, and snows hour after hour till he has buried the tops of
the high mountains, the headlands that jut into the sea, the grassy
plains, and the tilled fields of men; the snow lies deep upon the
forelands, and havens of the grey sea, but the waves as they come
rolling in stay it that it can come no further, though all else is
wrapped as with a mantle so heavy are the heavens with snow—even thus
thickly did the stones fall on one side and on the other, some
thrown at the Trojans, and some by the Trojans at the Achaeans; and
the whole wall was in an uproar.
  Still the Trojans and brave Hector would not yet have broken down
the gates and the great bar, had not Jove turned his son Sarpedon
against the Argives as a lion against a herd of horned cattle.
Before him he held his shield of hammered bronze, that the smith had
beaten so fair and round, and had lined with ox hides which he had
made fast with rivets of gold all round the shield; this he held in
front of him, and brandishing his two spears came on like some lion of
the wilderness, who has been long famished for want of meat and will
dare break even into a well-fenced homestead to try and get at the
sheep. He may find the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks
with dogs and spears, but he is in no mind to be driven from the
fold till he has had a try for it; he will either spring on a sheep
and carry it off, or be

— The End —