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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
George Arkley Jan 2013
They ask me what I see,
What I see when I'm dreaming,
What I see when I'm listening,
What I see when I'm writing,
But I don't see; I understand,

I understand how minds work,
I understand how hearts work,
I understand how my world works,
But I don't understand them.

Why can't people accept it?
Why do they need to know why?
Why do they want to know?
But they don't want to know why; they want to know what.

If I see their futures,
If I see the dead,
If I see words before me,
But I don't see; I understand.

So when they ask, what do I see in you?
I don't reply. I smile,
Because when I dream,
And I listen,
And I write,
You know what I see?
What I've always seen:
You.
Tommy Johnson Dec 2013
You can hear the voices of our peers being silenced, ignored, shunned and distorted.
Staggering out of their bedroom doorways to the street corner to score a dime bag.
Bright, insightful millennials freezing in search of warmth from something to believe in that will encourage them to look forward to see another day.
Where our economy has made financial prudence clear when talking about education, yet price tags of university tuition's skyrocket.
The refused, the ones with hope but no money or scholarships; tread the streets with the echoes of electro house pulsing in their skulls.
Those who strip themselves down and shred their own morals to scraps just to find themselves and to see their own limitations.
Searching for answers to the unknown, to ascertain what they are, who they are and why.
Timid in high school, pushed along with nothing and no one to put their creative vigor into.
The squeakiest wheels that were never even considered to be given a good greasing.
Faculties giving them lethargic hellos on the first day of school, bestowing celebrated goodbyes to them on graduation day, diplomas in hand.
Now are the ones slumped over in a lackadaisical position contemplating how they can afford an education.
They work eight to ten at seven twenty five an hour Monday to Friday; and weekends staying in as not to blow their earnings.
Those who commute to university and balance a job with it, I applaud you.
The bewilderment of adulthood, the overabundance of pressure and responsibility.
Awakened from nightmares of lost opportunities, missed trains and lost contacts.
To step out of bed and splash water onto a severely distressed face and staring into a mirror with a despairing look.
Then hoping a bus to Garfield to bring back weight for all the embryonic smokers not yet at the point of make or break, just save up enough to pave my own way.
Gazing at the town on a roof top, chugging down the tenth…no…twelfth beer of the night wondering how this all happened.
Wild sensations of kissing an attractive stranger, the rush of touching on things never felt, tasting pleasures only the lucky have known.
The passionate, yet dissolute yearning for that ever eluding ******* adrenaline. Pounding, Pounding, Pounding until the culmination of energy has come.
Flip sided to those dizzying, tear jerking thoughts of suicide, annihilation of ones being, the contradictions of their faith in themselves and the people around them.
Unexplainable waves of anxiety crashing onto the shore of a diminutive island of optimism
Striving to look past the panic, the gloominess and fury that may or may not be present. But to remain composed and press forward to what awaits them.
Coffee keeps them going. Cup after cup, late night cramming every bit they can; into their caffeine driven psyches until the indisputable crash and failure.
Packs and packs of menthol cigarettes to calm their rattling nerves but at the same time killing them slowly. Their lives will seem shorter than the time it took to finish one bogey when death is near.
Marijuana induced ventures to run down burger shacks, laughing hysterical in the car ride, eyes heavy with a most ridiculous elastic grin extending from ear to ear. While inside millions of thoughts and realizations of consciously simple speculations and troubles become clear and unproblematic. So the joy is mirrored outside in.
LSD trips in Petruska dancing and singing in the rain! Making music, making love; playing pretend and creating art. Becoming a family while kicking back under the warmth of an illuminated tree on a cool fall night.
MDMA streaming through the body, everything is as it should be
Beautiful, lovely to touch, wondrous to stroke, marvelous to move.
To contact and connect, converse and converge with the dwelling desire to share what you feel with everyone for it would be selfish and unpleasant to keep it in.
Mushrooms oh the emotional overflow I need not say more but ****.
Then there are over the counter candies, Oxycontin, ******, Adderall and Xanax, painkillers and antidepressants. Ups, downs, side ways and backwards.
Selling addiction and dependency legally to kids. Making heroine, ******* and speed easily obtainable to them. Changing the names and giving out prescriptions so the parents can feel like they're actually helping their children but are subconsciously making it easier on themselves because they cannot handle the way their offsprings actually are. Some parents a feel it is the only way, I wish it wasn't so. Becoming zombies, mindless addicts before they even start to mature into puberty. I've seen it, firsthand front row.
Oh, the monotonous, mundane rituals and agendas of our lives. School, work, sleep eat, the sluggish schedules and repetitions of yesterday's conversations and redundancy of itineraries we had plotted months prior.
Same people, the constant faces of boredom that groan in apathy and hold the fear of complacency.
We talk about how hum drum out lives have become and what we could to put some color in our world but don’t.
We speak of how unfair the system is but ultimately confuse ourselves and everyone else due to lack or organization and dedication so nothing is changed.
We speak of breath taking women we want to share ****** fantasies with but can’t even muster enough courage to send a trivial friend request.
Texting away for hours trying to court those who now occupy our minds and possess our hearts hoping they may allow us to acquire their attention and affection. Calling them only to receive futile dial tones and know we are being evaded.
Weeping on and on for seemingly endless time frames of a dilapidated relationship that was so strained that a miniscule breeze could cause it to collapse but still clinging to every memory as if they were vital hieroglyphics depicting your very essence.
Brilliant theories blurted out in a drunken stupor.
Ingenious hypothesis shrouded in marijuana smoked out room.
Remembrance of friends long gone.
The marines, the navy.
The casualties of drug addiction.
The conquerors or their afflictions.
The scholars.
The insane locked away on the flight deck never to be seen again.
Teenage mothers unsure of themselves, abandoned by their families for they believe that they brought fictional shame upon the family’s name. The fate of the child is unclear but the mother’s everlasting love shines through any obscurities in its way.
Dear mother of the new born winter’s moon may the aura of life protect you and your baby.
The father gone without a trace.
He will never know his daughter.
And it will haunt him forever.
Parents bringing up their kids with values and morals, The Holy Bible, mantras and meditation, the Holy Quran, The Bhagavad Gita, and Upanishads. Islamic anecdotes and Jewish parables.
The names all different
The message the same
The stories unlike
Goals equivalent
Faith
Kabala, Scientology and Wicca
Amish and Mormons
All separate paths that intertwine and runoff each other then pool into the plateau of eternal life.
But do we have faith in our country, our government?
They do not have faith in us. Cameras on every street corner, FBI agents stalking social media, recordings of our personal lives and police brutality. 4th amendment where have you gone?
We say farewell to Oresko the last veteran of the last great war. And revisit the Arab spring, Al-Assad’s soldiers opening fire on innocent protesters, one hundred fifteen thousand lay dead. Bin laden dead, Hussein hanged, Gaddafi receiving every ounce of his comeuppance. War, terrorism, the fear of being attacked or is it an excuse to secure our nation's investments across the sea? Throwing trillions of dollars to keep the ****** machine cranking away, taxes, pensions, credit scores, insurance and annuities all cogs in the convoluted contraptions plight.
My dear friend contemplates this every night laying in bed, fetal position; the anxiety if having to be a part of this.
Falling apart on the inside but on the outside, an Adonis, *******, Casanova wanna be. Who worshiped the almighty dollar, gripping it so tightly until it made change, drank until he had his fill falling face first into the snow. The guy who lead on legions of clueless girls wearing their hearts on their sleeves not knowing he had a girlfriend the entire time. Arranging secret meetings in hidden gardens, streaking into the early morning. Driving to Ewing in his yellow Mustang to woo a sado masochistic girl. The chains and whips do nothing to him he is already numbed by the thrill. Then he comes home, lays in bed until one, with no job and having people pay for his meals.
He knows what he does and who he is wrong. He recites and regurgitates excuses endlessly. He cries because he knows he is weak, he knows he must fix himself. I sit on the edge of myself with my fingers crossed hoping maybe, maybe he will set himself straight.
My chum who can talk his way out of any confrontation and into a woman’s *******. Multitudes of amorous affairs in backrooms, backseats, front rows of movies theaters. Selfish, boastful and ignorant, yet woman fling themselves at him like catapulted boulders over a medieval battle field just to say hello. These girls blind to see what going on, for their eyes were taken by low self esteem. A need to be accepted, to feel wanted even only for fifteen minutes. Poor self image, daddy issues, anorexic razor blade slicing sirens screaming on about counted calories and social status. Their uncontrollable mental breakdowns and emotional collapse. Their uncles who ***** them, their parents who split up and confusing their definition of love and loyalty for the rest of their lives. Broken homes, domestic abuse and raised voices, sending jolts of fright into the young girl’s fragile minds. I send my sorrows to you ladies, to see such beautiful creatures suffer then be used and thrown away with the ****** that was just ****** deep into their *****.
Then I see women and men of marvelous stature, romantic in the streets holding everyone and everything in high regards. Finding beauty in anything and anyone. Enjoying every second as if the rapture was over head eating exotic foods from unheard of countries and cultures. Bouncing to the sound of whimsical , reverb ricochets and sense stimulating music. Huffing inspiration to create something out of thin air. Dancing to retired jazz and swing albums as if no time had past since their conception. Wearing bold colors and patterns, thrifty leather shoes or suede.
Dawning pre-owned blazers because why spend hundreds of dollars on new clothes just to look good but feel uncomfortable with a hole in your pocket. Dressing up but dressing down, so class yet urban I love it, chinos, pea coats and flannels so simple but chic.
At night they go to underground dens, sweaty bodies, loud music and freedom. Expressive manifestations glowing fueled with MDMA and other substances to further their enjoyment of the dark glorious occasion. Kandi kids sporting colorful bracelets, not watches for time is of no concern to them, they have all eternity they know that.
Going to book stores, coffee shops just to have some peace of mind and a moment of silence to themselves so that can weave the tapestry of imaginative innovation. Writing their own versions of the same story, endless doors of perception, reading news papers and taking it with a grain of salt. Watching the news on TV with a hand full of salt. Searching for the real story so they can know if the world they all live in is actually safe.
She who made her own way breaking hearts, rolling blunts and making deals. The flower child of the modern age, left the rainy days in search of radiant sunshine, idealistic. Reality was subjective, purple dyed hair, multicolored sweater with sandals on her feet. A ten inch bowl with bud from California packed in tightly. Coming from Dumont to Bergenfeild then on to Philly to Mount Vernon. Off to Astoria and the Heights. Now to Sweden laying in the grassy plains below the mountains. Good for you my friend whom I have loved, may fortunes of unsullied joy come to you and all you meet.
Since you’ve left I have encountered drunken burly firemen just trying to have a good time. Pounding down Pabst Blue Ribbon as if it were water; as if it were good tasting beer. But heroes none the less.
EMT's, young eighteen years old high school graduates, saving lives reviving people who are a mere inch close to death.
Sport stars getting scholarships thanks to their superior skills and strength.
Striking beauty school students who are into making the people of this world a little bit more beautiful on the outside.
All these people, successful, doing things. Departing to their desired destinations. I see inside them, they carry baggage, loneliness and insecurities. I can feel their guilt slowing them down. All have their loads but it’s the way they carry them that shows who they really are. And to me their all gems.
Not far in Paterson I watch the junkies limping across busy winding street, perusing a severely needed fix. “Diesel!” they shout beneath flickering streetlights, asking for spare change and if bold enough a ride to some shady sketchy place. I give them a dollar and politely decline. They’ll die without it. Vomiting up bile and blood, twitches and shivers are all you feel when it’s not in you. They cannot stop, they need help. Why not help them instead of “assisting” those who are homosexual? Cleansing so they can be granted entry to the kingdom of God. Looking down on people who have found love and understanding and a deep attraction to others who just so happen to share alike genitals.
Narrow minded uproars about the spread of AIDS, nonsense! The puritanical onslaught of those who want nothing more than the rest of us, love. "Gay", "****", "******", "queer", how about "kind", "funny", "genuine human being"? The right to be married and divorced should be an option for everyone to enjoy. The strains and hardships of matrimony are yours if you want them. If you don’t agree don’t hate or harm just allow them to be peacefully. Same goes for anything for that matter, Jehovah's going door to door, Mormons from Burbank. New ideas are never a bad thing, they’re not a waste of time. On average you have about eighty years to mull over your options.
Some people don’t live long enough to do so, cancer is rampant, blood diseases, ****** diseases, natural disasters coming right out of left field and blindsiding the innocent bystanders of both hemispheres. Some go through life handicapped, autism is apparent these days. Schizophrenia, Asperburgers, ADD and ADHD. Some lose their golden memories of their many valuable years walking down Alzheimer's Lane, not being able to remember whatever transpired only a few moments ago but revisiting gold nuggets from from fifty-some-odd years ago with ease. Some go through life delusional or bipolar. Some can't even sleep at night but they still carry on. And if assistance is needed it is our job as a race to help our brothers and sisters, no one deserves to be excluded from the gala of life. Or be denied by society and pumped with brightly colored pills from doctors promising a cure but prescribing a crutch.
Finding solace in sincerity.
The serendipity of it all hasn’t been uncovered and that keeps me going.
“Radiate boundless love towards the entire world above, below and across. Unhindered without ill will without enmity.” Oh Buddha the truth as it ever was.
Who is he who keeps these thoughts from the conscious minds of the population?
Who is it that distracts us from the humbling beauty and overwhelming devastation of this place of existence we’re in?
It’s they who do under the table parlor trick behind our backs.
Those who broadcast mind numbing so called reality TV shows without an underlying value or meaning.
Those who produce music, proclaiming extravagance to be the end all be all gluttonous goal we all should aim to achieve.
And those who turn noble causes into money making scams and defile pure ideas.
And of course those who give false promises of easily obtained  bright futures, those who don’t care, those who steal, ****, curse, bad mouth and lie. But still manage to get elected into positions that more or less decide out fates. Monsters, demons, banshees howling inconsequential worries and leaving us deaf to hear the real issues.
The
st64 Apr 2014
The poverty of yesterday was less squalid than the poverty we purchase with our industry today.
Fortunes were smaller then as well.
(The Elderly Lady)




After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open

With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.


After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…

With every good-bye you learn.





{…}



As I think of the many myths, there is one that is very harmful, and that is the myth of countries. I mean, why should I think of myself as being an Argentine, and not a Chilean, and not an Uruguayan.
I don't know really.
All of those myths that we impose on ourselves — and they make for hatred, for war, for enmity — are very harmful.
Well, I suppose in the long run, governments and countries will die out and we'll be just, well, cosmopolitans.*    --J. L. Borges
Jorge Luis Borges (24 August 1899 – 14 June 1986) was an Argentine writer who is considered one of the foremost literary figures of the 20th century.
Most famous in the English speaking world for his short stories and fictive essays, Borges was also a poet, critic, translator and man of letters.



Words by Jorge Luis Borges

1.
"All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art." ----- J.L. Borges


2.
"Doubt is one of the names of intelligence."


3.
"May Heaven exist, even if my place is Hell.
Let me be tortured and battered and annihilated,
but let there be one instant, one creature,
wherein thy enormous Library may find its justification."

4.
"Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.
(Statement to the Argentine Society of Letters, c.1946)

5.
I would define the baroque as that style that deliberately exhausts (or tries to exhaust) its own possibilities, and that borders on self-caricature.
The baroque is the final stage in all art, when art flaunts and squanders its resources.
(A Universal History of Iniquity, preface to the 1954 edition)

6.
Do you want to see what human eyes have never seen?
Look at the moon.
Do you want to hear what ears have never heard?
Listen to the bird's cry.
Do you want to touch what hands have never touched?
Touch the earth.
Verily I say that God is about to create the world.
(The Theologians)


7.
Years of solitude had taught him that, in one's memory, all days tend to be the same, but that there is not a day, not even in jail or in the hospital, which does not bring surprises, which is not a translucent network of minimal surprises.
(The Waiting)



8.
Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.
(The Threatened)


9.
Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation.
Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.
(The Divine Comedy) (1977)

10.
Time carries him as the river carries
A leaf in the downstream water.
No matter. The enchanted one insists
And shapes God with delicate geometry.
Since his illness, since his birth,
He goes on constructing God with the word.
The mightiest love was granted him
Love that does not expect to be loved.
(Baruch Spinoza)
Bus Poet Stop Jun 2018
~for those who will read this and weep~

the quiet ones,
the silent Job ones,
who quote not from the
Book of Lamentations,
but author their own,
based on-the-job experience

localized versions of cryptic elegiacs
accepting the wooden crosses borne,
stepping up to the
unrequested unforeseen,
then buried under, burnt alive,
yet never relieved by dying,
nailed by words, stronger than iron,
promises sworn, promises kept
with no ending date relief,
promises by and to themselves,
but not for themselves!


the wearers of crystal glass shackles,
adorned with decorative locks for which
no key did the maker make,
nor any divine creator
dare conceive an early release,
never no escape contemplated,
for the lock human, unrepentant unbreakable,
a decorative useless metaphor gesture,
a blunt “life *****” advertisement

I compose amidst a
bus pond of mismatched city folk,
a tapestry of ages colors and differing views on god/no god,
none would believe that as the bus sways me,
it’s in rhythm to holy choral music,
hundreds year old,
divinity masses and motets worships,
where one human can hide temporarily
a safe house,
to calm his questioning relentless
from the horrors of no answers,
for when the mind has no solution
to the rough and tumbling lives,
lived in glass shackled confinement,
the poets desperation equals theirs


summon eagles to transport these imprisoned,
but the shackled refuse,
I come to them but they wave me off,
I go crazy for once I was enslaved,
thirty years war that left devastation,
from which so many poems created

so I speak with heightened regard
of one who planned futures for others where his
non-existence was a founding father (ha!)


but the day came and
I was released by my own inactions,
but means nothing until a way to
away found
to release the yet bound early


got a couch, airline miles, hundred dollars
in my pocket and an unrelenting need
to save them, a consumption disease,
the glass shackled, at ease,
won’t rest till all are freed
this my creed
no one left behind

these cyber words do not mock
for they are unbounded, set free,
when
the flesh connects and the needs of the flesh
are stronger for they are in heart conceived
kirk Apr 2018
Within the depths of my mind, I'm in need of a redemption
I'm hoping to console myself, and pay myself attention
Futures fate I can not see, my life is in suspension
I can't explain the way I feel, or even my intention
Why are futures so unclear, beneath my past's retention
If only past event's could change, dark futures own prevention

Lost dimensions in my soul, life's ever constant fight
Life it never seems to work, it doesn't turn out right
If I could chase lost spirits, from an ever lasting plight
Fallen souls forever found, and never out of sight
Guide me to a better place, I will pray for the light
Turn dark places into good, and take me from the night

Hurtful thoughts invade my soul, feelings of desperation
Never knowing what to do, I've lost my inspiration
Why is life so full of woe, deep pain and devastation
Smothered with the sense of lose, in my minds asphyxiation
Hoping to ascend the heights, of life's own aspiration
Nothing seems to matter, when there's no more admiration

I can't help but to wonder, why is life so suffocating
Is it we expect to much, with everything relating
The past is left diminishing, our futures are migrating
My Life decisions haunt me, wrong choices are inflating
The flight of life's ascension, lost soles are always waiting
This mortal coil we can't outrun, time's life is left creating
Steve Page Jun 13
Black futures -
not a month
not a meme
not hash-tagged and gone
past in a blur.

Futures built
on the foundation of the past,
but rising past past expectations
and housing future generations
of black lives that answer back
and build better black futures.

The future's bright.
The future's colourful.
Still listening and learning.
kirk Aug 2018
The galaxy's in turmoil, it's at an all time low
Luke Skywalker's been demoralised, all for comedic show
No substance for new character's, old heroes full of woe
What happened to the Star Wars, that we used to know

The Empire has been replaced, by the Order of the First
No real impact is achieved, we're not really that immersed
Screen presence is not felt, characterisations at its worst
The legacy of the Jedi, is downgraded and disbursed

Luke's a Jedi like his father, so why would he elope
The Disappointment of this film, is on a massive scope
Star Wars fans are ridiculed, their on a downward *****
Galactic empires did strike back, but after a new hope

Jedi knights a force for good, they wouldn't just give in
Princess Leia flying through space, well wasn't that a sin
The saga of the Skywalker's, pushed aside for Rey and Fin  
Don't bring back legacy character's, to throw them in the bin

Luke's too out of character, it doesn't make no sense
Strong villains do not exist , so there is no recompense
The shallowness of General Hux, a lack of real suspense
Kylo Ren's fake saber duel, this fight was far from tense

Evil rulers are no more what kind of name is Snoke?
He's hardly Emperor Palpatine, he's just a head scarred bloke
Like most of the new character's, well what a ******* joke
The menace of the sith is lost, Since the force awoke

Wooden character's we don't want, I know this may sound mean
Kathleen Kennedy please keep away, from the Star Wars scene
We don't want Holdo, Rose and Poe, clogging up the screen
Admiral Ackbar was killed off, and it wasn't even seen

Rian Johnson's head is round, he looks like BB8
Unfortunately his movies ****, and his stories are not great
Redemption for true Jedi knights, I know it's not too late
A Jedi Master Ivan is,  The Last Jedi's futures fate

This is our most desperate hour, after the cinemas first screening
Ivan your our only hope, the Star Wars fans are screaming
No true fan is amused, we wish that we where dreaming
"a gracious gift from god", is Ivan's first name meaning

Ivan Ortega is the man, he simply is the best
His flare for editing is supreme, he has film making zest
Unruly Star Wars script writers, he'll put them to the test
Movie making is his skill, Disney give it a rest

So come on now check Ivan out, on YouTube or Twitter
His vision of The Last Jedi, may stop you feeling bitter
Optimism flows like the force, because he is no quitter
He'll reunite the Star wars fans, instead of a film splitter

A dark time for the empire, with the Jedi in the mix
Dark side powers hasn't been seen, since Vader in part six
True Jedi Knights have not returned, nothing that really sticks
We need Jedi Master Luke, in Ivan's new Film Fix
Ever since Star Wars The Last Jedi was released in cinemas in December 2017, there has been a lot of backlash and criticisms by fans for the treatment of the character Luke Skywalker and also Rian Johnson's script, however there is a guy called Ivan Ortega who is re-editing and  Fixing the movie, he has a YouTube channel called Film Fix where he shows you the editing process and what he is doing to make the film better, please check his channel out
Morgan Mercury May 2014
Lay down your burden.
Lay down your arms.
Hardship is over and all is numb.
You finally get to rest.
You finally get to let go.
Fall down in the snow and let nature take you.
You are not alone, never.
Thousands of bodies are scattered on the battlefield.
They all had lives.
They all had futures.
They all ended too soon.
Go ahead and turn the snow strawberry red.
Your song will be played.
Your name will live on.
We will remember you forever more.
So rest now, my soldier.
Your brothers shall bring the peace.
2014
Tommy Randell Oct 2016
Understanding's not a conscious thing
Some people take while others bring
Life is more than bells and rings
It's never perfect and it's never pure

Simplicity is a yellow beach
It's putting darkness out of reach
Life has more than pain to teach
Can be pushed away, can't be ignored

Pick your moment anyway you want
Throw down the dice or play the hunch
Loosing's more that not being in front
When the penny drops you'll know for sure

The Penny drops through perfect curves
It clings to hope like a song to words
It spins with longing, yearns to be heard
But time and tide cannot be stalled

Understanding's not a thing to own
Peace can live where nothing grows
Ice can shine as well as gold
Where things happen for no reason at all

Commitment is to light a fire
Inside your head to burn a while
Knowing you can't run and hide
When the Penny drops, Futures fall.


Tommy Randell 24th October 2016 02:14hrs
Matt Jul 2015
.

In a deflationary period, prices will drop, corporate profits will dry up, wages will shrink, and all of this will reinforce the conditions of recessions. This happens for two reasons.

The first is that deflation keeps money on the sidelines as consumers wait for prices to fall further. This causes demand to shrink.

Deflation also adds to the real value of debt. This makes consumers and businesses less likely to take out loans and make big purchases to grow the U.S.'s consumption-driven economy.

And deflation runs counter to the goals of most of the world's central banks. Most notably, the U.S. Federal Reserve.

"Central bankers want inflation so they can pay back inflated debt in cheaper dollars," said Money Morning Capital Wave Strategist Shah Gilani.

But as we start 2015, deflation has arrived. Just check out these four deflation indicator

1. Falling crude oil prices
2. Falling commodity prices

     Heating oil futures are down 47%.
     Natural gas futures are down 36%.
     Copper futures are down 24%.
    Unleaded gas is down 23%.
    Soybean oil is down 15%.
    Wheat futures are down 11%.
    Corn futures are down 8%.

     The other two I read somewhere but they were cut off in this article.                              I will have to look.
Joshua Vincens Sep 2012
I truly believe that one of the reasons that the US is despised and condemned world wide is because of such views on such characteristics as: honesty, integrity, independence(this includes not thinking in a collective mindset which we do as a culture, everything is apple or windows, pepsi or cola, republican or democrat, people need to think for themselves stop claiming and just be), persistence, determination, morale, empathy, tradition/heritage, learning, chivalry, discernment, and humility.

Instead of utilizing and perfecting these people of this nation and similar one's have become: prideful, dependent, drive-less, imprudent/unwise, insulting, ignorant(willfully so), objective, biased, crude, mediocre, and surface oriented.

In turn we have neglected the responsibilities we have of ourselves. This has resulted in physical, mental, and spiritual capacity regression on a mass scale. Most people have no idea what they are consuming in their daily dietary intake(I mean really know what all the ingredients are and what they do whether positive or negative). Most citizens have also become, literally and according to the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization, mentally incapable and completely inane as compared to even 15yrs ago. We have forgotten how to have a community to the point that neighbors don't know each other anymore. We have exchanged the truly important things in life like knowledge and wisdom for wealth and appearance. We have completely forgotten how to survive without the aid of water treatment, electricity, and useless objects. One of the worst of all things we have stopped doing, is being involved with our government; instead, we have put our trust in them without oversight, and this is why we have been losing our liberties. I believe, just like Benjamin Franklin stated, that any individual who sacrifices even one liberty for safety/security... deserves to have all of their liberties eradicated.

In conclusion, it is time to return our societies to ourselves. We need to relearn the truly important things in life and start living with ourselves, each other, and nature as we must to thrive. It is on us as a people to repair what generations before us, and our generations are doing; lest, I am afraid, our children and grandchildren will inherit the same ideals and expand upon them until we regress to the point that insolence, ignorance, and imprudence is the common norm... we have already begun to accept these. Open your eyes to the truth, at first it will be painful and difficult, but than you will be set free. WE THE PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR FUTURES AND CHILDREN'S FUTURES.
jane taylor Apr 2016
in the midst of an emerald slumbering forest
laced with pungent scents of jaded wood
a burgundy blushed tail
of a chestnut hued fox
scurries as copper sunbeams part the day

a hospital lumes starkly nearby
its aura exudes hints of melancholy
commingled with faint impressions
of halcyon futures
not yet lived

at neighboring dartmouth
a student sprinting to class
drops his crimson colored backpack
the prospect of cancer
far from his budding consciousness

my beloved sits patiently
pondering pensively
his last chemo treatment
elusion of death
not far from his mind

i feign to fend off future catastrophes
watching letters scramble across my screen
earnestly writing
in a desperate attempt
to be with him forevermore

an aquamarine hummingbird drenched in tranquility
senses the inverse
its amber tipped wings stand seemingly stationary
while it steals a quick glance through the window
curious at chemical infusions meant to heal

my beloved walks out
of the austere building
with rose colored glasses i feel
that we’ll whirl on the tips of gilded stardust
dancing with another chance to fly


©2016janetaylor
Chelsea Inkwell Sep 2017
The city spearheads the futures we sincerely sold,
As it pluckers your pennies and your coins of gold.

I felt poor amid the auras of their fearsome metals,
Cowering in the clothes of our daily struggles.

I am destitute enough
To bleach out the interests of my cards,
To shatter your savings for a disabled future,
To rummage the stock markets for apertures.

Yet within you exhales tentacles of the color Yellow.

Yellow as in,
The scattered stars that scorch the injured sky,
The mellowing voices of neon artificial lights,
The apex of fire alight in frostbitten nights,
And the yolk of hope my cheers rely.

So while you chase the sun
with your copper-clad hands,
remember but this:

all that glitters is not gold,
It’s the color Yellow in these eyes I behold.
Raymond F Bell Mar 2015
I see a mirror
Of Love,
A promise fulfilled
By the power above

I see a mature woman
Who’s endless in worth
Who has dreams and goals
And a great purpose on Earth

I see a soul
That’ll hold me close
Keep me happy
And love me the most

When I look into your eyes
My search is complete
No more looking for love
No more girls to meet

When I look into your heart
I feel God’s grace and blessing
My prayers were answered
And there’s no more guessing

When I see you smile
Not a worry do I feel
Stress falls to the ground
And my anger tends to peel

When I see you happy
It feeds my spirit
I’d even ask if you liked my body
Just to even hear it

When I see your life
I see our great futures combined
Nothing but success, love, and peace
Fill my dreams and mind

When I see into your mind
I see your want to be great
And you’re off to a good start
Many girls are gonna hate

When I see into your love
It makes me write it down
Sing it to a crowd
Or preach it on a mound

And when you read this
Many emotions do you feel
But what I love the most
No worry about them being concealed
1/23/10
Marigold Jan 2013
The problem with bright futures
Is that they grow as dull as everything else.
They too collect dust,
Hold every speck of dirt they can find -
Until you wake one morning and realise you are trapped.

See the walls have crept closer
And the ceilings leant down to hug the floor.
But they're only there to support you,
Because they love you so,
And they do not see their embrace can crush.
Trisha Apr 2014
"THIS PICTURE WILL NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT I STILL NEED FEMINISM AND I’M GOING TO REALLY, REALLY TELL YOU WHY":

-Because I got called a ***** for wearing a short plaid skirt when I was 10

-and because when Nujood Ali from Yemen was 10 she got divorced

-Because black girls’ names became my classmates’ favorite “joke” when I was 11

-and because when an 11-year-old girl in Texas was ***** by 18 men the New York Times wrote of how the girl “dressed older than her age”

-Because I started counting calories when I was 14

-and because when Malala Yousafzai was 14 she was shot in the head for trying to go to school

-Because I heard a boy greet a girl with “hey ****” today at age 16
-and because when a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio was filmed being ***** by two boys at a party while unconscious the CNN reporters talked about how tragic it was because the rapists had such bright futures as athletes

-Because I will have to watch my drink at all bars and parties when I am 22

-and because when CeCe McDonald was 22 she was sentenced to 41 months in prison for defending herself against a man who screamed transphobic, racist insults at her and then slashed her face with a bottle

-Because no matter what age I am the biggest threat to men will still be heart disease, and the biggest threat to women will still be men.

-Because it is not just about me, because it is not just about anger, because it is not just a JOKE, because it is not just about “hating men,” because it is not just about girls with vaginas, because it is not just about ending “****”, because it is not just about white straight girls in Rookie magazine, because it is not just about writing on backs, because it is not just about the fact that gay men are “****” but lesbians are “hot,” because it is not just about pictures of thin white girls being the only google image results for the search phrase “beautiful women”, because it is not just about writing signs, because it is not just about what she was wearing or how many times she said yes before she changed her answer to no, because misogyny is not just about one thing and feminism is not just about one thing and it is not just “a trend” and it will not “happen” in just one way.

-And because yes. It is about equality for EVERYONE, but first and foremost it needs to be about equality for girls, because they are not treated equally to men, in every single sense, and you are not going to take feminism away from me and call me bossy/hostile/aggressive and make this about yourself or make it into a joke, because truth be told, I’m not joking and I’m tired of explaining. If you want to call yourself a feminist, you work hard to spread feminism, you do not turn this into a contest of whose struggle is greater and constantly demand to know what you can get out of feminism personally. Feminism is not just about you, or me, it is about everyone. If you’re male and you’re tired of men being stereotyped as hyper-masculine, soulless, sexist, inherent leader-tyrant creatures, then go out and prove the patriarchy wrong and fight for girls, like someone with a soul who believes in equality would. Then, yes, feminism will be about everyone.


- http://crystallized-teardrops.tumblr.com/post/81364478634/wearethefourthwave-this-picture-will-not -
Again it is not a poem. I found this on Tumblr and I felt like sharing because it is wonderfully written.
I've been trying to change,
And it makes me cringe,
I have a vision that isn't too insane,
I see two paths,
Separated by the choices I make,
Begging me to make the right choices for my futures sake,
It's warning me that a lot is at stake,
Calling me to wake up,
From the slumber,
I've stumbled in.
Spenser Bennett Feb 2016
There's an impossibility standing adjacent to the nearest star bound body
It waves and beckons with a sincere familiarity so unnaturally
I am the end of the undulating tunneled vision
I am become a silhouette of a dead city caught in the decaying story bones fiction

We are all emptiness and our emptiness is how we define ourselves.
But our emptiness will become a river into which we will find the world to be held.
The universe exists in the eyes of those who live without the sight to see
Those breathing, freezing stars that burn into the heart buried deep.

Constructs of will and portions of strength cut out the guilt of my youth
All roads lead to the sky but I will not seek to understand you
Futures are made in blinks and beats
Are they aware of the way we lay with our tangled feet under these threadbare sheets?

Follow the light of my darkness
A single shot of whiskey and a conversation whisks away my heart's hardness
All cool and breezy across the great green oceans
I'll meet you halfway between loss and a facsimile of dreamed emotions
Hannuh Jacey Oct 2012
Rainbows sit high
Imagination glides down their backs
and it scars hearts
after reaching a high, nothing matches that
Missing something now.
The paint, it trickles down and melts eyes
its canvas pain, it paints it gray.

To my fickle sea.
Poking holes in wishes you receive
The colors of the bay, they float away
Black and White is an infinite abyss
Lose yourself in the grace of it.
No in between,
just keep your eyes wide
you'll see nothing.
The sand at your feet
The glass and rocks that glaze the earth,
always find a way to cut their grace.
Don't pray too hard for me.

Search through your garden
the size of a thumbtack
the flowers rise over your head.
Trees of candy cane sprout before your eyes
You can't see what another sees,
no one to know what you know.

Taking a step inside an orchids stem
and tip-toeing down through the veins of its petals
the purple and gold
they all bleed through your mind.
Form and shape the world which you dance along,
thoughts of blowing breezes send your thoughts along their way
into this endless sea.

Watch the lines write themselves into darkened corners.
The bright and shining sun could change your world.
Swirling and spiraling staircases send you downwards without a thought,
no stopping the whirl-pool once your slipping under.
An octopus would take you in
and with every one of his eight arms he caresses your pain away
showing real effort in his cause

those who impress, settle at unrest

Watch as the berries erupt and bloom
crawl along the lines
mazes of blue
and red know there is no way to succeed.
Watch as the bumblebees sneeze with their noses covered in yellow dreams.
they pack it in with their toes in teams

A great glass lake, to skate along
the ripples
She falls along each crease,
stumbling and tumbling between each droplet.

The clouds fly high above her head,
they gaze upon her flowing gown.
They cry sad tears when they see her eyes
drowning her futures in their skies,
flowing and crashing and thrashing.

With an umbrella, float away
above the days when everything
turned out wrong.

The great glass lake serves true,
until you skip the rock of inferiority along its reflection.
The shatter will fly all about.
That is the point at which it ends
Everything you know is then contradicted and compromised
Your own description shattered

Stones drop from high heights
out of clouds with heavy hearts
waiting to smash this dream.

Great glass lake shines on.
February 7th, 2008
Read well with - The Reluctant Ballerina by Greg Maroney
Alexandria D Mar 2014
What will become of me?
or better yet, what could have become of me?
At times, I stare out at the world
from screened and barred windows
contemplating alternate futures for myself.
The “what-if’s” and “could have been’s” taunt me,
causing me to flirt with the idea
of things being different.


I seem to forget what actually is,
unappreciative of what actually has become of me,
of what I have already become,
overlooking the things I’ve done right.

It’s time I changed focus.
Transfix upon the ever-changing present,
not concentrating on what never was,
and no longer entertaining worries of what will be,
or what will not.
Claire Elizabeth Feb 2014
After all this time, I have thought of something.
What was the real reason you ended us?
Never did I hear you specify anything
Besides I looked distant, acted distant.
I ached for more things than just friendship
From you.
I didn't draw away
I grew up.
While you were focusing on music
I was focusing on school
While you were daydreaming about impossible futures
I was planning my own future that would work out.
While you were getting F's in two classes
I was maintaining my A and B classes.
While you were talking to your friend
I was doing homework and trying to keep up with you.
While you wanted me
I wanted us.
I never asked why you weren't talking to me as much
I never accused you of drawing away (although you were)
I never spent my nights swooning over the chords of a minor
I never wanted just you
I wanted us and the world.
ryn Sep 2014
Me
I am the entourage
Of a fantastic mirage

I am the agent
Of my mind's figment

I am a believer
Of mythical creatures

I am a builder
Of splendid architecture

I am a drunkard
Tripping on futures so absurd

I plan construction
Of my own destruction

I am the feeder
To dreams of grandeur

I am a magician
Of wild, potent concoctions

I am a tycoon
Of emotional typhoons

I am an adept
Skilled in exploiting concepts

I am a parasite
Brandishing fangs that bite

I play host
To a monstrous, hideous ghost

I am an addict
Of thoughts derelict

I am the dreamer
Incapable of anything lesser

I am a diver
Sinking deeper and deeper

I am an insatiable thief
Claiming trophies without grief

I am an emotional hermit
Hoarding my all in a bottomless pit

I am a weaver
Fabricating tales that meander

I am a Neanderthal
Adopting behaviours and habits that appall

I am an ape
Mending wounds that gape

I am but me
I'm blind, fighting to see

I am rhymesmith
I lie through my teeth
Getting hard to breathe
Heart to words, I seethe...
Patrick Austin Sep 2018
Tinder dame, early September,
kindred flame I'll long remember.
I crossed her path & she crossed mine,
attraction shared was so in line.
A close encounter, nothing serious?
I'd never tried, she had me curious.
Commitment for us to meet soon,
tonight at 9, nearby saloon.
The tension built 'til she arrived,
a warm embrace, my fears subside.
All the while my stomach in knots,
we cleared the air & shared our thoughts.
Talk of cribbage & our pasts,
hopes for futures built to last.
Face to face, our eyes spoke words,
reading minds, beyond what's heard.
Telling I could use a nudge,
She told me she's not one to judge.
Rainier cans & shots of whiskey,
holding hands & feeling frisky.
She opened doors, established trust.
Leaving together was a must.
One more dose of nerve eraser,
another first, a pickle chaser.
We walked along, enjoyed the view,
talked and smoked, Camel's for two.
The house of love, our room awaits,
we tiptoed through the noisy gates.
Alone at last, where to begin?
The curtains drawn, a lovers den.
Our souls & skin soon came together,
kissing lips soft like a feather.
Arousal swelled, and time stood still,
as I explored her lakes and hills.
A loving gesture I did get,
the best one I have ever yet.
Overcome with thoughts of lust,
the mounted madam felt my ******.
Upon her neck, my hands feel right,
She'll teach me more another night.
Our scissored legs ensured a ride,
within so deep I could reside.
Both of us were so perspired,
we drank some water, cooled the fire.
On through the venture we pursued,
enjoyed each other in the ****.
I found it such a great surprise,
my hands controlled her rolling eyes.
A luscious lass with her own way,
her glass half full began to spray.
I found it far beyond appealing,
it gave us both a special feeling.
Afterwards we're side by side,
I couldn't sleep, my smile's so wide.
Bursts of sleep, I dreamt for more,
was not prepared to close this door.
In morning light, our eyes would meet,
I kissed her more beneath the sheet.
Our bodies rested now and ready,
I gave her mine & took hers steady.
I lost my focus in her eyes,
My ***** release, between her thighs.
A perfect evening, morning too,
a shared passion with someone new.
A breakfast spot, that we both know,
Sandwich, omelet, cups of joe.
It was so nice to share a meal,
two new friends who made a deal.
As we went our separate ways,
I hope again, her eyes I'll gaze.
When I felt lost, inside myself,
I found my way through someone else.
This poem is based on my first experience with online dating. A very inspiring event after a difficult separation from my long time spouse. It provided me with a positive outlook and confidence during a time of chaos, confusion and self doubt.
Daniel Berg Oct 2013
Another head hangs low,

Open up your eyes,

Nothing left to show,

In for a surprise.

Brainwash subliminal,

Far too criminal,

What to do when it all goes bang?

Safe to say the fat lady sang.

Free peoples unite,

The time has come to fight,

World leaders in cahoots,

Lost meanings of salutes.

Boiling in to a revolution,

Seems to me the only solution.

Creative arts lost their purpose,

Look far beneath the surface.

People flocking to normality,

What happened to individuality?

Freedom to think doth still remain,

Ability to question we must retain.

Lessons of the past slowly erased,

Rights and freedoms slowly defaced.

Today is only the past of tomorrow,

Don't let our futures turn to sorrow.
Isabel Aghahowa Feb 2019
within the red is life unwoven
an unknown that rests undefined
before it knows it’s end
it leaves traces of its redundance in the shape of senseless tremors
and restless quivers
that leave me paralysed in time

the blood curse 
the ritual of unborn futures  
it leaves me thinking  of
slashing the bonds of my abdomen
for the bittersweet release
of this cascading trauma
will leave me unmade
and free from bloodfilled womanhood
September Roses Jun 2018
For a while now things have seemed
A very certain way
But recently
There seems to be
Thoughts leading me astray
I'm very used to the worn trail path that I thought was forever true
But of New
All I can do
Is change my mind of you
It's as if I've been awakened to life on the other side of the grass
For so long now I've looked ahead and let the rest just pass
I thought that what's in front of me must be the best it was
But I've seen the other futures
And now it's all I want
I had this picture
In my mind
Of how perfect you would be
But it seems
just an inch to the right
Was what was really right for me
Moon marked and touched by sun
my magic is unwritten
but when the sea turns back
it will leave my shape behind.
I seek no favor
untouched by blood
unrelenting as the curse of love
permanent as my errors
or my pride
I do not mix
love with pity
nor hate with scorn
and if you would know me
where the restless oceans pound.

I do not dwell
within my birth nor my divinities
who am ageless and half-grown
and still seeking
my sisters
witches in Dahomey
wear me inside their coiled cloths
as our mother did
mourning.

I have been woman
for a long time
beware my smile
I am treacherous with old magic
and the noon's new fury
with all your wide futures
promised
I am
woman
and not white.
Flavia Nov 2012
Why do you do this?
Your Army of Nothings
Who lay in the sun
and are all but sweet
who swelter and sweat
in that fresh cut grass
mowed by a man
you can't hope to know.
And you,
you there, with the grin
Who's side are you on anyway?
What made you the prince
of the Army of Nothings;
The leader, the first in command.
You spout and you spit
that ******* and bare
your teeth at me like you're the bomb
dot com
You're such a disgrace.
parading around
with your head up your ***
"So what's new?"
Oh, shut up,
You can't even fill out your pants.
Why should I care for you,
why should I feel?
How will I ever come home?
Where welcoming words
and magical treasure,
and stories that never come true
but are good.
Where futures of light once reigned so supreme
I swore they would never run dry.
I thought you'd missed out,
you know, then and there,
of the life that we talked of in dreams.
No flowers and chocolates,
no diamond rings,
just love.
Made of stuff so much deeper
and denser
and finer
and lovely, and warm, and alive...
But it's over, and done.
and I can't have it back.
So I go on avoiding
the Army of Nothings
as they come marching in
marching in
one two, at the ready
I feel deep in my bones
that breaking and tearing
Help me, archangel!
Save me! You promised!
You said you would always be there
in that carved-out big apple
our home, once upon
when we laughed and were happy and good.
But goodness runs out.
You made that as clear
as a crystal that needs to be smashed.
And I did that, remember?
I left it all broken and you were so proud
So proud I had chosen
the right over wrong.
yet you overlook
all the splinters of glass
all there
all here
all lurking in me.
I don't want to cry
or beg or to fight
But I loved you in ways
that she found unacceptable?

So silly, so stupid,
so big that it keeps you away

Not that I care very much
For your army of nothings
or things that remind me
of memories gone with the wind


**But I do.
Dorothy A Apr 2012
The first time that Evan laid eyes on her, he told himself that he was going to marry her. Embarrassed by his own fantasy, he quickly dismissed that thought as fast as it came to mind, telling himself what an idiot he was. Yet, from time to time, in spite of his reasoning, the thought would invade his skull.

What a dumb idea anyhow! It was just lame, teenage fantasyland! Girls did that kind of junk all the time, saying they were going to be Mrs. So-and-so, and thank God nobody could read his mind to know what he was dreaming up! Like she would marry him! He felt like a dumb ****, great in athletics, but far out of her league. Not even having the courage yet to ask a girl out on a date, and now he was already thinking of marriage! Pathetic! Really! Only a freshman in high school, he felt he should know better, lacking the good common sense his dad always tried to drive into him and had himself.

Ginny Delgado belonged with the smart kids, the brains of the school, although she seemed to stick more by herself, away from any stereotypical clique. Evan had first seen her in his biology class, and he remembered when other students wanted to copy off of her test papers. She never allowed any of that to happen, though, even if it would gain her popularity, false popularity but attention just the same.

It was a surprise to him that Ginny seemed to have few friends. Mostly, girls who were nerdy and smart did not seem very attractive or put together. Ginny seemed to have it all. She was smart and pretty, but she never identified with any of the girls who thought they were hot—and all other girls were not—and so she stood apart as one who shrouded herself in guarded aloofness.

And now here he was at his 20th high school reunion, one he really did not want to attend, but talked himself into going anyway. Perhaps, he could shoot the breeze and run into a few old buddies, his basketball friends. He didn't think that much of Ginny since he graduated from Fillmore, much less anybody from all those years ago. There really wasn’t any reason to reminisce once high school was behind him. School was not misery for Evan Stewart, but it wasn’t a time where everything seemed magical and carefree, not like for some students who looked upon those days as some of the fondest memories of their lives.

It was the class of ’92, and a huge banner displayed across one of the walls read, “Welcome back, class of 1992! Fillmore High School rules!” There was a good turnout, and Evan recognized a lot of people, although there were fewer that he knew by name.  

Sitting under dimly light lights, around a bunch of round tables, Evan now sat with the other alumni, stuck in a crowded hall with music blaring away from the early nineties. He had his overpriced meal. He had his few beers.

But what now?

He was almost bored to death. He was beginning to watch the clock more and more, scanning the room to see if he could possibly find reason to stay longer.  But then something happened that he never expected to happen, never even would have imagined it.

And, suddenly, his heart started to pick up its pace.

Was that her?

Evan thought he had made out the vague shape of a possibly familiar figure, an amazing and sudden surprise. Was that Ginny Delgado?

He wondered if he was seeing things as he intently stared across the room at the shadowy prospective of Ginger Delgado. But with the low amount of lighting, it just might not be her but someone he never even met before. How awkward would what be?

If it was Ginny, she was sitting next to a guy who seemed obnoxious and full of himself. Even from afar, he appeared to be a guy who would be in everyone’s face, with wild hand gestures, talking away and giving nobody else a chance for a word in edgewise.  If that really was Ginny, was that her husband? What a trip that would be! All the sense he once attributed to her would have to have gone out the window, if that were the case.

Sitting at Evan’s table were several of the other guys that were also heavy into high school basketball. Most were married and came with their wives—nobody was alone as Evan was—and now they all tried to act like they were thrilled to be all gathered together to show off their accomplishments. They were all passing around stories of life after high school, after basketball—some with talk of their college days, their wives, their kids, their jobs and careers—plenty of drinks to go around, and some toasting to the good, old days and to even brighter futures ahead. Evan was never married and did not have any children, so he felt he had much less to say. Most of those guys were not even very interesting, even though they tried to make it out that they had achieved so much in their lives. They may have been out of shape and past their prime, but all of them tried to act like they were the same as they were twenty years ago. None of what they all said impressed Evan at all, even though he tried to be interested.

He kept looking at the woman across the room, and the more he looked at her, the more he was convinced he was spot on about her. She had to be Ginny! He should just get up now and have the guts to ask her! But what would she say? Yes, I am Ginny Delgado, and this pushy **** next to me is my husband?

Though he was twenty years older, Evan felt just as awkward and as scared as he did in his freshman Biology class. It was better to just let the issue be. He’d rather save face than look like a total fool.

Suddenly, the unexpected occurred, something that gave Evan’s heart even more of a stir than he initially had when he spied her presence. Was it possible? Ginny now looked like she was starring back at him, as if they had somehow miraculously locked eyes and she had an uncanny ability to notice him back, from that afar off, now being transfixed onto him!  

You’ve really lost it now. What do you think, that she really notices you and remembers you?

Ginny stopped paying attention to the obnoxious man beside her and kept looking in Evan’s direction. She even reached her hand up and gave a little wave out his way.

Timidly, Evan waved back.

Standing up, Ginny started to make her way across the room. The obnoxious guy next to her looked on after her, like he could not believe she had wanted to part company with him. Evan guessed she was not his wife—thank God for that!

No, there is just no way she is coming over to talk to you. Alright, maybe she is. Get a hold of yourself now! Stop acting like a teenager and act like you actually know something about women. Come on, Evan! Get it together! She is coming.

Evan was right. It was Ginny Delgado! But she stopped short of his table to sit a down at the table in front of him, next to another fellow classmate of theirs, a female student that he vaguely remembered, though he did not know her name.

It was almost a relief she did not come to sit with him! Yet the disappointment was equally there. Seeing her more up close, Evan knew for sure it was Ginny. She was still quite pretty, perhaps even more so now, her medium brown hair and her dark purple dress complimenting each other. Not wanting to stare, Evan couldn’t help but to shoot many glances her way, without trying to be too obvious.
          
She smiled a lot, glad to talk to another person that she knew, and probably glad to be away from the guy she was stuck with before. Her eyes sparkled, and Evan never remembered ever seeing her so unguarded. In biology class, she was quiet, like he tended to be. Now she seemed so different, seemingly freer to be herself. Evan rarely saw her smile in high school, but thought she was very serious and sophisticated.

Before long, the DJ was now playing Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven. Couples at all tables were making their way to the dance floor. Soon, Ginny was approached by some guy who asked her to join him for a dance. She shook her head, no. Nonchalantly, the man turned to the woman that Ginny knew and asked her. She gladly accepted, said something to Ginny as if to have her permission and understanding, and then took the man’s hand to go to the dance floor. Ginny remained at the table by herself, looking on at the dancers with seemingly little regret that she declined an offer.

This might be your only chance, idiot. Are you going to blow it and be a wuss? Go up to her and tell her that you remember her. Go on! It is your perfect chance. What do you have to lose? If she isn’t interested, just go then. You’ve spent enough time here anyway!

“Hi…Ginny Delgado isn’t it?”

Evan asked as he approached her from behind. He cleared his throat. His voice had sounded so gravelly, as if he hadn’t uttered a single word all night. And his heart was beating a mile a minute, and he swore it must have been pulsating through his shirt. He was glad he put his suit jacket back on, for he was probably sweating like crazy.  

Ginny looked up, seemed to look puzzled, but then smiled a little. “I remember you!” she said with growing enthusiasm on her face. “Oh, but I’m sorry. You are going to have to tell me your name again”.

“Evan Stewart”, he replied. “We were in biology class together Remember? We were sophomores.”

A succession of slow songs was now being played, and Ginny’s friend was enjoying the time with her new dance partner. She certainly was in no hurry to make her way back to the table to rejoin sitting and talking with Ginny.

“Oh, sure! I remember now!” Ginny exclaimed. “Evan Stewart. Of course! You were the tall, shy guy that everyone liked because you knew how to win one for us. You were big into baseball, weren’t you?”

“Well, basketball was my best sport. I liked baseball, too, and track”, he replied humbly. It was amazing! She actually remembered more him than he thought she would!  “

Can I sit down and join you?” he asked, his courage and confidence growing.

“Oh, do!” Ginny replied, eagerly.

He felt like he was in seventh heaven. How cool was this? Sitting with Ginny Delgado? It was a bonus to a fairly descent reunion.

“So what have you been up to for the last twenty years?” Evan asked. His face was flush with embarrassment, as if he was just a guy who happened to luck out, but had no real skill in socializing with a woman he once fantasized about.

Ginny laughed a little, putting her hand up to her mouth as if her response was inappropriate. She responded, “You want a few hours? Or should I just give you a one word response?”

Evan smiled, blushing, as he tried to appear smooth and confident. “A one word response?” he asked.

“Yes. I can say it in one word—roller coaster….oops, that is two words”.

They both just sat there as I Can’t Make You Love Me, by Bonnie Raitt, played on.  

“Yeah…I guess I could say that about my life”, Evan agreed. “Would you like me to get you something from the bar?” he offered. “A coke or a beer?”

Ginny stared out onto the floor, as if she never heard him. “Isn’t it amazing how everyone comes to see the same people they always used to hang out with and still intend to hang out with to this day?” she asked. “How boring and predictable!”

Evan looked at her, puzzled, “What do you mean?”

Ginny continued to look out onto the floor, the music now upbeat dance music, and said, “Well, I mean you see all the football heroes all hanging out with each other. The members of the debate team are all huddled together as if they are preparing for the next debate. The cheerleaders, the drama club, the science club geeks…nothing has changed has it?”  

Evan shrugged his shoulders. “I guess that is typical. But that isn’t me. Sure, I saw some of the guys I played ball with, basketball, but the truth is I am not really that interested in hanging out with them.”

Ginny turned to look at him, her hazel eyes intent and solemn. Evan added, “I don’t have any contact with any of them. Nothing against them. I just don’t”.

They looked at each other in the eyes for a while. The silence was awkward. It was as Evan’s watching and waiting for her reply was the cue for Ginny to open up, and open up she did.

“I went to UCLA on a scholarship. I became a history major, world history, American history, women’s history. I never intended to teach, not at first. But it just seemed a good fit for me, and I have had plenty of teaching jobs, junior high school, high school. I moved to Sacramento.  I was briefly married after I got my first real teaching job there.”

Ginny’s eyes glistened. There was a pain in them that seemed locked in deep, not really wanting to expose itself too much, but coming out nonetheless.

Evan listened on, eagerly, so she went on, her gaze towards the dance floor “It did not work out. He cheated. He did it more than once and with more than one woman.  And now that I look back, I can see how wrong it all was, especially after my miscarriage. At first, I was so crushed, and I wanted to try again, for another baby, to try to please him, Jim, my husband. Thank God, I didn’t go on and on with him. I am glad I came back here…..back to Springdale.”

She looked back at Evan. He quickly looked away from her glance, his eyes downcast to the table. She wasn’t kidding. Her life was a roller coaster. He did not know what to say, felt so inadequate.

He decided to just share, in return.

”I was engaged once. It was a long engagement. She was a friend of a friend. Lana was her name. She told me she wanted to be with me, but she just wasn’t ready to make the big leap just right away. Actually, I am kind of glad now that I look back. We both owned our own shops. She was a hair stylist and I owned my own car repair shop, but that was about all we really had in common. I mean not really, even though we both liked sports a lot. We never seemed to agree on anything.”

Like he did, Ginny just listened intently, not attempting to make any reply. Evan added, “She was willing to cut me down in a second. I see that now”.

“Well how do you like that?!”

Evan and Ginny looked up as the woman that Ginny came over to see arrived back from the dance floor. She was walking, hand in hand, with her new found dance partner, fanning herself with her hand and laughing.

“Ginny’s got some company, too!” she exclaimed, beaming at Evan.    

Ginny replied, “Rhonda Flemming, this is Evan Stewart. She used to be Rhonda Boehner back in Fillmore”

Ginny turned to Evan to introduce him to her old classmate. “Evan…Rhonda. Evan, I don’t know if you two ever met each other before when we all went to school”.

“I’m not sure I have, either”, he replied, extending his hand to shake Rhonda’s. Rhonda quickly grabbed hold of his and gave it an overly enthusiastic shake.

“Hi, Evan!” she exclaimed "This handsome man next to me  is Brian. I never knew Brian until he asked me to dance!” she said excitedly. “And I am newly divorced and so is he! How strange is that?”

Brian shook Evan’s hand and then Ginny’s. “How’s it going?” he asked, grinning with embarrassment at Rhonda’s forward frankness.

“Ginny is one of the smartest people”, Rhonda went on to Evan and Brian. “We were once partners in an English class. We had to write a paper about each other. That was so fun in an otherwise booooooring class. Remember, Ginny?”

Ginny rolled her eyes, and made a shooing gesture with her hand to convey that Rhonda did not know what she was talking about. “I’m not as smart as anyone ever thought I was. I just worked hard and did my best, but thanks anyway for the compliment” , she said, modestly.  

“Oh, you were, too, Ginny!” Rhonda disagreed. She had a gleeful glint in her eyes. “Always so serious, Ginny Delgado! “

Rhonda grabbed Brian’s hand. “Hey, Brian and I are going to go mingle and walk around and see what trouble we can get into. You two want to join us?  

Ginny and Evan looked at each other as if to say “No way!” Ginny responded, “I think we are just fine here, but thanks”

Rhonda winked at her and then tugged at Brian’s hand. The pair of them went off together, leaving Evan and Ginny to themselves.

Evan smirked at Ginny, and then they both started cracking up with muffled laughter. Evan paused and then burst out laughing again. “Where did you find her?” he asked. A tear actually began to run down his face from laughing so hard, and he quickly wiped it away.

Ginny stopped laughing, tried to compose herself, but busted out with even more laugh
Revi Abari Apr 2015
It’s a shame that my country doesn't care about my futures

A government where every Politician has the same ideas
Like our economic problems aren't a big deal
Weve been shielded from reality to think everything’s fine
But what happens when the time comes where you can’t hide behind your political party
Or is trying to help our country as useless as trying to find information on a wiped hardrive
hand slaps shoulder knee rhythmically that’s called hamming the bone sitting on a street curb singing making up lyrics i got a transitor sister loves cossack named jake he rides Cherokee chopper all he’s ever known is hate he’s going down underground where a man can be a man wrestle alligators live off the land ebb flow i don’t know racing chasing hair-pin turning at 150 miles per hour downshift to 3rd spread the word sweet sour naked flower touching skin deep within defies all sin with a grin speed speed speed all i need i’m getting off coming on you tawny scrawny bow-legged pigeon-toed knock-kneed Don Juan Ponce de Leon Aly Khan all wrapped up into one going to have ******* good time good time tonight i feel like an orphan mom and dad seem so far away tonight i feel like an orphan you make me feel this way hand slaps shoulder knee rhythmically hand bone hand bone

Odyseuss drifts job to job construction worker office assistant waiter whatever he does not understand how road to recognition works continues showing portfolio to art dealers but they react indifferently he does not know how to attain notice in art world begins to suspect there is no god watching over souls instead he imagines infinite force juggling light darkness creation destruction love hate Mom and Dad insist he can earn respectable income if only he will learn commodity futures like cousin Chris Mom says you can work down at the exchange and paint on the side a part of Odysseus wants desperately to please his parents he considers perhaps Mom is right for the time being maybe build up nest egg it seems like sensible plan he wonders why Dad and Mom never speak about money how to save manage they treat the subject as forbidden topic Odysseus has no idea what Dad or Mom earn or investment strategies Odysseus is about to make serious mistake the decision to get job working at commodity exchange needs deeper examination why is he giving in to his parents what attracts him to commodities trading is it Chris’s achievement and the money? does Odysseus honestly see himself as a winning trader or does it simply look like big party with lots of rich men pretty young girls is that where he wants to be why is he giving up on his dream to be a great artist does it seem too impossible to reach who makes him think that? is he going to give up on his true self? he halfheartedly follows his parent’s advice begins working as runner at Chicago Mercantile Exchange several friends including Calexpress disloyalty for entering straight world commodity markets are not exactly straight in 1978 clearing firms pay adequately hours are 8 AM to 2 PM over course of next 6 months Odysseus runs orders out to various trading pits cousin Chris rarely acknowledges Odysseus maybe Chris feels need to protect his image of success perhaps in front of his business associates Chris is embarrassed by Odysseus’s menial rank and goof-off attitude maybe Chris senses what a terrible mistake Odysseus has made

Chicago suffers harsh winter in February Roman Polanski skips bail in California flees to France in April President Carter postpones production of neutron bomb which kills people with radiation leaving buildings intact in October Yankees win World Series defeating Dodgers in November Jim Jones leads mass-****** suicide killing 918 people in Jonestown Guyana in December in San Francisco Dianne Feinstein succeeds murdered Mayor George Moscone in Chicago John Wayne Gacy is arrested

darkness descends upon Odysseus his heart is not into commodity business more accurately he hates it he loathes battleship gray color of greed envy he resents prevailing overcast of misogyny he meets many pretty girls yet most of them are only interested in catching a trader it is rumored numerous high rolling traders hire young girls for sole purpose of morning ******* remainder of day girls are free to mingle run trivial errands commodity traders typically trash females it is primitive hierarchy Odysseus bounces from one clearing firm to another then moves to Chicago Options Exchange then Chicago Board of Trade on foyer wall just outside trading floor hangs bronze plaque commemorating all men who served in World War 2 Uncle Karl’s name is on that plaque Daddy Pat bought his son seat hoping to set him up after war Uncle Karl’s new wife wanted to break away from Chicago persuaded him to sell seat move to California Uncle Karl bought car wash outside Los Angeles with Daddy Pat’s support Mom and Dad encourage assure Odysseus commodities business is right choice they promise to buy him full seat on exchange if he continues to learn markets they feel certain he can be saved from his artistic notions the markets are soaring in profits cousin Chris is riding waves a number of Chris’s friends are sons of parents who belong to same clubs dine at same restaurants as Mom and Dad Odysseus is not alpha-male like Chris Odysseus is a dreamer painter poet writer explorer experimenter unlike Chris who has connections Odysseus starts out as runner then gets job holding deck for yuppie brokers in Treasury Dollar trading pit Odysseus holds buy orders between index and middle fingers sell orders in last 2 fingers arranged by time stamp price size in other hand holds nervous pencil he stands step below boss in circular pit in room size of football field full of raised pits everything is traded cattle hogs pork bellies all currencies gold numbers flash change instantaneously in columns on three high walls fourth wall is glass with seats behind for spectators thousands of people rush around delivering orders on telephones flashing hand signals shouting offers quantities every moment every day calls come in frantically from all around world space is organized chaos sometimes not so organized fortunes switch hands in nano-seconds it is global fiscal battleground rallies to up side or breaks to down side send room into hollering pushing shoving hysteria central banks financial institutions kingpin mobsters with political clout daring entrepreneurs old thieves suburban rich kids beautiful people pretty young females abound big guns **** in same air stand next to low-ranking runners everyone flirts sweats sneezes knows inside they are each expendable Odysseus is spellbound by sheer force magnitude he feels immaterial only grip is his success with girls it is not conscious talent he grins girls grin back Chris’s trader friends recognize Odysseus’s ability they push him to introduce girls to them it is way for Odysseus to level playing field he has no money or high opinion of himself he simply knows how to hook up with girls

1979 January Steelers defeat Cowboys at Super Bowl Brenda Ann Spencer kills 2 faculty wounds 8 students responds to incident “i don't like Mondays” in February Khomeini seizes power in Iran in March Voyager space-probe photographs Jupiter’s rings a nuclear power plant accident occurs at Three Mile Island Pennsylvania in May Margaret Thatcher is elected Prime Minister in England in Chicago American Airlines flight 191 crashes killing 273 people in November Iran hostage crisis begins 90 hostages 53 of whom are American in December Soviet Union invades Afghanistan 1980 in November Ronald Reagan defeats Jimmy Carter one year since Iran hostage crisis began

he meets good-looking younger girl named Monica on subway heading home from work he has seen her running orders on trading floor she is tall slender with long dark brown hair in ponytail pointed nose wide mouth innocent face she confides her estranged father is famous Chicago mobster Odysseus recognizes his name they talk about how much they dislike markets arrant disparity of wealth between traders and themselves Odysseus says i hate feeling of being so disposable worthless Monica replies yeah me too he tells her if i was a girl i’d ******* myself to several handsome generous traders Monica acknowledges that’s an interesting idea but who? how? which traders? do you know? he answers yeah i know exactly who and how Monica says if you’re serious i’m in i have a girlfriend named Larissa who might also be interested i’ll call Larissa tonight following day Monica approaches Odysseus at work agrees to meet at his place after markets close that afternoon Monica and Larissa show up eager to learn more about Odysseus’s scheme Larissa is petite built like a gymnast giggly light brown hair younger than Monica he lays it all out for them cousin Chris and his buddies the money ******* both girls are quite lovely he suggests they rehearse with him he will coach them on situations settings techniques girls consent for 4 weeks every afternoon they meet at Odysseus’s place get naked play out different scenarios he shows girls how to pose demure at first then display themselves skillfully fingers delicately pulling open ***** spreading wide apart buns working hidden muscles he directs each to take up numerous positions tasks techniques then has them switch places he teaches them timing starting slow gradually building up rhythms stirring into passionate frenzy having two mouths four hands creates novel sets of possibilities one girl attends his front while other excites his rear he positions them side-by-side so he can penetrate any of all four holes he stacks them one on top of the other many other variations after reaching ****** several times making sure to reciprocally satisfy their eager needs Odysseus dismisses girls until following day finally after month of practice Monica and Larissa feel confident proficient primed Odysseus arranges for girls to meet with 2 traders through Chris most traders have nicknames Twist who is hosting event is notoriously wild insatiable on opening night Odysseus behaves like concerned father Larissa and Monica each bring several dresses and pairs of shoes Odysseus helps them choose suggests Monica ease up on make-up he styles Larissa’s hair instructs Monica to call him when they arrive again when they leave he requests they return directly to his place Monica wears hair pulled back in French twist pearl earrings sleek little black dress black stiletto heels she stands several inches above Odysseus Larissa wears braided pigtails pink low-scooped leotard brown plaid wool kilt just above knees brown suede cowboy boots he kisses each on lips then pats their butts warns them to be careful mindful Monica winks Larissa giggles more than an hour passes as Odysseus sits wondering why he has not heard from girls suddenly reality hits he does not want to be commodities trader and certainly not a **** this is not how he wants to be known or remembered Odysseus wants to be a painter and writer Monica and Larissa are good sweet girls whom he has misguided he calls Twist’s place Twist answers Odysseus asks to speak with Monica when she comes to phone he questions are you all right Monica answers yes we’re fine we’re having a fantastic time why are you calling what’s wrong he explains you were suppose to call me when you arrived i began to worry i think maybe this whole arrangement is a bad idea i want you to call it off and come back home i don’t want either of you to become prostitutes i love you both and don’t want to be associated with dishonoring you Monica says it’s a little late to call it off but we’ll see you when we’re done kissy kiss bye Odys another hour passes then another he frets wondering what they are doing after 4 hours as he is about to call Twist’s house again doorbell rings Monica and Larissa both giggling beaming Odysseus can spot they have a coke buzz Monica announces you should be proud of us Odys we got each of them off 2 times we left them stone-numb and tapped out the girls open their purses each slaps 5 hundred dollar bills unto table Monica says this is your cut Odys we both got a thousand for ourselves he replies i can’t touch that money we need to sit down and talk Monica demands no talking Odys take off your clothes he insists i’m serious Monica i’m never going to send you out again Larissa claims there’s no turning back for me i had too much fun Monica  pleads come on Odys we’ll be good we promise now take off your clothes Twist and his buddy never attended to our needs i’m ***** as hell Larissa where’s that little bottle of dust Twisty handed you

Chicago Monday night December 8 1980 Cal and Odysseus sit at North End they're on 4th round feeling buzz the place is lively adorned with holiday decorations Cal says you’ve changed Odysseus questions what do you mean? how? Cal says the commodity markets and your cousin and his friends they’ve changed you when was the last time you painted Odys? are you dealing coke Odysseus looks Cal in the eyes answers they’re so ******* rich Cal you can’t believe it one drives a black Corvette Stingray another a ******* Delorean anything they want they buy girls cars clothes condos boats yeah i’m dealing coke to Chris’s friends it’s my only leverage remember the Columbian dude Armando we met at tittie bar? i score from him and keep it clean Chris’s buddies pay up for the quality i don’t remember my last painting maybe the black painting i never finished after breaking up with Reiko Lee a girl falls off bar stool crashing to floor at other end of bar Cal says Odys, you better play it careful you’re messing with the devil got any blow on you suddenly bar grows quiet someone turns up TV volume they watch overhead as news anchorman speaks slow solemn camera pans splattered puddle of blood pieces of broken glass on steps to Dakota Building Cal looks to Odysseus John Lennon has been murdered Cal waits for Odysseus to say something tear rolls down cheek Cal glances away stares down at floor they drink in silence
Taiga Rawr May 2015
Not near-sighted; not far-sighted

Just blinded by stupidity
By rich inhumanity
Lack of love in society

Absence of insight; omission of outsight

Just censored curiosity
Loss of credibility
Condemned abnormality

Futures foresighted; actions unsighted

The past, no punctuality
Death by immortality
Buried from reality
There has been some contradiction and confusion on whether or not 'outsight' is actually a word. Through common knowledge and basic spellcheck, 'outsight' is not a word. But 'Dictionary.com' says that it is truly part of the English vocabulary. So believe what you want to believe.
PK Wakefield Apr 2012
the futures always never immediate
imminently futile brief furious
not like fields outward sprawling
instantaneously 'neath an entire
sea of stars faultless unheaving
pastoral breathless catches you
sharply between your *******
quivering elated passing immutably
into dust

                (and i just laugh and pull
                 the finite immeasurable
                 lust of thy beginning kiss
                 into a trembling pile of lips,

                                                                '

                                                          ,


                                                                     ,



                                            '



                                                                                .
Sean Kassab Jul 2012
It was in the earlier part of November, 2005 when I was called to the garrison HQ to receive an emergency Red Cross message informing me that my grandfather had passed away. I was in my third year of service as a direct contractor to the Army and my duty station was in Iraq. More specifically, I was at Tallil AFB near the city of An Nasiriyah. I was granted an emergency leave so that I could go back to the US to be with my family so I stowed my gear, packed my duffel and made the long trip home. This was the first time I would make this trip, but I’m getting ahead of myself so let me back up a bit. You see, my grandfather had served in the Second World War, actually both of them had. They were brothers. PFC Eddie Kassab, the one I’m speaking about here, had survived WWII through some pretty tough odds, including being on the third wave of the Normandy invasion at D-Day where thousands had died during the beach head assault. His brother, SFC Joseph Kassab, who married my grandmother, was killed in that war, He was a bombardier and his plane was shot down during the Guadalcanal campaign. It wasn’t until 27 years later that the wreckage of the aircraft and remains were found and recovered. When Joseph died leaving behind his young wife and new born son, Eddie began looking after her, sending home money for her and the boy, my father. They wrote back and forth to eachother after the dissappearance of Joseph and when he returned to the US after the war they courted and were eventually married. Joseph was laid to rest with the rest of his flight crew in Arlington with full military honors. Eddie, who died much later in life, was also afforded a military service there. That was my first time being in Arlington National Cemetery, a place reserved for men and women who had served their country in a military capacity. It is difficult to describe just how immense and powerful that place is, the impact you have on your life just from standing on those grounds is indescribable. If I had to try I would say it’s a mixed feeling of Honor, pride, sorrow, and a profound sense of loneliness. There are row upon row of white marble markers spanning miles of emerald green grass and broad shade trees. The markers themselves are simple, nothing fancy, but the respect they command is beyond contestation. There are also wall vaults for those who were cremated, one of these would become Eddie’s final resting place. The US Army's honor guard performed his service, while a trumpeter played “Taps” and his flag was folded and presented on behalf of a grateful nation to my father who Eddie raised as his own son. In the distance a 21 gun salute was given by seven riflemen firing three shots each. It would be the only time in my life that I saw my father cry. We took the time after Eddie’s service to walk to Joseph’s grave marker as well, passing thousands of other markers and I found myself wondering how many of these people were forgotten by the years. How many of them left behind young children. Were they killed in combat? How many of them were laid to rest with a grave full of unfulfilled dreams? The sacrifices they made weighed heavily upon me. It was a feeling I would carry with me long after I had left that place.
Years had passed and I found myself still working in Iraq for the US Army, I was stationed at Camp Taji this time, on the edge of Sadr City, a real dust bowl. I was in my eighth year of service when I was again called to Garrison HQ, another emergency Red Cross message had come through informing me that my Father had passed away. It was December 29th 2010. For hours afterward it felt as if I had been punched in the gut. I called my Mom as soon as I could to make sure she was ok and to see if there was anything she needed before making arrangements for yet another emergency leave. I again stowed my gear, packed my duffel and headed out. Now, it’s only fair to give you an idea of whom I’m talking about here, my Father, Jan, had been a Navy man and had been stationed on submarines as well as destroyer class ships during the Vietnam War. He signed up for service when he was just 18 years old and when he left the Navy he went directly into the Maitland Fire Department in central Florida and stayed there for many years. Eventually he expanded his training becoming the 80th paramedic in the state as well as a certified rescue diver and instructor. More importantly, he was a great father who raised two boys as a father should and later in life, he was a pretty good drinking buddy. His teachings and advice have helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. It was because of his prior military service that he was also awarded full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. There was a waiting list of about 8 weeks at the time because of the high volume of casualties from the wars in the Middle East so it wasn’t until February of 2011 that he was finally laid to rest. This time it was the US Navy’s honor guard who performed his service. I remember it well; they stood in their dress whites throughout the ceremony in the biting cold as the wind whipped by mercilessly.  The honor and discipline in these men was no less than awe inspiring and through my sadness I couldn’t help but feel an amazing sense of pride for who my father was during his life. We all stood as a trumpeter again played “Taps” to the folding of my Father’s flag which was presented to my Mom on behalf of a grateful nation after a 21 gun salute was ordered in the distance. My Father’s remains were also placed in a wall vault that became his final resting place; his marker being only about 20 feet from Eddie’s marker in the adjacent wall and even though it was freezing that day, we took a little extra time to visit Eddie and Joseph again. Walking the grounds of that place again awakened all the feelings I had felt the first time, probably even more so. Again, I have to tell you that words couldn’t accurately describe how that place makes you feel. The grass had turned brown by now but was still immaculately manicured, and the precision placement of the grave markers was flawless. There were thousands of names that dated all the way back to the American Civil War. I went also with my brother to pay my respects at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was an impressive mausoleum that is guarded twenty four hours a day by the US Army’s horror guard.  After it was all said and done and we had left Arlington and met as a family, my Mom, my Brother and his family, myself and my family and some close friends to remember him for a while over some food and drinks, and though nobody seemed to really have any appetite we still stayed there for hours. That was the first time in eight years that I had seen my Brother and would be the last time I saw him alive, but that part comes later. Eventually we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways, each having a very long way to travel back home and I had to get ready to go back to Iraq, heavy hearted or not.
I had only been back in theater (that means deployment) for a few months when I was reassigned to Al Asad AB as my permanent duty station. It was a place in the middle of nowhere and was originally a Marine base but transferred to Army and Air Force some time in 2010. I had made some good friends there, settled in and finally started coming back to myself when I received a message from my brother’s wife asking me to call her, said it was important. Thinking back on it now, I remember feeling a little angry that she wouldn’t tell me on email. Internet I had in my room, but a phone…well I’m no general and I had already settled in for the night. It was about 21:30 hrs. (9:30 p.m.) on a night in late July so I got dressed and made the quarter mile walk to my office where I could use the phone, cursing under my breath the whole time. It took me about 20 minutes just to find my phone card in my cluttered desk drawer, but when  I finally did amongst more unsavory mutterings I made the call. She answered quickly enough but her voice sounded strained so I calmed down and asked her what was going on, I figured something wasn’t right so she didn’t need me jumping her case on top of it. It was then that she told me my Brother’s body had been found in his home in Whiteville NC. He had been having a hard time with depression since our Father passed as well as marital problems and he had made the decision to take his own life at the age of 36 leaving behind his Wife, Stepson and Daughter who was only 5 at the time. I was blindsided to say the least, no one saw this coming, and he left no real reason as to why so there still is no closure, no understanding. I was angry… no, I was furious! But I’m getting ahead of myself again. She had called me not only to inform me of what had happened, but also to ask if I had Mom’s phone number because she didn’t have it and didn’t know how to get in touch with her to tell her. I told her not to worry about it and that I’d take that on my shoulders and get back to her. It had only been five months since we laid our Father to rest and to say I dreaded making that phone call was a ridiculous understatement. It was easily one of the toughest things I ever had to do, but it had to be done all the same so I dug Mom’s number out of my wallet…and stared at it…I don’t know how long but it felt like a long time. What else could I do? What could I say? It’s not like I had an instruction booklet for delivering bad news and this was as bad as it gets. After a few deep breaths I dialed her number and decided to take the direct approach. She answered the phone and we exchanged hellos, and I asked her what she was doing. She was out shopping with Robbie at the Tractor Supply Co. He was a longtime family friend and all around good guy. I told her that I had some pretty bad news and asked if she could find a place to sit down there, but she told me it was ok to just tell her what happened so I did exactly that. I gave her all the information I had at the time, I didn’t know how to sugar coat it so I didn’t. She took it pretty well up front, not breaking down until later that evening. My Brother, SPC Troy Kassab, had enlisted in the US Army with our Father’s permission when he was only 17 years old. He was a combat medic assigned to Ft. Carson in Colorado before transferring to the 82nd Airborne Division in Ft Brag NC. He deployed to Cuba among other deployments overseas before being attached to a Ranger Unit as their medic and doing other deployments that he never would talk about much. After the army he lived in NC where he worked in restaurants while attending school on the G.I bill and volunteering on the Hickory Rescue Squad as an EMT. He eventually completed school in Winston Salem NC where he got his PA degree in general practice. Troy was a self-educated, brilliant man who wasn’t perfect but who is? He saved lives in the Army, and then continued to do so in the civilian world until his death in July of 2011. He was a husband and a father, a brother and a friend. He was important to us. It was because of his past in the Army that he also was awarded full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. This time the wait was much longer and his funeral wasn’t held until November 15th of 2011. I remember that day and the days leading up to it like it was yesterday. I had ended my deployment in Iraq on November 3rd, making it back to the US on November 6th. From the time of his death I had stayed in contact with Mom and his wife Andi to make sure they were ok and help in any way I could with the affairs and expenses. When I finally did get home I pulled my truck out of storage had it inspected, fueled and ready to go. It was unfortunate, but my wife was in college and had work at the time so she couldn’t come with us so my daughter and I made the long trip from Houston TX to Hickory NC to see Troy’s wife and kids. While I was there I also picked up a close family friend of ours who needed a ride and made the long drive to Arlington VA...again. The US Army’s honor guard met us there to perform his service and again the attention to detail, the respect given to the deceased, and the discipline shown was flawless. There were more friends this time than family in attendance but I was there with Mom, Robbie, my daughter, and some very close family friends, some going all the way back to our childhood. The ceremony was the same, every time the same. I remember thinking I hated the way “Taps” sounded as they folded the flag and I was angry and hurt when I stepped forward to claim my Brother’s remains and walk them to the wall vault that would become his final resting place. I have to say though, that through my grief and anger, I was a little bit pleased to see that he was placed so close to my Father and Grandfather. I left a pair of my own dog tags in his vault, it made me feel better that he wouldn’t be alone in there. I guess it doesn’t make a lot of sense now but at the time it did.  I stood over his marker and said a silent prayer before heading out to see Dad, Eddie and Joe’s markers and pay some respects. The grass was that brilliant emerald green again, and the sense that I stood in a place of honor reserved for our nations fallen still struck me through the heart.  After that we just kind of faded away from that place making our way home. Troy’s wife Andi had decided not to come, she was angry, she felt betrayed and abandoned, so on my way home I stopped back in Hickory NC, dropped off Michelle and made the drive to Andi’s house to present her with Troy’s flag as it had been presented to me. I remember hoping that her decision wouldn’t leave her with later regrets, but it was too late to change it now. The drive home was a long one, one that rekindled so many unanswered questions. Three generations of my family laid to rest leaving me as the only surviving male member of my family; something that still weighs upon my heart today.
But this is their story, and though it seems a sad one, that is not its intent. This story was written so that you the reader could understand that there is a place where over a hundred thousand Josephs and Eddies, and Jans and Troys are resting.  Each one of those stone crosses and stars have a face, a name, a history, and they made a sacrifice for you and for me. They were people who gave up their futures so that we could have one. They were people who had dreams, families, and who put all of that aside for what they believed in. They weren’t perfect people, but they deserve to be remembered. If you do nothing else after reading this, at least take the time to think about the freedoms that you have, freedoms that have cost us so much…
There are those who came before us, who paved the way for the lives we now live, their voices whisper to us through our freedoms and we are a greatful nation. Listen and remember...
Sam Bowden Dec 2018
Shucking oysters is a dangerous task.
Only skilled, determined hands may apply.
Why so dangerous a task you ask?
Well, let’s see?
There’s the salt, the grit, the unforgiving need...
the slips, the stabs, the you and the me.
Our boats rock along a forlorn sea.

Sitting on the dock of my mind,
the sun's rays slap me sober,
as it refuses to set for seven hundred thousand nights...

Patiently present in the moment, I am, totally attuned to the task at hand.

She's anything but simple,
this complexly succulent woman I've stumbled upon,
Unearthed I have, with my bare hands.
Rugged exterior, jagged edges,
a clear warning for all to see.
But a gorgeous glory awaits the determined, the brave, the patient,
I have faith...

I have faith in such a glory beyond legend,
in such beauty beyond reason.
Just because something feels like a miracle,
doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
For if jade kissed a pearl as it slipped into the sea,
it still wouldn't rival her beauty.

We are a meeting of minds that could unfurl for all time.
As she lines her eyes in paint,
and stains her lips like crimson art.
She's always ready for war,
launching a thousand ships in my heart.

Like the Greek Odysseus,
I've sailed upon contentment's shore,
sipping your wine and eating your grapes,
now I only want more.
Eros, the bittersweetness, is clawing at my door.
I want to live with you in the gap,
between consumption and desire,
between winter's ice and between summer's fire.

Unknowingly I have,
peeled the wall paper from her frame,
where ancient tapestries shown from beneath,
a secret no man could keep.
The scars cut deep into the fabric,
marks of carelessness in love.
The family ties that tear,
the tears of lovers once here,
now there.

Warmth gives way to wind,
and fire gives way to need.
She pulls me close,
then pushes me back,
rocking along a forlorn sea.

And like the sea,
she breathes life into me.
A great roiling tempest of the heart,
with a fury that blows reason from the mind.

Tame, tame, squeeze...    l e t   g o.
Give it...       t i m e.

Still though,
questions fray at the edges of her mind,
and yet,
with the passage of time,
the sea will settle,
the tide will recede.
I have faith in love.
And faith in me.   

Sure footed I am, even as we,
not yet a "we",
dodging rain drops,
dashing through the city,
hand-in-hand, we don't slip.
I think thoughts, but bite my lip.

And while I sip, I think;
“She's anything but simple,
this dandelion seed,
floating in the wind.
Walls up, head down,
a determined doctor,
a surgeon steeled for the journey,
thawing beneath me she is...”

“The most beautiful immigrant I've ever seen;
On the platform of her mind,
she longs for a home, leagues from her homeland,
while I scratch at the dirt of my own.
Do I belong here?
Does she? Do we?
Where is home? Security? Acceptance? Belonging?
Who knows what the futures holds?
Allahu alam, not you or me.”

Uncertain of answers,
is this a mirage or a dream?
I can’t know for sure,
So I take heart in the Unseen.

I crack the oyster open,
and swallow it inside.
I sip life's ambrosia,
and breathe in the sky.

I'll crack The Pearl of Persia,
one kiss at a time.
An ode to patience in love.
Tornado’s kicking up dust,
Leaving broken pieces of promises and futures shattered on the ground,
With no one left to pick them up but the people who are broken themselves.

Just when I thought there was no reason to keep on moving forward you came around,
Showing me that maybe I’m not so broken, that maybe the cracks in my exterior are just the challenges I’ve overcome. That the scars on my heart like gaping trenches are only battle wounds that will heal again.

You make me feel beautiful, like maybe my smile is the reason for the sun to shine in the morning, like maybe for once someone sees  in me something that I’ve yet to because I’m too stubborn to see the beauty that’s in the mirror. Look harder you told me once.

They say that to love another person you need to love yourself, but I loved you first. And although I see the dreams that could have been ours in your eyes
I pushed away because the moment I let the walls around my heart crumble like the first hit on demolition day, the moment I let you tear down all of the years I spent hating myself for never being what they wanted me to be, the moment I let you in I shied away.

You can’t love someone who’s uncomfortable in their own skin,
Who wishes everyday that they could start again and although my head is blowing up with the what ifs from yesterday and the possibilities of tomorrow, and although all I could see was grey you were there.

Were you always there?
Waiting on your steed to rescue you from the disaster that I’ve allowed myself to become, an entanglement of empty promises and sadness known all too well.
Tell me, were you hiding there among the stars I counted every night before I slept wishing that one day I’d meet you because
I think you were.

So when you turned to me and said “Who’s going to take care of you when I’m gone”
It felt like bullets ripping their way into the cavity of where my heart used to be and I realize.

I REALIZE that for the first time in my life I’m going to have to fight off the monsters under my bed by myself. That the painful words that get shot my way like arrows from an archers bow will have to be bounced away by the invisible force field I’ve built around my heart, impenetrable with no point of entry to let anyone else  because too much damage has already been caused by the people who I HAD let in.  

This heart is protected
Protected from the tornado’s kicking up dust leaving broken dreams and promises shattered on the ground with no one left to pick them up but the ones who are broken themselves
So when she looks at me and asks “Who’s going to take care of you when I’m gone?”
I look into the eyes that have become my answers in all of the confusion and I respond “I Will”.

I knew then that goodbye wasn’t far away but for one day I wanted to pretend that it wasn’t on its way. That instead of counting down the days until you left, I was counting the moments that you stayed.

I looked at the stars tonight and I counted them twice, once while looking in the sky once while looking into your eyes. And as the tears build up behind my eyes like storm clouds building for days I smile and tell you” I support you’ . I never thought I’d be the one to shoot the arrow.

The storm clouds should have been enough to make you stay but they weren’t and by the time I worked up the nerve to whisper “don’t go” you’ve gone.

**Tornado is my middle name.
I got inspiration for this because of Shane Koyczan who is an amazing Slam Poet.
Megan H May 2015
An empty chair
In the center of a dark room
Filled with tormented souls
Thinking of the ******
The lost
The forgotten.
The empty chair
There to remind them
Of all their loss
All of their grief
An empty chair
That used to be occupied
In a bright room
Filled with lively souls
Thinking of futures
Of universes
Of stars
An empty chair that once held hope.
When you lose somebody, it feels as if all hope is lost.
KM Hanslik Jun 2018
I pick up my pen again
I want these words to be everything
love letters
apologizes
confessions, daydreams
plans? Or roadmaps, new
contracts, to-do lists, like
"stop falling down," or
"try harder this time". I turn
you over but you don't give me what I'm looking for, I'm looking
for a place to dissolve this poison
I'm searching in the dark for halos that don't exist
I'm counting up nights of lost sleep,
calculating the probability of
our intertwined fingers as
remedies melt
off your tongue and run over
cracks in the pavement, oozing
sticky shower thoughts into our heads, like how
did we end up here?,& how
does the world end every night but go
on spinning the next morning?

I want this to be everything, the cure
our futures, soft plans,
collections of stitched together questions like how long
does forever taste on your breath
in the aftermath of all the anxiety you tend
to consume?

I want to pull the drapes on this thing and leave it to breathe in the
dark, leave it under
covers so these ailments don't seep
around my doorframe and pull
what is half-born into the light, let it be
let it live
let it cave in on itself and slowly
rebuild.
Chances come in
handfuls,  
let the sun forget to practice her
old game of never
letting anyone rest; my fingers are warm & numb now and they remind me a little of
how you look when you're half asleep
they remind me
why this is fragile, why this is broken
why this can never
last and I'm sitting
in the passenger seat wondering
how the soft things stretch out their wings in
my lungs without
killing me, but they're
leaving their marks now, clawing
up my throat;
I close my eyes and give
them to the open air.
 
You don't know all of this; your eyelids
are heavy and you're keeping track
of who I am in little
notepads & reminders,
keeping track
of the way we move and how likely
we are to remember this moment in 5 years,
because right now you want
to capture it and tame it like a living thing.  

We are becoming dust
molecules, we are
burning, we are becoming
quiet we don't leave footprints
we don't leave traces
we are heading toward the end of the world with our hands
tucked into our pockets, we are headed
toward the end of the world dissolving each others names on our tongues like sugar, we are headed
toward the end of the world and when we get there,

it starts again.
Athina Mitchell Feb 2016
Have you tasted
A campfire?

Have you seen
Polaroids fade?

Have you felt
The sand sparks?

     We howled at the moon.
          Our youth in full bloom.

               Our collective pasts
               Biting at ankles;
               In strength we held fast
               Denying shackles!

           Demons will come soon.
     We’ll conquer at noon.

Have you heard
Our trumpet?

Have you smelt
Victory?

But, more import
Would you like to?

— The End —