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veritas Jul 2018
gods and goddesses stilled mid-flight,
immortalized in a glory fast fading.
distilled sunlight filtering through, unheeded,
as a devastating dawn for redemption awakens.

     dust scattering over marble hands, forever supple,
as angels fall from grace,
wings clipped and torn asunder.

the sigh of a thousand lost souls, searching;
the thunder of a thousand chariots, unbridled.

     a wing outstretched, a bow pulled taught;
drawn, not fired.

frozen heroes lifting voices unheard;
     the calm before a storm, a fight unforeseen,
silver linings beckoning victories
of heaven's epics left unsung.

look up into the clouds and you'll see a history unwritten,
for they speak to you in murals
of smeared colors and pure light.

but hush! sweet child,
off you drift into an insincere sleep,
until these stories buried beneath your lips,
     singed, searing, burning away memories of the battles that
   linger ,over your tongue  ,
are no more than a shadow of a flame.

   and as his lashes flutter closed over blue eyes
   and his heavy golden curls fall on white sheets
   she whispers,
        the renaissance was not painted for you.
look up. and then higher than that.
Kevin J Taylor Sep 2015
With bat and ball and gloves in hand and on our way
we'd pass by Old Man Finch where when he'd sit and watch the world
one of us would wave. Most times he'd look,
he'd say—Ever tell you boys about the game?

He stole our breath away, sure, a hundred times.
We were fielders for him, basemen, catchers and every ball
split seconds from extra innings in mid-flight-
from-outfield-to-second-base-and-home-plate night games.

Peanuts, beer, hotdog vendors shouting,
with every other voice, shouting!
Out! You buncha losers! C'mon cmon cmon! Safe!
Allow the call or fault it, either way.

We were ball card heroes, just the same,
with bat and ball and gloves in hand and on our way.
.
This poem tells a story. Life, imagination, games, spirit of play, youth, heroes and age. Baseball! When I was a boy we collected baseball cards. Topps I think. We carried them in our pockets, traded them, flicked them across the schoolyard in games of accuracy, attached them with clothes pegs to our bikes so that they hit against the spokes when we rode and made motorcycle sounds (we imagined). Cards were toys. I don’t collect cards now but if I did I’d collect the most played-with cards I could find.

.
Not all poems survive. I've lost a few and let others go. My current collection of poems is available on Kindle. It is called "3201 e's" (that is approximately how many e's are in the manuscript which is a very unpoetic title but a reflection on the creation of poetry from common things.)
Francie Lynch Oct 2017
(Think Where Have All the Flowers Gone)

Where have all the assassins gone,
I'm just asking,
Where have all the hit-men gone,
It wasn't long ago.
Where have all the psychos gone,
Ones like Sirhan Sirhan,
Or a crazy red Russian,
Better still, an American.

Where have all the agencies gone,
I'm just asking,
The MI5, the CIA,
KGB, Mossad;
Where have covert actions gone,
When there's guys like crazed Kim Jong;
Or a crazed American,
A narcissistic American.

Where have all our heroes gone,
I'm just asking;
Where have all our leaders gone,
Not so long ago.
Where have all fine Presidents gone,
Obama was our last good one;
When will we ever learn,
Ego-maniacs can't govern.
Read to the melody of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."
Enlarged and re-posted.
Philipp K J Dec 2018
It was funny to see banners Wishing Happiness displayed with cinematic glamour, the pictures of liberty-Banner heroes.
But the one at Tannery Road junction was peculiar to mention

Here it was common
The captions Happy followed by names of sundry festivals
Local  and national.
But in bold print the name of a hero ARUMALAI outshined the caption and the hero's larger than life picture embellished with the photographer's digital brushing skills.

A passer by wondered who'd be this Arulumalai, Is he so great to be so advertised?
An ardent social worker working for social needs?

His deeds may be greater than these banners'd project.
But never ever heard of him anywhere than in these frequent banners at the Tannery road junction.

Each one passed by his casual glance attracted
provoking  protracted ruminance
What this expensive banners do?
In another occasion
the  glaring glorifying picture of ARUMALAI followed the tag Corporator
posing like a DICTATOR.


Banners changed with seasons with the wishes for Religious festivals
For reasons

But one day a strange banner took the place at Tannery junction
Not wishing a festival of any kind
But a notice stating the sad demise of ARUMALAI the BBMP corporator.

"He was sick and the local dispesery advised a minor operation.
He was administered
The necessary treatments. But referred to a super-speciality centre and his sad demise was advertised, he was forty.
His chummies complained of medical negligence", was the only news summery in major news papers...

What was the reason for the minor surgery
What're the preparations for the corporator's  operation
All are mystery for a  causal itinerary passer by
at the Tannery road  junction who wonder at the type of banners that come and go to brood for a while, the stopping time over red signal, till the green comes for him to keep passing by....
Victor D López Dec 2018
Victor D. López (October 11, 2018)

You were born five years before the beginning of the Spanish civil war and
Lived in a modest two-story home in the lower street of Fontan, facing the ocean that
Gifted you its wealth and beauty but also robbed you of your beloved and noblest eldest
Brother, Juan, who was killed while working as a fisherman out to sea at the tender age of 19.

You were a little girl much prone to crying. The neighbors would make you cry just by saying,
"Chora, neniña, chora" [Cry little girl, cry] which instantly produced inconsolable wailing.
At the age of seven or eight you were blinded by an eye Infection. The village doctor
Saved your eyesight, but not before you missed a full year of school.

You never recovered from that lost time. Your impatience and the shame of feeling left behind prevented
You from making up for lost time. Your wounded pride, the shame of not knowing what your friends knew,
Your restlessness and your inability to hold your tongue when you were corrected by your teacher created
A perfect storm that inevitably tossed your diminutive boat towards the rocks.

When still a girl, you saw Franco with his escort leave his yacht in Fontan. With the innocence of a girl
Who would never learn to hold her tongue, you asked a neighbor who was also present, "Who is that Man?"
"The Generalissimo Francisco Franco," she answered and whispered “Say ‘Viva Franco’ when he Passes by.”
With the innocence of a little girl and the arrogance of an incorrigible old soul you screamed, pointing:

"That's the Generalissimo?" followed up loud laughter, "He looks like Tom Thumb!"
A member of his protective detail approached you, raising his machine gun with the apparent intention of
Hitting you with the stock. "Leave her alone!" Franco ordered. "She is just a child — the fault is not hers."
You told that story many times in my presence, always with a smile or laughing out loud.

I don't believe you ever appreciated the possible import of that "feat" of contempt for
Authority. Could that act of derision have played some small part in their later
Coming for your father and taking him prisoner, torturing him for months and eventually
Condemning him to be executed by firing squad in the Plaza de Maria Pita?

He escaped his fate with the help of a fascist officer who freed him as I’ve noted earlier.
Such was his reputation, the power of his ideas and the esteem even of friends who did not share his views.
Such was your innocence or your psychic blind spot that you never realized your possible contribution to
His destruction. Thank God you never connected the possible impact of your words on his downfall.

You adored your dad throughout your life with a passion of which he was most deserving.
He died shortly after the end of the Spanish Civil War. A mother with ten mouths to feed
Needed help. You stepped up in response to her silent, urgent need. At the age of
Eleven you left school for the last time and began working full time.

Children could not legally work in Franco’s Spain. Nevertheless, a cousin who owned a cannery
Took pity on your situation and allowed you to work full-time in his fish cannery factory in Sada.
You earned the same salary as the adult, predominantly women workers and worked better
Than most of them with a dexterity and rapidity that served you well your entire life.

In your free time before work you carried water from the communal fountain to neighbors for a few cents.
You also made trips carrying water on your head for home and with a pail in each hand. This continued after
You began work in Cheche’s cannery. You rose long before sunrise to get the water for
Home and for the local fishermen before they left on their daily fishing trips for their personal water pails.

All of the money you earned went to your mom with great pride that a girl could provide more than the salary of a
Grown woman--at the mere cost of her childhood and education. You also washed clothes for some
Neighbors for a few cents more, with diapers for newborns always free just for the pleasure of being
Allowed to see, hold spend some time with the babies you so dearly loved you whole life through.
When you were old enough to go to the Sunday cinema and dances, you continued the
Same routine and added washing and ironed the Sunday clothes for the young fishermen
Who wanted to look their best for the weekly dances. The money from that third job was your own
To pay for weekly hairdos, the cinema and dance hall entry fee. The rest still went to your mom.

At 16 you wanted to go to emigrate to Buenos Aires to live with an aunt.
Your mom agreed to let you--provided you took your younger sister, Remedios, with you.
You reluctantly agreed. You found you also could not legally work in Buenos Aires as a minor.
So you convincingly lied about your age and got a job as a nurse’s aide at a clinic soon after your arrival.

You washed bedpans, made beds, scrubbed floors and did other similar assigned tasks
To earn enough money to pay the passage for your mom and two youngest brothers,
Sito (José) and Paco (Francisco). Later you got a job as a maid at a hotel in the resort town of
Mar del Plata whose owners loved your passion for taking care of their infant children.

You served as a maid and unpaid babysitter. Between your modest salary and
Tips as a maid you soon earned the rest of the funds needed for your mom’s and brothers’
Passage from Spain. You returned to Buenos Aires and found two rooms you could afford in an
Excellent neighborhood at an old boarding house near the Spanish Consulate in the center of the city.

Afterwards you got a job at a Ponds laboratory as a machine operator of packaging
Machines for Ponds’ beauty products. You made good money and helped to support your
Mom and brothers  while she continued working as hard as she always had in Spain,
No longer selling fish but cleaning a funeral home and washing clothing by hand.

When your brothers were old enough to work, they joined you in supporting your
Mom and getting her to retire from working outside the home.
You lived with your mom in the same home until you married dad years later,
And never lost the bad habit of stubbornly speaking your mind no matter the cost.

Your union tried to force you to register as a Peronista. Once burned twice cautious,
You refused, telling the syndicate you had not escaped one dictator to ally yourself with
Another. They threatened to fire you. When you would not yield, they threatened to
Repatriate you, your mom and brothers back to Spain.

I can’t print your reply here. They finally brought you to the general manager’s office
Demanding he fire you. You demanded a valid reason for their request.
The manager—doubtless at his own peril—refused, saying he had no better worker
Than you and that the union had no cause to demand your dismissal.

After several years of courtship, you and dad married. You had the world well in hand with
Well-paying jobs and strong savings that would allow you to live a very comfortable life.
You seemed incapable of having the children you so longed for. Three years of painful
Treatments allowed you to give me life and we lived three more years in a beautiful apartment.

I have memories from a very tender age and remember that apartment very well. But things changed
When you decided to go into businesses that soon became unsustainable in the runaway inflation and
Economic chaos of the Argentina of the early 1960’s. I remember only too well your extreme sacrifice
And dad’s during that time—A theme for another day, but not for today.

You were the hardest working person I’ve ever known. You were not afraid of any honest
Job no matter how challenging and your restlessness and competitive spirit always made you a
Stellar employee everywhere you worked no matter how hard or challenging the job.
Even at home you could not stand still unless there was someone with whom to chat awhile.

You were a truly great cook thanks in part to learning from the chef of the hotel where you had
Worked in Mar del Plata awhile—a fellow Spaniard of Basque descent who taught you many of his favorite
Dishes—Spanish and Italian specialties. You were always a terribly picky eater. But you
Loved to cook for family and friends—the more the merrier—and for special holidays.

Dad was also a terrific cook, but with a more limited repertoire. I learned to cook
With great joy from both of you at a young age. And, though neither my culinary skills nor
Any aspect of my life can match you or dad, I too am a decent cook and
Love to cook, especially for meals shared with loved ones.

You took great pleasure in introducing my friends to some of your favorite dishes such as
Cazuela de mariscos, paella marinera, caldo Gallego, stews, roasts, and your incomparable
Canelones, ñoquis, orejas, crepes, muñuelos, flan, and the rest of your long culinary repertoire.
In primary and middle school dad picked me up every day for lunch before going to work.

You and he worked the second shift and did not leave for work until around 2:00 p.m.
Many days, dad would bring a carload of classmates with me for lunch.
I remember as if it were yesterday the faces of my Jewish, Chinese, Japanese, German, Irish
And Italian friends when first introduced to octopus, Spanish tortilla, caldo Gallego, and flan.

The same was true during college and law school.  At times our home resembled an
U.N. General Assembly meeting—but always featuring food. You always treated my
Closest friends as if they were your children and a number of them to this day love
You as a second mother though they have not seen you for many years.

You had tremendous passion and affinity for being a mother (a great pity to have just one child).
It made you over-protective. You bought my clothes at an exclusive boutique. I became a
Living doll for someone denied such toys as a young girl. You would not let me out of your sight and
Kept me in a germ-free environment that eventually produced some negative health issues.

My pediatrician told you often “I want to see him with ***** finger nails and scraped knees.”
You dismissed the statement as a joke. You’d take me often to the park and to my
Favorite merry-go-round. But I had not one friend until I was seven or eight and then just one.
I did not have a real circle of friends until I was about 13 years old. Sad.

I was walking and talking up a storm in complete sentences when I was one year old.
You were concerned and took me to my pediatrician who laughed. He showed me a
Keychain and asked, “What is this Danny.” “Those are your car keys” I replied. After a longer
Evaluation he told my mom it was important to encourage and feed my curiosity.

According to you, I was unbearable (some things never change). I asked dad endless questions such as,
“Why is the sun hot? How far are the stars and what are they made of? Why
Can’t I see the reflection of a flashlight pointed at the sky at night? Why don’t airplanes
Have pontoons on top of the wheels so they can land on both water and land? Etc., etc., etc.

He would answer me patiently to the best of his ability and wait for the inevitable follow-ups.
I remember train and bus rides when very young sitting on his lap asking him a thousand Questions.
Unfortunately, when I asked you a question you could not answer, you more often than not made up an answer Rather than simply saying “I don’t know,” or “go ask dad” or even “go to hell you little monster!”

I drove you crazy. Whatever you were doing I wanted to learn to do, whether it was working on the
Sewing machine, knitting, cooking, ironing, or anything else that looked remotely interesting.
I can’t imagine your frustration. Yet you always found only joy in your little boy at all ages.
Such was your enormous love which surrounded me every day of my life and still does.

When you told me a story and I did not like the ending, such as with “Little Red Riding Hood,”
I demanded a better one and would cry interminably if I did not get it. Poor mom. What patience!
Reading or making up a story that little Danny did not approve of could be dangerous.
I remember one day in a movie theater watching the cartoons I loved (and still love).

Donald Duck came out from stage right eating a sandwich. Sitting between you and dad I asked you
For a sandwich. Rather than explaining that the sandwich was not real, that we’d go to dinner after the show
To eat my favorite steak sandwich (as usual), you simply told me that Donald Duck would soon bring me the sandwich. But when the scene changed, Donald Duck came back smacking his lips without the sandwich.

Then all hell broke loose. I wailed at the top of my lungs that Donald Duck had eaten my sandwich.
He had lied to me and not given me the promised sandwich. That was unbearable. There was
No way to console me or make me understand—too late—that Donald Duck was also hungry,
That it was his sandwich, not mine, or that what was on the screen was just a cartoon and not real.

He, Donald Duck, mi favorite Disney character (then and now) hade eaten this little boy’s Sandwich. Such a Betrayal by a loved one was inconceivable and unbearable. You and dad had to drag me out of the theater ranting And crying at the injustice at top volume. The tantrum (extremely rare for me then, less so now) went on for awhile, but all was well again when my beloved Aunt Nieves gave me a ******* with jam and told me Donald had sent it.

So much water under the bridge. Your own memories, like smoke in a soft breeze, have dissipated
Into insubstantial molecules like so many stars in the night sky that paint no coherent picture.
An entire life of vital conversations turned to the whispers of children in a violent tropical storm,
Insubstantial, imperceptible fragments—just a dream that interrupts an eternal nightmare.

That is your life today. Your memory was always prodigious. You knew the name of every person
You ever met, and those of their family members. You could recall entire conversations word for word.
Three years of schooling proved more than sufficient for you to go out into the world, carving your own
Path from the Inhospitable wilderness and learning to read and write at the age of 16.

You would have been a far better lawyer than I and a fiery litigator who would have fought injustice
Wherever you found it and always defended the rights of those who cannot defend themselves,
Especially children who were always your most fervent passion. You sacrificed everything for others,
Always put yourself dead-last, and never asked for anything in return.

You were an excellent dancer and could sing like an angel. Song was your release in times of joy and
In times of pain. You did not drink or smoke or over-indulge in anything. For much of your life your only minor Indulgence was a weekly trip to the beauty parlor—even in Spain where your washing and ironing income
Paid for that. You were never vain in any way, but your self-respect required you to try to look your best.

You loved people and unlike dad who was for the most part shy, you were quite happy in the all-to-infrequent
Role as the life of the party—singing, dressing up as Charlie Chaplin or a newborn for New Year’s Eve parties with Family and close friends. A natural story-teller until dementia robbed you of the ability to articulate your thoughts,
You’d entertain anyone who would listen with anecdotes, stories, jokes and lively conversation.

In short: you were an exceptional person with a large spirit, a mischievous streak, and an enormous heart.
I know I am not objective about you, but any of your surviving friends and family members who knew you
Well will attest to this and more in a nanosecond. You had an incredibly positive, indomitable attitude
That led you to rush in where angels fear to treat not out of foolishness but out of supreme confidence.

Life handed you cartloads of lemons—enough to pickle the most ardent optimist. And you made not just
Lemonade but lemon merengue pie, lemon sorbet, lemon drops, then ground up the rind for sweetest
Rice pudding, flan, fried dough and a dozen other delicacies. And when all the lemons were gone, you sowed the Seeds from which extraordinarily beautiful lemon trees grew with fruit sweeter than grapes, plums, or cherries.

I’ve always said with great pride that you were a far better writer than I. How many excellent novels,
Plays, and poems could you have written with half of my education and three times my workload?
There is no justice in this world. Why does God give bread to those without teeth? Your
Prodigious memory no longer allows you to recognize me. I was the last person you forgot.

But even now when you cannot have a conversation in any language, Sometimes your eyes sparkle, and
You call me “neniño” (my little boy in Galician) and I know that for an instant you are no longer alone.
But too son the light fades and the darkness returns. I can only see you a few hours one day a week.
My life circumstances do not leave me another option. The visits are bitter sweet but I’m grateful for them.

Someday I won’t even have that opportunity to spend a few hours with you. You’ll have no
Monument to mark your passing save in my memory so long as reason remains. An entire
Life of incalculable sacrifice will leave behind only the poorest living legacy of love
In your son who lacks appropriate words to adequately honor your memory, and always will.


*          *          *

The day has come, too son. October 11, 2018. The call came at 3:30 am.
An hour or two after I had fallen asleep. They tried CPR in vain. There will be no more
Opportunities to say, “I Love you,” to caress your hands and face, to softly sing in your ear,
To put cream on your hands, or to hope that this week you might remember me.

No more time to tell you the accomplishments of loved ones, who I saw, what they told me,
Who asked about you this week, or to pray with you, or to ask if you would give me a kiss by putting my
Cheek close to your lips, to feel joy when you graced me with many little kisses in response,
Or tell you “Maybe next time” when as more often than not the case for months you did not respond.

In saying good bye I’d give you the kiss and hug Alice always sent you,
Followed by three more kisses on the forehead from dad (he always gave you three) and one from me.
I’d leave the TV on to a channel with people and no sound and when possible
Wait for you to close your eyes before leaving.

Time has run out. No further extensions are possible. My prayers change from asking God to protect
You and by His Grace allow you to heal a little bit each day to praying that God protect your
Soul and dad’s and that He allow you to rest in peace in His kingdom. I miss you and Dad very much
And will do so as long as God grants me the gift of reason. I never knew what it is to be alone. I do now.

Four years seeing your blinding light reduced to a weak flickering candle in total darkness.
Four years fearing that you might be aware of your situation.
Four years praying that you would not feel pain, sadness or loneliness.
Four years learning to say goodbye. The rest of my life now waiting in the hope of seeing you again.

I love you mom, with all my heart, always and forever.
Written originally in Spanish and translated into English with minor additions on my mom's passing (October 2018).
embrace it
become
insane

Save the Earth, **** the Cheerleaders
Save the Earth, **** the Cheerleaders
Save the Earth, **** the Cheerleaders


The world
will
survive

Save the Earth, **** the Cheerleaders
Save the Earth, **** the Cheerleaders
Save the Earth, **** the Cheerleaders


Evolutionary
you
see

yes
no yes
yes no yes

Save the Earth, **** the Cheerleaders
Save the Earth, **** the Cheerleaders
Save the Earth, **** the Cheerleaders


Kissy'n Girl
-IBᵢd
no?


<>


The solution to overpopulation is here; abandon morality.
Save the Earth by letting loose humanity,
if it feels good?
if it makes money?
if it makes banks money,
wall street
share
hold
it
then.
Dimitris Sarris Jul 2018
Most people teach but few learn that
false hopes are more dangerous than
rightful fears, so let the unseen days be.
Feeling grieved and bewildered,
who could judge at such hard times?
You have the valiants of a good man
"they told me", you will endure.
Sometimes the ending is the best escape
for there is beauty in the breakdown,
why should i be afraid?
Anggun Russell May 2018
It is not the world that is unfair,
but the people are.
The more power that they gain,
the more greedier they become.
Justice, seems to be just a word.
If only this life were a movie where the heroes would win and the villains would lose within 2 hours.
September Roses Aug 2018
The satin gown of hope a myth
      
   The heroes fallen                                      
                                    to the abyss

The bloom of death, no longer risen
Our souls trapped in endless prison

        Existence the master of all
        masked curses
    
              A song of tragedy with endless
              verses

   So if dying breath comes anyway
                  What's it matter
                 How soon the day

All suns set
Some plan no dawn
They care not for those who mourn

           I wish myself
      The blood to stop
     To soon not hold
   A single drop

So I promise you my heart for free
       If you swear
   You'll rip it out of me
why doesn't hello poetry like metaphorical Shakespearean poetry? its so pretty?
Doomed as he may be
For he is a baby
Lost unto the stars
He crashes onto a farm

Life does it's thing
For he has no king
Eighteen years pass by
The last son takes to the sky

He flies to the city
And he saves a little kitty
He takes to the sky
And he hears a mild cry
He flies to her cry
It's too late for she has died

He slumps at his work
For he is such a dork
Unbeknownst to everyone
The last son tries to save everyone
27182818 Jun 29
Stuck in complacency
Facing calamity
Suffocating disillusionment is near
Can’t you see that, my dear?

In demons you find
The strength to fight
The human trait
That gave power to fate

Greed or hunger
A malingering farce
That’s claimed your heart
Will forever linger

The worth of pretense
It’s sometimes the only defense
To claim you really are that dense
So you can stay on the fence

Recognition is the price
For a freedom to sacrifice
Shallow depths to drown
In waters all your own

Go for submission
And spare the false contrition
You’re free to instill
A truth
A worldly one, if you will
28.03.2019 (revised 06.06.2019)
Michael Marchese Sep 2018
We triumph for those who have known us in glory
And in utter ruin remember the story
Acknowledge our valor, our power to keep
Braving all odds unheeded, march into the deep
Preserving a legacy not quite our own
Be of foes we have bested to reclaim the throne
Or of people we’ve wrested from brinks of despair
Abject in their poverty, dreamless nightmare
As we serve higher causes of righteous assurance
Our quest ever dauntless against the abhorrence
An amoral mass of the impure of intent
In our ascent raise them from endless lament
To depart from a world to for years we have been
But as shadows to those of us living in sin
For it is but of ours time itself meets its fate
And begins to devour us all in its gape
Peter Balkus May 30
One day,
one day you'll see
a smile on dead man's face.

One day
they will come after you,
but you won't be there,
you'll be far away.

One day,
one day the sun will shine
for those, who have never seen
the light.

One day,
one day you'll say:
'So all this pain wasn't in vain'.

One day
the unsung heroes
will sing themselves.

One day.
Peter Balkus Nov 2015
Those poppy fields were lifeless,
but now they shine with light.
The war has made them bleeding,
the Peace has made them smile.

Each flower is a soldier,
who sacrificed his life,
who gave up his own future
to make our future count.

Each flower tells a story
of man and woman's fight,
you hear them in the glory
of petals shining bright.

Shhh, quiet, can you hear this?
The flowers -  making sound.

The unsung heroes singing
the song of joy - and life.
Austin Sessoms Sep 2012
if all I was supposed to be
in your life
was an extra
I would happily pass you
on a street corner
if that meant I was somehow a part of your life
but I am more than that
to you
and you are more than that
to me
we are both heroes
of different epics
striving toward different goals
who have lifted each other up
rather than simply passing each other
on street corners
you didn't just serve me coffee
I didn't just catch your eye
we are more than that
whatever that means
and I love you
it is strange I should say so often
'I love you'
but it is my
constant reminder of
intelligence
superlative ability
and camaraderie
we are neither military men nor animals
we are the rewards of our labor
you of mine
and I of yours
Xaela San Apr 4
Heroes born as history makers yield the past
With conquest to invoke for the present;
Though they died as reluctant heroes
Yet with those sacrifices brought legends in the future.
Heroes who thought to die in vain
His name shall be remembered as legendary yielders
Who with every blood he bleed, and tears he cried
Shall be a proclamation of our freedom of those chains
For the future we hold today.
I wrote this a long time ago and just discovered this along my files.
Austin Sessoms May 2012
here's to a package of
Marlboro Reds
in the hands of
someone other than
the Marlboro Man
standing in
for those slack-jawed outlaws
my heroes now lack jaws
tongues
lungs

I swear it's been too long
since I inhaled manhood
The Great Darrell Winfield
rolled
packed
and filtered
into the only thing I know
that makes a man a man
the essence of
cowboy boots and farmer's tan
in every drag

see, I inhale my heroes
all the dusty red-necked
cowboys
Darrell Winfield
and my dad
men whose lives
went up in smoke
to coat my throat
in my own self-righteousness
I'm frightened this
is all that I'll have left
of him
lung cancer
and the lingering stench
of cigarettes

he always smelled
of cigarettes

he'd pull me into these
firm embraces
he held so long
that he'd suffocate me
in tacky business
and cigarette smoke
masked only
faintly
by a poor man's
cologne
still I breathed him in
until I'd start to choke
it was too much man to handle

my grandpa told me
“smoking doesn't send you
straight to Hell,
but it sure does make you smell
like you've already been there”
he was
a grown man
cursing
crying
lying
dying by himself
trying to drown out the inferno
with a case of beer
but sobriety finds you sometime
and I'd rather suffocate in cigarettes
than lose him altogether

and even if he smells like Hell
at least that means he made it back
Victor D López Dec 2018
Your husband died at 40, leaving you to raise seven children alone.
But not before your eldest, hardest working son, Juan, had
Drowned at sea in his late teens while working as a fisherman to help
You and your husband put food on the table.

You lost a daughter, too,
Toñita, also in her early teens, to illness.
Their kind, pure souls found
Their way back home much too soon.

Later in life you would lose two more sons to tragedy, Paco (Francisco),
An honest, hard working man whose purposeful penchant for shocking
Language belied a most gentle nature and a generous heart. He was electrocuted by
A faulty portable light while working around his pool.

And the apple of your eye, Sito (José), your last born and most loving son, who
Had inherited his father’s exceptional looks, social conscience, left of center
Politics, imposing presence, silver tongue, and bad, bad luck, died, falling
Under the wheels of a moving train, perhaps accidentally.

In a time of hopelessness and poverty, you would not be broken.
You rose every day hours before the dawn to sell fish at a stand.
And every afternoon you placed a huge wicker basket on your head and
Walked many, many miles to sell even more fish in other towns.

Money was tight, so you often took bartered goods in
Exchange for your fish, giving some to those most in need,
Who could trade nothing in return but their
Blessings and their gratitude.

You walked back home, late at night, through darkness or
Moonlit roads, carrying vegetables, eggs, and perhaps a
Rabbit or chicken in a large wicker basket on your strong head,
Walking straight, on varicose-veined legs, driven on by a sense of purpose.

During the worst famine during and after the Civil War, the chimney of your
Rented home overlooking the Port of Fontan, spewed forth black smoke every day.
Your hearth fire burned to to feed not just your children, but also your less
Fortunate neighbors, nourishing their bodies and their need for hope.

You were criticized by some when the worst had passed, after the war.
“Why work so hard, Remedios, and allow your young children to go to work
At too young an age? You sacrifice them and yourself for stupid pride when
Franco and foreign food aid provide free meals for the needy.”

“My children will never live off charity as long as my back is strong” was your Reply.
You resented your husband for putting politics above family and
Dragging you and your two daughters, from your safe, comfortable home at
Number 10 Perry Street near the Village to a Galicia without hope.

He chose to tilt at windmills, to the eternal glory of other foolish men,
And left you to fight the real, inglorious daily battle for survival alone.
Struggling with a bad heart, he worked diligently to promote a better, more just
Future while largely ignoring the practical reality of your painful present.

He filled you with children and built himself the cross upon which he was
Crucified, one word at a time, leaving you to pick up the pieces of his shattered
Idealism. But you survived, and thrived, without sacrificing your own strong
Principles or allowing your children to know hardships other than those of honest work.

And you never lost your sense of humor. You never took anything or
Anyone too seriously. When faced with the absurdity of life,
You chose to smile or laugh out loud. I saw you shed many tears of laughter,
But not once tears of pain, sorrow or regret. You would never be a victim.

You loved people. Yours was an irreverent sense of humor, full of gentle irony,
And wisdom. You loved to laugh at yourself and at others, especially pompous fools
Who often missed your great amusement at their expense, failing to understand your Dismissal, delivered always with a smile, a gentle voice and sparkling eyes.

Your cataracts and near sightedness made it difficult for you to read,
But you read voraciously nonetheless, and loved to write long letters to loved ones and friends. You were a wise old woman, the wisest and strongest I will ever know,
But one with the heart of a child and the soul of an angel.

You were the most sane, most rational, most well adjusted human being
I have ever known. You were mischievous, but incapable of malice.
You were adventurous, never afraid to try or to learn anything new.
You were fun-loving, interesting, kind, rambunctious, funny and smart as hell.

You would have been an early adopter of all modern technology, had you lived long
Enough, and would have loved playing—and working—with all of my electronic
Toys. You would have been a terror with a word processor, email, and social media
And would have loved my video games—and beaten me at every one of them.

We were great friends and playmates throughout most of my life.  You followed
Us here soon after we immigrated in 1967, leaving behind 20 other Grandchildren.
I never understood the full measure of that sacrifice, or the love that made it
Bearable for you. I do now. Too late. It is one of the greatest regrets of my life.

We played board games, cowboys and Indians, raced electric cars, flipped
Baseball cards and played thousands of hands of cards together. It never
Occurred to me that you were the least bit unusual in any way. I loved you
Dearly but never went far out of my way to show it. That too, I learned too late.

After moving to Buenos Aires, when mom had earned enough money to take
You and her younger brothers there, the quota system then in place made it
Impossible to send for your two youngest children, whose care you entrusted
Temporarily to your eldest married daughter, Maria.  

You wanted them with you. Knowing no better, you went to see Evita Peron for help.
Unsurprisingly, you could not get through her gatekeepers.  But you were
Nothing if not persistent. You knew she left early every morning for her office.
And you parked yourself there at 6:00 a.m., for many, many days by her driveway.  

Eventually, she had her driver stop and motioned for you to approach.
“Grandmother, why do you wave at me every morning when I leave for work?”
She asked. You explained about your children in Spain. She took pity and scribbled a
Pass on her card to admit you to her office the next day.

You met her there  and she assured you that a visa would be forthcoming;
When she learned that you made a living by cleaning homes and washing clothing,
She offered you a sewing machine and training to become a seamstress.
You thanked her but declined the offer.

“Give the sewing machine to another mother with no trade. My strong back and hands
Serve me well enough and I do just fine, as I have always done.”
Evita must have been impressed for she asked you to see her yet again when the
Children had arrived in Buenos Aires, giving you another pass. You said you would.

You kept your word, as always. And Evita granted you another brief audience,
Met your two youngest sons (José and Emilio) and shared hot chocolate and
Biscuits with the three of you. You disliked and always criticized Peron and the Peronistas,
But you never forgot Evita’s kindness and defended her all your life.

You were gone too quickly. I had not said “I love” you in years. I was too busy,
With school and other equally meaningless things to keep in touch. You
Passed away without my being there. Mom had to travel by herself to your
Bedside for an extended stay. The last time I wrote you I had sent you a picture.

It was from my law school graduation.
You carried it in your coat pocket before the stroke.
As always, you loved me, with all of my faults that made me
Unworthy of your love.

I knew the moment that you died. I awoke from a deep sleep to see a huge
White bird of human size atop my desk across from my bed. It opened huge
Wings and flew towards me and passed through me as I shuddered.
I knew then that you were gone. I cried, and prayed for you.

Mom called early the next day with the news that you had passed. She also
Told me much, much later that you had been in a coma for some time but that
You awoke, turned to her without recognizing her, and told her that you were going to
Visit your grandson in New York. Then you fell asleep for one last time.

I miss you every day.

[   To hear a YouTube reading of this poem in its entirety, you can visit the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX6w1Pwe7gI   ]
from Of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems 2011, 2018
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