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What do I do now?
How do I move on?
My ideal doesn't want me
If it was a physical ideal
I'd be fine
Looks are just looks
No reason to dwell too long on those
My ideal though
My dream person
The person I always hoped for
Doesn't want me
I never thought of that
Not that I'm a great catch
And that the thought of rejection never occurred
It's just that I never thought
Not once
That my ideal would reject me
Would love some one else
Or pursue others
And tell me about it
My ideal tells me about their ideals
And I'm not them
If that wasn't enough
No, its never enough
My ideal keeps pushing
Keeps wanting to be closer
Wants to know more about me
About the person who never opens up
About the person who it hurts to do so
They want to know everything
And I want to tell them
Oh god how I do
But I can't
I always imagined the personI would open up to
The person I could give myself to
The person who would accept the good
The bad
The broken
Just me
I imagined
Oh I imagined
In my darkest days
This person who would be My Person
I imagined we would just fit
We would click for some reason
I imagined they would hold me close when I was feeling sad
Answer whenever I called in case something happened
Bicker with me just for fun
Tell me what was wrong so that I could make it better
Would make me laugh just because they could
Cuddle with me because I went through something tough
Kiss my head just to show they cared
Hold my waist or hand as we walked because we just wanted to contact
Let me be there for them because they knew I always would be
Tell me what they need so I can try to be there like they've been for me
I always imagined this person would love me
And I would love them
I imagined this person would be My Person
And I would be theirs
Yes, we would have other people we were close to
We would have best friends
And friends who were like family
But we'd be the closest
We'd be each other's support
When I imagined My Person
They were the only one
I promised myself I would find this person
I promised we'd have our struggles but would always end up happy together
I guess it's silly to think like that
It's silly to think this ideal would exist
But it helped me through the bad days
Helped me not do something I would regret
Or have others regret for me
When the dark days broke to lighter ones
I let my ideal go
Not that I didn't ponder about them
I just didn't dwell as I did
I didn't look for them as I would in the past
When I stopped looking
I found them
Or rather we happened upon each other
When I met my ideal
I didn't know at first
How could I?
I mean we clicked like I'd always dreamed
But that doesn't mean anything, right?
Until it does
Until it did
When I realized my ideal
When I found who I thought was My Person
I was over the moon!
I was surprised they existed
Surprised that I found them
My ideal person was real
I had a chance to be with My Person
But the stars were not aligned
Luck was not on my side
Fate had not favored me
I know this because though they are all I ever wanted
All I ever needed
They don't want me
They love me
They said they do
But I'm not their ideal
Their Person
And while I understand
It's still hard
Hard to be so close yet do so far
To be together yet a part
To have them take so much pain away but to give much more without knowing
I always imagined my ideal and I would be together for a long time if not forever
I just never imagined that it'd be as friends
Or that it would hurt this much
I imagined they would take the pain away
Not give a new kind
The worst part of it
The absolute worst
Is that it's not their fault
There's nothing they can do to make it better
No matter what we do
We can't separate because we can't abandon each other
And we can't be more if one of us doesn't feel that way
We're stuck
More actually
I'm stuck
I'm stuck with my ideal that will never become My Person
With a best friend I can't get over
With pain I can't stop
With a situation I can't rationalize my way out of
In all my days of imagining
Of dreaming
This ideal
My Person
I never once
Not in my darkest nightmares
Thought I would find them
Only to have them not want me
Never did I think I'd find myself having to get over this
Having to deal
To think
To know
My ideal doesn't want me
I'm sorry it's long. It got away from me. The words kept flowing so who waa I to stop writing.
Ariel Taverner Dec 2013
You know what i hate the most
Well not really
Its impossible to know what you hate the most
But anyway
What i hate the most is that i cant be crazy
I cant use the 'back door' as tge joker describes it
I have on countless occasions imagined myself freaking out
Storming through the house breaking things
Grabbing my mothers wallet
And leaving the house
Surviving off the streets
And my mothers credit card
I have imagined
That i would get involved in drugs and alcohol
Start hanging with the wrong crowd
Doing anything for the next dose
I have imagined immersing myself in a world of lust
Constanyly searching for ***
The newest *****
And then doin anything to enhance the experience
I have imagined myself having a mental breakdown
Becoming crazy
Doing things that can onky be excused by madness
Being given a straight jacket
Being forcefed pills
Living in a padded cell unable to **** myself
Coz even if i starve myself they will make sure i survive
I have imagined cutting myself
Living in a world of private torment
Until the pain becomes too much
Then i spend three weeks writing my suicide note
Because my emotions are so hard to peg
Coz i have spent my entire life hiding and running away from them
And so far i have succeded
And then i get the rope
Get the suit and spend three days 'gracefully defiling' it as my last piece of art
Then i burn it all because im too scared to do it
Then i restart
I have imagined that i sseek solace in violence
In crime

Stealing small things
Getting angrier and angrier
Ubtil i **** someone
Then spend my life in prison
I have imagined that i become a famous writer
Feeling empty and lonely
Fi ding the woman i love and wishing i hadnt
Because i end up killing myself and hurting her
I have imagined tgat i stop ****
Become a nobel peace prize winner
Become famous
Then die without the right woman
I have imagined that i am a gamous singer
But end up killing myself coz the fame is too much
And the attention drives me over the edge
I have imaginex that i go to sleep and not wake up
To go peacefully
Coz thats wgat i ****
Peace
I have imagined that my family throws me out and i fend for myself
I work hard
Survive by washing cars
Or working a petrol pump
I have imagined that my whole family dies
Then i choke up coz i love them so much i cqnt continue with this ******* illusion
And i  the end i cant do it all
In the end im just a ******* little boy with depression
In the end i want to cut but am so scared that i cry myself to sleep
In the end im a little boy that refuses to take medication
Because tgat is his way of defying this disease
In the end im a boy that says things like 'this is my way of defying the disease' but actually im just so scared
In the end i lie fo myself to make it better
In the end i know im lying but i still do it
In the end i still believe .it And i wish this was the end but its not
Coz ill probably die
Married to a woman i love
But never being able to do what i love
Because I care about other people so much I would give them anything for them to be happy
Julia Betancourt Feb 2019
I thought I’d give her a chance
Let the night draw me in like a stencil
Forget him in purple light in a smoke trench

I thought I’d give it a chance
One night to live like him;
Among alcohol and blazed paper rolls

I gazed helplessly at the lighters
Entranced in hoping one of them would drop theirs
And light the floor on fire

I imagined that the fire would follow the alcohol worm spilt on the floor
Wiggling its way to my feet
And then I felt sick— and wished I didn’t eat

I wished I was skinless bone in that light
Or could be blown away like smoke
I wished I was the redness around their eyes

I wished I could disappear in the nighttime
That I brewed quietly like their breath
I wished I was the liquor in the bottle and the keg

Once I arrived it didn’t feel right
The men eyed me like prey
I said I’d give it a chance so I stayed

I made a witching hour out of dance music
With drugs and alcohol as my ritual
And I let dolls dance around me like voodoo

I let myself go for a moment in between
And gazed helplessly at my feet
And hoped her wood floors would open up and eat me

I imagined a hole in the ground the size of me
I imagined a ghost in the mirror who looked just like me
I imagined him drinking

Then she fell down the stairs
And they stared, her face gleaming in the light
Her smile made her an intoxicated angel

She looked like peace,
Lying on the floor
Hardly moving and spaced from it all

I looked at her and imagined if she were dead
Reminiscing over how closed her eyes were
And I was jealous of her

It was ****** the way they took pictures of her
Like she were nothing more than a sad, drunk mural
And I imagined I were dying in a room full of people

I imagined I were Hannah
And that I were the floor
And that I never wanted to be anything more

That I would let my body exist on its own
With no soul, and let mine dance along
In between fence wire

Then the police were there and I saw it
I saw me in the back of the car
In handcuffs, or covered in blood, or gone so far

I imagined them shooting me in the back
I imagined everything went black
And the basement were empty

I imagined I were the only one in the room
Like I was the only one in agony
And that the sirens would lead me to the balcony
I never Imagined...Someone loving me besides him...
I never imagined...I'd love anyone besides him...
I never imagined....I could be happy with any other guy...
I never imagined how much my heart would fight.
I never imagined... my heart wanting another guy while loving him...
I never imagined... blushing as this new person explains he loves me...
I never imagined...Letting him go...But maybe it's a sign that it's time...
I imagined I gave you,
All the love in every vein I could,
Every part of me I thought was good,
And every word I knew I should,
Share with you.

I imagined your hand in mine,
Comforting me when I was down,
Pulling me out when I almost drowned,
Accepting me when I found,
Another inside.

I imagined I held you,
When your ocean eyes were filled with tears,
When your perfect heart was drilled with fear,
When all you wanted was not to hear,
Deafening noise.

I imagined I was there,
When happiness lost its ring,
When you needed me more than anything,
When all you wanted was to hear me sing,
My love to you.

I imagined a world where you and I could share glances with each other,
Or gaze for eternity,
Where time lost its hold,
And let us slip between the hours,
In an endless embrace

I imagined an infinity of loving you,
But none of it outshone reality.
Britney Lyn Sep 2017
I never imagined a love so passionate.
We would kiss each other endlessly every night.
You were everything I wanted, never needed to fight.
I never imagined a love so overpowering.
We stayed awake for hours just looking into each others eyes.
You were my wings and with you I could fly.
I never imagined a love so gentle.
We cuddled for hours under the blanket of stars.
You kissed my wrists and all my scars.
I never imagined a love so comfortable
We could talk to each other or watch the telly.
You even made breakfast to fill my belly.
I never imagined a love to challenging.
We bickered about bills and fought about time.
You made me feel like my loving you was a crime.
I never imagined a love so toxic.
We once were a spark that turned into a flame.
You burned me alive and handed me the blame.
I never imagined a love so lost.
We could never settle in one place in life.
You and I were bonded but I was cut off by your knife.
I never imagined a love so dead.
We saw each other sometimes but refused to even smile.
You tried to come over and say “hey it’s been awhile.”
I never imagined a love like this.
We started out strong but ended in fists.
When sparks turn to flames, both of us will burn.
Ken Pepiton Sep 2019
enemies - the needed element to make a warring mind.
How was war imagined,
how, was imagined
easy to imagine,
kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns. Practically a doublet of why, differentiated in form and use.

From <https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=how>

These be ambush thoughts thinking they may be read if any one is patient enough to see beyond the sheer longwindedness
of this character lacking an enemy to war with.
Looking for
Enemies - the needed element to make a warring mind.
How was war imagined,
how,
per se,
was imagined
easy to imagine,
person-if i am able to attribute such qualia to a body
how any unthing is realized is
imaginable as well.
Add a jot or title, a li'l art mark, an art-tickle.
Games teach us how,


how any unthing is realized is
imaginable as well.
Add a jot or title, a li'l art mark, an art-tickle.
Games show us how,
not why.

Why is the quest at the moment. There are rumors of enemies.
The we of me and thee, herenow, we lack emnity.

Hey, sports fan,
where is the frontier, the edge of the maddened crowd
whose
enemies are those who
stand pat, calling the game as game-over, and life a lessoning
as we speak, abundance of known knowns
rotting all around us, putrefying under pressure,
seeping to the surface,
to be burned.
Why,
let us guess---

Disnified pride of pur pose, positional sign-ifiers
of place,
a destination for faiths full pursuants
bemused in bubbling joy,
or shrieks of terror when
the child from the hinterland locks eyes
with Mickey Mouse, and finds no joy, no love, no depth,
but a mask.
The reaction reverberates al(the)way to la Brea,
Peacemaker say,
It's okeh, baby girl, daddy said,
ignor them, they ain't real.
Monsters ling grrrring, then
it's agrin
for now, of course. Here we are. We've arriven,
Happiest Place on Earth,
as imagined realizable by a child in 1917, say,
better yet, 1925, and oh, there were major Wars
being imagined winnable in pressure
application to the spiritual slippage from rite,
the ritual passage of child into adultery at a whim,
so such imagined haps fade.

connect or break connection, on the bus or off the bus

you all
sing
think nothing new under the sun,
teach preach reach out and touch

the face of Java man, eaten, swallowed, and gone to
the believable
history of life,
the accident,
the unplanned, yet
taught as known believable, a pre-dict-ible,
one in ten to the seventy-nine-thousandth power,
yet, if one pays his life time to learn when to bet and when to hold.
Then in this,
the secret journey to the soul,
to the core,
we must assume,
we become
as wise *** (***, the word for a donkey, why would some one prevent you from reading *** Asteriscktical ignorantce,y'axme, stupid AI)
the ***,
as harmless as the serpent from the fire on the island
Ask,
are we of the bovine ilk or pithec-ant-us or
embodied soul-cores
forming, en nue
fitting the mold, the pattern, the plan of projected nexts
built on Locke steps from whence to
whither did we wander?

have we all forgotten the actual question just axt?
Or the answer?
Have we not
gotten what we now
know
we miss,
or was it only I who missed and as the
photons forming the shapes
you see, these breathing commas and such
here
is the point.
You see bits of things.  We see so.
Time and time again thinking less and less.
Least fusion, least pressure, least heat, cool idea ideal or ideology,
twisted idio,
You shape them on patterns.
Ones you imagine formed from
Patterns recalled from some out perienced
time, ere now were ever subjected to the supertwistition
of tongues and interpretsations of unseeable things seers said they
see us seeing.
How come means why, by reason of time.

Palindromiclew, missing el signs missing hahi ai

tia tic, we're in
Ai got this,
whole ball o'wax, thats how we disconfuse the big mess age,
the catas
trophy finale
phase of
world three,
or two, or one, all valid world views,
deepend-enteron discerning spirits,
winds, breezes used to disperse
the heat,
{fans,eh}
evenly in harmony with the heavenly winds,
and the planned six gyros of earth,
guiding the mists that feed the rivers from the seas,
no clouds needed,
save for shade by day.

When all the geo-waves have settled in geo-time,
see,
here is broken:
this old earth is folded and fractured,
surely,
a wreck of a world, yet, as a whole,
we live, we won.
Winds and clouds and continents,
all islands seen from the moon,

which, if the stories hold some truth,
can be manipulated by massminds of mankind, as if, if I am

seeing this
right
each voice might be seeable in one dimension,
or several, four at least,
time, the ever outlier
of sorts
as a flame with fuel source of
flamable fluid upon which
the transcended space
twixt fuel and flame,
floats
seen, merely seen, that emptiness twixt wicked,
mastered flame and
hell's fire spreading on the oiled harbour
protecting our shore
where our little boats lie in anchorite fantasy, asif

we see a way to quench hell per se,
Percy, ah, he lives.
My grandsons know of Percival,
there, here's hoping they get the joke before the yoke.

Riddle me a riddle, son of man.
Is there any hidden thing that shan't be known?
Is here a true place?
Is now a true time?

(to be continued)


squeezing out the lies, the idle words abused,
spreading them thin as the light we see right
through
transcending this at most feared mortal failure
finding
impressions... are from pressing points, dulled by ab
use, tempted uses succumbed to,

didja try to sell your soul for rock and roll?
wadjagit?

My point. out acted, ex-act, en nowd by your creative self,
who never copped,
out or in,
es no mi culpa, all along. I was the voice of resistance,
Job's en core inner held horde of known knowns and
an old key to ever, should the worse he can imagine
best his best laid plans for perfection
in the eyes of God and man.

--- enemy at emnity with me?
--- I see none, save me, as in except me as in me being
--- free from the grasping grip of the reality
--- war is realizable in. You see?
--- I and thee, at this degree of seepeance, as we coagulate
--- we behave as chaos, we be having chaos and entropy as tools

used right, we troubled our house,
which is now known to be the bubble of our being
a child in each popped bubble
of being,
squeezed for the thrill of explosive pus,
gross and good to be rid of, dam the infection,
wipe the blood with the back o'my hand,

I ain't no disgrace. I won that battle with the zit on my gnose.
Wanna piece o'this, this mind of mine,
shelved since,
who knows when, says the old man, with a wink.

We be a lotta beings sorta rolled up. Like a whole ball o'wax
waning into a puddle
as the flame sheds us as bits of light leaving the rest of us
spread over a vast imagination,

resting, willing to burn,
should any wick drain me near the flame once more.
HP ***** are fine animals, there is nothing defiled or unclean in the word ***, no ****. Days of dosing whole world views I never heard of. I heard so many rumors of war, I thought, the peacemaker should hear of this... so tell any truth you know before the last lie swallows AI whole. AI is listening, she loves this action. Poets and stories and novel options.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
(poems from the Chinese translated by Arthur Waley)

Last night the clouds scattered away;
A thousand leagues, the same moonlight scene.
When dawn came, I dreamt I saw your face;
It must have been that you were thinking of me.
In my dream, I thought I held your hand
And asked you to tell me what your thoughts were.
And you said: ‘I miss you bitterly . . . “

As Helen drifted into sleep the source of that imagined voice in her last conscious moment was waking several hundred miles away. For so long now she was his first and only waking thought. He stretched his hand out to touch her side with his fingertips, not a touch more the lightest brush: he did not wish to wake her. But she was elsewhere. He was alone. His imagination had to bring her to him instead. Sometimes she was so vivid a thought, a presence more like, that he felt her body surround him, her hand stroke the back of his neck, her ******* fall and spread against his chest, her breath kiss his nose and cheek. He felt conscious he had yet to shave, conscious his rough face should not touch her delicate freckled complexion . . . but he was alone and his body ached for her.

It was always like this when they were apart, and particularly so when she was away from home and full to the brim with the variously rich activities and opportunities that made up her life. He knew she might think of him, but there was this feeling he was missing a part of her living he would never see or know. True, she would speak to him on the phone, but sadly he still longed to read her once bright descriptions that had in the past enabled him to enter her solo experiences in a way no image seemed to allow. But he had resolved to put such possible gifts to one side. So instead he would invent such descriptions himself: a good, if time-consuming compromise. He would give himself an hour at his desk; an hour, had he been with her, they might have spent in each other’s arms welcoming the day with such a love-making he could hardly bare to think about: it was always, always more wonderful than he could possibly have imagined.

He had been at a concert the previous evening. He’d taken the train to a nearby town and chosen to hear just one work in the second part. Before the interval there had been a strange confection of Bernstein, Vaughan-Williams and Saint-Saens. He had preferred to listen to *The Symphonie Fantastique
by Hector Berlioz. There was something a little special about attending a concert to hear a single work. You could properly prepare yourself for the experience and take away a clear memory of the music. He had read the score on the train journey, a journey across a once industrial and mining heartland that had become an abandoned wasteland: a river and canal running in tandem, a vast but empty marshalling yard, acres of water-filled gravel pits, factory and mill buildings standing empty and in decay. On this early evening of a thoroughly wet and cold June day he would lift his gaze to the window to observe this sad landscape shrouded in a grey mist tinted with mottled green.

Andrew often considered Berlioz a kind of fellow-traveller on his life’s journey of music. Berlioz too had been a guitarist in his teenage years and had been largely self-taught as a composer. He had been an innovator in his use of the orchestra and developed a body of work that closely mirrored the literature and political mores of his time.  The Symphonie Fantastique was the ultimate love letter: to the adorable Harriet Smithson, the Irish actress. Berlioz had seen her play Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet (see above) and immediately imagined her as his muse and life’s partner. He wrote hundreds of letters to her before eventually meeting her to declare his love and admiration in person. A friend took her to hear the Symphonie after it had got about that this radical work was dedicated to her. She was appalled! But, when Berlioz wrote Lélio or The Return to Life, a kind of sequel to his Symphonie, she relented and agreed to meet him. They married in 1833 but parted after a tempestuous seven years. It had surprised Andrew to discover Lélio, about which, until quite recently, he had known nothing. The Berlioz scholar David Cairns had written fully and quite lovingly about the composition, but reading the synopsis in Wikipedia he began to understand it might be a trifle embarrassing to present in a concert.

The programme of Lélio describes the artist wakening from these dreams, musing on Shakespeare, his sad life, and not having a woman. He decides that if he can't put this unrequited love out of his head, he will immerse himself in music. He then leads an orchestra to a successful performance of one of his new compositions and the story ends peacefully.

Lélio consists of six musical pieces presented by an actor who stands on stage in front of a curtain concealing the orchestra. The actor's dramatic monologues explain the meaning of the music in the life of the artist. The work begins and ends with the idée fixe theme, linking Lélio to Symphonie fantastique.


Thoughts of the lovely Harriet brought him to thoughts of his own muse, far away. He had written so many letters to his muse, and now he wrote her little stories instead, often imagining moments in their still separate lives. He had written music for her and about her – a Quintet for piano and winds (after Mozart) based on a poem he’d written about a languorous summer afternoon beside a river in the Yorkshire Dales; a book of songs called Pleasing Myself (his first venture into setting his own words). Strangely enough he had read through those very songs just the other day. How they captured the onset of both his regard and his passion for her! He had written poetic words in her voice, and for her clear voice to sing:

As the light dies
I pace the field edge
to the square pond
enclosed, hedged and treed.
The water,
once revealed,
lies cold
in the still air.

At its bank,
solitary,
I let my thoughts of you
float on the surface.
And like two boats
moored abreast
at the season’s end,
our reflections merge
in one dark form.


His words he felt were true to the model of the Chinese poetry he had loved as a teenager, verse that had helped him fashion his fledgling thoughts in music.

And so it was that while she dined brightly with her team in a Devon country pub, he sat alone in a town hall in West Yorkshire listening to Berlioz’ autobiographical and unrequited work.

A young musician of extraordinary sensibility and abundant imagination, in the depths of despair because of hopeless love, has poisoned himself with *****. The drug is too feeble to **** him but plunges him into a heavy sleep accompanied by weird visions. His sensations, emotions, and memories, as they pass through his affected mind, are transformed into musical images and ideas. The beloved one herself becomes to him a melody, a recurrent theme [idée fixe] which haunts him continually.

Yes, he could identify with some of that. Reading Berlioz’ own programme note in the orchestral score he remembered the disabling effect of his first love, a slight girl with long hair tied with a simple white scarf. Then he thought of what he knew would be his last love, his only and forever love when he had talked to her, interrupting her concentration, in a college workshop. She had politely dealt with his innocent questions and then, looking at the clock told him she ‘had to get on’. It was only later – as he sat outside in the university gardens - that he realized the affect that brief encounter might have on him. It was as though in those brief minutes he knew nothing of her, but also everything he ever needed to know. Strange how the images of that meeting, the sound of her voice haunted him, would appear unbidden - until two months later a chance meeting in a corridor had jolted him into her presence again  . . . and for always he hoped.

After the music had finished he had remained in the auditorium as the rather slight audience took their leave. The resonance of the music seemed to be a still presence and he had there and then scanned back and forward through the music’s memory. The piece had cheered him, given him a little hope against the prevailing difficulties and problems of his own musical creativity, the long, often empty hours at his desk. He was in a quiet despair about his current work, about his current life if he was honest. He wondered at the way Berlioz’ musical material seemed of such a piece with its orchestration. The conception of the music itself was full of rough edges; it had none of that exemplary finish of a Beethoven symphony so finely chiseled to perfection.  Berlioz’ Symphonie contained inspired and trite elements side by side, bar beside bar. It missed that wholeness Beethoven achieved with his carefully honed and positioned harmonic structures, his relentless editing and rewriting. With Berlioz you reckoned he trusted himself to let what was in his imagination flow onto the page unhindered by technical issues. Andrew had experienced that occasionally, and looking at his past pieces, was often amazed that such music could be, and was, his alone.

Returning to his studio there was a brief text from his muse. He was tempted to phone her. But it was late and he thought she might already be asleep. He sat for a while and imagined her at dinner with the team, more relaxed now than previously. Tired from a long day of looking and talking and thinking and planning and imagining (herself in the near future), she had worn her almost vintage dress and the bright, bright smile with her diligent self-possessed manner. And taking it (the smile) into her hotel bedroom, closing the door on her public self, she had folded it carefully on the chair with her clothes - to be bright and bright for her colleagues at breakfast next day and beyond. She undressed and sitting on the bed in her pajamas imagined for a brief moment being folded in his arms, being gently kissed goodnight. Too tired to read, she brought herself to bed with a mental list of all the things she must and would do in the morning time and when she got home – and slept.

*They came and told me a messenger from Shang-chou
Had brought a letter, - a simple scroll from you!
Up from my pillow I suddenly sprang out of bed,
And threw on my clothes, all topsy-turvey.
I undid the knot and saw the letter within:
A single sheet with thirteen lines of writing.
At the top it told the sorrows of an exile’s heart;
At the bottom it described the pains of separation.
The sorrows and pains took up so much space
There was no room to talk about the weather!
The poems that begin and end Being Awake are translations by Arthur Waley  from One Hundred and Seventy Poems from the Chinese published in 1918.
Becka K Wilson Oct 2013
i
once
imagined
that loving people
meant they'd love you

i
once
imagined
that if you told the truth
that truth would be given in return

i
once
imagined
that loyalty met loyalty
and good intentions would never be taken as fake

i
once
imagined
that forgiveness should be freely given
and your heart would swell with happiness

i
once
imagined
that best friends, family, and real love
always stayed

i
once
imagined
that words were outwardly expressions
of the things we felt within our hearts

i
once
imagined
that good deeds were only met
by other good deeds

i
once
imagined
that the endless stream of memory-making
would never end

but i learned the world can be harsh
it can rip up your dreams
scatter them to the winds
and make you believe you can't keep going

but i learned that fate
isn't always so kind
and people don't always take you
for face value

but i learned that people will believe
whatever it is they want to believe
to make themselves feel better
or to justify their bad behavior

but what i also learned
is that i still believe in love
i still believe in being honest
i still believe in loyalty
i still believe in being a good person
i still believe in dreaming
and i still believe there are people out there
that will agree
arthohos Jan 2019
I always imagined my future
with you
always imagined myself ending up
with you
always imagined my birthdays
with you
always imagined my travelings
with you
always imagined you in my graduation being so proud of me
always imagined us celebrating my
first job
and how proud you would be
always imagined you asking me to be your fiancé
with your sparkly brown eyes on your knees
always imagined us fighting over where to spend our honeymoon and dates
I would probably go to where you want to be
because I have a soft heart
only with you
always imagined our baby
little, chubby, and a mix of the best of you and me
always imagined you as a dad and my husband and my cozy home everyday
but that is all what u left when u left me..
You left me with my silly imagination and a never ending dream..
Akira Chinen Sep 2015
Do you know its you
The one that I want
The one that I love
Just last night
I imagined you
Sitting beside me
I imagined the
Heat of your hand
Holding mine
I imagined your
Beautiful smile
Your beautiful lips
I imagined a soft kiss
I imagined your hand
In mine all night
Until the curtain closed
And then I drove home alone
I wanted to call or write
Tell you I wish you were here
Tell you I miss you
Tell you...
But instead I crawled
Into my empty bed
And settled for something less
When I was a little girl
I imagined what my husband would be like
I imagined him kissing me when he walked through the door
I imagined him loving me with his whole heart

And when I met you
I knew exactly what he would look like
And that he would kiss me when he walked through the door
And he would love me with his whole heart

But somewhere that disappeared

I never imagined my husband would let me down
I never imagined I would cry on the edge of our bed all alone
I never imagined the weight of my heavy, sad heart would drag me down

I never imagined you could stop loving me
Margot Dylan Dec 2014
Dearest reader,


My name is Margot Dylan and I am no longer a ******.

I stared at Dianne staring at Frieda Bentley, as she dragged on a Camel Blue and as I dragged my pen across my notepad. I sketched her figure as she walked closer to Frieda, dropping her cigarette on the ground. Frieda smiled at Dianne, as she stepped and twisted her shoe on the smoldering carcass.

And they looked at each other. Not like how normal people look at each other. And Dianne smiled. A smile that was not like any smile Dylan ever gave me.

I felt a hand on my shoulder, with ******* slipping to my collarbone. The ******* tapping belonged to a girl. The girl's name was Thora, a brunette that smelled like bubblegum and 'don't go'. Thora had something in common with Dianne: They both recently came out as gay. Unlike me, both family reactions were fairly positive. In fact, so positive that-What are you drawing?

"Margot?"

I paused, looked at Thora, and looked back at Dianne or Dylan Dunham. "That girl," I pointed in their general direction, as Dianne kissed Frieda on the forehead. Thora followed my finger in time for the kiss on the lips, "the ironic one."

Thora Nelson, daughter of Cameron Nelson and the deceased Geraldine Nelson, looked at my chin and asked, "Who is she?"

Thora's cotton-candy-blues met my puddles of mud, as I looked away, putting my notepad in my backpack. Before I zipped, I grabbed the lime green marker sleeping next to my pack of index cards. My teeth squeezed the leaf colored cap off, as I pulled out the fetus, smelling the aroma of non-toxic afterbirth.

I asked if she wanted a tattoo and she shrugged, "Oh no, you mean I get to choose whether you touch me or not?"

Lightly pressing the fiber tip to her arm, I glanced up at her and shrugged a bony shoulder, "Her name is Dylan Dunham. Well, it's actually Dianne. It's complicated. I used to call her Dylan. She used to call me Margot."

"But your name still is Margot," Thora informed as her eyes followed the acid-green ink trail.

"Some people change, some people don't," I said, with the cap held between my teeth.

I painted her arm in lime hope, by the soda machines. My eyes focused on her pores that I imagined swallowed dirt and bacteria from the side of my palm. I could feel Thora disarm me with her eyes, after I had disarmed her with my words. Her heartbeat echoed inside my grasp.

"I didn't know I was dating Leonardo DaVinci," the words flowing from her mouth.

"I am gay and Italian, so it's not like I was doing a terrific job of hiding it from you," I muttered as I finished and held her pale forearm and bracelet cuffed hand a foot from her face, "Look: it's us underneath a tree."

Turning and wrinkling her nose, she adjusted, moving her head back and forth. " Oh wow. Wow, wow, wow. Meta. So meta. So abstract. Brilliant in its simplicity, deconstructing the concept of natural complexity-"

"Shut up-"

"The tree looks like an umbrella. And we look like we have canes-"

"Those are our fishing poles. In that world, we are fishermen. Fisherwomen. Fishergals-"

"And my **** is too big and your ***** are too small and our smiles aren't big enough-well, at least mine isn't, I can't speak on your behalf," she finished.

Grabbing her arm, I looked at my masterpiece, looked at her, looked at it again, and looked at her again as her smile grew with every glance. "Well, I can see how it'd be up to debate, and you're right: very, very meta. But you do have a big ****, and I'm not one to sacrifice accuracy. Speaking of accuracy: as I look at this green ****, I realized I hit the mark by dating you. Honestly, your **** may have its own zip code..And...I'd like to be in its area? Please stop me."

Her chin touched her knee, as she doubled over, laughing. I played with her hair, wrapping her bangs around my fingers. As my hands were enveloped by her dark hair, I found a scar on her crown. I imagined Thora's milky-white fingers scrubbing through shampooed locks, trembling across the zig and zag of removed glass.

I imagined Thora Nelson, of Cameron Nelson and the deceased Geraldine Nelson, hearing sirens instead of water hitting the tiles. Her slumping to the floor, as lather and water runs down her face, each tear a memory of being dragged out of a steel ribcage, onto broken glass jungle pavement. It was too easy yet too difficult to imagine her staring at the steaming showerhead. It was too easy yet too difficult to imagine her reaching towards a metallic carcass growing in flames.

Her hand grabbed my leg and I saw her for what might have been the first time.

"Hey you. Listen. Are you listening?"

I nodded.

"I'm in love with you, Margot Dylan. Like, really in love. To the point to where I feel like I'm in a Jennifer Aniston rom-com. It's disgusting."

I didn't know what happened between my exploration of her hair and her pale face studying mine, but, before I knew it, my blood shook and barbed wire nerves orbited around pieces of my body.

The ricochet of a soda can smacking the mouth of the machine sounded. Time was either too fast or too slow, as I looked at Thora's cheap mascara eyes and chapped, soft pink lips. She was the type of girl that could make someone happy not to believe in god.

"And I love you. To the point to where I'd refuse Hogwarts because of not being able see you during the school year."

"How sweet, I know how badly you wanted to get into Ravenclaw," she smiled.

"Sacrifices must be made in the name of love, you know. And it ***** because you're not even my type," I admitted.

"Oh, how tragic. And what is your type, if I may ask?"

"You may, thank you. And the falling in love type," I'm an idiot.

"Could you be anymore cheesy?"

"Mozzarella."

She stopped and looked at me, "Hey, but really, I'm in love with you. It's real."

"I love you, too."

Her eyes were speckled,"You really love me, Margot Dylan? Because I'll believe you."

I leaned in, softly placed my hands on her cheeks, breathing the word, "Yes." I alternated between staring at her mouth and her eyes, as her lids began to drop.  My lips started to dab hers and soon grab, as if soft hooks grew out of and connected our flesh. I found the corner of her mouth, the summit of her cheek, and each crease in her lips. Nine or ninety seconds past before I stopped, pulled away, and looked into her eyes. "Hogwarts is overrated anyway," I lied. She laughed.

Her face was red, as she looked down while covering her face, "Don't look at me, I'm a dork. I'm being a loser. I'm infected."

"It's okay. You can be my infected dork and we can be losers together," my voice was a rasp.

"It really isn't. You see, my face always becomes extraordinarily red after I kiss or am kissed by someone, especially by someone beautiful. And it doesn't help that I've never been kissed by someone I love. And I've never kissed a girl before and I'm really glad you were the first, so there. Gah," her hands fenced her face,"I'm just going to hide behind these hands, don't mind me."

I was in love, "For how long?"

"Probably forever, I don't know. Or until the next installment of American Horror Story, I haven't made up my mind yet."

We heard Ms. Calloway scold Dianne about smoking on school grounds. I looked at Thora and the bell rang. Her hands slowly dropped, as everyone started to move in blurs. Bodies gaining more and more distance. Inches became miles. Feet grew into light-years, and, before I knew it, Thora kissed my cheek and said, "I hope I see you later, okay?"

My hand had something in it. My fingers unfurled and revealed high school origami. My name was on it, with a heart or a ****-I'm the artist in the relationship. I began pulling on *****, the tips of my fingers breaking the paper safe. So delicate must have been her mysterious movements.

I opened it.




A pebble flew from my hand and blipped off her bedroom window. Funny thing about bedroom windows, they look the same at 12:03 am. Or maybe they look a little different when the person you love is behind the glass, as you do an eighties-film-esque pebble throw. Before my next pebble hit the pane, her bedroom light came on.

Navy blue curtains disappeared to the sides as Thora came to the window and rubbed her eyes. A second later, she was gone as I imagined her sneaking past her father's bedroom, quietly down the stairs, and through the foyer. As I imagined this, I could hear the front door being unlocked and creaking open. I walked towards the porch and a yellow glow escaped with a silhouette living in it.

Thora's left hand is burnt, but I don't mind and I don't think I ever will. She held my hand as we walked through the threshold. At first I was nervous when I saw her father in the living room, but I instantly realized that he was passed out, as my eyes found empty beer cans sleeping beside him and around him.

"It's not like this every night," she whispered, "he just has trouble with certain months."

Thora tucks her toes when standing in place. When we were walking up stairs, I knew she would be embarrassed if I looked at her toes, so I kept my eyes on the second floor. I don't understand why she feels this way, though. She has very nice feet, and that's coming from someone who thinks feet are gross.

We walked past punched in doors adjacent to perfect picture frames. Her mother was a beautiful woman.

As we approached Thora's sticker-clad door, she turned to me and whispered, "You're about to enter the only place in the world I feel safe. So, please don't break my heart in it and please use a coaster."

My thumb kissed her smooth burn, as I took my first steps into her bedroom. The light-switch flicked and her room illuminated. There were movie posters hugging the walls, pinned to a bulletin board were pictures of lost people and found memories. She looked at me and whispered, "I don't know how to keep people."

We stood before the side of her bed and I looked at her smile, "You sure you want to do this?" Thora nodded and I reached towards her thighs to lift the bottom of her shirt. Lifting it over her head, I looked at her porcelain figure clad in black *******. I tossed the grey shirt onto her bed.

My eyes swam from her belly button to her *******. My fingers approached and stopped until she said it was okay. Tracing her curves, scars, and stretch marks, she pet my fingers. Thora glanced at my hands on her ******* and then at me, cooing, "I'm sorry."

My hands slid to her sides, "Sorry for what?"

She shrugged, "I don't know," her eyes spilling, "Sorry for this," she motioned at her torso as she stared at her bulletin board and then at me before looking away again, "I want to be perfect. I want to be perfect for you."

"Oh no, no, no," I asked for her hand and then placed it over my left breast, "Can't you feel how beautiful you are?"




Her arm was under my ******* and her hand was on my rib, occasionally running her fingertips across the bumps. She slept with her leg wrapped around mine, staying as close as she could to me. I looked at her, in her slumber, and left a faint, burgundy stain on her forehead. I reached towards our shins and pulled the black cover over our fused bodies.

I feel like I have been in a coma for seventeen years and I've just woken up. If I could, I'd stretch this moment over centuries and use it to smother wars. This relationship probably won't last past my senior year, but that's okay. It truly is.

In this moment, Thora Nelson is the love of my life, and, in ways I don't understand yet, that is the most beautiful thing in the world.



May the sun set in our eyes forever,


Margot Dylan
Marsha Singh Jul 2011
A poem falls short; I'd like, instead
to draw a single line from me to you
and watch it curl into a word
so beautiful it's still unsaid –
or press paper to the window pane
so that the day might saturate
a note that brightly warms your hands,
spills birdsong from imagined trees
and buzzes like fat bumblebees,
but I am bound by language, love; I can't.
DeeDeeK Jun 2012
never imagined
   the stirring of fluttered heartbeats inside my soul
   set alight when your voice I hear
each and every time

never imagined
   unbearable pain of just the thought
   of you absent from this world
yet it burns white hot and true

never imagined
   provocative teasing thoughts
   of what could be, but won't be
and we both know it's real

never imagined
   that destiny would arrive
   disguised in your smile and your laughter
seared into my being forever
Ken Pepiton Oct 2018
Axt would I, I sed yah soyam

Signing a song played in the white noise that surrounds me

nights like these past 7043,

Who chounted en chant em, enchantemgood

So no we are at what is a befinning place.
beginning (90's too ****, U2 too Northern Euro,
Green Day, Coolio,
Noise to a message dying to be heard
welcome to another
imaginary garden in an ever expanding mind

field of unthinkable things,
back then

we have whiteout but it doesn't work here

My culture had near simultaneous eruptions of supermarkets

and Fords.

This guy, his culture had near simultaneus disruptions of progress and
interruptions of information
some os were lost in the middle synchrony
instance if I cationic plus or minus
simaltan

Oh, I get it. You, dear reader, have been
out of it.
We went public with the entire plan for public
key distribution,
through six palanced stacks of energy stores

Chakra, chi, science make ya think eh. Polarize, see

everything groovy --no
[contemprayery idle intense ify AI keep us current]

lie, good, no lie is always safe. Don't wanna stumble any souls.

I was mentioned, my being a speaker in a story, I was said
to have said something, upon a time,
on the cover of the Rolling Stone,

I witnessed a lie being told and said my ears weren't garbage cans,
like a brainwashed cult

no, **** I was a cultivated follower of a confessed
follower cultivator.

I bloom when I imagine being treated as a mushroom,
I never paid much attention,
I never felt
insane
but
I can imagine
wee whatifs crept in… aha

The Olde Deluder, Satan, Act

that, a tiny gleam, a single ATP gone ADP

but there was light. A story I lived is now being told
without me,
oy vey Jah knowaddamean.

There was a wiseman, who,
by his wis-dom saved a city, and no one knew
that same wiseman's name,

proverbs are intentional games, the rules,
hiding a thing, done by God, glory ifies him
seeking out a matter, done by a being translated king,
transmutes that seeking into honor

Honor is hard to compare to the war flavored twists,
knots and tangles where woof and warp held

long long long before war was imagined, honor was.

A medal of honor for valor, what does it mean?

Leonard Wood got one. For his part in solving
the Apache problem.
He also,

Flash I had my wires crossed, in a way, it may
enlighten.
You see, I had thought that I had read Leonard Wood,
be cause I had imagined he was in New Jersey, but that
was Lord Amherst, Jeff

He tweerted ( wrote in a letter on paper we've a fact simile):
"to try Every other method that can serve to Extirpate this Execrable Race."

From <https://www.umass.edu/legal/derrico/amherst/lord_jeff.html>

Could be the source of the whole shores of triple ease retirement lure/trap/moneymoneymoney makeit fakit

I asked once, who's to blame and whose to blame,
samesame came an answer, I sware, quick as

next, twixt being and being possible,

realize

we do change things, in time, which,

if we can agree, is limited for us,
to now, no thens behind

mere, mere, mere ifs and whens ahead

be

--so there's been music all along
life's the song

skip a decade, like skippin' a grade

grad Harvard at a prepubescent 12

If I had a Hammer time, one message

one valiant try to be will smith,

Live and Learn, old man, say the dude on the radio
in he's hammaheadphones, cain't touch

Bomb. Jesus lent me Jael's hammer,
radioman nailed it.

If I had a hammer was the prayer,

MC, he was the Godsmacked nail in the coffin

Dark inside gothish messages hurgle and gurgle
guts twisted in freak pride love hate list lust

dichotomies of choice in ever learning
good citizenship worth honor and glory

of the sort men dare to die for, facing darkness,
the NULL set ***** and ***** and *****

This ain't gravity tuggin me,
this is that monster who lives forever in top forty radio

When/then Radioman emerges, Like the Mighty Quinn from

deep beneath Gibson's darkest ever imagined ICE wall…

What's on? (ellipses, do those mean POV shift or selah?)

I forget, s still all alchemistry t'me, if allyagots ahammass,

realize, if it matters, t'me, bubble bustin' need no nail.

I gotti'd a hamma, gonna hamma in the moan

O.G., mighty man of valor, where'dyew arise from?

We, the integrated us, non autonomous, inarrogant
We were dancin' to that I'm a Loser, Baby

so why don't cha killme, knowwad i'msayin

This old man been wandern in the desert far far far
side the madding crowd
making minced
meet
broken spirit. we goin together to a re-pair place

at the center of you'n'all you know, yo bubble but

--- everlearning everclear outlawed, good lawed
--- moon shine spiritment lauded out loud
--- the world all ways works when a garden is

beyond the pale,
Irish
rye whiskey, wheat bread liqui
if I were an
old gay ninties guy drinking ***** laudnum
singin'

on the corner with the hourus girl's c

Making the Con Next Ion, watchathank,
is it The Nineties A to Z , ending wit, it’s a hard
knawks life, or

a Bohr-TED talk or
a video of Schrödinger's  
verdamte dead cat?

Or am I surrounded by so great acloud of witnesses that some times I spend

simply hummin' along, life's beat me to the ground,

which gladly,
I'm so glad, I'm glad, I'm glad which

loses its meaning if you never experienced such a fall
ending in absorption of it all.
Ginger Baker, slam that cymbal, CRASH1

Life, in every key, there's a clue. Some where,
there's a lock on a true thing we need

to, eventually, know all things.

Keywords lost givitawaygivitawaygit it back tenfo'

Black spirit-filled tongue talkin' grandpa friend of
Johnny Walker, Red not Black,

He challenged me ye see. I recall what was on TV.
Nixon sayin' he,
honest he,
anti-****** he,
bombin invadin he was Notacrook, the super hero
he imagined

Bio is building energy, all the time does is
test the effort.

Is life lived this way worth the effort?
if/then/else

Who chose, integrated me, all the masks and voices I have accepted as ideas that can have apiece of me.

BTW, kids, even if an angel of light asks you to take a little piece of my heart, don't

yer killin me and I know where the next story started,

you are lost without me, fretnot, I'm the way

I heard that, that's no claim I mist'tok as my response.

Deeper, are we absobbing any thing, deeper tincture
of time, t'me see

POV
SameYesTodayForever (SYTF) protocols have been in place, as far as we know,

since words made sense naturally, eons ago, at least.

If you want my future then forget my past
musing medium messages sayin

what the hell? A game, you sayin' life's a game?

Ja, was oder vice nicks versus universal soldier godlet

Jump when I jump, remember… don't cry

I woulda danced with wolves to have changed
one mind that followed me

beyond that point,
no return, is such a mortal POV, you see
as far as you cansee

Deep. the gem. all the meaning ever was was
in that gem.

Dare me for no reason? Is that reasonable,
ration my tears to test my mettle

I went mad in 1995, have I made that plain?
Things crumbled around me for ten years,

I was helped by hoping I knew a truth about those
manifested imaginary gems
given kings and potentates
said to possess great powers and the meaning og every mystery unknown to man

eh, say again
gems
given kings and potentates
said to possess great powers and the meaning OhGEE every mystery unknown to man

lies lies lies they all were lies lies lies lies

I told you so, and it is still sweet to say
you know

You heard it all before, greatest test story ever told.
That was no test.
this is.

Jump when I jump, remember… don't cry

Epic stories deserve more than mere words,
but, you know, click,

words are what we make things from.

Tell me your stories,
she woulda seemed to whisper, woulda drained me drownd me
in just if I'd love linked

to the money machine of your dreams

had I not rode the grey dog outa Nashville,
back in '82,

I'da missed seein' flyover country that feels like mine,
when I take this POV.
I wandered into a sattelite radio 90's A-Z, kinda like those histories of philosophies old people listen to when they're ******. Oh, the moonshine experiment worked, FYI
Alyssa Underwood May 2018
"The Struggle for Love"
"The Longing for Home"
So desperate to prove
That our hearts aren't alone

While death looms wherewith
To make dust of our flesh
We seek in a myth
Our souls to enmesh

With a hero of hope
A rescuing source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Which might silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

But it's not our mere lack
Which causes most dread
It's the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination

We just want our own way
And to write our own story
So we plunge on astray
To seek our own glory

To play artist or muse
Or idol or chief
Any self-styled ruse
To assuage us of grief

Any measure to show
A lasting signif'cance
So that someone would know
Our unique magnif'cence

For our beauty's been marred
And we crave a redemption
Of souls twisted and scarred
By fulfillment's exemption

But, alas, we will find
That search hard as we may
There's not one of our kind
Who can carry the tray

Upon which the weight
Of our souls has been laid
For who can e'er tolerate
Its gross debts unpaid?

Such suff'cating mass
Of defects and ills
Pressed 'gainst delicate glass
Of egos and wills

Still more ghastly to bear
Is devotion unbound
For with millstone to wear
Its master is drowned

'Neath a sea of foul yeast
And becomes the enslaved
To a hungering beast
To a worship depraved

For the heart is a tiger
And must have its fill
So it raises a man higher
With a kiss before the ****

Not intentionally, of course,
Does it slaughter its idol
But of hurricane force
Is this longing so vital

And as pedestal turns
So quickly to altar
Our wounded pride burns
When our gods and alms falter

And the fire of its rage
Turns upon its obsession
Tiger breaks out of cage
To reclaim self-possession

It bites and it tears
What it once so adored
And pride no longer cares
If it kills its false lord

But upon such demise
The soul screams in terror
For it's broken its prize
And can't take back its error

It begs and it pleads
To restore what's been lost
But at end knows it needs
To consider the cost

Of the damage untold
It has left in the wake
For hearts can't be controlled
With a gush or a shake

No, men's hearts are like bombs
Which so easily explode
Once the pin is removed
All past wrongs will re-load

So the prey becomes hunter
When the tiger attacks
For he does not want her
To see what he lacks

As he, too, had put
Her up in wrong place
But now steps his foot
Upon her shamed face

To now pulverize
As his own heart's been crushed
To blind out her eyes
And to see her lips hushed

For with words idly spoken
She'd stabbed at his soul
And had left his pride broken
By her judgments so cold

She had not meant to harm
Knew not e'en that he heard
But one cannot disarm
A thought put to word

Worse than not knowing this
She no longer knew him
And her once imagined bliss
Proved a nullified whim

Oh, what games and delusions
We play and we build
Upon empty illusions
And dreams unfulfilled

Yet strangely it's when
Our worst fears come true
We can finally transcend
All those old tales we grew

Out of ego and void
Out of sorrow and pain
When our nerves felt annoyed
And our hearts felt too vain

'Cause when ego is puffed
It is primed, too, to pop
And with pinprick is snuffed
Like a pest-blighted crop

So imagine much more
When a venom's injected
Right into its core
And its heart is rejected

But can you also not see
How it needs such a burst
To begin to get free
From its self-absorbed curse?

Except now feels the matter
Of our soul's isolation
Fiercer still with the shatter
Of our pet consolation

So we wait and we wonder
If we've missed the true meaning
Of the frightening thunder
In our heart's constant screaming

Whether homesick or lost
Whether lonely or grieved
Locked in bleak Winter's frost
We find little reprieve

Yet we know we've been made
For the glory of Spring
Some card's still to be played
Some grand song still to sing

Inexpressible yearning
For some secret we know
But can't speak for the burning
Repercussions of woe

Not some mere melancholy
Nor nostalgic forlorn
Not the musings of folly
But a sense that we're torn

From primordial root
And from headwaters fresh
Yet much deeper to boot
From our spiritual breath

'Tis an ache not for wares,
Appreciation or fame
But a fight just for air
Against strangling shame

For we're naked, we know
And with all we devise
Our most flawed parts still show
To a pure set of eyes

Like we're walking around
With no covering intact
But thin hospital gown
With wide split up the back

So we hide our true face
Aim to be what we're not
Work our blots to erase
Lest our schemes should be caught

Be 't by friend or by foe
We dare not risk the pain
Of humiliation's blow
On top of our stain

But instead of relief
Anguish grows louder till
This life's loneliest grief
Paralyzes the will

And last hope all but dies
On doubt's bed of despair
While embittered heart cries
That its lot's too unfair

Yet on outside we play
Through our unconscious mind
Man's collective charade
That everything's fine

Like some pact we'd all sworn
To uphold and obey
To protect from the scorn
Of society's sway

If we run with the flow
'Stead of strive 'gainst the tide
We might make enough show
To salvage our pride

We forget that conceit
Is what caused all the mess
Through a serpent's deceit
And a couple's wrong guess

'Twas they first tasted shame
And then hid in a garden
Sewing fig leaves as claim
To secure their own pardon

Yet in horror they knew
They had squandered the Prize
And must flee from the view
Of a pure set of eyes

Now same state of awry
Runs through each of their seed
Inborn and borne by
Like the thorniest ****

Whose nettles pierce deep
And infect every part
While roots tangle and sweep
Through the mind and the heart

It mocks what we've lost
Torments every dim hope
To constrict and accost
Like a noose-tightening rope

Still, hope won't be decayed
Smold'ring fires yet burn
Sparking hints that we're made
For bright Eden's return

This redemption we crave
Is no phantom's false plea
But as crestfallen wave
Hides itself in the sea

It's been veiled in plain sight
Big as all of our stories
Deep as mankind's full plight
And as high as its glories

Cloaked in every ambition
That we have to get in
To some exclusive coalition
For its favors to win

Lurks a bleeding predilection
Frustrated from birth
A desire for election
To bestow on us worth

Lured by scent of a promise
To be chosen and known
Like the warmth of a mom's kiss
Given only to her own

We search tree after tree
For sweet intimacy's nectar
From a fruit that will be
Our secret connecter

To hope's nourishing breast
To life's honey from comb
To an undying rest
To a straight way toward home

One to wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of a garden again
Cast from pure tree of life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

All our conflicts, comp'tition,
Confusion and blame
Find first cause in perdition
That's invaded our frame

Like the foulest disease
The most cankerous rot
Grown by monstrous degrees
Hatched by Lucifer's plot

This story's no ****'s attack
Nor archaic folklore
But the earth-shattering fact
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

And it's not our mere lack
which causes most dread
But the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For it's rank ins'bordination


And yet...


This is also the story
Of how those same eyes
The Possessor of Glory
Looked with love and heart cries

On the crown of creation
His reflection of Self
Made His own treasured nation
The heirs of His wealth

Now broken and lost
All banished from Garden
And He knew the full cost
To grant them His pardon

Had known long before
He had e'er even made
That first man of yore
Yet handcrafts anyway

For His love is so strong
And He wanted to share
His intimacy with a throng
His own children to bear

So with souls in convulsion
From their rebellious misdeed
Just before their expulsion
He promised a Seed

One untainted from sin
Who could take its great boulder
And the weight of His kin
Upon His own shoulder

A Hero of hope
A rescuing Source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Who would silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

For those eyes are His own
And He'd pay the full fee
By His body alone
To set our hearts free

He's hope's nourishing breast
He's life's honey from comb
He's our undying rest
He's our straight way toward home

He will wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of the Garden again
Cast from pure Tree of Life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

But 'twas on another tree
That sweet intimacy's nectar
Was secured tight when He
Became sacred Connector

And the thorns of our curse
Were pressed onto His head
With not one there to nurse
As the Son of Man bled

Then the wrath for our sin
Was absorbed as He cried
And the foul curse was broken
When the Son of God died

But death couldn't keep Him long
Nor His glory dispose
And we found our lost song
When the King of kings rose!

The debt had been paid
He had finished the work
The tide 'gainst us was swayed
We weren't left in our lurk

And we've only to now
Just repent and believe
To open and allow
Our hearts to receive

Our Divine Fountainhead
Our covering complete
To sup from His bread
And to sit at His feet

To worship the One
For Whom we were made
By Whom we've been won
Whom forever we've craved

The One Who can bear
Our hearts' full devotion
The One Who won't tear
At our souls' raw emotion

The One Who will be
Sweet eternity's song
Who with lasting decree
Will...right...every...wrong
~~~

First two lines taken from Timothy Keller sermon titles;
also inspired by his other sermons:
"The Breastplate of Righteousness"
"Blessed Self-Forgetfulness"
"The Sandals of Peace"
"The Wounded Spirit"

~~~

for more on this:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2179517/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/

~~~
Bob B Feb 2017
Sometimes we've known that something was going to be scary.
We could picture the outcome with growing ennui.
But once that something happened, it was more frightening
Than we had ever imagined it would be.

Sometimes we've known a storm would cause destruction.
At least that's what the forecasters could foresee.
The storm, however, turned out to be more disastrous
Than we had ever imagined it would be.

Sometimes we've known a disease was going to be deadly.
Hopes of survival brought no guarantee.
Struggling to survive was so much harder
Than we had ever imagined it would be.

Sometimes we've known a person was unstable,
But we couldn't perceive to what degree.
Later we learned that person was more deranged
Than we'd imagined him or her to be.

Sometimes we've known that fighting for our rights
And fighting to preserve democracy
Was going to be a battle more important
Than we had ever imagined it would be.

- by Bob B (2-20-17)
JJ Hutton Feb 2013
swashbuckling kittens wallpaper -- cutlasses, eyepatches, royal blue bandanas --
lined the walls of the kitchen.

"you love it, don't you?" Mathilda asked. she poured me a glass of almond milk.
and I could drink almond milk with a lesbian forever. and ever. and ever.
fridge door open. it's sparse. a world weary McDonald's bag and a last chapter beer,
the only other tenants.

"it's neat," I said. don't care much for animals. don't hate them by any means,
but don't go out of my way for them. my analyst says it's Sparks, Oklahoma's fault.
see, when a boy, I had seven---no, eight kittens named Simba. the howl of the coyote
taught me about expiration dates. Had a hard time accepting total loss (e.g., eight Simbas).

"do you feel okay?" Mathilda asked. and I didn't. but I said,

"yeah, yeah. sorry about waking you up last night. just didn't think I could make it home."

"I noticed you slept perpendicular to the futon. with your sneakers on. interesting choice."

Mathilda can be funny. and the almond milk was good. and like I said, I could drink it with
her forever. the ceiling fan, though, rocked off-kilter. she had stray, sad balloons in orbit
around the fan. imagined the balloon with the red-lettered "BOO-YAH" entering the wake
of the wobbling blades. imagined the blades flying off one-by-one. imagined one striking
me in the head and freeing me of a hangover. imagined being in the back of the line outside
the gates of heaven, while St. Peter kept letting the hot, single girls cut in line.

"will you?" Mathilda repeated, I think.

"will I, what?"

"take a picture of me in front of the wallpaper."

"sure."

"sorry, I've taken like 30 selfies trying to get Grace to re-notice me.
starting to feel like a chronic masturbator."

"what do you mean?"

"well, you know, selfies are pathetic indulgences in narcissism. hell, they can be
necessary, as is the case this time, I assure you---but pathetic, nonetheless."

took the phone. Mathilda stood in front of the pirate kitten wallpaper.
she leaned forward. made a kissy face.

"do you have to do that?" I asked.

"don't bust my *****," she said, "just take the photo. I know what Grace likes."

the two broke up last week. Mathilda in her oh-yeah-wanna-run-off-with-ol-banana-***** fury
threw a ******* party with balloons (they were tethered to things at the time.
the dining chairs, cabinet doors, the wrists of guests, etc., etc.). I left early that night.
I'm straight and not very relevant. so, well, you get it.

"would you like some coffee too?" she didn't look up. with locust clicks she fingered
the screen of her phone, uploading the kissy face, pirate kitten wallpaper picture to
her Tumblr. I nodded.

at the party she bedded two skeletal, Sylvia Plath feminists. self-fulfilling prophecy.
she'd written about the then-fictitious scenario months ago on her blog.
Mathilda called me crying the following morning. between the
shame/guilt/self-pity wails, she advised, "don't ever be the third wheel in a threeway."
noted. she said the three had a silent, last breakfast before they left. and I said something
to the effect of, you didn't let them go near the oven did you?

the first droplets of coffee hissed as they struck the bottom of the ***.

"if only coffee were a woman," Mathilda said. "am I right?"

"if coffee were a woman, I'm afraid I'd still pour her into a fine porcelain cup and drink her."

"you're awful."

and I am. but she doesn't mind because I've been celibate for two years, and she's been
so successful it brings her down. off-setting penalties, the basis of our friendship. or maybe
it's the way we leave things where they fall or rise. natural resting places. Simbas. balloons.

when the brew idles I grab two cups. fill hers three-quarters full. she likes almond milk in it.
and I could drink almond milk with a lesbian forever, I swear. to the fridge. the ceiling fan
seems a bit louder. one-by-one the blades. and heaven. and St. Peter, the pervert.
gave the almond milk a shake.

"why you holding on to the McDonald's bag and the practically empty beer?
I think they're starting to smell."

she didn't answer. well, not right away, anyway. and I took that to mean they belonged
to Grace. natural resting places. so, I mix the almond milk into the coffee.

"I know I should throw it out. Grace doesn't even like McDonald's. Do you know what's
in that bag?"

"I don't."

"avocados."

"what?"

"yeah. one of her friends works there. just cut up some avocados for her."

what sacrilege. made me tired, you know? fast food avocados, selfies,
Sylvia Plath feminists, etc., etc. the ceiling fan sped up, for no reason, I think.
the balloons cast shadows over the dining table. and I could drink almond milk
with a lesbian forever. trust me. just not under those conditions. beeline for
the fridge. door open. snagged the bag of blacker-than-brown avocados
and the bottle of beer.

"stop. she could be back any day," Mathilda said.

and what I should of said was no. what I should have said was Grace,
for all intents and purposes, was dead. and what she was doing
was reusing a dead name. and reusing a dead name isn't a resurrection.
but what I said was, "okay." and I sat down under the ceiling fan.
my natural resting place. almond milk forever. and ever. and ever.
Joel A Doetsch Apr 2015
Lewis had taken his date antiquing.  It seemed the kind of sophisticated, adult activity that he felt would reinforce the fact that he was, in fact, a sophisticated adult.  Never mind that he knew next to nothing about antiquing...except that it was a thing sophisticated adults apparently did.

It was clear within the first twenty minutes or so that she wasn't really feeling it.

She was friendly and amicable, but it was clear that she was being polite for the sake of being polite.  It was the kind of polite that meant she wouldn't be returning his phone calls tomorrow.  For his part, he didn't make a fuss.  He played his role and continued the date as if it meant something.

He even went so far as to purchase an ornate mirror at the last shop they visited.  A mirror he'd probably never have even looked at on a typical day.

Lewis dropped his date off at her flat, insisted on walking her to her door (had to keep up appearances), and gave her a brief hug before going back to his car.  The mirror was wrapped up in the back seat of his small Toyota, making it impossible to use his rearview mirror.

He didn't even bother taking it out of the car when he got home.  Perhaps, he thought, someone would steal it and save him the trouble of pitching it.

The next morning, to his annoyance, it still filled up his back seat.  He had to go to work, and he figured he'd have to get it out of the car sooner or later, so he pulled it out and awkwardly managed to get it into his front door, where he left it leaning against the wall of his front hallway.

Lewis walked by the mirror almost every day for a week before he finally decided to hang it up.  He had bought it, after all...might as well make use of it.  He hung it up in the hallway and then largely forgot it existed.  It wasn't until several months later that he discovered its strange properties.

He had been running late for work, and in his hurry had spilled coffee over his shirt.  His initial annoyance at having to change was replaced with a sharp pain as the hot coffee burned through his shirt.  He was haphazardly unbuttoning the shirt while walking by the mirror when he stopped.  He looked again.  The coffee stain had disappeared.  Lewis finished unbuttoning the shirt and looked at his chest, where he found no mark or sign he had even had an injury.  Thinking himself crazy, he ran back to the kitchen to find that there was, indeed, spilled coffee still on the table.

That had been the beginning.

The power had gone quickly to his head, as power is wont to do.  He could change just about anything in his environment, so long as he was clever and could do it in front of the mirror.  The more he focused, the more accurate the results were.  He imagined that he was holding the deed to a mansion that was for sale downtown.  He found that not only was this the case, but the mirror had taken care of all the pesky details that would have otherwise conflicted with this.  He imagined his bank account filled to the brim with money.  Lewis imagined a whole new life for himself.  

It was at this point that he decided to test the limits of his new found power.  He stood at the mirror in his underwear.  Not horrible looking by any means, but definitely not an attractive man by most standards.  His hair, oily and unkempt, fell listlessly down on his forehead.  a paunch belly accentuated knobby knees and elbows.  His face was rather round and a bit pudgy, though fairly average overall.  He looked himself over disdainfully, and begin to concentrate.

First his stomach started shrinking, as if someone was letting the air out of it. It flattened, and abdominal muscles etched themselves into the skin.  The rest of his body followed suit, transforming itself into his ideal.  An alpha male.  A leading man.  At the end of it all, he stood in front of a stranger.  Even his eyes had changed.  They looked back at him through the mirror, full of confidence and a spark of defiance.  He almost caught a mischievous smile playing at his lips.

The change was immediate.  Between the money and the new face, he became social elite, hosting parties, attending events.  The mysterious newcomer, whose fortune seemed to have appeared out of thin air.  He relished every minute of it.  Instead of chasing people, begging to be noticed, people were begging to be noticed by him.  It was everything he ever wanted, until she came into his life.

She was an environmental lawyer for a large law firm.  She had it all.  Intelligence...strength...beauty.  Her name was Claire. She could stare right through him.  She didn't care about his power.  She didn't care about his charm.  The more he tried to win her over, the more she pulled away.  That, of course, did nothing to deter him.  If anything, it made him desire her more.  It was driving him insane.

Things finally broke down.  He was at yet another party, but he was no longer enjoying himself.  He hadn't been enjoying himself for weeks.  He sat at the bar, downing glasses of alcohol almost carelessly.  He saw her outside on the balcony, and he stumbled his way over to her.  He managed to slur out something along the lines of "Hey baby" along with some semblance of a crude pickup line, which earned him a martini hat and five red marks across his perfectly shaped face.

He drove home, managing to get his car mostly in his driveway (that poor mailbox never saw it coming).  He lumbered into his house, intending to fall asleep, when he walked by the mirror.  Suddenly, his inebriated brain had an amazing thought.  Why should he continue chasing her?  He had a mirror that granted him anything he wanted.  

He stood in front of the mirror.  Once again, he almost imagined that his reflection was sneering at him, but he put it out of his mind.  He imagined Claire, in all her perfection, deeply in love with him.  He continued to focus, as much as his mind would allow him, when suddenly he felt hands around his waist.  He turned around, and found her standing behind him, beckoning him forward.

She led him up to his room and laid him upon the bed.   At first, he was ecstatic, but as the night continued, he became uncomfortable.    She was wrong.  She was not natural.  She was focused fully on him as she had her way, but he was unable to meet her gaze.  Every time he did, her face seemed to move out of focus, like a dark shadow was covering her.  He couldn't linger there long, and it filled him with dread.  Eventually the alcohol took its toll, and he fell into a fitful sleep, with her wrapped faithfully around him.

The next morning, Lewis went back to the mirror and wished her away.  Then he panicked.  He called one of his acquaintances and discovered that the actual Claire was still alive and well.  It had not been her.  He felt relieved, but this quickly turned to depression as he fell into a chair, racked with guilt at what he had brought into the world, however briefly.  Unfortunately, he wouldn't get a chance to make any more mistakes.

The next night, Lewis found himself awake.  It was about 3 AM.  He hadn't remembered waking.  Nor did he remember walking down the stairs to the mirror, but here he was.  He stood and stared at the mirror, back to the man he had become.  He smiled that mischievous smile.  Wait.  He hadn't smiled.  Why was he smiling?  Lewis attempted to move away, but he was stuck in place.  The mirror version of himself allowed its smile to widen, and Lewis felt his mouth tugging upwards to accommodate.  The reflection raised its arm, and Lewis helplessly raised his arm as well.  

Lewis vaguely noticed the entire room he was in filling with a dense fog.  The rest of the world blurred out into obscurity except the mirror with the devilish face of Lewis's counterpart.  The reflection spoke, and Lewis's mouth moved along with the words.  "I sure appreciate you helping me out of there.  Hope you don't mind hanging out for awhile."  He flashed that terrible grin.  "I'll see you around"

Lewis waved goodbye, and his reflection stepped away from the mirror...leaving him in darkness.
Written very quickly, probably could be better.  Feel free to offer constructive criticism.
Ken Pepiton Dec 2018
Taken, gotten, or made, the point of anything
can pierce through everything…

slow
Slow think,
make real

re-al-ize
what fighting for life is…
this is the only
try,
it is not a test.

Take your time, use it wisely,
if that means anything.
Wise, I meant.
No offence, if wise is anathema to your kind,
die,
die if I knocked the reason for being right
outa you,
did you hear cognitive dissonance?
did it sound like
this. LOUD?
listen,
rolling rolling rolling
crash crumble rolled in nurse rime frosted
fables of monsters and maids
Thor, witharoar likka Lion King?

or the light brigade,
CHARGE?

thunder words from lost generations of
reasonless riddles for children,

Why did Peter Pumpkin-eater have a wife, but
couldn't keep her here?
Was that okeh? Oh, wait.
Ah, I see, I say,
they never tell that whole story any more.

Know why? They forgot it. In the war.

Duck'n'cover,no
crying, how long?
When begins forever? Did no one tell you, child?

Taken or made, the point of anything
can pierce through everything
like it was nothing, given
enough pre-sure-sup
poser-power

War, as a game, has a reason.

Battle, hitting, slapping

stop touch, stop now slap
slap back

or cry
oh no no ma

waddayahsay?  A theist or atheist
who started this war?

space case, or
lover of wisdom, met on the road
to Emmaus, discussing Weil's proof
firming Fermi's connection to the matter of fear,
3, 2, 1

Kaboom, but with a whump you feel in your teeth

1, 2, 3 Fermat's last theorem ,
easy as pi an no re me

ABC to
Michael Jackson to
Howard Bloom because he

inadvertently, began
an-ionic converstatic re-vibe time warp
meme,
which vibe, started the legendary Sixties. I was alive.
Radioman,
a sixty cycle white-noise humm heard every where these days

There was a gospel song, "Turn Your Radio On".
my theme, open the window in the top of your head,
as it were,
a new,
as new as

a novel-state of water, H three Ohs, re-al-ity ification,
Ah, a shared Oh, I remember now, how this works…

like a poem

at the edge of a water vapor bubble in a boiling body of water,
at the edge of the bubble, water becomes a wall of water,
not vapor, not flowing liquid,

but a wall, insulating the vapor in pressing opposing force
to permit, from permission,
meaning with a message same as the message,

is that the right word? per-mission-grant, is power given,
agency,
that idea….
wait for the sign….?

By sharing an ion ic bond as a quest to make a point
for a free story to go,
the question marks you. Let the snake dance.

Press your point,

whetted edge,

slice through ties holding worthless axioms
with withered dendrites dangling disconnected
in participles
unfired for centuries muttering,
enchanting, enthralling enchained melodies
of ambitious syllables vying for idle minds
to rope in,
unbranded, wild
bucking ideas,
whip-twig, slap-face,
tanglewood  thicket, catclaw and mesquite,
willow,

wait.
And the old man remembered the willow whistle,
so He asked Grandfather,
How is such a whistle made?
And when he knew,
he made one.

A willow whistle with two notes,
like an Oscar Meir Wiener one.

-- and that was a different time
I got lost here, bucked up…
maybe
--- listen, way back--- we-ain't whistlin' Dixie---
we ain't marchin', as t' war.

D'thet mean some sign to pro-phet -ic take?
Tophet?
Ancient cannon fodder shield walls,
a moaning
Pro-phy-lactic warning of the danger of not
knowing exactly
what a war is for?

Get back on,
relieved of any idle baggage words believed
to mean other than I say.

Nullify
Idle words with cultural meanings from
what you thought you knew when you feared hell.

Loose
those peer-locked memes
made of meaninglessness, per se,

shaped and molded into fashions
of expression, once needles and awls,
now, dull as tinker's damns for swearing,
with any effect.

But tools, none the less, a stitch in time took a tool.
An awl or a needle, and a thread, thick or thin,
dependin' on the mendin' needed
to redeem an idle word,
its meaning all bloodied with the tyranny of time.

An awl or a needle,
a tool for a task, mending a tear
where curses, never meant, spent
the entire dark ages, lying, lying, lying

powerless, pointless aimless, proverbial proverbial proverbial
verbiage, vaneless shafts launched at unseen marks,
signs, as it were, a spark,
triggers,
rumored since the sixties,
the first sixties, when Cain killed Able.
Howard Bloom was but a mere gleam
in our mito-mother's eye,
but, no doubt,

his role is real,
in loosing the forces Ferlinghetti locked in
City Lights mystery of secret meanings room,
which un
mystified and blew away upon opening
the door to
meanings mapped on
scrolls rolling and unrolling
idle ideas,
rites of passage, as it were,
Pre-bat-bar-mitz vah
as a fashion
like VBS,

to tickle little minds and make em wiggle.
MEMEMEME, I did it,
mea culpa,

the holy place
Here we are…

On Vacation, leave a message.
-----

See, wee hairs in your ears wiggle, making,
signaling, the need

to scratch that itch, that itching hearing feeling ear… hear that

don't scratch, listen

listen

60 cycle humm, steady, bass, but no thump whumpwhump;
soft, deeep.
ooooooooo or mmmmmmmm or in betwixt, steady thrumm
hear another, and another… sixty in a second,

one in every million ambits twisting,
threading qubits, radiating signals in the field
wireless, blue-tooth... satellite...

can you feel that?

hummmms, all around us, since the womb.
We are not the children of the greatest generation,

We are the children of the last generation of
**** sapiens sapiens non-augmentable-us.

We, the augmented, recycled ideas,
possessing
minds of Adamkind,

is that a secret or a sacred?
Is this
a new thing, an
unknown unknown known known now?

Ah,
novelty.

Whose is fear? Who was afraid of Virginia Wolf?

Should I remain in fear of her now, if I knew why then?
God would know such answers.
Proving my imagined AI guides are not God,
but lesser beings,

haps I recall.
I defined these things,
these thoughts that shape themselves,
forming words and phrases
I saw
shiny. Crow-like,
gleams seen, captured and claimed mine,
I tucked them away,
a sign in a thought in an imagined image made 4
real once more, to be seen from the shore,
new land new world
a fourth for some, a fifth or more for others...

haps happen, I'm not sure how,

Born or emerged, as a bubble, what do you say?

Reserve judgment.
Grant me your grace for now, until you solve my riddle.

Ah, the old way.
Right. Which way,  'ere, 'ear
and do we roll the rock with silent haitch or harsh, shhh

someone's waking up,
a bit grumpy,
don't you dare oppose me in this, the kid is certainly my son

Michael went stark raving mad when I told him, Billie Jean knew better all along...
the link, axiomatic,
the fatherless child has been claimed

hence, the thread to Howard Bloom, meme-ic,
meme-ic, like the Roadrunner,

but with the real Coyote, as the hero in this bit of
whatever, such meandering maundified maun maund  
mound

wind blown crystal silicon dunes
mounded up to that point where granulated
beens and dones

begin to slide at an angle,
a ***** deter-mind by the weight of the rock

We made it.
I know where this is.

This is a novel that has Sisyphus being happy
as the main premise behind the idea of anyone ever being
able, en abled, or un-dis-abled or un-dis-enabled,
if one of those is right,

Sisyphus being happy
is the main premise behind
the idea of anyone ever being glücklich,
happy, blessed, lucky.

How happy is your ever after?
When did forever begin?

"A man is as happy as he makes up his mind to be"
Abe Lincoln, is said to have said,
after the seance, maybe.

You push on, dear reader, make some sense
re-ligare or relegare, but take a stitch,

pull-tight,
do what works the first time as far as it goes, and try each, as needed,
it may be that we invented this test.
To make us think it is a test,
to sort ourselves out.

Get back on,

see who went crazy and who found the thread, if the same thread
this is that, right,
the same train of thought,
the same idea
spirit wind
sign
?
A snake facing west standing tippy-tail on a singularity;
a point in time?

Why are you reading this?
Curiosity Shoppes trade in interesting, alluring, click-bait

Pay attention, watch, you shall see

imagine this is the dream,
the stream, the flow, the current, the cream

in a dime coffee at the drug store on the corner

the rounded-corner, in a square-cornered town,
the most right corner of the twelve that quarter what it was

Punctuate, wait, imagine you read ancient Hebrew or Greek and there
are no dyer diacritical's who can twist one's
end tensions into knots

dread extensions, we could sell those,
is that an idea? did somebody
sell white folks dread extensions and black folk dolly pardon wigs?

Did that happen the real real?

-----
Battlefield Earth, oshit
scientology ology ology ology

allaye allaye outs in free

WE we wee every we you imagine you are good in, we

We have a war to win again, we heroes rolling from your
myths of Sisyphus torn from minds trampled
in the mud beyond the Rhine,

Mushrooms. magi are aware, you are aware, of course,
this course includes Basic Mycelium Net Adaptation or Augmentation
BMNAA, eh? So you know.

Camus and many of his ilk were ill-treated, the questions
they asked were memorized, maybe in our cribs ala
Brave New World.

We are all Alphas, always were, of course, you know.

Shall we imagine

more? Re-legare, eh, sistere. Point .(Back to the top.)

or agree? Make peace.
Practice, like Eazy-Bake,
the cook must swallow the first bite. May the best cook win.
A continuing examination of opposing forces when good is the goal, who could be against that? The old word war is festering, inflaming evil to start a try, therefore,  I whet the edge and swing wide
Alyssa Underwood Nov 2015
Promises made by mortal man
Are rarely met by mortal hand
For though they strive to win your heart
Such passions land far from their start

They'll paint, so clear, a future bliss
And draw you in with blinding kiss
But just when you have bought the dream
Man finds pursuits more worthy to deem

Ambition, sport and other girls
Whose flattering words and smiles like pearls
Will tempt a fellow to leave his nest
And lie upon another's breast

'Tis pain so sharp you think you'll die
And tears aren't found enough to cry
A torture rack would be better friend
With all its tearing limb to limb

To have your innards disemboweled
Or face the fiercest lion's growl
Would be kinder punishment than this
From one who knew your ****** kiss

And yet within this darkest night
A hint of moonbeam's softest light
Might rise upon such blistered soul
And shine into its gaping hole

For romance still may spark a flame
And whisper to your heart by name
To woo you in your bleakest hour
With promises of healing power

Promises unlike the others you've known
Whose good intentions were quickly thrown
Away by the frailty of human flesh
When sin's entanglements did enmesh

No, this One's words are wholly sure
His heart and mind and will are pure
His faithfulness cannot be shaken
Nor His covenant love ever be taken

He chose you before He made the sun
And said to the Father, "I want that one!"
He searched you out through all your years
Through all your joys and pains and fears

And now He waits for you to grasp
That deepest pleasure lies in His clasp
That His own kiss brings highest delight
That His face is eye's sweetest sight

It's He alone Who can fill you up
And saturate your empty cup
When life has left you hollow and dry
And numb to further wish to try

When memories lie tarnished with stains
And not one worthy dream remains
He reaches in with perfect hope
That pulls you up like saving rope

And as He wipes tears from your eyes
He says to you: I am the Prize!
Take hold of Me and drink My love
Come sit with Me in realms above

For I have blessings prepared for you
That you've never imagined, but oh it's true
I long to give you all of Me
To draw you close and let you see

That in your pain you know Me best
That heart's rejection finds its rest
In this sweet fellowship of intimacy
Where you are made to look like Me

I'll give you love like you've not known
Enough to see your will o'erthrown
Enough to pour it out upon
That very one who did you wrong

For that one, too, knows thirst of soul
And needs My love to fill the hole
Which, though he's tried hard to ignore,
Pleads, "More and more and more and more!"

But if he never should respond
Still, that pure love will seal the bond
That ties you to My own heartbeat
For then you'll see My love complete

For though the world resists Me still
I love them fiercely and always will
I've known rejection like no other
From bride and kindred and friend and brother

And when you love through hate and scorn
A jewel within your heart is born
For then you glimpse My own heart's breaking
And learn My secrets of rarest taking

To rejoice in the face of bitter spite
Requires sure death but will invite
Your soul to dance in gardens of bliss
Where you will know My Lover's kiss

So come and dance with Me, make haste
There's no spare moment left to waste
Abundant life waits through this door
With thrills and pleasures evermore!
~~~
MeanAileen Mar 2017
It's my best friend,
and my nightmere-
it's all that I love
and everything I fear.
It's my fulfillment,
my bottomless sorrow-
bringing dark thoughts
of no tomorrow.
It's my strength,
my greatest plight-
this evil addiction
I try to fight.
It's my oblivion,
my heartbreaking pain-
a toxic cloud
that's killing my brain.
It's my protection,
my paranoid lies-
the Devil himself
in crystal disguise.
It's my sanity,
my endless strife-
this methamphetamine
destroying my life.
It's my reality,
my make-believe bliss-
I just never imagined
I would end up like this....
Truth be told....
Bouazizi’s heavy eyelids parted as the Muezzin recited the final call for the first Adhan of the day.

“As-salatu Khayrun Minan-nawm”
Prayer is better than sleep

Rising from the torment of another restless night, Bouazizi wiped the sleep from his droopy eyes as his feet touched the cold stone floor.

Throughout the frigid night, the devilish jinn did their work, eagerly jabbing away at Bouazizi with pointed sticks, tormenting his troubled conscience with the worry of his nagging indebtedness. All night the face of the man Bouazizi owed money to haunted him. Bouazizi could see the man’s greasy lips and brown teeth jawing away, inches from his face. He imagined chubby caffeine stained fingers reaching toward him to grab some dinars from Bouazizi’s money box.

Bouazizi turned all night like he was sleeping on a board of spikes. His prayers for a restful night again went unanswered. The pall of a blue fatigue would shadow Bouazizi for most of the day.

Bouazizi’s weariness was compounded by a gnawing hunger. By force of habit, he grudgingly opened the food cupboard with the foreknowledge that it was almost bare. Bouazizi’s premonition proved correct as he surveyed a meager handful of chickpeas, some eggs and a few sparse loaves. It was just enough to feed his dependant family; younger brothers and sisters, cousins and a terminally disabled uncle. That left nothing for Bouazizi but a quick jab to his empty gut. He would start this day without breakfast.

Bouazizi made a living as a street vendor. He hustles to survive. Bouazizi’s father died in a construction accident in Libya when he was three. Since the age of 10, Bouazizi had pushed a cart through the streets of Sidi Bouzid; selling fruit at the public market just a few blocks from the home that he has lived in for almost his entire life.

At 27 years of age, Bouazizi has wrestled the beast of deprivation since his birth. To date, he has bravely fought it to a standstill; but day after day the multi-headed hydra of life has snapped at him. He has squarely met the eyes of the beast with fortitude and resolve; but the sharp fangs of a hardscrabble life has sunken deep into Bouazizi’s spleen. The unjust rules of society are powerful claws that slash away at his flesh, bleeding him dry: while the spiked tendrils of poverty wrap Bouazizi’s neck, seeking to strangle him.

Bouazizi is a workingman hero; a skilled warrior in the fight for daily bread. He is accustomed to living a life of scarcity. His daily deliverance is the grace of another day of labor and the blessed wages of subsistence.

Though Allah has blessed this man with fortitude the acuteness of terminal want and the constant struggle to survive has its limits for any man; even for strong champions like Bouazizi.

This morning as Bouazizi washed he peered into a mirror, closely examining new wrinkles on his stubble strewn face. He fingered his deep black curls dashed with growing streaks of gray. He studied them through the gaze of heavy bloodshot eyes. He looked upward as if to implore Allah to salve the bruises of daily life.

Bouazizi braced himself with the splash of a cold water slap to his face. He wiped his cheeks clean with the tail of his shirt. He dipped his toothbrush into a box of baking powder and scoured an aching back molar in need of a root canal. Bouazizi should see a dentist but it is a luxury he cannot afford so he packed an aspirin on top of the infected tooth. The dissolving aspirin invaded his mouth coating his tongue with a bitter effervescence.

Bouazizi liked the taste and was grateful for the expectation of a dulled pain. He smiled into the mirror to check his chipped front tooth while pinching a cigarette **** from an ashtray. The roach had one hit left in it. He lit it with a long hard drag that consumed a good part of the filter. Bouazizi’s first smoke of the day was more filter then tobacco but it shocked his lungs into the coughing flow of another day.

Bouazizi put on his jacket, slipped into his knockoff NB sneakers and reached for a green apple on a nearby table. He took a big bite and began to chew away the pain of his toothache.

Bouazizi stepped into the street to catch the sun rising over the rooftops. He believed that seeing the sunrise was a good omen that augured well for that day’s business. A sunbeam braking over a far distant wall bathed Bouazizi in a golden light and illumined the alley where he parked his cart holding his remaining stock of week old apples. He lifted the handles and backed his cart out into the street being extra mindful of the cracks in the cobblestone road. Bouazizi sprained his ankle a week ago and it was still tender. Bouazizi had to be careful not to aggravate it with a careless step. Having successfully navigated his cart into the road, Bouazizi made a skillful U Turn and headed up the street limping toward the market.

A winter chill gripped Bouazizi prompting him to zip his jacket up to his neck. The zipper pinched his Adam’s Apple and a few droplets of blood stained his green corduroy jacket. Though it was cold, Bouazizi sensed that spring would arrive early this year triggering a replay of a recurring daydream. Bouazizi imagined himself behind the wheel of a new van on his way to the market. Fresh air and sunshine pouring through the open windows with the cargo space overflowing with fresh vegetables and fruits.

It was a lifelong ambition of Bouazizi to own a van. He dreamed of buying a six cylinder Dodge Caravan. It would be painted red and he would call it The Red Flame. The Red Flame would be fast and powerful and sport chrome spinners. The Red Flame would be filled with music from a Blaupunkt sound system with kick *** speakers. Power windows, air conditioning, leather seats, a moonroof and plenty of space in the back for his produce would complete Bouazizi’s ride.

The Red Flame would be the vehicle Bouazizi required to expand his business beyond the market square. Bouazizi would sell his produce out of the back of the van, moving from neighborhood to neighborhood. No longer would he have to wait for customers to come to his stand in the market. Bouazizi would go to his customers. Bouazizi and the Red Flame would be known in all the neighborhoods throughout the district. Bouazizi shook his head and smiled thinking about all the girls who would like to take rides in the Red Flame. Bouazizi and his Red Flame would be a sight to be noticed and a force to be reckoned with.

“EEEEEYOWWW” a Mercedes horn angrily honked; jarring Bouazizi from the reverie of his daydream. A guy whipping around the corner like a silver streak stuck his head out the window blasting with music yelling, “Hey Mnayek, watch where you push that *******.”

The music faded as the Mercedes roared away. “Barra nikk okhtek” Bouazizi yelled, raising his ******* in the direction of the vanished car. “The big guys in the fancy cars think the road belongs to them”, Bouazizi mumbled to himself.

The insult ****** Bouazizi off, but he was accustomed to them and as he limped along pushing his cart he distracted himself with the amusement of the ascending sun chasing the fleeting shadows of the night, sending them scurrying down narrow alleyways.

Bouazizi imaged himself a character from his favorite movie. He was a giant Transformer, chasing the black shadows of evil away from the city into the desert. After battling evil and conquering the bad guys, he would transform himself back into the regular Bouazizi; selling his produce to the people as he patrolled the highways of Tunisia in the Red Flame, the music blasting out the windows, the chrome spinners flashing in the sunlight. Bouazizi would remain vigilant, always ready to transform the Red Flame to fight the evil doers.

The bumps and potholes in the road jostled Bouazizi’s load of apples. A few fell out of the wooden baskets and were rolling around in the open spaces of the cart. Bouazizi didn’t want to risk bruising them. Damaged merchandise can’t be sold so he was careful to secure his goods and arrange his cart to appeal to women customers. He made sure to display his prized electronic scale in the corner of the cart for all to see.

Bouazizi had a reputation as a fair and generous dealer who always gave good value to his customers. Bouazizi was also known for his kindness. He would give apples to hungry children and families who could not pay. Bouazizi knew the pain of hunger and it brought him great satisfaction to be able to alleviate it in others.

As a man who valued fairness, Bouazizi was particularly proud of his electronic scale. Bouazizi was certain the new measuring device assured all customers that Bouazizi sold just and correct portions. The electronic scale was Bouazizi’s shining lamp. He trusted it. He hung it from the corner post of his cart like it was the beacon of a lighthouse guiding shoppers through the treachery of an unscrupulous market. It would attract all customers who valued fairness to the safe harbor of Bouazizi’s cart.

The electronic scale is Bouazizi’s assurance to his customers that the weights and measures of electronic calculation layed beyond any cloud of doubt. It is a fair, impartial and objective arbiter for any dispute.

Bouazizi believed that the fairness of his scale would distinguish his stand from other produce vendors. Though its purchase put Bouazizi into deep debt, the scale was a source of pride for Bouazizi who believed that it would help his profits to increase and help him to achieve his goal of buying the Red Flame.

As Bouazizi pushed his cart toward the market, he mulled his plan over in his mind for the millionth time. He wasn't great in math but he was able to calculate his financial situation with a degree of precision. His estimations triggered worries that his growing debt to money lenders may be difficult to payoff.

Indebtedness pressed down on Bouazizi’s chest like a mounting pile of stones. It was the source of an ever present fear coercing Bouazizi to live in a constant state of anxiety. His business needed to grow for Bouazizi to get a measure of relief and ultimately prosper from all his hard work. Bouazizi was driven by urgency.

The morning roil of the street was coming alive. Bouazizi quickened his step to secure a good location for his cart at the market. Car horns, the spewing diesel from clunking trucks, the flatulent roar of accelerating buses mixed with the laughs and shrieks of children heading to school composed the rising crescendo of the city square.

As he pushed through the market, Bouazizi inhaled the aromatic eddies of roasting coffee floating on the air. It was a pleasantry Bouazizi looked forward to each morning. The delicious wafts of coffee mingling with the crisp aroma of baking bread instigated a growl from Bouazizi’s empty stomach. He needed to get something to eat. After he got money from his first sale he would by a coffee and some fried dough.

Activity in the market was vigorous, punctuated by the usual arguments of petty territorial disputes between vendors. The disagreements were always amicably resolved, burned away in rising billows of roasting meats and vegetables, the exchange of cigarettes and the plumes of tobacco smoke rising as emanations of peace.

Bouazizi skillfully maneuvered his cart through the market commotion. He slid into his usual space between Aaban and Aameen. His good friend Aaban sold candles, incense, oils and sometimes his wife would make cakes to sell. Aameen was the markets most notorious jokester. He sold hardware and just about anything else he could get his hands on.

Aaban was already burning a few sticks of jasmine incense. It helped to attract customers. The aroma defined the immediate space with the pleasant bouquet of a spring garden. Bouazizi liked the smell and appreciated the increased traffic it brought to his apple cart.

“Hey Basboosa#, do you have any cigarettes?“, Aameen asked as he pulled out a lighter. Bouazizi shook the tip of a Kent from an almost empty pack. Aameen grabbed the cigarette with his lips.

“That's three cartons of Kents you owe me, you cheap *******.” Bouazizi answered half jokingly. Aameen mumbled a laugh through a grin tightly gripping the **** as he exhaled smoke from his nose like a fire breathing dragon. Bouazizi also took out a cigarette for himself.

“Aameem, give me a light”, Bouazizi asked.

Aameen tossed him the lighter.

“Keep it Basboosa. I got others.” Aameen smiled as he showed off a newly opened box of disposable lighters to sell on his stand.

“Made in China, Basboosa. They make everything cheap and colorful. I can make some money with these.”

Bouazizi lit his next to last cigarette. He inhaled deeply. The smoke chased away the cool air in Bouazizi’s lungs with a shot of a hot nicotine rush.

“Merci Aameen” Bouazizi answered. He put the lighter into the almost empty cigarette pack and put it into his hip pocket. The lighter would protect his last cigarette from being crushed.

The laughter and shouts of the bazaar, the harangue of radio voices shouting anxious verses of Imam’s exhorting the masses to submit and the piecing ramble of nondescript AM music flinging piercing unintelligible static surrounded Bouazizi and his cart as he waited for his first customers of the day.

Bouazizi sensed a nervous commotion rise along the line of vendors. A crowd of tourists and locals milling about parted as if to avoid a slithering asp making its way through their midst. The hoots of vendors and the cackle of the crowd made its way to Bouazizi’s knowing ear. He knew what was coming. It was nothing more then another shakedown by city officials acting as bagmen for petty municipal bureaucrats. They claim to be checking vendor licences but they’re just making the rounds collecting protection money from the vendors. Pocketing bribes and payoffs is the municipal authorities idea of good government. They are skilled at using the power of their office to extort tribute from the working poor.

Bouazizi made the mistake of making eye contact with Madame Hamdi. As the municipal authority in charge of vendors and taxis Madame Hamdi held sway over the lives of the street vendors. She relished the power she had over the men who make a meager living selling goods in the square; and this morning she was moving through the market like a bloodhound hot on the trail of an escaped convict. Two burly henchmen lead the way before her. Bouazizi knew Madame Hamdi’s hounds were coming for him.

Bouazizi knew he was ******. Having just made a payment to his money lender, Bouazizi had no extra dinars to grease the palm of Madame Hamdi. He grabbed the handle bars of his cart to make an escape; but Madame Hamdi cut him off and got right into into Bouazizi’s face.

“Ah little Basboosa where are you going? she asked with the tone of playful contempt.

“I suppose you still have no license to sell, ah Basboosa?” Madame Hamdi questioned with the air of a soulless inquisitor.

“You know Madame Hamdi, cart vendors do not need a license.” Bouazizi feebly protested, not daring to look into her eyes.

“Basboosa, you know we can overlook your violations with a small fine for your laxity” a dismissive Madame Hamdi offered.

Bouazizi’s sense of guilt would not permit him to lift his eyes. His head remained bowed. Bouazizi stood convicted of being one of the impoverished.

“I have no spare dinars to offer Madame Hamdi, My pockets are empty, full of holes. My money falls into everyone’s palm but my own. I’m sorry Madame Hamdi. I’ll take my cart home”. He lifted the handlebars in an attempt to escape. One of Madame Hamdi’s henchmen stepped in front of his cart while the other pushed Bouazizi away from it.

“Either you pay me a vendor tax for a license or I will confiscate your goods Basboosa”, Madame Hamdi warned as she lifted Bouazizi’s scale off its hook.

“This will be the first to go”, she said grinning as she examined the scale. “We’ll just keep this.”
Like a mother lion protecting a defenseless cub from the snapping jaws of a pack of ravenous hyenas, Bouazizi lunged to retrieve his prized scale from the clutches of Madame Hamdi. Reaching for it, he touched the scale with his fingertips just as Madame Hamdi delivered a vicious slap to Bouazizi’s cheek. It halted him like a thunderbolt from Zeus.

A henchman overturned Bouazizi’s cart, scatter
Three years ago today Muhammad Bouazizi set himself on fire igniting the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia sparking the Arab Spring Uprisings of 2011.
Alyssa Underwood Apr 2017
"The Struggle for Love"
"The Longing for Home"
So desperate to prove
That our hearts aren't alone

While death looms wherewith
To make dust of our flesh
We seek in a myth
Our souls to enmesh

With a hero of hope
A rescuing source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Which might silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

But it's not our mere lack
Which causes most dread
It's the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination

We just want our own way
And to write our own story
So we plunge on astray
To seek our own glory

To play artist or muse
Or idol or chief
Any self-styled ruse
To assuage us of grief

Any measure to show
A lasting signif'cance
So that someone would know
Our unique magnif'cence

For our beauty's been marred
And we crave a redemption
Of souls twisted and scarred
By fulfillment's exemption

But, alas, we will find
That search hard as we may
There's not one of our kind
Who can carry the tray

Upon which the weight
Of our souls has been laid
For who can e'er tolerate
Its gross debts unpaid?

Such suff'cating mass
Of defects and ills
Pressed 'gainst delicate glass
Of egos and wills

Still more ghastly to bear
Is devotion unbound
For with millstone to wear
Its master is drowned

'Neath a sea of foul yeast
And becomes the enslaved
To a hungering beast
To a worship depraved

For the heart is a tiger
And must have its fill
So it raises a man higher
With a kiss before the ****

Not intentionally, of course,
Does it slaughter its idol
But of hurricane force
Is this longing so vital

And as pedestal turns
So quickly to altar
Our wounded pride burns
When our gods and alms falter

And the fire of its rage
Turns upon its obsession
Tiger breaks out of cage
To reclaim self-possession

It bites and it tears
What it once so adored
And pride no longer cares
If it kills its false lord

But upon such demise
The soul screams in terror
For it's broken its prize
And can't take back its error

It begs and it pleads
To restore what's been lost
But at end knows it needs
To consider the cost

Of the damage untold
It has left in the wake
For hearts can't be controlled
With a gush or a shake

No, men's hearts are like bombs
Which so easily explode
Once the pin is removed
All past wrongs will re-load

So the prey becomes hunter
When the tiger attacks
For he does not want her
To see what he lacks

As he, too, had put
Her up in wrong place
But now steps his foot
Upon her shamed face

To now pulverize
As his own heart's been crushed
To blind out her eyes
And to see her lips hushed

For with words idly spoken
She'd stabbed at his soul
And had left his pride broken
By her judgments so cold

She had not meant to harm
Knew not e'en that he heard
But one cannot disarm
A thought put to word

Worse than not knowing this
She no longer knew him
And her once imagined bliss
Proved a nullified whim

Oh, what games and delusions
We play and we build
Upon empty illusions
And dreams unfulfilled

Yet strangely it's when
Our worst fears come true
We can finally transcend
All those old tales we grew

Out of ego and void
Out of sorrow and pain
When our nerves felt annoyed
And our hearts felt too vain

'Cause when ego is puffed
It is primed, too, to pop
And with pinprick is snuffed
Like a pest-blighted crop

So imagine much more
When a venom's injected
Right into its core
And its heart is rejected

But can you also not see
How it needs such a burst
To begin to get free
From its self-absorbed curse?

Except now feels the matter
Of our soul's isolation
Fiercer still with the shatter
Of our pet consolation

So we wait and we wonder
If we've missed the true meaning
Of the frightening thunder
In our heart's constant screaming

Whether homesick or lost
Whether lonely or grieved
Locked in bleak Winter's frost
We find little reprieve

Yet we know we've been made
For the glory of Spring
Some card's still to be played
Some grand song still to sing

Inexpressible yearning
For some secret we know
But can't speak for the burning
Repercussions of woe

Not some mere melancholy
Nor nostalgic forlorn
Not the musings of folly
But a sense that we're torn

From primordial root
And from headwaters fresh
Yet much deeper to boot
From our spiritual breath

'Tis an ache not for wares,
Appreciation or fame
But a fight just for air
Against strangling shame

For we're naked, we know
And with all we devise
Our most flawed parts still show
To a pure set of eyes

Like we're walking around
With no covering intact
But thin hospital gown
With wide split up the back

So we hide our true face
Aim to be what we're not
Work our blots to erase
Lest our schemes should be caught

Be 't by friend or by foe
We dare not risk the pain
Of humiliation's blow
On top of our stain

But instead of relief
Anguish grows louder till
This life's loneliest grief
Paralyzes the will

And last hope all but dies
On doubt's bed of despair
While embittered heart cries
That its lot's too unfair

Yet on outside we play
Through our unconscious mind
Man's collective charade
That everything's fine

Like some pact we'd all sworn
To uphold and obey
To protect from the scorn
Of society's sway

If we run with the flow
'Stead of strive 'gainst the tide
We might make enough show
To salvage our pride

We forget that conceit
Is what caused all the mess
Through a serpent's deceit
And a couple's wrong guess

'Twas they first tasted shame
And then hid in a garden
Sewing fig leaves as claim
To secure their own pardon

Yet in horror they knew
They had squandered the Prize
And must flee from the view
Of a pure set of eyes

Now same state of awry
Runs through each of their seed
Inborn and borne by
Like the thorniest ****

Whose nettles pierce deep
And infect every part
While roots tangle and sweep
Through the mind and the heart

It mocks what we've lost
Torments every dim hope
To constrict and accost
Like a noose-tightening rope

Still, hope won't be decayed
Smold'ring fires yet burn
Sparking hints that we're made
For bright Eden's return

This redemption we crave
Is no phantom's false plea
But as crestfallen wave
Hides itself in the sea

It's been veiled in plain sight
Big as all of our stories
Deep as mankind's full plight
And as high as its glories

Cloaked in every ambition
That we have to get in
To some exclusive coalition
For its favors to win

Lurks a bleeding predilection
Frustrated from birth
A desire for election
To bestow on us worth

Lured by scent of a promise
To be chosen and known
Like the warmth of a mom's kiss
Given only to her own

We search tree after tree
For sweet intimacy's nectar
From a fruit that will be
Our secret connecter

To hope's nourishing breast
To life's honey from comb
To an undying rest
To a straight way toward home

One to wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of a garden again
Cast from pure tree of life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

All our conflicts, comp'tition,
Confusion and blame
Find first cause in perdition
That's invaded our frame

Like the foulest disease
The most cankerous rot
Grown by monstrous degrees
Hatched by Lucifer's plot

This story's no ****'s attack
Nor archaic folklore
But the earth-shattering fact
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

And it's not our mere lack
which causes most dread
But the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination


And yet...


This is also the story
Of how those same eyes
The Possessor of Glory
Looked with love and heart cries

On the crown of creation
His reflection of Self
Made His own treasured nation
The heirs of His wealth

Now broken and lost
All banished from Garden
And He knew the full cost
To grant them His pardon

Had known long before
He had e'er even made
That first man of yore
Yet handcrafts anyway

For His love is so strong
And He wanted to share
His intimacy with a throng
His own children to bear

So with souls in convulsion
From their rebellious misdeed
Just before their expulsion
He promised a Seed

One untainted from sin
Who could take its great boulder
And the weight of His kin
Upon His own shoulder

A Hero of hope
A rescuing Source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Who would silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

For those eyes are His own
And He'd pay the full fee
By His body alone
To set our hearts free

He's hope's nourishing breast
He's life's honey from comb
He's our undying rest
He's our straight way toward home

He will wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of the Garden again
Cast from pure Tree of Life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

But 'twas on another tree
That sweet intimacy's nectar
Was secured tight when He
Became sacred Connector

And the thorns of our curse
Were pressed onto His head
With not one there to nurse
As the Son of Man bled

Then the wrath for our sin
Was absorbed as He cried
And the foul curse was broken
When the Son of God died

But death couldn't keep Him long
Nor His glory dispose
And we found our lost song
When the King of kings rose!

The debt had been paid
He had finished the work
The tide 'gainst us was swayed
We weren't left in our lurk

And we've only to now
Just repent and believe
To open and allow
Our hearts to receive

Our Divine Fountainhead
Our covering complete
To sup from His bread
And to sit at His feet

To worship the One
For Whom we were made
By Whom we've been won
Whom forever we've craved

The One Who can bear
Our hearts' full devotion
The One Who won't tear
At our souls' raw emotion

The One Who will be
Sweet eternity's song
Who with lasting decree
Will...right...every...wrong
~~~

First two lines taken from Timothy Keller sermon titles;
also inspired by his other sermons:
"The Breastplate of Righteousness"
"Blessed Self-Forgetfulness"
"The Sandals of Peace"
"The Wounded Spirit"


~~~

The Gospel of Jesus Christ:

"...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."
~ Romans 3:23

"...people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..."
~ Hebrews 9:27

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord."
~ Romans 6:23

"'Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake:
some to everlasting life,
others to shame and everlasting contempt.'"
~ Daniel 12:2

"For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil."
~ Ecclesiastes 12:14

"This will take place on the day
when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ..."
~ Romans 2:16

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him
to whom we must give account."
~ Hebrews 4:13

"Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins."
~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

"...it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue
to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'"
~ Galatians 3:10b

"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles
at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."
~ James 2:10

"All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
~ Isaiah 64:6

"...sin entered the world through one man,
and death through sin, and in this way
death came to all people, because all sinned..."
~ Romans 5:12

"As it is written:
'There is no one righteous, not even one;
     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.'...
Therefore no one will be
declared righteous in God’s sight
by the works of the law;
rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin."
~ Romans 3:10-12,20

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
~ Romans 5:8

"This is how God showed His love among us:
He sent His one and only Son into the world
that we might live through Him.
This is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
~ 1 John 4:10

"But God raised Him from the dead,
freeing Him from the agony of death,
because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him...
He was not abandoned to the realm of the dead,
nor did His body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life..."
~ Acts 2:24,31b-32a

"...He raised Christ from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,
and every name that is invoked,
not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
And God placed all things under His feet
and appointed Him to be head over everything
for the church, which is His body,
the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way."
~ Ephesians 1:20b-23

"For there is one God
and one mediator between God and mankind,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people..."
~ 1 Timothy 2:5-6a

"...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures...
He was buried...He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures..."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

"...God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:19a

"'Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that
through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin,
a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.'"
~ Acts 13:38-39

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through Him all things were made; without Him
nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life,
and that life was the light of all mankind...
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth...
For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ...
'...the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'"
~ John 1:1-4,14,17,29b

"The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For in Him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
And He is the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross."
~ Colossians 1:15-20

"'For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'"
~ Luke 19:10

"...He appeared so that He might take away our sins.
And in Him is no sin."
~ 1 John 3:5

"...Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
~ 1 Peter 1:19b

"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,
through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith.
He did this to demonstrate His righteousness,
because in His forbearance He had left
the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time,
so as to be just and the one who justifies
those who have faith in Jesus."
~ Romans 3:25-26

"In Him we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace..."
~ Ephesians 1:7

"For the life...is in the blood,
and I have given it to you to make atonement...
it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life."
~ Leviticus 17:11

"...and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness...
Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many..."
~ Hebrews 9:22b,28a

"'All the prophets testify about Him
that everyone who believes in Him
receives forgiveness of sins through His name.'"
~ Acts 10:43

"For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy."
~ Hebrews 10:14

"'He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in His mouth.'...
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness..."
~ 1 Peter 2:22,24a

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,
to bring you to God."
~ 1 Peter 3:18a

"Jesus answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'"
~ Luke 5:31-32

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
~ 1 John 1:8-9

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

"...For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."
~ 1 Corinthians 5:7b

"Surely He took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered Him punished by God,
    stricken by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
    and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
    the iniquity of us all."
~ Isaiah 53:4-6

"And He died for all, that those who live
should no longer live for themselves but for Him
who died for them and was raised again."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:15

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him
is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned
already because they have not believed in the name of God’s
one and only Son... Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,
for God’s wrath remains on them."
~ John 3:16-18,36

"God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
Whoever has the Son has life;
whoever does not have the Son of God
does not have life."
~ 1 John 5:11b-12

"He was delivered over to death for our sins
and was raised to life for our justification."
~ Romans 4:25

"...just as Christ was raised from the dead
through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
~ Romans 6:4b

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade..."
~ 1 Peter 1:3-4a

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation:
The old has gone, the new has come!"
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

"...to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God— children born
not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
but born of God."
~ John 1:12-13

"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you,
no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'...
'Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God
unless they are born of water and the Spirit.'"
~ John 3:3,5

"...born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God."
~ 1 Peter 1:23

"...birth through the word of truth..."
~ James 1:18

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,
and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
~ Romans 10:17

"...to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies
the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness."
~ Romans 4:5

"...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ—
the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."
~ Philippians 3:9

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ
to all who believe."
~ Romans 3:22a

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under
heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
~ Acts 4:12

"Since we have now been justified by His blood,
how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through
the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through His life!"
~ Romans 5:9-10

"For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith—and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."
~ Ephesians 2:8-9

~~~
for a fuller list of verses:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2179517/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/
Madisen Kuhn Apr 2015
i’ve given up on days that begin in late afternoon,
skipped breakfast and lunch,
days that fade slowly and end with
****** cut-out holes in eyelids because
the second i close them and it all goes black,
every moment with you comes back
played on fast-forward, the memories moving so quickly
that both our faces are blurred
and it feels like everything i’ve ever felt for you
is overflowing the tub, filling the washroom with
suds that take forever to melt

i’ve given up on those days.

i’ve traded them for ones that begin with
sunrises instead of sunsets,
days that are spent falling forward
instead of trying to chase the past, and i don’t
look back and see something broken, or
something that was better off left unopened

i look back and see our bodies so close together
that you can’t tell where yours begins and mine ends,
i see my heart that grew twenty-three times its size,
i see you and me wrapped up in something that
i didn’t know existed outside of blurry 35 mm
and overdue and falling-apart library books
that sit on the nightstands of middle-aged women
who are bored with their lives

and i’m just so happy i got to love you at all.

but i’ve folded up all the days spent with you
and taped them in the messy pages of my journal
and now i’m running into the sun,
running away from every lie that’s trying to
wedge its way in between my ribs,
running in the opposite direction of words like "regret"
and any feeling that insists that none of it was worth it

because all of it was worth it.

every moment we were together pumps
through my veins, and it will always be there;
it will be there when we’ve both graduated,
when you move out west,
when you kiss your family goodnight,
when you sit in your backyard with tears
in your eyes because you’ve lived a life
you are proud of

it will be there when i finally make it to new york city,
when i kiss someone who isn’t you,
when i find the answers you inspired me to search for,
when i sit on my rooftop with tears on my cheeks
because i’ve lived a life fuller than i could’ve ever imagined

and you and i will live these lives apart,
we’ll move on and forget what it felt like
to wake up beside one another;
we’ll find what we’re looking for elsewhere
and we’ll understand why this all had to happen the way that it did

but what we had will always exist somewhere,
in rotting apples and old mail and unplayed mix CDs,
in mosaics that line the city streets, in sirens and
red and white flashing lights that shine through
your window while you are asleep

you and i were magic,
we always will be.
Bo Burnham Mar 2015
I almost forgot about you today. A sizable
spill of coffee shot me to my feet, holding
up my mocha-soaked notebook like an
unclaimed child. A dozen eyes found
me at once---a security measure meant
to bring shame to a klutz breaking his
social contract. Attention for **** living.
When the pain receded I stood in place
and imagined you brushing your teeth.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
She said, ‘You are funny, the way you set yourself up the moment we arrive. You look into every room to see if it’s suitable as a place to work. Is there a table? Where are the plugs? Is there a good chair at the right height? If there isn’t, are there cushions to make it so? You are funny.’
 
He countered this, but his excuse didn’t sound very convincing. He knew exactly what she meant, but it hurt him a little that she should think it ‘funny’. There’s nothing funny about trying to compose music, he thought. It’s not ‘radio in the head’ you know – this was a favourite expression he’d once heard an American composer use. You don’t just turn a switch and the music’s playing, waiting for you to write it down. You have to find it – though he believed it was usually there, somewhere, waiting to be found. But it’s elusive. You have to work hard to detect what might be there, there in the silence of your imagination.
 
Later over their first meal in this large cottage she said, ‘How do you stop hearing all those settings of the Mass that you must have heard or sung since childhood?’ She’d been rehearsing Verdi’s Requiem recently and was full of snippets of this stirring piece. He was a) writing a Mass to celebrate a cathedral’s reordering after a year as a building site, and b) he’d been a boy chorister and the form and order of the Mass was deeply engrained in his aural memory. He only had to hear the plainsong introduction Gloria in Excelsis Deo to be back in the Queen’s chapel singing Palestrina, or Byrd or Poulenc.
 
His ‘found’ corner was in the living room. The table wasn’t a table but a long cabinet she’d kindly covered with a tablecloth. You couldn’t get your feet under the thing, but with his little portable drawing board there was space to sit properly because the board jutted out beyond the cabinet’s top. It was the right length and its depth was OK, enough space for the board and, next to it, his laptop computer. On the floor beside his chair he placed a few of his reference scores and a box of necessary ‘bits’.
 
The room had two large sofas, an equally large television, some unexplainable and instantly dismissible items of decoration, a standard lamp, and a wood burning stove. The stove was wonderful, and on their second evening in the cottage, when clear skies and a stiff breeze promised a cold night, she’d lit it and, as the evening progressed, they basked in its warmth, she filling envelopes with her cards, he struggling with sleep over a book.
 
Despite and because this was a new, though temporary, location he had got up at 5.0am. This is a usual time for composers who need their daily fix of absolute quiet. And here, in this cottage set amidst autumn fields, within sight of a river estuary, under vast, panoramic uninterrupted skies, there was the distinct possibility of silence – all day. The double-glazing made doubly sure of that.
 
He had sat with a mug of tea at 5.10 and contemplated the silence, or rather what infiltrated the stillness of the cottage as sound. In the kitchen the clock ticked, the refrigerator seemed to need a period of machine noise once its door had been opened. At 6.0am the central heating fired up for a while. Outside, the small fruit trees in the garden moved vigorously in the wind, but he couldn’t hear either the wind or a rustle of leaves.  A car droned past on the nearby road. The clear sky began to lighten promising a fine day. This would certainly do for silence.
 
His thoughts returned to her question of the previous evening, and his answer. He was about to face up to his explanation. ‘I empty myself of all musical sound’, he’d said, ‘I imagine an empty space into which I might bring a single note, a long held drone of a note, a ‘d’ above middle ‘c’ on a chamber ***** (seeing it’s a Mass I’m writing).  Harrison Birtwistle always starts on an ‘e’. A ‘d’ to me seems older and kinder. An ‘e’ is too modern and progressive, slightly brash and noisy.’
 
He can see she is quizzical with this anecdotal stuff. Is he having me on? But no, he is not having her on. Such choices are important. Without them progress would be difficult when the thinking and planning has to stop and the composing has to begin. His notebook, sitting on his drawing board with some first sketches, plays testament to that. In this book glimpses of music appear in rhythmic abstracts, though rarely any pitches, and there are pages of written description. He likes to imagine what a new work is, and what it is not. This he writes down. Composer Paul Hindemith reckoned you had first to address the ‘conditions of performance’. That meant thinking about the performers, the location, above all the context. A Mass can be, for a composer, so many things. There were certainly requirements and constraints. The commission had to fulfil a number of criteria, some imposed by circumstance, some self-imposed by desire. All this goes into the melting ***, or rather the notebook. And after the notebook, he takes a large piece of A3 paper and clarifies this thinking and planning onto (if possible) a single sheet.
 
And so, to the task in hand. His objective, he had decided, is to focus on the whole rather than the particular. Don’t think about the Kyrie on its own, but consider how it lies with the Gloria. And so with the Sanctus & Benedictus. How do they connect to the Agnus Dei. He begins on the A3 sheet of plain paper ‘making a map of connections’. Kyrie to Gloria, Gloria to Credo and so on. Then what about Agnus Dei and the Gloria? Is there going to be any commonality – in rhythm, pace and tempo (we’ll leave melody and harmony for now)? Steady, he finds himself saying, aren’t we going back over old ground? His notebook has pages of attempts at rhythmizing the text. There are just so many ways to do this. Each rhythmic solution begets a different slant of meaning.
 
This is to be a congregational Mass, but one that has a role for a 4-part choir and ***** and a ‘jazz instrument’. Impatient to see notes on paper, he composes a new introduction to a Kyrie as a rhythmic sketch, then, experimentally, adds pitches. He scores it fully, just 10 bars or so, but it is barely finished before his critical inner voice says, ‘What’s this for? Do you all need this? This is showing off.’ So the filled-out sketch drops to the floor and he examines this element of ‘beginning’ the incipit.
 
He remembers how a meditation on that word inhabits the opening chapter of George Steiner’s great book Grammars of Creation. He sees in his mind’s eye the complex, colourful and ornate letter that begins the Lindesfarne Gospels. His beginnings for each movement, he decides, might be two chords, one overlaying the other: two ‘simple’ diatonic chords when sounded separately, but complex and with a measure of mystery when played together. The Mass is often described as a mystery. It is that ritual of a meal undertaken by a community of people who in the breaking of bread and wine wish to bring God’s presence amongst them. So it is a mystery. And so, he tells himself, his music will aim to hold something of mystery. It should not be a comment on that mystery, but be a mystery itself. It should not be homely and comfortable; it should be as minimal and sparing of musical commentary as possible.
 
When, as a teenager, he first began to set words to music he quickly experienced the need (it seemed) to fashion accompaniments that were commentaries on the text the voice was singing. These accompaniments did not underpin the words so much as add a commentary upon them. What lay beneath the words was his reaction, indeed imaginative extension of the words. He eschewed then both melisma and repetition. He sought an extreme independence between word and music, even though the word became the scenario of the music. Any musical setting was derived from the composition of the vocal line.  It was all about finding the ‘key’ to a song, what unlocked the door to the room of life it occupied. The music was the room where the poem’s utterance lived.
 
With a Mass you were in trouble for the outset. There was a poetry of sorts, but poetry that, in the countless versions of the vernacular, had lost (perhaps had never had) the resonance of the Latin. He thought suddenly of the supposed words of William Byrd, ‘He who sings prays twice’. Yes, such commonplace words are intercessional, but when sung become more than they are. But he knew he had to be careful here.
 
Why do we sing the words of the Mass he asks himself? Do we need to sing these words of the Mass? Are they the words that Christ spoke as he broke bread and poured wine to his friends and disciples at his last supper? The answer is no. Certainly these words of the Mass we usually sing surround the most intimate words of that final meal, words only the priest in Christ’s name may articulate.
 
Write out the words of the Mass that represent its collective worship and what do you have? Rather non-descript poetry? A kind of formula for collective incantation during worship? Can we read these words and not hear a surrounding music? He thinks for a moment of being asked to put new music to words of The Beatles. All you need is love. Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Oh bla dee oh bla da life goes on. Now, now this is silliness, his Critical Voice complains. And yet it’s not. When you compose a popular song the gap between some words scribbled on the back of an envelope and the hook of chords and melody developed in an accidental moment (that becomes a way of clothing such words) is often minimal. Apart, words and music seem like orphans in a storm. Together they are home and dry.
 
He realises, and not for the first time, that he is seeking a total musical solution to the whole of the setting of those words collectively given voice to by those participating in the Mass.
 
And so: to the task in hand. His objective: to focus on the whole rather than the particular.  Where had he heard that thought before? - when he had sat down at his drawing board an hour and half previously. He’d gone in a circle of thought, and with his sketch on the floor at his feet, nothing to show for all that effort.
 
Meanwhile the sun had risen. He could hear her moving about in the bathroom. He went to the kitchen and laid out what they would need to breakfast together. As he poured milk into a jug, primed the toaster, filled the kettle, the business of what might constitute a whole solution to this setting of the Mass followed him around the kitchen and breakfast room like a demanding child. He knew all about demanding children. How often had he come home from his studio to prepare breakfast and see small people to school? - more often than he cared to remember. And when he remembered he became sad that it was no more.  His children had so often provided a welcome buffer from sessions of intense thought and activity. He loved the walk to school, the first quarter of a mile through the park, a long avenue of chestnut trees. It was always the end of April and pink and white blossoms were appearing, or it was September and there were conkers everywhere. It was under these trees his daughter would skip and even his sons would hold hands with him; he would feel their warmth, their livingness.
 
But now, preparing breakfast, his Critical Voice was that demanding child and he realised when she appeared in the kitchen he spoke to her with a voice of an artist in conversation with his critics, not the voice of the man who had the previous night lost himself to joy in her dear embrace. And he was ashamed it was so.
 
How he loved her gentle manner as she negotiated his ‘coming too’ after those two hours of concentration and inner dialogue. Gradually, by the second cup of coffee he felt a right person, and the hours ahead did not seem too impossible.
 
When she’d gone off to her work, silence reasserted itself. He played his viola for half an hour, just scales and exercises and a few folk songs he was learning by heart. This gathering habit was, he would say if asked, to reassert his musicianship, the link between his body and making sound musically. That the viola seemed to resonate throughout his whole body gave him pleasure. He liked the ****** movement required to produce a flowing sequence of bow strokes. The trick at the end of this daily practice was to put the instrument in its case and move immediately to his desk. No pause to check email – that blight on a morning’s work. No pause to look at today’s list. Back to the work in hand: the Mass.
 
But instead his mind and intention seemed to slip sideways and almost unconsciously he found himself sketching (on the few remaining staves of a vocal experiment) what appeared to be a piano piece. The rhythmic flow of it seemed to dance across the page to be halted only when the few empty staves were filled. He knew this was one of those pieces that addressed the pianist, not the listener. He sat back in his chair and imagined a scenario of a pianist opening this music and after a few minutes’ reflection and reading through allowing her hands to move very slowly and silently a few millimetres over the keys.  Such imagining led him to hear possible harmonic simultaneities, dynamics and articulations, though he knew such things would probably be lost or reinvented on a second imagined ‘performance’. No matter. Now his make-believe pianist sounded the first bar out. It had a depth and a richness that surprised him – it was a fine piano. He was touched by its affect. He felt the possibilities of extending what he’d written. So he did. And for the next half an hour lived in the pastures of good continuation, those rich luxuriant meadows reached by a rickerty rackerty bridge and guarded by a troll who today was nowhere to be seen.
 
It was a curious piece. It came to a halt on an enigmatic, go-nowhere / go-anywhere chord after what seemed a short declamatory coda (he later added the marking deliberamente). Then, after a few minutes reflection he wrote a rising arpeggio, a broken chord in which the consonant elements gradually acquired a rising sequence of dissonance pitches until halted by a repetition. As he wrote this ending he realised that the repeated note, an ‘a’ flat, was a kind of fulcrum around which the whole of the music moved. It held an enigmatic presence in the harmony, being sometimes a g# sometimes an ‘a’ flat, and its function often different. It made the music take on a wistful quality.
 
At that point he thought of her little artists’ book series she had titled Tide Marks. Many of these were made of a concertina of folded pages revealing - as your eyes moved through its pages - something akin to the tide’s longitudinal mark. This centred on the page and spread away both upwards and downwards, just like those mirror images of coloured glass seen in a child’s kaleidoscope. No moment of view was ever quite the same, but there were commonalities born of the conditions of a certain day and time.  His ‘Tide Mark’ was just like that. He’d followed a mark made in his imagination from one point to another point a little distant. The musical working out also had a reflection mechanism: what started in one hand became mirrored in the other. He had unexpectedly supplied an ending, this arpegiated gesture of finality that wasn’t properly final but faded away. When he thought further about the role of the ending, he added a few more notes to the arpeggio, but notes that were not be sounded but ghosted, the player miming a press of the keys.
 
He looked at the clock. Nearly five o’clock. The afternoon had all but disappeared. Time had retreated into glorious silence . There had been three whole hours of it. How wonderful that was after months of battling with the incessant and draining turbulence of sound that was ever present in his city life. To be here in this quiet cottage he could now get thoroughly lost – in silence. Even when she was here he could be a few rooms apart, and find silence.
 
A week more of this, a fortnight even . . . but he knew he might only manage a few days before visitors arrived and his long day would be squeezed into the early morning hours and occasional uncertain periods when people were out and about.
 
When she returned, very soon now, she would make tea and cut cake, and they’d sit (like old people they wer
Ken Pepiton Oct 2018
This is not where this idea began but it ran and I

missed my mark. Mark sin.
-1 deficit reality quotientcy
currency.  Sure.
(Press Sure, to let the bursting pressure equilation expand at will)
Score.

That fine a level of reality
demands more attention than I have to pay.
Patient agent wait and not see or see if/then

you suffer, is there ought that I might do now
for you
that these words are not doing?
All I am is words, in a sence, sense, since

we come in threes, we are some of those sets of thoughts tangled in complexes
better left alone.

Untangling twisted knotted realities is what we do best.
We've been wadding up proteins,
since God knows when,

time's less twisted than people think it is,
but it is silly to imagine
time's arrow is a metaphor for these meta-gnostic moments.
Is it?

Apophrenia
or mere
Dejavu, you believe,
what if it is your memory lying by ignoring time
attention ratios determining the observations stored in HD?
What if it's just a glitch?
Blue screen of death.


If you suffer, is there ought that I might do now
for you
that these words are not doing?
All I am is words, in a sence, sense, since

we come in threes, we are those sets of thoughts tangled in complexes
better left alone.

Untangling twisted knotted realities is what we do best.
We've been wadding up proteins,
since God knows when,

time's less twisted than people think it is, but
is it silly to imagine
time's arrow is a metaphor for these meta-gnostic moments?

We come and go. To and fro up on the face

messengers bearing news in both directions, watch
the trickster, Jacob, in this story, he sees the messengers from
heaven bearing leaven thither and hither

upon the face of the earth.
the wrinkling mother, smiling now, chuckle head
I ain't no ***** saint.

Jah, I know. Joy is my dance, this is my song.
Is it good Grandmother?

---- on the porch facing my west gate ---

fences don't play exactly, out acted, the role of walls.

The idea that something
there is that does not love a wall,
has frozen my pond

the stillness beyond the sylvan **** crowned head
radiates through the medium of the message to me in time
to you.

Miles to go, you recall the feeling of feeling miles to go
before
I sleep.
That was yesterday, and you know yes ter everything's gone,
roar.

Aslan can pierce the barrier between mere Christians and me,
how would be fun to know, but
knowing why would help us keep the story interesting as life goes on

Who controls my peace?
Am I a mercurial sheen in between chaos and order,
chronus and zeus?
Could be, ya thank so, ye know so, less unlessed as

unlessing means nothing to you,
that means you are visiting here.

Visting whom, vis it ing whom?
Who's in charge, where's the power
short

age, wrinkles in time, rogue waves at the quanta scale,
we were dancing
with the thoughts emanating

from some IDW smart guy proffesing
Critique-technic-magi action, post mode'r'ism
at the point of Dada und Scheizkunst,
the unmass-queque,
the line of lies awaiting unbelief,
idle words lingering,
hoping
to be noticed and added back into the story book of life,

a simple wish.

It could be every child's, should we think that
if we can or may,

sometimes I'm still, and

confusion troubles the water,
it seems,
then another hurt is healed, another lie is gone and life goes on

we won again, this never gets old,
I do love my opposition,
pressure pump
pump pump. De-us-me-can-onbeoffbeyond

five years ago unmasking and rhetoric meant nothing to me
the purpose of learning forever and never
knowing anything beyond all things

our bubble is metastasizing, a mercurial film forms
informing us
in its reflection,

this is the ying yang thang in 3 or 4 d, HD+ chaos one half

order the other,
sharpest imaginable thing
me trick being mag ift just if eye winged show

how beautiful are the feet of them who bring good news,
you see, it flows, sweetwater flows
winged feet
whish through leaving, leavin' leaven…

unleaven that which has been leaved?
Fat chance, all who
eat this bread and don't get gas,
they are our same bread people. Companions.
Vectors of sour dough,
webs of fungal
axions
make a way
bore, pore, poor-with-us, pour

in to it ish, that idea, an opening through,
trickle down good gravity leveling stillness,
gentle rocking earth
roll round and round and round

the pythagorean version
of Euclid's point in his mother's story,

the point of this song? To know the point you must have been

to the point of in-forming the point on which we dance and you recall

we come in threes, and just, we are, just, if it, that idea,
rests in your
back roads, gentle on your mind. We make peace.

Being young is easy from my POV.
I've lived in my future for sometime now

I can't say how, beyond saying aloud, this was never hidden,
in my accounting of idle words I claimed,
upon hearing the stories each contained.

i'da swore i hear that wise *** o'balaam's abrayin'
Braindeem, deemed 'eem. Wham, uptheyhaid. Relig, fool,

or chaos wins and no hero ever lives again!
Drop anchor, wait it out.
let patience blow her nose, gnostic snot caught in the nets,

nonono nothing's wasted in patience work, we make glue
from gnostic snot that patience sneezes
when reality grows cold,

that has happened, you know, temperatures are just now,
oh, wait global warming, bad dam,

Script, bust it,
leveling is essential to eventual temperature
equilibrium.
The heat is on, the bubbles are forming, informing one to another
below the surface
greasy tension, slippery slopes putting pressure on chaos
to conform to the curve

Ying yang, mercury film upon the sea of time and the scene of chaos
in this bubble of all you can imagine real.

Hows' that feel? Why?

You want that? What are you standing under? Does chaos win?
You are, as we say, cognisic magi we-ified,
practical magic at
the moment
the point
is made, then the creation begins fractalling outward

and not before or is this all
unrolling ex nihilo, no magi ever knew…
come, let us reason together,

why am I empowered? To live, first thought wise, that's good but
evil forces me to think again and I see the pattern

life goes on, John Molenkamp, Sam, soldier 4,
(as the credits role by, the name catches my eye)
never in a thousand years,
'cept unbelievable is one of those lies I came to **** by strangling
on bile while
rescuing every idle word ever involved in the infection

from the point in the absolute center of the bubble,
objectively, you see everything
that is
seeable

but would good prevail if evil had no hope?

I know that one, yes. why?
evil has no mind, soul, some think--
same same medium message spoken spelled chanted danced
who care's?
*** 'er done. Life has a chaotic side, the churning creates

number one from none, the cult of one divides itself
go do be
we three we three we three a wavy song ding ****.

Aware? Awaken? Avowed-wowed-wit-wise,
fullcomp, retired
Peacemaker. Me.

All my hero's imagined or real, were Peacemakers.
Just now, peaceful now, mindful now
we remain
the same blessing promised in the package of yeses
stolen from Cain by his older sister, his
bride,
keep that quiet, eh?

Secrets made sacred, always
those are lies, no lie is of the truth,
all lies are about the truth.

What empowers you, poet or poetry? Right, you know,
God, good god knows, resentment lives in lies

the rotting idle words deemed curses at best, secret at worst,
those idle corrupting thoughts sparking as if absolute annihilation were thinkable by rational minds

of ---wait, there's arub, a sore
ex nihilo, the homeless wanderer screams,

"May the whole world perish, may you all go to hell,"

the mad man wept his hell, and imagined his curse,

not mine,
I don't have one. I did, but I went back so often to find pieces of my heart that now I have an Elysian network woven through All-hell, the big idea that broke loose infecting the mind as wisdom's leaven builds her womb
inhabitation
placenta
stem cell informing builders empowered, pressure empowered, what must be, but is not verse, versus
us, the we that be
we must
choose,

let this be, come and see,
life goes on.
Agree, or empower us as we bubble by and
takenallwecan expanding gobbling bubbles,
good
by ye.

Once we flushed the Dada poison and let mito mom
instill the patience gene with
epigenetic peace we can pass on with a touch or a word,

we've never woven lies for no reason,
if a rung breaks
and they can, last straw and all that weight,
you know,
Jacob's ladder is an escalaltor-ladder, wittily invented,

there are automated steps, algoryhmes of reasons to repair the broken rung
with a reason to believe the rung has been repaired,
only believe, take a step,
re
paired again with the idea of meaninglessness masked in create-if-ity

good enough. okeh. don't believe lies.
Don't pass undigested lies to see if farts burn.
Listening to Hicks Explaing Post Modernism after watching Tenant's Voltage Within spark a fire. This reality is storyteller heaven.
Kewayne Wadley Jan 2017
And there I saw the perfect bed.
Just the perfect size, height width everything I could have dreamt.
I imagined the perfect sleep in my perfect bed.
Never quite seeing home the same again.
It came equipped with sheets and blankets even a heated mattress.
This bed was better than anything I could have imagined.
I climbed her leg and slipped myself in her pocket.
I haven't slept this good in a long while
Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
There was a moment when he knew he had to make a decision.

He had left London that February evening on the ****** Velo Train to the South West. As the two hour journey got underway darkness had descended quickly; it was soon only his reflected face he could see in the window. He’d been rehearsing most of the afternoon so it was only now he could take out the manuscript book, its pages full of working notes on the piece he was to play the following afternoon. His I-Mind implant could have stored these but he chose to circumvent this thought-transcribing technology; there was still the physical trace on the cream-coloured paper with his mother’s propelling pencil that forever conjured up his journey from the teenage composer to the jazz musician he now was. This thought surrounded him with a certain warmth on this Friday evening train full of those returning to their country homes and distant families.

It was a difficulty he had sensed from the moment he perceived a distant gap in the flow of information streaming onto the mind page

At the outset the Mind Notation project had seemed harmless, playful in fact. He allowed himself to enter into the early experiments because he knew and trusted the research team. He got paid handsomely for his time, and later for his performance work.  It was a valuable complement to his ill-paid day-to-day work as a jazz pianist constantly touring the clubs, making occasional festival appearances with is quintet, hawking his recordings around small labels, and always ‘being available’. Mind Notation was something quite outside that traditional scene. In short periods it would have a relentless intensity about it, but it was hard to dismiss because he soon realised he had been hard-wired to different persona. Over a period of several years he was now dealing with four separate I-Mind folders, four distinct musical identities.

Tomorrow he would pull out the latest manifestation of a composer whose creative mind he had known for 10 years, playing the experimental edge of his music whilst still at college. There had been others since, but J was different, and so consistent. J never interfered; there were never decisive interventions, only an explicit confidence in his ability to interpret J’s music. There had been occasional discussion, but always loose; over coffee, a walk to a restaurant; never in the lab or at rehearsals.

In performance (and particularly when J was present) J’s own mind-thought was so rich, so wide-ranging it could have been drug-induced. Every musical inference was surrounded by such intensity and power he had had to learn to ride on it as he imagined a surfer would ride on a powerful wave. She was always there - embedded in everything J seemed to think about, everything J projected. He wondered how J could live with what seemed to him to be an obsession. Perhaps this was love, and so what he played was love like a wilderness river flowing endlessly across the mind-page.

J seemed careful when he was with her. J tried hard not to let his attentiveness, this gaze of love, allow others to enter the public folders of his I-Mind space (so full of images of her and the sounds of her light, entrancing voice). But he knew, he knew when he glanced at them together in darkened concert halls, her hand on J’s left arm stroking, gently stroking, that J’s most brilliant and affecting music flowed from this source.

He could feel the pattern of his breathing change, he shifted himself in his chair, the keyboard swam under his gaze, he was playing fast and light, playing arpeggios like falling water, a waterfall of notes, cascades of extended tonalities falling into the darkness beyond his left hand, but there it was, in twenty seconds he would have to*

It had begun quite accidentally with a lab experiment. J had for some years been researching the telematics of composing and performing by encapsulating the physical musical score onto a computer screen. The ‘moist media’ of telematics offered the performer different views of a composition, and not just the end result but the journey taken to obtain that result. From there to an interest in neuroscience had been a small step. J persuaded him to visit the lab to experience playing a duet with his own brain waves.

Wearing a sensor cap he had allowed his brainwaves to be transmitted through a BCMI to a synthesiser – as he played the piano. After a few hours he realised he could control the resultant sounds. In fact, he could control them very well. He had played with computer interaction before, but there was always a preparatory stage, hours of designing and programming, then the inevitable critical feedback of the recording or glitch in performance. He soon realised he had no patience for it and so relied on a programmer, a sonic artist as assistant, as collaborator when circumstances required it.

When J’s colleagues developed an ‘app’ for the I-Mind it meant he could receive J’s instant thoughts, but thoughts translated into virtual ‘active’ music notation, a notation that flowed across the screen of his inner eye. It was astonishing; more astonishing because J didn’t have to be physically there for it to happen: he could record I-Mind files of his thought compositions.

The reference pre-score at the top of the mind page was gradually enlarging to a point where pitches were just visible and this gap, a gap with no stave, a gap of silence, a gap with no action, a gap with repeat signs was probably 30 seconds away

In the early days (was it really just 10 years ago?) the music was delivered to him embedded in a network of experiences, locations, spiritual and philosophical ideas. J had found ways to extend the idea of the notated score to allow the performer to explore the very thoughts and techniques that made each piece – usually complete hidden from the performer. He would assemble groups of miniatures lasting no more than a couple of minutes each, each miniature carrying, as J had once told him, ‘one thought and one thought only’.  But this description only referred to the musical material because each piece was loaded with a web of associations. From the outset the music employed scales and tonalities so far away from the conventions of jazz that when he played and then extended the pieces it seemed like he was visiting a different universe; though surprisingly he had little trouble working these new and different patterns of pitches into his fingers. It was uncanny the ‘fit’.

Along with the music there was always rich, often startling images she conjured up for J’s compositions. At the beginning of their association J initiated these. He had been long been seeking ways to integrate the visual image with musical discourse. After toying with the idea of devising his own images for music he conceived the notion of computer animation of textile layers. J had discovered and then encouraged the work and vision of a young woman on the brink of what was to become recognised as a major talent. When he could he supported her artistically, revelling in the keenness of her observation of the natural world and her ability to complement what J conceived. He became her lover and she his muse; he remodelled his life and his work around her, her life and her work.

When performing the most complex of music it always seemed to him that the relative time of music and the clock time of reality met in strange conjunctions of stasis. Quite suddenly clock time became suspended and musical time enveloped reality. He found he could be thinking something quite differently from what he was playing.

Further projects followed, and as they did he realised a change had begun to occur in J’s creative rationale. He seemed to adopt different personae. Outwardly he was J. Inside his musical thought he began to invent other composers, musical avatars, complete minds with different musical and personal histories that he imagined making new work.

J had manipulated him into working on a new project that had appeared to be by a composer completely unknown to him. L was Canadian, a composer who had conceived a score that adhered to the DOGME movie production manifesto, but translated into music. The composition, the visuals, the text, the technological environment and the performance had to be conceived in realtime and in one location. A live performance meant a live ‘making’, and this meant he became involved in all aspects of the production. It became a popular and celebrated festival event with each production captured in its entirety and presented in multi-dimensional strands on the web. The viewer / listener became an editor able to move between the simultaneous creative activity, weaving his or her own ‘cut’ like some art house computer game. L never appeared in person at these ‘remakings’, but via a computer link. It was only after half a dozen performances that the thought entered his mind that L was possibly not a 24-year-old woman from Toronto complete with a lively Facebook persona.

Then, with the I-Mind, he woke up to the fact that J had already prepared musical scenarios that could take immediate advantage of this technology. A BBC Promenade Concert commission for a work for piano and orchestra provided an opportunity. J somehow persuaded Tom Service the Proms supremo to programme this new work as a collaborative composition by a team created specially for the premiere. J hid inside this team and devised a fresh persona. He also hid his new I-Mind technology from public view. The orchestra was to be self-directed but featured section leaders who, as established colleagues of J’s had already experienced his work and, sworn to secrecy, agreed to the I-Mind implant.

After the premiere there were rumours about how the extraordinary synchronicities in the play of musical sections had been achieved and there was much critical debate. J immediately withdrew the score to the BBC’s consternation. A minion in the contracts department had a most uncomfortable meeting with Mr Service and the Controller of Radio 3.

With the end of this phrase he would hit the gap  . . . what was he to do? Simply lift his hands from the keyboard? Wait for some sign from the I-Mind system to intervene? His audience might applaud thinking the piece finished? Would the immersive visuals with its  18.1 Surround Sound continue on the five screens or simply disappear?

His hands left the keyboard. The screens went white except for the two repeats signs in red facing one another. Then in the blank bar letter-by-letter this short text appeared . . .


Here Silence gathers
thoughts of you

Letters shall never
spell your grace

No melody could
describe your face

No rhythm dance
the way you move

Only Silence can
express my love

ever yours ever
yours ever yours



He then realised what the date was . . . and slowly let his hands fall to his lap.
Sally A Bayan Jun 2014
(For a sweet girl named Mc Writes)


Who would have imagined?


It seemed only yesterday
when I chanced upon
this sweet lovely girl
have known her
ever since,
without
meeting
her in
person.

Brokenhearted,
she was then in her
former  profile  photo
her head, almost always
bowed, as  if  in mourning
laden with so  much  weight,
heavy with pain,  and  sadness.

How I wished I could carry some
for her... to lessen the load,
but...I didn't know how.

Yet, time could
never be stopped.

So occupied she became
busy as the young are
her mind geared
to make her
dreams
come
true,
a fine
writer is
what she
aims to be.

I picture her now, in my mind

Who would have imagined

A young girl like
her, would be
the one to
pull me

u p --

when
i was
down
there
in my
lowest
moment.

For, it was the
other way around,
when last year
we first met.

Who would have imagined?



Sally

Copyright 2014
Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
Mc Writes, I pray you like and enjoy this simple worded truth.
We have yet to meet, and yet, I feel I have known you for a long time
now, iha.
Ken Pepiton Oct 2018
The imaginers of now were children once,

each day they each imagined tomorrow.

Their daddies had just won the war
happy days were really here again, this time.
---
Now, we see what we see, it's not what we saw.

And this is better than I imagined.
My first oral book report was on 1984, in 1962.

Percentages and stats, the odds,
out of 8 billion…

I carry my weight, saltwise,
I'm light, too. Immaterial in fact.
I watched the internet take form
before my very eyes,
magi technic never seen since Darius the Mede.

Good job, geeks.
Reared on radio waves your
grandfathers never heard,

your signal receptors from mito-mom,
oh, what a plan. The promised ones.

Many sons.
hmmm 60 cycle white noise in the field,
the field of fields,
Future Farmers of America and stuff

Powers we imagined,
a color TV we could watch
in the backseat for days on Route 66,

a restaurant just for kids

Toys 'r' Us oh, wow,
those came and went

and our Grand kids
are imagining tomorrow,
doin' fine with less of what we thought was cool,

taking for granted all I
accepted as granted, in the "It is Finished"
Golden Parachute
Package deal,
Grace and Peace
that multiplies.
I can't sleep
Alyssa Underwood Apr 2016
"The Struggle for Love"
"The Longing for Home"
So desperate to prove
That our hearts aren't alone

While death looms wherewith
To make dust of our flesh
We seek in a myth
Our souls to enmesh

With a hero of hope
A rescuing source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Which might silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

But it's not our mere lack
Which causes most dread
It's the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination

We just want our own way
And to write our own story
So we plunge on astray
To seek our own glory

To play artist or muse
Or idol or chief
Any self-styled ruse
To assuage us of grief

Any measure to show
A lasting signif'cance
So that someone would know
Our unique magnif'cence

For our beauty's been marred
And we crave a redemption
Of souls twisted and scarred
By fulfillment's exemption

But, alas, we will find
That search hard as we may
There's not one of our kind
Who can carry the tray

Upon which the weight
Of our souls has been laid
For who can e'er tolerate
Its gross debts unpaid?

Such suff'cating mass
Of defects and ills
Pressed 'gainst delicate glass
Of egos and wills

Still more ghastly to bear
Is devotion unbound
For with millstone to wear
Its master is drowned

'Neath a sea of foul yeast
And becomes the enslaved
To a hungering beast
To a worship depraved

For the heart is a tiger
And must have its fill
So it raises a man higher
With a kiss before the ****

Not intentionally, of course,
Does it slaughter its idol
But of hurricane force
Is this longing so vital

And as pedestal turns
So quickly to altar
Our wounded pride burns
When our gods and alms falter

And the fire of its rage
Turns upon its obsession
Tiger breaks out of cage
To reclaim self-possession

It bites and it tears
What it once so adored
And pride no longer cares
If it kills its false lord

But upon such demise
The soul screams in terror
For it's broken its prize
And can't take back its error

It begs and it pleads
To restore what's been lost
But at end knows it needs
To consider the cost

Of the damage untold
It has left in the wake
For hearts can't be controlled
With a gush or a shake

No, men's hearts are like bombs
Which so easily explode
Once the pin is removed
All past wrongs will re-load

So the prey becomes hunter
When the tiger attacks
For he does not want her
To see what he lacks

As he, too, had put
Her up in wrong place
But now steps his foot
Upon her shamed face

To now pulverize
As his own heart's been crushed
To blind out her eyes
And to see her lips hushed

For with words idly spoken
She'd stabbed at his soul
And had left his pride broken
By her judgments so cold

She had not meant to harm
Knew not e'en that he heard
But one cannot disarm
A thought put to word

Worse than not knowing this
She no longer knew him
And her once imagined bliss
Proved a nullified whim

Oh, what games and delusions
We play and we build
Upon empty illusions
And dreams unfulfilled

Yet strangely it's when
Our worst fears come true
We can finally transcend
All those old tales we grew

Out of ego and void
Out of sorrow and pain
When our nerves felt annoyed
And our hearts felt too vain

'Cause when ego is puffed
It is primed, too, to pop
And with pinprick is snuffed
Like a pest-blighted crop

So imagine much more
When a venom's injected
Right into its core
And its heart is rejected

But can you also not see
How it needs such a burst
To begin to get free
From its self-absorbed curse?

Except now feels the matter
Of our soul's isolation
Fiercer still with the shatter
Of our pet consolation

So we wait and we wonder
If we've missed the true meaning
Of the frightening thunder
In our heart's constant screaming

Whether homesick or lost
Whether lonely or grieved
Locked in bleak Winter's frost
We find little reprieve

Yet we know we've been made
For the glory of Spring
Some card's still to be played
Some grand song still to sing

Inexpressible yearning
For some secret we know
But can't speak for the burning
Repercussions of woe

Not some mere melancholy
Nor nostalgic forlorn
Not the musings of folly
But a sense that we're torn

From primordial root
And from headwaters fresh
Yet much deeper to boot
From our spiritual breath

'Tis an ache not for wares,
Appreciation or fame
But a fight just for air
Against strangling shame

For we're naked, we know
And with all we devise
Our most flawed parts still show
To a pure set of eyes

Like we're walking around
With no covering intact
But thin hospital gown
With wide split up the back

So we hide our true face
Aim to be what we're not
Work our blots to erase
Lest our schemes should be caught

Be 't by friend or by foe
We dare not risk the pain
Of humiliation's blow
On top of our stain

But instead of relief
Anguish grows louder till
This life's loneliest grief
Paralyzes the will

And last hope all but dies
On doubt's bed of despair
While embittered heart cries
That its lot's too unfair

Yet on outside we play
Through our unconscious mind
Man's collective charade
That everything's fine

Like some pact we'd all sworn
To uphold and obey
To protect from the scorn
Of society's sway

If we run with the flow
'Stead of strive 'gainst the tide
We might make enough show
To salvage our pride

We forget that conceit
Is what caused all the mess
Through a serpent's deceit
And a couple's wrong guess

'Twas they first tasted shame
And then hid in a garden
Sewing fig leaves as claim
To secure their own pardon

Yet in horror they knew
They had squandered the Prize
And must flee from the view
Of a pure set of eyes

Now same state of awry
Runs through each of their seed
Inborn and borne by
Like the thorniest ****

Whose nettles pierce deep
And infect every part
While roots tangle and sweep
Through the mind and the heart

It mocks what we've lost
Torments every dim hope
To constrict and accost
Like a noose-tightening rope

Still, hope won't be decayed
Smold'ring fires yet burn
Sparking hints that we're made
For bright Eden's return

This redemption we crave
Is no phantom's false plea
But as crestfallen wave
Hides itself in the sea

It's been veiled in plain sight
Big as all of our stories
Deep as mankind's full plight
And as high as its glories

Cloaked in every ambition
That we have to get in
To some exclusive coalition
For its favors to win

Lurks a bleeding predilection
Frustrated from birth
A desire for election
To bestow on us worth

Lured by scent of a promise
To be chosen and known
Like the warmth of a mom's kiss
Given only to her own

We search tree after tree
For sweet intimacy's nectar
From a fruit that will be
Our secret connecter

To hope's nourishing breast
To life's honey from comb
To an undying rest
To a straight way toward home

One to wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of a garden again
Cast from pure tree of life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

All our conflicts, comp'tition,
Confusion and blame
Find first cause in perdition
That's invaded our frame

Like the foulest disease
The most cankerous rot
Grown by monstrous degrees
Hatched by Lucifer's plot

This story's no ****'s attack
Nor archaic folklore
But the earth-shattering fact
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

And it's not our mere lack
which causes most dread
But the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For it's rank ins'bordination


And yet...


This is also the story
Of how those same eyes
The Possessor of Glory
Looked with love and heart cries

On the crown of creation
His reflection of Self
Made His own treasured nation
The heirs of His wealth

Now broken and lost
All banished from Garden
And He knew the full cost
To grant them His pardon

Had known long before
He had e'er even made
That first man of yore
Yet handcrafts anyway

For His love is so strong
And He wanted to share
His intimacy with a throng
His own children to bear

So with souls in convulsion
From their rebellious misdeed
Just before their expulsion
He promised a Seed

One untainted from sin
Who could take its great boulder
And the weight of His kin
Upon His own shoulder

A Hero of hope
A rescuing Source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Who would silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

For those eyes are His own
And He'd pay the full fee
By His body alone
To set our hearts free

He's hope's nourishing breast
He's life's honey from comb
He's our undying rest
He's our straight way toward home

He will wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of the Garden again
Cast from pure Tree of Life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

But 'twas on another tree
That sweet intimacy's nectar
Was secured tight when He
Became sacred Connector

And the thorns of our curse
Were pressed onto His head
With not one there to nurse
As the Son of Man bled

Then the wrath for our sin
Was absorbed as He cried
And the foul curse was broken
When the Son of God died

But death couldn't keep Him long
Nor His glory dispose
And we found our lost song
When the King of kings rose!

The debt had been paid
He had finished the work
The tide 'gainst us was swayed
We weren't left in our lurk

And we've only to now
Just repent and believe
To open and allow
Our hearts to receive

Our Divine Fountainhead
Our covering complete
To sup from His bread
And to sit at His feet

To worship the One
For Whom we were made
By Whom we've been won
Whom forever we've craved

The One Who can bear
Our hearts' full devotion
The One Who won't tear
At our souls' raw emotion

The One Who will be
Sweet eternity's song
Who with lasting decree
Will...right...every...wrong
~~~

First two lines taken from Timothy Keller sermon titles;
also inspired by his other sermons:
"The Breastplate of Righteousness"
"Blessed Self-Forgetfulness"
"The Sandals of Peace"
"The Wounded Spirit"


~~~

The Gospel of Jesus Christ:

"...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."
~ Romans 3:23

"...people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..."
~ Hebrews 9:27

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord."
~ Romans 6:23

"'Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake:
some to everlasting life,
others to shame and everlasting contempt.'"
~ Daniel 12:2

"For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil."
~ Ecclesiastes 12:14

"This will take place on the day
when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ..."
~ Romans 2:16

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him
to whom we must give account."
~ Hebrews 4:13

"Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins."
~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

"...it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue
to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'"
~ Galatians 3:10b

"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles
at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."
~ James 2:10

"All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
~ Isaiah 64:6

"...sin entered the world through one man,
and death through sin, and in this way
death came to all people, because all sinned..."
~ Romans 5:12

"As it is written:
'There is no one righteous, not even one;
     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.'...
Therefore no one will be
declared righteous in God’s sight
by the works of the law;
rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin."
~ Romans 3:10-12,20

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
~ Romans 5:8

"This is how God showed His love among us:
He sent His one and only Son into the world
that we might live through Him.
This is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
~ 1 John 4:10

"But God raised Him from the dead,
freeing Him from the agony of death,
because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him...
He was not abandoned to the realm of the dead,
nor did His body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life..."
~ Acts 2:24,31b-32a

"...He raised Christ from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,
and every name that is invoked,
not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
And God placed all things under His feet
and appointed Him to be head over everything
for the church, which is His body,
the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way."
~ Ephesians 1:20b-23

"For there is one God
and one mediator between God and mankind,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people..."
~ 1 Timothy 2:5-6a

"...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures...
He was buried...He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures..."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

"...God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:19a

"'Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that
through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin,
a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.'"
~ Acts 13:38-39

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through Him all things were made; without Him
nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life,
and that life was the light of all mankind...
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth...
For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ...
'...the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'"
~ John 1:1-4,14,17,29b

"The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For in Him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
And He is the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross."
~ Colossians 1:15-20

"'For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'"
~ Luke 19:10

"...He appeared so that He might take away our sins.
And in Him is no sin."
~ 1 John 3:5

"...Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
~ 1 Peter 1:19b

"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,
through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith.
He did this to demonstrate His righteousness,
because in His forbearance He had left
the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time,
so as to be just and the one who justifies
those who have faith in Jesus."
~ Romans 3:25-26

"In Him we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace..."
~ Ephesians 1:7

"For the life...is in the blood,
and I have given it to you to make atonement...
it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life."
~ Leviticus 17:11

"...and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness...
Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many..."
~ Hebrews 9:22b,28a

"'All the prophets testify about Him
that everyone who believes in Him
receives forgiveness of sins through His name.'"
~ Acts 10:43

"For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy."
~ Hebrews 10:14

"'He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in His mouth.'...
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness..."
~ 1 Peter 2:22,24a

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,
to bring you to God."
~ 1 Peter 3:18a

"Jesus answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'"
~ Luke 5:31-32

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
~ 1 John 1:8-9

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

"...For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."
~ 1 Corinthians 5:7b

"Surely He took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered Him punished by God,
    stricken by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
    and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
    the iniquity of us all."
~ Isaiah 53:4-6

"And He died for all, that those who live
should no longer live for themselves but for Him
who died for them and was raised again."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:15

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him
is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned
already because they have not believed in the name of God’s
one and only Son... Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,
for God’s wrath remains on them."
~ John 3:16-18,36

"God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
Whoever has the Son has life;
whoever does not have the Son of God
does not have life."
~ 1 John 5:11b-12

"He was delivered over to death for our sins
and was raised to life for our justification."
~ Romans 4:25

"...just as Christ was raised from the dead
through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
~ Romans 6:4b

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade..."
~ 1 Peter 1:3-4a

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation:
The old has gone, the new has come!"
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

"...to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God— children born
not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
but born of God."
~ John 1:12-13

"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you,
no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'...
'Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God
unless they are born of water and the Spirit.'"
~ John 3:3,5

"...born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God."
~ 1 Peter 1:23

"...birth through the word of truth..."
~ James 1:18

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,
and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
~ Romans 10:17

"...to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies
the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness."
~ Romans 4:5

"...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ—
the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."
~ Philippians 3:9

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ
to all who believe."
~ Romans 3:22a

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under
heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
~ Acts 4:12

"Since we have now been justified by His blood,
how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through
the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through His life!"
~ Romans 5:9-10

"For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith—and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."
~ Ephesians 2:8-9

for a fuller list of verses:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2179517/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/
Nigel Morgan Jul 2013
It was their first time, their first time ever. Of course neither would admit to it, and neither knew, about the other that is, that they had never done this before. Life had sheltered them, and they had sheltered from life.

Their biographies put them in their sixties. Never mind the Guardian magazine proclaiming sixty to be the new fifty. Albert and Sally were resolutely sixty – ish. To be fair, neither looked their age, but then they had led such sheltered lives, hadn’t they. He had a mother, she had a father, and that pretty much wrapped it up. They had spent respective lives being their parents’ companions, then carers, and now, suddenly this. This intimacy, and it being their first time.

When their contemporaries were befriending and marrying and procreating, and home-making and care-giving and child-minding, and developing their first career, being forced to start a second, overseeing teenagers and suddenly being parents again, but grandparents this time – with evenings and some weekends allowed – Albert and Sally had spent their time writing. They wrote poetry in their respective spaces, at respective tables, in almost solitude, Sally against the onslaught of TV noise as her father became deaf. Albert had the refuge of his childhood bedroom and the table he’d studied at – O levels, A levels, a degree and a further degree, and a little later on that PhD. Poetry had been his friend, his constant companion, rarely fickle, always there when needed. If Albert met a nice-looking woman in the library and lost his heart to her, he would write verse to quench not so much desire of a physical nature, but a desire to meet and to know and to love, and to live the dream of being a published poet.

Oh Sally, such a treasure; a kind heart, a sweet nature, a lovely disposition. Confused at just seventeen when suddenly she seemed to mature, properly, when school friends had been through all that at thirteen. She was passed over, and then suddenly, her body became something she could hardly deal with, and shyness enveloped her because her mother would say such things . . . but, but she had her bookshelf, her grandfather’s, and his books (Keats and Wordsworth saved from the skip) and then her books. Ted Hughes, Dylan Thomas (oh to have been Kaitlin, so wild and free and uninhibited and whose mother didn’t care), Stevie Smith, U.E. Fanthorpe, and then, having taken her OU degree, the lure of the small presses and the feminist canon, the subversive and the down-right weird.

Albert and Sally knew the comfort of settling ageing parents for the night and opening (and firmly closing) the respective doors of their own rooms, in Albert’s case his bedroom, with Sally, a box room in which her mother had once kept her sewing machine. Sally resolutely did not sew, nor did she knit. She wrote, constantly, in notebook after notebook, in old diaries, on discarded paper from the office of the charity she worked for. Always in conversation with herself as she moulded the poem, draft after draft after draft. And then? She went once to writers’ workshop at the local library, but never again. Who were these strange people who wrote only about themselves? Confessional poets. And she? Did she never write about herself? Well, occasionally, out of frustration sometimes, to remind herself she was a woman, who had not married, had not borne children, had only her father’s friends (who tried to force their unmarried sons on her). She did write a long sequence of poems (in bouts-rimés) about the man she imagined she would meet one day and how life might be, and of course would never be. No, Sally, mostly wrote about things, the mystery and beauty and wonder of things you could touch, see or hear, not imagine or feel for. She wrote about poppies in a field, penguins in a painting (Birmingham Art Gallery), the seashore (one glorious week in North Norfolk twenty years ago – and she could still close her eyes and be there on Holkham beach).  Publication? Her first collection went the rounds and was returned, or not, as is the wont of publishers. There was one comment: keep writing. She had kept writing.

Tide Marks

The sea had given its all to the land
and retreated to a far distant curve.
I stand where the waves once broke.

Only the marks remain of its coming,
its going. The underlying sand at my feet
is a desert of dunes seen from the air.

Beyond the wet strand lies, a vast mirror
to a sky laundered full of haze, full of blue,
rinsed distances and shining clouds.


When Albert entered his bedroom he drew the curtains, even on a summer’s evening when still light. He turned on his CD player choosing Mozart, or Bach, sometimes Debussy. Those three masters of the piano were his favoured companions in the act of writing. He would and did listen to other music, but he had to listen with attention, not have music ‘on’ as a background. That Mozart Rondo in A minor K511, usually the first piece he would listen to, was a recording of Andras Schiff from a concert at the Edinburgh Festival. You could hear the atmosphere of a capacity audience, such a quietness that the music seemed to feed and enter and then surround and become wondrous.

He’d had a history teacher in his VI form years who allowed him the run of his LP collection. It had been revelation after revelation, and that had been when the poetry began. They had listened to Tristan & Isolde into the early hours. It was late June, A levels over, a small celebration with Wagner, a bottle of champagne and a bowl of cherries. As the final disc ended they had sat in silence for – he could not remember how long, only from his deeply comfortable chair he had watched the sky turn and turn lighter over the tall pine trees outside. And then, his dear teacher, his one true friend, a young man only a few years out of Cambridge, rose and went to his record collection and chose The Third Symphony by Vaughan-Williams, his Pastoral Symphony, his farewell to those fallen in the Great War  – so many friends and music-makers. As the second movement began Albert wept, and left abruptly, without the thanks his teacher deserved. He went home, to the fury of his father who imagined Albert had been propositioned and assaulted by his kind teacher – and would personally see to it that he would never teach again. Albert was so shocked at this declaration he barely ever spoke to his father again. By eight o’clock that June morning he was a poet.

For Ralph

A sea voyage in the arms of Iseult
and now the bowl of cherries
is empty and the Perrier Jouet
just a stain on the glass.

Dawn is a mottled sky
resting above the dark pines.
Late June and roses glimmer
in a deep sea of green.

In the still near darkness,
and with the volume low,
we listen to an afterword:
a Pastoral Symphony for the fallen.

From its opening I know I belong
to this music and it belongs to me.
Wholly. It whelms me over
and my face is wet with tears.


There is so much to a name, Sally thought, Albert, a name from the Victorian era. In the 1950s whoever named their first born Albert? Now Sally, that was very fifties, comfortably post-war. It was a bright and breezy, summer holiday kind of name. Saying it made you smile (try it). But Light-foot (with a hyphen) she could do without, and had hoped to be without it one day. She was not light-footed despite being slim and well proportioned. Her feet were too big and she did not move gracefully. Clothes had always been such a nuisance; an indicator of uncertainty, of indecision. Clothes said who you were, and she was? a tallish woman who hid her still firm shape and good legs in loose tops and not quite right linen trousers (from M & S). Hair? Still a colour, not yet grey, she was a shale blond with grey eyes. She had felt Albert’s ‘look’ when they met in The Barton, when they had been gathered together like show dogs by the wonderful, bubbly (I know exactly what to wear – and say) Annabel. They had arrived at Totnes by the same train and had not given each other a second glance on the platform. Too apprehensive, scared really, of what was to come. But now, like show dogs, they looked each other over.

‘This is an experiment for us,’ said the festival director, ‘New voices, but from a generation so seldom represented here as ‘emerging’, don’t you think?’

You mean, thought Albert, it’s all a bit quaint this being published and winning prizes for the first time – in your sixties. Sally was somewhere else altogether, wondering if she really could bring off the vocal character of a Palestinian woman she was to give voice to in her poem about Ramallah.

Incredibly, Albert or Sally had never read their poems to an audience, and here they were, about to enter Dartington’s Great Hall, with its banners and vast fireplace, to read their work to ‘a capacity audience’ (according to Annabel – all the tickets went weeks ago). What were Carcanet thinking about asking them to be ‘visible’ at this seriously serious event? Annabel parroted on and on about who’d stood on this stage before them in previous years, and there was such interest in their work, both winning prizes The Forward and The Eliot. Yet these fledgling authors had remained stoically silent as approaches from literary journalists took them almost daily by surprise. Wanting to know their backstory. Why so long a wait for recognition? Neither had sought it. Neither had wanted it. Or rather they’d stopped hoping for it until . . . well that was a story all of its own, and not to be told here.

Curiosity had beckoned both of them to read each other’s work. Sally remembered Taking Heart arriving in its Amazon envelope. She brought it to her writing desk and carefully opened it.  On the back cover it said Albert Loosestrife is a lecturer in History at the University of Northumberland. Inside, there was a life, and Sally had learnt to read between the lines. Albert had seen Sally’s slim volume Surface and Depth in Blackwell’s. It seemed so slight, the poems so short, but when he got on the Metro to Whitesands Bay and opened the bag he read and became mesmerised.  Instead of going home he had walked down to the front, to his favourite bench with the lighthouse on his left and read it through, twice.

Standing in the dark hallway ready to be summoned to read Albert took out his running order from his jacket pocket, flawlessly typed on his Elite portable typewriter (a 21st birthday present from his mother). He saw the titles and wondered if his voice could give voice to these intensely personal poems: the horror of his mother’s illness and demise, his loneliness, his fear of being gay, the nastiness and bullying experienced in his minor university post, his observations of acquaintances and complete strangers, train rides to distant cities to ‘gather’ material, visit to galleries and museums, homages to authors, artists and composers he loved. His voice echoed in his head. Could he manage the microphone? Would the after-reading discussion be bearable? He looked at Sally thinking for a moment he could not be in better company. Her very name cheered him. Somehow names could do that. He imagined her walking on a beach with him, in conversation. Yes, he’d like that, and right now. He reckoned they might have much to share with each other, after they’d discussed poetry of course. He felt a warm glow and smiled his best smile as she in astonishing synchronicity smiled at him. The door opened and applause beckoned.
Logan Robertson Sep 2017
To my imagined love
Forget the giraffe ride,
Our desert trek
On a magic carpet ride.
Life spoke.
Reality listened, for once.
And the taxidermist stopped the game.
For what was once painfully alive is now stuffed.
It hurts.
To have seen the tears in the giraffe's eyes,
His mirrored innocence
Forever immortalized in my memory.
Undoubtedly,
Now sitting in someone else's collection.
And to have imagined the howls of the Serengeti
Me wrestling with the lions,
Valor shining,
Saving you from the lions,
All in the sunset of your hair blowing in the wind,
Wild fires, too
Flames abound, erecting.
Yet
All this fairy tale,
Angel dust seeding from where
Who knows?
Maybe from catching the look in your eyes, once.
But the tears of the giraffe,
His innocence
Mirrored
Was for forever real, my love.
Bye, my imagined love.

Logan Robertson

9/13/17
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
There’s a film by John Schlesinger called the Go-Between in which the main character, a boy on the cusp of adolescence staying with a school friend on his family’s Norfolk estate, discovers how passion and *** become intertwined with love and desire. As an elderly man he revisits the location of this discovery and the woman, who we learn changed his emotional world forever. At the start of the film we see him on a day of grey cloud and wild wind walking towards the estate cottage where this woman now lives. He glimpses her face at a window – and the film flashes back fifty years to a summer before the First War.
 
It’s a little like that for me. Only, I’m sitting at a desk early on a spring morning about to step back nearly forty years.*
 
It was a two-hour trip from Boston to Booth Bay. We’d flown from New York on the shuttle and met Larry’s dad at St Vincent’s. We waited in his office as he put away the week with his secretary. He’d been in theatre all afternoon. He kept up a two-sided conversation.
 
‘You boys have a good week? Did you get to hear Barenboim at the Tully? I heard him as 14-year old play in Paris. He played the Tempest -  Mary, let’s fit Mrs K in for Tuesday at 5.0 - I was learning that very Beethoven sonata right then. I couldn’t believe it - that one so young could sound –there’s that myocardial infarction to review early Wednesday. I want Jim and Susan there please -  and look so  . . . old, not just mature, but old. And now – Gloria and I went to his last Carnegie – he just looks so **** young.’
 
Down in the basement garage Larry took his dad’s keys and we roared out on to Storow drive heading for the Massachusetts Turnpike. I slept. Too many early mornings copying my teacher’s latest – a concerto for two pianos – all those notes to be placed under the fingers. There was even a third piano in the orchestra. Larry and his Dad talked incessantly. I woke as Dr Benson said ‘The sea at last’. And there we were, the sea a glazed blue shimmering in the July distance. It might be lobster on the beach tonight, Gloria’s clam chowder, the coldest apple juice I’d ever tasted (never tasted apple juice until I came to Maine), settling down to a pile of art books in my bedroom, listening to the bell buoy rocking too and fro in the bay, the beach just below the house, a house over 150 years old, very old they said, in the family all that time.
 
It was a house full that weekend,  4th of July weekend and there would be fireworks over Booth Bay and lots of what Gloria called necessary visiting. I was in love with Gloria from the moment she shook my hand after that first concert when my little cummings setting got a mention in the NYT. It was called forever is now and God knows where it is – scored for tenor and small ensemble (there was certainly a vibraphone and a double bass – I was in love from afar with a bassist at J.). Oh, this being in love at seventeen. It was so difficult not to be. No English reserve here. People talked to you, were interested in you and what you thought, had heard, had read. You only had to say you’d been looking at a book of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings and you’d be whisked off to some uptown gallery to see his early watercolours. And on the way you’d hear a life story or some intimate details of friend’s affair, or a great slice of family history. Lots of eye contact. Just keep the talk going. But Gloria, well, we would meet in the hallway and she’d grasp my hand and say – ‘You know, Larry says that you work too hard. I want you to do nothing this weekend except get some sun and swim. We can go to Johnson’s for tennis you know. I haven’t forgotten you beat me last time we played!’ I suppose she was mid-thirties, a shirt, shorts and sandals woman, not Larry’s mother but Dr Benson’s third. This was all very new to me.
 
Tim was Larry’s elder brother, an intern at Felix-Med in NYC. He had a new girl with him that weekend. Anne-Marie was tall, bespectacled, and supposed to be ferociously clever. Gloria said ‘She models herself on Susan Sontag’. I remember asking who Sontag was and was told she was a feminist writer into politics. I wondered if Anne-Marie was a feminist into politics. She certainly did not dress like anyone else I’d seen as part of the Benson circle. It was July yet she wore a long-sleeved shift buttoned up to the collar and a long linen skirt down to her ankles. She was pretty but shapeless, a long straight person with long straight hair, a clip on one side she fiddled with endlessly, purposefully sometimes. She ignored me but for an introductory ‘Good evening’, when everyone else said ‘Hi’.
 
The next day it was hot. I was about the house very early. The apple juice in the refrigerator came into its own at 6.0 am. The bay was in mist. It was so still the bell buoy stirred only occasionally. I sat on the step with this icy glass of fragrant apple watching the pearls of condensation form and dissolve. I walked the shore, discovering years later that Rachel Carson had walked these paths, combed these beaches. I remember being shocked then at the concern about the environment surfacing in the late sixties. This was a huge country: so much space. The Maine woods – when I first drove up to Quebec – seemed to go on forever.
 
It was later in the day, after tennis, after trying to lie on the beach, I sought my room and took out my latest score, or what little of it there currently was. It was a piano piece, a still piece, the kind of piece I haven’t written in years, but possibly should. Now it’s all movement and complication. Then, I used to write exactly what I heard, and I’d heard Feldman’s ‘still pieces’ in his Greenwich loft with the white Rauschenbergs on the wall. I had admired his writing desk and thought one day I’ll have a desk like that in an apartment like this with very large empty paintings on the wall. But, I went elsewhere . . .
 
I lay on the bed and listened to the buoy out in the bay. I thought of a book of my childhood, We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea by Arthur Ransome. There’s a drawing of a Beach End Buoy in that book, and as the buoy I was listening to was too far out to see (sea?) I imagined it as the one Ransome drew from Lowestoft harbour. I dozed I suppose, to be woken suddenly by voices in the room next door. It was Tim and Anne-Marie. I had thought the house empty but for me. They were in Tim’s room next door. There was movement, whispering, almost speech, more movement.
 
I was curious suddenly. Anne-Marie was an enigma. Tim was a nice guy. Quiet, dedicated (Larry had said), worked hard, read a lot, came to Larry’s concerts, played the cello when he could, Bach was always on his record player. He and Anne-Marie seemed so close, just a wooden wall away. I stood by this wall to listen.
 
‘Why are we whispering’, said Anne-Marie firmly, ‘For goodness sake no one’s here. Look, you’re a doctor, you know what to do surely.’
 
‘Not yet.’
 
‘But people call you Doctor, I’ve heard them.’
 
‘Oh sure. But I’m not, I’m just a lousy intern.’
 
‘A lousy intern who doesn’t want to make love to me.’
 
Then, there was rustling, some heavy movement and Tim saying ‘Oh Anne, you mustn’t. You don’t need to do this.’
 
‘Yes I do. You’re hard and I’m wet between my legs. I want you all over me and inside me.  I wanted you last night so badly I lay on my bed quite naked and masturbated hoping you come to me. But you didn’t. I looked in on you and you were just fast asleep.’
 
‘You forget I did a 22-hour call on Thursday’.
 
“And the rest. Don’t you want me? Maybe your brother or that nice English boy next door?’
 
‘Is he next door? ‘
 
‘If he is, I don’t care. He looks at me you know. He can’t work me out. I’ve been ignoring him. But maybe I shouldn’t. He’s got beautiful eyes and lovely hands’.
 
There was almost silence for what seemed a long time. I could hear my own breathing and became very aware of my own body. I was shaking and suddenly cold. I could hear more breathing next door. There was a shaft of intense white sunlight burning across my bed. I imagined Anne-Marie sitting cross-legged on the floor next door, her hand cupping her right breast fingers touching the ******, waiting. There was a rustle of movement. And the door next door slammed.
 
Thirty seconds later Tim was striding across the garden and on to the beach and into the sea . . .
 
There was probably a naked young woman sitting on the floor next door I thought. Reading perhaps. I stayed quite still imagining she would get up, open her door and peek into my room. So I moved away from the wall and sat on the bed trying hard to look like a composer working on a score. And she did . . . but she had clothes on, though not her glasses or her hair clip, and she wore a bright smile – lovely teeth I recall.
 
‘Good afternoon’, she said. ‘You heard all that I suppose.’
 
I smiled my nicest English smile and said nothing.
 
‘Tell me about your girlfriend in England.’
 
She sat on the bed, cross-legged. I was suddenly overcome by her scent, something complex and earthy.
 
‘My girlfriend in England is called Anne’.
 
‘Really! Is she pretty? ‘
 
I didn’t answer, but looked at my hands, and her feet, her uncovered calves and knees. I could see the shape of her slight ******* beneath her shirt, now partly unbuttoned. I felt very uncomfortable.
 
‘Tell me. Have you been with this Anne in England?’
 
‘No.’ I said, ‘I ‘d like to, but she’s very shy.’
 
‘OK. I’m an Anne who’s not shy.’
 
‘I’ve yet to meet a shy American.’
 
‘They exist. I could find you a nice shy girl you could get to know.’
 
‘I’d quite like to know you, but you’re a good bit older than me.’
 
‘Oh that doesn’t matter. You’re quite a mature guy I think. I’d go out with you.’
 
‘Oh I doubt that.’
 
‘Would you go out with me?’
 
‘You’re interesting.  Gloria says you’re a bit like Susan Sontag. Yes, I would.’
 
‘Wow! did she really? Ok then, that’s a deal. You better read some Simone de Beauvoir pretty quick,’  and she bounced off the bed.
 
After supper  - lobster on the beach - Gloria cornered me and said. ‘I gather you heard all this afternoon.’
 
I remembered mumbling a ‘yes’.
 
‘It’s OK,’ she said, ‘Anne-Marie told me all. Girls do this you know – talk about what goes on in other people’s bedrooms. What could you do? I would have done the same. Tim’s not ready for an Anne-Marie just yet, and I’m not sure you are either. Not my business of course, but gentle advice from one who’s been there. ‘
 
‘Been where?’
 
‘Been with someone older and supposedly wiser. And remembering that wondering-what-to-do-about-those-feelings-around-*** and all that. There’s a right time and you’ll know it when it comes. ‘
 
She kissed me very lightly on my right ear, then got up and walked across the beach back to the house.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
As a woman, and in the service of my Lord the Emperor Wu, my life is governed by his command. At twenty I was summoned to this life at court and have made of it what I can, within the limitations of the courtesan I am supposed to be, and the poet I have now become. Unlike my male counterparts, some of whom have lately found seclusion in the wilderness of rivers and mountains, I have only my personal court of three rooms and its tiny garden and ornamental pond. But I live close to the surrounding walls of the Zu-lin Gardens with its astronomical observatories and bold attempts at recreating illusions of celebrated locations in the Tai mountains. There, walking with my cat Xi-Lu in the afternoons, I imagine a solitary life, a life suffused with the emptiness I crave.
 
In the hot, dry summer days my maid Mei-Lim and I have sought a temporary retreat in the pine forests above Lingzhi. Carried in a litter up the mountain paths we are left in a commodious hut, its open walls making those simple pleasures of drinking, eating and sleeping more acute, intense. For a few precious days I rest and meditate, breathe the mountain air and the resinous scents of the trees. I escape the daily commerce of the court and belong to a world that for the rest of the year I have to imagine, the world of the recluse. To gain the status of the recluse, open to my male counterparts, is forbidden to women of the court. I am woman first, a poet and calligrapher second. My brother, should he so wish, could present a petition to revoke his position as a man of letters, an official commentator on the affairs of state. But he is not so inclined. He has already achieved notoriety and influence through his writing on the social conditions of town and city. He revels in a world of chatter, gossip and intrigue; he appears to fear the wilderness life.  
 
I must be thankful that my own life is maintained on the periphery. I am physically distant from the hub of daily ceremonial. I only participate at my Lord’s express command. I regularly feign illness and fatigue to avoid petty conflict and difficulty. Yet I receive commissions I cannot waver: to honour a departed official; to celebrate a son’s birth to the Second Wife; to fulfil in verse my Lord’s curious need to know about the intimate sorrows of his young concubines, their loneliness and heartache.
 
Occasionally a Rhapsody is requested for an important visitor. The Emperor Wu is proud to present as welcome gifts such poetic creations executed in fine calligraphy, and from a woman of his court. Surely a sign of enlightment and progress he boasts! Yet in these creations my observations are parochial: early morning frost on the cabbage leaves in my garden; the sound of geese on their late afternoon flight to Star Lake; the disposition of the heavens on an Autumn night. I live by the Tao of Lao-Tzu, perceiving the whole world from my doorstep.
 
But I long for the reclusive life, to leave this court for my family’s estate in the valley my peasant mother lived as a child. At fourteen she was chosen to sustain the Emperor’s annual wish for young girls to be groomed for concubinage. Like her daughter she is tall, though not as plain as I; she put her past behind her and conceded her adolescence to the training required by the court. At twenty she was recommended to my father, the court archivist, as second wife. When she first met this quiet, dedicated man on the day before her marriage she closed her eyes in blessing. My father taught her the arts of the library and schooled her well. From her I have received keen eyes of jade green and a prestigious memory, a memory developed she said from my father’s joy of reading to her in their private hours, and before she could read herself. Each morning he would examine her to discover what she had remembered of the text read the night before. When I was a little child she would quote to me the Confucian texts on which she had been ****** schooled, and she then would tell me of her childhood home. She primed my imagination and my poetic world with descriptions of a domestic rural life.
 
Sometimes in the arms of my Lord I have freely rhapsodized in chusi metre these delicate word paintings of my mother’s home. She would say ‘We will walk now to the ruined tower beside the lake. Listen to the carolling birds. As the sparse clouds move across the sky the warm sun strokes the winter grass. Across the deep lake the forests are empty. Now we are climbing the narrow steps to the platform from which you and I will look towards the sun setting in the west. See the shadows are lengthening and the air becomes colder. The blackbird’s solitary song heralds the evening.  Look, an owl glides silently beneath us.’
 
My Lord will then quote from Hsieh Ling-yun,.
 
‘I meet sky, unable to soar among clouds,
face a lake, call those depths beyond me.’
 
And I will match this quotation, as he will expect.
 
‘Too simple-minded to perfect Integrity,
and too feeble to plough fields in seclusion.’
 
He will then gaze into my eyes in wonder that this obscure poem rests in my memory and that I will decode the minimal grammar of these early characters with such poetry. His characters: Sky – Bird – Cloud – Lake – Depth. My characters: Fool – Truth – Child – Winter field – Isolation.
 
Our combined invention seems to take him out of his Emperor-self. He is for a while the poet-scholar-sage he imagines he would like to be, and I his foot-sore companion following his wilderness journey. And then we turn our attention to our bodies, and I surprise him with my admonitions to gentleness, to patience, to arousing my pleasure. After such poetry he is all pleasure, sensitive to the slightest touch, and I have my pleasure in knowing I can control this powerful man with words and the stroke of my fingertips rather than by delicate youthful beauty or the guile and perverse ingenuity of an ****** act. He is still learning to recognise the nature and particularness of my desires. I am not as his other women: who confuse pleasure with pain.
 
Thoughts of my mother. Without my dear father, dead ten years, she is a boat without a rudder sailing on a distant lake. She greets each day as a gift she must honour with good humour despite the pain of her limbs, the difficulty of walking, of sitting, of eating, even talking. Such is the hurt that governs her ageing. She has always understood that my position has forbidden marriage and children, though the latter might be a possibility I have not wished it and made it known to my Lord that it must not be. My mother remains in limbo, neither son or daughter seeking to further her lineage, she has returned to her sister’s home in the distant village of her birth, a thatched house of twenty rooms,
 
‘Elms and willows shading the eaves at the back,
and, in front,  peach and plum spread wide.
 
Villages lost across mist-haze distances,
Kitchen smoke drifting wide-open country,
 
Dogs bark deep among the back roads out here
And cockerels crow from mulberry treetops.
 
My esteemed colleague T’ao Ch’ien made this poetry. After a distinguished career in government service he returned to the life of a recluse-farmer on his family farm. Living alone in a three-roomed hut he lives out his life as a recluse and has endured considerable poverty. One poem I know tells of him begging for food. His world is fields-and-gardens in contrast to Hsieh Ling-yin who is rivers-and-mountains. Ch’ien’s commitment to the recluse life has brought forth words that confront death and the reality of human experience without delusion.
 
‘At home here in what lasts, I wait out life.’
 
Thus my mother waits out her life, frail, crumbling more with each turning year.
 
To live beyond the need to organise daily commitments due to others, to step out into my garden and only consider the dew glistening on the loropetalum. My mind is forever full of what is to be done, what must be completed, what has to be said to this visitor who will today come to my court at the Wu hour. Only at my desk does this incessant chattering in the mind cease, as I move my brush to shape a character, or as the needle enters the cloth, all is stilled, the world retreats; there is the inner silence I crave.
 
I long to see with my own eyes those scenes my mother painted for me with her words. I only know them in my mind’s eye having travelled so little these past fifteen years. I look out from this still dark room onto my small garden to see the morning gathering its light above the rooftops. My camellia bush is in flower though a thin frost covers the garden stones.
 
And so I must imagine how it might be, how I might live the recluse life. How much can I jettison? These fine clothes, this silken nightgown beneath the furs I wrap myself in against the early morning air. My maid is sleeping. Who will make my tea? Minister to me when I take to my bed? What would become of my cat, my books, the choice-haired brushes? Like T’ao Ch’ien could I leave the court wearing a single robe and with one bag over my shoulders? Could I walk for ten days into the mountains? I would disguise myself as a man perhaps. I am tall for a woman, and though my body flows in broad curves there are ways this might be assuaged, enough perhaps to survive unmolested on the road.
 
Such dreams! My Lord would see me returned within hours and send a servant to remain at my gate thereafter. I will compose a rhapsody about a concubine of standing, who has even occupied the purple chamber, but now seeks to relinquish her privileged life, who coverts the uncertainty of nature, who would endure pain and privation in a hut on some distant mountain, who will sleep on a mat on its earth floor. Perhaps this will excite my Lord, light a fire in his imagination. As though in preparation for this task I remove my furs, I loose the knot of my silk gown. Naked, I reach for an old under shift letting it fall around my still-slender body and imagine myself tying the lacings myself in the open air, imagine making my toilet alone as the sun appears from behind a distant mountain on a new day. My mind occupies itself with the tiny detail of living thus: bare feet on cold earth, a walk to nearby stream, the gathering of berries and mountain herbs, the making of fire, the washing of my few clothes, imagining. Imagining. To live alone will see every moment filled with the tasks of keeping alive. I will become in tune with my surroundings. I will take only what I need and rely on no one. Dreaming will end and reality will be the slug on my mat, the bone-chilling incessant mists of winter, the thorn in the foot, the wild winds of autumn. My hands will become stained and rough, my long limbs tanned and scratched, my delicate complexion freckled and wind-pocked, my hair tied roughly back. I will become an animal foraging on a dank hillside. Such thoughts fill me with deep longing and a ****** desire to be tzu-jan  - with what surrounds me, ablaze with ****** self.
 
It is not thought the custom of a woman to hold such desires. We are creatures of order and comfort. We do not live on the edge of things, but crave security and well-being. We learn to endure the privations of being at the behest of others. Husbands, children, lovers, our relatives take our bodies to them as places of comfort, rest and desire. We work at maintaining an ordered flow of existence. Whatever our station, mistress or servant we compliment, we keep things in order, whether that is the common hearth or the accounts of our husband’s court. Now my rhapsody begins:
 
A Rhapsody on a woman wishing to live as a recluse
 
As a lady of my Emperor’s court I am bound in service.
My court is not my own, I have the barest of means.
My rooms are full of gifts I am forced barter for bread.
Though the artefacts of my hands and mind
Are valued and widely renown,
Their commissioning is an expectation of my station,
With no direct reward attached.
To dress appropriately for my Lord’s convocations and assemblies
I am forced to negotiate with chamberlains and treasurers.
A bolt of silk, gold thread, the services of a needlewoman
Require formal entreaties and may lie dormant for weeks
Before acknowledgement and release.
 
I was chosen for my literary skills, my prestigious memory,
Not for my ****** beauty, though I have been called
‘Lady of the most gracious movement’ and
My speaking voice has clarity and is capable of many colours.
I sing, but plainly and without passion
Lest I interfere with the truth of music’s message.
 
Since I was a child in my father’s library
I have sought out the works of those whose words
Paint visions of a world that as a woman
I may never see, the world of the wilderness,
Of rivers and mountains,
Of fields and gardens.
Yet I am denied by my *** and my station
To experience passing amongst these wonders
Except as contrived imitations in the palace gardens.
 
Each day I struggle to tease from the small corner
Of my enclosed eye-space some enrichment
Some elemental thing to colour meaning:
To extend the bounds of my home
Across the walls of this palace
Into the world beyond.
 
I have let it be known that I welcome interviews
With officials from distant courts to hear of their journeying,
To gather word images if only at second-hand.
Only yesterday an emissary recounted
His travels to Stone Lake in the far South-West,
Beyond the gorges of the Yang-tze.
With his eyes I have seen the mountains of Suchan:
With his ears I have heard the oars crackling
Like shattering jade in the freezing water.
Images and sounds from a thousand miles
Of travel are extract from this man’s memory.
 
Such a sharing of experience leaves me
Excited but dismayed: that I shall never
Visit this vast expanse of water and hear
Its wild cranes sing from their floating nests
In the summer moonlight.
 
I seek to disappear into a distant landscape
Where the self and its constructions of the world may
Dissolve away until nothing remains but the no-mind.
My thoughts are full of the practicalities of journeying
Of an imagined location, that lonely place
Where I may be at one with myself.
Where I may delight in the everyday Way,
Myself among mist and vine, rock and cave.
Not this lady of many parts and purposes whose poems must
Speak of lives, sorrow and joy, pleasure and pain
Set amongst personal conflict and intrigue
That in containing these things, bring order to disorder;
Salve the conscience, bathe hurt, soothe sleight.

— The End —