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Ronald J Chapman Dec 2014
She's a powerful and strong princess,
With magical super powers.

She thinks of time's past,
She thinks of times yet to come.

She loves to travel through Europe,
But her dreams are of Japan,
And singing under Sakura trees in the springtime of Japan.

I notice the way she thinks about Japan always with a smile,

She likes to use words like 'Sakura flowers' and 'Yukata Kimono from Japan.'

She likes to hang out with Monica, Dad and Grandma,
But when left alone,
Her mind turns straight to Sakura flowers in
The springtime of Japan.

She hates mosquitos and cold,
But she just thinks back to springtime in Japan,
And she's happy once again...


© 2014 Ronald J Chapman All Rights Reserved.
Written for the beautiful Romanian singer Evelyne Cojocar. Her dream is to sing and tour Japan in the spring.

Music by KARUNESH - Japanese Spring
http://youtu.be/K18A-CTPc7I
Martin Narrod May 2014
So I scuttled up, until I found a voice like Japan, I read him his rights, turned out the lights, and laid right back on the sand. They said, "Sir, he was much of a father to me, but we were labeled his kin, right in our family tree." "Oh wow", I said, with a gentle, smooth voice, he went missing last August, but now he wants back you boys?" "Oh yes, he sure is a feral man. We think that's why he dried up and flew to Japan." Right then, the two of them went silent just like two second story men, so I inquired, "What happened then?" "From Monday thru Sunday he took to prayer from the bible, and on every other weeknight he watched Japan's Top Model. He threw gallant parties to a harem of wives, he read each of their palms, and looked in their eyes; some time later, when everyone was about to leave, he'd turn on Happy End and start a wild ****." By this time I was tired, the sun began to set, I grew tired of my beach patch and yearned for my bed. Although soporific, I tried to be polite, I said, "Let's finish this conversation some other time." "Of course!", they said, "We're off to bed. We'll see that you'll do the same." Then they stood up quick, and reached down and picked up my chains. The beach we laid on was black top, asphalt and tar, the bed I craved was behind a row of private bars. The two of them, them both, were children of mine, because my memory is shot, this might've been their millionth time. i got locked up in a county that's dry as a beach, like Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where I was raised till 13. No one, not even the warden, knows really why I'm here, even some man from Cell Block Five, asked me last Sunday, why was I here. My beach perhaps, it's love at last, concrete, gravel, and stone- a 6' x 10' room with bars and a porcelain throne. It's mine I cry, each night I die, with glee, with smile, with rite. But it makes the other guys run at me, and try to start random fights. I don't remember the boat I took, but I remember the tour, going to Japan at Epcot Center since I'd never gone before.
Ronald J Chapman Dec 2014
A pink kimono
yukata
Adorned with velvet flowers

Standing there in the Springtime mist of Japan,
Guarded by Sakura trees.
Skies are blue,
Singing a beautiful song,

Pink lips like adorable flowers on a spring day,
A most beautiful, kind and loving princess to ever
walk Japan.

Your beautiful face,
Your kindest soul,
Your adorable lips,
You smiled at me.

You have the prettiest voice,
that calms my soul.

You're the most beautiful and loving princess,
ever to walk Japan...

© 2014 Ronald J Chapman All Rights Reserved.
Princess Sakura Poem Reading 1
http://youtu.be/zhVuMhmZo4E
RAJ NANDY Sep 2018
Dear Poet Friends, Torin Galleshaw from Charlotte NC, a Member of this Site, had requested me to compose about the Rise of Third *****. Therefore, I have commenced with the causes for its Rise in my Part One posted below. Planning to compose Part Two with ******’s Blitzkrieg campaign of Poland later. It is unfortunate that I am unable to post related Maps & Photos for better appreciation of my Readers! Such options are not available for us here! However, I have managed to post a copy with maps & photos in the E-mail ID of my friend Torin!  Kindly give comments only after reading this researched work of mine, during your spare time.  Thanking you, - Raj, New Delhi.

            STORY OF SECOND WORLD WAR – PART ONE
                            RISE OF THE THIRD *****
                                       By Raj Nandy

                                  INTRODUCTION
In this part I shall mainly deal with the causes leading to the Second World War,
Which had also created favourable conditions for the rise of Third ***** under ******.
The word ‘*****’ derives from old German word ‘rihhi’ meaning ‘realm’;  
But is also used to designate a kingdom or an empire in a broader sense.
Historically, the First ***** was the Medieval Holy Roman Empire which lasted till the end of the 19th Century.
While the Second ***** was the First German Empire from 1871 to 1918, when dynamic Otto Von Bismark had united all of Germany,
Which ended with its defeat in World War One and birth of the Weimar Republic.
The Third ***** refers to the **** German Empire under ******, Which lasted from 1933 till 1945, for twelve traumatic eventful years!
Historians opine that the ending of a war is equally important as
its beginning;
Since the causes for the start of a war is often to be found embedded in its ending!
The First World War came to an end on 28th of June 1919 as we all know.
With the signing of the Treaty at Versailles by the German Foreign Minister Hermann Muller and the ‘Big Four’.  (Britain, France, America, & Italy)
Yet it is rather ironical, that this Peace Treaty of Versailles, considered as President Woodrow Wilson’s ‘brain child’,
Had sowed the seeds of discontent resulting in the outbreak of the Second World War, and Adolf ******’s dramatic rise!

Though several causes are attributed for the outbreak of the Second World War by our Military Historians.
Let me try to summarise those causes which are considered to be more relevant.
Commencing with the harsh Treaty of Versailles, the British and French Policy of Appeasement, followed by Hyperinflation and the Great Depression of 1929, and failure of The League of Nations to maintain peace;  
Are relevant factors which collectively combined resulting in the outbreak of the devastating Second World War, scarring human memories for all time!
But not forgetting ******’s forceful and persuasive eloquence which mesmerised the Germans to rise up as a powerful Nation once again.
Since ****** promised to avenge the humiliation faced by Germany following the Treaty of Versailles,
Which was drawn up with vengeance, and dictated by the victorious Allies!

THE  ARMISTICE  AND TREATY OF VERSAILLES:    
Armistice means a truce for cessation of hostilities, which provides a breathing space for negotiating a lasting peace.
Now the Armistice ceasing the First World War was signed inside the railway carriage of the Allied Supreme Commander Marshal Foch, in the Forest of Compiegne,
On the 11th of November 1919, sixty km north of Paris, between the victorious Allies and vanquished Germany.
But in the meantime naval blockade of Germany had continued, and the German Rhineland was evacuated and partly occupied by the combined Allied troops!
Release of Allied POWs interned civilians followed subsequently; And the Reparations Clause of monetary compensation was strictly imposed on Germany!
Now, following a wide spread German Sailor’s Revolt towards the end of October 1918, Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm-II had abdicated;
And on the 9th of November Friedrich Ebert, as the new Social Democrat President of Germany, authorised his representative to sign the Compiegne Armistice.
We should remember here that this Armistice seeking cessation of hostilities did not stipulate any unconditional surrender;
And the signing of the Armistice by the German Social Democrats, was considered as ‘a stab in the back of the German army’ by majority of the Germans!
These issues get repeatedly mentioned by Adolf ****** in his eloquent speeches subsequently,
To arouse the spirit of German Nationalism, and resurgence of the ‘Master Aryan Race’ of the Germans, - in Germany!

The Versailles Treaty was signed on 28th of June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand which had sparked World War One.
Let me mention few aspects of this Treaty which was detested by the Germans!
Germany lost 13% of its land, 12% of its people, 48% of its iron resources, 15% of its agricultural production, and 10% of its coal, following its implementation!
German army was reduced to 100,000 men, its Navy reduced to 36 ships with no submarines, its Air Force banned, and its union with Austria forbidden.
Now to use a Shakespearean phrase the ‘unkindest cut of all’ came in the shape of Article 231,  the ‘War Guilt Clause’ of the Versailles Treaty,
Which provided the legal basis for the payment of war reparations by Germany.
The reparation amount of 132 billion gold marks (US $33 billion) to cover the civilian damage caused during the war, now had to be paid by Germany!
Thus the humiliation, resentment, and the virtual economic strangulation following the Versailles Treaty,
Was exploited by extremist groups such as ******’s **** Party.
And in the decades to follow, ******’s Nazis would take full control of Germany!

NOTES: Following Versailles Treaty, Alsace-Lorraine captured by Germany in 1870 was returned to France. The SAAR German coalfield region was give to France for 15 yrs. Poland became independent with a corridor to the sea dividing Germany into two. Danzing, a major port in East Prussia, became a free city under the League of Nation. Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, & Czechoslovakia became independent. Industrial area of German Rhineland, forming a buffer zone between Belgium &France,was
demilitarised.

WOODROW WILSON’S  14 - POINT PEACE INITIATIVE  & THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS:
American President Wilson was an idealist and a visionary, who in a speech to the US Congress on 8th Jan 1918,
Introduced a 14 Point Charter as a platform for building global peace, based on the principles of transparency, self-determination, and Democracy.
But for the first time in US history, the Republican-led US Senate rejected this Peace Treaty, and prevented America from joining the newly created League!
The US Senate wanted to retain its sovereignty without external entanglements;
Free from the League of Nation’s political dictates in its foreign commitments!
The Irish immigrants refused to support Wilson's Fourteen Points because Wilson was concerned about stopping WWI, rather than forcing the British to set Ireland free.
Many Jews also refused to back Wilson, since he was paying too much attention to the War, and not enough to the Balfour Declaration of 02 Nov 1917, -
Which promised an Independent Jewish State with a distinct Jewish identity.

The League of Nations had emerged from Wilson’s 14 Points on the 10th Jan 1920, with its HQs at Geneva, Switzerland, but it had no peacekeeping forces those days!
The League had failed to prevent invasion of Chinese Manchuria in 1932 by Japan;
Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935; annexation of Sudetenland and Austria by Germany!
The Axis countries Germany, Italy, and Japan, withdrew from the League subsequently.
Thus the League of Nations was disbanded in 1946 officially!
But President Wilson’s ceaseless efforts for global peace did not go unrecognised,
Since on the 10th of December 1920, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!
While his disbanded League of Nations, as the first global humanitarian organisation,
Continued to survive in spirit with the establishment of United Nations Organisation on the 24th October, 1945.

ECONOMIC CAUSES - FOLLOWED BY THE GREAT DEPRESSION OF 1929 :
Germany emerged from the First World War with loss of 25,000 square miles of territory;
Loss of seven million inhabitants, and a staggering debt imposed by the Versailles Treaty!
The Wiemar Republic, after abdication of Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm-II  to Holland,
For the first time in German history, established a Democratic Constitution with Friedrich Ebert as its first President.
But The Republic first had to consolidate itself by squashing the Spartacist Revolt of January 1919 led by the extreme Leftists, and inspired by the Russian Bolshevik Communists!
The Freikorps, in March 1920, an Ex-Soldiers Rightist Group, tried to overthrow the Wiemar Republic with support of their Rightist allies and their own veteran troops!
This was soon followed by a Communist attempt to takeover of the Industrial Rhur;
But fortunately, all these uprisings against the Republic were effectively subdued!
But the 33 Billion Dollars of Reparations hung over the Wiemar Republic like the legendary ‘Sword of Damocles’, followed by the Great Depression of 1929;
Coupled with the ‘Policy of Appeasement’ practised by the British and the French;
Became the most important causes for ******’s expansionist ambition and his short- lived meteoric rise to fame!

GERMAN PAPER CURRENCY & HYPERINFLATION:
Gold Mark was the currency used by the German Empire from 1873 to 1914 only.
But to pay for the costs of the ongoing First World War, Germany suspended the gold standard, and decided to fund the war by Borrowings entirely,
Hoping to pay back the loans after Germany achieves Victory.
But having lost the war, and faced with a massive debt imposed by the Allies,
Exchange rate of the Mark against the US Dollar steadily devalued and declined!
Papiermark became the German currency from 04th August 1914 onward, when link between the Mark and gold reserve was abandoned,
In order to pay for the ongoing expenses of the First World War with paper marks, which was constantly being printed!
But later after the war, when the London Ultimatum of May 1921 demanded payment of war reparations in gold or in foreign currency only,
Even more paper marks got printed by the Republic to buy those foreign currency !
By December 1922 hyper-inflationary trends emerged, when the US Dollar became equivalent to 7,400 German Marks, with a 15-fold increase in the cost of living !
By the fall of 1922 when it became impossible for Germany to make further payments,
The French and Belgium armies occupied Germany’s Ruhr Valley area, its prime industrial region!
French and the Belgians hoped to extract payment in kind, but a strike by the workers of the Ruhr area their hopes belied!
The Wiemar Republic printed more paper notes to pay and support the workers of the Ruhr area,
When hyperinflation had peaked at 4,210,500,000,000 German Marks, to a US Dollar!
Paper currency having become worthless, some form of ancient barter system began to be used instead!

STABILISATION OF GERMAN ECONOMY WITH ONSET OF  THE GREAT DEPRESSION:
Following the hyperinflation Chancellor Josef Cuno’s cabinet resigned in August 1923,
When Gustav Stresemann became the new Chancellor of Germany.
Stresemann’s Government had introduced the Rentenmark as a new stable currency,
To end the hyperinflation which had plagued Wiemar Germany.  
Rentenmark was backed by real goods, agricultural land and business,
Since gold was not available in a beleaguered German economy those days!
When One Rentenmark was equivalent to One million, million, old German Mark;
While One US Dollar was equivalent to only 4.2 Rentenmarks.
Though Stresemann’s Government lasted for 100 days only, Stresemann continued to serve as the Foreign Minister in successive Coalition Governments of the Republic,
Till his death in the month of October 1929, but working for the betterment of Germany all the while!
His ‘Policy of Fulfilment’ stabilised German economy with a 200 Million Dollars loan from America under the Dawes Plan in 1924,
Which had also ensured the evacuation of France from the occupied Ruhr area, with their future reparations payments ensured.
Stresemann’s signing of the Locarno Pact in London on 1st Dec 1925 with France, Belgium, Great Britain, and Italy, was considered as his achievement and a feat!
Since it made Germany to enter the League of Nations ensuring stability and peace;
While the Noble Peace Prize was awarded to Stresemann for his efforts in 1926!
Later, the Young Plan of 1929 further reduced German reparations payment by 20%, while extending the time frame for the payments to 59 years!
But following a sudden Wall Street Stock Market Crash in late October of 1929,
The American Banks were forced to recall money from Europe and the Young Plan;.
Which created acute financial distress when unemployment soared to 33.7%  in Germany in 1931, and quickly rose to 40% during the following year!
Lausanne Conference was held in Switzerland in 1932 by Great Britain, Germany, and France, to further reduce the War Debts imposed by the Versailles Treaty.
But in Dec 1932, the US Congress had rejected this Allied War Debt Reduction Plan completely.
However, no further payments were made by Germany due to the Great Depression;
And by 1932, Germany had paid only 1/8 of the total sum required to be paid as per their pending wartime reparations!

NOTES: Rentenmark was issued on 15 October 1923 to stop the hyperinflation in Wiemeer Germany. Reichmark was the currency in Germany from 1924 to 20 June 1948 in West Germany , when it was replaced by the Deutsche Mark; but had continued in East Germany until 23 June when it was replaced by East German Mark.
During the Stresemann Years of Stability from 1924 to 1929, (prior to the onset of the Great Depression), with help of American financial aid, created more housing & production in Germany. Dada & Expressionist Art forms flourished, followed by modern architecture; also the Philosophy of Existentialism of Thomas Mann – influenced the Western culture. Paul Whiteman's Band for the first time brought in American Jazz to Germany, and Jazz signified the liberation of German youth and women folks of the younger generation generally. But the US Stock Market Crash had unfortunately ended this short lived euphoria, and as it soon became a global phenomena!                                


FAILURE OF THE WIEMAR REPUBLIC & THE GREAT DEPRESSION WHICH BENEFITED THE NAZIS:
Last Days of Wiemar Republic:
Ever since Otto Von Bismarck that ‘Man of iron and steel’, united Germany into a single Empire in the year Eighteen Hundred & Seventy One,
For the first time a Constitution for a Parliamentary Democracy was drawn up in August 1919, in the eastern German city of Wiemar.
Wiemar was the intellectual centre of Germany associated with musicians like Franz List, and writers like Goethe and Schiller.
The Wiemar Republic of Germany which had lasted from 1919 till 1933 had seen,
20 different Coalition Governments, with frequent elections and changing loyalties!
Due to a system of proportional representations, and the presence of very many political parties those days,  
No single party could obtain absolute sole majority in the Reichstag Parliament!
The longest Coalition Govt. was under Chancellor Bruning, which had lasted for only 2 years and 61 days!     (From 30 March 1930 to 30 May 1932)
Now, to understand the reasons for the failure to maintain a Democratic form of Government by the Wiemar Republic,
It becomes necessary to monitor its ‘dying gasps’ during its closing years so to speak!
Since faced with the economic depression Chancellor Bruning had worsened the unemployment situation by adopting stringent and unpopular measures!
Thereby having lost popular political support, Bruning with the approval of President Hindenburg, invoked emergency powers under Article 48, to survive his last few months and years!
During the years 1931 and 1932  it is seen, Bruning had used this Emergency Clause 44 and 66 times respectively!
Thus his so-called ‘Presidential form of Govt.’ had undermined Wiemar Democracy!
If Burning was the ‘Republic’s Undertaker’, now remains a debatable issue of History!
But Burning’s vigorous campaign made Hindenburg to get re-elected as the President;
Thereby he had removed the defeated Adolf ****** out of the Presidential race!
Therefore, later when ****** became the Chancellor on 30 Jan 1933, Bruning had very wisely fled from Germany!

Following Bruning’s resignation in May 1932 came Chancellor Papen’s ‘Cabinet of Barons’ consisting of individuals who were not members of the German Reichstag!
While in the election of July 1932 ******’s **** Party won 230 seats, making it the largest party in the Reichstag.
But ****** refused to form a coalition with Papen, because he wanted to become the Chancellor himself !
Now General von Schleicher advised President Hindenburg that the German Army,
Would not accept Papen’s use of Article 48 to remain as the Chancellor of Germany!
Therefore following Papen’s resignation, Schleicher took over on the 04th of December 1932 as the new German Chancellor.
Schleicher tried to restore a democratic form of government to get the Wiemar Republic back on its feet.
But in the ensuing political power struggle Papen wanted to take revenge on Schleicher for his removal from power and defeat.
So Papen persuaded Adolf ****** to become the Chancellor, and retain for himself the post of Vice-Chancellor.
In doing so, Papen mistakenly thought that he would be able to reign in the self-assertive Adolf ******!
Papen finally made President Hindenburg agree to his proposal, and on 30th of Jan 1933,
****** became the New Chancellor, with approval of the President!
A month later a sudden fire in the Reichstag made ****** invoke Article 48, in order to squash the suspected Left Wing Communists;
But while doing so, the Press was muzzled, and many Civil Rights of the German people were abolished, inclusive of their right of assembly and free speech!
****** acted swiftly, and by passing the Enabling Act on 23 March, 1933, armed himself  with dictatorial powers for enacting laws without the approval of the Reichstag whenever necessary!
Thereby ****** threw Democracy to History’s wasteland most unfortunately!
Following the death of Hindenburg on 29 June 1934, ****** combined the powers of the President and the Chancellor, and became known as the FUHRER!
Historians generally agree the Enabling Act of 1933, as the date for establishment of The German Third *****.

THE POLICY OF APPEASEMENT AND GERMAN AGGRESSION:
The horrors of trench warfare with the rattling of machine guns and bursting of poisonous nerve gas shells,
Even after 20 years remained fresh, in the minds of all World War One participants!
Therefore, it was natural for British and French Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier initially,
To grant political and material concessions to an aggressive Germany, for the sake of peace and stability.
Thus the diplomatic stance of Appeasement between 1935 and 1939 followed by the French and the British, was mainly to avoid another dangerous armed conflict!
But the trusting Mr. Chamberlain had underestimated ******, who had served in the German Army as a Corporal, winning the Iron Cross during the last Great War!
****** was not afraid of war, but wanted to avenge the Treaty of Versailles and its punitive dictated peace;
And also establish for the superior German Aryan race a lasting Third *****!
Therefore, having consolidated his power as the Fuhrer along with his trusted **** Party cronies, he withdrew from the League of Nations in October 1933.
Introduced conscription in March 1935 in Germany, and embarked on a mission to rebuild a new modernised German Army for combat on land, air, and sea!
In March 1936, in another open violation of the Versailles Treaty, ****** re-occupied the demilitarised Rhineland, followed by a Treaty of Alliance with Japan and Italy.
The much desired Anschluss (or merger) with Austria, the country of birth of ******,
Saw the German Army in March 1938, triumphantly and peacefully marching into Vienna!
Now with the Munich Conference of 19 September 1938, this Policy of Appeasement is said to have reached its climatic peak!
The Sudetenland area, consisted of 3 million Germans were made
to join Czechoslovakia when the frontiers were drawn in 1918-19,
Much against the wishes of the Germans!
When ****** wanted to annex this Sudetenland area, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, met at Munich to diffuse an explosive situation peacefully.
It was agreed at Munich that once Sudetenland joins Germany, ****** will not invade Czechoslovakia and honour the terms of peace.
But on 15th March 1939, in violation of the Munich Agreement, ******’s army invade and occupied Czechoslovakia, thereby openly flouting the Policy of Appeasement!

NOTES: ******’s desire for ‘LEBENSRAUM’ or ‘increase of living space’ for the Germans, commenced with his ‘Border Wars’, which soon turned into a Global War because of the ‘appeasement policy’ of the Allies. ****** had secured his Eastern Front with a treaty with the Stalin, since fighting on two fronts would have been very difficult for the Germans.

Now when ******’s army invaded Poland on 1st of September 1939, it became ‘the last straw on the camel’s back’ for the Western Allies!
Committed to the Anglo-Polish Defence Pact of 25 August, 1939, both Britain and France declared war on Germany,
Which I propose to narrate in Part Two of my Second World War Story.  
The Policy of Appeasement no doubt gave some time for Britain, to regain its depleted military strength,  but Adolf ****** had viewed it as a sign of weakness!
With Russia and America initially as non-participants, ****** became more confident and arrogant!
Thereby turning his border wars into a global conflagration lasting six long years.
When the use of advanced technology, resulted in greater loss and casualties;  
Which was followed by the holocaust and unprecedented human suffering!
I would like to conclude my present narration with a poem by English soldier-poet Seigfried Sassoon, who participated in the First World War on the Western Front.

DREAMERS  -  by Siegfried Sassoon
Soldiers are citizens of death's gray land,
Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal ****** with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with ***** and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.
…………………………………………………………………………
Thanks for reading patiently, from Raj Nandy of New Delhi.
  *ALL COPYRIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR ONLY
Patrick Austin Sep 2018
Our Backgrounds before we met...

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

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

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

2002

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

2003

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

2004

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

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

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

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

2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

2006

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

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

2007

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

2008

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

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

2009

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

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

2010

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

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

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

2011

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

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

2012

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

2013

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

2014

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

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

2015

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

2016

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

2017

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

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

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

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

2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a really hard time, this difficult spell could have been a tool to better our relationship. I wanted to experience more beautiful memories with her. We had so many more beautiful memories and dreams left to create. This is what marriage looks like to me now as I lower the casket.
This is a timeline of the major events during my 13 year marriage. Amidst the reality, I injected all the lovely memories that refuse to leave my mind.
Patrick McCombs Jan 2012
Oh I'm going to Japan
All according to plan
Trapped in this little plane
Going a little insane
Staring out the window
Seeing the wind blow
The clouds look odd
And I'm a little awed
Miles above the ground
And there's not a sound
Save that one snoring man
That screaming child, whose name I gather is Stan
And that one obsessive compulsive flight attendant
Who I think is dependent
On those little pink pills that keep appearing in her hand
But its fine, its alright, I'm going to Japan.
Land of the rising sun
Here I come, even if I'm the only one
Getting off this accursed sardine can.
At least I'll be arrested in Japan.
wehttam Jun 2014
May be I’ll start writing, today.  
The story of Zen Zero.

I realized that all good things come to an end.  The tears, the affairs, and even the faintest revelation about my relationship to the Emperor of Japan.  I’ll need help and... well, the truth can be tolled.  It can be that the faintest belief, that we as free people are subject to the king, our God.
A king stands in truth as our kin.  The love that has existed for a thousand years, about justice, permanence, and legend are here.
It all started 7 years ago.  According to the book of John, the 3rd book.  The face of his majesty does have an Imperial Guardian.  In any colour, red, black, blue, white, and even green.  Each color resembles the color of trust.  
I started training in the Emperor's garden at the age of negative 6.  Before my mother can conceive her unborn child in a marriage.  Like the burning of Shin Cho' Palace.  
"Oh, how they forget so quickly, the truth?" says my mother.
They forget so quickly the majesty and power of the Emperor's memory of Mother Japan.  In his Majesty's eyes, how many lovers stir the colors of benevolence.  Where and when does it exist and stop for us as an American patriot sold to slavery for spy’s.  All of his subjects do will and listen to the cry of patience in his family’s quarters.  
My father at the time of his marriage did not know the Emperor's name, I had asked my mother in her heart if she knew the king.  They are no longer married.  They had tried to burn down the Emperor's Palace with a marriage.  But I had already existed, in the love of my family at a wedding joining men and women.  I remember some singing, all though in my mother’s ears, really bad singing. In her head or mine at the wedding, whichever is greater.  Maybe the song was worthless or was the singer already lifting her fingers to strike matches on the bamboo fortress of the young emperor.  
They have had many statesmen destroy the dream that Japan has.  Through lies, corruption, and *******.  Each of the last three I had to conquer to be his Majesty's Justice.  I did not earn the right to judge any such subject or people, it was given freely at that time to children.  I had learned to love the Emperor, even in my own desire to please him and her.  
The lies were towering revelations about the coming of man in God's kingdom, and how the will of imperial veils never existed for the properties of mankind.  The corruption was the setting of dowers or dowries for the subject of lost families, in the forbearance of lucher escaped only by the luck of liars.  And then the dreams of revelry, owned by the ungodly and chaste men of the burning palace, whether sediscious, or whether the fables absolving time in the palace to a judgment had already met the Emperor.  
All of the priests (pre-ests) had to pray; for the remaining time of eternity, for the true judgment of his Majesty's subjects. It was to be taken from the subject of srys to the Emperor's Knight.  
To many were lost in the munitions of war.  Laws that govern and sanction truths were not available to those of absolute corruption.  Stalwarts, stonewallers, and stoners were becoming of the anti-gentry.  The laws were never to be discouraged by zeal, or by trial.  The laws had to represent the ability of love to change time even if the object of factions destroyed the old way.  They had taken the truth to prepare Neoteny for where the first Imperial Guard had placed his head.  The first Imperial Guard, that I became before birth had taken his own head with a weapon made by treason.  
My mother’s dress was made out of spider silk.  A giant spider played Chinese checkers with the Imperial Guard for my head also.  Never the less, the palace, this time was not burned.  The dress was made out of falling stars and spiders silk.  She had found the Emperor's tailor and traded my soul for the wedding.  The pictures that were retrieved from the wedding of my mother and father have ruminated in antiquity since the time until by birth my life.  The seers and srys wanted my head to take up the Emperor's chalice.  His cup, filled with my blood, Simian blood.  
I did not want to go through with it, birth and death before becoming subject to royalty.  Seeing the world before consummation, as I had was never thought of, it was seen as impossible unless by treason we had chided a woman of royalty.  
I have seen the last major asteroid go through our galaxy before it had ever had been a present particle of mutiny.   It proved to the child (myself) in gestation, between man woman at the wedding that time will pass just as quickly before my mind’s eye as it had at the day of Pentecost.   More than 500 billon people were to be saved by God rather than by a humble dismantling of a defense lawyer.
I had seen how flowers are made by tiny Zen Zero bumble bees going to and leaving from daisies and roses, and orchids.  How each seed takes roots and as do the munitions for treason and tears; how each man whom chooses to change their name because of treason begins to understand change when his wife chooses his name.  (The reference is to Zero attacks, suicide attacks.)  How the time and life and essence of life begins in literacy as a language of love.  Every old man on earth can help me write the scripts, but can the country of old men help me change the prophet?
As long as there is war in the palace there will be treason?
The spirit of the samurai was trying the youth in the palace.  From the first born male to the last lady in quixic geisha.  All uniques were to be placed before the Lord for appointment.  Any dreams of or visions of truth were a breach of solemnity lost by the virginity of the family.  The parents of each state were subjects to the Emperor's people, and to the chosen for freedom and slavery.  How many shining knights were to remain in the Emperor's house?  The uniqueness was subject only to the reason of the generation of the age.  Not many of my men had anything left after the life of the quill or pen of the Knight Meteyi had begun to take its place with the heads of loyalists.  His sword remains in the hand of the Majesty of Japan.  No knowledge, no lore, no president, no kin, or liars can stop his reign.  As if the last days of our youth were spent dismantling the bombs we had made during the last few battles over crude extravagance.  Oil, crops, metals, space, as space became a way to admire men in statehood was the example of treason to the following.  Democrats and Republicans began to try as is a trail of laws to and from changes for the people without a loyal subject to observe in service to a Nation.  Freed men became a bureau of Federally Bureaucratic Investigative subjections.  Whether the phone would sense its use and had no service.  Men tried by srys had needed no way to communicate, they were objects, objections, and objective to democracies.  Any and all of the western knowledge of good or evil was not earned in monasteries, it was as it were seen in-between a marriage of a man and a woman and the consummation of the first born to be the king in his own mind. Centrally, intelligence and agency became a lost paradox.  The palace could be burned through neoteny, the truly lost man or woman had to be part of the worm.  The earthworm had to dig up the lost and the prophet from its own humanly death.  

Chapter 2
The dress as simple as it was, was taken off and laid in a box for saving.  It was to travel through time in the Emperor's Palace to serve has a mold, a pattern for quilting lovers of the family tree through the history of love.  After the child was conceived in love, the dress is worn and then placed back into the box for time travel. From a generation of mothers to another generation of lovers. No man was to wear the dress as an idea, thought or wisdom.  The reproach, the dress, and the marriage is virtue encoded into a structure of life   The wisest man let the Emperor dream life into the belly of prophets through the dress.  The smartest scientist understood the impeccable reason of lust and gave all to his bride for the grave that the earthworm had trusted.  The publican had the dress made as a dowry to the tribe of Roman man.  And the Emperor breathed life into the woman with a few breaths at the wedding.  The subjects, the publicans had tried the Emperor for their bride, by making the flowers lean toward their lovers.  They had tried to tell the knight of the Emperor's Palace that the sun had also retired due to mutiny in the ranks and castes of statesmen.  The son will bend light into the palace of wisdom, and the subjects do grieve the stories from prophets.  
At exactly 10:03 central eastern standard time, the states men forgave themselves of suicide and left to burn the palace.  
Each dressed as royalists.  The burning of Chinju Palace is the last thing I remember before giving up to the sound of a 3 or 4 year old woman singing.  The next thing I remember is being dropped on the floor in the delivery room to a rattle and brattle of childish whims.  Like, the sound of laughter, but only as a fury of deceit, the singer was hurt when I had asked her to join the wedding ceremony.  She excused herself of the ceremony as was or were not subjects to the birth of the kings men in harmony.  

She tried, and wanted to steal the dress.  

Chapter 3
There was mostly nothing in the womb. Except Dogma.  My father, as dogma.  He would whisper to her in bed and they would giggle about never understanding anything ever again.  I excepted NAME for my name.  They didn’t know if a boy or a girl were to be born.  I could know the difference at the time of their conversation.  I then realized that the 3 years prior to conception were perfect.  And I, the Emperor's Knight, was tolled.  Tolled the way bells sound and the way people love to hear the news.  The way light has no existence in the womb, I was tolled the way Sandalphon treaded upon the tribe of Israel.  
Lying was not invented yet, well,... while in the womb, but I had heard some whispers in the darkness.  The camera couldn't fit in, I called and tolled the camera from the womb, in between to friends.  I called the camera, Dragon.  The dragon is the trust moving in-between true and time.  The Dragon, Meteyi had told me that we were going to write everything.  From the believe that martial arts were stronger than prayer, and to the reason that it was not true.  Factually, there was nothing but prayer and no martial artist had a sword bigger than the lie of the Emperor's dragon.  The dragon said, to my father,..."The world is to die for, and not enough."  The dragon also said to my mother,..."The purpose is in your belly as a rainbow in disgust."  He, the dragon almost couldn’t believe that I had mentioned to hymn that there was no way out of this without a dream so relax and let me fit in.  The doctor had to have heard of the loyalist dream of a birth right.  Basically, I didn’t want him to slap me for the first breath.  I hurt bad, like out of a sarcastic Scotlandish parody.  Many, many, many, men quit trying to go through the sry after that.  My mother creeped up to me after my kin had asked the doctor to pick me up off of the floor.  She smiled and handed the birth certificate to the nurse and read my social security number to my father on the phone, he was on duty at the Air Force Base.  My ears were still clogged with seminal fluid, but I could feel her dream a name into my soul.  She can know the Emperor's knight.  After a few moments, my cry as chide by the Emperor, into being a whisper of life.  From that moment on in my life, I could not cry ever, as a child cries.  Otherwise I could be a whisper.

Chapter 4
Every chance at change that had gotten to us was used by running from the dragon.  He liked Batman and hated Robin but new to fathers, knew that hatred kept something’s safe from the palace. The palace could never get filled by whispers.  The whispers only object to democracy and help the camera.  The daguerreotype was possibly the only thing that couldn’t lie.  It was considered lye to gossip worshipers.  Gossip may have started the war on bugs.  Like bugs in ceaseless noise are prayer or whispers, like gossip.  When bugs stop whispering, some seemingly are bad with superstition and others are horrible with bugs.  
The next few years, were also perfect.  I had no idea who else, I could be.  Absolutely perfect, the Emperor subjected us to love.  I could **** all day, eat as much as I wanted and was warned when they thought, like a whisper.  When it was time to eat, when it was time to bath and when it was time to be quiet and sleep were similar to whispers.  Diapers were not invented yet, I had to invent them.  My mother used to get sick from the pain of laundry and sleeping with me.  When the diapers were *****, she wash them and place them back on my ****.  Like a good, palace guardian, I used them up.  The new diapers had an air of mutiny to them, the disposable ones.  We never kept trash in the house.  The signs that we have had a king for dinner were never to be seen, but everyone had the right to change pants.  
Many of the ideas in life shared before birth were not existent after birth.  It was not until my family had meet the Emperor that... we needed to love God by learning to pray.  

Chapter 5
When we met the Emperor, it was easy to say that no whispers were used.  Other things were.  A memory, not a book was here.  There was no time, the palace he made for me was from God and a lot of people wanted in.  The Royal subject was the Emperor's first knight, my father's.  I had to memorize time, which in turn was not mine.  The actual Emperor thought, that I, am a poet of sorts.  We spelled the word memory in the sky together without words, whispers, or gossip.  The next few years were spent dyeing as tap or a drill bit would being to make a hole for fastening life to the surface of my families.  Called a tap and die, the whole of life must be treaded through time without a spry attempt to vacancy.  After the Emperor, my mother and father did not know that meeting the pope was bad.   The Emperor is good.  

Chapter 6
Mainly my ability to learn, had started to fail.  There was not need to have ability.  But walking was hard.  When I stood, I was pushed through, walking.  Like a battle of balance and superstition.  Crawling had no sense, being picked up made things silly.  When wanting to be here, and not knowing how to get there through crawling, here I was a a chubby fat knight.  Father used lemons on my taste buds and cracked when he knew not how I loved them.  He had to make work to pay bills and I learned that without a whisper.  So we would sh
Chapter 8 to follow after inspection.
Doongi96 Feb 2014
Poseidon woke from his slumber
Of a thousand years
Seeking vengeance on Japan's pier's
Last they fought Japan had won
But this time Poseidon brought a bigger gun.
judy smith Mar 2017
It is rare that, outside Japan, you hear anything positive about the lot of women in the Japanese workplace. Well-meaning rankings and anecdotal articles frequently do little more than reinforce tired stereotypes. Still, change is afoot and there are many voices in the Japanese corporate world that have a nuanced story to tell—even some who dare to assert that there might be something that Japanese working women have to teach the world.

One important factor preventing progress in how women are viewed in the Japanese workplace is the ongoing prevalence of highly gendered uniforms. This is true both in the literal sense and in what is implied—from strictly structured dress codes that govern post-graduation job hunts right through to the president’s chair. These remain highly gendered for both men and women, a visual reminder of the very different roles played by the “salarymen” and “office ladies” of years gone by, but a stumbling block now, considering how much has changed.

Representative of this change is fashion brand Kay Me, from entrepreneur Junko Kemi. Not just an oddity in the Japanese fashion world, Kemi is an unassuming revolutionary who has dispensed with the establishment path to the racks by forgoing trade shows and industry-only runways. Instead, she builds on her own experience in the Japanese corporate world to fashion the clothes she would wear to the office. In the process, she has managed to chalk up a Ginza flagship store, key retail positions at Japan’s top department stores—including Odakyu in Shinjuku, Mitsukoshi in Nihombashi, Breeze Breeze Umeda in Osaka, and Isetan at Haneda International Airport — and even a presence in London. She’s accomplished this in just over five years — less time than it takes the average brand that plays by the fashion industry’s rules to get their first round of scattered stockists.

Kemi sat down with The Journal to talk about why she moved from marketing to fashion, how she sees women in the workplace, and what she aims to achieve with her designs.

Japanese fashion is a notoriously saturated field. With no background in fashion, why did you choose to enter it?

My background is in marketing and consulting, but I was always aware that, at the root of all market analysis, is the Japanese phrase ishokuju, meaning the necessities of life: food, clothing, and shelter. When you look at Tokyo, there may be a lot of fashion, but that is the way it should be. It is as important and necessary as food and shelter. After the Lehman shock and the March 11 earthquake, this idea of necessity came to have greater meaning for me. I wanted to make something that was really required by people in their lives.

Of course, my background in marketing helped, and I knew that the bigger companies would be scared to compete with me if I chose a niche that wasn’t a proven quantity yet. That niche was professional women; women with the drive to go beyond what society expects of them and who want to express themselves on their own terms in the workplace. There is also part of me that likes to be the rebel, and to a certain extent I just wanted to prove people wrong when they said the market was oversaturated.

One of the most important Japanese fashion designers of our time, Yohji Yamamoto, famously started his eponymous brand in rejection of Japanese “office lady” attire and how working women, as a whole, dressed. Is this a shared source of inspiration?

Perhaps. Although, ironically, given that Yohji Yamamoto mainly uses black, I feel that women’s clothes are too dark! Fundamentally, I feel that historically it made sense that for women to enter the male-dominated workplace they first started dressing like men; but that can’t be where it ends. Far more interesting is for women to be unapologetically feminine and be accepted for it. Women should not have to cast off their own culture to enter the workplace, nor deny their own nature between 9:00 and 5:00. Why shouldn’t there be flowers in an office? In that sense, I am the opposite of Yohji Yamamoto — he wanted his clothes to protect women from men, but I don’t think women need protecting.

My real inspiration is surprisingly conventional. My grandmother ran a kimono shop, so I am always attracted to traditional themes in my work. The Japanese motifs I use, in particular, have been key to reaching people abroad. It is not necessarily targeted like “Cool Japan,” just a lucky coincidence. For Japanese customers, they are a way of building elements of kimono into their working wardrobe instead of wearing full kimono, which is hard in daily life—never mind the workplace.

As an entrepreneur, what do you look for in your employees? Do you actively create a female-friendly work environment?

I have been all around the world meeting entrepreneurs — especially in the UK and East Asian countries — and I am frequently the only Japanese person, and nearly always the only Japanese female entrepreneur. Therefore, similarly minded people with an international mindset are my key assets. With that comes an ability to communicate in English, and the confidence that your ideas will resonate not only in your own country but globally. That is rarer than you think, and a big issue over the course of a career is that only high-ranking members of Japanese companies ever go abroad on business. That locks women out of having experience abroad and stops them thinking more globally.

In terms of workplace, I would like a 50-50 split in my workforce; but right now we are still at the early stage of growing, so it has been vital that everyone understands the shared goal. As I am dressing working women, I have far more women than men working for me for now; unfortunate, but it will change. Also, I insist on flexible working hours for my staff with children. It creates some small issues with timing group meetings, but it is easy to work through and worth it for the talent they bring.

What could institutions like the Japanese government and universities do to change the status quo?

Universities are taking the lead in thinking globally, but that is only half the battle — they need to create more competition among students — female in particular — so they have confidence to go abroad. That needs to be the spark that starts a movement.

As for the government, there are lots of programs out there to support companies like mine, but to be honest we just don’t have the time to apply for them — they require so much documentation. So far, the programs feel like lip service from an older generation who doesn’t understand mine; time will change that.

In the meantime, I am focused on thinking globally. We haven’t targeted the inbound phenomenon as such because they are not necessarily our customers. Instead, I am focused on online expansion and taking my brand to Europe, and hopefully to America via New York in the near future. Of course, I want quick expansion; but ultimately we have been quality- and service-driven in Japan, so we can’t forget that as we look abroad.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/bridesmaid-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/red-carpet-celebrity-dresses
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--To W. A.


Was I a Samurai renowned,
Two-sworded, fierce, immense of bow?
A histrion angular and profound?
A priest? a porter?--Child, although
I have forgotten clean, I know
That in the shade of Fujisan,
What time the cherry-orchards blow,
I loved you once in old Japan.

As here you loiter, flowing-gowned
And hugely sashed, with pins a-row
Your quaint head as with flamelets crowned,
Demure, inviting--even so,
When merry maids in Miyako
To feel the sweet o' the year began,
And green gardens to overflow,
I loved you once in old Japan.

Clear shine the hills; the rice-fields round
Two cranes are circling; sleepy and slow,
A blue canal the lake's blue bound
Breaks at the bamboo bridge; and lo!
Touched with the sundown's spirit and glow,
I see you turn, with flirted fan,
Against the plum-tree's bloomy snow . . .
I loved you once in old Japan!

Envoy

Dear, 'twas a dozen lives ago;
But that I was a lucky man
The Toyokuni here will show:
I loved you--once--in old Japan.
Sam Shoyer Jan 2015
Arriving in Japan
the clouds were
Sparse and peaceful,
all resting on the
invisible flat barrier
that divides earthy
from divine,

The sun set in
a deep orange glow,
changing the white
peaceful clouds to
powerful black shadows,
Behind the vista of Tokyo city
lay a pristine,
lone peak,
one that evokes
a specific wonder
in the simple form
of Triangle
Paul Hansford Sep 2018
Many people write a "bucket list" of things they want to do before they die.  Now in my 80th year, I don't have the time or the energy to do things that others might aim for, but I have during my life visited many places, seen many things, and enjoyed many experiences that I would have been sorry to miss. There have also been some events that I would have preferred not to experience, but which have enriched my life in different ways, and which I remember with a kind of sad affection.  
Some of these are very personal to me, and would not be interesting to most people, but read the note if you wonder why I chose them.

Here then is what I might call  
                                                My Reverse Bucket List

Towns and cities – architecture & atmosphere
   Barcelona, Spain
   Venice, Italy
   Oxford, England
   Jerusalem, Israel
   Luxor, Egypt
   Varanasi, India
   Hiroshima, Japan
   Pompeii, Italy

Other locations
   Galápagos islands, Ecuador
   Great Barrier Reef, Australia
   North Woolwich, London

Churches
   St Paul's Cathedral, London
   Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
   Coventry Cathedral
   Córdoba Cathedral, Spain
   Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Other structures
   Taj Mahal, Agra
   Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland
   Royal Festival Hall, London
   London underground system (because it was the first, and I rode it for a long time).  Also the more splendid underground railways of Mexico City and Moscow.
   Avebury Ring, Wiltshire, England (the largest prehistoric stone circle in the world, and much more primitive than Stonehenge)
   Bayeux Tapestry 
   "Angel of the North" statue, Gateshead, England
   "Christ the Redeemer" statue, Rio, Brazil

Events
   Messiah at Royal Festival Hall, Feb 1959, with the girl later to be my wife
   St John's night, Spain, early 1990s (?)
   Death and funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, Aug 1997
   Oberammergau passion play, 2010
   Destruction of World Trade Centre, Sept 2001
I haven't added explanatory notes, but a lot of them are easy enough to look up, and if you message me about any mysterious items, I'll answer as best I can. There are poems in my stream connected with some things on the list, though not all are obvious.
Ayad Gharbawi Jan 2010
Hi;

This is not a poem.

But given the infernal catastrophe that has befallen, I just think it is time for you Americans to listen to us people living 'out there'.

Here are my thoghts, that I submit to you with respect;


HAITIAN EARTHQUAKE: A HISTORIC MOMENT FOR AMERICA TO CHANGE ITS MISSION

Ayad Gharbawi

January 19, 2010 – Damascus, Syria


The recent Haitian earthquake is unusual in that it has destroyed the entire meagre ‘infrastructure’ of a so-called nation.
In fact, this 2010 earthquake succeeded in showing the world that the so-called ‘country’ of Haiti is nothing more than another piece of estate/land/property for a select, few oligarchs.
Anyway, the US response to this ecological/environmental holocaust that has befallen upon Haiti has been unprecedented.
America, under President Barack Hussein Obama, has behaved impeccably in Haiti.
The brilliance in Obama’s aid for Haiti is successful precisely because he has avoided previous attempts by the US to help on the basis of ‘humanitarian’ grounds, when those grounds happened to also include conflicts raging within them.
Obama avoided the mistake of getting America involved in a humanitarian crises that existed within a civil war – like what happened in Lebanon (1982-83), Somalia (1991-3), Bosnia (1995), Kosovo (1999).
I write this article because I, as an outsider, wish ardently, to speak to you Americans.
Today, you Americans have the choice: either to follow the militaristic, expansionist policies of the US President, Theodore Roosevelt, or you may follow the path of the first morally-guided President of the US - Woodrow Wilson.
I urge you Americans to leave all countries where there are civil wars – such as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and so on.
Let these countries do whatever their people wish to do against each other.
Instead, allow your great arsenal of democracy to help and intervene on humanitarian missions – in countries wherein there are no civil wars – such as you have been doing so magnificently in Haiti.
Use your power, your wealth, your US Army, Air Force, and Navy to help humans who need the helping hand of succour.
I tell you, that you Americans, once you adopt this peaceful, moral foreign; policy, you shall see that your enemies will fade.
Taleban have told you repeatedly, and have repeatedly contacted to you, telling you that they are engaged in an Afghani civil war. So why do you intrude?
Al Qaeda have told you repeatedly if you leave the Middle East, then they have no quarrel with you.
Why can you Americans not accept or understand that so long as you do not invade, occupy or create military bases in foreign lands, no one, and no organization and no party and no country will see you as an enemy?
This is a moment for you Americans do finally break off from the Theodore Roosevelt Principle (TRP) which is to attack, ****, slaughter and occupy any country you think is ‘worth it’.
And, at the same time, it is also a moment in history, when you can fully embrace the Woodrow Wilson Principle (WWP) of a foreign policy that is based on morality.
What you have done and what you are doing in Haiti is a pure act of WWP.
I believe the entire Third World applauds you and loves you for what your men and women are doing for the innocent victims of Haiti.
But, then, when other men and women, scream and shriek, saying: “Look at what these Americans are doing! They ****, butcher and ****** Afghans in order to support corrupt, drug dealing gangsters such as Hamid Karzai who, themselves, cannot control and, in any case, are not interested in ‘controlling’ their own country! So what else can you think of America’s real intentions?”
And what a good emotion-fuelled question, indeed.
What are you Americans doing fighting, losing American and Afghani blood in order to basically prop up and support criminal regimes such as the Karzai regime, whose only raison d’etre is to make profits through their various ‘business’ activities?
The more you Americans fight what are perceived as unjust, colonialist wars, the more you will create terrorists. It is a never ending cycle!
I argue and I passionately believe, that you Americans can do this. If only you US statesmen and stateswomen finally decide to adopt the beautiful, clean mantle of morality in your foreign policy.
Obviously, I do not have enough space to express my ideas and reasons. So, let me be clear: I am not advocating a slavish enactment of Wilsonian principles.
For, as an example, when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the US had to make a military move, because no country can allow a sick dictator to control so much of the world’s oil. There are clear instances when aggression abroad can seriously threaten US interests. But, in truth, the vast majority of the wars you Americans entered, were unnecessary: you did not need to go beyond the Yalu in 1950 in Korea; you did not need to enter the North-South Vietnamese Civil War.
Take Kosovo: yes massacres were committed on all sides. But you did not need to bomb Serbia. First and foremost, that should and must have been a problem for European powers to solve. Secondly, Kosovo was never vital for US interests. And the fact is, Kosovo could never be a so-called ‘state’. Today, it is nothing more than a geographical area run by warlords, drug dealers and other gangsters who each carve out their own territory. Was that piece of gangster-run land worthy of killing Serbians? No!
Take North Korea: let Russian, South Korea and Japan deal with that abnormal so-called state. Why do you spend money on your troops and camps there? It is not in your interests and yes, North Korea does not threaten you Americans!
The same goes for Iraq in 2003 – you did not need to invade that country for the simple reason that Baghdad posed no threat to its neighbours, and certainly no threat to Europe or to the US.  Again, you should have let the Iraqis themselves solve whatever problems they have on their fragmented plate.
You must see and feel that US lives are not expendable for pointless and futile foreign adventures.
America should help those who have suffered environmental catastrophes and who are in a war-free zone.
America should help stable, developing nations where accountability starts from Washington and right back in – Washington.
And yes, of course, America should only use its military might if it is directly threatened by any person, nation or organization.
And to reduce this hatred that has spawned against you: I tell you, a voice from a wilderness, one mute krill from amongst billions yearning for exactly what I yearn for, I tell you: remove your military bases from Europe, Japan, South America, the Gulf, and anywhere else. These military bases are seen by people as ‘evidence’ of occupation. You do not need to keep these costly outposts. Remove them. Reduce your military presence that, in any way, has no effect, except to increase fanaticism and anger amongst your people. This is especially so in the Gulf, where your presence angers the people – leave those countries and yes, you will then reduce your costs, which is obviously beneficial to you Americans.
Instead of military compounds and bases, why not enthusiastically create consortiums of companies to build American schools, universities, hospitals, housing projects and get involved in building infrastructure projects in nations that have good accountability, so no money is wasted and so can never go, instead, straight to the pockets of the leaders.
Build the world; use your superpower might to create hope in broken nations, and that effort will, in turn, build love and you shall see, your enemies shall decrease and your military costs will decrease and your building projects will bring you greater revenues.
The choice is yours: follow a Wilsonian foreign policy or a Theodore Roosevelt foreign policy.
I hope the Haitian earthquake catastrophe has shed some light on which path US foreign policy should take.

Ayad Gharbawi
zebra Sep 2017
she was queen for a day
brought to you
by
the Red Cross
and
Freezone
to lift off
those painful foot corns
and lets not forget the good folks at
HEET
for those  aching back muscles
strong
yet doesn't burn
and comes with a handy dandy applicator

she could have anything she wanted
all she had to do
was ask for it on
TV
after becoming the winning contestant
for a life more tragic then all the others

the competition was stiff
who would break hearts the most
and get the biggest ovation
for all who came to see the suffering
and move the needle
on the
life ****-o-meter

which lady of endless sorrows
would be the gleeful queen
of white knuckle terrors
the winner
of the race to the bottom
circa 1958

and i was eleven years old

the winner was wrapped
by her very own glittery subjects
in a  plush royal queens cape
and placed upon her crown
a twinkling tiara
then enthroned
and bestowed a bouquet of flowers
from the magnificent
Carl's of Hollywood

she a mottled exhausted woman
withered by life's harrowing cruelties
hollowed by fear and heaping despair
flickered like staccato lighting
on black and white TV
for all of America to see

cause every
dinner cookin
vacuum cleanin
dish washin
bathroom scrubin
dirt sweepin
house wife goddess
of the vacuum cleaner and handy scrub
would flop herself on the couch
with a jin and tonic
put her feet up
hair in curlers
before dinner
and dishes
for the squabbling  brood
and her very own tyrannical
Ralph Cramden
huba huba hubby
king of her cracked castle
and
grab a pack of
Marlboro's.
Pall mall reds
Kent's
or
Chesterfield cigarettes
blow smoke
and watch
QUEEN FOR A DAY

today's
QUEEN FOR A DAY
Miss Clarice Williams
trembling almost to the point of tears
implored humbly for a gurney
so that her fifteen year old son
who was mentally slow and shot in the stomach
could be rolled outside on the porch
and feel the sunlight on his face
for the first time in years

they lavished her
with the Bomgardner Hydro-level cot
for the paralyzed
sure that it would do just the trick
plus
a miniature transistor ham radio
so you could even
hear what there sayin
all the way in Japan
plus
a Teltape tape recorder
and a brand new
automatic laundry machine and dryer
from the nice folks at Westinghouse

but thats not all

a star studded vacation
where the stars stay
at the deluxe knickerbocker hotel
where you can lounge at the pool
or your own royal suite
and have dinner
at the exotic
Polynesia Beach Combers
Wicki Wicki Room
all the way in the land
of the
hoochi coochi
Mokomboso Aug 2014
Dear Emma and the rest of the Sumatran orangutans of Chester zoo

To you, today was just routine. To you, in your bubble of a world, just another friendly face came to talk to you again. To me, this visit was bittersweet, in fact I would say 80% bitter. In seeing you, in meeting your gaze the guilt and shame ripped through me like like a tiger's claws. Ah yes, the tiger, 7 years have past since they had disappeared. People have all but forgotten already, there were plenty of tigers safely locked away right?
You probably don't know this and I doubt that you can read this, but I write this letter to you anyway, do what you want with the letter. Look at the photograph I have included of your Asian relatives that I took during my travels nearly 20 years ago. Or you could discard it, tear it, eat it I don't care as long as you receive this. For nearly 2 centuries your people have been captured and killed and we destroy everything you know. Our growing population pressurised us, we strove for urbanisation, painting a thin venire of chrome. Our colour of comfort, but we made it worse for ourselves as our most important livelihoods were replaced by dust villages and starvation. You were not immune to our pillage I'm afraid, from that first time Charles Darwin met Jenny our blessing became your curse. 3 weeks ago the last of your Asian brethren died. We saw your demise coming, some of us tried our hardest to halt or postpone it, setting up rescue stations and reserves. But the mindless machine wirred on, it wasn't until the last 90 miles of forest remained that the Indonesian bigwigs realised what they had done. In a blind panic they planted new tree seedlings, maybe somehow in the hopes that more bears, frogs, birds and orangutans would materialise from the roots? It was already too late but perseverance drove them to try everything. Everything. Nyaru Menteng offloaded their remaining 8 charges to Western facilities where artificial habitats had been created. The rest of them watched over and monitored the remaining native population, sending out vets and human doctors to keep them alive at all costs. I watched every second of it, followed the blogs and the news. It hurt so much I didn't think I could follow anymore, grief stricken with each "progression" but I was compelled to carry on. And finally, there was one.
A male, Gregory. He never grew his cheek flanges because he had no competition. No drive to find a mate. He knew as much as we did that he was alone. No one knew why they kept him there, all knowledge of reproductive biology was forgotten and replaced with superstitious magic. We kept him there, stayed by his side, fed him and doctored him until finally at the age of 39 he died of a heart attack. The news was like a punch in the guts for all of us. It was announced as breaking news all over the world, pongo pygmeus and pongo abeli officially extinct in the wild. A minority mentioned that many captive orangs still remained in zoos and sanctuaries and that we should not be so sad. But they were quickly shushed like an outspoken attendee of a funeral. Those remaining would not last forever either once inbreeding became too rife, plus, their artificial living arrangements meant these fat, shut in orangutans would live a second rate life, plagued by the same mental ailments that the rest of us urbanites suffer. They would never know the joy, fulfilment, danger, even, of the wild. And these zoo populations were like ghosts or holograms of what used to remain. 
I was afraid for the last 3 months to visit you again, incase you knew and you would turn your head away from me in disapproval. Your disgusted expression would render me speechless. But logic told me this would not happen and I had finally plucked up the courage to see you again. As always you brachiated towards the window and pressed your face against it while I talked to you and pretended to stroke your hair. You were oblivious and ignorant, I envied you. I cried and you wondered why, other humans understood and some looked forlorn themselves. I could see you and your granddaughter looking in concern at our apparent sadness. I tried to look brave for you, I played with your granddaughter as normal. 
Though I had no direct influence over your demise I feel just as remorseful as the loggers did, I was careless in my choices. Living such a sheltered city life and not realising until my second decade the true dangers facing you. I chose too late to be mindful of my grocery shopping, avoided palm oil, never watched films with trained animals in. My few actions made no difference, until very recent years I was still the minority. Don't mistake me for someone self pitying, I don't want you to think I was thinking only of my own feelings and being a martyr. If anything self loathing, I've always been a misanthropist but as of late I've abandoned my species altogether. Apart from my immediate family of course. You were not the only ones that went, Asian elephants too disappeared around the same time. Mackaws of South America have almost completely been depleted. The once hopeful 200,000 chimpanzees whittled down to the last 5000. Bonobos gone already from the wild since the last 100 were taken to sanctuaries and zoos to "rebuild the population" but there were very little captive bonobos to begin in. Gorillas: 1000 (only mountain gorillas are left, ironic isn't it? We focused so much on that one race we neglected the rest). African elephants: 4. Giraffes: 100. The list goes on. And we too, **** sapiens, the most numerous of large mammals are feeling the pinch. It started with Japan over 20 years ago, people retreated more and more into the office, no longer caring to build families and the population declined. The rest followed suite, bursting at the seems we could no longer steal more land for ourselves, more destruction meant less air to breath, less food. People have started to fight their reproductive urges, like the Japanese, retreating into a single life in a cubicle. Sitting by the screen. We are committing a species wide, slow suicide. I consider this a blessing, the rest of nature can finally get even. Some are scared and upset, others relieved. The divide is equal.
I have come to visit you every 3 weeks since I was 21, I am 40 now and in that seemingly short space of time I have seen the world change dramatically while you sit and climb and think your own isolated thoughts in your little bubble. 
Please accept my sincerest apologies. No matter if you read this or not. I am so so so sorry. On behalf of myself, on behalf of my species. Please forgive us.
Yours Sincerely,
Sophie
You know how I said I wasn't doing any more primate ones? I lied.
Not a poem but... this a hypothetical future (19 years from now) and the orangutans have become extinct in the wild.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2013
I sew therefore I am. This is what women do she thought, even with the television on, muttering and flickering in the corner. But its turning on was but a reflex action to being alone when she came down stairs after reading to her child, and the sitting room empty of his presence. Only the cats occupied her chair where she now sat and sewed.

For once her sewing pile had his nightshirt, a tear at the bottom, a missing button. It was old, well-worn, of a light blue stripe. That was what he wore in bed, and, as he invariably read to her each night, she would slip her hand inside the shirt, across his stomach to a place she had discovered at the top of his pelvis that seemed to be there for her hand to rest. One night she had felt the tear and thought, I must mend this.

She knew something of the feminist canon: Rozsika Parker's Subversive Stitch lay browsed but unread on her bookshelf. The impact of the book was enough: that the relationship between women’s lives and embroidery had brought sewing out from the private world of female domesticity into the fine arts and created a breakthrough in art history and criticism. She remembered writing that somewhere in a student essay. But mending clothes was hardly fine art. And then she remembered Sashiko, the ‘little stabs’, that functional stitching of clothes in Japan.

They had met at the station for a 30-mile train journey to a nearby city. It was a blue-cold December day and they had felt warmed by seeing from the train window a covering of snow on the ploughed fields. She had worn her grey coat with the green lining and an indigo blue-pattern scarf, a swinging denim skirt and orange-patterned top. Tights and boots. He: she had forgotten. Funny that, remembering what she had worn, but for the man she was beginning to feel so hopelessly in love with, and by the end of that day, hold in her heart, seemingly, for evermore, she could not remember. His old brown jacket perhaps . . . No, she couldn’t be certain.

He had loved the exhibition. It was an unencountered world, though he had experienced Japan, but not, as he said (at length), the rural fastness of an offshore island where women were loggers and men were firemen. It was the simplicity of the stitch that captured his attention, the running white-cotton stitch on the blue indigo workware, occasionally a red thread on a decorative piece – a fireman’s tunic. This was stitching about mending, reinforcing a worn area by stitching on a new patch, and in doing so novel patterns evolved, so novel that this traditional stitch became an inspiration for Reiko Sudo, Hideko Takahshi, and the cutting edge textile designers of 20C Japan. It was reuse that made sense.

He had loved the names of the stitches: passes in the mountain, fishing nets, the interlaced circles of two birds in flight, woven bamboo, the seven treasures of Buddha.  She remembered the proximity of him, touching his arm to show, and sometimes just to touch his arm – yes, he was wearing that old brown coat. It was before they were lovers, but she was sure then they were in love, and it seemed impossible and quite wrong to be in this large gallery, flowing too and fro, apart then together, apart then together. She thought: he knows how I want to be when looking at such things; I need space. And she supposed he needed space too because the moment they entered the gallery he left her alone. But that coming together was, and remained ever after, a warm thing, and she remembered that day being a little aroused by it being so.

Later, they had walked a short way from the gallery to a tiny cottage-like bookshop he knew, a bookshop full of impossibly large books on art and architecture. He had something to find: The Crystal Chain Letters – architectural fantasies Bruno Taut and his circle by Ian Boyd Whyte. There had been her favourite  Mark Hearld cards and his collaged pictures in the window. She went upstairs and knelt on the wooden floor to take out the books on gardens on the lowest shelves. The winter sun had poured through a nearby window, warming her face till it glowed. But she was already glowing inside. And he came and knelt behind her. He rested his head on her shoulder and she had turned and put her arms around him. They had kissed, a delicate, exploratory, yet to be lovers kiss that had made her feel weaker than she already felt. She knew she would remember that moment, and she had, here on her chair years later, now in a different sitting room from the one she had returned to that evening without him, returning to her husband and children. And she had missed him beyond any measure and written to him the next day, a letter written in her head before she had slept, and then the following morning, with the children at school, she had lain on her bed and calmly touched herself to remember his kiss, their kiss.
Keith J Collard Apr 2013
In Japan, there was an ice cold assassin, that rose through the ranks of the Lin Kuei Clan.   Mid snow flurry, he could avoid every flake, and seize the brittle crystal without breaking it.  He could walk on snow without sinking in, japan's cold winter, is when he was unopposed and most ruthless--slaying debtee and their family.  His ice cold ego, came into contact with a shaolin warrior, who was trained to feel the cold, and never run away from it, nor get used to it, but feel the chill everytime without hardening his self.  Sub-Zero was defeated but not killed, and scorned to the Gods during a snowstorm, " I am the better, and was defeated by a lessor, I appeal to the powerful, give me the power of ice, so that no one shall adapt to my soul's chill, give me the power and my clan shall be in service to you."

Then a snow crystal fell, bigger than most, and he clutched it, and looked in his palm, the crystal was in the form of a pentagram.  The wind whispered, " The most cold and still realm of hell will be in your veins, if you partaketh of this crystal."  And the power of ice, that no man could withstand was at his disposal, and he was locked in a contract, that was unbreakable.

He rose to leader of the clan, and changed the color of the assasin uniform to the color of the cold region of hell, and he could not find the shaolin warrior who defeated him, and so slayed his mentor.
One hot day, his soldiers came back defeated, by a pearl diver, who refused to pay tribute to their mafia.  Sub-zero impaled the clan's soldiers who had their uniform in tatters--by raising jagged ice spears from hell.  The ice never thawed, and the men never fully died, but looked up at the high cieling from their bespearment to a mosaic of an icy and lonely realm-- a message to anyone who fails the clan--that you shall be pierced and preserved.  Sub-zero took the rest to pay a visit to the pearl diver who had stained the Clan's uniform with the blood color of disgrace.

The pearl diver, was in the bay diving down to the bottom for pearls.  He felt the water suddenly get cold, and swam upward to the surface, where he came in contact with the surface of the water, frozen over, and he saw the boots walking over the ice.  They were holding heads that leaked onto the clear ice underfoot and as the pearl diver struggled for air underneath, he saw the heads of his family dropped onto the ice.
Then Sub-zero kneeled down, holding his wife's head to the drowning pearl diver, and placed it on the ice, so he shall see the horrid picture as he drowned underneath.  The Clan took leave, from the bay.

The pearl diver did not fear death, but went mad, as he sank downward into oblivion, staring upward, rage took over his once good heart, and he turned away to look into the depths, shouting " Let me born again, so I shall live a life of fire, so that anyone who dares come close, shall be scolded, GOD OF REVENGE, LET ME BE BORN AGAIN."
The pearl diver breathed in the water unblinking, and his heart stopped, but still he lived as he sank reaching the bottom and there was a scorpion at his feet, and the depths spoke, " Let this scorpion sting both your eyes, and command the fire of hell, and be born again, to melt the ice."
He took the scorpion--who glowed hot in the dark depths-- and stung his eyes, his pupils went from his eyes, leaving milk swirls as his ovals of revenge.  " Now let it snip your lips and chin, so that you may breath the painfull sting of fire upon your enemies without singing your own flesh."

The scorpion greedily ate his lips, tongue and chin, giving him a mouth guard of skull.  " Now you are born again Scorpion, arise, and REVENGE."

Scorpion, screamed, no longer a human voice, but demonic, and grabbed the chain from his boat anchor, and climbed. Upon reaching the ice barrier, he touched his hands to it, and burned a hole and emerged forth.  He pulled up the chain with ease into the air from the depths, the metal barb on the end that served as an anchor, was now for impaling hearts and not the sea bottom.  He snapped his arm and the chain coiled around his arm, ready to sail out to impale and bring his enemies up to his eyes, so they can feel the painfull sting of fire up close, and see Scorpions eyes.
He walked to shore, his feet singing and melting Sub-zero's ice as he walked.
His walk was illusive, as a flickering flame, Scorpion could not be percieved directly without mesmerizing, as a fire in total darkness.

He reached shore, and found a Clan member, he harpooned him with his chain and barb, and brought him close to his face with his chained anchor, and melted the henchman's face with his hot breath.
He stripped him naked with his curved pearl knife, and donned the uniform of the Lin Kuei, ice blue, then the uniform turned yellow from his hot blood underneath, turning the uniform yellow as if it was boiled alive in a ***.  Scorpions' veins serpentined on his forearms, his muscles always a'sweat and full of blood .  The color of his revenge was yellow, mocking the blue Lin Kuei's uniform with the color of cowardice.

He tracked down Sub-Zero to his Clan hall that resembled the cold layer of hell with victims adorning his walls and floors that were pierced by ice sculpture and still a 'quarter alive staring at the cieling.  Sub-Zero felt the slight thaw of his ice, and knew the presence of Scorpion.  

Scorpion flickered from the torches that bedecked the walls, and burnt the guards throats with his hands so they crawled around uselessly.  When a clan member espied the demonic ninja, Scorpion was behind him, breathing on his neck, and the guard fell to the ground in three pieces.

Sub-Zero's throne room, had no torch, no fire, and Scorpion could only enter without his flame illusion through the front tall doors.  
" You have fought your way into my layer, just to realize it is a glacial tomb assassin," saithe Sub-Zero.

" Scorpions demonic voice echoed to him, " YOU HAVE MURDERED DOWN THE PATH OF LIFE, BUT THE PATH WAS THE THROAT OF A DRAGON, AND I AM ITS BELLY, YOUR TOMB OF STINGING ACID."

Scorpion took Sub-Zero's eye from him with his harpoon chain, and beat him mercilessly with kick and punch.  Sub-Zero's summoned ice but it only melted near Scorpions hatred.  But the water from the melt, slowed Scorpion--so it was hand to hand by their opposite powers, negating their satanicly endowed powers.  

But Sub-Zero was the creator of Scorpion, and so had the advantage.  Being beaten, and his face smashed, his nose flattened to his face, exposed rib slats, and his testicles smashed, Sub-Zero feigned mortal injury and non-defence as Scorpion walked up with his milky eyes to do his finishing move.

Sub-Zero's forearm protruded in injury from Scorpions kick before, and formed a sharp dagger, and this dagger sunk in Scorpions brain from beneath his chin.  Sub-Zero won with the treachery he knew best.  But Scorpion's body turned to hell's flames, and melted the layer completely drowning the wounded Sub-Zero, killing him, as Scorpion himself died the second death being extinguished in cold water of the clan layer.



They were sent back to hell, and forced to stand side by side of eachother, as Satan's servants of fire and ice--still donned in the Lin Kuei assassin robe,belt, and face-guard.
All of the magmatic, scolding statalactites dripped behind Scorpion who stood before the entrance to the fiery region of hell.  He stared forward with his scolding white phosphorus eyes.

Behind Sub-Zero, was the still and frozen layer.  He stood next to Scorpion, to the entrance of his own realm, with pupils bordered by ice frozen rivulets.  The proximity to eachother was their hell, and Satan was their master.  Scorpions pyscho hatred heat always attacking Sub-Zero's callous cruel cold, and vice versa, so as they never became adapted to the terms of hell and eternity.
Keith J Collard Aug 2012
Her snowcap dress disappears,
as forest on compass interferes.
She can not be azimuth for escape,
why some left trail of yellow tape.
bowing usher points on with blighted limb,
retching out its own hemlock gin.
path in is beaten, with log and stone,
crevices drown a webbed saliva moan.
path out is unbeaten and hard to find,
from death's brambles on the mind.

All trees seem to want to die,
no effort to brush off strangling vine.
where you think they have broke loose,
swaying ropes that once had noose.

And where there is light, is mossy glen,
just enough, for one last note to pen.
dolls, cloths, skulls make up forest litter,
shoes, bottles, and smiling family picture.

With the only surviving sounds so faint and sickly,
Scraping nylon tent--a starving man on day sixty.
The songbirds break the silence,
A cruel happy tune,
They see dark doom in ultraviolet,
the panicked slit wrists and  poison diet,
create failed trails ,
that don't escape and help to hide it.


"The wood line, I made it out"--the cruelest thought,
Mount Fuji's white dress through the trees up top ,
They see themselves smiling,
It is, and it is not,
a happy photo,
identifying their skulls stained green by moss.
Rob Urban Jun 2012
Lost in the dim
streets of the
Marunouchi district
I describe
this wounded city in an
  unending internal
monologue as I follow
the signs to Tokyo Station and
descend into the
underground passages
  of the metro,
seeking life and anything bright
in this half-lit, humid midnight.

I find the train finally
to Shibuya, the Piccadilly
and Times Square of Japan,
and even there the lights
are dimmer and the neon
  that does remain
  is all the more garish by
contrast.
I cross the street
near a sign that says
  "Baby Dolls" in English
over a business that turns
out to be a pet
  shop, of all things.

Like
the Japanese, I sometimes feel I live
in reduced circumstances, forced to proceed with caution:
A poorly chosen
adjective, a
mangled metaphor
could so easily trigger the
tsunami that
    sweeps away the containment
             facilities that
                   protect us
                        from ourselves
                                                            and others.
  
The next night at dinner, the sweltering room
     suddenly rocks and
        conversation stops
                  as the building sways and the
candles flicker.

'Felt like a 4, maybe a 5,'
says one of my tablemates,
a friend from years ago
in the States.

'At least a five-and-a-half,'
says another, gesturing
at the still-moving shadows
on the wall. And I think
     of other sweaty, dimly lit rooms,
      bodies in slow, restrained motion,       all
          in a moment that falls
                         between
                                     tremors.

         Then the swaying stops and we return
to our dinner. The shock, or aftershock,
isn't mentioned again,
though we do return, repeatedly, to the
big one,
         and the tidal wave that
                           swept so much away.

En route to the monsoon
I go east to come west,
   clouds gathering slowly
     in the vicinity of my chest.

Next day in Shanghai, the sun's glare reflects
  off skyscrapers,
and the streets teem
with determined shoppers
and sightseers
wielding credit cards and iPhone cameras, clad
in T-shirts with English words and phrases.
I fall
          in step
             beside a young woman on
                 the outdoor escalator whose
shirt, white on black,
reads, 'I am very, very happy.' I smile
and then notice, coming
down the other side,
another woman
wearing
        exactly the same
       message, only
                        in neon pink. So many
                                  very,
                                          very
                                                 happy people!
Yet the ATMs sometimes dispense
counterfeit 100 yuan notes and
elsewhere in the realm
      police fire on
      protestors seeking
                more than consumer goods,
while officials fret
about American credit
and the security of their investments, and
     the government executes mayors for taking
                       bribes from real estate developers.
    
    A drizzle greets me in Hong Kong,
a tablecloth of fog draped over the peaks
   that turns into a rain shower.
I find my way to work after many twists and turns
through shopping malls and building lobbies and endless
turning halls of luxury retail.
               At dinner I have a century egg and think
of Chinese mothers
urging their children,
'Eat! Eat your green, gooey treat.
On the street afterwards, a
near-naked girl grabs my arm,
pulls me toward a doorway marked by a 'Live Girls’
sign. 'No kidding,’ I think as I pull myself carefully
free, and cross the street.

On the flight to Bombay, I doze
   under a sweaty airline blanket, and
       dream that I am already there and the rains
         have come in earnest as I sit with the presumably
           semi-fictional Didier of Shantaram in the real but as-yet-unseen
            Leopold's Café, drinking Kingfishers,
              and he is telling me,  confidentially,
                     exactly where to find what I’ve lost as I wake
with the screech and grip of wheels on runway.
            

     Next day on the street outside the real Leopold's,
bullet holes preserved in the walls from the last terrorist attack,
I am trailed through the Colaba district
by a mother and children,  'Please sir, buy us milk, sir, buy us some rice,
I will show you the store.'
    A man approaches, offering a drum,
                        another a large balloon (What would I do with that?)
A shoeshine guy offers
                                           to shine my sneakers, then shares
the story of his arrival and struggle in Bombay.
     And I buy
             the milk and the rice and some
                      small cakes and in a second
                          the crowd of children swells
                               into the street
               and I sense
                     the danger of the crazy traffic to the crowd
                         that I have created, and I
think, what do I do?
           I flee, get into a taxi and head
                             to the Gateway of India, feeling
                                                                                  that I have failed a test.

                                       My last night in Mumbai, the rains come, flooding
     streets and drenching pavement dwellers and washing
the humid filth from the air. When it ends
           after two hours, the air is cool and fresh
                                  and I take a stroll at midnight
          in the street outside my hotel and enter the slum
   from which each morning I have watched
the residents emerge,  perfectly coiffed. I buy
some trinkets at a tiny stand and talk briefly
      with a boy who approaches, curious about a foreigner out for a walk.

A couple of days after that, in
the foothills of the Himalayas,  monks' robes flutter
on a clothesline like scarlet prayer flags behind the
Dalai Lama's temple.
I trek to 11,000 feet along a
narrow rocky path through thick
monsoon mist,
   stopping every 10 steps
to
   catch
        my  breath,
              testing each rock before placing my weight.
Sometimes
    the surface is slick and I nearly fall,
sometimes
    the stones
        themselves shift. I learn slowly, like some
             newborn foal, or just another
                clumsy city boy,
                   that in certain terrains the
       smallest misstep
                            can end with a slide
                                             into the abyss.
                  At the peak there's a chai shop that sells drinks and cigarettes
                                of all things and I order a coffee and noodles for lunch.
While I eat,
      perched on a rock in a silence that is both ex- and
      in-ternal,
the clouds in front of me slowly part to reveal
a glacier that takes up three-quarters of the sky, craggy and white and
beautiful. I snap a few shots,
quickly,
before the cloud curtain closes
again,
obscuring the mountain.
                                                
                                     --Rob Urban: Tokyo, Shanghai, Mumbai, Delhi, Dharamshala
                                        7/13/11-7/30/11
Dorothy A Jul 2010
It was the summer of 1954. David Ito was from the only Japanese family we had in our town. I was glad he was my best friend. Actually, he was my only friend. His father moved his family to our small town of Prichard, Illinois when David was only eight years old. That was three years ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a while, we didn’t talk. We just sat there and let the warm, summer breeze do our talking for us. I pulle
copywrited 2010
Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
Ah the persimmon, a word from an extinct language of the Powatan people of the tidewater Virginia, spoken until the mid 18th C when its Blackfoot Indian speakers switched to English. It was putchamin, pasiminan, or pessamin, then persimmon, a fruit. Like the tomato, it is a ‘true berry’.
 
Here in this postcard we have a painting of four kaki: the Japanese persimmon. Of these four fruit, one is nearly ripe; three are yet to ripen. They have been picked three days and shelter under crinkled leaves, still stalked. Now, the surface on which these astringent, tangy fruit rest, isn’t it wondrous in its blue and mottled green? It is veined, a ceramic surface perhaps? The blue-green mottled, veined surface catches reflected light; the shadows are delicate but intense.
 
You told me that it troubled you to read my stories because so often they stepped between reality and fantasy, truth and playful invention. When you said this I meant to say (but we changed the subject): I write this way to confront what I know to be true but cannot present verbatim. I have to make into a fiction my remembered observations, those intense emotions of the moment. They are too precious not to save, and like the persimmon benefit from laying out in the sun to dry: to be eaten raw; digested to rightly control my ch’i, and perhaps your ch’i too.
 
So today a story about four kaki, heart-shaped hachiya, and hidden therein those most private feelings, messages of love and passion, what can be seen, what is unseen, thoughts and un-thoughts, mysteries and evasions.
 
                                                                            ----
 
 
Professor Minoru retired last year and now visits his university for the occasional show of his former colleagues and their occasionally-talented students. He spends his days in his suburban house with its tiny non-descript garden: a dog run, a yard no less. No precious garden. It is also somewhere (to his neighbours’ disgust) to hang wet clothes. It is just grass surrounded by a high fence. He walks there briefly in the early morning before making tea and climbing the stairs to his studio.
 
The studio runs the whole length of his house. When his wife Kinako left him he obliterated any presence of her, left his downtown studio, and converted three rooms upstairs into one big space. This is where Mosuku, his beautiful Akita, sleeps, coming downstairs only to eat and defecate in the small garden. Minoru and Mosuku go out twice each day: to midday Mass at the university chaplaincy; to the park in the early evening to meet his few friends walking their dogs. Otherwise he is solitary except for three former students who call ‘to keep an eye on the old man’.
 
He works every day. He has always done this, every day. Even in the busiest times of the academic year, he rose at 5.0am to draw, a new sheet of mitsumatagami placed the night before on his worktable ready. Ready for the first mark.
 
Imagine. He has climbed the stairs, tea in his left hand, sits immediately in front of this ivory-coloured paper, places the steaming cup to his far left, takes a charcoal stick, and  . . . the first mark, the mark from the world of dreams, memories, regrets, anxieties, whatever the night has stored in his right hand appears, progresses, forms an image, a sketch, as minutes pass his movement is always persistence, no reflection or studied consideration, his sketch is purposeful and wholly his own. He has long since learnt to empty his hand of artifice, of all memory.
 
When Kinako left he destroyed every trace of her, and of his past too. So powerful was his intent to forget, he found he had to ask the way to Shinjuko station, to his studio in the university. He called in a cleaning company to remove everything not in two boxes in the kitchen (of new clothes, his essential documents, 5 books, a plant, Mosuko’s feeding bowl). They were told (and paid handsomely) to clean with vigour. Then the builders and decorators moved in. He changed his phone number and let it be known (to his dog walker friends) that he had decided from now on to use an old family name, Sawato. He would be Sawato. And he was.
 
His wife, and she was still that legally, had found a lover. Kinako was a student of Professor Minoru, nearly thirty years younger, and a fragile beauty. She adored ‘her professor’, ‘her distinguished husband’, but one day at an opening (at Kinosho Kikaku – Gallery 156) she met an American artist, Fern Sophie Citron, and that, as they say in Japan, was that. She went back to Fern’s studio, where this rather plump middle-aged woman took photographs of Kinako relentlessly in costume after costume, and then without any costume, on the floor, in the bath, against a wall, never her whole body, and always in complete silence. Two days later she sent a friend to collect her belongings and to deliver a postcard to her husband. It was his painting of four persimmon. Persimmon (1985) 54 by 36 cm, mineral pigment on paper.
 
‘Hiroshi’, she wrote in red biro, ‘I am someone else now it is best you do not know. Please forgive’.
 
Sawato’s bedroom is on the ground floor now. There is a mat that is rolled away each morning. On the floor there are five books leaning against each other in a table-top self-standing shelf. The Rule of St Benedict (in Latin), The I-Ching (in Chinese), The Odes of Confucius, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (10th C folk tale) and a manual of Go, the Shogi Zushiki. Placed on a low table there is a laptop computer connected to the Internet, and beside the computer his father’s Go board (of dark persimmon wood), its counters pebbles from the beach below his family’s home. Each game played on the Internet he transcribes to his physical board.
 
He ascribes his mental agility, his calm and perseverance in his studio practice, to his nightly games of Go in hyperspace. He is an acknowledged master. His games studied assiduously, worldwide.
 
For 8 months in 1989 he studied the persimmon as still-life. He had colleagues send him examples of the fruit from distant lands. The American Persimmon from Virginia, the Black Persimmon or Black Sapote from Mexico (its fruit has green skin and white flesh, which turns black when ripe), the Mabolo or Velvet-apple native to Philippines - a bright red fruit when ripe, sometimes known as the Korean Mango, and more and more. His studio looked like a vegetable store, persimmons everywhere. He studied the way the colours of their skins changed every day. He experimented with different surfaces on which to place these tannin-rich fruits. He loved to touch their skins, and at night he would touch Kinako, his fingers rich from the embrace of fifty persimmon fruits, and she . . . she had never known such gentleness, such strength, such desire. It was as though he painted her with his body, his long fingers tracing the shape of the fruit, his tongue exploring each crevice of her long, slim, fruit-rich body. She had never been loved so passionately, so completely. At her desk in the University library special collection, where she worked as a researcher for a fine art academic journal, she would dream of the night past and anticipate the night to come, when, always on her pillow a different persimmon, she would fall to ****** and beyond.
 
Minoru drew and painted, printed and photographed more persimmons than he could keep track of. After six months he picked seven paintings, and a collection of 12 drawings. The rest he burnt. When he exhibited these treasures, Persimmon (1989) Mineral pigment on paper 54, by 36 cm was immediately acquired by Tokyo National Museum. It became a favourite reproduction, a national treasure. He kept seeing it on the walls of houses in magazines, cheap reproductions in department stores, even on a TV commercial. Eventually he dismissed it, totally, from his ever-observant, ever-scanning eyes. So when Kinako sent him the postcard he looked at it with wonder and later wrote this poem in his flowing hand using the waka style:
 
 
*Ah, the persimmon
Lotus fruit of the Gods
 
Heartwood of a weaver’s shuttle,
The archer’s bow, the timpanist sticks,
 
I take a knife to your ripe skin.
Reveal or not the severity of my winter years.
This is the story of a world at war
From ‘39 to ‘45
The second world storm

It all occurred with Germany
Japan was there, the world was scared
To storm the beach of Normandy

Power struggle with no regrets
Imperialist japan with minor fits
Lashing out to focus on three
“America, China, and the Soviet please”

This led to begin in a new world war
With 2K killed at pearl harbor
The holocaust powered even more
To be ****** to death, until  ‘44

June 9th, and yards to go
200 stretched from land to coast
10,000 men that made the march
Across the beach, into the marsh

A revenge that tastes so bitter and sweet
For the surprise attack, on the pearl harbor fleet
The event that took our country to war
It paid with bloodshed, 10,000 hearts torn

And when D-day ceased, and the smoke parted clear
We dropped upon 2 cities
Our own 2 tears
That revenged the fallen
And vanquished the feared

The axis fleet, now defeated and gone
They dispersed their union
For ****** was wrong

And what of Japan?
Well they restored their towns
From their cities destructed…
A full 2 miles around

And to this very day
We weep for the wept
That adopted our tears
And ended up dead

296 billion in debts
At least in today’s dollars and cents
For a country whose heart
Was torn to bits

60 million…
If that’s what it takes…
To conquer the axis…
Their lives, they gave…
...And the war, they won…
...And won from their grave…

And on opposing sides?
To win or to die
Japan, Germany, and Italy reside
With 16 million casualties

They pounded on Poland
The sacked the Soviet
They fought the French
And got all the way to Greece even

They never left the Netherlands
They were the bane of Belgium
They never gave up Norway
Or the liquidation of Luxemburg’s location

They caused a sort of havoc
Everywhere they went
They threatened the world
With everything they sent

They tried to take the Jewish and the handicapped
To hell
And ended up bringing on themselves
A hellish, brutish, world

This is the story of a world at war
From ‘39 to ‘45
The second world storm
This is about world war 2, if you like this, then you can check out my Salem witch trials poem, both are historically accurate
RAJ NANDY Jul 2015
INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST WORLD WAR
            BY RAJ NANDY: PART ONE

                   INTRODUCTION
  “What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?
         Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
        Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
    Can patter out their hasty orisons.”
      -by Wilfred Owen, British Army Lt. killed in
        action in France on 04th Nov 1918.

The Socialists called it the ‘Imperialist’s War’,
and it was the ‘Trench War’ for the soldiers;
But Europe hailed it as ‘The War to End All Wars’,                
Expecting it to end prior to 1914’s Christmas!
But alas, it soon became a mighty global war
fueled by national and ethnic aspirations and
territorial lust!
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir
to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, -
On the 28thof June 1914 at Sarajevo, was the
spark which triggered off this great catastrophe!
During 1876 when German Chancellor Bismarck
was asked about chances of an European War at
a future date;
He felt that Europe was like a big store house of
gunpowder keg!
While pointing to the volatile BALKANS he had said,
That European leaders were smoking in an arsenal,
where a small spark could cause a mighty explosion!
And 38 years later the world had witnessed,
Bismarck’s unfortunate prediction!
This war ended on 11th of November 1918, after a
four and half year’s long duration;
With 16.5 million military and civilian deaths, and
many more wounded and missing in action!
For the War had spread beyond the traditional
killing fields,
Killing many innocent civilians following the
bombing raids by German Zeppelins!
Now, before proceeding further some background
information here becomes necessary,
To understand the socio-political events leading
to the unfolding of this Great War Story!

         PRELUDE TO THE GREAT WAR
The Nationalistic fervor aroused by Napoleon,
And the February Revolution of 1848 in France,
Inspired Europe’s inhabitants to preserve their
ethnic and racial identities, without leaving
things to chance!
The Italian and German unification, and the
Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian polarization,
Aroused the expectations of the Slavic people,
Who remained spread all over Central and
Eastern Europe!
The various ethnic groups forming the Slavic race,
Always dreamt of an independent Balkan State!

         CAUSES FOR ‘THE GREAT WAR’
Imperialism, Nationalism, Militarization, Alliances,
and finally the assassination of the Archduke
Ferdinand,
Are the five main causes for this war, which is
generally mentioned by our Historians!
However, I shall now try to acquaint you briefly,  
With some relevant events from our recorded
History.

BRITISH IMPERIALISM:
Towards the turn of the 20th century Britain was
the dominant global imperial power;
And since the mid-19th Century it was seen that
the sun never set over the British Empire!
The British had a vast mercantile and a naval fleet,
To trade with, and administer their far flung colonies.
At the turn of the 20th Century the British Navy was
changing over from steam to oil power like other
big nations;
So the oil fields of the Middle East was important
for British militarization.
Also passage through the Suez Canal was vital for
maintaining their colonial possessions!
These facts will get linked up in Part Two of my
later composition!

GERMAN NATIONALISM:
The nationalistic fervor aroused in Germany
since Chancellor Bismarck’s days,
Made the Germans try to outstrip the British
in many ways!
This fervor was reflected in Goethe’s poetry and
through Richard Wagner’s musical notes;
Between 1898 and 1912 five Naval Laws were
passed in the German Reichstag, by majority
votes,
For building battleships, cruisers, and 96 torpedo
boats;
Which later became a scourge for Allied and
British shipping, known as the U-Boats!
The German nationalism and militarization went
hand in hand during those days,
While her industrialization also progressed at a
rapid pace.
Kaiser Wilhelm II had sought “a place in the sun”
by trying to outstrip the British in the arms race!
Statistic show more number of German scientists
had received the Noble Prize for their inventions,
Between this period and World War- II, when
compared with the combined winners of other
Western nations!

AUSTRIA-HUNGARIAN MONARCHY:
In 1867 by a comprising agreement between
Vienna and Budapest the capital cities,
The Austro-Hungarian kingdom became a Dual
Monarchy!
Many ethnic groups had composed this Monarchy
in those early days as we see;
With Germans, Hungarians, Romanians, and Slavic
people like the Czechs, Poles, Croats, Slovaks,
Serbs, and the Slovenes!
While the Austrian Officers of this Monarchy spoke
German, the majority of the soldiers were Hungarians,
Czechs, Slovaks, who never spoke German!
So the soldiers were taught 68 single-words of
German commands,
For the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Army to function
collectively as one!
While Francis Joseph their sovereign and emperor,
aspired to become a strong centralized European
power.
But out of the 50 million people of this Monarchy
around 23 million were Slavs,
Who always dreamed of an independent Slavic
Kingdom in the Balkans!

THE BALKANS & THE KINGDOM OF SERBIA
After the Iberian and the Italian peninsulas of
Europe, the BALKAN peninsular is seen to be
lying in Europe’s extreme south east, -
South of the Danube and Sava River, bounded
in the west by the Adriatic and Ionian Sea.
In the east is the Aegean and Black Sea,
With the Mediterranean Sea in the south, -
washing the tip formed by Greece with its many
islands around!
Now much of the Balkan areas were under the
Ottoman Empire since early 14th Century;
And here I cut across many centuries of past
European History!
Following a series of revolutions since 1804
against the Turks,
The Principality of Serbia was carved out in the
area of the Balkans!
A new constitution in 1869 defined it as an
independent State of Serbia;
Was internationally recognized at the Treaty
of Berlin in 1878, to later become the Kingdom
of Serbia!
This kingdom was located south adjoining the
Monarchy of Austro-Hungarians, much to their
annoyance those days,
Since the Kingdom of Serbia was looked upon
as a ‘beacon of liberty’ by the Southern Slavic
race!

THE BOSNIAN CRISIS (1908-1909)  
This dual provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina
in the Balkans,
Were formally under the control of the
Ottoman Sultan.
With permission of the Congress of Berlin in
1878, it was administered by Austria-Hungary;
Though the legal rights remained with Turkey!
But the Slavic population present there had
Nationalistic ambitions,
Aspired to join the Slavs in nearby Kingdom of
Serbia, to form a pan-Slavic nation!
The Slavic population in Austria-Hungary, also
entertained such dreams wistfully!
Now in 1908 a ‘Young Turk Movement’ based
at Macedonia,
Had planned to replace the absolute Turkish
rule in Bosnia!
And by modernizing the Constitution hoped
to rejuvenate the sick Ottoman Empire.
These developments set alarm bells ringing
in Austrian capital Vienna!
So on the 6th of October 1908 they quickly
annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina!
After having lost a war with Japan, and following
an internal Revolution of 1905 the Russians,
Prevented an escalation by staying out of the
Bosnian Crisis!
But the annexation of Bosnia had angered the
Serbs greatly,
So they started to train secret terrorist groups to
liberate Bosnia from Austria-Hungary!
These terrorist groups operated in small cells,
Under the leadership of Col. Dimitrijevic, also
known as the ‘Apis’ those days.
Now, a secret cell called the ‘Black Hand’ operated
in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo with Gavrilo
Princep as one of its members;
Who was trained and equipped in Serbia along
with other ‘Black Hand’ members.
The Austro-Hungarian Monarchy had remained
distressed about these subversive activities by
the Slavic race!
So in Jan 1909 they obtained the unconditional
support from Germany, in the event of a war
with Serbia even if Austria was the aggressor!
And also secretly hoped in a war to annex
Serbian territory!
For in the two Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913,
Serbia had greatly extended its territory to
become a powerful adversary!
Serbia had also obtained an assurance from
its protector Russia, should a war break out with
Austria!
Now, as tension mounted upsetting the delicate
balance of power in the Balkans gradually,
Archduke Franz Ferdinand with his wife Sophie,
planned to visit Sarajevo from Austria-Hungary!
It was a God sent moment for the secret
organization the ‘Black Hand’,
To plan the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand!

THE ASSASSINATION: SARAJEVO 28TH JUNE 1914
Now when I look back in time I pause to wonder,
How such an amateurish assassination plot could
have ever succeeded,
Without the cruel hands of destiny and fate!
The 28th of June was a bright summer’s St. Vitus
Day and a holiday in Serbia;
And also the 14th marriage anniversary of Franz
Fernandez and his wife Sophia!
Several assassins were positioned along the route,
Which was to be taken by the Archduke!
While the motorcade proceeded to the Town Hall
a bomb was thrown,
Which bounced off the rear of Archduke’s car,
Injuring few bystanders and a passenger in the
rear car!
The Archduke however refused to cancel his trip,
Saying that it was the act of some lunatic!
After completion of the Town Hall ceremony, the
Archduke wanted a change of plan deviating from
the laid down route;
By wanting to visit the patients in the hospital,
Injured by the bomb which had struck his cars
rear hood!
But the Czech driver was not briefed and took
a wrong turn by mistake;
Reversed trying to correct himself, stalled the car
stoppling next to Gavrilo Princep!
Presenting Princep with a stationary target, a
cruel work of destiny and fate!
Prince pulled out his pistol and fired two shots  
at a point blank range, killing both Ferdinand
and  wife Sophie;
When Ferdinand cried out ‘’Sophie, Sophie,
don’t die, live for the children’’, - words which
now remain enshrined in History!

TRIAL OF PRINCEP & THE CONSPIRATORS
The trial began in a military court on 12th of
October at Sarajevo,
With three judges and no jury, when Princep
pleaded 'Not Guilty'!
Killing of Duchess Sophie was an unplanned
accident,
Since he wanted to **** the Governor instead!
He claimed to be a Serbian nationalist working
for the unification of the Slavic race,
and detested the annexation of Bosnia by the
Austo-Hungarians!
Along with 15 other accused, Princep was found
guilty of high treason;
But being underage, was sentenced to 20 years
labour in prison.
But died three year's later from tuberculosis!

           CONCLUDING PART ONE
  ''Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
   There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
   But dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold."
      -Rupert Brook, part of the British Naval Expeditionary
       Force, buried in Skyros, Greece 1914.
Now, looking back over a hundred years in
hindsight I do realize,
That this assassination was not the immediate
cause or the spark which triggered this War,
But only an excuse and a pretext for the
Austro-Hungarians to carve up Serbia,
And distribute those territories between
Allies and friends of Austria;
Also enhance the prestige of their Empire!
Since the war had commenced almost two
months after the Archduke’s assassination,
Austria had lost the high moral ground for
vengeance with righteous indignation!
It was a cynical and a predetermined plan
of Austria in connivance with Germany,
To destroy Serbia and squash the hopes of
Slavic people for a pan-Slavic State, - as we
now get to see!
This war ended with the dissolution of four old
Empires of the Austro-Hungarians, Ottomans,
Tsarist Russians, and the Germans!
While new nations of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia,
Austria, and Hungary, got created from the
dissolved Empire of Austria-Hungary.
Russia gave up lands creating Finland, Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania.
The Ottomans gave up lands in SW Asia and the
Middle East, and in Europe retained only Turkey!
Thus this Great War had creating new nation states,
And gave Europe its new revamped face!
Composed by Raj Nandy of New Delhi,
Thanks for reading patiently!
   TO BE CONTINUED LATER AS PART TWO
**ALL COPY RIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR
Dear Readers, this is a product of three weeks of my research work, put across in simplified verse! Hope to compose Part Two at a later date, and tell you about trench warfare & the poems composed about this War! On the 28th of June 2015, 101 years of this First World War was completed! Kindly give Comments only after reading in your spare time, for this Great War  took place during our grandfather's time! Thanks! -Raj
Maggie Emmett Jul 2015
PROLOGUE
               Hyde Park weekend of politics and pop,
Geldof’s gang of divas and mad hatters;
Sergeant Pepper only one heart beating,
resurrected by a once dead Beatle.
The ******, Queen and Irish juggernauts;
The Entertainer and dead bands
re-jigged for the sake of humanity.
   The almighty single named entities
all out for Africa and people power.
Olympics in the bag, a Waterloo
of celebrations in the street that night
Leaping and whooping in sheer delight
Nelson rocking in Trafalgar Square
The promised computer wonderlands
rising from the poisoned dead heart wasteland;
derelict, deserted, still festering.
The Brave Tomorrow in a world of hate.
The flame will be lit, magic rings aloft
and harmony will be our middle name.

On the seventh day of the seventh month,
Festival of the skilful Weaving girl;
the ‘war on terror’ just a tattered trope
drained and exhausted and put out of sight
in a dark corner of a darker shelf.
A power surge the first lie of the day.
Savagely woken from our pleasant dream
al Qa’ida opens up a new franchise
and a new frontier for terror to prowl.

               Howling sirens shatter morning’s progress
Hysterical screech of ambulances
and police cars trying to grip the road.
The oppressive drone of helicopters
gathering like the Furies in the sky;
Blair’s hubris is acknowledged by the gods.
Without warning the deadly game begins.

The Leviathan state machinery,
certain of its strength and authority,
with sheer balletic co-ordination,
steadies itself for a fine performance.
The new citizen army in ‘day glow’
take up their ‘Support Official’ roles,
like air raid wardens in the last big show;
feisty  yet firm, delivering every line
deep voiced and clearly to the whole theatre.
On cue, the Police fan out through Bloomsbury
clearing every emergency exit,
arresting and handcuffing surly streets,
locking down this ancient river city.
Fetching in fluorescent green costuming,
the old Bill nimbly Tangos and Foxtrots
the airways, Oscar, Charlie and Yankee
quickly reply with grid reference Echo;
Whiskey, Sierra, Quebec, November,
beam out from New Scotland Yard,
staccato, nearly lost in static space.
      
              LIVERPOOL STREET STATION
8.51 a.m. Circle Line

Shehezad Tanweer was born in England.
A migrant’s child of hope and better life,
dreaming of his future from his birth.
Only twenty two short years on this earth.
In a madrassah, Lahore, Pakistan,
he spent twelve weeks reading and rote learning
verses chosen from the sacred text.
Chanting the syllables, hour after hour,
swaying back and forth with the word rhythm,
like an underground train rocking the rails,
as it weaves its way beneath the world,
in turning tunnels in the dead of night.

Teve Talevski had a meeting
across the river, he knew he’d be late.
**** trains they do it to you every time.
But something odd happened while he waited
A taut-limbed young woman sashayed past him
in a forget-me-not blue dress of silk.
She rustled on the platform as she turned.
She turned to him and smiled, and he smiled back.
Stale tunnel air pushed along in the rush
of the train arriving in the station.
He found a seat and watched her from afar.
Opened his paper for distraction’s sake
Olympic win exciting like the smile.

Train heading southwest under Whitechapel.
Deafening blast, rushing sound blast, bright flash
of golden light, flying glass and debris
Twisted people thrown to ground, darkness;
the dreadful silent second in blackness.
The stench of human flesh and gunpowder,
burning rubber and fiery acrid smoke.
Screaming bone bare pain, blood-drenched tearing pain.
Pitiful weeping, begging for a god
to come, someone to come, and help them out.

Teve pushes off a dead weighted man.
He stands unsteady trying to balance.
Railway staff with torches, moving spotlights
**** and jolt, catching still life scenery,
lighting the exit in gloomy dimness.
They file down the track to Aldgate Station,
Teve passes the sardine can carriage
torn apart by a fierce hungry giant.
Through the dust, four lifeless bodies take shape
and disappear again in drifting smoke.
It’s only later, when safe above ground,
Teve looks around and starts to wonder
where his blue epiphany girl has gone.

                 KINGS CROSS STATION
8.56 a.m. Piccadilly Line

Many named Lyndsey Germaine, Jamaican,
living with his wife and child in Aylesbury,
laying low, never visited the Mosque.   
                Buckinghamshire bomber known as Jamal,
clean shaven, wearing normal western clothes,
annoyed his neighbours with loud music.
Samantha-wife converted and renamed,
Sherafiyah and took to wearing black.
Devout in that jet black shalmar kameez.
Loving father cradled close his daughter
Caressed her cheek and held her tiny hand
He wondered what the future held for her.

Station of the lost and homeless people,
where you can buy anything at a price.
A place where a face can be lost forever;
where the future’s as real as faded dreams.
Below the mainline trains, deep underground
Piccadilly lines cross the River Thames
Cram-packed, shoulder to shoulder and standing,
the train heading southward for Russell Square,
barely pulls away from Kings Cross Station,
when Arash Kazerouni hears the bang,
‘Almighty bang’ before everything stopped.
Twenty six hearts stopped beating that moment.
But glass flew apart in a shattering wave,
followed by a  huge whoosh of smoky soot.
Panic raced down the line with ice fingers
touching and tagging the living with fear.
Spine chiller blanching faces white with shock.

Gracia Hormigos, a housekeeper,
thought, I am being electrocuted.
Her body was shaking, it seemed her mind
was in free fall, no safety cord to pull,
just disconnected, so she looked around,
saw the man next to her had no right leg,
a shattered shard of bone and gouts of  blood,
Where was the rest of his leg and his foot ?

Level headed ones with serious voices
spoke over the screaming and the sobbing;
Titanic lifeboat voices giving orders;
Iceberg cool voices of reassurance;
We’re stoical British bulldog voices
that organize the mayhem and chaos
into meaty chunks of jobs to be done.
Clear air required - break the windows now;
Lines could be live - so we stay where we are;
Help will be here shortly - try to stay calm.

John, Mark and Emma introduce themselves
They never usually speak underground,
averting your gaze, tube train etiquette.
Disaster has its opportunities;
Try the new mobile, take a photograph;
Ring your Mum and Dad, ****** battery’s flat;
My network’s down; my phone light’s still working
Useful to see the way, step carefully.

   Fiona asks, ‘Am I dreaming all this?’
A shrieking man answers her, “I’m dying!”
Hammered glass finally breaks, fresher air;
too late for the man in the front carriage.
London Transport staff in yellow jackets
start an orderly evacuation
The mobile phones held up to light the way.
Only nineteen minutes in a lifetime.
  
EDGEWARE ROAD STATION
9.17 a.m. Circle Line

               Mohammed Sadique Khan, the oldest one.
Perhaps the leader, at least a mentor.
Yorkshire man born, married with a daughter
Gently spoken man, endlessly patient,
worked in the Hamara, Lodge Lane, Leeds,
Council-funded, multi-faith youth Centre;
and the local Primary school, in Beeston.
No-one could believe this of  Mr Khan;
well educated, caring and very kind
Where did he hide his secret other life  ?

Wise enough to wait for the second train.
Two for the price of one, a real bargain.
Westbound second carriage is blown away,
a commuter blasted from the platform,
hurled under the wheels of the east bound train.
Moon Crater holes, the walls pitted and pocked;
a sparse dark-side landscape with black, black air.
The ripped and shredded metal bursts free
like a surprising party popper;
Steel curlicues corkscrew through wood and glass.
Mass is made atomic in the closed space.
Roasting meat and Auschwitzed cremation stench
saturates the already murky air.              
Our human kindling feeds the greedy fire;
Heads alight like medieval torches;
Fiery liquid skin drops from the faceless;
Punk afro hair is cauterised and singed.  
Heat intensity, like a wayward iron,
scorches clothes, fuses fibres together.
Seven people escape this inferno;
many die in later days, badly burned,
and everyone there will live a scarred life.

               TAVISTOCK ROAD
9.47 a.m. Number 30 Bus  

Hasib Hussain migrant son, English born
barely an adult, loved by his mother;
reported him missing later that night.
Police typed his description in the file
and matched his clothes to fragments from the scene.
A hapless victim or vicious bomber ?
Child of the ‘Ummah’ waging deadly war.
Seventy two black eyed virgins waiting
in jihadist paradise just for you.

Red double-decker bus, number thirty,
going from Hackney Wick to Marble Arch;
stuck in traffic, diversions everywhere.
Driver pulls up next to a tree lined square;
the Parking Inspector, Ade Soji,
tells the driver he’s in Tavistock Road,
British Museum nearby and the Square.
A place of peace and quiet reflection;
the sad history of war is remembered;
symbols to make us never forget death;
Cherry Tree from Hiroshima, Japan;
Holocaust Memorial for Jewish dead;
sturdy statue of  Mahatma Gandhi.
Peaceful resistance that drove the Lion out.
Freedom for India but death for him.

Sudden sonic boom, bus roof tears apart,
seats erupt with volcanic force upward,
hot larva of blood and tissue rains down.
Bloodied road becomes a charnel-house scene;
disembodied limbs among the wreckage,
headless corpses; sinews, muscles and bone.
Buildings spattered and smeared with human paint
Impressionist daubs, blood red like the bus.

Jasmine Gardiner, running late for work;
all trains were cancelled from Euston Station;  
she headed for the square, to catch the bus.
It drove straight past her standing at the stop;
before she could curse aloud - Kaboom !
Instinctively she ran, ran for her life.
Umbrella shield from the shower of gore.

On the lower deck, two Aussies squeezed in;
Catherine Klestov was standing in the aisle,
floored by the bomb, suffered cuts and bruises
She limped to Islington two days later.
Louise Barry was reading the paper,
she was ‘****-scared’ by the explosion;
she crawled out of the remnants of the bus,
broken and burned, she lay flat on the road,
the world of sound had gone, ear drums had burst;
she lay there drowsy, quiet, looking up
and amazingly the sky was still there.

Sam Ly, Vietnamese Australian,
One of the boat people once welcomed here.
A refugee, held in his mother’s arms,
she died of cancer, before he was three.
Hi Ly struggled to raise his son alone;
a tough life, inner city high rise flats.
Education the smart migrant’s revenge,
Monash Uni and an IT degree.
Lucky Sam, perfect job of a lifetime;
in London, with his one love, Mandy Ha,
Life going great until that fateful day;
on the seventh day of the seventh month,
Festival of the skilful Weaving girl.

Three other Aussies on that ****** bus;
no serious physical injuries,
Sam’s luck ran out, in choosing where to sit.
His neck was broken, could not breath alone;
his head smashed and crushed, fractured bones and burns
Wrapped in a cocoon of coma safe
This broken figure lying on white sheets
in an English Intensive Care Unit
did not seem like Hi Ly’s beloved son;
but he sat by Sam’s bed in disbelief,
seven days and seven nights of struggle,
until the final hour, when it was done.

In the pit of our stomach we all knew,
but we kept on deep breathing and hoping
this nauseous reality would pass.
The weary inevitability
of horrific disasters such as these.
Strangely familiar like an old newsreel
Black and white, it happened long ago.
But its happening now right before our eyes
satellite pictures beam and bounce the globe.
Twelve thousand miles we watch the story
Plot unfolds rapidly, chapters emerge
We know the places names of this narrative.
  
It is all subterranean, hidden
from the curious, voyeuristic gaze,
Until the icon bus, we are hopeful
This public spectacle is above ground
We can see the force that mangled the bus,
fury that tore people apart limb by limb
Now we can imagine a bomb below,
far below, people trapped, fiery hell;
fighting to breathe each breath in tunnelled tombs.

Herded from the blast they are strangely calm,
obedient, shuffling this way and that.
Blood-streaked, sooty and dishevelled they come.
Out from the choking darkness far below
Dazzled by the brightness of the morning
of a day they feared might be their last.
They have breathed deeply of Kurtz’s horror.
Sights and sounds unimaginable before
will haunt their waking hours for many years;
a lifetime of nightmares in the making.
They trudge like weary soldiers from the Somme
already see the world with older eyes.

On the surface, they find a world where life
simply goes on as before, unmindful.
Cyclist couriers still defy road laws,
sprint racing again in Le Tour de France;
beer-gutted, real men are loading lorries;
lunch time sandwiches are made as usual,
sold and eaten at desks and in the street.
Roadside cafes sell lots of hot sweet tea.
The Umbrella stand soon does brisk business.
Sign writers' hands, still steady, paint the sign.
The summer blooms are watered in the park.
A ***** stretches on the bench and wakes up,
he folds and stows his newspaper blankets;
mouth dry,  he sips water at the fountain.
A lady scoops up her black poodle’s ****.
A young couple argues over nothing.
Betting shops are full of people losing
money and dreaming of a trifecta.
Martin’s still smoking despite the patches.
There’s a rush on Brandy in nearby pubs
Retired gardener dead heads his flowers
and picks a lettuce for the evening meal

Fifty six minutes from start to finish.
Perfectly orchestrated performance.
Rush hour co-ordination excellent.
Maximum devastation was ensured.
Cruel, merciless killing so coldly done.
Fine detail in the maiming and damage.

A REVIEW

Well activated practical response.
Rehearsals really paid off on the day.
Brilliant touch with bus transport for victims;
Space blankets well deployed for shock effect;
Dramatic improv by Paramedics;
Nurses, medicos and casualty staff
showed great technical E.R. Skills - Bravo !
Plenty of pizzazz and dash as always
from the nifty, London Ambo drivers;
Old fashioned know-how from the Fire fighters
in hosing down the fireworks underground.
Dangerous rescues were undertaken,
accomplished with buckets of common sense.
And what can one say about those Bobbies,
jolly good show, the lips unquivering
and universally stiff, no mean feat
in this Premiere season tear-jerker.
Nail-bitingly brittle, but a smash-hit
Poignant misery and stoic suffering,
fortitude, forbearance and lots of grit
Altogether was quite tickety boo.



NOTES ON THE POEM

Liverpool Street Station

A Circle Line train from Moorgate with six carriages and a capacity of 1272 passengers [ 192 seated; 1080 standing]. 7 dead on the first day.

Southbound, destination Aldgate. Explosion occurs midway between Liverpool Street and Aldgate.

Shehezad Tanweer was reported to have ‘never been political’ by a friend who played cricket with him 10 days before the bombing

Teve Talevski is a real person and I have elaborated a little on reports in the press. He runs a coffee shop in North London.

At the time of writing the fate of the blue dress lady is not known

Kings Cross Station

A Piccadilly Line train with six carriages and a capacity of 1238 passengers [272 seated; 966 standing]. 21 dead on first day.

Southbound, destination Russell Square. Explosion occurs mi
This poem is part of a longer poem called Seasons of Terror. This poem was performed at the University of Adelaide, Bonython Hall as a community event. The poem was read by local poets, broadcasters, personalities and politicians from the South Australia Parliament and a Federal MP & Senator. The State Premier was represented by the Hon. Michael Atkinson, who spoke about the role of the Emergency services in our society. The Chiefs of Police, Fire and Ambulence; all religious and community organisations' senior reprasentatives; the First Secretary of the British High Commission and the general public were present. It was recorded by Radio Adelaide and broadcast live as well as coverage from Channel 7 TV News. The Queen,Tony Blair, Australian Governor General and many other public dignitaries sent messages of support for the work being read. A string quartet and a solo flautist also played at this event.
once upon a time

when all of your parents weren't even born
there was a man named eddie spaghetti
who loved to travel the world
and he didn't have planes of helicopters
or even private jets, no, he only had
this red and white sailing yacht
which he called, swannie
and he loved swannie a lot
he would start sailing around
south america, and the west indies
where he wanted to start this journey
and then into central america where
he had a bit of fun, yeah, he had fun
then right up the coastline of san diego
and los angeles and san francisco
and yes, he was having a few hiccups
but he did it well by going past canada
and alaska sailing very well, enjoying
the ride, after that he sailed down the coastline
of russia, and then down toward japan and then
into china and screamed hello to some of the locals
then over to the phillipines and then down to malaysia
and after that he had a few of indias finest curries
you see, he hadn't crossed the equator yet, but it was coming
closer to him as he was heading over to africa and saudi arabia but he was very scared of the equator as he thinks time
will make him lose his boat, and we all know it won't, it is just a time zone, he will enter tomorrow, and he didn't want to become a tomorrow person, so he stopped in somalia and became one of them till he figured out how he was going to become a tomorrow person, so he parked his yacht in the dock and started to explore, he met a lot of nice people
and he said his name was GOD, which he knows is using the lords name in vane, and this poor kid named chico befriended him, believing he was the real god, but he was only 7, and his parents never believed that GOD, could be heard but not seen
and they said to chico, don't hang with him, he is a stranger to us, and you know we never talk to strangers, but chico who never wanted to upset his folks, decided to see GOD anyway
because he was not from these parts, but then the men from over the hill thought he was an intruder and took him prisoner,
chico said, this is GOD, and they didn't believe him either because GOD is a spiritual being of heaven, not a man and they said, let's chop his head off, but eddie said please believe me, i am not GOD, i am a sailor from south america
i wouldn't have come here if i wasn't scared to cross the equator toward the land of tomorrow and when he said where
he has been already, the king said, lead us to your boat, there
is no problem with entering tomorrow and as they all headed
toward the boat eddie was chucked into the ocean rock cave
after he handed them the key and this little red and white sailboat named swannie had disappeared into the land of tomorrow without eddie and being GOD, he went to chico
and said my name is eddie spaghetti and i lost my boat, i am too scared of entering tomorrow and suddenly his parents who were listening took him in and got very close, and eddie lived there for 3 years and on his fishing trip with chico and his dad, he saw swannie washed up on the shore and he said, tomorrowland is not for me and said goodbye to chico and his family and went back to south america the way he came and perished off the shore of japan, never to be seen again, and swannie, was rebuilt to sit on a beach in Japan and kids played on it, and they still played on it on this very day,
the end

— The End —