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Laura Jane Mar 2015
The body remembers, though it has been
four years since the summer you shattered your
knee but still limped out across the continent
to Boston to see him you idiot and
this is the fourth summer you've placed between
yourself and the last pin and the last *****
your body remembers, though in the
torturous lengthening of fused and toughened tissues
the bad leg is finally catching up,
and the scar with its ten numb inches of
puckered track has come to fade bone white
against your skin
but it’s still stored somewhere
in your sockets or cells and when you fall off your bike you still cry
Though you’re not really hurt your body remembers
So that when you’re confronted with their engagement photo
(you didn’t even know he was seeing anyone)
the darkened garden at the Plymouth Plantation
begins to bloom up around you before you can stop it
like a seizure or a vision, and you’re there again
trespassing after him through shadowy pines
and night-damp atlantic air
to where the white chairs encircle the altar.
Steven L Herring Dec 2018
Let a Lonely Mountain Lie Empty
By Steven L Herring

Balled fists
Murky nights
and days full of thunder
Skies full of clouds
Skull emptied out
onto the pavement
to a two piece cadence
in a half-life limped out in blunder

And still I sit here
Fist to chin
Stuck in an everlasting wonder
Where does a soul go
when its eyes burned with plunder?
I have yet a devil in me
no bigger than the devil in thee
as we pacify them
with random acts of mindlessness
every now and again

Tell me then
Is that not just another *******
stabbed coarsely in the eyes
of our future?
I got a Wheel Bar to die in
if I want to go out like that
**** yeah!

Small town USA
Nothing to do here
past poking an angry elk sliding by
and drown yourself in beer
or break an angry barstool
let a lonely mountain lie empty
and listen to a game of pool

But me?
I'd rather roll the dice
and live the humdrum life
I'd rather celebrate with pie
let sleeping drunks lie
and have some sleepless nights
than wake up
to a sink full of guilt
and a head full of last night's mystery
What a hubris of misery
it can turn out to be
Take it from me...

The Jabberwock was
having its usual

cup of coffee
its tenth of the day.

Always black.

One could see coffee grains
caught in its teeth

Always the same
big grin.

We joked
(behind its back of course)

that Jabberwock
meant coffee ******.

Not because we were fearful
but because he was such

a sensitive soul
and we didn't want to

cause offense
where no offense was meant.

It could get a bit

An unlit cigarette clung
to its slobbery lips.

It didn't smoke but
wanted to appear to do so.

The mome raths were outgrabbing
they never seemed to stop.

The Cheshire Cat
(not all there)

smiled its smile
we called it Mona Lisa.

We were all just
hanging about

as you do when
your author ponders.

Nobody dared to
approach him.

He was a God
to us.

Me and the rest of the Toves
knew our place

and played cards
with the Borogoves.

The Borogoves
were cheaters.

The Jubjub birds were
bored out of their tiny skulls

perching in the branches of
the TumTum trees in Tulgey Wood.

The Bandersnatch was having
a frumious forty winks.

We were glad to be
just alive if only

in words -
words was our world.

No use getting all
mimsy about it.

We weren't as slithy
as we were made out to be.

We practiced our
gyre and gimble.

We were merely
the creatures of his brain.

We wouldn't dare disturb
the Author for fear

of being
scratched out.

Nobody 'cept the manxome
Jabberwock that is.  

"But what's my motivation  Mr. Carroll?"
He'd forever burble.

"Could I not take just a small bite perhaps
out of the little beamish chap ?" he'd whiffle.

Mr. Carroll( nobody dared
to call him Lewis)

just smiled and
Jack Jabberwock would galumphed back.

"Ok! Places everyone - 'tis brillig!
and the story limped on again.

It was a frabjous day
a really frabjous day.

All that could be heard was
the dripping of a tap

and the constant
scratching of the pen

creating forever

the next sentence.
Now there is the sweet smell of love and the warmth of our home.
Now there is you and me and him.
You guys.
My loves.
However, long ago, in another lifetime, in my youth.
In the city.
Long, long way down the road.
Years ago now I met her.
Older than me, a few years.
Friend of a friend's cousin.
Tall, lean, smarter than me.
I was hurt on the day she brought me into her room.
It was noisome with the smell of ***
and I was just old enough to recognize the odor.
I remember now the strange sinking tug in my stomach.
This is what it feels like to have your opinion of someone change drastically.
My head was still filled with puritanical Catholic nonsense.
Dogmatic ******* held with firm resolve.
I limped into that room broken
and left much the same,
except everything about me was different.
Years and traveled roads later I found myself changed by another room.
Another girl.
Another stop along a road that would eventually lead me home.
We are roadmaps for each other.
Charting routes over troubled seas and loyal earth.
Finding ourselves along the way and again when we arrive.
Once, years ago, I misjudged a girl because I was unfinished and young and her experience scared me.
I was cleaner, less road dust.
I wish I could tell her I was sorry, but honestly she may not even know.
May not even care.
I was wrong but I was still many miles from home.
Many miles from you.
Geographically speaking.
I met a woman
She was 70 years old and walked into the hospital with a pained limp
And a smile on her face
That an artist might struggle his whole life to capture
Her face was crinkled with an old scar and an evil red infection
Her hands were wrung with arthitis and the leg that limped turned out to be broken
But she was beautiful
Because she was so kind, and so ready to see beauty in the world
While being subject to such **** circumstances
The world could have hammered at her with the infinite might of misfortune
And all calamity capable might rain on her with it's fiersome storm
Uncaring, unstoppable
Powerful in in unknowing chaos
Pummeling one who at first appears vulnerable
But with unending calm and perfect equanimity
She might regard it as a summer storm
Passing over, transititory and ineffable
Receiving the blows with unflinching peace
She might comment on the infinitesimal positivety
Cowering in the corner unnoticed by all but her kind and joyous perception
lesser souls would be broken by the weight of pain and misery
Drowned in a sea of their own tears
But a powerful Joy hides deep in the heart of this mild and humble woman.
Her soul is Viking and unassailable and when death takes her
He will surely ferry her to Valhalla to sit with honor amongst all warriors who fought and died fighting the uncaring brutality of a world wrapped in apathy and heartbreak.
She is mighty
In the surety of her vision of a good world
That exists because she wishes it to
And because she wills it to
And so the world becomes more beautiful
Because she is in it
And she is beautiful
I was takin' a trip out to LA
Toolin' along in my Chevrolet
Tokin' on a number and diggin' on the radio
Jes' as I cross the Mississippi line
I heard that highway start to whine
And I knew that left rear tire was about to go
Well the spare was flat and I got uptight
'Cause there wasn't a fillin' station in sight
So I jes' limped down the shoulder on the rim
I went as far as I could and when I stopped the car
It was right in front of this little bar
A kind of a redneck lookin' joint called the Dew Drop Inn
Well I stuffed my hair up under my hat
And told the bartender that I had a flat
And would he be kind enough to give me change for a one
There was one thing I was sure proud to see
There wasn't a soul in the place 'cept for him an' me
And he just looked disgusted an' pointed toward the telephone
I called up the station down the road a ways
And he said he wasn't very busy t'day
And he could have somebody there in jest 'bout ten minutes or so
He said now you jes' stay right where yer at and I didn't bother
Tellin' the durn fool
I sure as hell didn't have anyplace else to go
I just ordered up a beer and sat down at the bar
When some guy walked in an' said who owns this car
With the peace sign the mag wheels and four on the floor
Well he looked at me and I **** near died
And I decided that I'd jus wait outside
So I layed a dollar on the bar and headed for the door
Jes' when I thought I'd get outta there with my skin
These five big dude come strollin' in
With this one old drunk chick and some fella with green teeth
An' I was almost to the door when the biggest one
Said you tip your hat to this lady son
An' when I did all that hair fell out from underneath
Now the last thing I wanted was to get into a fight
In Jackson Mississippi on a Saturday night
'Specially when there was three of them and only one of me
Well they all started laughin' and I felt kinda sick
And I knew I'd better think of somethin' pretty quick
So I jes' reached out an' kicked ol' green-teeth right in the knee
He let out a yell that'd curl your hair
But before he could move I grabbed me a chair
And said watch him folks 'cause he's a thouroughly dangerous man
Well you may not know it but this man's a spy
He's an undercover agent for the FBI
And he's been sent down here to infiltrate the Ku Klux ****
He was still bent over holdin' on to his knee
But everyone else was lookin' and listenin' to me
And I layed it on thicker and heavier as I went
I said would you beleive this man has gone as far
As tearin' Wallace stickers off the bumpers of cars
And he voted for George McGoveren for president
Well he's a friend of them long-haired hippie type ***** ****
I betcha he's even got a ****** flag
Tacked up on the wall inside of his garage
He's a snake in the grass I tell ya guys
He may look dumb but that's jus a disguise
He's a mastermind in the ways of espionage
They all started lookin' real suspicious at him
And he jumped up an' said jes' wait a minute Jim
You know he's lyin' I've been livin' here all of my life
I'm a faithfull follower of Brother John Burch
And I belong to the Antioch Baptist Church
And I ain't even got a garage you can call home and ask my wife
Then he started sayin' somethin' 'bout the way I was dressed
But I didn't wait around to hear the rest
I was too busy movin' and hopin' I didn't run outta luck
And when I hit the ground I was makin' tracks
And they were jes' takin' my car down off the jacks
So I threw the man a twenty an' jumped in an' fired that mother up
Mario Andretti woulda sure been proud
Of the way I was movin' when I passed that crowd
Comin' out the door and headin' toward me in a trot
An' I guess I shoulda gone ahead an' run
But somehow I couldn't resist the fun
Of chasin' them jes' once around the parkin' lot
Well they're headin' for their car but I hit the gas
And spun around and headed them off at the pass
Well I was slingin' gravel and puttin' a ton of dust in the air
Well I had them all out there steppin' an' a fetchin'
Like their heads were on fire and their ***** was catchin'
But I figured I oughta go ahead an split before the cops got there
When I hit the road I was really wheelin'
Had gravel flyin' and rubber squeelin'
An' I didn't slow down 'til I was almost to Arkansas
I think I'm gonna re-route my trip
I wonder if anybody'd think I'd flipped
If I went to LA via Omaha!

— The End —