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Megan Foukes May 2017
All I can hear
Is the smoke lingering
From your lips
And all I can smell is the
Shame in your green eyes.
In this musty, muggy,
1920s style loft
On 34th street.
You lock yourself
In the bathroom in hopes
Of finding peace within
This loft.
Your mascara, it weeps
Down to your chest
And over the scars you have.
I've seen you sleep on the
Tile floors of the bathroom
Sometimes it's hard to
Know if you're alive.
But your voice echoes
And I hear it down below.
I can never look
At this loft again:
All I see is you,
Reflected in me.
1969 Hartford art school is magnet for exceedingly intelligent over-sensitive under-achievers alluring freaks congenital creeps and anyone who cannot cut it in straight world it is about loners dreamers stoners clowns cliques of posers competing to dress draw act most outrageous weird wonderful classrooms clash in diversity of needs some students get it right off while others require so much individual attention one girl constantly raises her hand calls for everything to be repeated explained creativity is treated as trouble and compliance to instruction rewarded most of faculty are of opinion kids are not capable of making original artwork teachers discourage students from dream of becoming well-known until they are older more experienced only practiced skilled artists are competent to create ‘real art’ defined by how much struggle or multiple meanings weave through the work Odysseus wants to make magic boxes without knowing or being informed of Joseph Cornell one teacher tells him you think you’re going to invent some new color the world has never seen? you’re just some rowdy brat from the midwest with a lot of crazy ideas and no evidence of authenticity another teacher warns you’re nothing more than a bricoleur! Odysseus questions what’s a bricoleur teacher informs a rogue handyman who haphazardly constructs from whatever is immediately available Odysseus questions what’s wrong with that? teacher answers it’s low-class folk junk  possessing no real intellectual value independently he reads Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium Is The Message” and “The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci” he memorizes introductory remark of Leonardo’s “i must do like one who comes last to the fair and can find no other way of providing for himself than by taking all the things already seen by others and not taken by reason of their lesser value” Odysseus dreams of becoming accomplished important artist like Robert Rauschenberg Jasper Johns Andy Warhol he dreams of being in eye of hurricane New York art scene he works for university newspaper and is nicknamed crashkiss the newspaper editor is leader in student movement and folk singer who croons “45 caliber man, you’re so much more than our 22, but there’s so many more of us than you” Odysseus grows mustache wears flower printed pants vintage 1940’s leather jacket g.i. surplus clothes he makes many friends his gift for hooking up with girls is uncanny he is long haired drug-crazed hippie enjoying popularity previously unknown to him rock bands play at art openings everyone flirts dances gets ****** lots of activism on campus New York Times dubs university of Hartford “Berkeley of the east coast” holding up ******* in peace sign is subversive in 1969 symbol of rebellion youth solidarity gesture against war hawks rednecks corporate America acknowledgment of potential beyond materialistic self-righteous values of status quo sign of what could be in universe filled with incredible possibilities he moves in with  painting student one year advanced named Todd Whitman Todd has curly blond hair sturdy build wire rimmed glasses impish smile gemini superb draftsman amazing artist Todd emulates Francisco de Goya and Albrecht Durer Todd’s talent overshadows Odysseus’s Todd’s dad is accomplished professor at distinguished college in Massachusetts to celebrate Odysseus’s arrival Todd cooks all day preparing spaghetti dinner when Odysseus arrives home tripping on acid without appetite Todd is disappointed Odysseus runs down to corner store buys large bottle of wine returns to house Todd is eating spaghetti alone they get drunk together then pierce each other’s ears with needles ice wine cork pierced ears are outlaw style of bad *** bikers like Hell’s Angels Todd says you are a real original Odys and funny too Odysseus asks funny, how? Todd answers you are one crazy ******* drop acid whenever you want smoke **** then go to class this is fun tonight Odys getting drunk and piercing our ears Odysseus says yup i’m having a good time too Todd and Odysseus become best friends Odysseus turns Todd on to Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” and “Ariel” then they both read Ted Hughes “Crow” illustrated with Leonard Baskin prints Todd turns Odysseus on to German Expressionist painting art movement of garish colors emotionally violent imagery from 1905-1925 later infuriating Third ***** who deemed the work “degenerate” Odysseus dives into works of Max Beckmann Otto Dix Conrad Felixmulller Barthel Gilles George Grosz Erich Heckel Ernst Ludwig Kirchner Felix Nussbaum Karl *******Rottluff Carl Hofer August Macke Max Peckstein Elfriede Lohse-Wachtler Egon Shiele list goes on in 1969 most parents don’t have money to buy their children cars most kids living off campus either ride bikes or hitchhike to school then back home on weekends often without a penny in their pockets Odysseus and Todd randomly select a highway and hitch rides to Putney Vermont Brattleboro Boston Cape Cod New York City or D.C. in search of adventure there is always trouble to be found curious girls to assist in Georgetown Odysseus sleeps with skinny girl with webbed toes who believes he is Jesus he tries to dissuade her but she is convinced

Toby Mantis is visiting New York City artist at Hartford art school he looks like huskier handsomer version of Ringo Starr and women dig him he builds stretchers and stretches canvases for Warhol lives in huge loft in Soho on Broadway and Bleeker invites Odysseus to come down on weekends hang out Toby takes him to Max’s Kansas City Warhol’s Electric Circus they wander all night into morning there are printing companies longshoremen gays in Chelsea Italians in West Village hippies playing guitars protesting the war in Washington Square all kinds of hollering crazies passing out fliers pins in Union Square Toby is hard drinker Odysseus has trouble keeping up  he pukes his guts out number of times Odysseus is *** head not drinker he explores 42nd Street stumbles across strange exotic place named Peep Show World upstairs is large with many **** cubicles creepy dudes hanging around downstairs is astonishing there are many clusters of booths with live **** girls inside girls shout out hey boys come on now pick me come on boys there are hundreds of girls from all over the world in every conceivable size shape race he enters dark stall  puts fifty cents in coin box window screen lifts inside each cluster are 6 to 10 girls either parading or glued to a window for $1 he is allowed to caress kiss their ******* for $2 he is permitted to probe their ****** or *** for $10 girl reaches hand into darkened stall jerks him off tall slender British girl thrills him the most she says let me have another go at your dickey Odysseus spends all his money ******* 5 times departing he notices men from every walk of life passing through wall street stockbrokers executives rednecks mobsters frat boys tourists fat old bald guys smoking thick smelly cigars Toby Mantis has good-looking girlfriend named Lorraine with long brown hair Toby Lorraine and Odysseus sit around kitchen table Odysseus doodles with pencil on paper Toby spreads open Lorraine’s thighs exposing her ****** to Odysseus Lorraine blushes yet permits Toby to finger her Odysseus thinks she has the most beautiful ****** he has ever seen bulging pelvic bone brown distinctive bush symmetric lips Toby and Lorraine watch in amusement as Odysseus gazes intently Tony mischievously remarks you like looking at that ***** don’t you? Odysseus stares silently begins pencil drawing Lorraine’s ****** his eyes darting back and forth following day Lorraine seduces Odysseus while Toby is away walks out **** from shower she is few years older her body lean with high ******* she directs his hands mouth while she talks with someone on telephone it is strange yet quite exciting Odysseus is in awe of New York City every culture in the world intermingling democracy functioning in an uncontrollable managed breath millions of people in motion stories unraveling on every street 24 hour spectacle with no limits every conceivable variety of humanity ******* in same air Odysseus is bedazzled yet intimidated

Odysseus spends summer of 1970 at art colony in Cummington Massachusetts it is magical time extraordinary place many talented eccentric characters all kinds of happenings stage plays poetry readings community meals volleyball after dinner volleyball games are hilarious fun he lives alone in isolated studio amidst wild raspberries in woods shares toilet with field mouse no shower he reads Jerzy Kosinski’s “Painted Bird” then “Being There” then “Steps” attractive long haired girl named Pam visits community for weekend meets Odysseus they talk realize they were in first grade together at Harper amazing coincidence automatic ground for “we need to have *** because neither of us has seen each other since first grade” she inquires where do you sleep? Todd hitches up from Hartford to satisfy curiosity everyone sleeps around good-looking blue-eyed poet named Shannon Banks from South Boston tells Odysseus his ******* is not big enough for kind of ******* she wants but she will **** him off that’s fine with him 32 year old poet named Ellen Morrissey from Massachusetts reassures him ******* is fine Ellen is beginning to find her way out from suffocating marriage she has little daughter named Nina Ellen admires Odysseus’s free spirit sees both his possibilities and naïveté she realizes he has crippling family baggage he has no idea he is carrying thing about trauma is as it is occurring victim shrugs laughs to repel shock yet years later pain horror sink in turned-on with new ideas he returns to Hartford art school classes are fun yet confusing he strives to be best drawer most innovative competition sidetracks him Odysseus uses power drill to carve pumpkin on Halloween teachers warn him to stick to fundamentals too much creativity is suspect Todd and he are invited to holiday party Odysseus shows up with Ellen Morrissey driving in her father’s station wagon 2 exceptionally pretty girls flirt with him he is live wire they sneak upstairs he fingers both at same time while they laugh to each other one of the girls Laura invites him outside to do more he follows they walk through falling snow until they find hidden area near some trees Laura lies down lifts her skirt she spreads her legs dense ***** mound he is about to explore her there when Laura looks up sees figure with flashlight following their tracks in snow she warns it’s Bill my husband run for your life! Odysseus runs around long way back inside party grabs a beer pretending he has been there next to Ellen all night few minutes later he sees Laura and Bill return through front door Bill has dark mustache angry eyes Odysseus tells Ellen it is late maybe they should leave soon suddenly Bill walks up to him with beer in hand cracks bottle over his head glass and beer splatter Odysseus jumps up runs out to station wagon Ellen hurriedly follows snow coming down hard car is wedged among many guest vehicles he starts engine locks doors maneuvers vehicle back and forth trying to inch way out of spot Bill appears from party walks to his van disappears from out of darkness swirling snow Bill comes at them wielding large crowbar smashes car’s headlights taillights side mirrors windshield covered in broken glass Ellen ducks on floor beneath glove compartment sobs cries he’s going to **** us! we’re going to die! Odysseus steers station wagon free floors gas pedal drives on back country roads through furious snowstorm in dark of night no lights Odysseus contorts crouches forward in order to see through hole in shattered windshield Ellen sees headlights behind them coming up fast it is Bill in van Bill banging their bumper follows them all the way back to Hartford to Odysseus’s place they run inside call police Bill sits parked van outside across street as police arrive half hour later Bill pulls away next day Odysseus and Ellen drive to Boston to explain to Ellen’s dad what has happened to his station wagon Odysseus stays with Ellen in Brookline for several nights another holiday party she wants to take him along to meet her friends her social circles are older he thinks to challenge their values be outrageous paints face Ellen is horrified cries you can’t possibly do this to me these are my close friends what will they think? he defiantly answers my face is a mask who cares what i look like? man woman creature what does it matter? if your friends really want to know me they’ll need to look beyond the make-up tonight i am your sluttish girlfriend! sometimes Odysseus can be a thoughtless fool

Laura Rousseau Shane files for divorce from Bill she is exceptionally lovely models at art school she is of French descent her figure possessing exotic traits she stands like ballerina with thick pointed ******* copious ***** hair Odysseus is infatuated she frequently dances pursues him Laura says i had the opportunity to meet Bob Dylan once amazed Odysseus questions what did you do? she replies what could i possibly have in common with Bob Dylan? Laura teases Odysseus about being a preppy then lustfully gropes him grabs holds his ***** they devote many hours to ****** intimacy during ******* she routinely reaches her hand from under her buns grasps his testicles squeezing as he pumps he likes that Laura is quite eccentric fetishes over Odysseus she even thrills to pick zits on his back he is not sure if it is truly a desire of hers proof of earthiness or simply expression of mothering Laura has two daughters by Bill Odysseus is in over his head Laura tells Odysseus myth of Medea smitten with love for Jason Jason needs Medea’s help to find Golden Fleece Medea agrees with promise of marriage murders her brother arranges ****** of king who has deprived Jason his inheritance couple is forced into exile Medea bears Jason 2 sons then Jason falls in love with King Creon’s daughter deserts Medea is furious she makes shawl for King Creon’s daughter to wear at her wedding to Jason  shawl turns to flames killing bride Medea murders her own sons by Jason Odysseus goes along with story for a while but Laura wants husband Odysseus is merely scruffy boy with roving eyes Laura becomes galled by Odysseus leaves him for one of his roommates whom she marries then several years later divorces there is scene when Laura tells Odysseus she is dropping him for his roommate he is standing in living room of her house space is painted deep renaissance burgundy there are framed photographs on walls in one photo he is hugging Laura and her daughters under big oak tree in room Laura’s friend Bettina other girl he fingered first night he met Laura at party is watching with arms crossed he drops to floor curls body sobs i miss you so much Laura turns to Bettina remarks look at him men are such big babies he’s pitiful Bettina nods

following summer he works installing displays at G. Fox Department Store besides one woman gay men staff display department for as long as he can remember homosexuals have always been attracted to him this misconception is probably how he got job his tenor voice suggesting not entirely mature man instead more like tentative young boy this ambiguous manifestation sometimes also evidences gestures thoroughly misleading after sidestepping several ****** advances one of his co-workers bewilderingly remarks you really are straight manager staff are fussy chirpy catty group consequently certain he is not gay they discriminate against him stick him with break down clean up slop jobs at outdoor weekend rock concert in Constitution Plaza he meets 2 younger blond girls who consent to go back to his place mess around both girls are quite dazzling yet one is somewhat physically undeveloped they undress and model for Odysseus radio plays Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song” both girls move to rhythm sing along he thinks to orchestrate direct decides instead to let them lead lies on bed while curvaceous girl rides his ******* slender girl sits on his face they switch all 3 alternate giggle laughter each girl reaches ****** on his stiffness later both assist with hands mouths his ****** is so intense it leaves him paralyzed for a moment

in fall he is cast as Claudius in production of Hamlet Odysseus rehearses diligently on nights o
Seán Mac Falls May 2012
Body of ocean, milk and sky,
We are tangled in the hope of night.
The lips of the milky way, creaming us,
Stains and is **** with a taste keening;
All is creation.  My meteors crash
Into your ruptured Earth.  I flame
Upon your must and moisted furrows
And my toes are locked, rooted in yours.

Body of ocean, milk and sky,
In the deserts of the day you are true
Oasis.  The curves and waft of your sands
Seethe and sodden my barren plains,
Are erasing all my wandering memories
Of an endless sky and now your eyes
Are the only stars I know, and your skin;
A sheet that holds the heavens shimmering.

Body of ocean, milk and sky,
Your ******* are the heaving of grasses
And wind, loft and laden in the rounded
Hills, a hoard of ****** bread, bountiful,
Ripe and strange.  Your hair is an endless
Savannah, your valleys are gold and honeyed
With milk, seared, filled by my penetrating sun.
In passion we play; low on earth and deep in sky.
Amber Grey Jul 2013
The summer I interned in New York, I fell in love with someone I'd only seen from a balcony window.

I'd fallen in love with strangers before, on buses and in lines, watching their shoulders straighten and their faces grimace in half-sunlight. I fell in love with these people the way you could fall in love with a poem, finding personality in the way that their eyes flicker nervously from left to right, tiny instances where their stanzas throw you into a daze. But this time was different. For once, I wished to know a stranger without the brim of my sunglasses, for once I felt something when I knew I'd never see him again.

His apartment was cluttered, bottles of water and the empty cans of energy drinks piled in a corner where a conscious person would have fit them in a bin. There were clothes on the floor, and although I knew his high rise box was laid out just as mine, he must have used the expected closet space for something else - his clothes were everywhere, crumpled in heaps on the floor that were too erratically placed to not have some sort of lingering system. Posters of people were taped to the wall, covering the matte eggshell white, edges falling occasionally to show signs that he wouldn’t always live there. I hoped that if he ever owned a home, that those staring portraits would be stapled or pasted thick to his walls, just because he would be the sort of person who wouldn’t change his mind about what he liked or what he wanted.

I would watch him from the same eggshell white room of mine, with nothing on the walls and not a scrap of anything on the floor. From my blow up mattress to my suitcase of clothes, kitchen stocked of single servings and a solitary set of dishware. I had no curtains and no carpets, no television or pictures of friends huddled in an unexpected embrace. For all anyone knew, I could have been squatting. I would look out at him from the window spanning the entire north facing wall, aware that if he ever looked out, if his eyes ever darted south, he would see me cross legged on the tiled marble floor, hovering over an overheated laptop and cardboard coffee.

I would get home at seven forty-five, shower in the New York water that tasted like dust and gin, and towel off, walking to the balcony. He, just like I, had a long, narrow balcony spanning about four feet on the right edge of his loft, and I would lean on the edge of the concrete slab, smelling the foul city air, taxi music floating from the lumpy yellow marsh below. That was when he would unlock his door suddenly, sometime between eight and eight-ten. He would step with his entire body and move into his crowded room and stand still for a moment, as if to collect himself; restrain from tearing faces off the walls and pummeling fabric into the floor. Sometimes he'd shut the door closed with a twitch of his foot, untying the half apron around his waist with one hand and pulling the red tie strapped flat onto a black dress shirt loose with the other. Once, he did all that in succession and proceeded to slide against the shut door until he hit the ground, falling into himself like a dropped jack's ladder and rubbing his fingers from his jawline to his eyes, up into his hair and back over.

But most of the time, he would just force off his shoes, never untying the laces, and move to the balcony just as I did. He would go out to the balcony too, but he would always keep going, moving to sit on the edge of the short wall, socked feet dangling over the city. His legs would be splayed wide, hands placed right in front of him, flat on the ledge. He would look down at the golden sea below, and when he was done with it, spit a flickering cigarette into the glittering bank.

He would also smoke when he woke up. He got up at six, like clockwork, and would stumble back out into the smogged pilot's seat in a plaid bathrobe, hazy faced and staring down. I don’t think he was ever late. He would get dressed slowly and fix himself in the mirror for a good half hour at the left of his room, until finally turning around just to watch the door for a moment. Sometimes I could swear that he watched for so long that he must have thought it would up and race away.

He slept with the lights on. He never came home late. He didn’t go out at night, never blundered in at two in the morning with a lithe model girl, long hair framing icicle eyes. On weekends he would sleep all day, rising every few hours to go back on the edge of his balcony and smoke. He would stare at the faces on his walls, the callouses on his palms, the murmur below; but never, ever at the empty loft across the way, dotted with a blue plastic bed and a speck of a person.

I left New York in September, on a red eye flight vastly cheaper than the rest. I put my toothbrush and toothpaste into the front pocket of my luggage, squeezed the air out of my mattress, and left. I hadn't left a trace in that home of mine, and it didn’t leave any on me either. When I left New York, I felt nothing. It was almost like I had never set foot in the city, forgetting to socialize with the locals the way someone could leave their hat at a bar.

I never knew if the man across the canyon hated coming home to a loft like I did. I wondered if it bothered him too, the lack of walls or rooms to compartmentalize the space. I wondered if he didn’t like to eat at home, if he felt sick when he watched the sunrise. I wondered if when he looked at the tidepooled city, if he also saw salvation. If he wondered every day from eight to eight-ten about what a dangly thing of a human would seem like to the loft across if it was spit from the edge of a narrow, four foot balcony.
A bit long, I suppose. Thought I'd post some prose.
Obadiah Grey Dec 2013
Sphincter factor nine approaches
food for the fish n roaches
methinks its time for me perhaps
to open up the rearward *****.


------------------------------------
AAChoo !!

Oh, liddle sister, Josephine,
you sure don't keep your
nose real clean.
got stalactites
o' pure pea green
my infectious sibling
snot machine.
----------------------------------------
I thought that I might shoot the breeze
with God or Mephistopheles
and ask them please to ease my wheeze
of my bad back and dodgy knees
---------------------------
Croak with the raven
bluff with the crow
the urchin
the field mouse
beneath the hedgerow
in a flurry they scurry
away away go.
Yelp with the *****
howl with the hound
and bay at the moon
till the sun comes around.
------------------------------------------
Gino's bar and grill.

Away, away afore Bacchus
doles out befuddlement
and Morpheus has his way,
lest I awake to find myself
in the company of
sodamistic bedfellows
with buggery in mind.
---------------------------------
Harry Potter has grown a beard
he lives alone and turned out weird.
Dumbledore, Albus, no more
turned his toes and 'ad a snore,
Voldemort, who's *** is taut
has no nose with which to snort.
====================

Ahem !!

Behind two Lilies- sits Rose,
then Daisies
for two and a bit rows.
with Poppy, and *****
Petunia, Primrose.
and Bryony - who gets up
- my nose.
----------------------------------------------
Amen.
God bless the Cows - for beef burgers.
God bless the Pig - for their bacon.
God bless the wife n her sharp knife
for the slice of their **** she's taken.

-------------------------------------------------
We can, no more fetter the sea to the shore
nor the clouds to the sky
or tether the glint
in a lovers eye,
As sure as the shore loves the sea
so shall I love thee, together,
together for eternity,

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

It bends for thee
sweet chevin,
the cane thats cleaved
by three,
wilt thou now
sweet chevin
yield, my friend ,
for me.
-------------------------------------------------
There's Marmalade then Marmite
and Jams thats jammed between
the buttered bread of bard-dom
a poets sweet cuisine.
---------------------------------------------
I took up campanology
and fired up my ****.
I rang that bell
to ******* hell
till the busies
came along.
--------------------------------------------
so, I've been whittling away
at a buoyant ****-
fashioned something approximating
a poo canoe-
in it, I intend to
surf the **** tsunami of old age
to-- death;
I have named it Public - Service - Pension.


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

A surreptitious delightful tryst,
with my honey, my sebaceous cyst.
she's my pimple, my wart,
my gumboil consort.
she's the zip, in which
my *******, got caught.
--------------------------------------
Frayed at the bottoms
ripped at the knee.
baggy and saggy
big enough for three.
faded and jaded
and stained with ***
but I'm due for a new pair--
Yippeeeee!!

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

Ther­e's Cockerel in my ear
and he bills and coo's for you
whenever you are near
goes - **** a doodle doo !!!!!,,,,,,,,

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

Oh,­ for the snap shut skin
in the blue twang of youth
and to un-crack the spine
on the book of love.
now the gulping years
have flown away
we take sips of the night
and are spoon fed the day.

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

Zeus made the Moose to be somewhat obtuse,
a big deer- rather queer- I fear.
then God gave him the nod to look funny and odd
the spitting image of you - my dear !!!

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

Knobbly Nobby.

Nobby has a great big nose
a great big nose has he,
and nobby knows
that his big nose,
is big, as big can be,
nobby has two knobbly knees
two knobbly knees has he,
his knobbly knees,
are as knobely
as knobbly knees can be,
don’t pity dear old nobby
for soon it’s plain to see,
that nobby has a great big ****
as big, as big as three !
now nobbys **** is knobly,
as knobly as a **** can be,
so nose and knee and ****
make three,
and we - are ****- ely.

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

The Woman that wouldn't eat meat,
had reeaally, reeaally big feet,
her **** was as big as an hermaphrodite brig
and her **** were as hard as concrete….


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

Hearken the clarion call of the crows
afore the snow-
they caw,
hey, get your **** into gear lads-
we gotta feckin go !!!

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

Gods pad

I took a peek within
your house
wherein on pew, I spied
a mouse,
and in his hand,
a Bible clasped,
and out his mouth,
a parable rasped,

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

I'd say she had
a pigeon loft in
her eyes and
bluebells up
her nose.

But then again
I wear a flat cap

and stroll through meadows.

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

Would you care to buy our house?
It's minus Mouse n devoid o' Louse,!
Spiders, Roaches, Bugs or other,
have all been eaten by my brother,
snaffled up n swallowed down
then jus' crapped out a - yellowish brown.
so would you care to buy our house?
from an oddly pair -- devoid of nous

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

Though the Crows got her eyes
and the Worms got her gut.
comes as no surprise
death can't keep her mouth shut.

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

Bevelled slick edges
and reeaal eeaasy slopes.
Chilli dip wedges
with fresh artichokes.
Wanton loose wenches
and swivel hipped ******
Daft dawgs and dentures
and granddad - who snores.

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

Been whittling away at a buoyant ****
and fashioned something approximating a canoe,
in it, I intend to surf the **** tsunami of old age;
I named it, "Public service pension"

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

.
Well,
     I could wax on the wings of a butterfly
but, I ain't that kind o' guy.
rather kick the nuts off ******* squirrels
pluck the wings off - blue assed fly.
I'm the stuff that flops off dog chops
when he's up for it and high.
an infection in your sphincter,
a well
that's jus' run dry.

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

befeathered­ and bright scarlet
is my ladies bonnet,
jauntily askew and -
lilting on a paramours
grin.

"- Gladlaughffi -"

I'm reliably informed that dear ol' Muma
sported a goatee around his **** sphincter,
now, whilst this is merely educated speculation
from my esteemed friend his "groom of the stool" ! 
who was in fact required to wear a mask,
ear muffs and a blindfold whilst he went about his business,
He did possess reeaaally sensitive fingertips
somewhat akin to a blind man reading brail,,
and, swore blind that said "**** sphincter' spoke him in Arabic
and asked him for a quick trim, (short back and sides)
I myself being a practising proctologist of some repute
am inclined to believe my friend the "groom of the stool"
as I've come recognise -- Arsolian when I hear it !!!!!!!!
-------------------------------------

In a Belfast sink by the plughole
where hair and gum gunk meet
'erman the germ-man  and toe jam
bop the bacillus beat.

________

Doctor this I know as fact
that I have a blocked digestive tract,
I'm all bunged up and cannot go
my trump and pump is - somewhat slow.
I need unction jollop for junction wallop
some sorta lotion to give me motion.
If you could please just ease my wheeze
then I needn't grunt and push and squeeze.

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

They are breaking out the thwacking sticks
and sparking Godly clogs
pulling tongues through narrowed lips
at the infidel yankee dogs.

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

As a paid up member of the
lumpen bourgeoisie poetry appreciation society
I can confirm without fear of contradiction
that poetry is indeed baggy underwear
with ample ball room, voluminous in the extreme
and takes into account
the need for the free flow of flatulent gassiness
that is the want of a ****** up poet.

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

She's a rough hewn Trapezoidal gal
a gongoozler o' the ol' canal.
She's copper bottomed n fly boat Sal.

I'll have thee know that
that there hat
is a magic hat,
it renders me invisible
to the arty intelligentsia
and roots me firmly
in the lumpen proletariat .
-------------------------------------------------------
Said the sneaky Scotsman, Jim Blaik.
if the pension, you wish to partake,
bend over my son, lets get this thing done
and cop for this thick trouser snake !!

I met my uncle Albert,
down at Asda, in aisle three;
he got there in a Mazda,
jus' a smidgen after me,
said he'd traversed Sainsburys,
Tesco Liddle n the Spar,
but not one o' them flogged Caviar
Truffles or Foie gras.


He sidled past the pork pies
streaky bacon turkey thighs
a headin for the french fries
n forsaken knock down buys,
shimmied 'round the ankle biters;
expectant mums to be,
popin pills for bloated ills
in the haberdashery.

Fandango'd o'er the cornflakes
and the spillage in isle four

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

I'm linier and analogue,
a ribbon microphone man
mired in the dust of the monochromatic,
the basement, the attic.

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

Simple simon met miss Tymon going to the fair,
said simple simon to miss Tymon - "pfhwarr what a luverly pair"
of silken thighs and big brown eyes and scrumptious wobbly bits,
Said simple Simon to miss Tymon---------- shame about you **** !!!

So sad sweet Shirl thought she'd give a whirl to clubbercise n pound

Squat, slightly,
tilt head 45°
and squint.
See the shimmering blurry
dot in the distance?
That, timorous ****,
is ME !
Fast twitching my
narrow white ****
to the pub.

There was a young lady named Sue.
whose ***** and **** was askew,
whilst taking a ****
she'd aim it and miss
and she lifted 'er hat when she blew.


Oh Mon Dieu !!

Obi.
Crystal lived alone in the cabin Ray had built for her. Ray had left long ago but she thought of him often and sometimes went to see him in the city. She was an artist and a dabbler in many fields. Her house was a kaleidoscope of stained glass windows and half finished art projects. It was built almost entirely of wood with a beautiful stairway to a loft bedroom replete with a skylight window on the stars. Set in the mouth of a valley next to a clear stream the cabin looked almost as if it had grown there.

Crystal spent most of her time on her art projects, in fact she made her living that way. She was well known for the macabre nature of her works and they sold well at the local art fairs. Most of the scenes she painted could not possibly have existed on earth. Take for example the orange sky and purple mountains of Mariners Delight or the river of blood in Cosmic Conception.

Often Crystal would meet Ray at the art shows and they would discuss his books or her latest works. It was just such an occasion that preceded the first of her dreams.

Although Crystal had often dreamt of playing in a large meadow surrounded by reflections of her art work this dream had been different. She awoke from a scene in the woods where she had been the object of a grotesque conclave of creatures almost beyond description. There had been a huge goat like creature leading a chant, "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Rada nema nestos Yreba", for a group of creatures that resembled animals. There was a black toad sitting on a rock of seemingly impossible crystalline form, while an agile spider danced on the spokes of its luminous web above her. The smell of blood, the heat of the fire, and the constant and oppressive chant, "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Rada nema nestos Yreba" with all eyes directed at her. She woke with a start, it was early morning, her bed was a tangled mess, and she was covered with sweat. She felt she could almost smell wood smoke, and somewhere in her mind she could still hear the echos of the horrible chant.

It wasn't until almost a year later that the dream repeated itself. She had just completed what she considered her greatest work, a large mural like painting called Id Conclusion. It was a matrix of human forms in contorted and deformed conditions against a backdrop of misty images of human holocaust, war machines, and atomic clouds. She had gone to bed in a storm of thoughts on human depravation and greed. The scene was the same, the spider, the goat, the half human animals, all seemed the same, except for the chant, it was different. "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Raga mantra nestos reale, Yreba Yreba Shiva kommt da." Lightening cracked and a creature appeared. He seemed a man but was built more like a large monkey. Light seemed to follow him like an aura. He was the obvious master of the conclave and all stood back at his approach.

Crystal was lying on the stone altar in the center of the glade and although not bound she was incapable of motion while held in Yreba's gaze. That this creature was Yreba was obvious since all had bowed down now and the chant had changed, "Yreba Yreba teach us to grow." Crystals eyes were glazed and her naked body shown in Yreba's light. All her past works were floating across her mind like a collage. Lost in ecstasy she responded to his aggression like a wanton beast, screaming and writhing in the flow of his energy.

She woke to find her cabin in shambles and she was lying in the center of the living room on the floor, she panicked and ran to her car, slammed it into gear, and sped off down the road.

Ray was sitting in his office at the University that morning when Crystal burst into the room. "Ray, Ray, I've had a dream, a horrible dream, it was, I was!" "Slow down Crystal! You've had a what?" said Ray. Crystal sat down in a ball of frenzy and continued.

About an hour later Crystal had finished her story. Ray spoke, "So you say this is only the second time you've had this dream. Tell me more about Yreba. Does he resemble any of your art works?" "No", she said, "He seemed a lot more like that creature you told me about that day we were discussing witchcraft. The one who was supposed to be the personification of ****** desire evoked for the *** ****** of the ancient Persians."

Ray walked to his bookshelves (he was a professor of ancient mythology and religions) and pulled out a book called Necromancer by Abdule Azerod. "As I recall" he said "that creature was also a god of fertility." He thumbed slowly through the book, "yes, here it is. What did you say this creatures name was? Yreba? Very strange that's almost exactly this Persian deities name, Youruba. It seems he was evoked every year on the vernal equinox to assure ****** reproductivity and if you think that's frightening, feature this, last night was the vernal equinox." Crystal was stunned. "Do you think there's a connection" she stammered? "Don't be silly girl, this was three thousand years ago. Why don't we drive out to your cabin and see if we can find some clues."

Twenty minutes later they were standing in Crystal's cabin. What had seemed so disorderly to Crystal in the morning was now clearly a purposeful state of order. All of her sculptures were arranged neatly on the stairs to the loft, and her pictures were arranged so as to face the spot on the floor where she had awakened. On the floor where she had lain was a large five pointed star. "What does it mean Ray?" "I think it's a pentagram" he stated. "Is anything missing?" "Not that I can see" she said. "I don't think we had better stay" he said, "Find what you need and we'll go back to my house. You can stay there until we figure it out."

Crystal never returned to the cabin. Ray sold it for her and bought her a new house in the city.

Crystal got sick a few months later. She was sitting in the doctors office now awaiting his return. "I have good news" he said. "Good news" Crystal groaned. "Yes" he said, "Your pregnant."
Aliens can make you pregnant of mind, it's the hawkowl facts.
I named my bird dog Yreba.......I'm in so much trouble!!
Alan S Bailey Feb 2015
I remember lying there in the greenish sleeping bag,
Staring up at the wooden ceiling with all the dust,
The cobwebs sway in slightest amounts of air,
And falling asleep slowly, the loft so full of must.
This sinking sensation comes over me and I can see
A dark shadow in the other room, it moves across the
Doorway and looks as I call out for someone anyone
And in panic I have a total feeling of doom.

But this is just the beginning, I wake up in beads of sweat,
Is this really my life or dream, have I truly woken up yet...?

This story I hear tell of a man across the halls,
Who would walk toward the other side
At half past 12 at night as my friend recalls,
A dark visage, a shadowy veil, came out
When the daylight would subside.
The story as I recall keeps me up sometimes,
He had no eyes, again I repeat, you could see right
Through his eyes!
They bet me I couldn’t spend the night
Locked up in the Abbot’s loft,
Up where recusants once, in fright
Would wait for the stake at Pentecost.
They’d once piled ******* high in the square
And taunted all night long,
When peasants stood in the firelight
In a massive, cheering throng.

But that was hundreds of years ago
So of course I said I could,
I should have known there was something wrong
When I saw the man in the hood,
The loft was next to the church bell tower
And would creak when they pulled the rope
Of the giant bell that sat in its bower
To wait commands from the Pope.

I climbed the circular, rickety stair
And they came and locked me in,
There wasn’t a spark of light in there
It was dark, as black as sin,
And all there was was a narrow bed
On a hard, old wooden plank,
A single cover to keep me warm
But I knew just who to thank.

They played the silliest games, of course,
They would howl outside the door,
Just as I started to settle down
I would hear this terrible roar,
Somehow the timbers would start to creak
When they put a strain on the rope,
And then the bell with a sound like hell
Would boom, and I’d almost choke.

I lay the night in a fevered sleep
But I swear someone came in,
I felt a breeze from the open door
And that coarse, harsh breath of sin,
But then a gurgling, choking sound
As my hair stood up on end,
I stayed curled up in my dark surround
As the door creaked once, then slammed.

When morning came, a sliver of light
Shone in through a rafter beam,
It fell upon a terrible sight
A nightmare, wrapped in a dream,
A man, whose body lay by the bed
His throat all ragged and torn,
And blood in puddles of horrible dread,
I wished I’d never been born.

They must have rushed on up to my screams
Flung open the padlocked door,
Then stood in silence, staring at me
And what lay dead on the floor,
I saw him then, the man in the hood
He’d wanted someone to blame,
And there I was, all covered in blood
With friends to witness my shame.

They’d bet me I couldn’t spend the night
Locked up in the Abbot’s loft,
Up where recusants once, in fright
Would wait for the stake at Pentecost.
But now my nights are spent in a cell
Dreaming of death and blood,
And why he’d want to send me to hell
That infamous man in the hood.

David Lewis Paget
Alone we two at this time it's true
With loving upon our mind~
The fire burned as our hearts yearned
For the bonding of two hearts to find~
High within a country loft warm and soft
A world away from what we both know~
Two souls have we been with a destiny
To have both our hearts so inlove glow~
There were largest candles lighting the shadows
And there was music to play so soft~
The wind outside it sang it's natural tune
But so warm were we within the country loft~
From different worlds we two had come
But much the same within were we~
As we two had found our desires common ground
Within our high loft destiny~
How our hearts radiated prejudged joy
As our eyes had found that special glow~
And we became each others dream come true
For that first time that we came to know~
With the flickering fire light and candles bright
We drifted away into our own time~
A moment ever so dear as our love drew near
That special time that was yours and mine~
Time there and then for us stood still
As the wind blew and we heard night birds call~
And through the night with love and flickering light
Somewhere I'm sure a star did fall~
Sensuality as never for us known before
We reached places our souls had never known~
Not in any way aware of the world outside
Already we two learning how our love had grown~
At times not even aware that we were up there
Within this warmest loft so very high~
And we became one as the sky and the sun
And as within it the birds that fly~
We two taking our fondest longest time
Upon this one first night of our nights~
No way could we put into words at all
Our very hearts emotional flight of all flights~
Now as we two dream of life's past water in streams
We wish we could go back to where it begin~
Such sublime first time ecstasy for us both
Feeling to not dream of same almost a sin~
Returning after that night to your own world
I too sadly then made my retreat~
Both walking so ever high as dawn drew nigh
I can still hear your dancing feet~
There within a warm loft with music soft
You and I had been to places ever so new~
And we both learnt as fire and candles burnt
And outside how the wind it blew~

Terrence Michael Sutton
copyright 2007
Talarah Shepherd May 2014
Loft for the weighted memories still stuck to earth by way of highways in mind deciding worth lost to the odds just might light your best and not the worst to leave you burned and make you hurt with a hole left mid breast so the whole heart started at first sight turns wild in flight and down to depths of stress plumbed once per month while you cry out little droplets blessed with time passed and spent at life's expense, listless and bound to recollect proud moments of ownership, passe notions of leadership, the one who leads and was led is nondescript, if it's turbulence or asphalt smooth to speed in sleep in place of days waking, walking two by four recede to dream where you toss and kick fears and pain away under thick rain you'd rather dry with orange rays and haze of heat, one mute mouthed faux biker writer always at the call though no admittance, transmits recognition of what feels like martian love at collision where no rocks were hit but rifts roared and wracked the soaring sky, pyres and stars reflected in moist eyes at night with even gentle wind or slight breeze, these fragments of us chipped off at cycle's start darkness whether live or lie, do not comply to be cautious when the very thought, though heavy, brings loft for the weighted bevy of ties that chain what happiness we weep to celebrate.
There is a pixie in my loft
I hear her tip toeing up there
at night I do hear her giggling
singing sweet songs of wonder

I know where she has been
for she always deposits a rock or two
all shiny and polished
and all with cute smiley faces

I see her peaking into my own rock collection
do you know, I'd give her one or two
without her I'd be rather lost
for she is my pixie in my loft


By Christos Andreas Kourtis aka NeonSolaris



By NeonSolaris
© 2013 NeonSolaris (All rights reserved)
Verdae Geissler Jun 2013
This is one of the great memories I have of the, rare but precious, moments I spent with my daddy. I was all of,maybe, six years old. And this is how it went dow that night...

It was during a wedding party for my dad’s good friend Billy Phibin, where he and I would pull off more than a couple of our wonderfully delicious pranks.  Mostly though, we would put to test our excellent skill in ******* off his wife, while amusing all the  wedding guests. And with a style all our own,  we would leave our  mark on a couple of “celebutants” of the New York, Atlanta art scene. My dad and I were quite a team.
I am sure we left our mark, to this very day, on those silly chicks!

As I recall,  one of the two, along with a terrible fake British accent, and some funky 70′s, pre-punk eclectic outfit, was wearing this pair of truly, unforgettable, green sunglasses.
...The kind that would put ol’ Elton to shame!

My dad and I,  when we weren’t throwing bricks, with Harold Kelling, off the top of the old Atlanta warehouse, followed the two celebutants around the party, heckling them through out the night.
...Or, when we weren't reaching for the neon coca cola sign, which seemed so close I thought we might actually be able to touch it, we razzed and heckled the crowd.

The warehouse seemed more like a huge tree house, full of everything wonderful and exciting, than a downtown loft, in the worst neighborhood possible, and where a man might actually be mugged and left for dead in the street!

My dad and I had indulged ourselves in all the boring fun we could stand at this point. Plus, the celeb chicks were getting ready to leave.  So we set our mischief into action.
It was crazy.
Like syncronicity.
...We never planned a thing,  yet we both knew what the plan was, and what the next move was going to be.
So like we were one entity, and in unison, we followed those two chicks to their swank little antique convertible, where we inevitably ended up, absolutely, tricking one of those silly chicks out of her “funky green sun glasses”!  
Not to mention her phone number, for my dad, no less!
My daddy and I were on a roll!
We laughed and laughed as I put them on, then ran.
Wearing those funky green sunglasses!                                  
"Well, that was fun!", my dad exclaimed.
"What's next Daddy?", I screamed with delight!
With a wink and a smile, we were off again....
That is when we really did it up!
We threw it all to the wind!
..and the real fun began!
Hell, we were already in deep **** with Linda Phibin and Da Mama!
....why not have some REAL fun!

...So, as we watched the little antique sporty speed off into the distance, my dad and I set our plan into action...

Let me take a moment to explain the entrance to this loft. It had a very narrow and steep stairway, which led, abruptly, to the sidewalk outside.
So if a man were to loose his balance, it would pretty much be over!

Back to the scene of the crime...

I will, again, note that this staircase was very narrow, steep, and old.

If a man were to fall, he would, inevitably,
land, face first, onto the ***** sidewalk.

...As my dad got busy positioning himself to look as if he'd fallen down the staircase.
He went on to position his face and wine cup just right...
... with them both spilling out onto the sidewalk...!

Now, my job was to sneak back in to the loft's tiny kitchen to get some "blood" for around his mouth and hand.
Off I went...
... I sneaked past the front room, then past the swing, onto the kitchen, people smiling at me the whole way.
... never knowing what was up my sleave...
Finally, I arrived in the cramped little kitchen.
I proceeded, in stealth mode, on to the fridge for ketchup.

Hah! mission accomplished!

I was headed back to the scene, when the
bride caught me by the arm, as she was mixing up some drinks.
She smiled and winked.
...I will always think, because she knew my dad,
and by reading the look on my face, as I stood there with her bottle of ketchup in hand,
she secretly loved whatever  it was, we were up to!
So she gave me the go ahead with then nudge of her chin. T
Then off  I was, once again!
We proceeded to put the finishing touches on our grotesque scene....
... A scene that would most probably now, cause, even, me to have a heart attack,
were I to come upon it!
As I reached my dad, who was all sprawled acroos and down the stairway, I screamed, in my kid voice; "Mission accomplished, daddy!"
"Here's the blood!"
We squirted it in all the right places....
After everything was just right, I  already knew my next mission:
collect the crew, and bring them out to the horrific scene!
Now, I must remind the reader, that "the crew" consisted of my step mother, who had been fed up long before now, and then there was Linda Phibin, who'd been over my dad's antics since 1972!
They made up the "crew"!
Just so you know, they were acting as if they'd had less no fun that evening.
and if they had to put up with “just one more thing out of us”, they would both implode.
Thinking back now, I can say with pride;
The scene was perfect!
We had everything in place.
Now for the theatrical perfomance of my entire childhood...
...My dad looked like **** Jagger, or even Keith Richards during the thrushes of a major overdose, or perhaps Joe Cocker, on a bad drunk...
....With his head all ******, from all the ketchup we'd squirted all over the  place, there he  was.
.. My dad with his bloodly head hanging out into the city’s dark, *****, and dangerous sidewalk!

After, once again, climbing the stairs, I rushed in on the crowd.
I was a kid in hysterics!
I was screaming about, how my dad had lost his balance.
and was, now, lying on the stairs, bleeding into the street.
I led them back to “the scene of the crime”,
sobbing the entire way.

...It was better than we ever could have imagined!
They swallowed it all, hook line and sinker!
They were all freaking out, screaming for an ambulance, medic, anything!
I even remember hearing someone scream,
“Oh God, I think his neck is broken!”
...Then another scream,
”And so are his legs!”
I'll never know how he continued to lay there without cracking up,
but then at that very moment,  
my dad sprung to life, acting as if he were some kind of zombie creature!
They really freaked at that.
... crying and screaming, and freaking out!
Then they screamed some more...
...I was ecstatic, bursting with pure admiration and awe of my daddy’s brilliant performance.
I was walking on air knowing we'd pulled it off , once again!
Meanwhile,
Let's just say, the others were a lot less amused.
So we all piled back into the momobee.
Then headed home, with them scolding us, and ******* the whole way.
....Some things never change!

Even then, my dad and I kept our private little buzz going....

...on  Ketchup and Green Sunglasses!
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
There’s a film by John Schlesinger called the Go-Between in which the main character, a boy on the cusp of adolescence staying with a school friend on his family’s Norfolk estate, discovers how passion and *** become intertwined with love and desire. As an elderly man he revisits the location of this discovery and the woman, who we learn changed his emotional world forever. At the start of the film we see him on a day of grey cloud and wild wind walking towards the estate cottage where this woman now lives. He glimpses her face at a window – and the film flashes back fifty years to a summer before the First War.
 
It’s a little like that for me. Only, I’m sitting at a desk early on a spring morning about to step back nearly forty years.*
 
It was a two-hour trip from Boston to Booth Bay. We’d flown from New York on the shuttle and met Larry’s dad at St Vincent’s. We waited in his office as he put away the week with his secretary. He’d been in theatre all afternoon. He kept up a two-sided conversation.
 
‘You boys have a good week? Did you get to hear Barenboim at the Tully? I heard him as 14-year old play in Paris. He played the Tempest -  Mary, let’s fit Mrs K in for Tuesday at 5.0 - I was learning that very Beethoven sonata right then. I couldn’t believe it - that one so young could sound –there’s that myocardial infarction to review early Wednesday. I want Jim and Susan there please -  and look so  . . . old, not just mature, but old. And now – Gloria and I went to his last Carnegie – he just looks so **** young.’
 
Down in the basement garage Larry took his dad’s keys and we roared out on to Storow drive heading for the Massachusetts Turnpike. I slept. Too many early mornings copying my teacher’s latest – a concerto for two pianos – all those notes to be placed under the fingers. There was even a third piano in the orchestra. Larry and his Dad talked incessantly. I woke as Dr Benson said ‘The sea at last’. And there we were, the sea a glazed blue shimmering in the July distance. It might be lobster on the beach tonight, Gloria’s clam chowder, the coldest apple juice I’d ever tasted (never tasted apple juice until I came to Maine), settling down to a pile of art books in my bedroom, listening to the bell buoy rocking too and fro in the bay, the beach just below the house, a house over 150 years old, very old they said, in the family all that time.
 
It was a house full that weekend,  4th of July weekend and there would be fireworks over Booth Bay and lots of what Gloria called necessary visiting. I was in love with Gloria from the moment she shook my hand after that first concert when my little cummings setting got a mention in the NYT. It was called forever is now and God knows where it is – scored for tenor and small ensemble (there was certainly a vibraphone and a double bass – I was in love from afar with a bassist at J.). Oh, this being in love at seventeen. It was so difficult not to be. No English reserve here. People talked to you, were interested in you and what you thought, had heard, had read. You only had to say you’d been looking at a book of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings and you’d be whisked off to some uptown gallery to see his early watercolours. And on the way you’d hear a life story or some intimate details of friend’s affair, or a great slice of family history. Lots of eye contact. Just keep the talk going. But Gloria, well, we would meet in the hallway and she’d grasp my hand and say – ‘You know, Larry says that you work too hard. I want you to do nothing this weekend except get some sun and swim. We can go to Johnson’s for tennis you know. I haven’t forgotten you beat me last time we played!’ I suppose she was mid-thirties, a shirt, shorts and sandals woman, not Larry’s mother but Dr Benson’s third. This was all very new to me.
 
Tim was Larry’s elder brother, an intern at Felix-Med in NYC. He had a new girl with him that weekend. Anne-Marie was tall, bespectacled, and supposed to be ferociously clever. Gloria said ‘She models herself on Susan Sontag’. I remember asking who Sontag was and was told she was a feminist writer into politics. I wondered if Anne-Marie was a feminist into politics. She certainly did not dress like anyone else I’d seen as part of the Benson circle. It was July yet she wore a long-sleeved shift buttoned up to the collar and a long linen skirt down to her ankles. She was pretty but shapeless, a long straight person with long straight hair, a clip on one side she fiddled with endlessly, purposefully sometimes. She ignored me but for an introductory ‘Good evening’, when everyone else said ‘Hi’.
 
The next day it was hot. I was about the house very early. The apple juice in the refrigerator came into its own at 6.0 am. The bay was in mist. It was so still the bell buoy stirred only occasionally. I sat on the step with this icy glass of fragrant apple watching the pearls of condensation form and dissolve. I walked the shore, discovering years later that Rachel Carson had walked these paths, combed these beaches. I remember being shocked then at the concern about the environment surfacing in the late sixties. This was a huge country: so much space. The Maine woods – when I first drove up to Quebec – seemed to go on forever.
 
It was later in the day, after tennis, after trying to lie on the beach, I sought my room and took out my latest score, or what little of it there currently was. It was a piano piece, a still piece, the kind of piece I haven’t written in years, but possibly should. Now it’s all movement and complication. Then, I used to write exactly what I heard, and I’d heard Feldman’s ‘still pieces’ in his Greenwich loft with the white Rauschenbergs on the wall. I had admired his writing desk and thought one day I’ll have a desk like that in an apartment like this with very large empty paintings on the wall. But, I went elsewhere . . .
 
I lay on the bed and listened to the buoy out in the bay. I thought of a book of my childhood, We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea by Arthur Ransome. There’s a drawing of a Beach End Buoy in that book, and as the buoy I was listening to was too far out to see (sea?) I imagined it as the one Ransome drew from Lowestoft harbour. I dozed I suppose, to be woken suddenly by voices in the room next door. It was Tim and Anne-Marie. I had thought the house empty but for me. They were in Tim’s room next door. There was movement, whispering, almost speech, more movement.
 
I was curious suddenly. Anne-Marie was an enigma. Tim was a nice guy. Quiet, dedicated (Larry had said), worked hard, read a lot, came to Larry’s concerts, played the cello when he could, Bach was always on his record player. He and Anne-Marie seemed so close, just a wooden wall away. I stood by this wall to listen.
 
‘Why are we whispering’, said Anne-Marie firmly, ‘For goodness sake no one’s here. Look, you’re a doctor, you know what to do surely.’
 
‘Not yet.’
 
‘But people call you Doctor, I’ve heard them.’
 
‘Oh sure. But I’m not, I’m just a lousy intern.’
 
‘A lousy intern who doesn’t want to make love to me.’
 
Then, there was rustling, some heavy movement and Tim saying ‘Oh Anne, you mustn’t. You don’t need to do this.’
 
‘Yes I do. You’re hard and I’m wet between my legs. I want you all over me and inside me.  I wanted you last night so badly I lay on my bed quite naked and masturbated hoping you come to me. But you didn’t. I looked in on you and you were just fast asleep.’
 
‘You forget I did a 22-hour call on Thursday’.
 
“And the rest. Don’t you want me? Maybe your brother or that nice English boy next door?’
 
‘Is he next door? ‘
 
‘If he is, I don’t care. He looks at me you know. He can’t work me out. I’ve been ignoring him. But maybe I shouldn’t. He’s got beautiful eyes and lovely hands’.
 
There was almost silence for what seemed a long time. I could hear my own breathing and became very aware of my own body. I was shaking and suddenly cold. I could hear more breathing next door. There was a shaft of intense white sunlight burning across my bed. I imagined Anne-Marie sitting cross-legged on the floor next door, her hand cupping her right breast fingers touching the ******, waiting. There was a rustle of movement. And the door next door slammed.
 
Thirty seconds later Tim was striding across the garden and on to the beach and into the sea . . .
 
There was probably a naked young woman sitting on the floor next door I thought. Reading perhaps. I stayed quite still imagining she would get up, open her door and peek into my room. So I moved away from the wall and sat on the bed trying hard to look like a composer working on a score. And she did . . . but she had clothes on, though not her glasses or her hair clip, and she wore a bright smile – lovely teeth I recall.
 
‘Good afternoon’, she said. ‘You heard all that I suppose.’
 
I smiled my nicest English smile and said nothing.
 
‘Tell me about your girlfriend in England.’
 
She sat on the bed, cross-legged. I was suddenly overcome by her scent, something complex and earthy.
 
‘My girlfriend in England is called Anne’.
 
‘Really! Is she pretty? ‘
 
I didn’t answer, but looked at my hands, and her feet, her uncovered calves and knees. I could see the shape of her slight ******* beneath her shirt, now partly unbuttoned. I felt very uncomfortable.
 
‘Tell me. Have you been with this Anne in England?’
 
‘No.’ I said, ‘I ‘d like to, but she’s very shy.’
 
‘OK. I’m an Anne who’s not shy.’
 
‘I’ve yet to meet a shy American.’
 
‘They exist. I could find you a nice shy girl you could get to know.’
 
‘I’d quite like to know you, but you’re a good bit older than me.’
 
‘Oh that doesn’t matter. You’re quite a mature guy I think. I’d go out with you.’
 
‘Oh I doubt that.’
 
‘Would you go out with me?’
 
‘You’re interesting.  Gloria says you’re a bit like Susan Sontag. Yes, I would.’
 
‘Wow! did she really? Ok then, that’s a deal. You better read some Simone de Beauvoir pretty quick,’  and she bounced off the bed.
 
After supper  - lobster on the beach - Gloria cornered me and said. ‘I gather you heard all this afternoon.’
 
I remembered mumbling a ‘yes’.
 
‘It’s OK,’ she said, ‘Anne-Marie told me all. Girls do this you know – talk about what goes on in other people’s bedrooms. What could you do? I would have done the same. Tim’s not ready for an Anne-Marie just yet, and I’m not sure you are either. Not my business of course, but gentle advice from one who’s been there. ‘
 
‘Been where?’
 
‘Been with someone older and supposedly wiser. And remembering that wondering-what-to-do-about-those-feelings-around-*** and all that. There’s a right time and you’ll know it when it comes. ‘
 
She kissed me very lightly on my right ear, then got up and walked across the beach back to the house.
Alan S Bailey Apr 2015
Two knocks at my door,* I get up to answer-a shadow in the darkness,
A voice asks if they can come in, I don't even recognize them,
I left the door open a little too much last time, I learned not to do that.
Why, you ask? Because I was all alone and on my own then.

I walk towards the door, the voice sounds blurry, kind of faint-
As if dizzyness and despair seems in the air, I clutch the door,
Ready to open it and then without warning "something" comes
To life, I can't seem to see as "it" moves around on the floor!

Then I finally turn on the light, IT'S MY CLOTHING?
I shake it until the bag is still, it's alive somehow what do I do?
I check for the cause, I'm in the cabin loft, I can hear childish laughing-
Chanting again and again-"WELCOME TO THE BEDROOM!"
My head is reeling, I'm wide awake-is this really happening...?
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stars are held in a window
and sometimes the moon,

lopsided stacks of books,
knotty papers are strewn,

i like to rest on the boards,
day dream, scents of pine,

it's quite a lovely mess up,
still have space to dress up,

in a nook are some shelves,
i trained to hold dear photos,

so love to see in my wee loft,
poems, my cat, postcard art,

and my pane glass view I call,
full moon in garland of stars.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
After the painting by Leonard John Fuller

I had promised I would arrive in good time for afternoon tea with Edith and the Aunt. Angela was nervous.
     ‘Edith scares me,’ she said. ‘I feel a foolish girl. I have so little to say that she could possibly be interested in.’
      She had sat up in bed that morning as I dressed. She had frowned, pushed her hair back behind her ears, then curled herself up like a child against my empty pillow. I sat on the bed and then stroked the hand she had reached out to touch me. She was still warm from sleep.
     ‘They are coming to see you,’ she whispered, ‘and to make sure I’m not fooling about with your mother’s house.’
‘I’ve told you, you may do what you like . . .’
‘But I’m not ready . . . and I don’t know how.’
‘Regard it as an adventure my dear, just like everything else.’
‘Well that had been such an adventure,’ she thought. ‘When you drive off each morning I can hardly bare it. It’s good you can’t see how silly I am, and what I do when you are not here.’
        I could imagine, or thought I could imagine. I’d never known such abandon; such a giving that seemed to consume her utterly. She would open herself to this passion of hers and pass out into the deepest sleep, only to wake suddenly and begin again.

Angela felt she had done her best. They’d been here since three, poked about the house and garden for an hour, and then Millicent had brought tea to the veranda. Jack had promised, promised he would look in before surgery, but by 4.30 she had abandoned hope in that safety net, and now launched out yet again onto the tightrope of conversation.
         Edith and the Aunt asked for the fourth time when Dr Phillips would be home. How strange. she thought, to refer to their near relative so, but, she supposed, doctor felt grander and more important than plain Jack. It carried weight, significance, *gravitas
.
       Angela hid her hands, turning her bitten to the quick nails into her lilac frock, hunching her shoulders, feeling a patch of nervous sweat under her thighs.
       ‘He’s probably still at the Cottage Hospital,’ she said gaily, ‘Reassuring his patients before the holiday weekend.’
      She and Jack had planned to drive to St Ives tomorrow, stay at the Mermaid, swim at ‘their’ bay, and sleep in the sun until their bodies dried and they could swim again.
       ‘How strange this situation,’ she considered. ‘Edith and the Aunt in the role of visitors to a house they knew infinitely better than she ever could.’
       The task ahead seemed formidable: being Jack’s wife, bearing Jack’s children, replacing Jack’s mother.
      Edith was thinking,’ What would mother have made of this girl?’ She’s so insipid, so ‘nothing at all’, there wasn’t even a book beside her bed, and her underwear, what little she seemed to wear, all over the place.'
      Edith just had to survey the marital bedroom, the room she had been born in, where she had lost her virginity during Daddy’s 60th party – Alan had been efficient and later pretended it hadn’t happened – she was sixteen and had hardly realised that was ***. Years later she had sat for hours with her mother in this room as, slipping in and out of her morphia-induced sleep, her mother had surveyed her life in short, sometimes surprising statements.
      Meanwhile the Aunt, Daddy’s unmarried younger sister had opened drawers, checked the paintings, looked at Angela’s slight wardrobe, fingered Jack’s ties.
      Edith remembered her as a twenty-something, painfully shy, too shy to swim with her young niece and nephew, always looking towards the house on the cliffs where they lived.
     They were those London artists with their unassorted and various children, negligent clothes and raised voices. The Aunt would wait until they all went into St Ives, for what ever they did in St Ives – drink probably, and creep up to the house and peer into the downstairs windows. It was all so strange what they made, nothing like the art she had seen in Florence with Daddy. It didn’t seem to represent anything. It seemed to be about nothing.
       Downstairs Angela knew. The visit to the bathroom was just too long and unnecessary. She didn’t care, but she did care, as she had cared at her wedding when the Aunt had said how sad it was that she had so little family, so few friends.
       Yet meeting Jack had changed everything. He wanted her to be as she was, she thought. And so she continued to be. All she felt she was this ripe body waiting to be impregnated with her husband’s child. Maybe then she would become someone, fit the Phillips mould, be the good wife, and then be able to deal with Edith and the Aunt.
        That cherub in the alcove, how grotesque! As Edith droned on about the research on her latest historical romance, Angela wondered at its provenance. ‘Daddy ‘ loved that sort of thing, Jack had told her. The house was full of her late father-in-law’s pictures, a compendium of Cornish scenes purchased from the St Ives people. She would burn the lot if she could, and fill the house with those startling canvases she occasionally glimpsed through studio doors in town. She knew one name, Terry Frost. She imagined for a moment covering up the cherub with one of his giant ecstatic spirals of form and colour.
       The chairs and the occasional tables she would disappear to the loft, she would make the veranda a space for walking too and fro. There would be an orange tree at one end and a lemon tree at the other; then a vast bowl on a white plinth in which she could place her garden treasures, rose petals, autumn leaves, feathers and stones. There might be a small sculpture, perhaps something by that gaunt woman with the loud voice, and those three children. Angela had been told she was significant, with a studio at the top of Church Lane.
       Edith had run out of experiences regarding her monthly visits to the reading room of the British Museum. She was doing the ’ two thousand a day, darling’, and The Dowager of Glenriven would be ‘out’ for the Christmas lists. The Aunt had remained silent, motionless, as though conserving her energies for the walk through the cool house to the car.
       ‘Oh Darlings,’ Jack shouted from the hall, ‘I’m just so late.’ Then entering the veranda, ‘Will you forgive me? Edith? Aunt Josie? (kiss, kiss) Such an afternoon . . .’
       Surveying the cluttered veranda Angela now knew she would take this house apart. She had nothing to lose except her sanity. Everything would go, particularly the cherub. She would never repeat such an afternoon.
      She stood up, smoothed her frock, put her arms around Jack and kissed him as passionately as she knew how.
This is the first of my PostCard Pieces - very short stories and prose poems based on postcards I've collected or been given from galleries and museums. I have a box of them, pick one out at random - and see what happens!
Crystal lived alone in the cabin Ray had built for her. Ray had left long ago but she thought of him often and sometimes went to see him in the city. She was an artist and a dabbler in many fields. Her house was a kaleidoscope of stained glass windows and half finished art projects. It was built almost entirely of wood with a beautiful stairway to a loft bedroom replete with a skylight window on the stars. Set in the mouth of a valley next to a clear stream the cabin looked almost as if it had grown there.

Crystal spent most of her time on her art projects, in fact she made her living that way. She was well known for the macabre nature of her works and they sold well at the local art fairs. Most of the scenes she painted could not possibly have existed on earth. Take for example the orange sky and purple mountains of Mariners Delight or the river of blood in Cosmic Conception.

Often Crystal would meet Ray at the art shows and they would discuss his books or her latest works. It was just such an occasion that preceded the first of her dreams.

Although Crystal had often dreamt of playing in a large meadow surrounded by reflections of her art work this dream had been different. She awoke from a scene in the woods where she had been the object of a grotesque conclave of creatures almost beyond description. There had been a huge goat like creature leading a chant, "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Rada nema nestos Yreba", for a group of creatures that resembled animals. There was a black toad sitting on a rock of seemingly impossible crystalline form, while an agile spider danced on the spokes of its luminous web above her. The smell of blood, the heat of the fire, and the constant and oppressive chant, "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Rada nema nestos Yreba" with all eyes directed at her. She woke with a start, it was early morning, her bed was a tangled mess, and she was covered with sweat. She felt she could almost smell wood smoke, and somewhere in her mind she could still hear the echos of the horrible chant.

It wasn't until almost a year later that the dream repeated itself. She had just completed what she considered her greatest work, a large mural like painting called Id Conclusion. It was a matrix of human forms in contorted and deformed conditions against a backdrop of misty images of human holocaust, war machines, and atomic clouds. She had gone to bed in a storm of thoughts on human depravation and greed. The scene was the same, the spider, the goat, the half human animals, all seemed the same, except for the chant, it was different. "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Raga mantra nestos reale, Yreba Yreba Shiva kommt da." Lightening cracked and a creature appeared. He seemed a man but was built more like a large monkey. Light seemed to follow him like an aura. He was the obvious master of the conclave and all stood back at his approach.

Crystal was lying on the stone altar in the center of the glade and although not bound she was incapable of motion while held in Yreba's gaze. That this creature was Yreba was obvious since all had bowed down now and the chant had changed, "Yreba Yreba teach us to grow." Crystals eyes were glazed and her naked body shown in Yreba's light. All her past works were floating across her mind like a collage. Lost in ecstasy she responded to his aggression like a wanton beast, screaming and writhing in the flow of his energy.

She woke to find her cabin in shambles and she was lying in the center of the living room on the floor, she panicked and ran to her car, slammed it into gear, and sped off down the road.

Ray was sitting in his office at the University that morning when Crystal burst into the room. "Ray, Ray, I've had a dream, a horrible dream, it was, I was!" "Slow down Crystal! You've had a what?" said Ray. Crystal sat down in a ball of frenzy and continued.

About an hour later Crystal had finished her story. Ray spoke, "So you say this is only the second time you've had this dream. Tell me more about Yreba. Does he resemble any of your art works?" "No", she said, "He seemed a lot more like that creature you told me about that day we were discussing witchcraft. The one who was supposed to be the personification of ****** desire evoked for the *** ****** of the ancient Persians."

Ray walked to his bookshelves (he was a professor of ancient mythology and religions) and pulled out a book called Necromancer by Abdule Azerod. "As I recall" he said "that creature was also a god of fertility." He thumbed slowly through the book, "yes, here it is. What did you say this creatures name was? Yreba? Very strange that's almost exactly this Persian deities name, Youruba. It seems he was evoked every year on the vernal equinox to assure ****** reproductivity and if you think thats frightening, feature this, last night was the vernal equinox." Crystal was stunned. "Do you think there's a connection" she stammered? "Don't be silly girl, this was seven thousand years ago. Why don't we drive out to your cabin and see if we can find some clues."

Twenty minutes later they were standing in Crystal's cabin. What had seemed so disorderly to Crystal in the morning was now clearly a purposeful state of order. All of her sculptures were arranged neatly on the stairs to the loft, and her pictures were arranged so as to face the spot on the floor where she had awakened. On the floor where she had lain was a large five pointed star. "What does it mean Ray?" "I think it's a pentagram" he stated. "Is anything missing?" "Not that I can see" she said. "I don't think we had better stay" he said, "Find what you need and we'll go back to my house. You can stay there until we figure it out."

Crystal never returned to the cabin. Ray sold it for her and bought her a new house in the city.

Crystal got sick a few weeks later. She was sitting in the doctors office now awaiting his return. "I have good news" he said. "Good news" Crystal groaned. "Yes" he said, "Your pregnant."
I named my bird dog Yreba, I'm in so much trouble!
I

In the depths of the Greyhound Terminal
sitting dumbly on a baggage truck looking at the sky
        waiting for the Los Angeles Express to depart
worrying about eternity over the Post Office roof in
        the night-time red downtown heaven
staring through my eyeglasses I realized shuddering
        these thoughts were not eternity, nor the poverty
        of our lives, irritable baggage clerks,
nor the millions of weeping relatives surrounding the
        buses waving goodbye,
nor other millions of the poor rushing around from
        city to city to see their loved ones,
nor an indian dead with fright talking to a huge cop
        by the Coke machine,
nor this trembling old lady with a cane taking the last
        trip of her life,
nor the red-capped cynical porter collecting his quar-
        ters and smiling over the smashed baggage,
nor me looking around at the horrible dream,
nor mustached ***** Operating Clerk named *****,
        dealing out with his marvelous long hand the
        fate of thousands of express packages,
nor fairy Sam in the basement limping from leaden
        trunk to trunk,
nor Joe at the counter with his nervous breakdown
        smiling cowardly at the customers,
nor the grayish-green whale's stomach interior loft
        where we keep the baggage in hideous racks,
hundreds of suitcases full of tragedy rocking back and
        forth waiting to be opened,
nor the baggage that's lost, nor damaged handles,
        nameplates vanished, busted wires & broken
        ropes, whole trunks exploding on the concrete
        floor,
nor seabags emptied into the night in the final
        warehouse.

                II

Yet ***** reminded me of Angel, unloading a bus,
dressed in blue overalls black face official Angel's work-
        man cap,
pushing with his belly a huge tin horse piled high with
        black baggage,
looking up as he passed the yellow light bulb of the loft
and holding high on his arm an iron shepherd's crook.

                III

It was the racks, I realized, sitting myself on top of
        them now as is my wont at lunchtime to rest
        my tired foot,
it was the racks, great wooden shelves and stanchions
        posts and beams assembled floor to roof jumbled
        with baggage,
--the Japanese white metal postwar trunk gaudily
        flowered & headed for Fort Bragg,
one Mexican green paper package in purple rope
        adorned with names for Nogales,
hundreds of radiators all at once for Eureka,
crates of Hawaiian underwear,
rolls of posters scattered over the Peninsula, nuts to
        Sacramento,
one human eye for Napa,
an aluminum box of human blood for Stockton
and a little red package of teeth for Calistoga-
it was the racks and these on the racks I saw naked
        in electric light the night before I quit,
the racks were created to hang our possessions, to keep
        us together, a temporary shift in space,
God's only way of building the rickety structure of
        Time,
to hold the bags to send on the roads, to carry our
        luggage from place to place
looking for a bus to ride us back home to Eternity
        where the heart was left and farewell tears
        began.

                IV

A swarm of baggage sitting by the counter as the trans-
        continental bus pulls in.
The clock registering 12:15 A.M., May 9, 1956, the
        second hand moving forward, red.
Getting ready to load my last bus.-Farewell, Walnut
        Creek Richmond Vallejo Portland Pacific
        Highway
Fleet-footed Quicksilver, God of transience.
One last package sits lone at midnight sticking up out
        of the Coast rack high as the dusty fluorescent
        light.
        
The wage they pay us is too low to live on. Tragedy
        reduced to numbers.
This for the poor shepherds. I am a communist.
Farewell ye Greyhound where I suffered so much,
        hurt my knee and scraped my hand and built
        my pectoral muscles big as a ******.

                             May 9, 1956
Nigel Morgan Apr 2013
As he walked through the maze of streets from the tube station he wondered just how long it had been since he had last visited this tall red-bricked house. For so many years it had been for him a pied à terre. Those years when the care of infant children dominated his days, when coming up to London for 48 hours seemed such a relief, an escape from the daily round that small people demand. Since his first visits twenty years ago the area bristled with new enterprise. An abandoned Victorian hospital had been turned into expensive apartments; small enterprising businesses had taken over what had been residential property of the pre-war years. Looking up he was conscious of imaginative conversions of roof and loft spaces. What had seemed a wide-ranging community of ages and incomes appeared to have disappeared. Only the Middle Eastern corner shops and restaurants gave back to the area something of its former character: a place where people worked and lived.

It was a tall thin house on four floors. Two rooms at most of each floor, but of a good-size. The ground floor was her London workshop, but as always the blinds were down. In fact, he realised, he’d never been invited into her working space. Over the years she’d come to the door a few times, but like many artists and craftspeople he knew, she fiercely guarded her working space. The door to her studio was never left open as he passed through the hallway to climb the three flights of stairs to her husband’s domain. There was never a chance of the barest peek inside.

Today, she was in New York, and from outside the front door he could hear her husband descend from his fourth floor eyrie. The door was flung open and they greeted each other with the fervour of a long absence of friends. It had been a long time, really too long. Their lives had changed inexplicably. One, living almost permanently in that Italian marvel of waterways and sea-reflected light, the other, still in the drab West Yorkshire city from where their first acquaintance had begun from an email correspondence.

They had far too much to say to one another - on a hundred subjects. Of course the current project dominated, but as coffee (and a bowl of figs and mandarin oranges) was arranged, and they had moved almost immediately he arrived in the attic studio to the minimalist kitchen two floors below, questions were thrown out about partners and children, his activities, and sadly, his recent illness (the stairs had seemed much steeper than he remembered and he was a little breathless when he reached the top). As a guest he answered with a brevity that surprised him. Usually he found such questions needed roundabout answers to feel satisfactory - but he was learning to answer more directly, and being brief, suddenly thought of her and her always-direct questions. She wanted to know something, get something straight, so she asked  - straight - with no ‘going about things’ first. He wanted to get on with the business at hand, the business that preoccupied him, almost to the exclusion of everything else, for the last two days.

When they were settled in what was J’s working space ten years ago now he was immediately conscious that although the custom-made furniture had remained the Yamaha MIDI grand piano and the rack of samplers were elsewhere, along with most of the scores and books. The vast collection of CDs was still there, and so too the pictures and photographs. But there was one painting that was new to this attic room, a Cézanne. He was taken aback for a moment because it looked so like the real thing he’d seen in a museum just weeks before. He thought of the film Notting Hill when William Thacker questions the provenance of the Chagall ‘violin-playing goat’. The size of this Cézanne seemed accurate and it was placed in a similar rather ornate frame to what he knew had framed the museum original. It was placed on right-hand wall as he had entered the room, but some way from the pair of windows that ran almost the length of this studio. The view across the rooftops took in the Tower of London, a mile or so distant. If he turned the office chair in which he was sitting just slightly he could see it easily whilst still paying attention to J. The painting’s play of colours and composition compelled him to stare, as if he had never seen the painting before. But he had, and he remembered that his first sight of it had marked his memory.

He had been alone. He had arrived at the gallery just 15 minutes before it was due to close for the day.  He’d been told about this wonderful must-see octagonal room where around the walls you could view a particularly fine and comprehensive collection of Impressionist paintings. All the great artists were represented. One of Van Gogh’s many Olive Trees, two studies of domestic interiors by Vuillard, some dancing Degas, two magnificent Gaugins, a Seurat field of flowers, a Singer-Sergeant portrait, two Monets - one of a pair of haystacks in a blaze of high-summer light. He had been able to stay in that room just 10 minutes before he was politely asked to leave by an overweight attendant, but afterwards it was as if he knew the contents intimately. But of all these treasures it was Les Grands Arbres by Cézanne that had captured his imagination. He was to find it later and inevitably on the Internet and had it printed and pinned to his notice board. He consulted his own book of Cézanne’s letters and discovered it was a late work and one of several of the same scene. This version, it was said, was unfinished. He disagreed. Those unpainted patches he’d interpreted as pools of dappled light, and no expert was going to convince him otherwise! And here it was again. In an attic studio J. only frequented occasionally when necessity brought him to London.

When the coffee and fruit had been consumed it was time to eat more substantially, for he knew they would work late into the night, despite a whole day tomorrow to be given over to their discussions. J. was full of nervous energy and during the walk to a nearby Iraqi restaurant didn’t waver in his flow of conversation about the project. It was as though he knew he must eat, but no longer had the patience to take the kind of necessary break having a meal offered. His guest, his old friend, his now-being-consulted expert and former associate, was beginning to reel from the overload of ‘difficulties’ that were being put before him. In fact, he was already close to suggesting that it would be in J’s interest if, when they returned to the attic studio, they agreed to draw up an agenda for tomorrow so there could be some semblance of order to their discussions. He found himself wishing for her presence at the meal, her calm lovely smile he knew would charm J. out of his focused self and lighten the rush and tension that infused their current dialogue. But she was elsewhere, at home with her children and her own and many preoccupations, though it was easy to imagine how much, at least for a little while, she might enjoy meeting someone new, someone she’d heard much about, someone really rather exotic and (it must be said) commanding and handsome. He would probably charm her as much as he knew she would charm J.

J. was all and more beyond his guest’s thought-description. He had an intensity and a confidence that came from being in company with intense, confident and, it had to be said, very wealthy individuals. His origins, his beginnings his guest and old friend could only guess at, because they’d never discussed it. The time was probably past for such questions. But his guest had his own ideas, he surmised from a chanced remark that his roots were not amongst the affluent. He had been a free-jazz musician from Poland who’d made waves in the German jazz scene and married the daughter of an arts journalist who happened to be the wife of the CEO of a seriously significant media empire. This happy association enabled him to get off the road and devote himself to educating himself as a composer of avant-garde art music - which he desired and which he had achieved. His guest remembered J’s passion for the music of Luigi Nono (curiously, a former resident of the city in which J. now lived) and Helmut Lachenmann, then hardly known in the UK. J. was already composing, and with an infinite slowness and care that his guest marvelled at. He was painstakingly creating intricate and timbrally experimental string quartets as well as devising music for theatre and experimental film. But over the past fifteen years J. had become increasingly more obsessed with devising software from which his musical ideas might emanate. And it had been to his guest that, all that time ago, J. had turned to find a generous guide into this world of algorithms and complex mathematics, a composer himself who had already been seduced by the promise of new musical fields of possibility that desktop computer technology offered.

In so many ways, when it came to the hard edge of devising solutions to the digital generation of music, J. was now leagues ahead of his former tutor, whose skills in this area were once in the ascendant but had declined in inverse proportion to J’s, as he wished to spend more time composing and less time investigating the means through which he might compose. So the guest was acting now as a kind of Devil’s Advocate, able to ask those awkward disarming questions creative people don’t wish to hear too loudly and too often.

And so it turned out during the next few hours as J. got out some expensive cigars and brandy, which his guest, inhabiting a different body seemingly, now declined in favour of bottled water and dry biscuits. His guest, who had been up since 5.0am, finally suggested that, if he was to be any use on the morrow, bed was necessary. But when he got in amongst the Egyptian cotton sheets and the goose down duvet, sleep was impossible. He tried thinking of her, their last walk together by the sea, breakfast à deux before he left, other things that seemed beautiful and tender by turn . . . But it was no good. He wouldn’t sleep.

The house could have been as silent as the excellent double-glazing allowed. Only the windows of the attic studio next door to his bedroom were open to the night, to clear the room of the smoke of several cigars. He was conscious of that continuous flow of traffic and machine noise that he knew would only subside for a brief hour or so around 4.0am. So he went into the studio and pulled up a chair in front of the painting by Cézanne, in front of this painting of a woodland scene. There were two intertwining arboreal forms, trees of course, but their trunks and branches appeared to suggest the kind of cubist shapes he recognized from Braque. These two forms pulled the viewer towards a single slim and more distant tree backlit by sunlight of a late afternoon. There was a suggestion, in the further distance, of the shapes of the hills and mountains that had so preoccupied the artist. But in the foreground, there on the floor of this woodland glade, were all the colours of autumn set against the still greens of summer. It seemed wholly wrong, yet wholly right. It was as comforting and restful a painting as he could ever remember viewing. Even if he shut his eyes he could wander about the picture in sheer delight. And now he focused on the play of brush strokes of this painting in oils, the way the edge and border of one colour touched against another. Surprisingly, imagined sounds of this woodland scene entered his reverie - a late afternoon in a late summer not yet autumn. He was Olivier Messiaen en vacances with his perpetual notebook recording the magical birdsong in this luminous place. Here, even in this reproduction, lay the joy of entering into a painting. Jeanette Winterson’s plea to look at length at paintings, and then look again passed through his thoughts. How right that seemed. How very difficult to achieve. But that night he sat comfortably in J’s attic and let Cézanne deliver the artist’s promise of a world beyond nature, a world that is not about constant change and tension, but rests in a stillness all its own.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
A thousand peaks: no more birds in flight.
Ten thousand paths: all trace of people gone.

In a lone boat, rain cloak and hat of reeds.
An old man’s fishing the cold river snow.

I am alone in this mountain fastness, on a steep downward path in the deepest shadow. I play with the twelve characters of Lui Tsung-yaun’s poem. How few poems tell of the desolation of winter. The coming of Spring, the passing of Autumn? Yes. But the onset of Winter? Even my sharp memory only recalls a meagre handful of poems to this season: the time of the first snows. Against all good sense I set out from Stone Village too late in the year: now I search for comforting word images to accompany me on this journey. Just below the snowline I pass through a stunted forest of ancient walnut trees almost leafless; the unrelenting wind has dispatched them crinkled brown into the valley below. I see there a winding river. I see its distant lake. I think of this poem known since my teenage years, puzzled over that one could see in one sweep of the horizon a thousand peaks. Here are that thousand and more if the ranks of limestone pillars in these mountains can be counted as peaks. I count them as peaks. And those thousand paths? At every turn there is some fresh way falling into the valley, or a faint trail rising to the heights. But this path I tread asserts itself on the traveller. Its stones are worn and the excrement of passing pack animals sticks to my boots.

Last night a cave, tonight I will reach the village of Psnumako. My former guide provided its name with a disdain he could not hide. When questioned he warned me not to enter without a stout staff against the mastiffs that guard each house, supposedly ******* during the day but apt to break their bonds at the smell of a stranger.

The steep and ever steeper descent brings pain to my knees. At this hour of the day my body would prefer to climb to the heights, but descend I must. The cold, the damp cold begins to stiffen weary limbs. I am tired from a day’s travel, tired from three hard climbs, two descents and this, my third, to complete before nightfall. I enter a narrow gorge loud with clamour of running water, cascade upon cascade flowing from the heights, falling fast to the river soon to interrupt my path. I shall have to force a crossing. What passed for a bridge were two fallen pines lashed together.  Now they lie akimbo a little distant, thrown apart like sticks by the spring flood as the deep snows melt. I must divest myself of boots and lower garments and wade across, stumbling on stones up to my waist in swift waters, terrified under the weight of my pack that I will fall and be swept under and along. To travel alone at such moments is foolhardy, but on this cold afternoon I have no choice.

I am so intent on preparing for this crossing it is only when I reach the end of the path that I notice snow is falling, its flakes sharp and white against the dark-water flow. The whirl and turn of the water mesmerises. Fatigue, fatigue embraces me, a day’s fatigue holds me fast on the river’s stony side. I close my eyes and hear the water rush and place myself into the protection of a mountain charm learnt from a passing traveller. Dwarfed by the size of his burden I see him negotiate a narrow path high above a chasm; he walked trance-like to the intoning of this charm.

It is soon done, the cold crossing, and with a lighter step I walk the remaining leagues to the lake-side and sight of the village. There are the faintest sparks of light amongst the silhouettes of houses. Animals are being brought in from the home fields against the night. A sudden shout, the barking of dogs, and now the snow falls thick and fast.

The guttural dialect here is barely discernable as speech. We are from different worlds this shepherd and I who meet at the stupa guarding the village entrance. This is not a Buddhist shrine but an acknowledgement of some mountain giant of terrifying aspect. The shepherd sees my official insignia and nods, knowing I will require shelter. He utters what may be a welcome, but could be a warning, and leads me forth. The mastiffs leap and bay as I pass between the primitive two-storey houses, animals below, humankind above. He disappears. I stop and wait. He returns with a woman who beckons me to climb the ladder to what may be her home. A widow perhaps? She is alone unless the rank darkness hides a man or child. But there is none. I hear animals move and grunt under the floor, a mat of dirt and straw. There is a sleeping loft, a cooking corner. I can see little else. But I am out of the snow, the biting wind, the cold. She pulls at my cloak, wet and caked with ice. There is a bowl placed in my hands; a rough tea. I speak a greeting, but there is no reply just a rustle of straw as she moves across the room.

The stupor of a journey’s pause is upon me. After three days on the trail to the heights I am numb with fatigue. I need food and sleep. I need rest before a final trek into the wilderness. Beyond Psnumako Lake known paths end. Except for the tracks used by shepherds to move their flocks to different seasonal pastures, there is wilderness. I hope for guidance, for the whereabouts of the sages who, in the winter months I am told, leave their reed huts on the heights for caves in the lower valleys. I shall be patient, remain here a little while. I am now immune to the discomfort and dirt of travel. That is how it is. That is how is must be. I miss only the mental absorption of writing, the caress of the brush on a scroll. In my home in Louyang I keep brush and paper close to hand; wherever I may be I can write, even in, especially in, the privy. If a line comes to me I can write it down. Here there is only the comfort of memory.

To think that in the past I wrote of this mountain wilderness out of my imagination and the descriptions of others. I once thought of these remote places as havens of spiritual liberation.

In the hills there is the sound of zither.
White clouds stay over shaded peaks,
Red flowers shine in the sunlit woods
Rocks are washed in the stream like jade;

How very different is the reality of it all; in this emerging winter world of mist, where the sun rarely visits and most living things have departed, where wind colours silence and one’s footfall becomes consolation. The sound of stone rubbing stone on the path is the eternal present. There have been days when only a distant crow moves in the landscape. Lammergeyers are known in these parts, but I have yet to see one. If there are wild beasts, they shun me.

As this bowl of tea cools in my hands but warms my frozen fingers I form pictures of the past day on its dark surface. Before dawn from the mouth of a river cave I sensed changes in the qualities of darkness that have hidden the heights above me. Then a perceptible line appeared and divided the mountain from the sky. That line became variegated; there were trees bristling on the highest rocks. It appears that at this hour the prevalent mist settles in the valleys leaving the sky clear.

The woman comes to me. She kneels to untie my boots. She looks with a curious innocence at my strangeness, the distortion of my face, the cleft palette, the deformed upper lip, the squint of my left eye. She is kindly as I give her my best smile though my face seems frozen still. There is a whisper, a prayer of welcome possibly. Then she bows her head, unravels a long scarf to reveal a mane of oiled hair, and sets about removing my boots. I see only the top of her head, a severe parting, hair held tightly in wooden combs. I close my eyes to bring to mind the image of Xaoli, so slight in comparison, her butterfly hands flittering into and around my sleeves, her seeing touch mapping out the extent of me, each piece of clothing, only later my face.

My reverie is broken by the entrance of two men. They squat behind the woman and, after taking in my ugliness and my hairpins of office, patiently wait for her to finish and retire. We stand and bow, then sit again amongst the straw.

‘Honoured Lord, I am Yun. You have travelled from Stone Village? And beyond?’

I pass him the Emperor’s seal he cannot read, but remain silent.

‘You are seeking those who live in the heights? The village only sees their servants, young boys sent for a goat or flasks of barley spirit. They bring herbs our women favour. Some have seen their huts when seeking lost animals. Now it is said they are gathered in the caves like animals waiting for the spring moon.’

‘When was the village last visited by their kind?’

‘ Hanlu, my Lord, the time of cold dew, two boys appeared with a pony. There was trading. They brought Chrysanthemum flowers and herbs for two geese and wine. They left scrolls for passage to Stone Village. Now the snows fall we may not see them until the Spring’

‘How far are your summer pastures? Have you any who would guide me there ?’

‘We do not seek these places after the first snows. The sages haunt the region beyond Chang Mountain. Before the 11th moon you might pass into the valley of Lidong where it is believed their caves lie, but to return before the Spring will not be possible.’

‘How many days there?’

‘Allow four. A difficult way, unmarked, rarely trodden, much climbing. There is one here who we could send with you – part of the way, and at a price, My Lord. Dahan travelled two seasons since as groom to a party of six with ponies, but then in late Spring.’

‘I will stay three days.’

‘Just so My Lord. Xiu Li will see to your wishes.’

And they depart, Yun’s companion has remained silent throughout, though searched my face continually. By the door he places his hand against the stout bag that carries my lute. ‘Guqin’, he says tenderly.

This instrument is my pass to the community of the reclusive. I am renown for my songs and their singing. My third-best guqin has not left its bag since Stone Village and I fear damage despite all my care on the path.

Later, as the village mastiffs gradually cease their baying as the quarter moon rises I take this instrument and place it across my lap. Its seven silk strings I wipe with a cloth and gently tune with its tasselled pegs. I then prepare myself through meditation to avoid the intrusion of distracting thoughts. With my eyes closed I allow my hands to seek out and name each part of guqin: from the Forehead of the Top Board, to the String Eyes, the Dew Collector, The Mountain, Shoulder and Phoenix Wings, past the Waist, the Hat Lines and the Dragon’s Beard, to the Dragon’s Gums and thence to the Inner Top Board. I can feel the Pillar of Heaven – the sound post – has moved a little in my recent travels. So too the Pillar of Earth – but with care I move both to their rightful positions. And so on naming the inner and outer parts of each of the two boards that make up the guqin. I begin to regulate my breathing and allow the fingers of my left hand to stroke and touch, to press and oscillate in the manner of vibrato. Zhoa Wenji describes twenty-three kinds of vibrato. I feel in turn each of the hui, the thirteen gold studs that mark the harmonic nodes and allow me to play the guqin by touch alone. In these moments of preparation I hear the words of my teacher: a good player makes sounds that are plentiful but not confused. As the moon reflecting on water, so the sounds are together but not combined. Like wind in the pines, they are combined but also spread out. Such sounds are valued for their lightness. Avoid the addition of inappropriate  "guest" sounds. This is the refined theory of the guqin. To be knowledgeable about music, one must seek this, then one can realize its beauty.

I have tuned to the Huangzhong mode. The song *Amidst Mountains Thinking of an Old Friend
I have brought to mind. I recall the words of The Slender Hermit who says of this piece that its interest lies in holding cherished thoughts, but having no way to tell these to anyone. There are emotions about the present time, longings and laments for the past, but there is no way to express any of this. And so this piece.

In this poor reed hut the room is filled with mist and haze,
how far away are the things I love;
the old plum tree seems exhausted, its flowers about to die,
the mountains are lonely and I am nostalgic for past times.
The moon shines brightly on this lovely evening,
from this distance I think of my old friend and wonder where he is.
The green of the mountains never fades,
but before I know it my hair will turn white;
the moon is waning and flowers wither,
Old friend, I dream constantly of meeting you.
How hard it is to recall the joy of our last meeting!
With the many mountain ranges,
and its hidden tigers and coiled dragons,
I am unable return to you in Chang An.
The road is distant, the tall trees make the road dark,
and the world is vast.

I mourn Aquila and Lyra
separated by the Milky Way like the cowherd and weaving girl,
on the ground we are separated by 1,000 li
in the sky we are each in a separate place,
though our passions remain strong
There has been no warm correspondence,
there is restraint to the bright harmony,
and the flowing streams are swallowed by the setting sun.


The thought of this song of mid autumn touches me before its words have issued from my lips. I play the last two lines in harmonics and sing.
Zuo Si was the brother of the courtesan and poet Zuo Fen. This short story is based on a chapter from my novel Summoning the Recluse. The opening poem appears in a translation by David Hinton from his collection Mountain Home.
the electronic dispenser is out of order yet the automated voice keeps repeating it’s not a problem it’s not a problem it’s not a problem it’s not a problem it’s not a problem it’s not a problem it’s not a problem it’s not a problem…



i hint to Mom maybe the nightly sleeping pills might contribute to her forgetfulness she replies what? i didn’t hear what you said i repeat maybe the nightly sleeping pills might add to your forgetfulness she answers what? i can’t hear you i say Mom you’ve been using sleeping pills since i was little maybe they’re a source of your fogginess she snaps what? what are you saying i can’t hear you



Tucson 2001 in the heat of disagreement Mom accuses i am the cause for her need to rely on sleeping pills do you understand what that means Mom you’ve been taking sleeping pills as far back as i can remember miltown seconal nebutal placidal ambient (when i was young i took some from your medicine cabinet then sold them to friends) was it always because of me your off-beat weird troubled kid or were there other reasons thank you Mom for all you have given me i am grateful appreciative truth is none of us trust each other these defenses we’ve created will someday turn on us



2010 it is difficult to write about Mom so many conflicted feelings our struggles contentious exchanges expectations criticisms blame all the money she and Dad poured into me hoping i would turn out successfully employed married with children instead her difficult child chose painting writing punk rock yoga Mom will be 90 in October she caught viral pneumonia last month concerned for her i flew to Chicago to see her my beautiful glamorous Mom who lives high up in tall high-rise doorman deskman elegantly decorated 3 bedroom apartment along lakefront my little Mom who’s once lovely figure shrunk in size morphed in shape with arthritic painfully twisted fingers hair color light ash skin spotted with dark purple brown splotches estate dwindled to crumbs my clever shrewd Mom still so talented socially telephone constantly ringing lunch dinner engagements accompanied by frantic loony sister both dressed to the nines shopping returning hairdresser appointments manicures yet memory rapidly disintegrating my poor sweet Mom who now needs my loving protection it is time for me to step up to the plate shield her from caregivers poised to pilfer my vulnerable Mom leaves her wallet in cab loses her glasses forgets events 2 hours ago furious at pharmacy for neglecting to include her sleeping pills i know i cannot change her whirlwind 24/7 world of gossip scandal denial it is i who will need to change sacrifice my simple sparse existence quiet desperation scrambling for pay gardening gazing up at the moon stars adapt to her dizzy drama driven life style in order to look after her



i’ve written about this before a defining moment that haunts me Bayli and i are staying at Toby Martin’s spacious loft near corner of Bleeker and Broadway 1973 Toby offers me job building stretchers canvases for Warhol he tells me lots of nyc women will model for me if i want to keep drawing vaginas he advises me to drop out of art school like he did assures me i will become famous it is October Sunday i am wearing white turtleneck wheat colored corduroy Levis jeans taupe suede clogs Bayle is dressed almost exactly as me except powder blue clingy top we are just art students Toby takes us up to Rauschenberg’s loft on Lafayette Street Rauschenberg is in the Bahamas the kitchen is all industrial size stainless steel coffee stained glass Chemex drip coffeemaker on stove  upstairs on roof many currently trendy painters edgy artists a sculptor who uses dynamite to blow up quarries in Vermont they scrutinize Bayli and Odysseus with voracious glares the men eye Bayli several women send flirtatious looks at Odysseus he feels fright protection for Bayli it is all too much too complex too threatening and in that moment he drops the ball creeped out fearful he takes her hand and they flee back to Hartford Art School but maybe he was wrong possibly Bayli could have handled those depths heights perhaps she would have blossomed i’ve thought about that moment many times torturing myself with my cowardice insecurity adoration for Bayli our love remaining pure never corrupted



a boy/man makes love with a girl/woman once twice in bed then falls blissfully asleep wakes up makes love all night in secluded room in sheltered house on quiet street in sleepy New England town in the morning with Velvet Underground turned up real loud they dance wild then make more love



perhaps my fears insecurities shyness are about a diminutive ***** or concave ***** at center of chest or all my weird physical psychological inhibitions idiosyncrasies not wanting the world to ever find out know a secret between Bayli and me possibly Bayli never noticed but probably she realized my desire longing to be recognized acclaimed yet remain unrecognizable live in quiet privacy i don’t know sometimes i wonder if Bayli loved me like i love her if there was only one twinkling star in her sky like there is in mine Mom says it’s wrong to limit my skies to one star she says Bayli separated from me and married someone else she asks has Bayli ever made an attempt to contact you since her 2nd marriage i answer you don’t understand Bayli is entirely devoted she would never look up or away from her man Mom says open your eyes there are lots of special stars meant just for you in the sky



at some point it becomes obvious the latest is instantly embarrassingly obsolete why would anyone want the latest



let them come these winds of change blowing sands garbage leaves twisting branches bending trees up the coast down the hole displacing erasing everything oceans rising currents colliding mountains crumbling fiery red skies there was a time once but that time is gone there was a girl once but that girl is gone a street a house  a room  a bed once but that street house room bed are gone hunter buried under hill sailor lost at sea he who steps courageous mindful compassionate will pass beyond the terror
Nigel Morgan Apr 2013
after the painting by Mary Fedden

I kept seeing her around and about, but mostly on the beach. This is a small community and after five years or so I know who everyone is, except those who visit in the summer, though I am getting to know some of the regulars. I reckon she’s my age. When she looks at me in the store, and I look at her and smile, her smile tells me these things.

I have trouble with my hair. It’s thinned and doesn’t grow quite as it should. When I was pregnant and then nursing my children it was positively luxuriant. But later, and despite medical advice (and treatment I was unsure about and abandoned) it became an embarrassment, until he reassured me (just once) and I became an ‘adored woman’. He never ever spoke of it again and loved me so wholly and beautifully I had no reason for it to matter in his company, in his arms.

But seeing her, and often on the beach, more and more regularly, seeing her with her mane of strong dark brown hair flowing behind her in the wind, I felt a curious desire for such a wealth of hair. In fact, I began to feel something stir in me that was desire of a different kind. I can’t think I had ever looked at a woman in quite that way in any previous life. It was always men I sought, I wanted.

Her name is Sara, no h, just an A at the end. She said that when I eventually introduced myself. We were walking towards each other, barefoot both on that glistening skin of water the sea creates between the tides coming and going. It was about midday and I was, I was thinking and walking. I do this now. I don’t bring my sketchbook, I don’t look everywhere I can and more so, I have begun to retreat into my most private self. Perhaps it’s my age and so many years of feeling I had to be wholly attentive and active. Being in this remote place, almost permanently, has slowed me down, and I have begun to dream, to see beyond what I usually would have seen moment to moment. I’ve been re-reading the prose and poetry of Kathleen Raine, who understood this sea-swept place and was haunted by its ghosts, and who dreamed.

Never, never, again
This moment, never
These slow ripples
Across smooth water,
Never again these
Clouds white and grey
In sky crystalline
Blue as the tern’s cry
Shrill in the light air
Salt from the ocean,
Sweet from flowers

Oh yes,  
‘the sun that rose this morning from the sea will never return . . .’* I have become a watcher, no longer an observer. I put my camera away last winter and now hold moments in my memory. Here I can sketch. I can have all the time I need, and more. And I knew when I began to talk to Sara I wanted beyond anything else to sketch her, to know her line by line with the pen, and later bring the texture of her into paint.

Painting is where I am now. It’s direct, mesmeric, challenging, wholly absorbing. My needles and thread only deal with our clothes, my clever printing and collaging lies dormant in my studio, a studio I rarely enter now. I have a room upstairs in the loft that is all light and sky. There’s just an easel, a table, a chair, a small bookcase, a trolley-thing of paints and brushes. Even that’s too much. I always collected things around me. I brought so much in from outside and now I’m trying, trying to have as little as possible. This is where I will paint Sara. I’m already thinking this as we take the first tentative steps towards knowing one another. Names, where we live, (we both know). Partners, family, children? I have all this, but not here, only my companion, my love who caresses me with such care and attention. There are my cats and my hens. She has no one, or rather she talks of no one. She asks the questions and avoids giving answers. She just nods and doesn’t answer. Otherwise, she’s a straight yes / no person. She doesn’t feel she has to qualify anything.

We’re standing together. We’re intent on looking at each other. Words seem a little unnecessary because what we both want to do is look. ‘I can tell you paint’, she says, ‘It’s your finger nails’. My perfect nails and the pads of my fingers hold the evidence of a morning at my easel. ‘I have seen your work’, she says, ‘One could hardly not. You’re well known beyond these shores.’ I feel myself blushing slightly. I thought blushing had stopped with the menopause, not that it troubled me much, the menopause that is. Blushing though was a torturous part of my adolescence, but let’s not go into that.

‘Your husband,’ she says, ‘he’s up very early. I see him sometimes here, on the beach.’
‘Do you get up at five?’ I am surprised. My husband gets up before five.
‘Sleep is difficult sometimes. I walk a lot. I need to be out, and walk.’

Her face, her head is larger than mine. She is a larger woman altogether, bigger *****, long-legged, but with youthful ******* that seem taut and well-rounded under her brown frock, no, her brown dress. I only think frock because that’s what he says – ‘I love that frock.’ And he means usually whatever I am wearing now that’s old and rich in memories of his hands knowing me through a dress, sorry a frock, which remains for me (and possibly for him) the most sensuous of sensations, still. Au nature has its place, and I love the rub of his skin and body hair. But when we are lovers, and we are still lovers and usually when travelling, in hotel rooms or borrowed cottages, or visiting friends and dare I say it, staying with our various children. Last autumn in Venice, in this large, amazing marble-tiled room, with this huge bed, he undressed me in front of a window opening onto our own terrace, and I was beside myself with passion, desire, oh all those wonderful things. And for months afterwards I would return to that early evening, remembering the lights coming on all over the watered city as he kissed and stroked and brushed my body through my Gudrun Sjödén frock. I would replay, find again over and over, those exquisite moments of such joyful touching as he then undressed me, and with such care and tenderness I felt myself crying out. Well, he says I did. In one of his poems (for your eyes only, he had whispered) he admits to his own celebration of those moments again, again.

Sara’s dress is calf-length. There’s nothing else. As the breeze wraps itself around the loose-fitting brown cotton her naked figure is revealed inside itself. No ring, no jewellery, nothing to hold her hair now flowing behind her. She has positioned herself so it does; flow out behind her. This is so strange. Am I dreaming this? We have become silent and together look in silence at the sea. I can hear her short breathes. She turns to me with a smile and looks straight into my eyes – and says nothing – and then walks backward a few steps – still with her warm smile – turns and walks away.

I tell him I met Sara today and ask if he sees her on the beach in the early mornings. Yes, he has, in the distance, mostly. He has said good morning to her on a few occasions, but she has smiled and said nothing. Five o’clock is far too early to say anything, he says. She swims occasionally. I keep my distance, he says with a grin.

I tell him I would like to paint her. I should, he says, You should go and ask her, do it, get it done and out of your system. It’s time you stopped being afraid of the face, the portrait, the figurative. I’d give so much to have been able to paint you, he says ruefully, my darling, my dearest. And he strokes my arm, kisses my cheek, then, he slowly and carefully kneels down beside my chair, places his arm across the top of my thighs so when I bend to kiss him his bare forearm touches the edge of my *******. He puts his head in my lap, and I caress his ears, his quite white hair.

Sara’s door is open. She’s living in Ralph’s cottage, a summer-let habitable (just) in the nearly autumn time it is. I call, ‘Sara, it’s me’, thinking she’ll recognize my voice, not wishing to say my name. She appears at the door. ‘I have the kettle on, she says, ‘I had a feeling you might be by.’ Her accent is, like mine, un-regional, carefully articulated, a Welsh tinge perhaps. There’s an uplift and a slowness in some of the vowels. ‘You will come in’, she says, more a statement than a question. It’s rather dark inside. There’s a reading lamp on, but she has the chair, her chair, close by the window. There are letters being written. There are books. Not Ralph’s, but what she has brought with her. Normally, I would be hopelessly inquisitive, but I can’t stop myself looking at her, wondering even now, in these first few moments in this dark room, how I will position her to paint her form, her face, her nature. What will I paint? I look at her still-bare feet, her large hands.

And so, with mugs of tea, Indian tea I don’t drink, but here, as her guest I do, but without milk, we sit, I on the only other chair (from the kitchen) she on the floor. And she watches me look about, and look at her.

‘I’m rather done with talking, with polite conversation. That’s why I’m here to be done with all that for a while.’
‘I came to ask you to sit for me. To let me draw you, paint you even. You can be completely quiet. I won’t say a word. I’ve never, ever asked anyone to sit for me. I’m not that sort of painter. But when I saw you on the beach it was the first thing that came into my head.’
‘I should be flattered. Though I have sat for artists before, when I was a little younger,’ surprisingly she mentions two names I know, both women. ‘I know how to be still. But, those are days in a different life.’
‘I only want to paint you in the life you have now.’ And I realise then that what I want to paint was Sara’s ‘aloneness’. I think then I have never been truly alone since he came into my life and took any loneliness I had from me. Whenever we are apart, and still there are times, he writes to me the tenderest letters, the most touching poems, he quotes his Chinese favourites down the telephone. We always, always speak to each other before bed, even when we are on different continents and time-zones. He told me I was always his last thought before sleep. And I wonder if I would be his last thought . . .

‘Do you want to do this formally?, said Sara.
‘I don’t know. Yet. I’d like to draw you first, be with you for a little while, perhaps to walk. A little while at a time. Whatever might suit you.’
‘Would you pay me? I have little money. It would be useful.’
‘Of course’, I say this directly, having no idea about what one pays a model. He will know though. He knew Paula Rego and didn’t she have a female model? I think of those large full-length figures rendered in pastels. Her model’s name was Lila, who for more than 25 years, had sat for her, stood for her, crouched for her, hour after hour and day after day. I remember a newspaper piece that went something like this: since 1985 Lila has helped to give life, in paint, and pastel, and charcoal, to the characters in Paula Rego's head. Lila was all Paula Rego’s women.

‘Sara’, I said, ‘help me please. It’s taken more than a little courage to come to see you, to ask you. My husband says I should do this, finally get myself painting the person, the face, body, not as some exercise in a life class, but the real thing.’
‘Of course’, she says, ‘Let’s go and walk to the point.’

And we did. Not saying very much at all, but I suppose I did. She made me talk and gradually I laid my life out in front of her, and not the life she would have found in those glossy monographs and catalogue introductions, and God forbid, not in those media features and interviews that I suppose have made me a name I’d always dreamed of becoming, and now could do without.

‘I suppose you have a studio’, she said suddenly, ‘Is that where you’d want me to come?’
‘Yes, I have a studio. No, I don’t think I want you to come there. Not at first anyway.’ I was floundering. ‘ I’d like to draw you, paint you possibly on the beach, where we met, so there would be sea and sky and breeze blowing your hair.’
‘And a steamer out on the horizon belching smoke from its funnel and the sea blowing white horses and dancing about. I’d be right by the seastrand with waves and spray and foam, and under a greyish sky. Not a sunny day. A breezy day. In my brown dress, sitting on the sand by the tide marks, looking out to sea, looking at the steamer away in the distance, sitting with my left hand behind me holding myself up, and the shape of my legs akimbo bent slightly under my brown dress. How would that be?’
‘Perfect’, I said.

And it was.
The farm at Little Rottingdeane
Lay fallow for a year,
Since Cromwell’s Ironsides had spent
The winter, quartered there,
They’d emptied out the pantry, killed
The cattle, stripped the barn,
And ***** the little milking maid
Before they left the farm.

The farmer, Rodger Micklewaite
Lay in his bed all day,
Too sick to raise his farmer’s head,
Too ill to bale the hay,
His wife took on the milking of
The milker they had left,
And comforted the milking maid
Who cried, as one bereft.

‘The master should be well again,
By early May or June,’
The wife had muttered tearfully
While gazing at the Moon,
But soon a pair of pigeons took
Their places in the loft,
‘Lord help us, it’s a sign of doom
To curse our little croft.’

The pigeons had been there before
When folk had fallen ill,
And when they came, it fell the same
For death would spread its chill,
And Rodger died, when they appeared
There was no time for grief,
A man called Palm soon bought the farm
To give them some relief.

The milking maid, her belly swelled
Betook her to her bed,
A tiny room that lay in gloom
Beside the milking shed,
She cried and cursed the Ironside
That set her on this course,
‘May Satan put a thorn beneath
The saddle of his horse.’

The babe was born by All Saints morn
She’d screamed to see its face,
The head shaped like a helmet or
Some bony carapace,
She only could discern its mouth
With teeth sharp, and ill-formed,
‘I cannot nurse this ugly waif,
I’ve bred the Devil’s spawn!’

Then Palm screeched at the sight of it,
Was sick unto his soul,
‘I never should have bought this croft
Or housed this Satan’s troll!’
The widow made his sickness bed
And counted him as lost,
For pigeons two came into view
And settled in the loft.

Then Palm began to waste away,
She fed him beer and broth,
He died upon the seventh day,
Was buried in the croft,
But then a troop of Ironsides
Rode through there from the moors,
And one of them remained behind
To tend his fevered horse.

‘What ails your horse,’ the widow said,
The trooper growled with scorn,
‘Some fool that saddled up my horse
Slid under it, a thorn.’
The milking maid, recovered then
And ****** into his face,
The baby, wrapped in lace and shawl
To hide its carapace.

‘You left a trace of you behind
When last you passed through here,’
The trooper blanched to see its face
Then shook in mortal fear,
The hungry babe went for his throat
And bit with all its might,
As blood streamed from the Ironside
To drown the Devil’s mite.

Two pigeons flew into the loft
Just as the trooper fell,
It only took a minute for
His soul to wake in hell,
The widow and the milking maid
Packed up and left that night,
‘This time, we’re like two pigeons,’
Said the widow, ‘taking flight!’

David Lewis Paget
Victor D López Dec 2018
Unsung Heroes

Although I stand on the shoulders of giants,
I fail to see much farther than the bridge of my nose.
The fault in mine. The shame is mine.
For I am unworthy of you, my beloved dead.

Emilio (Maternal Grandfather)
Your crime was literacy,
And the possession of a social conscience,
That made you yearn to see your beloved Spain remain free,
And prevented you from suffering fascists lightly.

You did not bear arms,
For you abhorred all violence,
You did not incite rebellion, though you
Rebelled against the foreign and domestic enemies of freedom.

As best I can tell you were an idealist who,
In a time of darkness,
Clung passionately to the belief,
In the perfectibility of the human spirit.

You would not abide the lies the regional papers carried,
And translated news from American and British newspapers,
About the gathering storm,
Sharing the truth freely with all who would listen.

You gave speeches, and wrote speeches delivered by others, in support of a doomed
Republic collapsing under the weight of its own incompetence and corruption.
You were warned by friends of your imminent arrest and offered passage back to the U.S. or to
Buenos Aires where so many of your friends had already found refuge.

But they would not get your wife and nine children out,
And you refused to leave them to their fate.
They came for you, as always, in the middle of the night,
These cowards with stern faces hiding behind machine guns.

They took you prisoner, not for the first time, to the Castillo de San Anton,
A fortress by a most beautiful, tranquil bay,
Where they tore out your nails, one by one, and those their
Gentlest caresses while they asked you for names.

You endured, God knows what there, for months,
And were sentenced to be shot as a traitor at La Plaza de María Pita.
But the Republic had friends, even among the officers of the fascist forces,
And one of them opened your cell door on the eve of your execution.

You had contracted tuberculosis by then, yet, according to grandmother, you
Managed to swim miles across the bay in a moonless night, to safety in the home of
Another patriot who risked his life and the lives of his family to hide you in
His root cellar and made a trip of many miles on foot to find your wife.

He found your home and told your wife of your unexpected reprieve,
And asked her to send some clothing and some shoes to replace your ***** rags.
You eldest daughter, Maria, insisted on accompanying the stranger back on foot, taking
Clothing and what provisions she could quickly gather and carry to you.

From time to time you accepted the hospitality of an overnight stay
In the attic or hay loft of a
Republican sympathizer as these were not hard to
Find in the fiercely independent
Galicia under the yoke of one of its own. But mostly you lived in the woods, with active guerrillas for years.

You lived with all the comforts of a hunted animal with others who would not yield,
Your only crime consisted of being on the wrong side of a lost cause.
I hope it brought you some comfort to know you were on the right side of history.
It brought none to your wife and none to your youngest children.

As you paid the long penance for your conscience, once a month or so, after some
Time passed, you visited your wife and children. You were introduced to the little ones
As an uncle from afar. They did not know the bearded wild man who paid these visits
In the middle of the night and left wearing dad’s old, clean clothes.

The older ones, Maria, Josefa, Juan and Toñita, all in their teens, told the little ones
That their “uncle” brought news of their dad. The younger children, still wearing the
Frayed cloaks of their innocence, accepted this, not questioning why he stayed in
Mom’s room all night and was gone before they awoke the next morning.

Your grief at playing the part of a stranger in your own home, of not embracing your
Children on whom you doted, one and all, for their protection and yours, as there were
No shortage of fascists who tried to ply them with pastries and candy,
Seeking to use their innocence as a weapon against you.

Your parents were relatively wealthy business owners who farmed the sea but
Disowned you—perhaps for your politics, perhaps for choosing to emigrate and
Refusing to join the family business, or perhaps for marrying for love in New York City
A hard working girl beneath your social station in their eyes.

You lived just long enough to see Spain delivered from war,
Though not freed of her chains.
You were spared the war’s aftermath.
Your wife and children were not.

No books record your name. Most of those who knew you are dead.
Yet flowers have long perpetually appeared on your simple above-ground burial site in
Sada that holds your ashes, and those of your eldest son, Juan, and second-
Eldest daughter, Toñita, who died much younger than even you.

Your wife has joined you there, in a place where
Honor, goodness, decency, principle and a pure,
Broken heart,
Now rest in peace.
You can hear my reading of this poem and some sample sonnets from my Of Pain and Ecstasy collection in a simple YouTube book trailer by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FXkhtOltEc&t=6s
Rondu McPhee Aug 2010
I look out the window--an endless sky. The clouds are like nothing else--bold explosions and everywhere in the sky, infinite, above and still in time and space--Madness and Horror are said to have their own faces and names. Can't Beauty? Beauty has its own life--not a distinctive face, not a concrete identity--Beauty is breathing, standing, growing above us--the Clouds. I know that it's a bit foggy, I know what is actual is only actual for the one time and standing moment that it is there--maybe the Clouds move, travel, fade--but they never leave us. They're long, still and colossal enough to be viewed, admired, stricken, crushed beneath. I'm on a bus, travelling through San Francisco--a mystery on its own, mad like a spiral or giant--one with a heart and soul that is difficult to pinpoint and seemingly jolting, constantly moving throughout--down streets, through alleys, intensifying in the dazzling Golden Gate Bridge and boundary-less San Francisco Bay--a testament Olympian and profoundly simple, such a straightforward bridge with so many possibilities and tragedies. It's my destination, too.

I go to the Podesta Baldocchi--a flower shop, quaint, small, almost non-existent in the vertigo of San Francisco, but immortalized in another Vertigo--and inspiring search and enigma on its own--the vision of James Stewart chasing hills, corners, all the trails and paths for Beauty--a Beauty with two feet, a name, experiences--Beauty named Kim Novak. He follows Her, from the shores to the grave--She, praying at a cemetery, a faded figure in grief, He, watching obsessively like a predator--He finds Her on the cold shores, of the endless, alien seas--along the Golden Gate Bridge--on the verge of jumping. He saves Her, a metamorphosis of prey and personal freedom is triggered.

That's one of the many beautiful passages of Vertigo that I remember--passion, memory, disappearance, insanity, aggression. "Here I was born, and here I died", says the woman, named Madeline--a fatal, empowering woman of Beauty and melancholy, complex and deceiving. Chris Marker saw this too--a reservoir of thought from his Sans Soleil--the movie, the moment in time where memory and the Great Enigmas had finally been touched by skin and light. February, 1983.

Memory works that way.

That is one of the things I love most; memory. Memory is fading and escaping from me. I look down at my wrinkled hands--grief and nothing else--losing myself. I step onto the cliff where Madeline, where Grace stood. The sea is a rapture. Endless, everywhere, surrounding me from all corners--dozens of people have taken their life here. They jump from the bridge, they slip into the water and drown. Their entire breakdown and loneliness and humanity is silenced and stated in a small slip into the bay, or a thin, white splash--a miniature, but Greater Fall--beneath the bridge in all its magnificence and profundity, beneath the clouds, a silent act of Tragedy and Horror with a face, surrounded and drowned in Beauty and Rapture--breathtaking and cruel.

I am tired and lifeless. I can't stand it. I remember all the beaches, skies, nights, visions of the sun and daughters I've seen in my life, all the smiles I've faked, breaths I took--I hadn't thought of this until the nineties or so, in my wrinkled, tired years. I was remembering Marie--my only girlfriend and wife one I had met in the 40's--compassionate, dangerous, magnificent she was, like Madeline. Perfection and grace and danger. I had grown, loved, lived, watched everything and took every step with her--before she had died in 1989. She was my only care, my only love. I couldn't grip myself then. I hear my parents speaking, my mum and dad--dead now--my children, beautiful things--I couldn't keep them. I couldn't. I couldn't, their eyes porcelain--I went insane over all of it, a time to foggy to look back on. Time is the same stretch, place is the same and distilled--but memory is everywhere--one thing I love and can't stand.

And now I am here. The beauty is pastoral, distant, glowing and also deadly--like cloudy figures of steel and glass, concrete with fountains and blood in the shape of landscapes and towers--branches, cold, in a lonely place, fading from truth and Truth, identity and Greater Life--a thousand misty passions and poses stretched and scattered. I'm hopeless, I'm lonely, I'm cold. I'm wary, tired, confused with nothing left in me. I'm leaving, Reconciling beneath, below, and everywhere around Beauty.

I understand any doubts. I cannot take my nerves or my senses. They've failed, broken down on me--I've lost myself, very permanently this time.

I fall. I see nothing, feel everything crushing, me lying in the crystal bay--it fades. I can't see. I can't speak--I can't love, embrace, understand--I open my eyes, dizzy and faded, in a house, a rather cluttered, yet homely one. I believe I am small, looking up to my great pale towering mother, breats and lips and glowing limpid eyes... a fireplace, some warmth, some haze and some tears of joy. It is falling apart, where I am, but it is of embracing memory. I'm being looked and smiled at. I don't know where this is.

I close my eyes, I stand and open them seven years later. Cold water at my feet and sand--I look around to see a beach, stretched infinitely--past boundaries or understanding. The sea is dizzying. I look up to see that Beauty--still standing, moving across and thinning--that Beauty is sunless. Nothing but Clouds--an illusion, foggy and slippery of sorts--impossible and unbearable to experience. I stumble.

I look up, and there's now a ceiling--tall, blazing gold, marmalade and kaleidoscope--everything is blurring and melting. I'm in a hallway, with parents--a father and mother, loving, caring and safe; the only thing in front of me is a painting, swirled and swerved shore to thunder and graceful and passionate so distant--Holy, Andalusian girls from a Utamaro madman; thinly, finely lined, velvet in color and delicacy, colliding and cracked in shape, memory or sense. The painting falls, crashes, and the ceiling falls and opens to voices and laughs. I stumble, tremble, get knocked staggering, look down the hallway. It's crashing to black--I stumble to anyone; my father, the mad size of him, I rush and cling still around his arms--a shadow--then his terrible branches rising, fading, and everywhere--complete pitch black--coming for me? Far and off and a way a place cold and a lone in the Fall long and thundering--rippled--moving--then white--then clearly.

My next vision I can comprehend without running terrified is in Japan. It's 1964, I am 25. A television set, murky like playing out my dazed oxygen-starved hallucinatory real-fake mindbursting memories. Headlines, people, looking down at me. I can feel my knees again, and my heart. It's the Year of the Dragon, I'm nervous uncontrollably. Night after night, each one passing by as I blink, walking, everything changing, changing from me, I can feel. Or maybe I can't. I keep my eyes open, and don't lose my breath, hiding in rooms and feeling and apart torn so vast. I look at my surroundings--I don't know where I am--I think in my last passage? passed on through a thousand miles and faces and every conscious and spirit. My last one. I can't hide, though. I'm dying, my last breath and vision being me fading through time--such a quick thing--spinning and burying the Earth As I Have Watched It Through The Years in snow and rain and static and the Dead--I can only stare at the streets. I'm with my girlfriend Marie, it's November 28th, 1975.

She says to me, "What's wrong? You're on the balcony alone. You've been there for hours."

Marie, hold on tight, please. I'm lonely, terrified, frightened--I made a mistake, life is coming and going with all radiance and fleeting and darkness and closing doors. I've witnessed my birthday from another room. I've thought of my life again. I've seen it, distorted, everywhere, in colors and in heaps of broken fragments, images and ruins. I need your help--

"Nothing, just enjoying the city. It's beautiful," I say. It's nightfall, blinding rain, in Paris. That's where we spent our vacation, me and Marie. I love her; she'll be gone the next morning.

Then I go back. Different times, warm times, times like beauty and solid, everything going racing and wayward that I can't see a color and then white then eyes pale and hyacinths all over the place--I see Marie in the distance, oh Yes like poised like drips like canvas all around surround floating laying, kissing me, the Day I'd wrapped gently around her now I can see it like a reflection, and O I can't take it--that very last look, her face vivid--and I can't look back and I can't look down or up--just her face, lovely, wrapping more and Closer and oh Yes all around me and my mouth is going insane so tired and limpid losing words and tract and

And I can see you so lovely so gracefully and yes I will kiss you and gently cradling and your skin like rose and blossoms with the smooth touch from an Eve in flesh shrouded red and raw and when I feel anything else running through my veins like clockwork oh Yes it blazes all lovely like a reflection and the last lonely place left to fade to is only the Clouds and Sea and oh yes with all the magic of the Rite of Spring and the fogs and streaks of August O but then now I see I see O Lord I see the one-thousand-one dead poses and faces like this marie not the one I know but her Beauty erased a lying a loft a living Girl a shape a branch and yet still loving in her stone face-without-a-face so Anonymous so Kiss Me Deadly leave me taking me sprawling around me creeping crouching touching growing up my skin and veins and conscious watching all the artifice leave me and all colors and thought coming up lashing melting seething roiling yes oh yes just like a reverie like genuine insanity haunting and boiling like sweet crazed Narcissus in all the Moorish vines so thorny so lost so complicated and savage rose gardens is all one can see like solid waves--in the distance, the bold-coifed Wooden Duke, the blue Queen, away from the warped, whirling war scape outside and cold and I'm taken back a bit now bundled away from all the rows and thorny laces of buildings among buildings way in the distance out the window like crooked Van Gogh details and the noir jagged edges and tete-a-tete feeling of Life and Hope that the neons floating down streets give you when all seeping and spraying in your eyes and O the tangled webs and thorns and spiders of the panes and glass and shards and sharp'n'smooth curls and spiraling rings of it all and O the strewn of flesh like insect and myth and negative space and city all coated and sprawled I'm going to explode and I look up to see every bit of sand, waves, bold lines and streaks above and beyond me, all those curves and rods very dizzying and all beating and throbbing like mad and my vision went like some frothing beast held and dissected under light and shape oh Yes I say and I tell you while being dragged through all the Andalusian flowers and raindrops beside and above me and the Universe and the Love that could've been it's all above me too like a rose growing and blossoming with all the melting grace of a Holy girl oh Yes I say and state as clear again so rapturously like a living poem and as I leave everyone and leave this illusion I can sigh and pause and oh my goodness it's all spinning and apart and transcendent like the first Clouds and Grace above a monochromatic world--a speck--Nothing in its embrace--I stop, gaze with the recollection of every gesture of love and love's death in my life--I'm somewhere, everywhere, from the cosmos to the sea--and the ****** comes before me--Marie, Marie--and I burst and split like dust--she speaks to me. She listens, she hears, the only thing, milky, porcelain eyes and skin like nothing else--I ask her where I am. She opens her mouth, bestridden and humbled like a shadow or a monument. Glowing like birth, she told me--solemn, silent, fuzzy--she told me that I'm dying. "Life is slipping--all of you, your raw hands, your face, your memory--everything is slipping, gently. You're being erased from the world, experienced, dismaying--you're far from it."

I asked, "Where?"

She stared, bled, disappeared into thin air and continued, "I always get lost, thinking or looking into the sea or sky. Infinite, lovely. It never ends. Never, ever ends. I look at it and cannot help but forget about every bit of land, forget any shore, stone, or war, or the clearest whisper--because it fades away from me, so clearly, and I can't help but stare down the endless waves and curls, because they go on forever. They're everything. They're all mist and unbearable, simple and Everything--I think you're at the end of Everything."

My last Beauty.
CharlesC Aug 2019
When we observe
The human experience
As a roller coaster
Times in the loft
Times in the shade..

A question shouts
How to remain
In the loft..?
Until a whisper
Time creates a
Masquerade which
You have attended..

The shade has always
Disguised the loft...
there is a glimpse of light

above the door, bend to enter,



the ceiling is lower now.



there have been bats,

bees building, as she will say

on motor bikes.



in here are the clothes,

the memories, dust mote,

cobweb and rivalry

for my affection.



drink this, drink this .

there is a full length mirror for your reflection.

sbm.
stars are held in a window
and sometimes the moon,

lopsided stacks of books,
knotty papers are strewn,

i like to rest on the boards,
day dream, scents of pine,

it's quite a lovely mess up,
still have space to dress up,

in a nook are some shelves,
i trained to hold dear photos,

so love to see in my wee loft,
poems, my cat, postcard art,

and my pane glass view I call,
full moon in garland of stars.
sweetrevoirs Dec 2016
Relei ingat. Baju hangat kuning kecoklatan, 4 kerutan di tangan kanan dekat siku dan 5 lainnya di dekat bahu kiri. Rok kotak-kotak selutut yang untung dan sayangnya tak pernah terisngkap sedikit pun angin berkata tiup. Adalah pakaian yang melekat di badan Malia kali mereka bertemu tatap.
Udara dingin malam Sabtu sama sekali tidak membuat para pujangga mengurungkan niatnya untuk berteriak kata cinta. Atau cerita patah hati. Mungkin iya di tempat lain, tapi tidak di sini, di 8th Avenue, sebuah ruangan tak terpakai beberapa tahun lalu yang di percantik jadi sebuah tempat pertemuan para penyair dari berbagai penghujung kota. Dengan satu podium kecil –sekitar setinggi 1 meter dan selebar tiga dada- di sebelah barat, membelakangi dinding yang berwarna merah marun sedangkan tiga dinding lainnya adalah batu bata yang tidak dipoles.
Malam itu Relei seperti malam Sabtu lainnya, berjalan dari kamar loft ke tempat favoritnya, menyusuri 6 blok dalam suhu 21 derajat dengan tentu pakaian hangat.
Semua wajah yang berpapasan, tak ada satupun yang Relei lupa. Ada 13 wanita, 8 diantaranya bermata coklat, dan 6 pria, satu diantaranya memegang setangkai bunga mawar, yang sudah bertatap sapa selama perjalanannya menuju 8th Ave. 8 bunyi klakson mobil dan 4 suara orang bersin yang selalu di balasnya dengan “semoga tuhan memberkati”. Tidak, Relei tidak selalu menghitung seperti ini dalam sehari-harinya. Hanya saja Relei selalu ingat.
“ Lalu bulan masih saja datang, pun tak sepertimu, yang malam ke malam, masih saja semakin semu.” Seorang wanita paruh baya sedang membacakan barisan terakhirnya di atas podium dengan parau sangat menghayati. Penyair lain yang ada di ruangan itu menjentikkan jari mereka terkagum, ada juga yang bersorak kata-kata manis. Kode etis dalam pembacaan puisi di 8th ave adalah : tidak perlu bertepuk tangan terlalu kencang untuk berkata bahwa kau kagum akan satu puisi, cukup dua jari saja.
“ Biarkan aku datang ke mimpi buruk mu, lalu mimpi indah mu, lalu mimpi mu yang kau bahkan tak tahu tentang apa, atau pun mengapa,” Selanjutnya adalah giliran seorang perempuan muda yang naik ke panggung. Ia bercerita tentang buah mimpi, bahwa Ia ingin menjadi fantasi yang dibawa kemanapun sang pemimpi berjalan.
Baju hangat kuning kecoklatan, 4 kerutan di tangan kanan dekat siku dan 5 lainnya di dekat bahu kiri. Malia –atau seperti itulah tadi perempuan itu memperkenalkan dirinya sebelum memulai puisi- menyisir rambutnya kebelakang kuping sebanyak 3 kali sepanjang ia membacakan puisinya. Ia bergeliat di boots hitamnya, entah karena grogi atau tidak nyaman. Malia berambut coklat ikal sepinggang, dan memiliki bulu mata yang lentik bahkan dilihat dari ujung ruangan.
“ Untukmu, yang bersandar ke bata merah dengan tangan memegang kerah.” Malia mengakhiri puisinya sambal menatap ke arah Relei. Tangan Relei yang sedang membenarkan kerah baju otomatis langsung membeku. Ia sadar penyair lain sedang mengalihkan semua perhatian mereka kepadanya. Tapi hey, ayolah, pasti bukan, gadis di atas podium itu pasti bukan sedang membicarakan tentang Relei. Gadis yang sekarang sedang menuruni tangga podium dan berjalan ke arahnya itu pasti bukan sedang- Oh tuhan, atau mungkin memang iya.
Obadiah Grey May 2012
I'd say she had
a pigeon loft in
her eyes and
bluebells up
her nose;

But then again
I wear a flat cap,

- and stroll through meadows.
Carter Ginter Dec 2014
Nestled high in her loft, she curls into a C,
snuggling against my chilled skin, a
tranquil warmth pulling our bodies
together like a puzzle, the perfect fit.
My arm wraps up around her waist and
she hugs it to her chest, holding on
as if in fear of losing our reality.
A stir in the night immediately awakens me
to ensure her security, both physically
and emotionally.

If all is well, an electrifying kiss
and hopes of sweet dreams. However,
if something is off, maybe
an unusual distance, as I can
usually sense, I offer my whole
self and attention to help
soothe her beautiful mind.
1975 Art Institute is tactic for Odysseus to put off dealing with real world also investigate range of visual techniques gay instructor fruitlessly endeavors to ****** him he enjoys several affairs with beautiful girls yet Bayli haunts him main building of school is connected behind Art Institute of Chicago Odysseus spends lots of time looking at paintings Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” Gustave Caillebotte’s “Paris Street Rainy Day” Ivan Albright’s “Portrait of Dorian Gray” Jackson *******’s “Greyed Rainbow” Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Black Cross New Mexico” Francis Bacon’s “Figure with Meat” Pablo Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist” Balthus’s “Solitaire” Claude Monet’s “Stacks of Wheat” Paul Cezanne’s “The Bathers” Vincent Van Gogh’s “Self-Portrait” Edouard Manet’s “The Mocking of Christ” Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s “At the Moulin Rouge” Robert Rauschenberg’s “Photograph” Mary Cassatt’s “The Child’s Bath” Peter Blume’s “The Rock” Ed Paschke’s “Mid America” Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” Jasper John’s “Near the Lagoon” and John Singer Sargent James McNeill Whistler Diego Rivera Marsden Hartley Thomas Eakins Winslow Homer his 2nd year at Art Institute involves student teaching during day then at night working as waiter at Ivanhoe Restaurant and Theater gay managers teach him to make Caesar salad tableside and other flamboyant tasks wait staff are all gay men once more Odysseus experiences bias from homosexual regime he is assigned restaurant’s slowest sections it bothers him the way some gay men venomously condescend women and their bodies Odysseus loves women especially their bodies he thinks about how much easier his life would be if he was gay in 1976 the art world is managed by gay curators gay art dealers he wonders if he could be gay yet not realize it can a person be gay but not attracted to one’s own ***? Ivanhoe hires variety of night club acts one night he watches Tom Waits perform on piano in lounge Odysseus feels inspired in 1977 he graduates with teacher’s certification he considers all the sacrifices teachers make and humiliating salaries they put up with he does not want to teach candidly he feels he has nothing yet to teach teaching degree was Mom’s idea Odysseus wants to learn grow paint after Art Institute he flip-flops between styles his artwork suffers from too much schooling and scholastic practice it takes years to find his own voice he has tendency to be self-effacing put himself down often he will declare what do i know? i’m just a stupid painter one topic artists do not like talking about is their failures how much money they cost creation requires resource paint and canvas can be expensive how much money is spent on harebrained ideas that never pan out? most artists resort to cheap or used materials few can afford their dreams he gets job selling encyclopedias that job lasts about 5 weeks then he finds job selling posters at framing store on Broadway between Barry and Wellington Salvador Dali Escher Claude Monet prints are the rage his manager accuse him of lacking initiative being spacey after several months he gets laid off he finds job waiting tables during lunch shift at busy downtown restaurant other waiters are mostly old men from Europe they play cards with each other in between shifts teach Odysseus how to carry 6 hot plates on one arm and 2 in his other hand the job is hectic but money is good experience educates differently than books and college a university degree cannot teach what working in the real world confronts people learn most when they are nobodies he reads Sartre’s “Being And Nothingness” he wants to discover who he is by finding out who he is not often he rides bicycle along lakefront taking different routes sometimes following behind an anonymous bicyclist possibly to come across new way he does not know or to marvel at another person’s interest

truth is this life is too difficult for me the violence hatred turf wars tribalism laws judgments practices rules permits history i’m not prepared emotionally to withstand the realities of this world not equipped psychologically to deal with the stresses of this world not prepared emotionally to withstand the realities of this world not equipped psychologically to deal with the stresses of this world i’m sorry am i repeating myself i apologize i’m not prepared emotionally to withstand the realities of this world not equipped psychologically to deal with the stresses of this world god please protect teach me strength courage fairness compassion wisdom love i’m not prepared emotionally to withstand the realities of this world not equipped psychologically to deal with the stresses of this world

buy divinity purchase devotion earn reward points own 4 bedroom loft with roof garden deck porch pool parking in paradise’s gated community pay for exclusive membership into sainthood become part of inner circle influence determine fate destiny of everything step up to the plate sign on the line immortalize yourself feel the privileges of eternal holiness i’m living inside a nightmare inside a nightmare inside a nightmare hello? i am dizzy in my own self-deceptions lost in my own self-deceptions alone in my own self-deceptions there was a time once but that time is gone there was a place once but that place has vanished there was a life once but that life is spent remember when things were different truth is i’m weak skittish anxious alienated paranoid scared to death pagan idiot stop

breath deeply push stale air out imagine kinder more respectful loving world please god do your stuff angels throw your weight around clean up this mess planets align stars shine ancient spirits raise your voices magic work there are words when spoken can change everything words rooted to spiritual nerves if voiced in  particular order secret passwords capable of setting off persuasions in the mind threads to the heart if a person can figure out which words what order tone of voice rate of pronunciation time of day then that person can summon powers of the supernatural Isis goddess of celestial sway of words whisper secret earth water fire air reveal your alchemy winter spring summer autumn teach about passages patterns sublime eastern western sun fickle moody moon unveil your heavenly equation north south east west  beat the drums blow winds show the path to healing path of the heart blood dirt hair *** bare the mystery of your trance dance the ghost dance sacred woman with ovaries cycles flow smell beautiful girl eyes sweetness strange awkward skinny scruffy boy great bear spirit bird jumping fish wise turtle where are you why is there no one to back me? jean paul sartre what was your last thought before you died? was it nausea? nothingness? or a wish?
Marshal Gebbie Nov 2012
Dust on the ledge, before me, magnified
Smell of gun oil in my nostrils and cramp in the calves
The boredom of the wait intensifies,
Stale air in my loft is full of must
With the failing light I’m grateful it is almost time to stand down.

Through the cross hair sprints a target
An ordinary, everyday, running target,
I know not who this target is,
I know not why it runs across my sights,
But because it is, where it is,
It becomes my enemy.

In a microcosm of time
the loud bang alters things forever.
The buck of the rifle’s recoil,
The immediate sour stench of the shot washes back across my face.
The intoxication felt, in being the one who caresses the trigger.
The satisfaction earned in deservedly making the ****.

My target spirals in mid stride,
Contorts in agony
And collapses to the rough tarmac
To lie dishevelled, an insignificant, dishevelled item.

Checking the **** through the telescopic sight
I see the rough stubble of the chin,
The nicotine stain on the fingers,
I see the colour of the eyes are pale blue.
…I know well, it will breathe no more.

With descending twilight
I trudge from my tower perch
With the long ****** rifle slung across my weary shoulders
The  crones in the street glare as I walk by
There is a loathing in their aged eyes, It is a tangible thing.
I know they have no knowledge of the target,
But they know, however, that there has been a killing made for the cause.

A cold beer would be nice.
God! how I hate these young punks with purple hair.*


Marshalg
Gaza, Palestine/Mogadishu, Somalia/Kabul, Afghanistan/Tehran, Iran/Cairo, Egypt/Islamabad, Pakistan/Soweto, South Africa/Dier El Zour Province, Syria/Beirut, Lebanon/Baghdad, Iraq/Tripoli, Libya/Pristina, Kosovo/Grozny,Chechen Republic/Veracruz, Mexico/Guatemala City, Guatemala/Sao Paulo, Brazil/Moscow, Russia.
27 November 2012
Anno Oct 2014
It's on the bottle,
On the lit cigarette,
The ***** sheets
And sweaty bodies
That are tangled
Within the emotional
Textiles and figures
That dance on the walls
With each passing car.

It's the cats piano
And the manic that follows.
It's the mouth that opens
And the sound that lingers.

The terms and conditions
Which form when entering into
A loft that isn't yours,
But someone else's.

It's chocolates and cigarettes,
Whiskey and
Of course
A solo sunrise.
Derrek Estrella Oct 2018
When in Bohemia, she screams about
Her pastures green, but not too loud
So never have I known, that the world listens too
As a comedian, I see she belongs
But never conforms, to the song of
This nomad world, I'm glad she found it too
So run! She wants to run again
You vagabond, you're well-spent

Bohemian tendencies says, “you can't stay long”
“These kinds of commons, you won't ever get along”

Armenian, it’s such a release
Materialistic animosity
The speed of life has no value, like dollar signs
I loved an alien, who dabbled in art
Of all visage, enema of the heart
Wanderer, she's spent so much but there's that bliss in the air
So smile! It's all sorts of worthwhile
To see a world and not fret so much

Bohemian tendencies says, “be spectacular
Before the nebula men steal your fur”

In the Caribbean, you dream a kite
As your taxi, you can't walk all the time
Travel hills of puce-mauve sands, the world in trance
A true deviant, the thinking of
All dreaming thoughts, and loves begot
Tinkerer, what will we do when our brains run dry?
Oh, no! Don't think about the end
To love a life in due pretence 

Bohemian tendencies says, “think fair, live now”
“The world is watching with distaste of time in doubt”

As a chameleon, should she go alone?
The world is cold, except for times in colour
Her world in dance, she'll do without me
When in Bohemian, the first I've seen
Of pastel stencils through her happi-
Ness-tled in her loft home of the wind
There she goes! Ain’t she a lovely wing?
I hope she finds a world that sings

Bohemian tendencies says, “to love and to hold
But to let go, for treasures can mold”

There she goes
There she goes
There she goes
andromeda green Aug 2018
i know we haven’t talked
i know it’s been a while
i know that it’s kinda my fault
but i still miss you
i miss your fast talking and crazy stories
i miss your dyed hair and red arms
i really, really miss you
i miss our hangouts before class
i miss our planned birthday parties
i miss our ranting about how mean our friends were
i really, really, really miss you
i miss your old car with the cupcake sticker
i miss your loft bed and starbursts from math class
but most of all
i miss us

- a.g.
a letter to an old friend.

13 hours and 1 minute apart.

— The End —