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Wade Redfearn Sep 2018
The first settlers to the area called the Lumber River Drowning Creek. The river got its name for its dark, swift-moving waters. In 1809, the North Carolina state legislature changed the name of Drowning Creek to the Lumber River. The headwaters are still referred to as Drowning Creek.

Three p.m. on a Sunday.
Anxiously hungry, I stay dry, out of the pool’s cold water,
taking the light, dripping into my pages.
A city with a white face blank as a bust
peers over my shoulder.
Wildflowers on the roads. Planes circle from west,
come down steeply and out of sight.
A pinkness rises in my breast and arms:
wet as the drowned, my eyes sting with sweat.
Over the useless chimneys a bank of cloud piles up.
There is something terrible in the sky, but it keeps breaking.
Another is dead. Fentanyl. Sister of a friend, rarely seen.
A hand reaches everywhere to pass over eyes and mouths.
A glowing wound opens in heaven.
A mirror out of doors draws a gyre of oak seeds no one watches,
in the clear pool now sunless and black as a cypress swamp.

Bitter water freezes the muscles and I am far from shore.
I paddle in the shallows, near the wooden jail.
The water reflects a taut rope,
feet hanging in the breeze singing mercy
at the site of the last public hanging in the state.
A part-white fugitive with an extorted confession,
loved by the poor, dumb enough to get himself captured,
lonely on this side of authority: a world he has never lived in
foisting itself on the world he has -
only now, to steal his drunken life, then gone again.

1871 - Henderson Oxendine, one of the notorious gang of outlaws who for some time have infested Robeson County, N. C., committing ****** and robbery, and otherwise setting defiance to the laws, was hung at Lumberton, on Friday last in the presence of a large assemblage. His execution took place a very few days after his conviction, and his death occurred almost without a struggle.

Today, the town square collapses as if scorched
by the whiskey he drank that morning to still himself,
folds itself up like Amazing Grace is finished.
A plinth is laid
in the shadow of his feet, sticky with pine,
here where the water sickens with roots.
Where the canoe overturned. Where the broken oar floated and fell.
Where the snake lives, and teethes on bark,
waiting for another uncle.

Where the tobacco waves near drying barns rusted like horseshoes
and cotton studs the ground like the cropped hair of the buried.
Where schoolchildren take the afternoon
to trim the kudzu growing between the bodies of slaves.
Where appetite is met with flood and fat
and a clinic for the heart.
Where barges took chips of tar to port,
for money that no one ever saw.

Tar sticks the heel but isn’t courage.
Tar seals the hulls -
binds the planks -
builds the road.
Tar, fiery on the tongue, heavy as bad blood in the family -
dead to glue the dead together to secure the living.
Tar on the roofs, pouring heat.
Tar is a dark brown or black viscous liquid of hydrocarbons and free carbon,
obtained from a wide variety of organic materials
through destructive distillation.
Tar in the lungs will one day go as hard as a five-cent candy.

Liberty Food Mart
Cheapest Prices on Cigarettes
Parliament $22.50/carton
Marlboro $27.50/carton

The white-bibbed slaughterhouse Hmong hunch down the steps
of an old school bus with no air conditioner,
rush into the cool of the supermarket.
They pick clean the vegetables, flee with woven bags bulging.
What were they promised?
Air conditioning.
And what did they receive?
Chickenshit on the wind; a dead river they can't understand
with a name it gained from killing.

Truth:
A man was flung onto a fencepost and died in a front yard down the street.
A girl with a grudge in her eyes slipped a razorblade from her teeth and ended recess.
I once saw an Indian murdered for stealing a twelve-foot ladder.
The red line indicating heart disease grows higher and higher.
The red line indicating cardiovascular mortality grows higher and higher.
The red line indicating motor vehicle deaths grows higher and higher.
I burn with the desire to leave.

The stories make us full baskets of dark. No death troubles me.
Not the girl's blood, inert, tickled by opiates,
not the masked arson of the law;
not the smell of drywall as it rots,
or the door of the safe falling from its hinges,
or the chassis of cars, airborne over the rise by the planetarium,
three classmates plunging wide-eyed in the river’s icy arc –
absent from prom, still struggling to free themselves from their seatbelts -
the gunsmoke at the home invasion,
the tenement bisected by flood,
the cattle lowing, gelded
by agriculture students on a field trip.

The air contains skin and mud.
The galvanized barns, long empty, cough up
their dust of rotten feed, dry tobacco.
Men kneel in the tilled rows,
to pick up nails off the ground
still splashed with the blood of their makers.

You Never Sausage a Place
(You’re Always a ****** at Pedro’s!)
South of the Border – Fireworks, Motel & Rides
Exit 9: 10mi.

Drunkards in Dickies will tell you the roads are straight enough
that the drive home will not bend away from them.
Look in the woods to see by lamplight
two girls filling each other's mouths with smoke.
Hear a friendly command:
boys loosening a tire, stuck in the gut of a dog.
Turn on the radio between towns of two thousand
and hear the tiny voice of an AM preacher,
sharing the airwaves of country dark
with some chords plucked from a guitar.
Taste this water thick with tannin
and tell me that trees do not feel pain.
I would be a mausoleum for these thousands
if I only had the room.

I sealed myself against the flood.
Bodies knock against my eaves:
a clutch of cats drowned in a crawlspace,
an old woman bereft with a vase of pennies,
her dead son in her living room costumed as the black Jesus,
the ***** oil of a Chinese restaurant
dancing on top of black water.
A flow gauge spins its tin wheel
endlessly above the bloated dead,
and I will pretend not to be sick at dinner.

Misery now, a struggle ahead for Robeson County after flooding from Hurricane Matthew
LUMBERTON
After years of things leaving Robeson County – manufacturing plants, jobs, payrolls, people – something finally came in, and what was it but more misery?

I said a prayer to the city:
make me a figure in a figure,
solvent, owed and owing.
Take my jute sacks of wristbones,
my sheaves and sheaves of fealty,
the smell of the forest from my feet.
Weigh me only by my purse.
A slim woman with a college degree,
a rented room without the black wings
of palmetto roaches fleeing the damp:
I saw the calm white towers and subscribed.
No ingrate, I saved a space for the lost.
They filled it once, twice, and kept on,
eating greasy flesh straight from the bone,
craning their heads to ask a prayer for them instead.

Downtown later in the easy dark,
three college boys in foam cowboy hats shout in poor Spanish.
They press into the night and the night presses into them.
They will go home when they have to.
Under the bridge lit in violet,
a folding chair is draped in a ***** blanket.
A grubby pair of tennis shoes lay beneath, no feet inside.
Iced tea seeps from a chewed cup.
I pass a bar lit like Christmas.
A mute and pretty face full of indoor light
makes a promise I see through a window.
I pay obscene rents to find out if it is true,
in this nation tied together with gallows-rope,
thumbing its codex of virtues.
Considering this just recently got rejected and I'm free to publish it, and also considering that the town this poem describes is subject once again to a deluge whose damage promises to be worse than before, it seemed like a suitable time to post it. If you've enjoyed it, please think about making a small donation to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund at the URL below:
https://governor.nc.gov/donate-florence-recovery
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
Our salvation taking
another high-life (Lip)
The middle-income lip
Our lips leaked
Being possessed the kiss
on empty

Humpty Dumpty sat
on her Lego lips
Singers the Talking Heads
Where are the feds to late
Those stolen lips
State of a wedding trips
Rainbow chalk the state was
on lip nightmare call
Being stalked (Lumber Jack)

The devil filler up poverty
The world being pulled
Push her lip up
                    > >

Arrowsmith bow and arrow
                    >>
  Losing elasticity lips go
UPSTATE gravity

"What an under(state)meant"
"The press (God Bless)
    the golden child
     lips filling in
       the gaps
What!! no comment"

 So sad we need the happy
Irish lad too many
    Sugar Dads
lip recession deadlines to meet
The curveball
Another sip we joined the
Navy but eyeshadow deep-over
the edge gray
The Seal had an unusual tail
Her lips fast food drive smashed
Her Meal

The peace lips blew far away
"Medieval Swords heart lips
            will pay"
Times come and go its excruciating
Lips went too far always mating
Imitating people takes a whole village
Of pain

But the spiritual blessing rain
In Woodstock concerts
What perks to gain
The acid trip music we can
sip each other's lips

    Now if this wasn't passion
What a state got smeared
Like a crime scene
of fashion
Her lips could rise
Like the Millenium

         Max
Playing the jazz sax
Still the income tax

But the state in a crisis
of sales tax
Star a stage minimum wage
All the states we travel her lips
The water stays refreshing where
On her body, he really sees it on
her lips nowhere else

How many states can you
count on your finger
Long lip Ranger

The Victoria Secrets
The Tra la the bra's on the
Five-star Hilton Hotel
hanger

Holding onto her guns
Going right or to the left
Powerful lips he went
off the cliff

Getting Burned and
the State tax
You earned
The Swearing
Her lip talk so caringly
Can we move her lips to
another state more cautiously
How her hips look like
they will inflate

I am not a painting by
your candlelight fate
I felt like a tax right off
Taxi yellow race her lips
on the meter money bluff
I ended up in the state of
*
Michigan
Tricks are ****
Like a lip magician

Kentucky home was barrels
of Bourbon
I never said I wanted a drink
my name is Robin

Going to Deleware
what hardware did anyone care
So humble like the bumblebee
She was way too soft as her software

Have gun we travel but have lips we rumble

We need courage this world of states
can be savage
Gold bonds of "Dynasty European"
top dollar vultures mean
funds that's a grand entrance

Now I see how these states
start to unravel
California here I come right
back where
my lips started from

Her upper society lip could use
Champagne and caviar
The star was getting fat a nice trim
Grumpy beard make it a
short tax cut with him
Text and tweets no lip sweets
Rocky Colorado mountain men

French lips played art
Like Van Gogh perfect 10
Scenic route crazed
So many states should
be sued overly sexed suites

In Alaska, she was on a freeze

All the money in the world she got New York Token

All I asked the waitress
for State fair pie
My lips could have
used *Sweet Peach * so
pucker up
Don't be a sucker
Alabama state trooper
in Kansas City

What a spell click of heels

Georgia is always on my mind
Is New York only a state of
Frank Sinatra singing mind
What a big foot in her mouth
Nancy Sinatra dark lips Goth
State boots softly made
for loving that's just
what lips do one of these
Days my lips are going to
gloss all over you
Who's the Boss
So fasten your lip belts
The spiritual state always does the cross

Bumpy ride (Bette Davis) Eyes
Taking a trip to the end of the
boot of Sicily vineyards
Whats mine Jailbirds
She cut her lip when she was
in (Connecticut Movie cut)
On the Mystic Seaport lips were
getting hot ****** fit

Like a state disease fire pit
State of a lip disaster
But the state couldn't
resist her
Ending up in Arizona
Something is swizzling
it's not Kevin Bacon

Make no mistake when you plan
a state trip you better have your
weapon ready
Mafia bullets Bonnie and Clyde
they rob *Banks money Lips
Stae of mind we are traveling again but our lips will be the walking the yellow pages old news Staes can rock up she has the Wizardly Oz shoes
TB Dentz Jul 2018
Reinaldo was the name they gave the great white elephant
Who came to clear the jungles around Sao Paulo
A clever notion that because Reinaldo was born in the jungle
Any jungle would do just fine, Brazilian or Siamese made no difference
Just as clever was the notion that because I was a black man, educated
I would do just fine directing other black men to do work, English or Portuguese made no difference
Was I truly so much a fool, twice over?

Reinaldo occasionally was afflicted with slothfulness
Some of the men thought it was from lack of **** and whip
I was of a mind that it was due to lack of companionship
It was costly enough to ship one giant beast across a great sea
I left a wife, in Maryland, whom I never loved and who never loved me
I admit before the plan was in motion I never considered that Reinaldo could have a family
Sometimes, I wonder, did he have a wife who never loved him?

Loneliness became a common theme in our new home away from home
And Reinaldo and I became friends, at least I thought of him fondly
As far as I could say, of all the men he responded best to me
At times it seemed a load of lumber was hauled as a personal favor
For the handler too soft to handle with fear and anger
But as much as loneliness was a theme, so was change, and death

The lifespan of an elephant compares to the lifespan of men
Were this scheme of mine to have worked as desired
I could have sent for a cow, and made Reinaldo a sire
Soon it was revealed that slothfulness was a symptom of an elephant young, healthy and wise
Who sensed not his own, but a friend's imminent demise
Now I am left to wonder how Reinaldo will fare in a world stranger than I could have known
His softest handler and only friend bedridden, waiting for my disease to take its final toll
This poem is not about me
Your daisies have come
on the day of my divorce:
the courtroom a cement box,
a gas chamber for the infectious Jew in me
and a perhaps land, a possibly promised land
for the Jew in me,
but still a betrayal room for the till-death-do-us-
and yet a death, as in the unlocking of scissors
that makes the now separate parts useless,
even to cut each other up as we did yearly
under the crayoned-in sun.
The courtroom keeps squashing our lives as they break
into two cans ready for recycling,
flattened tin humans
and a tin law,
even for my twenty-five years of hanging on
by my teeth as I once saw at Ringling Brothers.
The gray room:
Judge, lawyer, witness
and me and invisible Skeezix,
and all the other torn
enduring the bewilderments
of their division.

Your daisies have come
on the day of my divorce.
They arrive like round yellow fish,
******* with love at the coral of our love.
Yet they wait,
in their short time,
like little utero half-borns,
half killed, thin and bone soft.
They breathe the air that stands
for twenty-five illicit days,
the sun crawling inside the sheets,
the moon spinning like a tornado
in the washbowl,
and we orchestrated them both,
calling ourselves TWO CAMP DIRECTORS.
There was a song, our song on your cassette,
that played over and over
and baptised the prodigals.
It spoke the unspeakable,
as the rain will on an attic roof,
letting the animal join its soul
as we kneeled before a miracle--
forgetting its knife.

The daisies confer
in the old-married kitchen
papered with blue and green chefs
who call out pies, cookies, yummy,
at the charcoal and cigarette smoke
they wear like a yellowy salve.
The daisies absorb it all--
the twenty-five-year-old sanctioned love
(If one could call such handfuls of fists
and immobile arms that!)
and on this day my world rips itself up
while the country unfastens along
with its perjuring king and his court.
It unfastens into an abortion of belief,
as in me--
the legal rift--
as on might do with the daisies
but does not
for they stand for a love
undergoihng open heart surgery
that might take
if one prayed tough enough.
And yet I demand,
even in prayer,
that I am not a thief,
a mugger of need,
and that your heart survive
on its own,
belonging only to itself,
whole, entirely whole,
and workable
in its dark cavern under your ribs.

I pray it will know truth,
if truth catches in its cup
and yet I pray, as a child would,
that the surgery take.

I dream it is taking.
Next I dream the love is swallowing itself.
Next I dream the love is made of glass,
glass coming through the telephone
that is breaking slowly,
day by day, into my ear.
Next I dream that I put on the love
like a lifejacket and we float,
jacket and I,
we bounce on that priest-blue.
We are as light as a cat's ear
and it is safe,
safe far too long!
And I awaken quickly and go to the opposite window
and peer down at the moon in the pond
and know that beauty has walked over my head,
into this bedroom and out,
flowing out through the window screen,
dropping deep into the water
to hide.

I will observe the daisies
fade and dry up
wuntil they become flour,
snowing themselves onto the table
beside the drone of the refrigerator,
beside the radio playing Frankie
(as often as FM will allow)
snowing lightly, a tremor sinking from the ceiling--
as twenty-five years split from my side
like a growth that I sliced off like a melanoma.

It is six P.M. as I water these tiny weeds
and their little half-life,
their numbered days
that raged like a secret radio,
recalling love that I picked up innocently,
yet guiltily,
as my five-year-old daughter
picked gum off the sidewalk
and it became suddenly an elastic miracle.

For me it was love found
like a diamond
where carrots grow--
the glint of diamond on a plane wing,
meaning:  DANGER!  THICK ICE!
but the good crunch of that orange,
the diamond, the carrot,
both with four million years of resurrecting dirt,
and the love,
although Adam did not know the word,
the love of Adam
obeying his sudden gift.

You, who sought me for nine years,
in stories made up in front of your naked mirror
or walking through rooms of fog women,
you trying to forget the mother
who built guilt with the lumber of a locked door
as she sobbed her soured mild and fed you loss
through the keyhole,
you who wrote out your own birth
and built it with your own poems,
your own lumber, your own keyhole,
into the trunk and leaves of your manhood,
you, who fell into my words, years
before you fell into me (the other,
both the Camp Director and the camper),
you who baited your hook with wide-awake dreams,
and calls and letters and once a luncheon,
and twice a reading by me for you.
But I wouldn't!

Yet this year,
yanking off all past years,
I took the bait
and was pulled upward, upward,
into the sky and was held by the sun--
the quick wonder of its yellow lap--
and became a woman who learned her own shin
and dug into her soul and found it full,
and you became a man who learned his won skin
and dug into his manhood, his humanhood
and found you were as real as a baker
or a seer
and we became a home,
up into the elbows of each other's soul,
without knowing--
an invisible purchase--
that inhabits our house forever.

We were
blessed by the House-Die
by the altar of the color T.V.
and somehow managed to make a tiny marriage,
a tiny marriage
called belief,
as in the child's belief in the tooth fairy,
so close to absolute,
so daft within a year or two.
The daisies have come
for the last time.
And I who have,
each year of my life,
spoken to the tooth fairy,
believing in her,
even when I was her,
am helpless to stop your daisies from dying,
although your voice cries into the telephone:
Marry me!  Marry me!
and my voice speaks onto these keys tonight:
The love is in dark trouble!
The love is starting to die,
right now--
we are in the process of it.
The empty process of it.

I see two deaths,
and the two men plod toward the mortuary of my heart,
and though I willed one away in court today
and I whisper dreams and birthdays into the other,
they both die like waves breaking over me
and I am drowning a little,
but always swimming
among the pillows and stones of the breakwater.
And though your daisies are an unwanted death,
I wade through the smell of their cancer
and recognize the prognosis,
its cartful of loss--

I say now,
you gave what you could.
It was quite a ferris wheel to spin on!
and the dead city of my marriage
seems less important
than the fact that the daisies came weekly,
over and over,
likes kisses that can't stop themselves.

There sit two deaths on November 5th, 1973.
Let one be forgotten--
Bury it!  Wall it up!
But let me not forget the man
of my child-like flowers
though he sinks into the fog of Lake Superior,
he remains, his fingers the marvel
of fourth of July sparklers,
his furious ice cream cones of licking,
remains to cool my forehead with a washcloth
when I sweat into the bathtub of his being.

For the rest that is left:
name it gentle,
as gentle as radishes inhabiting
their short life in the earth,
name it gentle,
gentle as old friends waving so long at the window,
or in the drive,
name it gentle as maple wings singing
themselves upon the pond outside,
as sensuous as the mother-yellow in the pond,
that night that it was ours,
when our bodies floated and bumped
in moon water and the cicadas
called out like tongues.

Let such as this
be resurrected in all men
whenever they mold their days and nights
as when for twenty-five days and nights you molded mine
and planted the seed that dives into my God
and will do so forever
no matter how often I sweep the floor.
Soft vaccines in which all the lost souls determine there private playground
Musical chairs of frightened faces
Fellow lonely heat sources
Hidden in the private darkness without another to recognize
The warmth of reality
Without someone to guide you through the forest
How will you find the trees?
Confirmation is life’s essential deed
Necessitating human contact
Nothing is certainty without a plastic shadow recognizing it so.
I WAS born on the prairie and the milk of its wheat, the red of its clover, the eyes of its women, gave me a song and a slogan.

Here the water went down, the icebergs slid with gravel, the gaps and the valleys hissed, and the black loam came, and the yellow sandy loam.
Here between the sheds of the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians, here now a morning star fixes a fire sign over the timber claims and cow pastures, the corn belt, the cotton belt, the cattle ranches.
Here the gray geese go five hundred miles and back with a wind under their wings honking the cry for a new home.
Here I know I will hanker after nothing so much as one more sunrise or a sky moon of fire doubled to a river moon of water.

The prairie sings to me in the forenoon and I know in the night I rest easy in the prairie arms, on the prairie heart..    .    .
        After the sunburn of the day
        handling a pitchfork at a hayrack,
        after the eggs and biscuit and coffee,
        the pearl-gray haystacks
        in the gloaming
        are cool prayers
        to the harvest hands.

In the city among the walls the overland passenger train is choked and the pistons hiss and the wheels curse.
On the prairie the overland flits on phantom wheels and the sky and the soil between them muffle the pistons and cheer the wheels..    .    .
I am here when the cities are gone.
I am here before the cities come.
I nourished the lonely men on horses.
I will keep the laughing men who ride iron.
I am dust of men.

The running water babbled to the deer, the cottontail, the gopher.
You came in wagons, making streets and schools,
Kin of the ax and rifle, kin of the plow and horse,
Singing Yankee Doodle, Old Dan Tucker, Turkey in the Straw,
You in the coonskin cap at a log house door hearing a lone wolf howl,
You at a sod house door reading the blizzards and chinooks let loose from Medicine Hat,
I am dust of your dust, as I am brother and mother
To the copper faces, the worker in flint and clay,
The singing women and their sons a thousand years ago
Marching single file the timber and the plain.

I hold the dust of these amid changing stars.
I last while old wars are fought, while peace broods mother-like,
While new wars arise and the fresh killings of young men.
I fed the boys who went to France in great dark days.
Appomattox is a beautiful word to me and so is Valley Forge and the Marne and Verdun,
I who have seen the red births and the red deaths
Of sons and daughters, I take peace or war, I say nothing and wait.

Have you seen a red sunset drip over one of my cornfields, the shore of night stars, the wave lines of dawn up a wheat valley?
Have you heard my threshing crews yelling in the chaff of a strawpile and the running wheat of the wagonboards, my cornhuskers, my harvest hands hauling crops, singing dreams of women, worlds, horizons?.    .    .
        Rivers cut a path on flat lands.
        The mountains stand up.
        The salt oceans press in
        And push on the coast lines.
        The sun, the wind, bring rain
        And I know what the rainbow writes across the east or west in a half-circle:
        A love-letter pledge to come again..    .    .
      Towns on the Soo Line,
      Towns on the Big Muddy,
      Laugh at each other for cubs
      And tease as children.

Omaha and Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Paul, sisters in a house together, throwing slang, growing up.
Towns in the Ozarks, Dakota wheat towns, Wichita, Peoria, Buffalo, sisters throwing slang, growing up..    .    .
Out of prairie-brown grass crossed with a streamer of wigwam smoke-out of a smoke pillar, a blue promise-out of wild ducks woven in greens and purples-
Here I saw a city rise and say to the peoples round world: Listen, I am strong, I know what I want.
Out of log houses and stumps-canoes stripped from tree-sides-flatboats coaxed with an ax from the timber claims-in the years when the red and the white men met-the houses and streets rose.

A thousand red men cried and went away to new places for corn and women: a million white men came and put up skyscrapers, threw out rails and wires, feelers to the salt sea: now the smokestacks bite the skyline with stub teeth.

In an early year the call of a wild duck woven in greens and purples: now the riveter's chatter, the police patrol, the song-whistle of the steamboat.

To a man across a thousand years I offer a handshake.
I say to him: Brother, make the story short, for the stretch of a thousand years is short..    .    .
What brothers these in the dark?
What eaves of skyscrapers against a smoke moon?
These chimneys shaking on the lumber shanties
When the coal boats plow by on the river-
The hunched shoulders of the grain elevators-
The flame sprockets of the sheet steel mills
And the men in the rolling mills with their shirts off
Playing their flesh arms against the twisting wrists of steel:
        what brothers these
        in the dark
        of a thousand years?.    .    .
A headlight searches a snowstorm.
A funnel of white light shoots from over the pilot of the Pioneer Limited crossing Wisconsin.

In the morning hours, in the dawn,
The sun puts out the stars of the sky
And the headlight of the Limited train.

The fireman waves his hand to a country school teacher on a bobsled.
A boy, yellow hair, red scarf and mittens, on the bobsled, in his lunch box a pork chop sandwich and a V of gooseberry pie.

The horses fathom a snow to their knees.
Snow hats are on the rolling prairie hills.
The Mississippi bluffs wear snow hats..    .    .
Keep your hogs on changing corn and mashes of grain,
    O farmerman.
    Cram their insides till they waddle on short legs
    Under the drums of bellies, hams of fat.
    **** your hogs with a knife slit under the ear.
    Hack them with cleavers.
    Hang them with hooks in the hind legs..    .    .
A wagonload of radishes on a summer morning.
Sprinkles of dew on the crimson-purple *****.
The farmer on the seat dangles the reins on the rumps of dapple-gray horses.
The farmer's daughter with a basket of eggs dreams of a new hat to wear to the county fair..    .    .
On the left-and right-hand side of the road,
        Marching corn-
I saw it knee high weeks ago-now it is head high-tassels of red silk creep at the ends of the ears..    .    .
I am the prairie, mother of men, waiting.
They are mine, the threshing crews eating beefsteak, the farmboys driving steers to the railroad cattle pens.
They are mine, the crowds of people at a Fourth of July basket picnic, listening to a lawyer read the Declaration of Independence, watching the pinwheels and Roman candles at night, the young men and women two by two hunting the bypaths and kissing bridges.
They are mine, the horses looking over a fence in the frost of late October saying good-morning to the horses hauling wagons of rutabaga to market.
They are mine, the old zigzag rail fences, the new barb wire..    .    .
The cornhuskers wear leather on their hands.
There is no let-up to the wind.
Blue bandannas are knotted at the ruddy chins.

Falltime and winter apples take on the smolder of the five-o'clock November sunset: falltime, leaves, bonfires, stubble, the old things go, and the earth is grizzled.
The land and the people hold memories, even among the anthills and the angleworms, among the toads and woodroaches-among gravestone writings rubbed out by the rain-they keep old things that never grow old.

The frost loosens corn husks.
The Sun, the rain, the wind
        loosen corn husks.
The men and women are helpers.
They are all cornhuskers together.
I see them late in the western evening
        in a smoke-red dust..    .    .
The phantom of a yellow rooster flaunting a scarlet comb, on top of a dung pile crying hallelujah to the streaks of daylight,
The phantom of an old hunting dog nosing in the underbrush for muskrats, barking at a **** in a treetop at midnight, chewing a bone, chasing his tail round a corncrib,
The phantom of an old workhorse taking the steel point of a plow across a forty-acre field in spring, hitched to a harrow in summer, hitched to a wagon among cornshocks in fall,
These phantoms come into the talk and wonder of people on the front porch of a farmhouse late summer nights.
"The shapes that are gone are here," said an old man with a cob pipe in his teeth one night in Kansas with a hot wind on the alfalfa..    .    .
Look at six eggs
In a mockingbird's nest.

Listen to six mockingbirds
Flinging follies of O-be-joyful
Over the marshes and uplands.

Look at songs
Hidden in eggs..    .    .
When the morning sun is on the trumpet-vine blossoms, sing at the kitchen pans: Shout All Over God's Heaven.
When the rain slants on the potato hills and the sun plays a silver shaft on the last shower, sing to the bush at the backyard fence: Mighty Lak a Rose.
When the icy sleet pounds on the storm windows and the house lifts to a great breath, sing for the outside hills: The Ole Sheep Done Know the Road, the Young Lambs Must Find the Way..    .    .
Spring slips back with a girl face calling always: "Any new songs for me? Any new songs?"

O prairie girl, be lonely, singing, dreaming, waiting-your lover comes-your child comes-the years creep with toes of April rain on new-turned sod.
O prairie girl, whoever leaves you only crimson poppies to talk with, whoever puts a good-by kiss on your lips and never comes back-
There is a song deep as the falltime redhaws, long as the layer of black loam we go to, the shine of the morning star over the corn belt, the wave line of dawn up a wheat valley..    .    .
O prairie mother, I am one of your boys.
I have loved the prairie as a man with a heart shot full of pain over love.
Here I know I will hanker after nothing so much as one more sunrise or a sky moon of fire doubled to a river moon of water..    .    .
I speak of new cities and new people.
I tell you the past is a bucket of ashes.
I tell you yesterday is a wind gone down,
  a sun dropped in the west.
I tell you there is nothing in the world
  only an ocean of to-morrows,
  a sky of to-morrows.

I am a brother of the cornhuskers who say
  at sundown:
        To-morrow is a day.
Darkness take me into your beautiful arms
Lay me to rest, tuck me in as a mother would.
Kiss my forehead and whisper to me a false sense of hope.

Let your lies curl up around me like a blanket
that keeps me warm.
It is so cold outside. Don’t let me be cold.

Throw more lumber into the fire, please.
Do not let it go out.
I’m not sure what you would do if all the light would go out.

I’m not sure if I can trust you;
however, you’re all I have
and it’s become so incredibly hard to do it myself.

It’s growing dark.
My lips are trembling, my teeth chattering.
Would you please put more lumber into the fire?
I wrote this today. Have a nice day!
Smash down the cities.
Knock the walls to pieces.
Break the factories and cathedrals, warehouses
     and homes
Into loose piles of stone and lumber and black
     burnt wood:
     You are the soldiers and we command you.

Build up the cities.
Set up the walls again.
Put together once more the factories and cathedrals,
     warehouses and homes
Into buildings for life and labor:
     You are workmen and citizens all: We
     command you.
Devon Oct 2012
Take a peak inside that stormy dome,
see if you can't find yourself
a semi-peaceful slice of mind that you can call your own

Tie a leash around its neck,
try to walk that creature home,
Show it to your mom and pops

“look guys, look what I found roaming around my teenage mind?
This is the friend I was telling you about
I know he’s kind of ugly, shaggy and unkempt.
His looks are mildly incestual
But I love him all the same
Do you mind if I sit him right there next to you?

Maybe the three of you could exchange some words
He knows the same ones I do
Even those nasty slurs
I don’t exactly understand him
No one else does either
Everyone knows him,
But few seem to remember

Don’t go looking for him on your own
He tends to get real shy, sometimes reclusive
He’ll dive down deep into his subconscious home,
Forged of past memories, images and emotions
The ones that I dare not touch like the middle of the ocean

I wait by the shoreline, drifting in and out of consciousness
Anxiously awaiting,
the lumber that he’s plundered
from my stormy subconscious.
Then again,
maybe this time will be just like the rest.
Maybe this time all I get,
Is that hollowed out feeling in my chest

Suddenly,
He surfaces for air
And there he is
Speaking to me of sufferings and joys
My very own melodrama and vanity
He even touches on insecurity.


Things I never knew I tried so hard to hide
How did he find it all?
In that underwater den,
Where all these things reside.

“If you don’t come home with me, all this beauty may be forever lost”
I told him.
So that’s why I brought him home
I call him creativity
Could you watch him,
I need to be alone?
Elizz Jul 2018
Quaking Earth shattering Revolting
And I'm in the middle of it
My heart is at least
I didn't realize or notice that it got so big able to lumber out of my chest
I guess that's ok because I can't do anything about it
Just like I couldn't do anything about the fire rising up behind "me"
You aren't with me I don't get to hear your laugh anymore
Sprinkling down through ivy covered walls
You aren't with me
I've realized that a lot
But I also realize that when I get up in the morning
Or in most cases never going to sleep to begin with
The moon a lovely
Complicit pale lover
Never questioning me
Never worrying me
Listening when I need to talk
And instead of telling me what to do
Or telling me what I'm doing wrong
it just listens
I knew it wasn't a mistake when I fell for your pale face
It was a mistake when I started liking someone
Who's face didn't stay impressively passive when looking at me
It was a mistake to fall out of orbit
For someone who never wanted to be free
From the confines of gravity
To  come into my sky
You know sometimes
I can still see your shadow
Just out of the corner of my eye
The way your hair would fall
How your eyes would even enrapture the sun
You aren't mine anymore
But the sun still deigns to rise
And the moon still loves me
I can't get back the love and adoration
I gave you over the past five years
And as I said I still see your shadow sometimes
But you aren't mine
And that's ok
Because even though you never cared
About being the meteor that knocked me out of orbit
I still cared about you being happy
Even when it wasn't with me
Even when it isn't with me
And each day since
I've gotten off of the ground
More and more
So thanks
For the broken insecurities
For the things that I never wanted
Thanks for submerging me into a vat
Made out of stress and emotional pain
Thanks
For the new sense of orbit
And the new outlook
And that sometimes
Dreams shatter
Possibilities shatter
But that's ok
Because when they shatter
The fractures
Lead to new doors
really really old four years at best
Sarah Jun 2013
I wonder if my life would be alright
If I turned into a cat between the night

The main mission of my day of slumber
Is to find the most comfortable place to lumber

In solitude I would thrive
Teamwork still Would be nice

All I know is cats dream of mice
Sometimes I think that would be nice.
Robert C Howard Jul 2016
They gathered by Williamson Road at sun-up
      from neighboring spreads across the Tioga valley.
They came with carts laden with lumber stacks -
      with saws, adzes, hammers and sundry tools.

They gathered with the homesteaders bond.
      to co-build their neighbor's' dreams.

Sweet music of community echoed off the hills.
     Chisels clanged into rock, shaping the foundation,
saws sang into boards to frame a timbered skeleton.
     The staccato syncopation of hammers fastened walls
that soon would shelter plowshares, stock and grain.
      A smithy leaned over his fire and forge -
chiming iron into sturdy latches and hinges.

     Children scurried about mixing squeals and laughter
with exuberant fetching and lifting whenever called.
    
In two short passings of the sun the deed was done
      and a handsome new barn, decked out in a wash of red
was silhouetted tall and proud against the fading light.

Homesteaders gathered at a celebration table
      to share a hearty meal adorned by the music
of fiddles, grateful smiles and easy laughter.
  
Then one by one they steered their wagons home
      gazing back at what their labors had wrought -
knowing to the depth of their communal souls
      that we are more together than we are apart

Listen up, America!  This is the music of community.
      We are more together than we are apart.

*© 2016 by Robert Charles Howard
Micheal Wolf Aug 2018
We tried to be better with each new cause.
But while we tried to save the whale, we polluted its home.
We tried to save the tiger but its home was used for lumber.
The orangutans deminished for Palm oil and crops.
Now the globe is warming and the oceans rise.
They're full of plastic and everything is dying.
So now we have only ourselves to blame for plastics, Monsanto and wild hurricanes.
The next great cause will be because of effect.
No one to save mankind, as he killed everything else.
drumhound Jan 2014
I wish the world
banana seats and ***** bars
chariots of childhood
transports to imaginary kingdoms
erasers of boundaries
freedom makers
brother bonders
vehicles of the delegates of peace
a better way.

Bolted to a heavy metal frame of
metallic green with
ape hanger handlebars
the playing cards clothes-pinned in spokes
making siren noises with our mouths
rope-lashed weapons aboard
discovering creeks
woods
forbidden backyards and
never-before-known games with
barn side lumber and pop cans
double-dog daring inedible things
teasing girls
riding to secret clubhouse meetings and
the playground.

I wish the world
our playground
summers of innocence
bottomless wells of laughter
center of the universe
June to September
ages 8 to 18
bean bags and ringers
tether ball - hand and paddle
basketball and baseball and
box hockey
(where it was encouraged
to give children axe handles and
a softball
to beat through holes
in a 2 x 6 board
defending a goal
with their life and
busted knuckles).
We liked it that way.
We lived as legends.

I wish the world
a bike ride with friends
ending at the playground.
For there has never been a bad day
on a banana seat.
with props to Nat....
Madeline Apr 2013
no one told them it was the place
that we watched the water go by -
sat, for hours,
and watched the water go by.

nobody said it was the spot where i started to move on from the boy i loved
and where you stopped caring what your father thinks.

it's the spot where we sat in the roots of trees
and smoothed sand off of purple river stones.
it's the spot where the old lumber mill had been decaying,
and where the kids would go when they were too old for the playground.
it was where the stray dogs poked around in the rubble and the lumber scraps
and where the stray cats fought and made love.

no one told them it was where we sat
and planned out our lives together -
a pair of girls with too-long legs and our hair askew
whose clothes were covered in paint
and whose hands where used to climbing the tree behind the bakery.
no one told them it was our spot,
our best-friend soul-speaking spot.
nobody said that it was spots like these
that hold the heart of our little town,
our artistic-afterthought town
with its peeling-paint coffee shops and friendly passersby.

they built concrete trees over our spot on the river,
an ugly corporate jungle.
they put grey bricks in the sand and shoveled away the purple river stones
and dug up the roots of our trees,
and now we'll have nowhere to watch the water tumble by.

no one told them it was the spot, our spot,
and no one will remember it but us.
CA Smith Mar 2018
"The tallest poplar I'll grow to be,"
said the young tree.

"Standing above the rest,
I'll be crowned the best.
Fortified and grown,
the forest will be mine to rule alone."

Ripped from the roots,
and cut down by a man in boots,
the dreams quickly faded.
"There's not much to make of me now"
Thought the tree,
whose complexion quickly changed
from wide-eyed to jaded.

Hauled onto a truck  
Off he went.
To the lumberyard,
the young tree was sent.

Chopped to pieces,
stripped of his bark.
Our young poplar was afraid his life,
would never leave a mark.

"Some wooden crates they'll make of me"
"The peaks of the other trees I'll never see"

"I'm useless, I'm broken"
"In the forest my name will never be spoken"

The story doesn't end though,
it's only just begun.
For the life of this tree,
is one that's not yet done.

The lumber was chopped, cut, and carried.
To a town of a man named Jack,
who was poor but newly married.

"I've got little money, but I make good shoes"
"I've got to take care of my wife, I've nothing left to lose"

"I'll open a store, and become a cobbler"
"And with the money I make, I'll buy my family something proper."

So Jack took his life savings.
And off he went, to open a store,
To make enough money to pay the rent.

Our poplar was still together,
chopped into many pieces.
Next to some hardware supplies,
and a vendor selling fleeces.

"I'll take that lumber, it'll do the job."
"Just take my money, and I'll be along"

Years passed by as Jack labored hard.
A few kids came along, a house, and a fenced in yard.

One day a special man came to town.
Not the type of man that you see every day,
for this man wore a royal crown.

"Wooden clogs I need for my feet"
"To keep them dry as I walk along the damp street"

A chance to make shoes for a king,
this was enough to make Jack sing.

He looked through his supplies,
they weren't enough.
To build shoes fit for a king,
would be quite tough.

"I have just the wood, "
he thought to himself.
"From when I first built my shop,
there is some left on the top shelf.

So he took the remaining scraps,
and he made new shoes.
Shoes for royalty,
clogs fit for a man more special than me.

And now our poplar finally got his chance.
To join in the royal dance.
And on the king's feet he stays.
Helping him rule the land for the rest of his days.

So, if you find yourself cut down before you grow.
Just remember, and make sure you know.
Your chance will come, sooner or later.
To become a part of something greater.
THE SINS of Kalamazoo are neither scarlet nor crimson.
  
The sins of Kalamazoo are a convict gray, a dishwater drab.
  
And the people who sin the sins of Kalamazoo are neither scarlet nor crimson.
  
They run to drabs and grays-and some of them sing they shall be washed whiter than snow-and some: We should worry.
  
Yes, Kalamazoo is a spot on the map
And the passenger trains stop there
And the factory smokestacks smoke
And the grocery stores are open Saturday nights
And the streets are free for citizens who vote
And inhabitants counted in the census.
Saturday night is the big night.
  Listen with your ears on a Saturday night in Kalamazoo
  And say to yourself: I hear America, I hear, what do I hear?
  
Main street there runs through the middle of the twon
And there is a ***** postoffice
And a ***** city hall
And a ***** railroad station
And the United States flag cries, cries the Stars and Stripes to the four winds on Lincoln's birthday and the Fourth of July.
  
Kalamazoo kisses a hand to something far off.
  
Kalamazoo calls to a long horizon, to a shivering silver angel, to a creeping mystic what-is-it.
  
"We're here because we're here," is the song of Kalamazoo.
  
"We don't know where we're going but we're on our way," are the words.
  
There are hound dogs of bronze on the public square, hound dogs looking far beyond the public square.
  
Sweethearts there in Kalamazoo
Go to the general delivery window of the postoffice
And speak their names and ask for letters
And ask again, "Are you sure there is nothing for me?
I wish you'd look again-there must be a letter for me."
  
And sweethearts go to the city hall
And tell their names and say,"We want a license."
And they go to an installment house and buy a bed on time and a clock
And the children grow up asking each other, "What can we do to **** time?"
They grow up and go to the railroad station and buy tickets for Texas, Pennsylvania, Alaska.
"Kalamazoo is all right," they say. "But I want to see the world."
And when they have looked the world over they come back saying it is all like Kalamazoo.
  
The trains come in from the east and hoot for the crossings,
And buzz away to the peach country and Chicago to the west
Or they come from the west and shoot on to the Battle Creek breakfast bazaars
And the speedbug heavens of Detroit.
  
"I hear America, I hear, what do I hear?"
Said a loafer lagging along on the sidewalks of Kalamazoo,
Lagging along and asking questions, reading signs.
  
Oh yes, there is a town named Kalamazoo,
A spot on the map where the trains hesitate.
I saw the sign of a five and ten cent store there
And the Standard Oil Company and the International Harvester
And a graveyard and a ball grounds
And a short order counter where a man can get a stack of wheats
And a pool hall where a rounder leered confidential like and said:
"Lookin' for a quiet game?"
  
The loafer lagged along and asked,
"Do you make guitars here?
Do you make boxes the singing wood winds ask to sleep in?
Do you rig up strings the singing wood winds sift over and sing low?"
The answer: "We manufacture musical instruments here."
  
Here I saw churches with steeples like hatpins,
Undertaking rooms with sample coffins in the show window
And signs everywhere satisfaction is guaranteed,
Shooting galleries where men **** imitation pigeons,
And there were doctors for the sick,
And lawyers for people waiting in jail,
And a dog catcher and a superintendent of streets,
And telephones, water-works, trolley cars,
And newspapers with a splatter of telegrams from sister cities of Kalamazoo the round world over.
  
And the loafer lagging along said:
Kalamazoo, you ain't in a class by yourself;
I seen you before in a lot of places.
If you are nuts America is nuts.
  And lagging along he said bitterly:
  Before I came to Kalamazoo I was silent.
  Now I am gabby, God help me, I am gabby.
  
Kalamazoo, both of us will do a fadeaway.
I will be carried out feet first
And time and the rain will chew you to dust
And the winds blow you away.
And an old, old mother will lay a green moss cover on my bones
And a green moss cover on the stones of your postoffice and city hall.
  
  Best of all
I have loved your kiddies playing run-sheep-run
And cutting their initials on the ball ground fence.
They knew every time I fooled them who was fooled and how.
  
  Best of all
I have loved the red gold smoke of your sunsets;
I have loved a moon with a ring around it
Floating over your public square;
I have loved the white dawn frost of early winter silver
And purple over your railroad tracks and lumber yards.
  
  The wishing heart of you I loved, Kalamazoo.
  I sang bye-lo, bye-lo to your dreams.
I sang bye-lo to your hopes and songs.
I wished to God there were hound dogs of bronze on your public square,
Hound dogs with bronze paws looking to a long horizon with a shivering silver angel, a creeping mystic what-is-it.
brooke Nov 2016
while you were eating
cherry pie that sunday
after i reached for your
hand and your fingers
didn't curl around mine--

i took to the trees behind the cabin
and stayed the mossy grove buried
in this golden scratch
the neighbor's conversation downwind
about the mountain lion they'd spotted
and the spiritual sort of fear I felt with
my eyes closed, the mechanical click
of my own heartbeat, how things
used to flow and now they only
swarmed,
always
swallowed.

i was singing songs to call you out,
like you did the first time, when you
came up around the hillside and
followed me a ways out--
softly at first and then no more,
replaced by the force that came
upon me, where suddenly I was
uprooting trees, picking the most
desolate, gnarled aspens--unhinging
their roots to press my heel into their
soft bases, hulking forward and watching
them stretch out and out and out--

I found old yarn and tied
it for later, to find, to untie
to hope for second chances
I left the copse and you were


eating cherry pie on the porch
rummaging through coolers
oil sloshing through your bones
dragon fire in your blood
hard-headed over puerile matters
over your time, over the weeks
staunchly grounded into your own
wild western ways,

The duck's back, the bear's pelt
You've been roaming alone in the forests
As the beasts do, the lost, the frightened,
Admiring the darkness of your own shadow
The way it draws and casts away,
Doubly conflicted of your nature that
Mostly takes and takes and takes
Bears and
Men and
You.
(C) brooke otto 2016

Started this a few weeks ago. I dunno if it's finished.
Coop Lee May 2014
she plays right-forward-key for the local soccer sweets,
the lady sphinxes.
glossy hot glass on the weekend spells time & icecream &
tumbling hips + tips
to the field forever.
& she scores.
she does that little dance.
her legs.

& all boys stare at those legs,
their eyes strained and watery. they all love her.
they all love big lights & fridays & *******
& she knows
the mountains have lumber.
have flowers.
have life before & after death & all swirling as one.
the girl.

the sasquatch.
he is up the drive and deep woods beyond convex
& ponderosa pine.
he is the wing’d eye.
&/or a spirit of man and nature, pneumatikos.
a man bound only by the limitations of his own imagination.

he is avoiding the empire
at large, opposed to the kingdom & all-seeing eye.
fears the pyramids + powers that be.
city swept lifetimes & dead lovers & dead sons & moms crying.
he is the bleeding foot.
&/or the spirit of a man imprisoned
by the geometry of his own well-planned well-machinated existence.

the mountains are warm.
& six month cycles make harvest of gold, & of glory, & of
sweet cannabinoid nectars, buddy.
he is studying
the qualities of dimensional rifts purported in proximity of the lake,
&/or
the hillside pharmacopoeia: future of advanced synthesis.
he rolls glory into a blunt.

she rolls glory,
up the hillside compass & fresh
boots to death.
sweaty girl forward, soccer girl, girl escaped
& hefty in her happy trance.
she is armed with love,
& killer legs.
she is intrigued by this man covered in beautiful fur.
she is new.
Craig Dotti Dec 2009
Lumber and lacquer
Nails and elbow grease
Blood from the splinters
Before you were stripped down
From the wood
Of the forest behind our home

Standing sturdy and steadfast,
On the patio
I laid
Brick by brick
Gate keeper of the orchard that grows,
Thick in the summer  
And curls up barren,

In the cold months
As if sitting on its mahogany shoulders there are
Mountains to the North West that seem
To smile with their peaks,
And valleys against the blue satin
Sheet of a sky

You who bare witness to my body and the bodies of
Countless others
Those that would just simply use you and fewer,
That would become your very grain
You are watching our conversations,
Through knots for eyes
Through bird-burrowed holes,
Hearing us,
As we break bread as brothers
Wood through the trees
Flesh from bone
Feast to famine
You are,

Beautiful and complete
As the steak,
Cooked rare
A glass of summer port–wine:

The color of the red russet potato,
And the earth-soiled hands that dug them up
W Taylor Oct 2012
When I was 15, I wouldn’t have believed you
if you told me all of this about constant lament
in a Red painted Animal House of scapegoats
that I’ve yet to see

it’s
        streets of beige
it’s
        fast food bad food no food spilled milk or beer
it’s
        the South no the East maybe West probably North
it’s
        in the air the water the meat there’s just too much heat to breathe or hold a job
it’s
        hourly wages and daily commutes of gypsy peddlers in a town I’ve never been to
it’s
        the cigarettes or nicotine my useless spleen filtering things I should never inhale or drink
it’s
        divorce rates leading to ***** flicks c-sections finding acquaintances on monitors after dark only able to generate laughter over years of tears
it’s
        women
it’s
        pain
it’s
        the migraines we get when we're waiting on the rain to paint the beige streets bronze
it’s
         rolling trees metal trucks frozen lakes lumber jacks and ice fishing
it's
         the anxiety of right wrong bad good all grey in the sunshine without you
it’s
         the words of times you said meaning more to me than it ever could to you
it’s
        the colossus of Wall St. overbearing my own suit and tie un-ironed or cared for but necessary     none the less
it’s
         CCTV the fight for power Government foreign travelers or terrorists Project Paper clip MK Ultra Plum Island persuasion propaganda Paul Wolfowitz
it’s
         who governs what you can afford when you sit tattered on a curb after earning another mans bread
it’s
        what has or has not been said 7 times or none that still lingers on the grass out front of home or house
it’s
        no matter how big you are you still answer a toy phone handed to you by a two year old
it’s
       the tears of Alexander when he realized there were no more worlds to conquer
Ottar Mar 2014
ground may as well be a sponge,
so much rain Saturday, had a hunch,
to build an Ark,
but the strength of an old
promise, made me think twice,
and the small amount
of lumber in the garage, thrice.

"Faith ... would be nice"
I am sure, that voice echoed in my head.

yet today, as I walked and I wondered,
how the air was so sweet and clear,
I saw, the pride of them gathering,
as they prepared to bloom,
the rain had swept the grounds,
                       of all the ***** germs,
enough rainfall there IT watered the worms,
softening up the dirt,
so the crocus flowers could come out to play.

The leader of the Crocus Band, his name was Stripes
go to instagram, for a view of the leaves behind, spikes,
leaning into his role and a leader, close at hand he,
chooses a humble stance as an example, see?

Be wary of this Crocus,
He may Spring, focused,
Seeing Winter is now bogus,
on the West coast.  
His name is Stripes,  earning every one.


©DWE032014
look up #crocus, on instagram and #nameisStripes
and there awaits, yet another poem
J Patrick H Feb 2013
What is that reality that appears to me in dreams,
chock-full of misgivings and doubt. I counteract my fear of life
with my fears of slumber,
dust in my eyes and stiff as lumber.

In truth - I'm not stiffened
by fear,
by nausea,
post-pubescent sacrilege,
or all of the above.
I'm not up-kept,
grizzly with ennui;
I'm dizzy, confiding my loss.

I feel the lips that kiss
but can't be drawn: from mind,
stencil
paper
pen,
on sheets of thick
pale and
cellulose,
for the heart to mend.

My unsteady hand
is my fearful friend

A soft embrace
from a warm mind

Somber
and so full of Life
clung to by the scent of Death

Endowed
with an eternal promise and regret
from veins of plants
or the glow of stars.
Cold, mechanical debt.

(my heart, so full of...)

(my mind, so hot with...)

(my body, trembling in...)

I am gulf-like
a stream full of trees and glass
echoing a promise of shattering wind.

Will I be published
after my death,
asleep predating, a life conceived.
Will I live to see myself alone,
and to discover
that which I'm not?
Or will I stutter
and wallow a curse,
Up towards the sky,
Until the final verse.
On a boast
or chasing the Rail,
pale as dirt, and shallow still.

Will my true love abandon,  break, strain,
Burn away the wax,
or hurry to blame?

Omit my evils from the star-charts,
then just to vacate the void.
From the half-broken corridors of rocks,
nooks, crannies.
Carry laughter through the night
burn the effigy bowed-down,
before dawn's courageous,
ever-splaying light

Angels,
of Carlo and Marx,
plenty by noon
festoon,
again by day
thus replay,
Endeavor to infinity, fair child.
Remold the light by Day
and remold the Day
by Night.
Ben Jones Feb 2013
Peter built a paper boat
Which he could float about the sea
To hidden spots of lonely coast
Where not a ghost or man would be
He painted words along her bough
That soon would plough and skip and trot
Between the waves that rose and falled
The boat was called 'Forget Me Not'

He bid his wife a fond goodbye
The tide was high when he embarked
He drifted from his tiny cove
While weather drove and seagulls larked
He set his course horizon bound
For solid ground of ****** shore
As darkness came he made a bed
To keep his head above the floor

The voyage took him straight and true
Across the blue, toward the sun
But soon a tongue of lightening spat
And thunder rattled like a gun
The waves encircled hungrily
And angrily about their prey
The tempest heaved with no regret
It blew Forget Me Not away

He found himself all caked in sand
And on a strand of desert beach
Forget Me Not had run aground
But safe and sound from tidal reach
He folded down his paper yacht
And found a spot to build a home
But saved the sail and rudder strings
To forge some wings and daily roam

He glided high and long and wide
Past mountainside and shore to shore
And through the night he forged a blade
And with it made a lumber saw
He felled the trunk and snared the beast
And cooked a feast to celebrate
The rain it sought to disagree
But quick was he to remonstrate

The moonlight waxed and waned apart
And on his heart a longing formed
For home and his beloved bride
For fireside and there be warmed
And so he took the house he'd made
From humid shade of seldom oak
He set the island to his aft
And cried and laughed the words he spoke

They matched the words he'd lately hewn
Beneath the moon in shady spot
He carved into that seldom tree
'Remember me, forget me not'
There overtook me and drew me in
To his down-hill, early-morning stride,
And set me five miles on my road
Better than if he had had me ride,
A man with a swinging bag for load
And half the bag wound round his hand.
We talked like barking above the din
Of water we walked along beside.
And for my telling him where I’d been
And where I lived in mountain land
To be coming home the way I was,
He told me a little about himself.
He came from higher up in the pass
Where the grist of the new-beginning brooks
Is blocks split off the mountain mass—
And hop. eless grist enough it looks
Ever to grind to soil for grass.
(The way it is will do for moss.)
There he had built his stolen shack.
It had to be a stolen shack
Because of the fears of fire and logs
That trouble the sleep of lumber folk:
Visions of half the world burned black
And the sun shrunken yellow in smoke.
We know who when they come to town
Bring berries under the wagon seat,
Or a basket of eggs between their feet;
What this man brought in a cotton sack
Was gum, the gum of the mountain spruce.
He showed me lumps of the scented stuff
Like uncut jewels, dull and rough
It comes to market golden brown;
But turns to pink between the teeth.

I told him this is a pleasant life
To set your breast to the bark of trees
That all your days are dim beneath,
And reaching up with a little knife,
To loose the resin and take it down
And bring it to market when you please
Anthony Williams Jul 2014
yet we creep up silent as shadows
intent on unburdening our weights
heavily they sit on your slumbering brow
seeping into your unsuspecting ears
whispering in no language but our own
and yours
unlocking the doors
you have no way to bolt shut

pleasing ourselves with your displeasure
secure only about
unbalancing what you so carefully stacked
too high at night
scuttling about with our black sacks
full of your empty thought
where bad is thick with luck
try as you might we bid you wait

like ropes dangling freedom to wrath
cutting through swathes of long grass
to find the well beaten paths
abandoned by weak arms
lamely lying limp as sloths
beyond recall in pits of harm
which with a slight push
we slip you down

your bedroom window open
thinking that would keep us away
but our breath is shallow
faces there in an unblinking sway
emerging with more than you know
for you are the fool to be this way
ready to meekly follow
asleep and at our mercy
hahaha hello

we revel in your past
misdemeanours too small
mountains you cannot surpass
weep as many demons as you will
we travel the underpass
shoulders heaving against our pull
tattooed trees
skirts stained from trailing ghouls

yes we sink into listening with you
oblivious to surreal screams
padding ever closer on queue
staging midnight soliloquies
footprints elbowed from view
on the side of your bed sheets
you'd rather not go
yet we whisper no threats
we're only dreams you know
by Anthony Williams
You lurk in chat rooms talkin
bout what you'd like to do.
All naked accept for a captian's hat.
Ya know after hello it's probaly
not best to ask do you wanna *****.

Mr pervert do you enjoy.
Taking trips to mexico maybe to take in a
show.
Getting beat with a wire hanger
being called a bad boy.

Were ya born with a ***** loose?
Did uncle Charlie get to friendly
and papa John slip something in your juice?

Do you really like farm hand dot com
thats just wrong.
No Mr pervert I dont wanna see pics of you
covered in oil wearing a thong.

And im really not into what ya can fit
up your ***.
Glad to know what happend to that goon
at the back of the class.

No you cant have my number.
Okay your a woodman.
Please I really dont need any pics of
your lumber.

No I dont wanna wrestle in the dark you freak.
Yes im happy you enjoy being beat every
other day of the week.

You really need some help.
Yes I think to catch a preditor would be a
great show for you to make a appearence.
No I dont wanna play airlane.
so ***** your clearence.

Please why cant that connection to
your basement just go out.
Guess what your doing now.
Well to be honest I know without a single
doubt.

I can imagine what its like to be you.
well ***** that cause theres some ****
so freaky even I wont do.

So when ya see that name appear
on the screen it's probaly best to ignor.
I mean unless your really into hanging out
with a lathred up nut who eats outta
a dog dish apon the floor.

I was flipping through the channels
and to no suprize what did I see.
why dateline with Chris Hanson and
Mr pervert on my t.v.

I had to laugh at  every word said.
Gooodbye Mr pervert.
Didnt take a geinus  to figure out
you were ****** up in the head.
A little bad humor but hell sometimes we just need to laugh
and have fun  cheers my friends  bad humour  is  still fun at times  so if your easily offended then what are ya reading my work for haha
Randy Johnson Jul 2015
When I saw you in your casket, it brought tears to my eyes.
You died two years ago today on the thirteenth day of July.
When the doctors said that your illness was terminal, I didn't want to believe that it was true.
But sadly, they were correct and two years ago today, we lost you.

From 1975 to 2010 you worked at Woodcraft, you worked with lumber.
People may think that I'm crazy because I believe that 13 is an unlucky number.
You died on the thirteenth year of the century and also on the thirteenth day of July.
You took Chemotherapy treatments for months and two years ago today, you died.
Dedicated to Charles F. Johnson (1947-2013) who died on July 13, 2013 at the age of 65.
Kimani Jones May 2010
You say I am the backbone of the family.
Not because I am the youngest,
But because I never showed my emotions.
But I think it's time to let go.
Because when she died,
I was the only one who didn't cry.
But i cried on the inside.
And, when they buried her 6 feet under,
My heart skipped 6 beats and I was choking.
Yes, it's time for me to let go of my emotions.
Because you say I am the backbone.
But, I am not strong enough to support 3 sisters,
1 brother, 2 aunts, 1 uncle, and 3 cousins with this,
Skinny backbone.
Arthritis can't help because I am still afraid to break down.
"You have always been the backbone, no matter what."
But,
I am tired of being Miss Motivation.
You are breaking me down form my,
Coccyx to my,
Sacral to my,
Lumber to my,
Thorracic and,
You're giving me Cervical Cancer.
And instead of being a backbone,
I feel more like a ligament.
Connecting your tears to her tears and,
Her tears to his tears and,
And that tears me apart.
You're swelling up my heart from all your pain and,
Right now it's about the size of a catchers mit.
I don't want to be the backbone.
I am not strong enough to suppport the whole family.
Why can't you see that you're exhausting me?
Kiaren, Kirsten, Kaye, Lloyd, Aunt Atheda,Aunt Regina,
Uncle Tony,Chris,Oliver, Aaron...
I am tired of being your backbone.
I am not that strong.
Copyright Kimani Jones 2010
Juliana Jun 2013
Tighten your braces with yellows,
UV lights in police cars,
your high socks and new crewnecks,
steep all your worries in the cellar air.
The kitchen crew necks you,
steps over your extra vertebrae on the floor.
Exchange Red Sox caps and collaged cards for
iron oxides and spare joints,
an apology gift for the knees of a Titan.

Gilt neckties and stockings
hard hits over first base,
infrared silhouettes waving goodbye
slip on the steep porch stairs.
Your personal marching bands
sleep in shopping carts.
Your postcards lost in the Andes
written in purple pen --
everything’s smells like guilt.

Harts stagger behind
stags that hope to tiptoe around your toes,
scouting the suites in South America.
Back roads hastily swept under dining room chairs.
Necklaces of burned out light bulbs,
players sock the suited callers.
My bird house is empty.
Your world map is crumpled,
stuffed into the left ventricle of my heart.

Knaps of your wrist bones
fill the endnotes of my biography.
Bottlenecked bus loops and
windsocks left deflated in broom closets.
Your left hand in my kitchen sink,
catches my pressed shirts,
your clothesline melts into the sidewalk like lightning.
Bracelets on marble sculptures.
After you, I need a nap.

Littoral instructions spelled out in sand dollars.
Purple sunflower seeds caught in my turtleneck,
ghosts of eyelashes begin
to whisper wishes,
sockets for wrenches and ankles.
Blue hair braces for the midnight smiles,
the low tide of flowers,
the daily newspaper full of ocean currents,
your lips were too literal.

Lumbar dimples and goose bumps,
the rubbernecking waiter waited for the lights
rubbing his eyes.
Your playful dialogue
makes my plate shake.
Your safety is never on,
eyebrows marking my fifth disappointment.
I usually hate piano solos,
your voice is unstable, charred lumber.

Mince the pages of the dictionary
to make kindling for your irises.
Necklines defined as jade stamps
at the bottoms of the Chinese paintings
above last year’s birthday card.
Connect the dots to see the ruins of Rome,
your arms after the final battle,
crude stitches on undone sweaters.
Your pockets still full of dinner mints.

Canvass the imprint on the inside of
your leg from where the stitching folds over,
your jeans, unwashed in my laundry hamper.
Still overflows from knee socks and potted plants.
Microwaves compressed into my glass of water
the high tide seashells in your pantry facing
your ego in mason jars on shelves.
You’re tired of white board marker promises,
your skin a poorly cleaned canvas.
Homonyms everywhere. First and last word of each stanza. Enjoy :)
THE MOUTH of this man is a gaunt strong mouth.
The head of this man is a gaunt strong head.

The jaws of this man are bone of the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians.
The eyes of this man are chlorine of two sobbing oceans,
Foam, salt, green, wind, the changing unknown.
The neck of this man is pith of buffalo prairie, old longing and new beckoning of corn belt or cotton belt,
Either a proud Sequoia trunk of the wilderness
Or huddling lumber of a sawmill waiting to be a roof.

Brother mystery to man and mob mystery,
Brother cryptic to lifted cryptic hands,
He is night and abyss, he is white sky of sun, he is the head of the people.
The heart of him the red drops of the people,
The wish of him the steady gray-eagle crag-hunting flights of the people.

Humble dust of a wheel-worn road,
Slashed sod under the iron-shining plow,
These of service in him, these and many cities, many borders, many wrangles between Alaska and the Isthmus, between the Isthmus and the Horn, and east and west of Omaha, and east and west of Paris, Berlin, Petrograd.
The blood in his right wrist and the blood in his left wrist run with the right wrist wisdom of the many and the left wrist wisdom of the many.
It is the many he knows, the gaunt strong hunger of the many.
Knotts Island  10:oo pm wedsday Feb  9   2011

It was like any other night spent at the doctors office slash
Dr Jerry's trailer.
Drink fine deep conversation about world events and *******.

I had went to the porch for some  introspection  and to take a ****.
Dear Lord Man!
What I saw was proof i had done way to many drugs and slipped yet into another rambling state of Gonzo.

White  powder covered the ground  it was a gift from Jesus or Elvis really   whats the diffrence?
Hunk a hunk burning  clap  it was pouring ******* from the sky !
I burst through the door like Lindsy Lohan fresh outta rehab

Jerry !  
Gonzo!  
Jerry!
Gonzo!
What are we yelling about Jerry?

I dont know but zip your pants up.
I know your a **** but I dont need to see it as proof.
Jerry a doctor a fellow brother of Gonzo
and true deep thinker.

****** man what was i gonna say i really need to lay off
the drink *******  Dr Pepper.
Well smack my **** and paint me purple and sell me to the Canadians.
dont ask.

Jerry good lord man look  outside its a true miricle.
Now only if it would rain strippers and wild turkey.
That would really be proof the easter bunny existed!

Jerry shaking his head for he knew his drugged out mental asylum bound  friend with a heart of gold or at least bronz  needed some alone
time in a padded cell looked out the window.

See i told you !
It's ******* snow Gonz ya *****.
snow what the hell's that I thought to myself while speaking
out load on a poetry site   where people think what the **** is wrong with him.

****** I should go outside more than once a year.
these seasons really throw me off like Skeeter  on
a cold night.
****** i told you  not untill you pay for last time ******!

She was a true lady just wish she took credit.
After a breif explanation time travel and where babies come from.
Dr Jerry returned to his favorite hobby surffing facebook
for underage *****  hey dont judge  how do ya think i met my wife?

Yeah man look at this one amigo sent me a friends request.
Jerry showed me a pic of a hot looking chick
and being she was good looking and talking to Jerry ment either
two things.

One the Gonzo On facebook page was down due to such high traffic
cause im super awsome.
Dork  you got like 14 friends.
Jerry went back to looking at the computer screen.
ha ha ha ha ha *** not funny.
Cyberperve!
I know you are but what am I?!

****** man he always get's me with his mature 40 something living
in his grandmas back yard  logic oh snap girlfriend.

Or Two  this little monkey  was really a ****** or a mormon
whats  the diffrence but enough with the foreplay children.
Jerry sat deep in thought and four **** hits and ten shots of turkey later sat the puzzled.

Amigo what do i say to break the ice?

The lights dimmed  a voice from the heavens spoke or New Jersy
John Tesh  apeared from the closet  ****** man i thought i herd really boring music from there i thought the rat poisen would get him for sure.      
    
When thought's are blured and both hands are busy.
When you just cant seem to find the words to break the
ice to that hot little hamster across the net,

Take that extension cord from around your neck and get
head out the oven dam you Slyvia Plath.
Just call dah da da dah da or however it ****** goes
sorry i dont watch   super hero movies although
I need a pair of thoose tights.
IT'S A JOB FOR GONZO.

Move aside silly girl I'll break the ice for you!
Umm  no Gonz thats okay Jerry replyed in that no
but it means  yes seductive five packs of cigs a day
sandpaper voice of his.

Trust me Jerry  Im a writer and i know how to
talk to the ladies  yes my friend how they do love Gonzo
Oh they pull out there pepper spray fire there guns
but inside they have a thirst for crazy.

No Gonz it's okay.
Dont mention it Jerry.
Gonz !
Jerry !
Gonz!
Jerry!
What the **** were we talking about and why the ****
are you in my lap!
Good question my friend but least your happy to see me.

At the keys the master or insane half wit began his
works of geinus this would break the ice for sure!

Dear Sarah

Wow all I can say is me likey.
And may I say that sweater really brings out your *******.
We should get togather and  talk  bout  things
while naked in bed to bare are souls.

Something about me.
My name is Jerry im  superbadass hells yeah.
I like drinking other peoples beer i can bench like a
thousand pounds.

I have a big   tv. What get your mind outta the gutter!
Lets drop the small talk you know ya want it why fight it.
Let that inner tigress out meow kitty  
Lets get naugthy and do things to make us both
purr in the litter box.

Kisses Dr Jerry   giggles and a gay *** emicon,
xoxoxo.

Yeah I know what your saying no wonder im such a ****.
And no wonder i have to pay for *** and im always alone.

After some mock tears and a snuggle   we waited for I know a
turned on little nymphs  reply.

Hey Kids it's  time to play are favorite snow game.
car surffing  in the blizzard cause im a drunken idiot
okay that kinda hurt.

Driving around the mean streets of KI  hopping officer
Rutherford was off duty or searching some drunk woman
looking for  some goodies hey I wonder where my sister is?

We at the rip roaring speed of 10 miles a hour What ?!
Hey saftey first that and the snow made it really hard for Jerry to hold onto the roof and pass the bottle.

We laughed we cried we lit are farts and made a beautiful
snow sculpture of two snow people getting freaky right in the middle of the road  hey kids blame it on the Beatles.

After we took out a few mail boxes stole a few garden gnomes
And taught a jaded soul how to love agian  we were
back at the office slash trailer in jerry's grandmas backyard
yes to think he's really come a long way since the tent.

By the warmth of the fire  music and fine drink to
match are deep conversation.

Hey dude ya think think that extenze stuff really works?
And if so if you took a lifetime supply  could you answer the door without getting outta bed?.      
        
The knock at the door was sudden.
****** man I knew it! Snow monkeys hide the
penut butter  and  put on some Kenny G!
Hey **** Kenny G  
Dam you John Tesh Go back into the closet where you belong!

Jerry looked at me as he usally does.
Like this ******* really needs some shock treatment.
Talk about a charge.

After Jerry assured me it wasnt the artic monkey's come to take there revenge   and promised to read me a bed time story what!
I have a inner child oh was starved of kickass stories.
Like Jack And The Beanstalk ,Catcher And The Rye,Or Debbie Does Dallas.

I opened the door to see a  large angry looking man
with a axe in his hand hmm dam lumber jacks  there always
on the job.

Are you the perve that wrote my 13 year old daughter that perverted
email on facebook?

Oh no im Gonzo im the other pervert who writes really long rambling stories on a a poetry website that arent really poetry
or very good,And drinks alot and doesnt make much sense

Yet always bring a laugh to demented people across the globe
cause yeah im super bad ***...

The man stood unfazed gritting his teeeth *******
me with his eyes hey it's cold okay.

Uhh no sir that's the perve your looking for over there
looking at your daughters pics hey ****** man we have
company  stop that.

I made my exit to the sound of screams it was like
a pit bull was latched onto a girl scout the agony    
Well looks like things were off to a good start Jerry was already meeting Sarahs  parent.

No need to thank me  Jerry
Remember kids if ya need a little help in time of need.
Look no further than Gonzo.

Slower than a fast moving virus.
He can leap small dwarfs and some short big girls in a single bound
kinda.

Gonzo fly's  of into the night in a epic soon to be forgotten.
B movie moment.
Stay Crazy.

Look Im flying.  **** tree!

Splat , Crash, Boom  Ouch Shitfire And Flying Monkeys
Next time I'll take a cab.

Adios Amigo's
Id like to thank the  academy.
Blues clues  Bigfoot.

Skeeter for passing out that one night and not waking up or at least not charging.

and to think i took screen writting and they had the nerve to
tell me i was crazy and id never find anyone who thought this was funny.

you like me your really like me well kinda and you thank God i dont
live nextdoor.

The credits roll  Gonz and Roses play.  

He's just a small island nut job living in a naughty minded world.
He took the midnight train  and as the semi hot hurled.
Yeah held here hair.

Dont stop reading.
Hang to that ***** feeling .
Just not in public or it can get ya trouble im just saying.


Thank you  Detroit  
                  
             FIn
STAY CRAZY
Paula Swanson Jun 2011
Scraps of lumber, a touch of paint,
with love, became a home.
To the smallest of the birds,
that to our yard would roam.

In his basement workshop,
Grandpa would spend hours.
With his hand saw, brace and bit,
no use of electric power.

At each rip of the saw,
I'd hear that familiar sound.
I'd watch as sawdust drifted,
like pixie dust, to the ground.

With blackened nails and hammer,
he'd assemble the bird houses.
Then he'd paint them brightly,
adding curliques and flounces.

A bit of wire in a hook,
then hung in the Pear tree.
Filled our mornings with the song,
from the Finches and Chick-a-dees.
William A Poppen Nov 2013
I felt an unusual twinge in my neck
as I turned toward you.

Heavy breathing signaled morning sleep
as my arm reached across your palpitating belly.

These casual cuddles, typical of the start of our day
emit a warmth unlike sunrays or furnace heat.

No use to wake you or tease apart your legs
for seldom do we play.

That may come after morning news is devoured,
bananas peeled and different morning hungers eased.  

Now i rise to consume small pellets of brown, pink,
grey and white chemicals compounded to keep me alive.

There is a stillness downstairs with greetings from a well-worn chair
contoured to support my soul.

Blades whirl overhead churning a breeze
my face accepts upon my forehead.

Now is my time of meditation, my attempt to
listen to whatever god pervades this universe.

There will be no answers, no jolts of insight or revelations,
only small particles of peace to cover my disquiet.

You will lumber down steps with effort accentuated by creaks
and moans that are more pronounced each day.

Our lips will touch confirming both obligation and willingness
to walk beside each other.

I wonder if you think there could be more?  
Could each gaze toward one another be longer?  

Could I unbutton myself enough to see or would you scold me
for such an unrepressed display?
Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily “Hit them hard!”
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.

Good blocks of oak it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good,
That day, giving a loose to my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood.

The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

A bluebird comes tenderly up to alight
And turns to the wind to unruffle a plume,
His song so pitched as not to excite
A single flower as yet to bloom.
It is snowing a flake; and he half knew
Winter was only playing possum.
Except in color he isn’t blue,
But he wouldn’t advise a thing to blossom.

The water for which we may have to look
In summertime with a witching wand,
In every wheelrut’s now a brook,
In every print of a hoof a pond.
Be glad of water, but don’t forget
The lurking frost in the earth beneath
That will steal forth after the sun is set
And show on the water its crystal teeth.

The time when most I loved my task
The two must make me love it more
By coming with what they came to ask.
You’d think I never had felt before
The weight of an ax-head poised aloft,
The grip of earth on outspread feet,
The life of muscles rocking soft
And smooth and moist in vernal heat.

Out of the wood two hulking tramps
(From sleeping God knows where last night,
But not long since in the lumber camps).
They thought all chopping was theirs of right.
Men of the woods and lumberjacks,
They judged me by their appropriate tool.
Except as a fellow handled an ax
They had no way of knowing a fool.

Nothing on either side was said.
They knew they had but to stay their stay

And all their logic would fill my head:
As that I had no right to play
With what was another man’s work for gain.
My right might be love but theirs was need.
And where the two exist in twain
Theirs was the better right—agreed.

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For Heaven and the future’s sakes.

— The End —