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NitaAnn Aug 2014
I find myself tangled in the lump of my throat.  
Trapped somewhere between my mind of logic and my twisted and aching heart I am dizzy with conflict.  
I am worth something.  
I am worth nothing.  
I am worth more than words can offer.

That familiar lump squeezes and twists my weary emotions as I grasp for a momentary breath of logic.
A thought that reassures what kindness says; an understanding that I am so much more than what he said.  
But in that moment his words, his actions; they come crashing down on me as the lump threatens to engulf me.

Pain and bitter bile wash over me
The choices seem so non-existent.  
Why else would his hatred spiral?  
Why else would a child so young bear such deep and burdened scars?

It must be because I am worth so little.

The secrets that we shared.  
The secrets that I keep.  
These are the fuel to ignite a burning lump of torture.  
I struggle to move on
I struggle to let go while the lump clutches its tiny treasure.  
How do I feel my worth when all I feel is the pain wiping away even the smallest doubt that he might have been wrong?

I want to breathe.  
I want to feel the full capacity of worth expand until that lump of disbelief is pushed aside for good.  

I want to exhale until I know that he was wrong.
Silence Screamz Sep 2014
When did it visit me?
I really don't know when.
It came out of nowhere,
I feel that it's a sin.

Naked in the shower,
washing up clean.
I felt this little lump,
scared and unforeseen.

Feeling all alone,
I looked up to the sky.
Fingers locked together,
I asked the Lord, "Why?"

Now, I lay in silence,
while the tumor grows inside.
Putting up these walls,
all I do is cry.

Months have gone by,
with the chemo and the draws.
The sickness took my *******,
now that's the final straw.

It's been six months now,
I struggled for my life.
I beat the **** cancer.
I AM HAPPY, I WILL SURVIVE!!
My mother is a breast cancer survivor. But I also wrote this for all the survivors and to the ones to whom that lost their battle with this disease!  PLEASE SHARE AND LET THIS TREND!!
Dan Schell Oct 2011
Deep in the bottle,
where even the strongest minds fizzle,
perspective sways softly
and judgment is cutting
deep into submission
of stupor and stumble,
a profound lack of commitment
nodded off in the chair.

Wishing away
today and tomorrow,
but shadows can be patient
and wait for the dark.
The lump on the couch,
he bristles with anger,
fed whiskey and Winston’s
to dull those sharp cravings
for death ever-lasting,
for abyssal release.

You left the lump breathing,
withdrew your attention
to his core care and feeding;
you’ve taken to singing
serenades to the sleeping,
but memories keep bleeding,
that puncture your tincture;
for that lump is your fixture
of regret and remorse.

The lump does not whimper
until shadows are long,
the reruns on TV run into
the screaming of your song;
the drum solo hammers
on tomb-like front door;
a concert, just for husband and you;
the social worker’s knocking;
whatever will you do?
Published in the August, 2011 issue of Midwest Literary Magazine.
http://midwestliterarymagazine.com/archives/
© 2011 – Dan Schell
Sometimes
When there is suddenly this little lump in my throat
and my vision goes blurry
I tell myself:
"It's okay."

I don't realise that I have been lying to myself for
way
too
long.
Truth is
"It's not okay."

I watch sad videos in front of you guys
and cry
and then I realise that it's not the video that's
sad.
It's because they are excuses for me to cry.

I know people care for me
I know people worry about me
I know people want me to change
I Know.

So I'm really sorry guys,
I've been holding these emotions for way too long
way
too
long.
Trying to lie to myself that everything is fine
Trying to tell myself that things will get better
Trying to tell myself that it's okay.

I've been trying.
I really have.
I've been trying to fake a smile through everything
Doesn't mean I don't say anything,
I don't feel anything.
I know you guys are hurt by me too
and that I shouldn't blast at you
and treat you like punching bags
but
honestly I don't want it to happen too.

You guys say I can always confide to you
and you guys will always be there for me
but there's too many things I need to say
and these words form that little lump in my throat.
I can't find anyone I can confide to.
"My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations."
They all have their own problems and the last thing I want
is to have them worry about me.
They worry when I hurt them too
and I don't want that to happen.


So I guess I'll just keep quiet.


I'm sorry guys,
I'm not going to say anything about my problems
and not say anything mean to you.
Don't worry about me anymore.
I will let that little lump in my throat
get washed away from the tears
and the little streams of optimism I still have.
Though these streams are drying up
from the emotions that have continuously been
heated up.
Holly M Jul 2018
empty is not the right word.
what is the word for
not quite empty but not quite full?
there is a glass on the table-
it is not half-empty,
but it is not half-full.
it is just a glass of water.
i am just a glass of water:
not empty, not full;
not happy, not sad-
not anything.
not anything at all.

the clear blue nothingness
reminds me of the fact.
it’s dotted with cotton candy clouds.
i wonder if they are as sweet.
my tongue salivates at the thought.
it is like a land of dreams
without sorrow or pain
yet i am here,
floating lightly
though i feel like a paperweight,
weighed down by the lump in my throat.

it’s hard to remember
what home looks like.
i can’t see in terms of
“where i belong,”
i only see in terms of
“the trees are like broccoli sprouts-” and
“the cars look like hotwheels-” and
“every single one has a person in it, and
they all have their own journeys, and
i am here.”
i don’t think they know how beautiful it is.
i didn’t.

home to me now is a backpack
a couple books
and a trinket from an old friend.
they are the only ones like me:
strangers in a strange land.
i’d like to find my way back someday-
if only i knew the way.
Big Virge Oct 2015
So What Does It Mean To Be .... " Corrupt " .... ?!?
Well These Days It Would Seem ...  
A Good Place To Start Is Within GOVERNMENT ... !!!

Allegations of Moves Corrupters Use ....  
Is Regular News From Government Crews ... !!!  

So What's The Score ... ?  
With Government Lords Who Have Powers To ENFORCE ... ?!?  
  
Some It Seems Are Now BOUGHT ...  
To Affect The Course of Future Laws ... !!!!!  
  
Surely Something's UP ...  
When Those CLEARLY In A Position of TRUST ...  
Affect The Lives of .... ALL OF US ....  
Because of Bribes From Corporate Ties ... !!!!!  
  
So Does This Mean That ...  
Corporate Teams Who Make BIG MONEY ... !!!!!    
  
CANNOT Make Bucks Without Being CORRUPT ... ?!!!?  
  
.... " SURELY NOT !!!!! " ....  
  
Those At THE TOP I'm Sure Would Say ...  
  
"We don't get paid to cook up plots !" ...
  
So What's The Need To Bribe MP's or WORSE Still LORDS ... !!!  
To .... MODEL Laws That DON'T Help The Poor ...  
  
It's Been Done Before And That's For SURE ... !!!  
  
And It RARELY Seems That They're Found GUILTY ... !?!  
Or Face Penalties That Affect Their Rights ...  
To AVOID Prison Time For What's Clearly A CRIME ... !!!  
  
They Affect The Masses Lives Just For A Money Prize ... !!!  
CORRUPTION And LIES ... Seems To Be Their Life ...  
  
But CORRUPTION It's Clear ...  
DOESN'T End With ... " Peers " ...  
  
Corrupted Files Seem To Set The Profiles ...  
of Those Online With CORRUPTED Minds ...

Like ... PAEDOPHILES ... !!!!!  
  
So If Your P.C. Starts To STALL ...  
You've Been Surfing TOO MUCH **** ... !!!!!!!!!!!
  
The CLEAR Sign Being Of Course ...  
What Is Called A ... Trojan Horse ... !!!!!!!!!!  
  
NOT THAT I Would Know ...  
Somebody ... TOLD ME SO ... !!!!!
  
I've Watched My Share of Shows ...  
That Feature .... " **'s and Pro's " ...  
  
Does That Make ME CORRUPT ... ?  
Well I Guess It Kinda DOES ... !?!  
  
But CORRUPTED Flows Within My Prose ... ???  
Well Just Like Coc' ... My Answer's NO ... !!!!!  
  
So CORRUPTIVE Quotes I Choose To CHOKE ... !!!  
  
No Tell ... NO ** ... !!!  
But Corruption Now Is How Cameras Roll ...  
And That's Just How The Story Goes ...  
In Most of These ... Net Videos ... !!!  
  
Does Corruption Mean A Need To See These Girls In Scenes ...  
That Were Once Deemed As Being ... " UNCLEAN " ... !!!!!  
  
Well I Guess That's Me But What About .... THEM .... ???  
Women YES Who OPEN LEGS And Show Off ******* ...  
To Get FAT Cheques For ... Having *** ... ?!?
  
Are They Corrupt For Doing Stuff ...  
That In The Past Would of Had Them Cast ...  
As You Know What ... A ***** **** ... !!!
  
Well NOT Nowadays ....  
As Long As They GET PAID ... !!?!!  
  
Now I'm NO ***** ...  
But Corruption's MOVED In How It's Viewed ... ???  
  
Which Is Why I Asked At The Very Start ...  
  
"What does it mean to be corrupt ? " ...........
  
It Seems To Me That Being Corrupt ...  
Can Fulfil Many Dreams of ... LIVING IT UP ... !!!!!!  
  
So What Would You Do If You Met A Crew ...  
Who Offered You A LOAD of CASH To **** Another Man ...  
Or To Build A Plan To INVADE Foreign Lands ... ???  
  
Well If You Would Accept That Type of Payment ...  
Do You Think You ... SHOULD ... ?!?  
  
Corruption Could ... Affect YOU TOO ... !?!  
Or People Who Are CLOSE TO YOU ... !!!  
  
Which Goes To PROVE ...  
Corruptive Moves Can Lead To ABUSE ...  
The Kind of Abuse That Has Moral Issues ... !!!  
  
So Maybe It's MORALS ... ?  
That Have Hit The Rocks And Have Now Been LOST ... !!!  
  
So What's The ... " COST " ... ?  
A Lump Sum Payment To Affect Government ...  
Which May Well Affect You More Than It Does ... " THEM " ... !!!  
So Do You Think It's COOL ... When This Causes PROBLEMS ...  
  
Like Todays .... " Credit Crunch " ... !?!  
I'll Leave That To You To Consider Your View ...  
  
But Here's My Last Question ... ?  
For Corruption To LESSEN ...  
In This Modern Age Where CASH Is The Aim ...  
Whether By Getting Laid Or By Law Breaking Ways ...  
  
When You Think of This Stuff ...  
What Does It Mean To You To Be One Who's ...  
  
.... " CORRUPT " .... ???
The parameters of society keep changing so much, that it's getting hard to define what is now seen as being, corrupt !?!
Ashley Nicole Feb 2015
A lump of coal
Tossed into the fire
Before it even stood a chance
Of becoming a diamond

And all it needed was time
Scared of what life has planned
Thinking back to the past
Already been dealt a hard hand
Thought it was good at last

A lump in my throat
Scared to jinx the scheduled test
Too soon that I spoke
Holding hope too close to my breast
Another poem for my confessions challenge...  Just another things adding stress and depression to my life.
Robin Carretti Jul 2018
The love pretty please
wait for my
Cherry baby on top
Not some love O-Oreo
I could scream beguiled
Both twirled in swirls
Bavarian cream

Love has torn at the seams
Bad dream hot hit
bounty hunter
Bunny ears of the hop heart
it skips divine lips like a light tower
No other apology cries the thunder

And wait a **** minute
O-Oh-Yes where's my tip

I am not your second
fiddle of stunts
The romance of philosophy

We can fly higher
than anyone
will ever be

The Outgaze O hearts
of symmetry
Being told about their love
or other peoples fun
Twilight apology Wolfin tie outrun

Love O Apology light my pleasure
O on Overdrive no time for the
S letter-word SOS seizure
How many love gestures
of psychology

Love word *O
love
to Outlive
your treasure
Being psyched for physiology
Feeling mighty good right now
Don't blow bubbles like their
stars* of trouble

A few in the A-New heart stays
ever so blue few Good Men
Perfect Zen thumbs up
His or hers how cute
the words up
The Buddha says
Love is a
spiritual existence

The herbs body rubs
Going to the Hubs
Behind all your apologies
Wearing the new Doctor scrubs
Love house of Labs resistance

The morning glory September
rise and stretch your
overworked wings
Believing never comparing
to another love
It's your love

Or very O for outstanding at the utmost
So incredible the feeling
       Loveology
There's absolutely no apology
The love surrender lion and tigers
So bearable

Her turn like a Turnup
Up close nose smells the rose
Picking love out pulling
the weeds
Her red  embarrassed face
of the radishes
The Shy bush compared
to the O outgoing love
A hint of red delicious apple
Buzzing around the
Mulberry Bush_
Big Ben London
O Sweet Lord of magic singing
*Rosebush* fresh lemons
George Bush Patriotic
Chilean Sea Maiden Bass
Love ******

VIP pass especially with love
Here it is his loves
A spinning wheel so dizzy
London foggy she is the
product of the  flower *****
Like a carnival cotton candy
What a head rush
Another apology and a big push
Those hummingbirds of sweet soul
But something ambushed
She got a lump of his
crab meat cheek crush

Getting over someone never to see them

*Picking out all the petals of the rose when she was with him*

How many apologies open heart surgeries
Apology on hold like a new series
*Wake up "O" my muffin*
Cheers to the world of Oats
Fingerpicking Cheerios
*Don't give in  get to know him

Giving/InWay*

New love *Caved In*
His way per click day
High payments to pay off

BMW Billionaire Man wilted
Love head Beamer
Be
_ My__ World the dreamer

That love pain injury, going faster
Strong love never to lose her
Like cancer Santas Deers love prancer

Fine tooth comb
Negative force to succumb

Capitulate
Artsy wings to meditate
She is destined for something
So articulate
Can this be a painful love of fate?
She succumbs to the time given in
To her O Lord temptation
Words stand alone planet of people
Hearing the real voice no recording
From here to eternity the blasted phone

The Love O not to outwit just sit
And lift your gravity of love
Round earth or your flat on the ground or above
someone knows your true love


*She is combing her hair Silkience Queen of the Divination
Love, there should be no apology lifted gravity that loves O went further than he will ever know her sexuality was smiles alive he couldn't learn his numbers.  Where is the love when your heart thunders world of letters and love writers never to apologize we are the real fighters
‘To bed! To bed!’
Said Sleepy-head;
‘Tarry awhile,’ said Slow;
‘Put on the pan,’
Said Greedy Nan;
‘We'll sup before we go.’
        (from Mother Goose)

They sat at the kitchen table as
The candle flickered low,
And Greedy Nan put on the pan
To indulge her sister, Slow,
While Sleepy Weepy Annabelle
Blotted her book with tears,
And thought of her Beau from long ago
Who she hadn’t seen for years.

‘Why doesn’t Roger notice me,
Why doesn’t Alan Dell?
I’m wearing the dress cut low for me
And I’ve hitched my skirt as well.
I’ve a pretty turn to my ankle, so
You’d think it would drive them wild.’
‘But men are a mystery,’ said Slow,
‘And Alan Dell’s a child.’

While over the pan stood Greedy Nan,
Was cracking a turkey’s egg,
A lump of yeast and a slice of beast
And a single spider’s leg.
With a wing of bat and an ounce of fat
And a toe of frog for the spell,
She needed to turn her sister off
From her crush on Alan Dell.

For Greedy Nan was the eldest girl
And would have to marry first,
The other two would wait in the queue
Or their fortunes be reversed,
The omelette sizzled, and in the pan
She added before they saw,
A piece of some Devil’s Trumpet plant
For the mating game meant war.

She sliced the omelette into half
And she served them up a piece,
‘Didn’t you want?’ said Annabelle
But Slow enjoyed the feast.
‘I’m not that terribly hungry now
I’ve cooked it up in the pan,
I think I’ll just have a slice of bread,’
Said the scheming Greedy Nan.

They finished up and they sat awhile,
And they mused about their fate,
‘If Greedy Nan isn’t married soon,
For us it will be too late.’
‘I’ve set my sights on a country squire,’
Said Nan, without a blink,
Lured them away from her secret fire
To confuse what they might think.

‘The room is woozy, spinning around,
I’d better get me to bed,’
Said Annabelle, while Slow with a frown
Saw Dwarves dancing in her head.
But Greedy Nan was cleaning the pan
To clear all signs of the spell,
Her back was turned to her sisters, spurned
For the sake of Alan Dell.

And when he came in the morning
Greedy Nan was sat by the door,
While Annabelle and her sister Slow
Were lying dead on the floor,
‘I didn’t mean it to **** them, Al,
It was only a simple spell,’
But as he cuffed and led her away
He frowned, did Alan Dell.

David Lewis Paget
Mimi Jul 2011
You drove away and I thought my nose would bleed
The lump on my head makes me wobbly
Or whatever they stuck in my drink
The roar of that old red engine ringing in my ears
Go die
The boy who doesn’t know how to be in love
Leave me alone to get drunk
On the tears you leave me to
It always ends in tears
Don’t leave me like this
You always leave me like this
Go die
And leave me to mine
The lump on my cerebral cortex is getting bigger
Swelling by the minute
And I’m drinking water
And trying not to let whatever you stuck in my drink
Get the best of me
But I think I’m leaking
Leaking salt water and your own ****** fluids
Leaking my dwindling supply of iron
I’m bleeding
The lump on my head swelling to golf ball proportions
My heart turned to a solid lump
I wait for you to come back and apologize
But you never do and you never will
So maybe if you woke up the next morning
And I didn’t.
Maybe if you heard the words
“her brain hemorrhaged in her sleep”
Maybe if you had to go on without me
You wouldn’t complain about the way I fall in love
And the way you can’t feel ****
You don’t know ****.
I have no idea why this is my most read poem.
Seriously I've written better stuff.
vircapio gale Sep 2012
wakefulness demands a certain clearness when asleep . . .
it doesn't come as planned
"tat tvam asi"
LaBerge says to me in dream of me
"this world you are, withstanding even torments thou art never seen."
and that's enough to suffer aching, opaque psyche summit, forward
heart to rise an interspecies knell when danceless fades the bee in droves...
aimless whales who singing deep in love are cut from evolution's murky chain...
fungal blight of hibernaculum, in deafened sonar sending sudden drop of death;
to horror fragment melt, the ocean swill from ancient caps to sunken polar paw
diverse in massacre of tropic forest fertile mists, lives dispersed
and balance tipped from blindness not unlike the sterile statue's, there
                                                          i­n dusty courthouse corner, shadow-lined with infamy...
what imagined cartoon causal Captain Planet              
                            villainy to blare across oneiromantic globe? and (dreaming?) civil strife,                  
       eradication's alter triumph pose to measure blame in inner life?
of empiric meditation's top, in *******
churning out abuse in deeper,
                                                         ­   younger hidden traffics yet to terrorize the net...                                  
                                             the scraping of the sky had punctured through                                
                         ­                                      from metaphor to fact
                                       the sooty barbs
                            in radiance rebound    
and irony affected 'green'
                  folds crisis and solution into one                            we hope
                like what we say we are, becoming change                      in wartime summer fling    
we                                                        
say we can in world of 'me'                                      
in guilt-assuaging verve
                                  the heifer-gift to village fief
    but then to rest against organic pillow-conscience gray                                                             ­       
                                                               soundly snoring smokestacks fill from ground to sky
still for sly investment windfall   fog  billow, shake...                             
transcontinental scape of dream imbued anew:
i am the genie of my ownmost inner lamp
in dreamtime-being spacious constellational of reach distilled
in contemplation's tratak zoom mInute
   with jet black finger trace
    i net                                                              ­                                        from out the inter-earthen air                
                                             ­                                              the lump on lump of coal
                massaging from                                                             ­      as if an ivory atmospheric                  
lift                   of      weight  
                           the sculpture of our past condensed in elephantine ******
                                                 miasmic fossil shower-haze of sporogenic fear,
mneumonic nail-tusk night of carbon-spirit back into its hold -- originary dark,
Dark light from burning black                                                 once again contained                                                      in elemental subterrain                                                       ­                                                       
         ­                                        --now it underlies the ground inside for triple shielding outshine
--outer-- light to cool us breathing once again . , ,    
false convenience in abeyance in a human time!                                
i am right now of inward self my soul supernal carbon imprint copy                             
for accounting every speciesistic mind to open wide enough and quell the "all-too human plagues--                                                                           ­       cheering all penultimates, in beams reflecting ante-truth          
                                                 down halls of mirror-minds that lightly discourse
on the ingress of a centaur saving power
channeling the leylines of inception,
ecstatic dreamworld of apotheosic glee:
parting the eidetic clouds,
commune an avatar intentionality . . .
ensorcelling the foodstuffs of the world to feed a dozen million refugees,
insectile diet pride attends in homes of affluence,
the abstract mass of media, become eupeptic cud of understanding bats and even bees--
for biospheres a Goodall stewardship arrives
(her perfect chimp call too resounds across the earth!)
and dwindled frogs their former ponds (unknown, destroyed without a sound)
return to chirping vibrant green symphonic swooning life
the glacial march of tears to halt . . .
all ecosystems rife withall
the panegyric of marshlands globally reborn  
along with shining waters, algaeic sun alive at play
in double-helix breath of dolphin families' bubble art
a sudden resurrect from ****** harvest cove arise cascading joyous leap
on final absence of the metal herding knock of trapping pods
no longer hacked in waves of pink, mere preparations for a restaurant sink--
they are free to swim the depth of worldheart dreaming unknown dream entire real again
marine apsaras dip in spectra (flicker eyelid) rays, reintroduce the dawn
her fine apparel calling forth transhuman destinies
unsplicing brilliant minds from ****** task of splicing GMOs
recycled randomness accepting death before we die
mycelium in runs of spilling-- all undone --
migrational attuned our resource use
and CSAs to thrive in eco-city scapes
no solopsistic somniac pretends
--the dream imbued in final hue
a momentary lapse, creationary flux--
the bombs defused in flick of wrist
indentured and enslaved, imprisoned innocents, oppressed and even self-deprived released
through selfhood's metaviral claim
ground of each dependent intertwining
whatness will to be
a place in which to hum in tune or out of tune
to heal and in a another dream aside from this perhaps with me partake
in true oneiric panoply of conflict held
--with permeating rigpa geogaze--
colliding ideologies transmuted into trust
in panharmonium of varied vision
and what the ever present boons of real, imagined symbol-real
create awake












.
Ken Pepiton Nov 2018
How we start is only part of what we eventually do.

Physically that's easy to see. Being human, adamkind,
we see weak starts often in life.
Colts or pups born a week too soon can be loved to lives as pampered pets,
Siring toys for the enjoyment of those who can afford to fuel them,
For generations, with never a single care,
Past that initial trauma and subsequent subjugation to the will of man.

I don't tell horse stories, dog stories or war stories, if I can keep from it.

But when you want to demonstrate the purest of payback,
revenge getting the bad guy in the end,
having a horse be the hero makes behaving like an animal
more noble to the mind of vengeful man.
It's not true, revenge being noble.
That's a very old lie.

Law is to prevent error by disallowing failure. Law.

Relative to the rest of God's creatures, we, adamkind, seem dependent, weak and vulnerable next to bears being weak
a way-less long time
Than we.
We come into this world weak as a baby anything and we stay that way longer
Than any living creature.

I am an American, by birth.
I was not born to a political party or a family with political roots,
"I ain't no Senator's son."
Still,
I was reared drinking mythic cherry wine
sprung from George's failure to lie
Regarding his woodman's knack with a hatchet.

Sitting on the fence rail Abe split,
town fathers where I lived
were said to have decided the most harmonious of towns
have only gainfully employed darker folks,
while white
trash was allowed to loll around because they was
some employer's kin by marriage.

It all seemed pretty normal, as a child.
The loller-arounders let kids listen when they told
Their friends, who could not read, what the newspapers said.

One block from my house there was a vet's and hobo's flop-house clad in corrugated tin, rusted-round the nail-holes all the way to the ground and the rust had spread, so at sunset,...
I only recall the single story shed having one door.
There were always old white men sittin' on the southside of the shed. At sunset, those old men's whispy white hair

appeared as white flowing mare's tale clouds under
a scab-red wall held up by old men with sunset shining faces...

It was a big shed, a low barn, a bunkhouse,
eight or ten 4-foot tin-sheets long on the north and south
Windowless walls.
The one door was on the south side.
Once I saw an old man selling red paper buddy poppies.
He was missing both legs about half-way up his thighs.
The poppy seller rode a square board that had what I think were
Roller-skates, the key-kind, with metal wheels about a 1/2 inch wide.
Nailed to it's bottom. He had handles made from a carpenter's saw
Without it's blade. He pushed himself with those handles.

That looked fun, to a four-year old.
It looks different now-a-days. Knowing
Those red poppies symbolized
The after math automatics of the war to end war.

Who knows the poppy-sellers son? He would be old.
Does he know how his father lost his legs, but lived?
Does he bear the curse of the curse that lost his father's legs?
Does he honor his father's cause or weep at the thought?

Enough is enough.
My family tree branched in America, but only one great grand-parent,
Three generations back from me, was rooted in this land.
My gran'ma's ma, a Choctaw squaw,
That rhymed fine,
But it's not true. My grandma did not know her parents. She was born an orphan,
And her father and mother were likely strangers.

1910 in southwest Arkansas or southeast Oklahoma or northeast Texas or northwest Louisiana
And the color of her skin is all that proved my American heritage.

My grandma was born poor as poor can be,
she never told me how she survived

To survive a 1925 or so car wreck
in eastern Arizona's white mountains.
I never asked what my grandmother knew,
nor how she came to know.

This is my point.
After you and I have gone into forever more,
Our great grand children may wonder
what we did or did not, since we
Are no longer around to give our account.

These days we can leave our story to our great grand children.
Our own children
And our grand children follow us on facebook back to before they were born.
Shall they judge us idlers wielding idle words for laughs,
or  think us knowers of all we found while seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven
In the place Jesus says it is. You know where Jesus said the Kingdom of our kind lies?

The double minded man is unstable in all his ways,
hence Eve and her broader bandwidth corpus colostrum
Come back later, there is a breath system upgrade evolving.

Such changes to the courage of the mind rolls out more slowly
to the root ideas, labouring to find sustenance,
it is a struggle being a radical idea,
we agree, but we have our part,
as do the flowers
and the spore.
Leaven the whole lump, like it or lump it.

The now we live in grew from far deeper roots than
the roots claimed by the
Self-identified nation through it's cartoons/representations of national desires to rally 'round the flag as if it were the fire,
those desires to herd beneath any shelter from the storm,
Your country, your incorporated allegiance
to the inventor and creator and counter of the money under
the protection of the sword and crown representative
of the flame that burns,
The namers of patriot, the rankeers of ideas
who, by their existence,
naturally, over rule you.
Such powers are granted by the individual, not the mob.
You get that?

The desires of the nation over rule the desires of the individuals who
Com-prize the nation.
Whose side are you on, dear reader?

Is the idea we believed believable?
Ex Nihilo, I don't think so because
I can't imagine how now could be
Accidental-ly.

When my hero wore spurs as he went from the jail office to
Miss Kitty's place, (Gunsmoke on A.M. radio)

What did Miss Kitty do?
I had no clue.
In my hero's world people never
Did the wrong thing
While Marshal Dillon was in Dodge.

So did you think Miss Kitty's place was anything other
than a culturally acceptable
reference to professional social ******* workers
under a strong, smart female CEO
with top-level links to the local cops?

All these are rhetorical questions, this being
Rhetorical if you are hearing me say this.
That means, don't nod or raise your hand or shout Amen, kin!

I see your answer my answer and
I know my answer, so you know my answer.

Step-back, 1961, USA Snapshot
Unitas, Benny Kid Perett, Mantlenmarris, the Guns of Navarone.

Why I recall those things, I know not.
Why I did not say I do not know, I do not know.

Though, pausing to think,
knowing contains the doing of it within it, you know.
What's to do?

Outlaws were more my heroes than cowboys, and marshals, and such
Especially the ones that had been forced out by law.

I grew up in a 1950's junkyard with no fence, one mile north of route 66
On the Al-Can highway to Las Vegas, 103 miles away.
My Grandpa was a blacksmith's son,
who rode a horse he broke and his pa had shod
From Texas to Arizona in 1917, at the age of 18.

by the time I knew him,
He was fifty, settled down, nearly, from the war.
Momma had to work, so, daytime, Granddaddy raised me.

Horses weren't, wrecked cars were,
the toys of my childhood.

Grandpa built a junkyard from cars left steam blown
on the old stage road, from before
the railroad.
The Abo Highway hain't been Route 66 for some time yet…
Hoping…


Hoping sometime to polish this bit of this book, I left myself re-minders
Hoping memory of mental realms might rewind or unwind sequentially
When trigger
Neighed.
That worked, Roy Autry and Gene Rogers were names Sue Snow's
Mormon Bishop daddy called me, back when I first recall My Grandpa Caleb, a baptist by confession,

who was, as I recall a *****-drinkin' jolly drunk. While Grandma made beds in some motel, granddaddy built boats and horse trailers
and hot rod 34 Chevies,
and he fixed this one red Indian, I could read the word on the gas tank, I knew the word indian
and this motor cycle was proud to wear the name. I was 4.

A stout-strong man, no fat near any working muscle system,
he could and would
repair any broken thing,
for anybody.
Pop and Mr. Levi-next-door at the Loma Vista Motel, shared a listing in the Green Book, so broke down ******* knew where help could be found after dark in that town.
There was a warnin'ag'in let'n sunset there on darker than grandma's skin.

My Gran'daddy's shop had two gas pumps that were reset with the turn of a crank.
As soon as I could turn that crank, I could pump gas.
I could fill up that red Indian
Motorcycle.
But "m'spokes was too short to kick the starter."
I told my eleven year old uncle
and he told
How he would always remember learning that saddles have no linkage to horse brakes.
"Not knowing what you cain't do kin *** ye kilt."
He grew up in the junk yard, too.
My first outlaw hero.

Likely, I am alive today, because
On the day I discovered I could pump gas as good as any man,
I also discovered that real motorcycles were not built for little boys.
This is an earlier voice which I wrote a series of thought experiments. The book is finished, most parts, some reader feedback as to interest in more, will be high value gifts from you to me, and counted so.
It's that cold, small lump
Lying in my stomach here
Keeping me away.
I wish I had the guts to
I wish I had bravery.
b e mccomb Sep 2018
at 4 in the
morning the sun
is never up
but i usually am

i worry
about things
that are out of
my control
even more about
things that are

get up early
when i work
and earlier
when i don’t
the older i get the
more i learn
sometimes you
need to cry it out

alone
at night
into your pillow
the blankets
wrapped all
around you

sometimes you
need to cry
and cry
and cry

until the morning
sun falls across
the tears dried
under your lashes

and the lump
in your throat has
dissolved so you can
breathe with ease

you need to get up
let hot water
wash it away
let the steam rising
from your mug soften
any sorrow left around
your morning eyes
take a deep breath
don’t mention it
to anyone

and
just
keep
going

i will
just
keep
going
copyright 9/7/18 b. e. mccomb
KILLME Feb 2014
I don't appreciate
bleeding for nine days straight
Flow so heavy I wanna die
at the silliest things I start to cry
the annoying things never made me twitch
but now I just go full *****
I just lie around like a lump
And everything, I want to ****
Simply, I have no motivation
Golly Don't I hate *******
Another Bad Poem Mar 2018
she says
she's not a poet
but i find her poems
to have more meaning
more beauty, more heart
to them than mine
and the way
she uses her words
can change how a person is feeling
from sad to happy
just with a couple of phrases
knitted together

she says
she's not a good writer
but those early morning
last minute essays
of pure adrenaline and
half-awake thoughts
present ideas
in such a way
that it's impossible
to find them anything
but perfect

she says
she's not sure
what her future will bring
but i know her
she's smart
and she's
so wonderfully stubborn
that wherever she may end up
she will go farther
than anyone could have ever imagined
including me
i can't predict exactly where she'll be
in 4 months
or 4 years
but i know her path will go
down the most bountiful roads
and in the end
she'll be happy
and all will be worth it

she says
she's not grateful
but almost everything she does
she does for others
she loves her parents
and hurts when they hurt
she realizes what they do
for her, and wants to make them
the proudest parents on earth
she loves her friends
and tries to make them better

she says
she's a relationship whisperer
and i guess she's right
because with a few choice words
gentle nudges and an onslaught
of appreciated suggestions
she whispered us together

she says
that the dark spots on the sun
can bring shadow
to the most brilliant light
but not even
the dark of endless night
can dim her brightness
or hide her from those
who see her for who she is
who see her potential

she doubts herself
sometimes she thinks
she won't succeed,
always worried
that what she's done
isn't enough
or that there's too little time
to get everything done
but no matter the odds
no matter what she's up against
she pushes through
she persists, she fights
and she gets what she wants
or as close to what she wants
as is actually possible
sometimes she even achieves the impossible
and it's nothing if not admirable
showing me that anything is possible
proving to me that
"You could rattle the stars
You could do anything
If only you dared"
not by anything i've done
but by everything she's accomplished

she says
she's not beautiful
true, she's not a model
but that doesn't mean she's not perfect
but the way those eyes shine
like earth kissed by spring rain
promising life and happiness,
mirrored by her wide smile
though not often seen,
just one smile from her
is like a ray of sunshine
through grimy windows
bringing light into a place
that knew nothing but darkness,
warm enough to melt the walls
surrounding the coldest of hearts

somehow,
sometimes
she says she's ugly
possibly due to the scars
dotting her arms and her back
scars which started years ago
but on the contrary
i think they just enhance her
they make her more human
each one a reminder
that she's been through
countless things in her life
but instead of giving up
instead of giving in
she's come through,
a lump of carbon
forged by the fires
of her world
and the pressure of
her surroundings
the pressure of life
and came out
the most precious of diamonds
not the biggest
but the most wonderful of all
with small flecks of imperfections
that make it shine all the brighter

i say
she's often right,
but the subject
becomes herself
and she's far from the truth
she's absolutely wonderful
and in my eyes
perfect
a perfect person
and a perfect friend
the most beautiful woman on earth
mentally and physically
and there's nobody else
i'd rather love
quote from Sarah J. Maas
though the loving isn't easy, i still love
with all my heart
i hope this makes you smile when you're down
or helps you see yourself the way i see you
vircapio gale Aug 2012
boasting of the god of love's attentions,
this magicweaver lures her prey--
conjures forth her whim
seeking quench of fickle thirst within
attempting avenues of guile
numerously failed, and baits another heart
to suit her object's mate,
whose favors hail from Shiva
unto dominion everywhere,
  except at forest hut where Rama--
with Sita --honeymoons in exile
having snapped the cosmic dancer's massive bow
to win her for his wife, yet bound
by family word to wilderness
  in elder-shade of mystic eagle
guarded by their builder,
brother Lakshmana, in whose absence Kamavalli comes
to woo the godlike archer for her own.

little bells on anklets ring--
from creeper snagged
as if in venery yearning,
urgent vines would find their way to rest on skin
and squeeze in verdant rooting underform
prancing by, playfully demure
to enter subdued greenery
of Panchvati's gated yard
to catch the stoic Rama's eye
in invitation flashing for his gaze:
a sculptured form of flawless grace
nubile teeth shining from the forest dark,
a smile unassuming of callipygean sway
beneath the flitting lashes of her iris' swell

baffled there he stirs to praise her openly
as perfect--
despite his inner-goddess-for-a-wife he keeps inside--
with tripping words
welcomes and blesses this new girl,
exalting her with blushing queries,
sylvan surging rush to know
interrogate her mystery,
rapt in wide-eyed wonder verging beatific breath--
but learning of her lineage...
begins to plot their deaths.

banter light,
flirtations with a hidden, cosmic weight to pun against,
his praise asserts its hold
pretending bachelorhood;
his kindly, transauthentic voice resists
and in a sympathetic, skillful tone, promulgates
a drama to entice her eager mind--
ironic fancies of domestic bliss
flow from Rama, subtle jests
become her plight obsessing
into darkness embered with her lust
to truly claim him as her love,
her grandiosity defused in simple
entertainment quipping of their castes
and then with sudden burst entranced in luminescent rays of stunning rustic glow
from cottage comes his wife to claim her presence known.

the blow is dealt: Manmatha lays Kamavalli's fate: to self-disintegrate

jealousy to deafen gods, in cave retreat
to nurse her spite, surrounded in a dance
of serpent flails to sate her woe,
and only feed in ouroboros knotslip pulse
a lump-filled throat of gulping incite forward zest salacious
pungent flare of earth identity of fang and blood
the cry to shudder down a wolfine howl
in blast of animal, from screaming womanhood
the swoon precipitate-- vast height, abysmal fall
on being spurned by one who led her on
into delusion wrapped in sham an alter self
she met in bed a thousand cravings razing sanity
into a hate for moon, for elements themselves,
railing at Manmatha's haze infernal globe within and out
projecting Rama's face transfixing her inept
in wracking convulse whine of every cell,
her being sweating out imagined arms,
palms of his to cup her, lift from hellish pit of stifled longing never known 'til volcanically regrown--
in new love's throws an innocence of honest
selfhood found in him, bizarrely enemied in Lila's
killing spree of ego-dolls of lotus costume tracing all
searching through his fresh phantasm for her quelling salve
his diamond ******* targets for her soul
his broadness engirthing her to moan until her last in ecstasy
unknown asura-brew untold invented only now forever lost,
the moment fondled vastly gone,
his chest but gossamer instead of flesh
the emerald shoulder glimmer fake
the boundless confidence exuded in his
tender skin's encapsulated sinew strength
merely thought on causing pelvic quake
repeating there an apparition for her nearly endless letting out
he comes for her a demon double of her making
demi-god creator-demon vision for her writhing,
abandoned to the ambrosia torment he provides
wailing at the cavern sky her prison boudoir den
enscaled with slither pile coat of snakes, masturbatory wake of swooning still again

through to dawn..
in which psychotic break decides:
Soorpanaka births herself anew--
possession of her goal, or suicide.
the dewy spectra shines reflection of the choice;
rave committal forms its mould--
exhaustion hatches colorspray of plots,
braving mutilation to abduct,
lies and bribes surmounting each before
in ****** propositions to her ever widened bed,
else demonic armies loosed,
infatuate Ravana's heart
with illusory snare of golden Sita's rumored wares
to get her man alone and hew derision
with her desperate charm, by cantrip or war
spawned from deeper lairs of a broken,
fallacious heart, toward matrimony
or destruction bent













.
Jessica Who Mar 2013
I hate that lump.  
The one that keeps my voice from speaking clearly.  Keeps me tongue tied and unsure of whether to cry or scream or laugh it all off.
I'm good at that.  
Usually.  
But things don't seem so funny right now.
Not much humor in hanging by a thread.  
Holding on for dear life.
Trying to force that breath from my chest to my lungs.
That's where I need it most.
Clear your mind...let go of the past.
But the past is clingy.  
Like a needy friend who can't get enough attention.
I want to let it go.  
To sever that tie with long ago hurts.
Easier said than done.
Enlightenment plays tricks sometimes.
Here one minute.
Gone the next.
And here we go again with that ******* lump.
david badgerow Nov 2011
i've scribbled my lies onto
napkin dispensers and
on bus stop windows
hoping their distorted reflection
would resemble someone i recognize

i'm sitting here between
train tracks between
reasons to live

the lump in my throat consists of
a tired shoelace
a broken wavelength
a bottlecap
a cigarette ****
a brick of charcoal
a shard of stained glass
Cné Jan 2018
years ago
i was consumed
in the deep abyss of depression.
i had been there before
and had always managed
to dig my way out.
but this time i got lost
in a maze, each turn dragging me further
into Hell.

so many unresolved thoughts plagued
the chasm of my mind.
i wanted to die,
not to **** myself,
for i couldn't be that selfish
to hurt my family in that way.
but i prayed selfishly
to be put out of my misery.
a prayer i felt unanswered
for months on end.
i tried to hide
this darkness
from those closest to me,
isolating myself.

in a defense mechanism sarcastic tone,
i smirked to a friend
that all i really wanted
was peace.
she encouraged me to pray.
i responded honestly,
"i'm not sure prayer works for me
because i've lost faith."

as if God only answers to those with faith.
she told me
that i might need to see results to believe
but that i should
give it a shot anyway
and stick with it.
i brushed it off.

the next morning,
i woke up with my normal
(worse than normal, at that time)
negative thoughts, you're ugly, fat, unworthy ...
(that's the censored, more kind version of my thoughts)
to which i argued in my head,
be kind.
silly i know.
then my friend's words resonated
"give it a shot."
so i quickly prayed a simple prayer for peace
in my mind, body and in my soul.
of course, i didn't feel any different at the time,
but i drug my heavy laden body out of bed.
forced myself to workout and went to work.

my first client that day was new to me.
hiding behind my work mask,
i presented myself professional
with my usual introduction.
she returned the favor
with a look of odd fascination.
so i continued with
"have i worked on you before?"
hoping i hadn't absentmindedly
not recognized a former client.
she responded "no, but you are Liz, right?"
i confirmed and proceeded to my room.
after scoping out the surroundings,
she commented on one of my paintings
on the wall, of an Angel.
it's an abstract.
some people don't see it.
then she asked ...
if i was a believer.
caught off guard
i responded "excuse me?"
she said, "do you believe in Jesus?"
not accusatory or even with aggression,
but a simple question, with dancing eyes.
i said, yes, more out of fear,
with my current frame of mind, at the time.
i was fragile and trying desperately
to hold it together.

i left her to ready herself for therapy
and took the opportunity
to regain my composure,
securing my guarded mask.
when i began therapy
she sighed and said
"i felt in my heart
that you were the right therapist for me,
because i can feel your kind heart."

i asked "did someone refer you to me?"
with suspicion, and narrowed eyes.  
she responded "no. Jesus gave me your name."
she told me how she relied heavily on prayer
and that brought her to see me.
i **** you not.
i brushed off her words
as any sane
(even in depression)
person would.

she was not easy to work
as a large body
that was hard as stone.
but my thoughts began to shift,
i swallowed an emotional lump in my throat.
in that moment, i realized,
i felt privileged to be working on her,
for her to have sought me out
on a quest from Jesus, or so she believed.
a peace i'd never experienced before
washed over me, cleansed me, anointed me.
in that moment, i felt clean, light.

afterward she gave me a huge hug
with an exaggerated pause
and whispered in my ear,
that prayer was the only reason
she was alive.
it felt like no other hug i'd received before,
so tender, sweet and sincere.
so i asked myself
"was this a sign?"

from that day forward,
i found my way back.
navigating the maze.
it didn't happen all at once
but each step, each turn
lead me out of the abyss of darkness
and toward the light of harmony and peace.
and though, i still slip occasionally,
i recall that spiritual experience.
this happened. i don't consider myself and a religious person but i would say i am spiritual.  i don't share this experience often because had it not happened to me, i wouldn't believe it. i share it now in hopes that someone who is lost, isolated, hurt, in pain, and in the grips of darkness, might believe it possible to find their way out.
Auss May 2015
If you were a rock you'd be a diamond,
no not a diamond but a ruby
Not because of your red hair
but because of your impurity

Because even with impurity,
you still shine so bright to me.

I would be a lump of coal
burning bright
so you can shine,
for one brief moment
My light is thine.
little red i love you so much.  But i worry that maybe... i don't give you the light that you deserve
Part I

It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three.
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stopp’st thou me?

The bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin;
The guests are met, the feast is set:
Mayst hear the merry din.’

He holds him with his skinny hand,
“There was a ship,” quoth he.
‘Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
Eftsoons his hand dropped he.

He holds him with his glittering eye—
The Wedding-Guest stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Mariner hath his will.

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

“The ship was cheered, the harbour cleared,
Merrily did we drop
Below the kirk, below the hill,
Below the lighthouse top.

The sun came up upon the left,
Out of the sea came he!
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the sea.

Higher and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon—”
The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.

The bride hath paced into the hall,
Red as a rose is she;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry minstrelsy.

The Wedding-Guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

“And now the storm-blast came, and he
Was tyrannous and strong:
He struck with his o’ertaking wings,
And chased us south along.

With sloping masts and dipping prow,
As who pursued with yell and blow
Still treads the shadow of his foe,
And foward bends his head,
The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

And through the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen:
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken—
The ice was all between.

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around:
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the fog it came;
As it had been a Christian soul,
We hailed it in God’s name.

It ate the food it ne’er had eat,
And round and round it flew.
The ice did split with a thunder-fit;
The helmsman steered us through!

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner’s hollo!

In mist or cloud, on mast or shroud,
It perched for vespers nine;
Whiles all the night, through fog-smoke white,
Glimmered the white moonshine.”

‘God save thee, ancient Mariner,
From the fiends that plague thee thus!—
Why look’st thou so?’—”With my crossbow
I shot the Albatross.”

Part II

“The sun now rose upon the right:
Out of the sea came he,
Still hid in mist, and on the left
Went down into the sea.

And the good south wind still blew behind,
But no sweet bird did follow,
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the mariners’ hollo!

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work ’em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.
Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeze to blow!

Nor dim nor red, like God’s own head,
The glorious sun uprist:
Then all averred, I had killed the bird
That brought the fog and mist.
’Twas right, said they, such birds to slay,
That bring the fog and mist.

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea.

Down dropped the breeze, the sails dropped down,
’Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The ****** sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch’s oils,
Burnt green, and blue, and white.

And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so;
Nine fathom deep he had followed us
From the land of mist and snow.

And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.

Ah! well-a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.”

Part III

“There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye—
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist;
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared:
As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could nor laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I ****** the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.

See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal;
Without a breeze, without a tide,
She steadies with upright keel!

The western wave was all a-flame,
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright sun;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the sun.

And straight the sun was flecked with bars,
(Heaven’s Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate he peered
With broad and burning face.

Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the sun,
Like restless gossameres?

Are those her ribs through which the sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that Woman all her crew?
Is that a Death? and are there two?
Is Death that Woman’s mate?

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she,
Who thicks man’s blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
‘The game is done! I’ve won! I’ve won!’
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.

The sun’s rim dips; the stars rush out:
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper o’er the sea,
Off shot the spectre-bark.

We listened and looked sideways up!
Fear at my heart, as at a cup,
My life-blood seemed to sip!
The stars were dim, and thick the night,
The steersman’s face by his lamp gleamed white;
From the sails the dew did drip—
Till clomb above the eastern bar
The horned moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

One after one, by the star-dogged moon,
Too quick for groan or sigh,
Each turned his face with a ghastly pang,
And cursed me with his eye.

Four times fifty living men,
(And I heard nor sigh nor groan)
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump,
They dropped down one by one.

The souls did from their bodies fly,—
They fled to bliss or woe!
And every soul it passed me by,
Like the whizz of my crossbow!”

Part IV

‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!
I fear thy skinny hand!
And thou art long, and lank, and brown,
As is the ribbed sea-sand.

I fear thee and thy glittering eye,
And thy skinny hand, so brown.’—
“Fear not, fear not, thou Wedding-Guest!
This body dropped not down.

Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie;
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.

I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

I looked to heaven, and tried to pray;
But or ever a prayer had gusht,
A wicked whisper came and made
My heart as dry as dust.

I closed my lids, and kept them close,
And the ***** like pulses beat;
Forthe sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky,
Lay like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.

The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot nor reek did they:
The look with which they looked on me
Had never passed away.

An orphan’s curse would drag to hell
A spirit from on high;
But oh! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man’s eye!
Seven days, seven nights, I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.

The moving moon went up the sky,
And no where did abide:
Softly she was going up,
And a star or two beside—

Her beams bemocked the sultry main,
Like April ****-frost spread;
But where the ship’s huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alway
A still and awful red.

Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watched the water-snakes:
They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reared, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
They coiled and swam; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things! no tongue
Their beauty might declare:
A spring of love gushed from my heart,
And I blessed them unaware:
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,
And I blessed them unaware.

The selfsame moment I could pray;
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.”

Part V

“Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from heaven,
That slid into my soul.

The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remained,
I dreamt that they were filled with dew;
And when I awoke, it rained.

My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.

I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I was so light—almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed ghost.

And soon I heard a roaring wind:
It did not come anear;
But with its sound it shook the sails,
That were so thin and sere.

The upper air burst into life!
And a hundred fire-flags sheen,
To and fro they were hurried about!
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the sails did sigh like sedge;
And the rain poured down from one black cloud;
The moon was at its edge.

The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The moon was at its side:
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.

The loud wind never reached the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the moon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groaned, they stirred, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

The helmsman steered, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up blew;
The mariners all ‘gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools—
We were a ghastly crew.

The body of my brother’s son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pulled at one rope,
But he said nought to me.”

‘I fear thee, ancient Mariner!’
“Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest!
’Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:

For when it dawned—they dropped their arms,
And clustered round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies passed.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mixed, now one by one.

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the skylark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seemed to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!

And now ’twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel’s song,
That makes the heavens be mute.

It ceased; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we quietly sailed on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe;
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.

Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.

The sun, right up above the mast,
Had fixed her to the ocean:
But in a minute she ‘gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion—
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.

How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
But ere my living life returned,
I heard and in my soul discerned
Two voices in the air.

‘Is it he?’ quoth one, ‘Is this the man?
By him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless Albatross.

The spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow.’

The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew:
Quoth he, ‘The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.’

Part VI

First Voice

But tell me, tell me! speak again,
Thy soft response renewing—
What makes that ship drive on so fast?
What is the ocean doing?

Second Voice

Still as a slave before his lord,
The ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
Up to the moon is cast—

If he may know which way to go;
For she guides him smooth or grim.
See, brother, see! how graciously
She looketh down on him.

First Voice

But why drives on that ship so fast,
Without or wave or wind?

Second Voice

The air is cut away before,
And closes from behind.

Fly, brother, fly! more high, more high!
Or we shall be belated:
For slow and slow that ship will go,
When the Mariner’s trance is abated.

“I woke, and we were sailing on
As in a gentle weather:
’Twas night, calm night, the moon was high;
The dead men stood together.

All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter:
All fixed on me their stony eyes,
That in the moon did glitter.

The pang, the curse, with which they died,
Had never passed away:
I could not draw my eyes from theirs,
Nor turn them up to pray.

And now this spell was snapped: once more
I viewed the ocean green,
And looked far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen—

Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

But soon there breathed a wind on me,
Nor sound nor motion made:
Its path was not upon the sea,
In ripple or in shade.

It raised my hair, it fanned my cheek
Like a meadow-gale of spring—
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.

Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship,
Yet she sailed softly too:
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze—
On me alone it blew.

Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
The lighthouse top I see?
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
Is this mine own country?

We drifted o’er the harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray—
O let me be awake, my God!
Or let me sleep alway.

The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn!
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the moon.

The rock shone bright, the kirk no less,
That stands above the rock:
The moonlight steeped in silentness
The steady weathercock.

And the bay was white with silent light,
Till rising from the same,
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.

A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were:
I turned my eyes upon the deck—
Oh, Christ! what saw I there!

Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat,
And, by the holy rood!
A man all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.

This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
It was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
Each one a lovely light;

This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
No voice did they impart—
No voice; but oh! the silence sank
Like music on my heart.

But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the Pilot’s cheer;
My head was turned perforce away,
And I saw a boat appear.

The Pilot and the Pilot’s boy,
I heard them coming fast:
Dear Lord i
Radwan Jun 2010
The road marched on,
beside a beach it ran.
Hailing the sea and heeding its groan.
Walking along, I came into view.
Welcoming the sea with a smirk.
The rising sun gently pushed down the red's blue.
Blessing the world with a yellow tint it lit up the view.
Much closer than the sun, another glimmer grew.
Down on the beach and off the road was where my feet then flew.
Getting closer, slowly I advanced through the sand.
Still it glimmered, though its glimmer was but a con.
A bottle lay ahead of me, flirting playfully with the sea, as he caressed her gently with his waves.
She beckoned to my curious hands.
"Come forth and grab me like I was yours."
A cork and a paper were in the bottle.
You've already been used, filled and plugged; you come with a catch. I am to receive a message!
Hastily I scratched the cork off as my fingers took it out.
Now for the message, unrolling, my eyes caught sight of the first lines..

[I write to you from the shores of pessimism:
These shores are dark and dreary.
The waves here are slow and drowsy
The water is turbid and murky
Enthusiasm is a scarcity
and optimism was long ago banished from the land.
Pessimism and depression reign supreme and none can avoid their grip.
These shores have been the end of many a happy soul's journey.
This is where they all came to know the meaning of surrender.
And the satisfaction of despair.
All flames were put out and all their torches were thrown into the waters.
You won't be needing them anymore, they were told.
The reason for that is quite obvious, torches bring light and light mediates hope.
In a place where all hope must be extinguished and remain so.
No, your torches won't be needed here.
Here is where you wallow, in darkness and despair.
Where you sit is where you sink
Slowly the sands will drag you under.
After entering, the caretakers tie one's right ankle to a rock.
The pitiful lump of obsidian shall be your home. The caretakers stand you beside your rock and explain the rules to you.
"The rope is not forged of metal, thread or leather.
Its length is not fixed but it never breaks. If ever you tug on it, back on your rock is where it'll take you. Affixed to your rock it remains. On these shores only a pair of absolutes are recognized.. Darkness and negativity.
All else are subject to fate's scrutiny.
You came to us of your own will. and by coming here you shall realize your destiny.
If one exists for a soul such as yours.
If you wish not to sink in the sand, then stay on your rock or go for a swim.
Here you will remain, on these shores, this place shall be your prison and your safety net.
Departure is not an option until your destiny is realized, but we can't guarantee such an occurrence."
Having finished with the mandatory formalities, they take their leave of you and return to their posts.

On my first day, I noted that curiosity has very little power over the minds of the shore's inhabitants.
That no inhabitant may use another's rock without permission.
That the rope expands limitlessly and that moving lightly helps prevent sinking in the accursed sands.
Allowing me to roam far and wide, yet ensuring that I will always be roaming, belonging only in these shores, on my rock, amongst my shadowy brethren.
These shores have no real boundaries... An inhabitant may choose to stay and ponder or wander off and roam the land.
There are no secrets here.
All knowledge is readily provided by the caretakers, who say that very few ever choose to stay and ever fewer choose to combine the two.
Though time and time again they are dragged back to the rocks after having tugged on their ropes, they always choose to resume their roaming.
Expectations have no place here.
Ambition was long ago thrown off the pier.
Crucified and drowned in Poseidon's terrible dear.
The caretakers offered to read me tales from the shores' diary. They found my patience and lack of affect fitting.
On these shores I remained, listening to their tales for a time, sitting on my obsidian chair for a time, gliding on the sands and at times surrendering to their grip.
To all my fellow inhabitants I spoke in whispers and respect I paid in full to all the rules of the shores.
Then it was time to wander the land.
As I departed, knowing that I would return, I felt like crawling back into the pits of my soul but I also felt the shores' hold over my humanity fading, fading down to the feel of the rope's fabric around my ankle. A constant reminder that only I can see.
A constant reminder of where I belong, of the dreariness of my home and the darkness that always lies in wait for my return.

After leaving the shores, I wandered around the northern lowlands for sometime. Of course in such a state of mind time has no meaning for the wanderer. As time's passing loses its significance when all events are perceived as irrelevant and utterly meaningless. Thus I wandered the land, moving from village to town and from forest to desert. My journey was interrupted time and time again by the rope's influence, for sometimes I would grow weary of my surroundings and choose to retreat to my rock, there the darkness and despair provide safety. Observing then became the only promising investment of my attention, and throughout my roaming I would observe my surroundings, be they humans, critters, rocks or even machines. I resolved that empirical knowledge and logical analysis were the only relevant fields of reasoning.
In retrospect, I believe these were the only perspectives my dulled affect and cold impartial existence allowed at the time, but they were fields nonetheless, new areas that interested me, progress from the aimlessness. For now, I could say "I am here to observe. I do not belong, but that doesn't matter."
The times I spent back at the shores were getting progressively intense, though the emptiness soothed my longing, it seemed the more I saw, the deeper I would sink in the shores' sands before my rope would pull me back.
It seemed the more I observed and learned, the darker my rock became. It seems knowledge has its weight on these shores.
This isn't the time for simplification. The only way out of this rut is analysis, complexities and deduction. The way of the mind, for the sake of truth and meaning. If objectivity ever meant anything to you, you would not simplify, you would indulge in your eccentricities and gorge on analytical absurdity. Feed your hunger for details and complications.
Now the shores are far behind and I've gotten the hang of this accursed rope. I won't be dragged back there anytime soon. I may now keep record of whatever I wish.
This is but a mere transcript of my quest, my voyage, my journey, my pursuit of transcendence and my search for enlightenment, for enlightenment is my holy grail. My residence at the shores of pessimism mustn't last too long, for my light can lie dormant for only so long.
The stronger my thirst grows out here, the darker my lump of obsidian gets and the heavier my feet become on the shores sands. What's really curious though is how calm the sea has been since I started my journeys.

Silence now, enough has been said, recounting the details eventually becomes a bore rather than a bonus.
It is now time for the message to be sealed and sent off on its questionable journey, to a surely unexpecting reader. I wonder if it even holds any real meaning. Let this not be warning, but a minor eye opener. May it open someone's eyes to depression's grip on us.]

And it was there that the message ended. I raised my eyes from that piece of paper and looked to the sea, a storm was brewing on the horizon.

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

What the F. is this anyway?
Is it a test ?
a game ?
an empty picture frame ?
Curious since birth. Now drowning in knowledge of birth...
What's next ?
Why do I always have to wait and see ?
Whatever happened to flying free ?
Why can't I just flee ?
Forged of the earth and baked in the fire of God's oven.
Infused with God's divine breath.
If I've learned anything from my time on this pitiful lump of water and rock, it is that there is no plan, there is no grand scheme, there is no justice. Humanity's behavior will always be chaotic and unintelligible.
If there is a God, then that God has chosen to be a spectator. For this day and age, God has chosen to let the world sort itself out for a change. There shall be no more miracles, only human deeds and natural disasters.

Back again to where it all started.
What do I do now ? Focus!
Find myself ? Know myself ? Control myself ?
What good would that do ?
Who do you think I am ?
Do you think what I want is really relevant ?
Do you think you would like what I want ?
Born beautiful ? Good hearted ?
Not all are born beautiful and not all are good hearted.
Not everybody has an adequately functioning mind.
What's an adequately functioning mind anyway ?
If I've learned anything from medicine, it is that the study of human life holds the key to all our relevant questions. It is that details always matter. It is that in the real world, the only thing that truly matters is to be right.

We are born beautiful, untainted and simple. Though helpless and in desperate need of our supporters, it is actually these very providers who shape us. They complicate us and teach us their ways, they contaminate our minds with their view of reality, whether knowingly or ignorantly, they lead us astray from the simple truth, just like they were led astray.
And that's not to say that parents are evil or anything of that sort.
If that's what my words meant to you, then you're an idiot who shouldn't be reading this in the first place, so get the **** out!

We tend to think of being lost as a bad thing, reasons have become a necessity for our kind and rational explanations have become our psyche's sole sustenance.
We as a species have proved our relentlessness, our strong-headedness, our ignorance and our stupidity.
Humanity is *******. Collectively, we would be regarded as the galaxy's idiot child. The down's syndrome stricken kid our galaxy had after several failed attempts when she got over 45.
So what the **** is this ?
The lay of the land ?
What's the reason for this verbal bombardment ?
Are these knowledge bombs ? Are they supposed to be words of wisdom ? Can any of the above be put to any use ?
Hah! I believe not, and I apologize if that's what I've led you to believe.
I don't think I'm special, no more than you are. I don't believe I know much.
And I sure as hell am not here to tell you how to live your life or to provide you with a lot of answers that you may or may not have been seeking.

I have but one small request however. I request an apology, I want an apology from our parents. I believe we all do, they brought us into this world against our will. Then lied to us about how terrible the world and the people in it are. Named us good people and gave us hope. Then planted ambition in our scalps and fertilized it with warmth and faith in our promise, while they played the game and knew the real deal.
If there is a grand scheme, then we are not part of it. If there is a plan, then we're simply going along for the ride, our deeds only affect us and we can never change the ride's course.
We were never part of the plan.
If enlightenment is what you seek, then the only hope for the success of such a quest is for us to know and accept our weakness, our irrelevance.
I like working my noodle
My hands love to doodle
and every question I google
As much as the next poodle.
bleh Jan 2017
swollen mudflap dreams
  voice of sinew street
the
     wooden flakes     clap the wind

terra-cotta creaks muffle
choir kiss velvet thin in
  empty mountain air, sinai drift
( peace be with you, peace be )

         a long year        here's to another




  gotta visit the family in an hour
coffee and cake,
  brother and i will argue 'bout politics
he runs some business, i've never worked in my life
he uses productivity to hide his loneliness
i use social grace to hide my emptiness

we probably understand each other perfectly
       but will never steep to sympathy




big canary
best in school
sing your
lelujah for the gulls

break your wings in
crumbs and sandwich tins

burrow down to a
                     maize of glass
    build a temple of sleet
   and have a cry in it



bed lump, bed lump   lump
lump

  fight your frozen toes

  last week a lily bush grew in our drain,
pools of **** and tissue clogged and sputtered out
  the flowers were real pretty tho



it's like that feeling, you know, when you wonder, if    you
  left the gas cooker on, with the children still sleeping
an anxious terror overruns you, but you gotta get to work
too late to turn back now,
  you can't just stop everything every \
time you realize how easy it would be to loose it all

so you keep on,   determined resigned comfort
   despite an unshakable certainty
                                 it all burnt away long ago



go for a walk to calm
            rolling cloud
valley glut
                       last light's wet custard haze
  a solitary bird tries to mate with its echo

  branches tear
cut weave through silence
            effervescent haze
  the
dust road hill the valley fall the blur below


i dreamt last night  an old crush held me
and pulled my teeth out one by one
i really miss her



and so you lie, there, thin cotton down, gunked up on the drip,
   i read you a story,
                                  you don't want me to
               tired and disorientated, falling into sleep, among the
            bleeps and light,                 smell   of alcohol and saccharine
                                        you can't handle the leech of words right now,
but you insist i continue anyway.
i need this,  i
to prove i was there   by your side,
  for your sake,
and you are too polite to refuse me this narcissism,
too scared to shatter it all
          and turn away at the last



oh, hey! sorry i haven't
  yeah
       yeah no,
it's been years, hasn't it?
i- i know i know, i was the one who insisted-
and then never made the effort
what's up?
uh, nothing new, really
  still haven't fixed the wiring
still just
        flickering
anxious feeling
ambling along a
                           longing

that paradoxical redemption,  that

           impossible unity
    of innocence and forgiveness



yeah, no,
    nah



and so you float up, out of the vents, above the roof
  into the clouds, the rain sets in,   oh - the
       drier's broken, you can't afford to get these clothes wet -  but
the  pattering feels good on your blistering skin

  so you drift
      melt

and
       far below
you 
             hear
                                                  the bell's pale ring
   sunday murmur bubble and gather
       muffle ***** wring shoelace voices
              river wiped bored communal toes
          mudfleck shoes and patchwork rags

  a turn, another, then,
                                worn timber creak


the church doors open
Mike Bergeron Sep 2012
There was a house fire on my street last night …well… not exactly my street, but on a little, sketchy, dead-end strip of asphalt, sidewalks, weeds, and garbage that juts into my block two houses down. It was on that street. Rosewood Court, population: 12, adjusted population: 11, characterized by anonymity and boarded windows, peppered with the swift movements of fat street rats. I’ve never been that close to a real, high-energy, make-sure-to-spray-down-your-roof-with-a-hose-so-it-doesn’t-catch­ fire before. It was the least of my expectations for the evening, though I didn’t expect a crate of Peruvian bananas to fall off a cargo plane either, punching through the ceiling, littering the parking lot with damaged fruit and shingles, tearing paintings and shelves and studs from the third floor walls, and crashing into our kitchen, shattering dishes and cabinets and appliances. Since that never happened, and since neither the former nor the latter situation even crossed my mind, I’ll stick with “least of my expectations,” and bundle up with it inside that inadequate phrase whatever else may have happened that I wouldn’t have expected.



I had been reading in my living room, absently petting the long calico fur of my roommate’s cat Dory. She’s in heat, and does her best to make sure everyone knows it, parading around, *** in the air, an opera of low trilling and loud meows and deep purring. As a consequence of a steady tide of feline hormones, she’s been excessively good humored, showering me with affection, instead of her usual indifference, punctuated by occasional, self-serving shin rubs when she’s hungry. I saw the lights before I heard the trucks or the shouts of firemen or the panicked wail of sirens, spitting their warning into the night in A or A minor, but probably neither, I’m no musician. Besides, Congratulations was playing loud, flowing through the speakers in the corners of the room, connected to the record player via the receiver with the broken volume control, travelling as excited electrons down stretches of wire that are, realistically, too short, and always pull out. The song was filling the space between the speakers and the space between my ears with musings on Brian Eno, so the auditory signal that should have informed me of the trouble that was afoot was blocked out. I saw the lights, the alternating reds and whites that filled my living room, drawing shifting patterns on my walls, ceiling, floor, furniture, and shelves of books, dragging me towards the door leading outside, through the cluttered bike room, past the sleeping, black lump of oblivious fur that is usually my boisterous male kitten, and out into the bedlam I  had previously been ignorant to. I could see the smoke, it was white then gray then white, all the while lending an acrid taste to the air, but I couldn’t see where it was issuing from. The wind was blowing the smoke toward my apartment, away from Empire Mills. I tried to count the firetrucks, but there were so many. I counted six on Wilmarth Ave, one of which was the awkward-looking, heavy-duty special hazards truck. In my part of the city, the post-industrial third-wave ***** river valley, you never know if the grease fire that started with homefries in a frying pan in an old woman’s kitchen will escalate into a full-blown mill fire, the century-old wood floors so saturated with oil and kerosene and ****** and manufacturing chemicals and ghosts and god knows what other flammable **** that it lights up like a fifth of July leftover sparkler, burning and melting the hand of the community that fed it for so many decades, leaving scars that are displayed on the local news for a week and are forgotten in a few years’ time.



The night was windy, and the day had been dry, so precautions were abundant, and I counted two more trucks on Fones Ave. One had the biggest ladder I’ve ever seen. It was parked on the corner of Fones and Wilmarth, directly across from the entrance into the forgotten dead-end where the forgotten house was burning, and the ladder was lifting into the air. By now my two roommates had come outside too, to stand on our rickety, wooden staircase, and Jeff said he could see flames in the windows of one of the three abandoned houses on Rosewood, through the third floor holes where windows once were, where boards of plywood were deemed unnecessary.



“Ay! Daddy!”



My neighbor John called up to us. He serves as the eyes and ears and certainly the mouth of our block, always in everyone’s business, without being too intrusive, always aware of what’s going down and who’s involved. He proceeded to tell us the lowdown on the blaze as far as he knew it, that there were two more firetrucks and an ambulance down Rosewood, that the front and back doors to the house were blocked by something from inside, that those somethings were very heavy, that someone was screaming inside, that the fire was growing.



Val had gone inside to get his jacket, because despite the floodlights from the trucks imitating sunlight, the wind and the low temperature and the thought of a person burning alive made the night chilly. Val thought we should go around the block, to see if we could get a better view, to satisfy our congenital need to witness disaster, to see the passenger car flip over the Jersey barrier, to watch the videos of Jihadist beheadings, to stand in line to look at painted corpses in velvet, underlit parlors, and sit in silence while their family members cry. We walked down the stairs, into full floodlight, and there were first responders and police and fully equipped firefighters moving in all directions. We watched two firemen attempting to open an old, rusty fire hydrant, and it could’ve been inexperience, the stress of the situation, the condition of the hydrant, or just poor luck, but rather than opening as it was supposed to the hydrant burst open, sending the cap flying into the side of a firetruck, the water crashing into the younger of the two men’s face and torso, knocking him back on his ***. While he coughed out surprised air and water and a flood of expletives, his partner got the situation under control and got the hose attached. We turned and walked away from the fire, and as we approached the turn we’d take to cut through the rundown parking lot that would bring us to the other side of the block, two firemen hurried past, one leading the other, carrying between them a stretcher full of machines for monitoring and a shitload of wires and tubing. It was the stiff board-like kind, with handles on each end, the kind of stretcher you might expect to see circus clowns carry out, when it’s time to save their fallen, pie-faced cohort. I wondered why they were using this archaic form of patient transportation, and not one of the padded, electrical ones on wheels. We pushed past the crowd that had begun forming, walked past the Laundromat, the 7Eleven, the carwash, and took a left onto the street on the other side of the parking lot, parallel to Wilmarth. There were several older men standing on the sidewalk, facing the fire, hands either in pockets or bringing a cigarette to and from a frowning mouth. They were standing in the ideal place to witness the action, with an unobstructed view of the top two floors of the burning house, its upper windows glowing orange with internal light and vomiting putrid smoke.  We could taste the burning wires, the rugs, the insulation, the asbestos, the black mold, the trash, and the smell was so strong I had to cover my mouth with my shirt, though it provided little relief. We said hello, they grunted the same, and we all stood, watching, thinking about what we were seeing, not wanting to see what we were thinking.

Two firefighters were on the roof by this point, they were yelling to each other and to the others on the ground, but we couldn’t hear what they were saying because of the sirens from all the emergency vehicles that were arriving.  It seemed to me they sent every firetruck in the city, as well as more than a dozen police cars and a slew of ambulances, all of them arriving from every direction. I guess they expected the fire to get really out of hand, but we could already see the orange glow withdrawing into the dark of the house, steam and smoke rippling out of the stretched, wooden mouths of the rotted window frames. In a gruff, habitual smoker’s voice, we heard

                                      “Chopper called the fire depahtment

We was over at the vet’s home

                He says he saw flames in the windas

                                                                                                                                                We all thought he was shittin’ us

We couldn’t see nothin’.”

A man between fifty-five to sixty-five years old was speaking, no hair on his shiny, tanned head, old tattoos etched in bluish gray on his hands, arms, and neck, menthol smoke rising from between timeworn fingers. He brought the cigarette to his lips, drew a hearty chest full of smoke, and as he let it out he repeated

                                                “Yea, chopper called em’

Says he saw flames.”

The men on the roof were just silhouettes, backlit by the dazzling brightness of the lights on the other side.  The figure to the left of the roof pulled something large up into view, and we knew instantly by the cord pull and the sound that it was a chainsaw. He began cutting directly into the roof. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, wondered if he was scared of falling into the fire, assumed he probably was, but had at least done this before, tried to figure out if he was doing it to gain entry or release pressure or whatever. The man to the right was hacking away at the roof with an axe. It was surreal to watch, to see two men transformed from public servants into fingers of destruction, the pinkie and ring finger fighting the powerful thumb of the controlled chemical reaction eating the air below them, to watch the dark figures shrouded in ethereal light and smoke and sawdust and what must’ve been unbearable heat from below, to be viewing everything with my own home, my belongings, still visible, to know it could easily have gone up in flames as well.

I should’ve brought my jacket. I remember complaining about it, about how the wind was passing through my skin like a window screen, chilling my blood, in sharp contrast to the heat that was morphing and rippling the air above the house as it disappeared as smoke and gas up into the atmosphere from the inside out.

Ten minutes later, or maybe five, or maybe one, the men on the roof were still working diligently cutting and chopping, but we could no longer see any signs of flames, and there were figures moving around in the house, visible in the windows of the upper floors, despite the smoke. Figuring the action must be reaching its end, we decided to walk back to our apartment. We saw Ken’s brown pickup truck parked next to the Laundromat, unable to reach our parking lot due to all the emergency vehicles and people clogging our street. We came around the corner and saw the other two members of the Infamous Summers standing next to our building with the rest of the crowd that had gathered. Dosin told us the fire was out, and that they had pulled someone from inside the gutted house, but no ambulance had left yet, and his normally smiling face was flat and somber, and the beaten guitar case slung over his shoulder, and his messed up hair, and the red in his cheeks from the cold air, and the way he was moving rocks around with the toe of his shoe made him look like a lost child, chasing a dream far from home but finding a nightmare in its place, instead of the professional who never loses his cool or his direction.

The crowd all began talking at once, so I turned around, towards the dead end and the group of firefighters and EMTs that were emerging. Their faces were stoic, not a single expression on all but one of those faces, a young EMT, probably a Basic, or a Cardiac, or neither, but no older than twenty, who was silently weeping, the tears cutting tracks through the soot on his cheeks, his eyes empty of emotion, his lips drawn tight and still. Four of them were each holding a corner of the maroon stretcher that took two to carry when I first saw it, full of equipment. They did not rush, they did not appear to be tending to a person barely holding onto life, they were just carrying the weight. As they got close gasps and cries of horror or disgust or both issued from the crowd, some turned away, some expressions didn’t change, some eyes closed and others stayed fixed on what they came to see. One woman vomited, right there on the sidewalk, splashing the shoes of those near her with the partially digested remains of her EBT dinner. I felt my own stomach start to turn, but I didn’t look away. I couldn’t.

                                                                                It was like I was seven again,

                                in the alleyway running along the side of the junior high school I lived near and would eventually attend,

looking in silent horror at what three eighth graders from my neighborhood were doing.

It was about eight in the evening of a rainy,

late summer day,

and I was walking home with my older brother,

cutting through the alley like we always did.

The three older boys were standing over a small dog,

a terrier of some sort.

They had duct taped its mouth shut and its legs together,

but we could still hear its terrified whines through its clenched teeth.

One of the boys had cut off the dog’s tail.

He had it in one hand,

and was still holding the pocket knife in the other.

None of them were smiling,

or talking,

nor did they take notice of Andrew and I.

There was a garden bag standing up next to them that looked pretty full,

and there was a small pile of leaves on the ground next to it.

In slow motion I watched,

horrified,

as one of the boys,

Brian Jones-Hartlett,

picked up the shaking animal,

put it in the bag,

covered it with the leaves from the ground,

and with wide,

shining eyes,

set the bag

on fire

with a long-necked

candle

lighter.

It was too much for me then. I couldn’t control my nausea. I threw up and sat down while my head swam.

I couldn’t understand. I forgot my brother and the fact that he was older, that he should stop this,

Stop them,

There’s a dog in there,

You’re older, I’m sick,

Why can’t I stop them?

It was like
Mara W Kayh Nov 2014
today i couldn;t hold it in any longer
i said my piece
it didn't go well
Now I'm facing the
Chill i knew would arrive
like ice on fire
Frozen Lump in throat
Peering over the abyss
Shattering All illusion of
Peace
Or  security
Or civility
Like A dam giving way
But instead of
bursting forth
this water is jagged ice.
For now,
Suspended in descent
we are
in
Deep
Freeze
After a god awful fight.. With no possibility of escape
Isha Kumar Nov 2014
It lingers between small talks,
things best left unsaid.
All that remains
is the silence, so dead.

Nervous, little peeks
when the eyes refuse to meet.
That lump in your throat
at every heartfelt greet.

Staring into empty space
like you lost your muse.
Why was the courage hidden
if it was of no use?

The mind begins to burn
and the smoke grows thick.
It creeps into the heart
and makes you sick.

The silence then grows
with each passing moment.
Memories cloud your eyes
and make you repent.

The tongue begins to sting.
So much to be said.
Yet, all that ever remains
is the silence, so dead.

Things remain unsaid
when words begin to fail.
That excuse you make
is just another tall-tale.

That tension in the air
when you pass each other by.
That lump in your throat
stays, and you wonder why.

Dodging the questions
for there are no answers.
Wishing for things to go back
to the way they were.

They still linger between small talks,
things which were left unsaid.
All that will ever remain
is the silence lying dead.
Michael Humbert Apr 2015
You know that lump in your throat?
The one that feels like you'll choke any second?
Those are the words you sent to die in your stomach
They're the ones you wanted to say
The ones you thought might fix everything
Or maybe they'd ******* **** you, who knows?

But you swallow that lump, and you breathe and you wonder if those words would ever be given a voice, granted an audience
because God knows they're not dead,
they're churning around in your stomach
giving you hell for what you've done

And look, I'm sorry, this is the best that I can do. I hope that counts for something.
spysgrandson Sep 2012
I was...

encased in a silver humming tube
shooting through blue sky and soft clouds

the attendant (my daughter’s age) stood
thin knuckles gripping the seat in front of me
whiter than clouds zipping past the window
her doe eyes transfixed on the men
praying with each shallow breath
they would ask nothing of her

some spoke English, some gibberish
waving their razors in ominous dance
slicing the air that carried their words

a pilot at their feet,
a thin red trail, a single line
the only biography he had
written on the cabin carpet
between the cockpit and
where they stood
barking at us, punctuating their orders with prayer and praise
to some God I did not know

“Al lah, A lah…”
more threatening chants
“Allah, Al lah”
more—a shrill scream interrupted this dream
as one yanked an attendant to his side—more venomous words
flying at us like poisoned arrows
(but all of us too frozen to move as these flew through pressurized air)
“please” the only word she uttered before she froze
eternally in the arms of her ****** assassin

the lump in my throat fell, I leaned forward and others did too
(I never saw, but surely they did)
trying to think through the hateful haze
to younger days
how to disarm an assailant—they had to teach me that
I had to remember that—we did that for our beret
but I couldn’t reach back
not further than that morning
when I said good bye to my son

still (“Al lah, Ah lah”—ripping anger from their guts)
I thought, I can do something

the attendant beside me, tears now flowing from lost eyes
(whose smooth blond hair now even looked like my daughter’s)
backed up, her trembling hand brushing my shoulder
(did I think, the last human touch for her, for me?)
my hands grabbed her fingers and I squeezed them gently
(just as I had my own child when I left her side at the altar—
did I say the same words, “Be happy, you deserve it...I love you”)
she looked at me, raindrop tears now instead of fears
we smiled faintly as I pulled her to my seat and rose to my feet

outside the windows
gray square stones now filled the air
blocking the morning sky
where are the clouds I thought…
but only for a second
we
are
not
hostages
we are…going to…

I did not feel the cabin floor as I moved towards the miscreant crew
between me and the cockpit door
I was young, light and agile again, sailing at them
their words no longer calling for their god
but now they spoke in direct command,
nothing of some promised land, but
“STOP OR WE WILL…”
we will…what?
Could I have laughed at the irony…
or we will what?

another now with me, no older than my son
(and looked like he as well)
headed down the aisle
towards men now racing to meet us
four against two
but somehow I knew we would never meet

the lump was in my throat again, my clenched fists relaxed
my own teary eyes turned to the windows, away from the maddening screams
and between endless glass, steel, and stone
I got a glimpse of pure blue sky
last night CNN had a special about 9/11--reminded me of this narrative written on the 5th or 6th anniversary of the event
I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chilled into a selfish prayer for light;
And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face;
Happy were those which dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanoes, and their mountain-torch;
A fearful hope was all the world contained;
Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour
They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks
Extinguished with a crash—and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them: some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and looked up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnashed their teeth and howled; the wild birds shrieked,
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawled
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food;
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again;—a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought—and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails—men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devoured,
Even dogs assailed their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famished men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the drooping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answered not with a caress—he died.
The crowd was famished by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heaped a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage: they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other’s aspects—saw, and shrieked, and died—
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless—
A lump of death—a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropped
They slept on the abyss without a surge—
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The Moon, their mistress, had expired before;
The winds were withered in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perished! Darkness had no need
Of aid from them—She was the Universe!
Mymai Yuan Sep 2010
I was born a sickly, screeching baby, two months earlier than expected. The doctor and midwife did everything they could to keep my little limbs moving and to keep my tiny heart beating, fluttering like the wings of butterfly.
“Is it a boy?” my mother whispered through her pale lips, as they bathed my naked body in hot water.
“No, ma’am, it’s a girl” The midwife struggled to add on something that would make the wailing creature seem more desirable. “With exquisitely shaped feet, so perfectly miniature”
She let out a croak of conflicting emotions: the joy and pride of a newly-founded motherly love, the fear of presenting a girl as a first-born, the relief that the hours of agony in childbirth were over and the dread of facing her husband once he found out about me.

My mother was not healthy after my birth for a long time; and when I was only one and two months old she fell dangerously ill, and the house whispered footsteps running to her room late at night and muffled voices of different doctors. Mercifully, she survived but was left barren and forever unfertile.
I can not imagine my father’s fury. He believed in having sons to carry on his old last name of thirty-one generations; it was his religion and had I been a son, I would have been worshipped as a god. I can imagine how my mother prayed and thanked her ancestors that her dowry was of a large one.

He could barely tolerate being in the same room as me during my toddler years. Every time he entered a room I was playing in, nurse would sweep me to our garden out side; answering to my startled queries, “Be an obedient daughter, don’t bother your father and don’t ask questions”
My body had been born frail, but my natural spirit was as healthy as could be, full of inquiries, wonders of the world around me and everyday I would learn something new just wandering around the neighborhood observing things, with my nurse trailing with a worried eye behind me muttering, “Girls are not supposed to be exposed to this” she spoke the words as if they were sour, “you should be sitting at home and accompanying your mother.”

Every day at dinner, the two females of the house, me and my mother, were silent while my father ranted on and on. My appetite being very delicate, I often just sat there as still as I possibly could and listened to my father talking about politics, jobs, money. Things he called ‘men business’. I longed to ask questions about these ‘men business’, especially ‘university’ for I had an inquisitive sort-of nature but was refrained with a sharp, piercing look from my mother every time I opened my mouth and sometimes, she pinched me under the table leaving purple splotches which flashed, “Don’t question your father”
Sometimes, he would talk about the future he had decided for me, “You will marry off, sixteen at the latest, to some one rich and beneficial to our family. You will do as I say till I marry you off, and then you will do as your husband tells you.”
“Yes father, for I should repay everything you have done for me” I replied as sweetly as I could.
“Yes, you’re a good daughter. Bear lots of sons for him and your house will be one of happiness.”
I was proud that he had given me a compliment. “Yes father, for it will make you joyful as I always wish to make you so”
My childish heart did not understand why my mother turned her head down while her left eyebrow twitched, and why that night, as she tucked me into bed, I thought I saw a tear roll down her cheek and why as she kissed me that night she whispered, “Do not love me so; love your father. The men in your life are your gods.”

My physical health would constantly limit the desires of my free spirit. I could not to do what others who were as free of spirit as I was could do, and couldn’t socialize with them and the rest of the children in my neighborhood had their siblings to mingle with, causing me to become the pitiful outcast.
I saw children around my age, around seven or eight, climbing trees and wanted to do so as well, but my white feet did not have grip enough to grasp onto the fat branches.
Father caught me once trying to propel myself up a tree and his expression was both of a resigned anger and sadness before he turned him and his face away and back into the house without a word.
That night, mother told me not to climb trees ever again. I noticed a faint bruise on her cheek bone that had been covered with white powder.

When I was eleven or twelve, and was allowed to wander further out into the neighborhood with my nurse I saw the boys fishing in the nearby pond and wanted to do so as well. Starting that day, every week I pocketed the three coins mother gave me until I could buy the best fishing rod in the little store and ran as fast as my skinny, weak legs could carry me to the pond. I mimicked the way the boys flung the fishing rod out over the water but the metal pole was too heavy for my pale, shaking arms. I tried over and over again as my nurse watched, biting her lip in anxiety. I held the fishing rod with trembling sore arms till  I felt a bite; I pumped my small arms to reel it in, but they were so tired and I was far too slow, losing the fish I had spent half the day trying to catch. “Ah, just bad luck, don’t worry! It was a smart fish, I tell you!” nurse exclaimed, though her eyes flashed a look of pity and I knew she knew it wasn’t just bad luck or a smart fish.
In anger, I sold the fishing rod to one of the boys for two-thirds of the price I had bought it for. He was delighted with the bargain and I watched with a lump in my throat as he caught three fish with the tug of his healthy, muscular arm within fifteen minutes. “This is a beautiful rod, and the pond is just filled with fish today, Little Sister!”
Wanting to spend the money jingling inside my pocket, money that to me was just a reminder of a painful memory, I headed off to the collection of little shops close to my house where I was guaranteed distraction. Nurse, sweating and complaining of the heat, followed me.
An ageing man with a bunch of filthy hair working away on a piece of thick, rough paper with wondrous colors inside a shop caught my eye as I peered inside the window. He turned the picture upside down and continued blending in the dark colors of the shape to create a shadow along the curve of it. I entered the shop. “What is that?” I asked of him.
“A face” he replied back absentmindedly.
“Doesn’t look like one to me” I confessed with my honesty.
He looked up at me, “No, it does not to you, and maybe, neither will it at the end. To me, it looks like an angle of a faded face. But slowly, with time, it will become clearer and clearer, yet only to me, and as it does, I will be able to choose more colors to make it yet more beautiful. The outcome of this painting is entirely up to me.”
I felt my challenging self rising up. “But what if you imagined a certain color in your head but couldn’t find it or be able to mix it to your mind’s perfection?”
“Then I would create my own paint color.”
“You know how?”
“No, but if I could not find the paint color already made I would make it myself, and no matter what, would learn how to. So far I have always been able to compromise and mix different colors to please me.”
“You do an awful lot of shadowing light colors with dark colors”
“Why do you think I do so?” he questioned me this time, with bright eyes.
I pondered for a moment to give as good an answer as he had given me and then told him my answer.
He nodded with impress, “Yes, yes, absolutely right. I never thought I’d hear that from a child” and looked at me with his head cocked in curiosity.
“What would you like to buy from here, Little Sister?”
Still deeply interested in our conversation I pulled out the coins I had in my pocket. “How much stuff can I buy with all this money? I’d like those crayons, I’ve tried them once before and they are so creamy and smooth.”
“Oil pastels?” he asked, a little confusedly.
Feeling ashamed of my ignorance, I nodded. The tutor father hired evidently bent to father’s strict rules of what should be taught and what would not be taught. Father disapproved of women painting, and would’ve dismissed nurse had he known that instead of taking me out for a little walk to smell the blooming daffodils, she in fact let me explore the environment around me to the best of my ability even in disgruntle.
The man gave my red-patched cheeks and undeveloped translucent frame a sympathetic look and when he spoke, his voice was gentle. “Little Sister, I’ve a whole basket of oil paints that I’ve used but rarely and so are still in perfect condition. Would you like to carry the whole basket home for all the money you have in your pockets?”
I handed him all my golden coins, “But first I must see if I like it.”
“You won’t be disappointed” he chuckled and walked with an imbalanced limp to the back of the store. I noticed a wooden stump protruding from the bottom of his long, black pants. My heart throbbed achingly; he was ****** limited too. I turned to his painting and smiled from deep inside, a smile I rarely wore.
He came back tugging a huge brown basket filled to the brim with sticks of oil pastels, some longer or thicker than others. He lifted an orange one up and showed the tip of it to me, which was stained with a black mark. “Sometimes when you blend colors this will happen, but it’s easy to rid off. Just softly, and patiently rub it off on a cloth until it disappears.” He demonstrated upon his black pants.
“Thank you. It’s kind of you. But...I can’t carry this home myself. It’s heavy.”
I turned to nurse and smiled my best pleading smile.

The basket was toiled up as nurse undressed me from my shower and father and mother were otherwise occupied. That night, with my precious basket safely under my bed, I cleaned all the multi-colored oil pastels on an old shirt, and as soon as the house was ringing with silence, I locked my door and flicked on the lamp light, and started pressing the smooth colors into the paper to blend and make a picture of kissing colors on a relatively large piece of white paper. A thrill ran from my finger tips and along my arm, and made my palms tingle as I held the colorful sticks in my hand to the paper. I hid it underneath my bed just as a rosy sun was rising.
*
I was sixteen, and I was thought beautiful: for now, at this age, it was considered beautiful to be so pale of skin, so small of feet and hands, graceful to have tiny limbs and charming to have little strength for it was now considered ‘feminine’.
It was three weeks after I had turned sixteen and for dinner, father had brought over an ugly man with a bulging waist and shiny bald head who continually made ****** jokes at the dinner table while he believed I did not understand them. He was infamous for the two wives he had had (before they died from sickness), and how he not only hit them but kept other lovers too. Yet he was desirable for his vast richness. He leered at me obnoxiously, in an attempt to smile.
Father caught him looking at me, “She’s incredibly silent, never says a word of defiance and will be a most dutiful wife.”
“Yes, she is beautiful”
My heart froze and my brain was stimulated to work twice as fast. Him?! Him?! The man who’s wives were killed through an illness called ‘abuse, neglect and disloyalty?!’
I cast my eyelashes down in order to appear a calm, modest young lady while my heart hammered in fury, disgust and a rising hysterical panic. I shot a look at my mother whose left eyebrow was twitching as she stared down at her dinner plate, and I knew she was having the same thoughts as I.
“I would be glad to have you as my son-in-law. You would have no trouble with her, and would be embraced with open arms into our family.”
They continued this path of talk through dinner while he eyeballed me in a way that made me cringe. I felt his foot nudge mine under the table and in haste tucked it under the chair with a little gasp. His eyes glittered at my gasp and I was furious with myself for letting him feel a rotten triumph. Though I had always felt an extremely strong dislike towards him from what I knew of him and sometimes saw of him with an immoral lady, something pushed in the pit of my tummy, and I knew it was pure hatred.
When mother tucked me in she was being strange. On closing my door she whispered, “I love you… so I wish you to know… don’t ever contradict men”

As I was secretly drawing a picture as I did every night till dawn, I heard my father’s voice roar in the dead of the night. In a sudden, I shoved my portrait under the bed and threw all my oil pastels into the basket, hid it, and switched the light off. I heard his voice roar again, accompanied by a thud. I was wild with fear as I crept to my door and pressed my ear against it, barely even shocked at my own daringness as my instinct, love, took over- my instinct of must knowing what was happening to my mother.
“How dare you say I’m wrong!?” there was another thud, and this time I heard a soft whimper. “She is worthless to me, not a son. And I will marry her off to a rich man who can actually benefit this family.” He roared.
There was a whisper which I strained to hear, “He will **** her”
“From the moment she was born she wasn’t made to live!” he yelled.
A hiss escaped my tongue and I coiled like a serpent, flinching as a thud was heard yet again and an immediate cry of pain escaped from both my lips and my mothers’.
A fire awoke inside me, burning my temples and my whole body and my eyes stung with hot tears; tears that burned my face as they splashed down. My whole body was shaking and my tightly squeezed eyes were going through spasms. I was no longer wild with fear, but with anger.
I turned my light back on and tugged my basket of oil pastels out. I yanked my portrait off from a thick of pile of different pictures I had drawn.
My breath was coming in quick short breaths as I finished my portrait to the utmost perfection, using every oil pastel in the basket. Every time I heard a thud, I colored with more fiery… shadowing my jaw line with the fat black oil pastel, in the crook of my ear, the corner of my mouth… where the light shone upon my fore head, how it reflected in the color of my eye and glowed on my cheeks.
When I was finished, the house was deadly quiet again and dawn was breaking. I looked down upon it and realized something that changed my life.
In frenzy I swatted out all the things I had ever drawn and stared at them in an awakening.
The colors on them were the events of my life, the things that characterized it, the decisions. They were beautiful for they had been chosen and controlled by me … I had chosen the colors I wanted and thought best for my pictures; and spent thought over how to blend different colors to the color I wanted.
And everyday, as I worked into the drawings with time, they became clearer and clearer on what was the right thing to do, and how it should possibly look like in the next stage.
I leaned over and kissed the thin lips of my portrait that didn’t look exactly like me for not even the most skilled artists have complete control over what they draw.

Then I remembered what I had told the one-legged man in the shop a few years go:
“Lights not only illuminate, they also cast shadows. The contrast makes you able to appreciate the power of both.”
Now it was time to truly let the light illuminate my life, and let the shadows let me appreciate the light that shines upon me; I color my own life, and choose my own colors.

To pull out the colors underneath the darkness of my bed…
And spill it to the world outside.
Mrs. Claus was at the door
Making sure that Santa knew
He had to see the doctor
He must be there by two

Santa gruffed and grumbled
Said there's too much to be done
"You know I hate the doctor"
"The doctor's just no fun"

Mrs. Claus held fast and said
"You do this every year"
"and you always have a new excuse"
"when the appointment time is near"

Santa, said he'd do it
Although, it was done under duress
He could run an elven workshop
But the doctor, was more stress

He made it to the office
At two, precisely on the nose
The first thing the nurse said was
"Santa, take off all your clothes"

"You know we have to weigh you"
"It's in the contract that you signed"
"A little extra weight shift"
"Could get the sleigh all misaligned"

The scale said way past jolly
He was twenty pounds past plump
He was just below horrendous
Santa Claus was one fat lump

The doctor read the clipboard
And made a tsk tsk tsking sound
He said "Santa, you're much bigger"
"You're almost 5 full feet around"

"I have with me a letter"
"That the vet asked me to read"
"It says unless you drop some blubber"
"Four more reindeer you will need"

"Now, every story book out there"
"Names eight reindeer in line"
"And since you hired Rudolph"
"A lot have you with nine"

"But the vet now says you need thirteen"
"To get up in the sky"
"You've got to change your diet"
"Santa, please lay off the pie"

"I'm not saying all at once"
"But, you've got to drop some weight"
"Or, you'll be dropping gifts by plane"
"And you'll still be over weight"

Santa tried a little laugh,
Not a full out ** ** **
Truth be told, he'd lose his breath
He knew the weight would have to go

He got down off the table
Put on his hat, and Santa Suit
He looked as red as ever
When he tried to reach his boot

The doctor said "Good God Man"
"You can't go up like that"
Santa said "I'm fine doc"
"The kids want a Santa that is fat"

"There's a difference between jolly"
"Like the elf you're supposed to be"
"But Santa, count your chins man,"
"I lose count at twenty three"

"The elves are under orders"
"Not to load the magic sleigh"
"Until you commit to weight loss"
"And you promise right away"

"I know that you are Santa"
"And for this I may get coal"
"But, your wife, Santa...she scares me"
"She said she'd put me in a hole"

"Santa, lose some poundage"
"Give it just a little try"
"It's not right...thirteen reindeer"
"Flying through the Christmas sky"

"I know it's confidential"
"what has happened here today"
"But, Santa...I will tell her"
"If you don't...and right away"

Santa, said he'd try to
He said "just tell me what to do"
"Truth be told there doctor"
"The woman scares me too!!!"
SøułSurvivør Aug 2016
My father has a lump on the right side of his face. I noticed it this morning after I posted my last poem. The lump is where his cancer used to be.

I cannot be on the site right now. I'm sure you understand.

I'm not letting this get me down. He was healed of cancer before through prayer... There is no reason why that couldn't happen again!


All your prayers and good thoughts are appreciated!

♡ Catherine
Lawrence Hall May 2017
Liturgy in Time of War

I will go to the altar of God
To God who gives joy to my youth

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

The dawn (evening) is coming, another hot, filthy, wet dawn (evening).  Let us arise, soaked in sweat, exhausted, to speak with sour, saliva-caked mouths, to meet the deaths of this day (night).

GREETING

In the name of Peace in Our Time,
For the Hearts and Minds of The People,
For the Land of the Big PX
For round eye and white (black) (brown) thigh,
I greet you, brothers.

PENITENTIAL RITE

All:

I confess to almighty God
And to you my brothers
That I have sinned through my fault
In my thoughts and in my words
In what I have done
And in what I have failed to do,
And I ask Blessed Mary…

But how can I ask Her anything now?

My brothers,
Pray for me to…

But how?
Priest: (But there is no priest)

KYRIE

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, Lord, have mercy on us now

Have mercy, Lord, on a generation
That sits smugly in college lecture halls
And protests endlessly in coffee shops
The war they hear, see, on T.V., for free
Justice and peace by the semester hour
Like, y’know, peace, love, Amerika sux
Play the guitar, ****, apply to law school

Have mercy on us
Who crouch behind sand bags
And clean our weapons
And protest nothing
And **** in the heat
And die in the hear
And throw ham and lima beans away

GLORIA

Glory to God in the highest
how many bodies yesterday?
And peace to His people on earth
Vietnamese? Or us?
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father
ham and lima beans?
We worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory
Doc, I can’t go home to my wife with this clap
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father
cigarette, canteen cup of instant coffee
Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
******* magazine
Have mercy on us
relief behind the sand bags
You are seated at the right hand of the Father
i rot
Receive our prayer
i want to be clean and dry
For You alone are the Holy One
clean and dry.  just once.
You alone are the Lord
why do they chew that?
You alone are the most high
you mean the betel nut?
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father
incoming!
Amen


PRAYER

A

Father, you make this day holy.
Let us be thankful for
The many little joys of
This day, for life, for
The chance to worship
You.  In the end, bring
Us to you, so that we
May be cleansed of mud
And sweat and filth and
Guilt, and live with you
In peace forever.

B

Father, just get me through
Another day of this mess.

LITURGY OF THE WORD –

FIRST READING

From the Intensive Care Unit, NSA DaNang

A twilight world
Of neither peace nor battle
And of both

A man world
Embracing life and the grim death
Both

Peering into infected wounds
Night building shiver
Down from the black sky flares float

Broken bodies from the war somewhere
Eyes of a shattered nineteen-year-old Marine
Staring at the door to Yokosuka

PSALM

A Song of Descents

I cast down my eyes
Into the mud
Into the blood
It seems cleaner than death and drugs and casual ***
Drink Coca-Cola

I turned my eyes away from you, O Lord
And made this
Build this
Came to this
Samantha and Darren on Bewitched

Have mercy on…but how can we ask?  How dare we ask?

SECOND READING

Old Man, Viet Nam

Old man, a dog is barking at your heels
Old man, with the tired, weathered face
Are you afraid to turn around and deal
This dog a kick, to put him in his place?

Or is it, old man, that you’re just too tired?
Just too tired to turn and show anger
Just too tired to have your temper fired
Beaten by years of contempt and danger

Where are you going, trudging so slowly?
What are you thinking, behind those tired eyes?

Probably not about ham and lima beans

GOSPEL

In the Cold White Mist

After an all-night run on the river
Our boats arrive in the village at dawn
Dawn is never cold along that rive
Along that steaming, green, hell-hot river
But the mist is cold, the grey-green dawn mist
And after the engines are cut – stillness
Foul brown water laps at the mudding bank
Sloshing softly with fertile, smelly death

In the cold white mist

The boats are secured, and watches posted
We step off the boats and onto wet land
And follow the track into the deep mist
It becomes the street of a little town
A dairy lane along which cows slopped home
And where dogs and chickens and children
      played
Bounded by carefully swept little yards
And little wooden houses with tin roofs

In the cold white mist

But some of the houses are burnt.  The smoke
Still hangs heavily in the whitening mist
The lane is littered with debris.  A lump
Resolves itself into a torn, dead child
Across a smaller lump, a smaller child
Their pup has been flung against the fence, its
Guts early morning breakfast for the morning
      flies
We smoke cigarettes against the death-smells

In the cold white mist

Beneath a farm tractor rots a dead man.
When they – they – had come at sunset
He had hidden there.  And they shot him there
A man with bare feet and work-calloused
      hands
His hair is black; his teeth need cleaning
They shot him beneath the village tractor
His blackening blood clots into the mud
And our lungs choke in the white mist of death

In the cold white mist

White mist.  The path disappears into it
Smoky skeletons of little houses
In which there will be no tea this morning
No breakfasts of hot tea and steaming rice
No old widows to smile in betel-nut
No children to mock-march alongside us
Pointing at our ******* boots, and laughing
At us, for wearing shoes in the summer

In the cold white mist

They are dead and rotting in the white mist
On the edge of the jungle on the edge
Of the world, here along the Vam Co Tay
And the people pour out of their houses
To greet us on the fine summer morning
A corpse across a doorway, another
******-doubled across a window sill
Still another strewn down the garden path

In the cold white mist

The other patrol doubles back to us
And they tell us that the Ruff-Puff outpost
Must have been overrun the night before
He had heard their radioed pleas, and had
Run the river at night to get to them
And the ARVNs had fled through the village
And the VC had stormed in behind them
And it was knife-and-gun-club night in town

In the cold white mist

A little girl is the lone survivor
She looks may six.  Cute, except for the
Bubbling, *******, bayoneted chest wound
We patch her, and tube her, and use suction
Sort of like fixing a bicycle tire
And in the wet, gasping heat take her back
With us downriver, where a charity
Hospital leaves her on the steps to die

In the cold white mist

It will be our turn again tomorrow
Not a one of us died today.  Today.
But a village is gone, burnt and rotting,
Soon to disappear into the jungle
Along the green Cambodian border
Up some obscure river.  Up there.  Somewhere.
A few hundred people.  Their ancestors’ graves
Will fade with them untended, forgotten

In the cold white mist

Radio Hanoi might blame it on us.
But maybe not.  We made our report and
Nobody really noticed; no one cared
The talk is of the VC battalion
And where it has gone, and where it might go –
Maybe into death under an air strike
“And you guys better get in some sack time,”
Says the C.O. as he turns to his maps.

In the cold white mist

HOMILY

I’m scared, and I want to go home.  I don’t care any more about justice or fighting Communism or winning the hearts and minds of the people.  I can’t think about all that right now, because I’m scared, and I want to go home.
I don’t care about truth or loyalty or bravery or honor.  If Miss March were here she wouldn’t get cold, but she sure would get sunburnt.  And in a few days her skin would start rotting.  Then nobody would want to see her in the **** anymore.  
I’m scared, and I want to go home.
Up the Vam Co Tay, everyone is scared, everyone is tired, everyone is sick, everyone could die: sailor, soldier, officer, priest, farmer, fisherman.  Everyone rots in the wet heat.  The skin bubbles and flakes and peels, and is pink again, to bubble and flake and peel again.  
I’m scared, and I want to go home.
I’m Doc.  I’m a scared, stupid kid with an aid bag and a few months’ training.  But I’m Doc.  I’ve got to fake it.  I’ve got to be cool and calm because this other kid with his guts hanging out will probably make it if I don’t ***** up and if the dust-off from Saigon can get out here now.
I have an old dog at home, and my folks write and tell me she sleeps outside my window at night, waiting for me to come home.  Someday we’re going to run and play in the woods and fields again.  She’ll bark and run wide circles, and dare me to catch her.  I will laugh under the autumn leaves.  But now my nights are glaring darkness, fits of sweat-soaked half-sleep, then sirens and falling glares and falling mortars, and then the Godawful racket of all our engines of destruction.  There isn’t any use in all this.
I’m scared, and I want to go home.

And I don’t want any ham and lima beans.

CREED

We believe in the Land of the Big PX
In presidents in suits, and generals,
In makers of economic strategies
We believe in flak jackets and .45s and peace

We believe in swing ships and dust-offs, yes
In the dark, green omnipresent Huey
Eternally begotten of technology
Blades to rotor, windscreen to machine guns
Made, not begotten, one in being with us
Through it all things are transported to us
For us men and our hunger and our hope
It comes down from the skies
By the high power of technology
It was born of the long assembly line

For whose sake are we crucified today?
Who suffers, and who dies and is baggied?
And on the third will arrive back home
To be neatly packaged in stainless steel

But not in ham and lima beans

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

Preparation of the Gifts

Celebrant:

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this cheap Algerian wine to offer,
Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.
It will become anaesthesia for our souls.

People:

Blessed be…we just don’t know

Celebrant:

Pray, brothers, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father, to somebody.  Maybe.

People:

May the Lord, or the baggies, accept the sacrifice we offer with
our own burnt hands
For the praise and glory of…of what?
For our good, and the good of all His Church.

PRAYER OVER THE GITS

Little green cans, and I don’t care
Little green cans, and I don’t care
Little green cans, and I don’t care
Air cover’s gone away.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

Preface for the Monsoon Season:

Father, all-powerful
And ever-living God,
We do well always and everywhere
To give You thanks
Through Jesus God our Lord
Even with diarrhea
thanks
When the mail doesn’t come
thanks
When we rot
thanks
When the heat ***** at our brains
thanks
When the mud ***** at our boots
thanks
When the horror ***** at our souls
thanks
We’re alive
thanks

SANCTUS

Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might
The bunkers are full of blood and death.
Hosanna in the mud.  Blessed is he who comes with the mail.  Hosanna in the mud.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

The Kien Tuong Province Canon:

A sailor is silhouetted against the dawn
Along a steamy river
Mostly helmet and flak jacket
Above dark plastic gunwales

The sailor has lost his New Testament
But there’s a ******* around somewhere
Naked, willing women –
Miss March wants to be an actress

He also carries an old plastic Rosary
To touch occasionally
While whispering a hurried Hail Mary
He hopes She understands

Those who in bell-bottoms and head-bands
Fight Fascism
In Sociology 201
Will never forgive him

A sailor is silhouetted against the dawn
This day he is to be elevated
His body broken and his blood shed
For you and for all men

OUR FATHER

Our Father, who art in Heaven
this ain’t it
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
this ain’t it
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day…
not ham and lima beans
And forgive us our trespasses
as we shoot them that trespass against us
And lead us not into ambush
But deliver us from evil

SIGN OF PEACE

Peace on you.

AGNUS DEI

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy….

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: grant us peace.

Priest:

(But there is no priest)

People:  

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
But only say the word and I shall be killed.

COMMUNION ANTIPHON

They ate, and were not satisfied
They killed, and were not without fear.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Lord,
If we do not get out of this
Make some sense of it to those who remain
May we go home.  Home.  Or if not,
Take us unto you, in mercy.
Home.  Where you reign, for you are Lord
Forever and ever.  Amen

BLESSING

May you walk on grass that does not explode
May you sleep without rot
Without fear
May you never see or smell ham and lima beans again.
May you live
May you play with puppies
May you find forgetfulness
May you find peace
In the Name of Him who took your death for you

DISMISSAL

This is to certify that____is Honorably Discharged from the____on theday of____.  This certificate is awarded as a testimonial of Honest and Faithful Service.

CLOSING HYMN

Old men, smoking in the sunshine
Exiled outside the doors of life
Old uniforms, old pajamas
The chrome of wheelchairs, shiny, bright

Inside, polished wooden handrails
Line the hot, polished passages
Something to cling to on the way
To the lab, to x-ray, to death

And more old men, shuffling along
In a querulous route-step march
From Normandy, from The Cho-sen,
From the Vam Co Tay, from the deserts,
Past the A.I.D.S. ward and the union signs
On waxed floors to eternity

Portions previous published:

“Closing Hymn” is from “Outpatient Surgery – Veterans’ Hospital,” Juried Award, Houston Poetry Fest 1993

“In the Cold White Mist” is a Juried Award, Houston Poetry Fest 1991

“Old Man, Viet-Nam,” was published in Pulse, Lamar University, 1982

— The End —