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K Balachandran Sep 2018
Her frizzly silk mop,
Flowers in sparkling grey fizz;
My Bodhi perfect !
Purcy Flaherty Jul 2017
I was just in the closet July 1988
Not a word was said; 'sept a couple of whispers and an obvious desire to ****!
Mop buckets, the heat and the stink of her *****,
Harsh staggered breaths tell the tale;
Petulant hands and harsh fingers.
Nickers and pants half pulled down,
Hard truths pushing through,
I had to **** her from behind,
Very confined, quick, clumsy, ******, release.
We both staggered out;  her mate much older waiting outside, bold as brass, she looks me up and down all tough and barks assertively "i'm next!" and **** I was back in the closet 1988
Two brazen cleaners take the new boy in the closet in 1988 extract from my diary.
Logan Robertson Oct 2018
A Workplace Rendezvous

My eyes
Always found hers.
Mischief,
The dangling host.
She was one
Of my workplace peers.
If it went any further
I could be toast.

Those cinnamon eyes
Of hers.
Butterscotch candy
Peers back at me,
I feel so dandy
Shoot me some brandy.

I see the loneliness
In hers.
Her cleavage
Cuts to the chase.
Happenstance now in place.

Our eyes did dance a duet.
Her words are the coquette.
Mine is a cadet.
We grabbed a ruse.
A pail and mop with a muse.

When we reached
The men's restroom
The coast was clear.
The sun shining above,
Holding a frown.
Say hello to the clown.

We fast break the court,
I dribble up and down.
She passes back and forth,
I shoot for the town.
We score at the bell,
That breaks the spell.

Our lunch break
Rendezvous
Was a first.
And last.
We filled our thirst
With
better scotch
we toast.

Logan Robertson

10/6/2018
A sentimental memory from my youth. We were both
from nearby college working at a fast-food restaurant. What
we had was a shot glass of dilution. A crutch. So the
last three lines unravel the knot.
onlylovepoetry Jul 2017
she returns from her classes,
ballet, yoga, core something and Zumba for flavoring,
her hair, an upward, toe pointing cannon of mop mess,
her face glowing flushed,
one look and I know she is both,
morphing high,
wipeout exhausted

a little ritual she performs somewhere between
"it was great and she (the instructor) killed us,"
auto sub conscious,
she looks herself over,
twisting elegantly like the
Argentine tango dancer she is,
in the mirrored closet doors

raising both arms to see (show off)
the sums of her endeavors,
the exoskeletal musculature
she has earned,
a life long effort,
like a prize fighter as he
macho enters the ring,
an alpha male gesture
if ever there was one,
made over to say,
hey boy, look at me!

and the boy looks her over,
always thinking, but never revealing,
that it is her muscles of mindfulness and mercy,
that take his breath away, the ones that are worked out daily,
the ones that surround and work the heart beating,
the lung inhaler of humans in need,
exhaling the richest
oxygen for others to breathe

and the boy does his service,
providing a "wow" or "very impressive,"
only you and he know his real thinking,
and his muscle memories secret,
you to keep, just between us,
and his secret identity, only love poetry...


8:52pm 7/20/17
KCibot Jun 24
1st verse:

I know what it's like
To be completely
Incomplete

But I don't completely
Know what it's like
To be with me

But I know it's hard
And you do it well

Yeah I know it's hard
And you do it well

Chorus:

And I can't stop
The tears
From rolling
Down
Your face

But I can
Catch
Them all
Inside
Our Teardrop
Vase

And when the
Tears have
Finally
Stopped

We won't
Have to
Pull out
The mop

We'll just
Go to
Our special place
And see the flowers
In our
Teardrop
Vase

Our
Tear
Drop
Vase

2nd verse (her):

I know that it's harder
Than its ever been
before

I knew it when I saw
You lying curled up
On the floor

And though it's hard
What I've learned

Yeah though it's hard
What I've learned

Chorus
1st verse and 2nd verse
Old song of mine
Feeling relevant
...
Mindy Gledhill
Mike Hauser Feb 2015
I've come to the conclusion
That my life's a wreak
Poetry strewn all about
My house the biggest mess

So here I am in the middle of the den
In a pile of poetry on the floor
A desperate man with phone in hand
Since I can't seem to find the door

I call up a Psychic
I call up my Shrink
I call up the local Priest
To ask them what they think

They say there is no hope for me
Through the static on the phone
Right before they all hang up
I hear...boy you're too far gone

So I grab a hold my bootstraps
Pick my own self up
Determined to have this problem licked
With prayers and major luck

Starting in on this poetic clean
One thing that I found
I wrote on just about anything
That I had laying around

There was poetry on party napkins
On Chinese take out meals
Tiny poetry on tiny matchbooks
Even on banana peals

Poetry on the chandelier
Poetry on my cat Floss
Poetry on ***** dishes
I wrote with spaghetti sauce

Poetry on the mirrors
Smiling back at me
Poetry on Seinfeld
Across my T.V. screen

Poetry on the kitchen tile
That's never seen a mop
On the doors going in and out
And places I dare not look

I started cramming it all in boxes
Lining them up and down the halls
Soon had them in every room
3 feet deep and 8 feet tall

I made 15 trips to storage
The biggest one that I could find
Feeling now it's nice and safe
All packed tight, warm and dry

When it all was over
Feeling relief from that major chore
Set down in my den, took out my pen
And started writing more...
zebra Jan 5
the worm burps crasanthyums
like hypnic ****
matter becomes metaphor

thats how the beast works with in us
we are a book of masks
and i'm up to my neck in
mirrors of the marvelous

midnight music beguiles like a blizzard of whispers
flaming candles heat like ovens
burning finger by finger
i melt flabbergasted in dark linoleum clouds

blood gluttonous
tender bites
lips like red rain and trussed thighs
she grins
a face of needles and mice

i think she wants me

this old man, soggy eyed mop
linen wrapped
before aortic aneurysms
i'm a living tarot card
the falling tower and the lovers
break downs and break throughs

my groin a slobbering clot
dreaming ******* drenched
straight jacketed on her knees
***** willow shadows
drooling exacerbations
a caffeinated candy
licked thickly
twitching blinks; rem ejaculations

her face; a tattooed ****
**** mouth smiles
brown one eyed gnome
**** the stinking cyclops
ennui; *** talk lubricates
a raspberry crumble
looking for god

omniscient
even in *****

the white swans utterance
incoherence's
dressed in a ****** negligee
her belly a thousand ******* mouths
and i press into her thunder
shattering dawns gravity
a pinhole of empty cups
Wordfreak Feb 2017
June 1st, 1998.
A child born,
A boy,
With a mop of brown hair,
And complications.
Pulse weak,
Not getting enough oxygen...
But the complications?
They were handled.


June 1st, 2003.
Blowing out your candles,
Looking forward to things to come.
Like being the ring bearer in your parents' wedding.

June 1st, 2005.
Forfeiting your birthday wish,
Because your wish is coming true.
Your brother is born July 26th.

June 1st, 2012.
Looking back on middle school,
And ahead on the monster known as high school.

June 1st, 2013.
Looking back on freshman year,
And celebrating 6 months with the first girl you ever loved.
You're positive she's the one.

June 1st, 2014.
Looking back on sophomore year,
Relishing the thought of being an  upperclassman,
Yet still mourning the loss of your first love almost a year before, on June 26th.

June 1st, 2016.
Going to the meeting and signing the paperwork.
Feeling more pride than ever in your life.
You leave for basic training in August.
Little do you know, you will be medically discharged in November of the next year.

June 1st, 2018.
I will look back on all I have done.
My failures most of all.
Because they're all I have.
Robin Carretti Jul 2018
The numerals II Sir I to another
alphabet
ABC* confession
DEF feared_***
My bowl spilled my
heart soup

Have Merci Beau-coup
The S was left alone my survival
Do you love my eyes primal
He points widely- tribal his
marriage finger my editorial
Be kinder strawberry sugar high
Do you want me to bite down
on my wafers
-I for the Ivy League his polo loafers

He's my (Lifesavers)
The bow and arrow I met my
dark sparrow what a rainbow
So intrigued my mystery arrival

Why on earth do you want me down?

To focus staying upright but kinda
Tight-Net gown

I am not a falling we have eyes
The face to face prize to be eyed
The Carribean
That Native American
Johnny Depp
When I make my first movie wish

The pirate birdseye rash
Al Dente ziti  Eggplant Parmigiana
The headless horse Dante always neighs
kills me on
Valentine day hearts lucky horseshoe

Eyes have frozen bird's eye
They thought I was
the sweet pea
He knocked me off
My Twitter tweets
  
I am the writer don't flood
My words everything is shaking
This is the Godly earth

So confused we feel-tightly squeezed
The earthquake head over heels down to our knees

She is sipping her tears down
In her chamomile tea thumbs up
The world is evaporating
like the dead sea
Bring everything alive I am
counting to 1*2*3*4*5

Down to my last words
I'm staying alive my life is more than
A Saturday Night Fever
But feeling down to my sunrise
Your heart deeply graved
I will betcha life has
more downs downward

Even when you wake -up upward

No way out of expensive
price tags we need to save
The give or take to remake
We need to finish not at
the end of the line

Where we were left off
Whats yours is mine

Sometimes you think
you are down
But life has you
well planted

To say I do
With his mind enchanted
Let me go up---++

The spirit is a complicated thing
I got wits to carry on anything

I need more guts
Now Bill said I do
Oh! No love me to please
me as I do

My Bill is always waiting
at the upside down table
Like the will-hunting
For God sake who is on first
Going up with the bucket list
Feeling down to adore me
You're going down Oh! Christ
Don't push my buttons
the elevator
I saw your Realtor
going to
The Skyline Hilton

I-O-U trillion hearts that were
down and wasted

Falling eyelashes no surprise
That stock exchange stars fault

Money lip up and honey
eyes down
Do you want this in singing
or shall we both go down
drowning

I'm going to wash that
man right out
? And sent him on
the way he's gone
The brainwashing Scientology
misery loves religious company
Like Humpty dump me
His "snoop dog so sad eating
like Pig whistle steak
Peeping Tom sales week
Anthony Perkins down to seek

The sprinkler shower
Hitchcock scene French Tickler
At Tiffany's Audrey
breakfast jewels Ruby
Hanky Panky pancakes

Like the Amazon in Prime
With fruit slashed smile
Love to love you baby at
Perkins eggs are dreamy
The shoot of ringlets hair screaming
Niagara fall and action roll fall down

You're a shade too hurtful
The red-brown chair or orange perk me
up the crown the Gala gown me

Life is so unkind why
do people smile
Going in and out the door
The rush the high like you could
mop her curls up but your hand down

Feeling inside the apple of the core

The teapot all fenced in pretending
The downspout- you're up-sprout
He's the roundabout -handle
A stranger is routing someone
is always cursing
You're going down

The game sports ball out
And your always looking
down at me when you
talk me out

Like a ring fight
falling black eye
Where is our coffee down
to nothing, she got a pink eye

Her words spilled over
upside down
pineapple printed dress

Having a breakdown
Do you want me down
I am the New York City girl
A clap of party hands
Uptown

A figure of speech when you get
lonely go downtown
To my number
address 13
what a lowdown
In the Wizard of Oz,
the  cowardly lion
crashed the window
My only lip Solo so low

My computer froze my red
rose wilted
I couldn't bring my smile
back to suit you

They were jumping for joy
Do you really want to
love a tomboy
Almond eyes of candy
Grease me down
Sandy
My pretty pink illegally
Blonde pill
Google on down with Bill

Joining the falling down crowd
But no one had a clue my face was
falling down all-stars feeling blue
When we're down and about or feeling all over the place the roundabout we cannot get over something that we go more down and down but be pulling our weight going up but who will fill our heart when you just about had enough
ardnaxela Jun 2018
You want me to
write my heart out on my sleeve,
then pull the thread,
unravel it,
patch it up,
then again,
then cut that arm off
and burn it.

Shovel my thoughts
into tidy piles,
then spill the milk
and muddle them up
then sop 'em up and
mop 'em up
'til I'm left with blurred lines.

Stuff my feelings in a jar,
toss them with ingredients
that don't mix
rollie pollie
with a dab of Ranch
and it's all ****** up.

Y'all want the key
to my mind -  
an old closet that leads to
a tunnel that leads to
the grave of my buried thoughts.

I opened the door
and I was pushed from behind
then told to "lead the way".
To "find the truth
in all your ways" -
one arm out
reaching in the dark;
a ******* a mission,
searching for her heart...

I fell in a hole.
Ashes to ashes,
dust to dust.
It started to rain,
I was surrounded by mud.
The door closed.
Which one of you all
care to open it again?
3-25-18, 10:35 pm
Heather Moon Feb 2014
Dad
So my father,
he goes into the store to buy his $10 a pack for cancer
while he still attempts to hide his addictions from my sister and I.
Now I don't think it would bother me oh so much
but his frugal attempts to sweep the dust under the rug is like using a mop instead of a broom...
We see the crumbs leading to your door from the cookie jar.
Yes, we all have flaws, but you,
you
weave shamefully through the under layers of darkness, devoid of any resemblance to a heavenly nature, you fall like a night creature weaseling through crooked creaky cement alleyways, your gremlin spirit set ablaze.

LIFE, I revel and roll within the taste of each second, I run the grain of life across my tongue until saliva fills the creases and far reached corners of my mouth. I tap my finger to my lips like a true virtuoso, a connoisseur of life. Life.

My father's addictions completely derail me,
not even so the notion itself, I mean yes, but his blatantly obvious ways of avoiding confrontation not only from us, but also from himself.
Like Pinocchio's nose, my fathers back gets hunched more and more, his breath quickens when we draw close.
Father you are not prey, in fact if there be a predator, it is you unto yourself. I can no longer help but to roll my eyes when you tell me for the fourth time in the day that you must take out the trash so as to have a smoke.
I am fed up, excuse me sir, the trash will still be there no matter how many times you take out the "trash" .
The only "thing" that won't be left after you're repeated offenses of the benign chore will be you're dignity because you are so naive and ignorant in the way you dodge truth. How can you live respectfully when you don't respect yourself? Nor do you value what you are spitting out to your own daughters.
I am addicted to life,
I breathe it in with passion,
I embrace the truth within me
and have an eagerness to expand my wisdom.
How come father you do something that you know is a betrayal to yourself? How come you hide away in that old bar, the one with the flashing(flickering) light on the outside, dingy worn out red leather(plastic)booths on the inside, the bar located in some musty  little hole in you're brain and a blind spot on you're heart.
You sit in the back in a lonesome booth slumped like some chump, stuck in a stump, you ooze and wheeze not even grasping for air, no fight left within, you are like mucus, a toad melting into the ground. Sinister and swindling in the greed of you're gut. Your ***** mopey yellow eyes and the shameful acceptance as you indulge in the baths of life's luxuries whilst you poison your body, trash what you hold dear and continue to block out that little annoying voice.
The voice with the cracks in it,
worn out from you're games, the voice that nags and pleads. The one that catches you before you order another round, take another smoke break, the one that pulls you, tantalizes you with it's simple sweet natural charm in hopes of distracting you from your self harming ways.
The voice that chimes in the second you raise your fist to punch me. The voice that is screaming at you when you lock eyes with mine and can see my fear.
Yeah that voice, the little punk one that returns even after the crime of your actions has been committed.
After the music stops and it's just you and the world.
but even then
I don't think you will hear it.
You're living on the edge of the pavement father.
No you wont hear that voice, not when you're twisted and contorted into the sideways way of things. You killed that voice long ago, when you wound yourself deeper and deeper like a clock in time,
when you twirled yourself into that little empty pub, with a quiet pool table, with no hope, a sanctum of greed.
Yes, you're guilty, yes it was you.
It was you who killed the voice inside of yourself.
You killed it when you traded
your dignity and your truth
for yet another
$10 dollar pack of
emptiness,
lies,
and forfiet.
Caro Mar 3
A romance novel I read
about an Irishman and the warm side of the bed
and a homestead
and a big chest to lay my head
and the way you **** me till I’m dead
and
Honey seeping from my lips
that you throw back and back
coating your throat
and making you float
and making you spin
me watching you fall in
and
Down as you go
but never on me
certain intimacies
kept privy
for another girl who will love you
like you love me
but every week you're here
and I’m here
and
Your cardio is improving
but your insecurities are making you
pinch me ever harder and
your drunken red head
gets hotter and hotter
weeks go by and
I'm craving your scents and
I’m craving the dent
that you made in my bed
but you’re wanting more and more
and that I can’t give
but
Months later I still crave your high and riding
your body with your hands on my thighs
big freckled arms
and that noble nose that knows
how to rub my cheek
and you bite my teeth
you caress my moods
storybook hands that squeeze
me
and hold my gaze
look at me sideways
tell me secrets I shouldn't know
say nothing
and
sweat drips from your curly orange mop
slow motion splash the pillow
falling down from the crown
cinematic memory telling me
we should have never stopped
but we did and
you
did and now
I’m here in my bed you’ve never been in.
James Study Jul 3
I knew him as a search light
his attraction to the needy was magical
the slow and mentally challenged and disabled
the downtrodden and introverted alike

he was not a physician
nor was he trained in the field of mental health
he had no degree to hang on the wall or show
to sweep mop and dust was his daily position

he was a lifeboat adrift
in a sea of despair loneliness and distress
about his chores he went smiling and nodding all
towards him a wave troubled hands would often lift

his last class of school grade ten
no education training could teach what he knew
there were patients who ignored and never spoke a word
but his smile and nod alone would bring out hi Jim
BUILDING THE SPHINX

He builds her
the Sphinx

using only his voice &
a few scattered gestures.

Every now & then
he tweaks the tone

& lo the Sphinx
stands before her

ready to bite her head off
with a question.

Her belief
does the rest

and now he watches
the cat being terrified

out of one of its
9 lives all a bristle

as she tells the tabby
the story I told her.

The Sphinx now
living in her voice.

Her dolls too
too terrified

to even run
petrified with fright

as my little minx
becomes the Sphinx.

Or a mop as a prop
becomes a Medusa

and so the myth
becomes realer than real

as the storm
by Jove

throws down
a thunderbolt

and a little girl Medusa
and a little girl Sphinx

prowl about
the living room.
Alyssa Underwood Mar 2016
I

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
  For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
  When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
  And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
  In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and ***;
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
  With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain,
  Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
  A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
  “That fellows got to swing.”

Dear Christ! the very prison walls
  Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
  Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
  My pain I could not feel.

I only knew what hunted thought
  Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
  With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
  And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
  By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

Some **** their love when they are young,
  And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
  Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
  The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
  Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
  And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
  Yet each man does not die.

He does not die a death of shame
  On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
  Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
  Into an empty place

He does not sit with silent men
  Who watch him night and day;
Who watch him when he tries to weep,
  And when he tries to pray;
Who watch him lest himself should rob
  The prison of its prey.

He does not wake at dawn to see
  Dread figures throng his room,
The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
  The Sheriff stern with gloom,
And the Governor all in shiny black,
  With the yellow face of Doom.

He does not rise in piteous haste
  To put on convict-clothes,
While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
  Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
******* a watch whose little ticks
  Are like horrible hammer-blows.

He does not know that sickening thirst
  That sands one’s throat, before
The hangman with his gardener’s gloves
  Slips through the padded door,
And binds one with three leathern thongs,
  That the throat may thirst no more.

He does not bend his head to hear
  The Burial Office read,
Nor, while the terror of his soul
  Tells him he is not dead,
Cross his own coffin, as he moves
  Into the hideous shed.

He does not stare upon the air
  Through a little roof of glass;
He does not pray with lips of clay
  For his agony to pass;
Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
  The kiss of Caiaphas.


II

Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
  In a suit of shabby grey:
His cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and ***,
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every wandering cloud that trailed
  Its raveled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do
  Those witless men who dare
To try to rear the changeling Hope
  In the cave of black Despair:
He only looked upon the sun,
  And drank the morning air.

He did not wring his hands nor weep,
  Nor did he peek or pine,
But he drank the air as though it held
  Some healthful anodyne;
With open mouth he drank the sun
  As though it had been wine!

And I and all the souls in pain,
  Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done
  A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
  The man who had to swing.

And strange it was to see him pass
  With a step so light and ***,
And strange it was to see him look
  So wistfully at the day,
And strange it was to think that he
  Had such a debt to pay.

For oak and elm have pleasant leaves
  That in the spring-time shoot:
But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
  With its adder-bitten root,
And, green or dry, a man must die
  Before it bears its fruit!

The loftiest place is that seat of grace
  For which all worldlings try:
But who would stand in hempen band
  Upon a scaffold high,
And through a murderer’s collar take
  His last look at the sky?

It is sweet to dance to violins
  When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
  Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
  To dance upon the air!

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
  We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
  Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
  His sightless soul may stray.

At last the dead man walked no more
  Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
  In the black dock’s dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
  In God’s sweet world again.

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
  We had crossed each other’s way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
  We had no word to say;
For we did not meet in the holy night,
  But in the shameful day.

A prison wall was round us both,
  Two outcast men were we:
The world had ****** us from its heart,
  And God from out His care:
And the iron gin that waits for Sin
  Had caught us in its snare.


III

In Debtors’ Yard the stones are hard,
  And the dripping wall is high,
So it was there he took the air
  Beneath the leaden sky,
And by each side a Warder walked,
  For fear the man might die.

Or else he sat with those who watched
  His anguish night and day;
Who watched him when he rose to weep,
  And when he crouched to pray;
Who watched him lest himself should rob
  Their scaffold of its prey.

The Governor was strong upon
  The Regulations Act:
The Doctor said that Death was but
  A scientific fact:
And twice a day the Chaplain called
  And left a little tract.

And twice a day he smoked his pipe,
  And drank his quart of beer:
His soul was resolute, and held
  No hiding-place for fear;
He often said that he was glad
  The hangman’s hands were near.

But why he said so strange a thing
  No Warder dared to ask:
For he to whom a watcher’s doom
  Is given as his task,
Must set a lock upon his lips,
  And make his face a mask.

Or else he might be moved, and try
  To comfort or console:
And what should Human Pity do
  Pent up in Murderers’ Hole?
What word of grace in such a place
  Could help a brother’s soul?

With slouch and swing around the ring
  We trod the Fool’s Parade!
We did not care: we knew we were
  The Devil’s Own Brigade:
And shaven head and feet of lead
  Make a merry masquerade.

We tore the tarry rope to shreds
  With blunt and bleeding nails;
We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
  And cleaned the shining rails:
And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
  And clattered with the pails.

We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
  We turned the dusty drill:
We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
  And sweated on the mill:
But in the heart of every man
  Terror was lying still.

So still it lay that every day
  Crawled like a ****-clogged wave:
And we forgot the bitter lot
  That waits for fool and knave,
Till once, as we tramped in from work,
  We passed an open grave.

With yawning mouth the yellow hole
  Gaped for a living thing;
The very mud cried out for blood
  To the thirsty asphalte ring:
And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair
  Some prisoner had to swing.

Right in we went, with soul intent
  On Death and Dread and Doom:
The hangman, with his little bag,
  Went shuffling through the gloom
And each man trembled as he crept
  Into his numbered tomb.

That night the empty corridors
  Were full of forms of Fear,
And up and down the iron town
  Stole feet we could not hear,
And through the bars that hide the stars
  White faces seemed to peer.

He lay as one who lies and dreams
  In a pleasant meadow-land,
The watcher watched him as he slept,
  And could not understand
How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
  With a hangman close at hand?

But there is no sleep when men must weep
  Who never yet have wept:
So we—the fool, the fraud, the knave—
  That endless vigil kept,
And through each brain on hands of pain
  Another’s terror crept.

Alas! it is a fearful thing
  To feel another’s guilt!
For, right within, the sword of Sin
  Pierced to its poisoned hilt,
And as molten lead were the tears we shed
  For the blood we had not spilt.

The Warders with their shoes of felt
  Crept by each padlocked door,
And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe,
  Grey figures on the floor,
And wondered why men knelt to pray
  Who never prayed before.

All through the night we knelt and prayed,
  Mad mourners of a corpse!
The troubled plumes of midnight were
  The plumes upon a hearse:
And bitter wine upon a sponge
  Was the savior of Remorse.

The **** crew, the red **** crew,
  But never came the day:
And crooked shape of Terror crouched,
  In the corners where we lay:
And each evil sprite that walks by night
  Before us seemed to play.

They glided past, they glided fast,
  Like travelers through a mist:
They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
  Of delicate turn and twist,
And with formal pace and loathsome grace
  The phantoms kept their tryst.

With mop and mow, we saw them go,
  Slim shadows hand in hand:
About, about, in ghostly rout
  They trod a saraband:
And the ****** grotesques made arabesques,
  Like the wind upon the sand!

With the pirouettes of marionettes,
  They tripped on pointed tread:
But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
  As their grisly masque they led,
And loud they sang, and long they sang,
  For they sang to wake the dead.

“Oho!” they cried, “The world is wide,
  But fettered limbs go lame!
And once, or twice, to throw the dice
  Is a gentlemanly game,
But he does not win who plays with Sin
  In the secret House of Shame.”

No things of air these antics were
  That frolicked with such glee:
To men whose lives were held in gyves,
  And whose feet might not go free,
Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things,
  Most terrible to see.

Around, around, they waltzed and wound;
  Some wheeled in smirking pairs:
With the mincing step of demirep
  Some sidled up the stairs:
And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer,
  Each helped us at our prayers.

The morning wind began to moan,
  But still the night went on:
Through its giant loom the web of gloom
  Crept till each thread was spun:
And, as we prayed, we grew afraid
  Of the Justice of the Sun.

The moaning wind went wandering round
  The weeping prison-wall:
Till like a wheel of turning-steel
  We felt the minutes crawl:
O moaning wind! what had we done
  To have such a seneschal?

At last I saw the shadowed bars
  Like a lattice wrought in lead,
Move right across the whitewashed wall
  That faced my three-plank bed,
And I knew that somewhere in the world
  God’s dreadful dawn was red.

At six o’clock we cleaned our cells,
  At seven all was still,
But the sough and swing of a mighty wing
  The prison seemed to fill,
For the Lord of Death with icy breath
  Had entered in to ****.

He did not pass in purple pomp,
  Nor ride a moon-white steed.
Three yards of cord and a sliding board
  Are all the gallows’ need:
So with rope of shame the Herald came
  To do the secret deed.

We were as men who through a fen
  Of filthy darkness *****:
We did not dare to breathe a prayer,
  Or give our anguish scope:
Something was dead in each of us,
  And what was dead was Hope.

For Man’s grim Justice goes its way,
  And will not swerve aside:
It slays the weak, it slays the strong,
  It has a deadly stride:
With iron heel it slays the strong,
  The monstrous parricide!

We waited for the stroke of eight:
  Each tongue was thick with thirst:
For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate
  That makes a man accursed,
And Fate will use a running noose
  For the best man and the worst.

We had no other thing to do,
  Save to wait for the sign to come:
So, like things of stone in a valley lone,
  Quiet we sat and dumb:
But each man’s heart beat thick and quick
  Like a madman on a drum!

With sudden shock the prison-clock
  Smote on the shivering air,
And from all the gaol rose up a wail
  Of impotent despair,
Like the sound that frightened marshes hear
  From a ***** in his lair.

And as one sees most fearful things
  In the crystal of a dream,
We saw the greasy hempen rope
  Hooked to the blackened beam,
And heard the prayer the hangman’s snare
  Strangled into a scream.

And all the woe that moved him so
  That he gave that bitter cry,
And the wild regrets, and the ****** sweats,
  None knew so well as I:
For he who lives more lives than one
  More deaths than one must die.


IV

There is no chapel on the day
  On which they hang a man:
The Chaplain’s heart is far too sick,
  Or his face is far too wan,
Or there is that written in his eyes
  Which none should look upon.

So they kept us close till nigh on noon,
  And then they rang the bell,
And the Warders with their jingling keys
  Opened each listening cell,
And down the iron stair we tramped,
  Each from his separate Hell.

Out into God’s sweet air we went,
  But not in wonted way,
For this man’s face was white with fear,
  And that man’s face was grey,
And I never saw sad men who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw sad men who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  We prisoners called the sky,
And at every careless cloud that passed
  In happy freedom by.

But there were those amongst us all
  Who walked with downcast head,
And knew that, had each got his due,
  They should have died instead:
He had but killed a thing that lived
  Whilst they had killed the dead.

For he who sins a second time
  Wakes a dead soul to pain,
And draws it from its spotted shroud,
  And makes it bleed again,
And makes it bleed great gouts of blood
  And makes it bleed in vain!

Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb
  With crooked arrows starred,
Silently we went round and round
  The slippery asphalte yard;
Silently we went round and round,
  And no man spoke a word.

Silently we went round and round,
  And through each hollow mind
The memory of dreadful things
  Rushed like a dreadful wind,
And Horror stalked before each man,
  And terror crept behind.

The Warders strutted up and down,
  And kept their herd of brutes,
Their uniforms were ***** and span,
  And they wore their Sunday suits,
But we knew the work they had been at
  By the quicklime on their boots.

For where a grave had opened wide,
  There was no grave at all:
Only a stretch of mud and sand
  By the hideous prison-wall,
And a little heap of burning lime,
  That the man should have his pall.

For he has a pall, this wretched man,
  Such as few men can claim:
Deep down below a prison-yard,
  Naked for greater shame,
He lies, with fetters on each foot,
  Wrapt in a sheet of flame!

And all the while the burning lime
  Eats flesh and bone away,
It eats the brittle bone by night,
  And the soft flesh by the day,
It eats the flesh and bones by turns,
  But it eats the heart alway.

For three long years they will not sow
  Or root or seedling there:
For three long years the unblessed spot
  Will sterile be and bare,
And look upon the wondering sky
  With unreproachful stare.

They think a murderer’s heart would taint
  Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true! God’s kindly earth
  Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but blow more red,
  The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
  Out of his heart a white!
For who can say by what strange way,
  Christ brings his will to light,
Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
  Bloomed in the great Pope’s sight?

But neither milk-white rose nor red
  May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
  Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
  A common man’s despair.

So never will wine-red rose or white,
  Petal by petal, fall
On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
  By the hideous prison-wall,
To tell the men who ***** the yard
  That God’s Son died for all.

Yet though the hideous prison-wall
  Still hems him round and round,
And a spirit man not walk by night
  That is with fetters bound,
And a spirit may not weep that lies
  In such unholy ground,

He is at peace—this wretched man—
  At peace, or will be soon:
There is no thing to make him mad,
  Nor does Terror walk at noon,
For the lampless Earth in which he lies
  Has neither Sun nor Moon.

They hanged him as a beast is hanged:
  They did not even toll
A reguiem that might have brought
  Rest to his startled soul,
But hurriedly they took him out,
  And hid him in a hole.

They stripped him of his canvas clothes,
  And gave him to the flies;
They mocked the swollen purple throat
  And the stark and staring eyes:
And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud
  In which their convict lies.

The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
  By his dishonored grave:
Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
  That Christ for sinners gave,
Because the man was one of those
  Whom Christ came down to save.

Yet all is well; he has but passed
  To Life’s appointed bourne:
And alien tears will fill for him
  Pity’s long-broken urn,
For his mourner will be outcast men,
  And outcasts always mourn.


V

I know not whether Laws be right,
  Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in gaol
  Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
  A year whose days are long.

But this I know, that every Law
  That men have made for Man,
Since first Man took his brother’s life,
  And the sad world began,
But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
  With a most evil fan.

This too I know—and wise it were
  If each could know the same—
That every prison that men build
  Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest Christ should see
  How men their brothers maim.

With bars they blur the gracious moon,
  And blind the goodly sun:
And they do well to hide their Hell,
  For in it things are done
That Son of God nor son of Man
  Ever should look upon!

The vilest deeds like poison weeds
  Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
  That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
  And the Warder is Despair

For they starve the little frightened child
  Till it weeps both night and day:
And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool,
  And gibe the old and grey,
And some grow mad, and all grow bad,
And none a word may say.

Each narrow cell in which we dwell
  Is foul and dark latrine,
And the fetid breath of living Death
  Chokes up each grated screen,
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
  In Humanity’s machine.

The brackish water that we drink
  Creeps with a loathsome slime,
And the bitter bread they weigh in scales
  Is full of chalk and lime,
And Sleep will not lie down, but walks
  Wild-eyed and cries to Time.

But though lean Hunger and green Thirst
  Like asp with adder fight,
We have little care of prison fare,
  For what chills and kills outright
Is that every stone one lifts by day
  Becomes one’s heart by night.

With midnight always in one’s heart,
  And twilight in one’s cell,
We turn the crank, or tear the rope,
  Each in his separate Hell,
And the silence is more awful far
  Than the sound of a brazen bell.

And never a human voice comes near
  To speak a gentle word:
And the eye that watches through the door
  Is pitiless and hard:
And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
  With soul and body marred.

And thus we rust Life’s iron chain
  Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
  And some men make no moan:
But God’s eternal Laws are kind
  And break the heart of stone.

And every human heart that breaks,
  In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
  Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean *****’s house
  With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
  And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
  And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
  May Lord Christ enter in?

And he of the swollen purple throat.
  And the stark and staring eyes,
Waits for the holy hands that took
  The Thief to Paradise;
And a broken and a contrite heart
  The Lord will not despise.

The man in red who reads the Law
  Gave him three weeks of life,
Three little weeks in which to heal
  His soul of his soul’s strife,
And cleanse from every blot of blood
  The hand that held the knife.

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
  The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
  And only tears can heal:
And the crimson stain that was of Cain
  Became Christ’s snow-white seal.


VI

In Reading gaol by Reading town
  There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
  Eaten by teeth of flame,
In burning winding-sheet he lies,
  And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
  In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
  Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
  And so he had to die.

And all men **** the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!
everly Apr 13
my hair absorbed the humidity like the mop that dips into the watered down Fabuloso on sunday mornings
slaps on the floor and rubs back and forth on wood
i looked at the ground after stares from the first five grown men i passed
i felt dizzy chasing after meaning
i walked until i pictured myself downtown
peering in at sweet pork spots
and bakery corner shops with the occasional
we buy gold stands and ads for tutoring nearby
feel the cobblestone of the streets beneath my feet
making it hard to walk in an aligned manner
i felt my face flush of coolness
i step to the side holding on to one of the vans
that have fake coach and yves saint laurent in the trunk
look at my hands  
skin translucent veins undeniably apparent
wipe my eye and i’m back
on the ave
on a saturday morning
strolling
formulating my escape
Hailey johansen Dec 2018
I tell myself to breathe
As I feel my mind crack
Trying to hide behind my sleeve
As the wave hits me with a smack
A thousand emotions become one
The pressure builds inside my head
And then I come undone
And remember what I said
Just breathe
I try but it's too late
My mind starts to retreat
And I'm stuck in this state
Of grief and pain
I start to cry
The tears fall thick as rain
And I don't know why
But it hurts
Until it finally stops
Leaving me with nothing but a tearstained shirt
That I use to mop
My face and wipe my eyes
While praying that nobody heard my cries
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