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Mitchell Duran Sep 2013
We met on the stairs
Of a 15th century cathedral in Rome.
I was wearing my
Light gray suit that she later told me reminded
Her of the color of fresh volcano ash.

She - cut in half by the moonlight -
Wore red flats,
A ******* linen dress that
Effortlessly pronounced her *******,
While her oaken red and auburn hair
Lunged down both of her shoulders like
A waterfall or an avalanche,
Just touching the top of her belly button.

I, looking up toward the marble spires
Spinning into the scattered stillness of the nights
Opaque and cream colored stars,
Did not know she was hovering behind me watching me,
Until she had decided to speak;

If I had known, I would have ran inside.

"The cathedral is very nice, isn't it?"
I heard her ask to my back.
At the sound of her voice, I was not
Filled with that melodramatic cliché dripping
With soap opera fused emotions.

No, I
Was dipped into a large cauldron of ice-water.

There was a tremor
Inside of me and a heat
Ricocheting in her.

"Yes," I replied,"It is
Very nice and very old and I wonder why it is still here."

I did not know what I meant, but
From the pause and inhalation I heard immediately after, I
Believed she must have thought what was said profound.
Was I profound? Why would she believe that if it was only from
The spontaneous question that held no real physical weight? Or
From me jumping so quickly into this little


No question's asked?

"These buildings still stand because they
Are a physical memory of what we have achieved
And what we must continue to achieve
In the future
." She had come up beside me now.
Vanilla lavender lotion and mint
Toothpaste were the first smells that came to mind.  

"The future..."I said, trailing off, "The future."

"Yes, the future is very important."

"It is all we have."

"Well, all we truly have is the present, don't you agree?" I asked,
Slightly turning my head to look at her.

She was still looking up at the cathedral. She was focused on the large church bell
That hung there like the moon in the night sky. I continued
To stare at her, my question hovering vulnerable in
The air as a butterfly with its wings damaged would. Then, a
Couple passed by us in a hurry. Their hands were clasped tightly together, the man
In front and the woman looking to be dragged by him. I saw
Neither of their faces, but I imagined them both to be calm and red.

"They look to be in a hurry," she said, "Where do
You think they're going?

"Somewhere very important I'd imagine."

"And where is very important for you, sir?"

She turned
To meet
My gaze a

As if challenging it.

Her lips were full and painted with red lipstick. Where I thought her eyes would prove to be light colored or forest green, they were actually colorless and black. I inhaled at the sight of her, then immediately blushed. Again, our questions back and forth to each other were more of an interrogation of one's hearts and minds than flirtation. As she stared at me, I sensed that we had met before. There was something in her face that brought the feeling of an old friend or an acquaintance, like the feeling one gets when they see a past school teacher or love interest back in grade school. There was a warmth and giddy tension between us that made me feel eight years old again. I had felt so old recently. There was a sudden wink in her eyes and I then remembered the question I had asked her before.

"You haven't answered my first question," I stated seriously.

"I agree," she answered quickly, "The present is the only thing we have truly and
Do not have, all at the same time."

"What do you mean?"

"Being present 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is a very exhausting,
Trying thing,
Isn't it?

"Yes, I would agree with that."

"And being present for whatever reason, be it socially, romantically,
Professionally, etc., is really all for the future. One's own's private future goals.
Something one desires in the moment and wishes to have for oneself in the future. Our
Motivations are our desires. Our wishes. The lives we wish to own in the future."

"At times, yes, I do believe
One is present for those reasons, but
Sometimes, and I speak for myself,
I wish to lay back and let the sun burn my skin and
The clouds to blanket me, chilling me, so to remind myself
Of my placement on this planet and the miniscule and
Tremendous affect I have on my surroundings. For example...

"You are very talkative," she said cutting me off, "I could
Tell from the way you looked up at this cathedral all by yourself,
Lost in thought or lack thereof, that you were a talker."

She smiled and I forced a tight-lipped smirk.

"Well, I am
So talkative because you have made
Me so.

"So be it."

"It is so."

"Are you mad? she asked.

"Not the least bit," I returned, unsure whether I was lying to
Her because I didn't want to offend her and scare her off or because
She was so extremely beautiful.

"Well, I am glad that I can do that to you." She looked back
Up at the church bell, trying to hide her satisfied smirk.

"I have said too much. Let us both watch
The cathedral stand on her own for a bit in silence, ok?"

"That sounds good."

She took a step down from the step she had been on with me. Two steps.
There she let her head and hair fall back, taking everything in she possibly could.
I needed a drink and she needed the sky, the cathedral, the city, but I
Could only give her my company, unsure whether she truly needed it or not.
I shifted my glance from the bell tower to what was behind me. There, I saw
A wooden trolley up against the far wall near a trickling fountain
With puppets hanging from their thin clear strings. The light from the oiled lamp posts
Was a dark orange and cast an array of ****** shadows along the walls that
Encircled the square which me and the woman and many others were standing around. Night
Had set on the square, but no one had decided to go anywhere.
The square was perfect for them; anywhere else would have seemed uncomfortable.

She looked at me from two steps back and asked,
"We are being present for a better future, yes?"

"What we hope will be a better future," I said, turning
My head away from the bottom of the square back to the
Cathedral. I emphasized the word hope.

"Yes, men and women must have
Hope for something better."

"Life does not guarantee anything, does it?"

"No, I guess it doesn't. It gives you chance and we give
One another choice."

"Or," I hesitated to say what I wanted to say, "Or God does."

"God," she laughed, "What's He got to do with anything?"

"Everything and nothing, I hear."

"Don't be so vague," she grinned, turning her body completely around to me
So I could see her full figure. Her dress outlined a woman's body,
But I knew, inside, there was so much more precious things then flesh. "Hear
From who and where?"

"You choose what you wish to believe
And no one can tell you otherwise. What
You need and
What others may need can be different and should be.
This does not mean that we cannot get along.

Is there a way to be wrong in what one believes in?
She looked to want an honest answer, so I gave her one.


"That's it?" she asked, wanting more.

"That can't be it?"

"Yes is a decent enough answer,
But because you looked to be so talkative before,
I assumed you would have more to say on the matter."

"Assuming something
Is a very dangerous, childish thing.

"Yes," she agreed, "It is."

"If one believes in something and tries to share
Those beliefs in an unaggressive, listen-if-you-will,
Dangerously friendly, perhaps even musical way, then
The listener has their choice in the matter. They can

Walk away

No questions asked or feelings hurt.

"That," she said, "Sounds good for the listener,
But perhaps not so great for the speaker.

Why?"* I asked, surprised.

"Because then the speaker may turn into something
They originally did not want to be. A prophet or voice for something
They may honestly have no interest or passion for.

"I see."

But, please, go on."

On the other side, someone may believe in something fully, to their bitter core, but there needs to be a validation from another to prove their conviction. This is a weakness in their faith. They secretly doubt themselves and are trying to prove, by the obedience and following of others, that
Their belief, system, God, what have you, is a truth, a fact like the sky is blue or that fishes swim in the sea. These people with their thoughts and beliefs are the one's that are wrong. The one's that push their way onto other's without any room for being challenged or accused of falsity."

There are some that do not want follower's, but as soon
As they turn around, there they are.

"Yes," I nodded, "I can think of a few thinker's
That I've read or heard of that happening."

God, though," she laughed again lightly, "It
Funny that you bring Him up."

I didn't have anything to say, so I said nothing.

Are you a religious man...?" she asked.

My name is Robert Commento and no, I am not religious man."

I gave
Her my name
Out of my uncomfortable stance on religion and
To change the subject to less formal and conversational matters.

She put out her hand and I slipped my palm under hers. I was
Never taught to shake a woman's hand - for it is too delicate -
but to let their hand rest atop mine.

I bowed and gently kissed her hand.
Her skin smelled of fresh milk and uncut grass and
What morning dew feels like across raw fingertips.
I tried to force myself not to trip too quickly into love,
But there are some things
Men are absolutely unable to do.

Luria Rose," she said, bowing her head, "Very ncie to meet you
Robert Commento."

And very nice to meet you."

You are from here?" she asked.

Yes,"* I said, "Well, not exactly."
"From a city over where the tail of the river ends."

"I know this place, but I cannot recall the name." I could see
She was embarrassed by not knowing the location, telling me she
Was obviously from Rome and proud of it.

"Cuore Tagliente," I told her with zest,"That is where
I am from and where I was raised. My family still lives there to

Manage their small farm of olive trees.

"Do they make very much money?" At this question, I turned
On my heel and stared at her. By her look, she seemed to be
Unsure whether I meant this in seriousness or in jest. So not to scare her
Off again I forced a smiled, left my eyes upon her as if viewing a painting or a statue, and
Answered as truthfully as I could without insulting the name of my family
In truth, I lied a little.

"They were very
Well off when they bought the
Olive farm and they are still very well off
Due to savings and the like, but, because of the business they sold
And the expenses of starting from scratch in the scorching fields of where olives are grown,
They took quite a beating financially. We are quite fine now, very, very fine now,
But not as fine as if we had stayed with the old company. In a way, we were
Asked very professionally and cordially to step down. Of course, my mother, bless
Her body and soul, was very destroyed by this matter and that is why I find it hard to continue.

Luria, staring at me blankly, but with a slight hint of fascination,
Walked up the two steps she had just stepped down and
Two more past where she had been beside me.
She swiveled around on her flats and faced me. Her
Eyes were now impossible to see in the night, though I knew she was
Looking directly at me. Curious why she decided to say nothing in return
To my story, I said something in her place.

"I say so much about myself...well, then, what about you?"

Instantly, she pounced on the question,
"I am
An orphan of Roma
And grew up on the streets stealing and
Running amok quite happily, though
Sometimes I regret what I stole. Every single one was a

Necessary action."

This took me back, for she looked tanned, healthy, and
Well fed, instantly making me think she must be a very skilled
Thief. Eyeing her up and down, I wondered if this was why
She was even talking to me presently. I checked my wallet. It was there,
Though this fact made me feel only slightly better. I watched her
Blow a thick, crescent moon shaped strand of dark brown hair from her eye,
Seeing if the story had settled. Was she lying? Was she telling me the truth?

Why would she tell me anything at all?

"Let us get dinner someplace," I offered, "You can
Take me to your favorite, local restaurant in the city and I
Will pay. No favors thought to receive or anything. All I'd like
Is to have a conversation through the night with whom I have in front of me."

She nodded, said nothing with a smile, and stood still.

"You must lead the way for
I have no idea where you would like to take me. I, of
Course can take you to any of the many restaurants
I know of in my Rome, but I want to go to the one the thieves knows of.

Suddenly, her face contorted into a shape like
A razor had been dragged down the length of her face.

She shouted,"Do not call me a thief, Robert!
Your a poor son of olive farmer's! What do you know about
Anything of the street? So much so that you can ridicule and
Mock whoever's from it? You know nothing!

I immediately tried to tell her I was teasing, but she ran past me, down the stairs, and across the square. I stood stunned, embarrassed to see if anyone had noticed this outburst. No one
Had. Groups of people were still sitting around the fountain, throwing
Coin into the water as some children played and dipped their toes into the
Clear, tranquil water. The puppets waved back and forth in a light, chilled wind,
And the lamp posts still burned casting a curing light over the square. There,
I saw Luria cast in the dark orange light for just a moment. She turned around to look at
Me in the light and there, I saw her eyes were not black, but sky blue, like
The fresh melted ice I had once seen on my travels to Antarctica. Then she was gone.

Pausing, letting myself be hugged by the cathedral behind me,
Half of me wanting to stay in her embrace and the other wanting me to be in hers.
I could not hug stone forever," I told myself, "Man needs to hug a woman
Into eternity, not the church. Maybe later in life, but now, man needs the physical,
Not the metaphysical. There, I see her as she goes through the alley behind the fountain on the
Path toward my favorite bakery, Grano Gorato. I will follow her and find her.

I ran down the stairs carefully for they had become wet and slick from the light
Fog that sometimes rolls into Rome when it is night. There, I moved through the crowd
Which looked to have double in size with people. Where had they all come from?
The alleys, no doubt. They all felt the warmth and comfort of this secret square with Her
Majesty looking down on them from above, the church bell and moon like two great eyes,
The tinted cathedral windows depicting ancient actions Her heart, and the hard square
Slabs of concrete and smoothed stone Her skin. But, Luria did not care for such comforts, She
Believed in no comforts other then the one's another could give. Did she want that from me?

Once through the alley and passing Grano Gorato, I swiveled my head three-hundred-and
Sixty degrees hoping to spot the white dress with the long brown hair. There were many
Women about, but none that were Luria. I sat on the edge of another fountain in a smaller
Square which I had found myself in. Inside the café in front of me, I observed an old man order
A glass of red wine and a mini-short bread crust filled with cream with bright, light green
Kiwi on top. It is was brightly lit inside and everyone was smiling, even the servers. Looking up
At the sign for the restaurant, I saw its name was Mondi. I made a note to go there with
Luria when I found her.

"Luria! I shouted. The name echoed about the numerous walls that
Surrounded me. A few tourists dressed in sandals with socks and cameras
Wrapped around their shoulders and "*****-packs" around their waists

(Terrible Things)

Gave me a concerned glance, but I continued to
Shout, "Luria!

"Yes, Robert?" I heard Lu
Diversity of motivation among self-harming individuals

An estimated one in twelve teenagers has committed self-harm. Of those many will continue self-injuring into young adult hood. Yet older adults are not immune to committing this act. In 2003-2004 adults age 25-44 were responsible for nearly fifty percent of reported/discovered self-harm cases.  There are many reasons that people self-harm. These reasons may include self-harming as a survival mechanism, self-harm as an outer expression of inner emotional turmoil, and self-harm as a means to exercise control over one’s environment.
Contrary to popular thought, only one in ten people who make the decision to self-harm are suicidal. The majority of people who cause injury to themselves willfully have a wish to avoid killing themselves. The act of self-harm is developed as a “technique” to cope and survive the afflictions of life. How can we know that this is the reasoning or thought behind the action of self-harm? “Cutters” typically reason out the least amount of damage that will “remedy” the stress intensive situation that they find themselves in, and exercise an enormous amount of restraint in inflicting only a measured amount of damage. Cutters’ common logic is that through this expression of injury, further damage to their selves may be headed off. --------, a former cutter, attests to the reality of this when he says, “Every time that I touched a blade to my skin, I would resist making a larger cut, a deeper wound. Every time that I hurt myself, I did so only in response to what drove me over the edge; Each time the amount of physical damage that I did was the very least that I could muster. I fought to do the least damage I could, no matter how intense the pain that I felt became.” He sums it up rather nicely.
Secondly, self-harm is used as an outward expression of deeper, more complex emotional and psychological phenomena. It is not a diagnosis; it is a symptom. It is a symptom of a struggle that is inherited by victims of abuse, those who lose a loved one, or experience other traumatic events during their childhood. These groups are far more likely to indulge in self-harm. One study conducted by Boudewyn and Liem found that of those college students that reported a history of self-harm, fifty two percent had been sexually abused as a child. Those that self-harm do not simply cut to cut, burn to burn, or mutilate to mutilate. There is a deeper motivation. This motivation is commonly emotional. These motivational emotions are often the results of tragic or traumatic life experiences. It is seldom that a cutter’s motivation is a want for attention.  In fact, most cutters are chameleons.
Self- harm is used as a tool to exercise control in a chaotic environment over which one would not otherwise have any means to control. Among chaos and turmoil such as the loss of a parent or close friend, relational betrayal, divorce of one’s parents, or consistent, one time, or sporadic physical, emotional, or ****** abuse an individual is radically more likely to engage in self-harm. Outside reasoning on this is only speculative. For this reason it is valuable to look at the action from the perspective of those who commit it. Cody, the same individual mentioned earlier says something else that lines up with this common scholarly opinion. He says “I remember the very first time I cut myself intentionally. I was in the ninth grade, in the school bathroom. I had just experienced what I saw as betrayal by my best friend of about ten years. I felt like I lost him. I felt like things were spinning out of control, and I couldn’t control the way I felt about it all. The only way I could feel that control was with something sharp in my hand.” This is characteristic not only of ----- but also of many other cutters.
Cutters are not (necessarily) crazy. On the surface it may appear that cutting goes against the ingrained survival and self-preservation instincts in human beings. This is actually the opposite of the truth. Many who cut feel that if they don’t inflict smaller harm to themselves that they may indeed fall to suicide. They feel that by letting out their pain in increments, and escaping in fragments, that they can slay the thoughts of suicide and urges to escape that they carry. When at the edges of rational, some instincts may take different forms. What may seem counter intuitive – an act of self-harm – becomes the definition of an instinct that it seems to defy. The desire to survive becomes so strong that it is necessary to inflict pain. This is not uncommon to survival situations. For example, the movie 127 Hours reenacts the experience of a man trapped under a boulder in a beautiful and secluded gorge. He cut off his own arm with a dull multi-tool in order to escape death. That act is the epitome of self-harm as a survival instinct.
Cutting could lead to a series of events that tailspin out of control. Loss of control could take the form of the spiral of therapies and prescriptions that would follow if it were discovered that one were cutting , or it could be the accidental slip of a blade gone too far. It could end in hospitalization. It could even end in death. However, those individuals who choose to cut, as long as sober, take precautions to avoid discovery or more injury than is intended. They are meticulous, careful even. They reason out how, where, and when they can cut “safely”. They are very much in control over the act, when they feel they cannot be in control of anything else.
It may rationally appear that pain is pain. That it would make no difference whether out or inward, because whatever its state, the pain is still owned by the individual. However, emotions are often harder to process than physical events. A burning rage, hate or guilt may well be harder to cope with than a burn to one’s arm, leg, or hand. An emotional cut to the bone may be less painful than a physical one. It may be said that the act does not transform the pain, but multiplies it. This in essence may be true, but one form of pain allows a man to ignore another. A pinch may allow a man to ignore the emotional pain of a nightmare. A small cut may allow ignorance of the bigger cut on one’s spirit or psyche.
There are widely varying and increasingly complex variations of motivation and cause of self-harm. They may include, but are absolutely and in no way limited to: self-harm as a coping or survival mechanism, self-harm as a tool to exercise control over one’s increasingly chaotic environment, and self-harm as an outer expression of inner emotional turmoil. To believe that cutting is simple is to nearly deny it altogether. Its essence is complicated. Stereotyping self-harm or self-harmers may well lead to opinions that will ostracize or further encourage the occurrence of self-harm.  Since the motivation and causes of self-harm are undeniably complex, to attempt to brush this under a rock would be to diminish its importance, and to deny healing to those who need to understand it.
Amanda Jean Oct 2016
What are we doing out here
In the wild wild west
Are you showing me something
Or are we here to rest
We've traveled a long road
But I'm not ready to settle yet

Spider crawling up my arm one day
Blood on my quilt the next
Blood splot on the bathroom floor
Hair chopped off
Cut my finger
Cut that ****

Third eye minds eye know you can open it
**** nugs nudging you toward it
Chugging fluoride gotta know its blocking it

Depression crippling lazy thinking I'm not getting anywhere anymore
Dated a slick-back sexist slug of a human
He haunts me in my dreams
I'm trying to dream big dream of everything
But his face shows me where I've been
His hands done healing flex ****** veins, stop stealing!
His mom sewing his mistakes back together again, stop helping!
His dad fueling the fire again at home, stop procreating!
Its not the job of a lover to raise your significant other
Its not my job to shower you with everything I have day after ******* day when all I get in return is leftover pizza and a sore ******
Without love I would be dead
With intention
Else you're dead
Living isn't that easy
Same struggles every day
Being healthy isn't that easy
Definitely more expensive that way
Being human isn't that easy
Hunting my own spirit day after day

Not wanting
Feeling bad
Not supporting
But loving

I have something to say god ******
And don't dare tell me its just the drugs
We need to start questioning what love is
The lack of it is ******* stuff up
I'm high right now if you didn't know it
If I was sober would the words still come out

You say you love me but you don't support it
But how can you love if you don't understand it
Love is unconditional
Love is support

How are you loving when you try to change it
There is no fixing my humanity
You don't know what makes me happy
No one can be trusted




To be loved
Emily S Jul 2016
I have a hard time
linking words to emotions
and emotions to actions
and all this to meaning.

I'll slowly build up
my library of feeling.
But I wonder exactly
what I was missing.

When I scrutinized us,
I did so without seeing.
I thought I knew all.
I saw my own meaning.

Life doesn't have meaning;
what it does have is people.
Now I say what I mean,
and I listen to feeling.

I've struggled with friends,
with parents, and with brothers.
I knew motivations
without knowing them.

Now I start to see people.
We're closer together.
Done connecting the dots,
we connect to each other.
Paul R Mott Sep 2012
It's not often when a man meets a woman
Who makes him feel better than he'd feel on his own
This woman is a testament to motivations unknown
But a testament nonetheless to feelings kept devoted
to the idea of another to forever kiss and hold

Now these sentiments might sound sappy
to those without a love both sad and happy
But it matters less than little to those who have
endured the peaks and the valleys
in order to reach the ebullient plateaus of contentment
Hannah Davidson Jun 2012
Tear out my heart,
watch the tears flow.
Dreams of a world apart.
feeling my love grow.
See your world blacken,
realize your mistake.
Enter the realm of the broken,
and embrace your fate.
Our love was ment to be,
you saw only her.
You said you couldn't see,
what loving me would offer.
Now your alone,
regretting your past.
Thinking of the one,
you gave up too fast.
You'll always be my love,
but what you will never know.
The motivations that drove,
the ****** of your soul.
No words really for this. It just came to me while waiting in the car one day.
Jennifer Apr 2016
Derive the joy, magic and warmth of addition by connecting your soul to another's, yet remain independent as singular souls.

Meet the interference of envious, bitter and resentful subtraction which gives the process of separation from the souls you have connected to.

Both opposing forces with obstinate motivations coordinate unconsciously for the creation of an entrance-exit cycle in human interaction.

The pinnacle of human interaction is interceded by multiplication who compounds the congregation of the independent souls into a cohesive unit called groups and eventually society and nation.

Nevertheless met by the malevolent, destructive energy of division which ruthlessly breaks apart the products nurtured by multiplication, smashing them with propaganda, discrimination, and segregation.

O' how I exclaim that division is the truly nefarious power.
Sentiments about the present degeneration of society.
jim fry Nov 2010
I am spending the day engaging my pining paths, the recurrent feelings of deep longing and prolonged unfulfilled desires, excavating these facets to surface consciousness, treating my desires as ~ G ~ E ~ M ~ S ~, not to be shunned or left buried. I am now recognizing these are soul level expressions to be celebrated, with and without abandon of permanence. These are my soul's scripts, and as they intersect interdependently with others in my relationships, they are essential components of the juice and energies that define me.

So I've engaged my angels and guides, and taken to scribe, these processes of my heart's harmonizing and soul's solstice. As a singular sun, my firespark has indeed been, furthest from the celestial equator of my own integration, playing and equating in realms of derivatives and hedged parlays. Becoming whole is feeling not to be really any core change at all, beyond embracing everything I am in each thought, emotion and deed, illuminating all that has been self concealed as the acts in the play of parlays unfold.

Through heart's laden sadness, my pining bursts through in fiery release now, fuel and fire, found festering, without need like Prometheus, to steal it from some god beyond and outside myself. Today is a celebration of acceptance, these energies and motivations based in my pining are my essence and as essential as my feline purrs. So as I embrace these buried abstractions and etch and scribe them into prose, they become more than historic and nostalgic memories, they become living remembrance of who I am and what a wide spectrum of imaginative and creative energy and intention I posses to draw upon. This is me, the soul, coming into a more robust integration and empowerment, as I accept, and then utilize each hue of my rainbow ... blending resonant ratios of each color's wavelength, leaving none excluded, nor seeking to change what is already in suffused perfection.

So when this script's scene
plays out to conclusion
tangential vectors and points
on spiral paths shall intercede

and this unmasked energy
and reclaimed consciousness
sourced in shadow's
facets illuminated
and embraced
leaves me

and, i'll be less distracted
by unrecognized emotions
and motivations unclaimed

i've never been more honest
or self understood
transparency serves me well,
dissolving the spell

and i'm enraptured,
discovering, treasures,
and my first genuine,
comfort within,
my own skin

i've grown more
in three weeks
than perceived
even possible
or imagined

so now,
beyond these
shed years
'n tears
'n fears
i etch,
these moments
i embrace,
these moments as
soul's scribe
upon foundations
of the bedrock laid
with my heart, scarified
through emotion's oceans of tears
carving new channels, for my love to flow

soulprints tamping, fertilized medium
i'm embracing too, next cycling, season of spring
embracing my passions in desire, with fire
and intentions of more consciousness
and loving from whence
i'll further
Ana Jan 2014
When my son stops eating, I will notice it. I will not tell myself that he will move on, instead, I will sit him down and ask him why I can see his ribs and has hollow cheekbones. I hope I can find all of the razor blades he hides in a box before he becomes addicted. And I will roll up the sleeves from my left arm and show him my scars. I will hug him tightly and kiss his cheek and tell him I stood where he stands and I will not tell him that depression only happens to girls.

When my daughter brings home her first girlfriend I will welcome her with open arms and ask her to stay for dinner. And when my son decides to grow out his hair, takes my makeup and puts on my red lipstick asking me if it's wrong to want to be a girl, I will reply with no and tell her she looks beautiful with that dress.

When my daughter tells me with a tremble in her voice that she does not want to go to school I will not make an excuse for her to go. I will push the hair back from her face and ask her what is wrong, why she doesn't want to see her friends anymore. I will not say "get up, you'll feel better later," instead, I will hold her in my arms, hug her, and let her weep on my shoulder.

I will love my future children because they are an extension of me. I will not let society ruin their dreams, actions, and motivations. Regardless of the paths they choose to take, I will love them.
Suzanne Penn Jun 2013
There is a point in life…
when you get tired of trying to fix everything…
when kindness gets mistaken for weakness
so often…
that it becomes your own fault
for letting it all continue.
Eventually, you start accepting that
you can not make everyone happy
and that no one at all
is trying to make you happy.
This is the moment…
that you reach a crossroad
and make a decision
as to which path to take.
And that decision…
made at a time of
great frustration
and relinquished dreams
can become the filter
through which
your perception of the world
and the motivations of others
will be discerned
from that point on
Choose thoughtfully…
that crossroad is
where character is born
empathy dies

_Suzanne Penn__
Brooks Popwell Sep 2011

First, I note a few surface details.

- Rising action – Keawe buys the imp and later sells it
- Crisis – Keawe again buys the imp although he doubts he can sell it
- Resolution – a sailor buys the imp from Keawe

The story centers on possession of the imp (primarily by Keawe, as noted above).  The full progression of ownership follows:

- Old man
- Keawe
- Keawe's friend
- Unspecified others
- Keawe
- Kokua
- Sailor
- Keawe (attempted; sailor refused)

The motivations of the owners varies:

- Old man, Keawe (first), Keawe’s friend, others – reward
- Keawe (second) – reward
- Kokua –love
- Sailor – reward
- Keawe (attempted) – love

Note the relationship between these motives and the story arc.  Reward drives Keawe’s first two purchases (rising action, crisis), but love drives the third (before resolution).  Observe also the twin kinds of reward compelling the early purchases.  The first reward: obtaining prosperity; the second reward: preserving prosperity (including Kokua).


The story’s specifics (ownership and motivation) stage these events:

- Desire can reward (Keawe seeks prosperity and love and is satisfied.)
- Desire can curse (In his quest, Keawe uses the imp.)
- Reward brings uncertainty (Banishment threatens all Keawe’s gains.)
- Love absorbs curse (Kokua buys imp from Keawe.)
- Curse will destroy (Someone must bear imp’s damnation.)

These dichotomies follow:
- Reward is tarnished without the curse (by uncertainty) or with the curse (by destruction).
- One can avoid the curse but not uncertainty.+
- Love can deliver from the curse but cannot escape from the curse.

(+Note: This is because Stevenson portrays Keawe’s desire as a constant from the story’s beginning.  His unavoidable desire leads him to navigate the other events of the story.)

Two final questions:
- Does Stevenson present an ideal choice to resolve the story’s dichotomies?
- Does the imp simply represent the curse or something more?

First, would Stevenson moralize?  I presume the possibility, considering his dramatic shift from a Victorian upbringing to a life of travel and ensuing love of the islander lifestyle (the backdrop for the short story). First, recall the two motives (reward or love) and the consistent negative conseqeunces (uncertainty, curse, destruction).  All of these occurred both with or without a connection to the imp.  Keawe pursued the good life before meeting the imp’s owner and in the period of freedom from its grasp. Likewise, his love for Kokua began without connection to the imp and continued long after.  I summarize all these possible combinations in the following chart:


1. Without imp: uncertainty
2. With imp: curse

3. Toward the cursed: destruction
4. Toward the uncursed: no destruction

The story progresses from a focus on reward (first half) to a focus on love (second half).  The last option (love without destruction) is ideal; every other option entails some loss.  Even Kokua’s and Keawe’s choices to love each other by taking back the curse is bittersweet.  Each one’s sacrifice removes the other’s greatest source of happiness, an end that could have been avoided if Keawe had never bought the imp.  The implied lesson?  Avoid choices now that will sabotage love’s good intentions later.

The surprise ending may add an additional message.  If the story warns against complicating love, why does it provide an escape hatch, the drunken sailor who accepts damnation and buys the bottle?  Stevenson could simply be softening the blow of his cautionary tale.  If so, why did he include the elaborate curse that necessitated such an ending? I think the injection of a supernatural temptation portrays real life: wild possibilities coupled with high consequences.  The ending modifies the imaginary scenario to convey another reality: though love cannot erase a damning past, somehow, escape is possible.

If the supernatural elements comment on life, the imp itself may also have a specific meaning.  The unusual law of the imp (sell for less or receive damnation) makes it a constantly growing threat.  Its sinister descriptions (“dark,” “fiery,” etc) and concealed evil (glancing in the bottle stuns the owner with horror) also portray the imp as a potent living force.  Perhaps Stevenson portrays imperfection and evil in humanity as this palpable reality, present in the world and available as a means of man’s advancement and destruction.  As an advocate of Semoan rights who lived in the islands during multiple colonial power-struggles, he vividly observed evil’s corrupting power.  He knew that the world often suffers when people allow the end to justify the means.  And when those people are us—the otherwise kind-hearted Keawes—Stevenson knew that the fiend within us doesn’t have to win in the end.
jim fry Nov 2010
~ i am a preamble, seeking to evolve ~

~ my every emotion, thought and deed, cascades, consequence ~
~ your every touch forever impacts, in cascading consequence ~

~ we are all sacred, equal in our worth, may we each, behave so ~

~ paradoxically ~
~ our security is rooted in our acceptance, of insecurity ~

~ our cyclical attractions, and repulsions ~
~ are the forces which bind us ~

~ while i don’t understand all the motivations ~
~ or all the machinations ~
~ of the forces applied, to divide, conquer and control ~
~ i deem they are parasitic, and thus ~
~ reliant upon our cooperation, to survive ~

~ when i haven’t worked myself out in perfect coherence ~
~ i’m in no position to pass judgments upon any other ~

~ in absence of fraud, deception or manipulation ~
~ embracing sovereignty and free will ~

~ i vow ~

~ to wage peace, cooperation, creativity and love ~
~ to seize opportunity to  nurture ~
~ our garden planet ~
~ as a humbled gardener ~

~ there is no spoon ~
~ it was only an illusion ~
~ there are no sheep ~
~ just  tactics to divide, and distract ~

~ we are only ~
~ children and parents ~
~ friends and lovers ~
~ sisters and brothers ~
~ cosmic conscious explorers ~
~ shaping our reality ~
~ nurturing OUR Garden ~

~ namaste ~
SøułSurvivør Apr 2016
made a
castle  in
the sand
□  a cathedral made  □
□     of dust / i  thought    □
□   it great, so very grand   □
□       my motivations just     □
i sculpted flying buttresses / and
placed angels in its wings / there
were stained glass windows / and
other suchlike things / i labored at
it all the day / other duties set aside
but all  my work was carried away

i considered not the tide!

(c) 4/13/2016
I use ‘oh, my god’ as an expression
not of faith, but surprise,
of wonder at beauty untouched
by ideology or dogma
as if caught, and pulled, from a dream.

I exclaim ‘oh, my god’ when stunned
not by holy ghosts, but the living,
who do kindness  as though it were nothing
unmindful of securing safe passage
into heaven, or paradise.

‘Oh, my god’, I cry, when words fall idle
or are muted to quiet reverence.
Where twisted skeins of empiric memory,
rush in crashing surf
of reminiscence and nostalgia.

I am godless, but not without reason
‘oh, my god’ being a slip of historical,
idiomatic vernacular.
Even as curiosity drives me to understand
your own ritualistic, devotional motivations.

Raise the cup, my friend
it gives us both what we need.
For you, transubstantiation
for me a divine and luscious tableaux.
For Saint Teresa in her ecstasy no doubt exclaimed
‘Oh, my god’!
Hayley Neininger Nov 2013
Kindness and goodness are only genuine when the motivations they come from are born of morality and not fear.
Rhianecdote Nov 2015
Sometimes I put my headphones in
No music playin
Just to muffle out the background noise
Of all they're sayin ,
all the empty conversation
I'm secretly sat here craving
From Better days when
This paranoia wasn't constantly
Invading my brain and
I could entertain it
Sit here without fear
Cause I was going somewhere
With people I could call friends
Without questioning motivations

Unquestioning motivation
Now sleign , altered
And warped by blame
checked into the Awk-ward
I wait in urgency
hoping This was no accident
And I'll imerge and see
The bigger picture
But for now I shrink
Weight droppin off of me
still feelin heavy
Propped up on this bus seat
Weighing up whether
I should miss my stop
Cause I'm not sat near the bell
And God forbid I ask someone for help

Cause then they'd have to look at me

But don't look at me,
Don't you dare look at me!
I can't face you today
I can't even face me
That's why I don't take a window seat
And you have to begrudgingly
Shimmy past me to take yours
Or walk past to the back
Silently cursing me

I wish you'd sing instead
I've got no music playin
Clear my head
lend an Ear-nestle next to me
Did I not earn your earnesty?
If I've got your back
Won't you back me?
Or will I turn round
Reach out
Only to find your shadow stretchin
Out of reach
Like a weary soul-dier
you take your leave...

I try to shake mine off
Break some branches,
Tryin to get free
They Silently scream
But I'm struggling
To even make it off my seat
Go live
In three
But I can no longer perform
Go on without me
Forget me
Only thing on the way up
Is mum's spaghetti!
Need some Bob Marley
Get up, stand up
But my legs won't let me!
Musics off
So it's down to me
Get up, stand up
Used to be so easy
Get up stand up

Your bus stop is here

No music playin in my ear
But right now I could do
With a mellowdy
When ringing the bell on the bus  becomes a struggle! Maybe I should start carrying my own haha!
Lost for words Nov 2009
Fight Club kisses
Burn my lips
Purple blue fingers
Bruise my hips
Stolen intimacies
Stain my mind
Flashback images
Make me blind
The smell of ***
Hangs in the air
The taste of skin
And lime in hair
Forbidden ground
Now explored
All the rules
Just ignored
Curious hands
Have now discovered
Real motivations
Honestly uncovered
of aims achieved
And the loss
Of misconceptions, relieved
Big fat secret
Marks my soul
Silent celebration
Of my match winning goal
Anny Pansy Apr 2012
Paralyxzations of the worn spandex, still early
Pizza and beer on a comfy couch
And the crunchy old leaves
That decorate the walls of my house
Glimpses of nature in an urban world.
I think a bit, I feel my quads
As they burn with lactic acid pain
That never leaves an athlete in season.
The greasy cheeseboard and brown dried leaves
Reflect the feelings of sweat and drained
Emotions and motivations, sleep is near.
The night is young, but sleep is near.
Parties call to me with voices loud
Over my tired and disabled carcass
The incessant fight between body and mind begins

Why should I venture out into the world?
What is fun if it can come
Only through grinding my *** in someone’s crotch?
Shall I not find the comfort in my bed,
The warmth of blankets that smell like me, or else
The shared cup of tea with roommates and friends
Not the bedroom tussle with muscled men
I am whole within myself.
Climbing trees or dreaming of oceans
Running up hills and conquering waters
All are my fun; my life is full remembering
The past adventures with inebriation and indiscretions  
It is now time for soul and body to heal.

Men in the bars had their inhuman strength
To down the pitchers and pints of beer
Loud mouth ******* who seem so compelling
Move as kings among the tittering ******
Magnificent in their swarthy confidence
Until their blood alcohol level reaches a new high
Creating a beast without inhibitions
Till no doesn’t mean no, but an invitation to come
Shall my voice fail? Or shall it come to be
The voice of a victim? And shall my quads
Have the strength to run, or the foresight to
Begin in a place much friendlier than now
A part of the brain and a part of the heart
And next is the knowledge of things to come
Not the dulled senses of an exhausted drunk.

I say, “But Saturday is my only night
When morning practice is not imminent”
Parties are the basis for college fun; hence my wish
Together with people and dancing and drink
Shall I finally reach the effervescent image.
Although sleep is upon my weary bones,
The path of fun is clearly wrought with dangers, and love.
The triumph of conquest blows the ringing horns
Until my sparkled dress comes down from the hanger
And uggs are rejected for heels of blue
I cause boys to pile orders for beer and ***** tonics
On their max-out cards. I taste the metallic twang
Of future mistakes and regrets.
Lucy Tonic Nov 2011
You say you're happy when she smiles
It brightens up your life
It brings you endless comfort
It gives you sense of peace
She says she'll bet a dime
That if she ever grinned
You'd back away in fear
Or hate her just the same
And when she doesn't plan on fierceness
It comes easily
Not too aggressive, no motivations,
Simply living in the moment
When you say to be happy,
You mean anti-suicide
You mean anti-guilt on your part
You mean anti-blame
And when they fall for it
And praise life
And smile
You walk away
It's a big smear-campaign
They love it when you're down
The light shines stronger on them that way
It's a subconscious conscious thing-
A means for the tonsils to get unhinged
You say do what you wish
The sun will shine in time
You say this with serenity
Though it never reached your vocabulary
You say just be yourself
The world will come to understand
But you say it with conviction
Cause you've never tried it yourself
Face the truth-
From the outside looking in
It's a whole lot better being optimistic
When your soul isn't on the line
Face the truth-
In walking the outcast path
You're not embraced
Only scorned
Face the truth-
One who is one
Knows they can't stray,
Even if they choose
Face the truth-
If you were me and I were you
And you were in my shoes,
Would you smile?
zebra Oct 2017
Here is a primer on the history of poetry

Features of Modernism

To varying extents, writing of the Modernist period exhibits these features:

1. experimentation

belief that previous writing was stereotyped and inadequate
ceaseless technical innovation, sometimes for its own sake
originality: deviation from the norm, or from usual reader expectations
ruthless rejection of the past, even iconoclasm

2. anti-realism

sacralisation of art, which must represent itself, not something beyond preference for allusion (often private) rather than description
world seen through the artist's inner feelings and mental states
themes and vantage points chosen to question the conventional view
use of myth and unconscious forces rather than motivations of conventional plot

3. individualism

promotion of the artist's viewpoint, at the expense of the communal
cultivation of an individual consciousness, which alone is the final arbiter
estrangement from religion, nature, science, economy or social mechanisms
maintenance of a wary intellectual independence
artists and not society should judge the arts: extreme self-consciousness
search for the primary image, devoid of comment: stream of consciousness
exclusiveness, an aristocracy of the avant-garde

4. intellectualism

writing more cerebral than emotional
work is tentative, analytical and fragmentary, more posing questions more than answering them
cool observation: viewpoints and characters detached and depersonalized
open-ended work, not finished, nor aiming at formal perfection
involuted: the subject is often act of writing itself and not the ostensible referent


Expressionism was a phase of twentieth-century writing that rejected naturalism and romanticism to express important inner truths. The style was generally declamatory or even apocalyptic, endeavoring to awaken the fears and aspirations that belong to all men, and which European civilization had rendered effete or inauthentic. The movement drew on Rimbaud and Nietzsche, and was best represented by German poetry of the 1910-20 period. Benn, Becher, Heym, Lasker-Schüler, Stadler, Stramm, Schnack and Werfel are its characteristic proponents, {1} though Trakl is the best known to English readers. {2} {3}

Like most movements, there was little of a manifesto, or consensus of beliefs and programmes. Many German poets were distrustful of contemporary society — particularly its commercial and capitalist attitudes — though others again saw technology as the escape from a perceived "crisis in the old order". Expressionism was very heterogeneous, touching base with Imagism, Vorticism, Futurism, Dadaism and early Surrealism, many of which crop up in English, French, Russian and Italian poetry of the period. Political attitudes tended to the revolutionary, and technique was overtly experimental. Nonetheless, for all the images of death and destruction, sometimes mixed with messianic utopianism, there was also a tone of resignation, a sadness of "the evening lands" as Spengler called them.

Expressionism also applies to painting, and here the characteristics are more illuminating. The label refers to painting that uses visual gestures to transmit emotions and emotionally charged messages. In the expressive work of Michelangelo and El Greco, for example, the content remains of first importance, but content is overshadowed by technique in such later artists as van Gogh, Ensor and Munch. By the mid twentieth-century even this attenuated content had been replaced by abstract painterly qualities — by the sheer scale and dimensions of the work, by colour and shape, by the verve of the brushwork and other effects.

Expressionism often coincided with rapid social change. Germany, after suffering the horrors of the First World War, and ineffectual governments afterwards, fragmented into violently opposed political movements, each with their antagonistic coteries and milieu. The painting of these groups was very variable, but often showed a mixture of aggression and naivety. Understandably unpopular with the establishment  — denounced as degenerate by the Nazis — the style also met with mixed reactions from the picture-buying public. It seemed to question what the middle classes stood for: convention, decency, professional expertise. A great sobbing child had been let loose in the artist's studio, and the results seemed elementally challenging. Perhaps German painting was returning to its Nordic roots, to small communities, apocalyptic visions, monotone starkness and anguished introspection.

What could poetry achieve in its turn? Could it use some equivalent to visual gestures, i.e. concentrate on aspects of the craft of poetry, and to the exclusion of content? Poetry can never be wholly abstract, a pure poetry bereft of content. But clearly there would be a rejection of naturalism. To represent anything faithfully requires considerable skill, and such skill was what the Expressionists were determined to avoid. That would call on traditions that were not Nordic, and that were not sufficiently opposed to bourgeois values for the writer's individuality to escape subversion. Raw power had to tap something deeper and more universal.

Hence the turn inward to private torments. Poets became the judges of poetry, since only they knew the value of originating emotions. Intensity was essential.  Artists had to believe passionately in their responses, and find ways of purifying and deepening those responses — through working practices, lifestyles, and philosophies. Freud was becoming popular, and his investigations into dreams, hallucinations and paranoia offered a rich field of exploration. Artists would have to glory in their isolation, moreover, and turn their anger and frustration at being overlooked into a belief in their own genius. Finally, there would be a need to pull down and start afresh, even though that contributed to a gradual breakdown in the social fabric and the apocalypse of the Second World War.

Expressionism is still with us. Commerce has invaded bohemia, and created an elaborate body of theory to justify, support and overtake what might otherwise appear infantile and irrational. And if traditional art cannot be pure emotional expression, then a new art would have to be forged. Such poetry would not be an intoxication of life (Nietzsche's phrase) and still less its sanctification.  Great strains on the creative process were inevitable, moreover, as they were in Georg Trakl's case, who committed suicide shortly after writing the haunting and beautiful piece given below

symbolism in poetry

Symbolism in literature was a complex movement that deliberately extended the evocative power of words to express the feelings, sensations and states of mind that lie beyond everyday awareness. The open-ended symbols created by Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) brought the invisible into being through the visible, and linked the invisible through other sensory perceptions, notably smell and sound. Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-98), the high priest of the French movement, theorized that symbols were of two types. One was created by the projection of inner feelings onto the world outside. The other existed as nascent words that slowly permeated the consciousness and expressed a state of mind initially unknown to their originator.

None of this came about without cultivation, and indeed dedication. Poets focused on the inner life. They explored strange cults and countries. They wrote in allusive, enigmatic, musical and ambiguous styles. Rimbaud deranged his senses and declared "Je est un autre". Von Hofmannstahl created his own language. Valéry retired from the world as a private secretary, before returning to a mastery of traditional French verse. Rilke renounced wife and human society to be attentive to the message when it came.

Not all were great theoreticians or technicians, but the two interests tended to go together, in Mallarmé most of all. He painstakingly developed his art of suggestion, what he called his "fictions". Rare words were introduced, syntactical intricacies, private associations and baffling images. Metonymy replaced metaphor as symbol, and was in turn replaced by single words which opened in imagination to multiple levels of signification. Time was suspended, and the usual supports of plot and narrative removed. Even the implied poet faded away, and there were then only objects, enigmatically introduced but somehow made right and necessary by verse skill. Music indeed was the condition to which poetry aspired, and Verlaine, Jimenez and Valéry were among many who concentrated efforts to that end.

So appeared a dichotomy between the inner and outer lives. In actuality, poets led humdrum existences, but what they described was rich and often illicit: the festering beauties of courtesans and dance-hall entertainers; far away countries and their native peoples; a world-weariness that came with drugs, isolation, alcohol and bought ***. Much was mixed up in this movement — decadence, aestheticism, romanticism, and the occult — but its isms had a rational purpose, which is still pertinent. In what way are these poets different from our own sixties generation? Or from the young today: clubbing, experimenting with relationships and drugs, backpacking to distant parts? And was the mixing of sensory perceptions so very novel or irrational? Synaesthesia was used by the Greek poets, and indeed has a properly documented basis in brain physiology.

What of the intellectual bases, which are not commonly presented as matters that should engage the contemporary mind, still less the writing poet? Symbolism was built on nebulous and somewhat dubious notions: it inspired beautiful and historically important work: it is now dead: that might be the blunt summary. But Symbolist poetry was not empty of content, indeed expressed matters of great interest to continental philosophers, then and now. The contents of consciousness were the concern of Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), and he developed a terminology later employed by Heidegger (1889-1976), the Existentialists and hermeneutics. Current theories on metaphor and brain functioning extend these concepts, and offer a rapprochement between impersonal science and irrational literary theory.

So why has the Symbolism legacy dwindled into its current narrow concepts? Denied influence in the everyday world, poets turned inward, to private thoughts, associations and the unconscious. Like good Marxist intellectuals they policed the area they arrogated to themselves, and sought to correct and purify the language that would evoke its powers. Syntax was rearranged by Mallarmé. Rhythm, rhyme and stanza patterning were loosened or rejected. Words were purged of past associations (Modernism), of non-visual associations (Imagism), of histories of usage (Futurism), of social restraint (Dadaism) and of practical purpose (Surrealism). By a sort of belated Romanticism, poetry was returned to the exploration of the inner lands of the irrational. Even Postmodernism, with its bric-a-brac of received media images and current vulgarisms, ensures that gaps are left for the emerging unconscious to engage our interest


imagist poetry

Even by twentieth-century standards, Imagism was soon over. In 1912 Ezra Pound published the Complete Poetical Works of its founder, T.E. Hulme (five short poems) and by 1917 the movement, then overseen by Amy Lowell, had run its course. {1} {2} {3} {4} {5} The output in all amounted to a few score poems, and none of these captured the public's heart. Why the importance?

First there are the personalities involved — notably Ezra Pound, James Joyce, William Carlos Williams {6} {7} {8} {9} — who became famous later. If ever the (continuing) importance to poets of networking, of being involved in movements from their inception, is attested, it is in these early days of post-Victorian revolt.

Then there are the manifestos of the movement, which became the cornerstones of Modernism, responsible for a much taught in universities until recently, and for the difficulties poets still find themselves in. The Imagists stressed clarity, exactness and concreteness of detail. Their aims, briefly set out, were that:

1. Content should be presented directly, through specific images where possible.
2. Every word should be functional, with nothing included that was not essential to the effect intended.
3. Rhythm should be composed by the musical phrase rather than the metronome.

Also understood — if not spelled out, or perhaps fully recognized at the time — was the hope that poems could intensify a sense of objective reality through the immediacy of images.

Imagism itself gave rise to fairly negligible lines like:

You crash over the trees,
You crack the live branch…  (Storm by H.D.)

Nonetheless, the reliance on images provided poets with these types of freedom:

1. Poems could dispense with classical rhetoric, emotion being generated much more directly through what Eliot called an objective correlate: "The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an 'objective correlative'; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked." {10}

2. By being shorn of context or supporting argument, images could appear with fresh interest and power.

3. Thoughts could be treated as images, i.e. as non-discursive elements that added emotional colouring without issues of truth or relevance intruding too mu
prose based poetry

When free verse lacks rhythmic patterning, appearing as a lineated prose stripped of unnecessary ornament and rhetoric, it becomes the staple of much contemporary work. The focus is on what the words are being used to say, and their authenticity. The language is not heightened, and the poem differs from prose only by being more self-aware, innovative and/or cogent in its exposition.

Nonetheless, what looks normal at first becomes challenging on closer reading — thwarting expectations, and turning back on itself to make us think more deeply about the seemingly innocuous words used. And from there we are compelled to look at the world with sharper eyes, unprotected by commonplace phrases or easy assumptions. Often an awkward and fighting poetry, therefore, not indulging in ceremony or outmoded traditions.
What is Prose?

If we say that contemporary free verse is often built from what was once regarded as mere prose, then we shall have to distinguish prose from poetry, which is not so easy now. Prose was once the lesser vehicle, the medium of everyday thought and conversation, what we used to express facts, opinions, humour, arguments, feelings and the like. And while the better writers developed individual styles, and styles varied according to their purpose and social occasion, prose of some sort could be written by anyone. Beauty was not a requirement, and prose articles could be rephrased without great loss in meaning or effectiveness.

Poetry, though, had grander aims. William Lyon Phelps on Thomas Hardy's work: {1}

"The greatest poetry always transports us, and although I read and reread the Wessex poet with never-lagging attention — I find even the drawings in "Wessex Poems" so fascinating that I wish he had illustrated all his books — I am always conscious of the time and the place. I never get the unmistakable spinal chill. He has too thorough a command of his thoughts; they never possess him, and they never soar away with him. Prose may be controlled, but poetry is a possession. Mr. Hardy is too keenly aware of what he is about. In spite of the fact that he has written verse all his life, he seldom writes unwrinkled song. He is, in the last analysis, a master of prose who has learned the technique of verse, and who now chooses to express his thoughts and his observations in rime and rhythm."

open forms in poetry

Poets who write in open forms usually insist on the form growing out of the writing process, i.e. the poems follow what the words and phrase suggest during the composition
Johnny Raven Jun 2014
"Sorry boys, sometimes pianos fall from the sky and sometimes you're the Coyote and get kicked in the teeth..."
- Richard Kadrey 'A Sandman Slim Novel - Aloha From Hell'

A muzzle flash of midnight rage, of pain...temporarily insane...
Minuscule sub-seconds, every 10 to 15
Assault of decadence
Like butcher shop fireworks
A tapestry of Styxx and synapses
A mimicry of
The darkness keeps calling, a twitch, a ****,
My concern, my worry I'll cross back over
In a moment of maudlin
Cross-hairs and .338 Lapua
R A G E inside, Johnny's brain burns
Like a '*****,' like a fiend, muscle memory,
These Blood Dreams fired, burned into inside Me's
An itchy trigger, a longing for
The Mist, for that momentary stagger and the death rattle
Twitchy twitch
Maybe like 'John Watson' I have severe PTSD
Maybe, maybe I miss the horror, the control...or
The Darkness* misses me, misses it's
Human viceroy 'Game Theory'
Clearly, these issues need fixed,
But the love of my family,
My friends, since I was a kid...
Motivation of motivations to
Keep this *
'Dark Passenger' rigged into his
Prison...sedated and mad...
On those nights I'm exhausted,
He ambushes me with **His
Blood Dreams & Carnival Cruises of corpses down
Our own personal River Styxx
This Darkness still needs to be
Needs to be
Needs to be
Drowned in a river of ****
- This is an expression of some pretty horrifying nightmares, night terrors, unwanted memories, and trauma I've seen...
God help me, I'm a lucky man to have a loving family and my friends who might as well be my family. And yes, even my God. I'm obviously probably a pretty **** Christian, but I hope God works with everyone where they are at...Hence why I always try to never pass judgment on others. Sometimes it's difficult to open up about the horrors I've seen with others. writing expresses those feelings through short stories, poems, and the like. These are feelings and do not necessarily bare any resemblance to actual events.
Rob May 2014
The station Tannoy’s so polite,
Train’s here but late; commuter’s plight,
Doors opening, pushed to platform’s edge,
As the herd of bodies forms a hedge,
Will she be there?
A gap, way in, a scramble of feet,
The desperate scans for a vacant seat,
With a jolt and a whine we move away,
Packed with the faces of one more day,
Did she mean what she said?
Past fields and cuttings the city nears,
People gaze blankly, no smiles, no tears,
Blurred names on platforms pass with a rush,
London workers in etiquette’s hush,
But where to meet?
Slowing through tunnels, lean and rock,
Roll under the canopy, groan to a stop,
We pour from the doors like arterial bleeding,
Swept in the flow, haemorrhaged carriage receding,
By the trolley, she’d said
Moving fast, with their own motivations,
The eddy of souls takes me out of the station,
Pull out of the crowd, out of the flow,
Onwards they march to the tube lines below
But we just hold tight under J.K.’s fake signs,
And expression finds space,
Between the lines.

This is a repost of one of my old poems but "Between the lines" just felt it fitted next to "Inbetween the words". Maybe it'll be "Woven between the Chapters" next :)
Robert Ronnow Aug 2015
Anyway, there is love and death and governance. With the birth of my sons, love was fulfilled. There is no romance left in love for me, women are another form of men. Perhaps their toes are painted rather than blood-encrusted, but blood runs from their bones, their eyes are friendly as camera lenses, muscles hungry. Death continues to be my every third thought, fittingly. Occasionally I feel strong, but when I don't it's death waiting. I think I know it's a waste of time to imagine being dead, as if being dead were a form of living. It's not, but last night I was reading about the efforts of astrobiologists to identify LUCA meaning Last Universal Common Ancestor and FLO, first living organism, and that gave me a calmer feeling.

Bringing me to governance, the subject of this book, how we manage together between birth and death. What can I say that hasn't already been said by Aristotle and Plato, the Republicans and Democrats, Hamilton and Jefferson. To start, your daily discipline is a personal governance. There are many ways to know a person: by their god, by their fears and appetites, by how they spend their money or organize their time. Who is in authority, who is in command here? On the other hand, leadership passes around and across the table as needed and the one in authority is not necessarily our leader.

I live in the Berkshires, a mountainous community about 140,000 strong. My irascible, aggressive temperament toward my fellow citizens has exiled or sidelined me to a peripheral almost insignificant role although when I arrived I was considered a problem solver, even a savior of the poor and the wealthy classes who feared for the future. Why mention this. He who knows patience knows peace. I have surely lost face often in my life. As a kid, lost most fights, as a man, chosen last to lead the squad or platoon. Only when every known leader had died did those in authority decide to use me. Someone must begin to write the federalist papers for the world. And, of course, it's being done and heard. Books in print, blogs, debates. My vision is a world where you can fly from Madagascar to Mississippi and be greeted by a sign that says Welcome to our land. Go about your business, setting off no bombs, and fly home. Perhaps take a lover for one afternoon.

The machine and the season are so far incompatible. The machine claims electrical problem. The house leaks from rain. The men who left the machine have started their own business. A new endeavor by which they will keep warm and purposeful. The junior partner, heavier, says the Grand Canyon's not so grand. Jaded individual or one to set himself against the depths, abyss? Man's systems. Man made the machine (and the town) from rocks mined next door. Some few men understand these invisible electrons moving the machine to perform. I still cannot imagine, i.e. my mind cannot move fast enough to know how so many particles can be sorted and split so quick to make words on a screen. My simplicity is terminal.

Today it is fall, early October. First day for long-sleeved shirts. The boys at school. I admonish Zach not to whine and complain about the work. Lately reading or practicing piano, prone to fits of frustration. To the point of claiming belly pain. Last night I dreamed I had pushed him to suicide. It is so important for a man to do no harm. This is what makes us crazy against Wolfowitz, willingness to **** to do good. Someone very sure of himself and shining, much wiser and more compassionate than me, has calculated for the world that more lives now for fewer later shall be sacrificed. The people he serves are cantankerous, disorderly, selfish and complaining. The same diverse, spoiled, unpatriotic revolutionaries as at the nation's beginning. Their refusal to be more than the sum of themselves is their saving grace.

Politics can be an escape from the personal, the debates are of little interest to a man in hospice. Will the machines do their work? How will we make decisions together? Roger Johnson's gravel pit must be killing his neighbors with the noise of boulders being pulverized to rock but Roger is certain his business is necessary for the public good. He knows he has a right to use his property as he sees fit. There is a noise ordinance, a state employee will travel out to measure the decibel level in your front yard as compared to the ambient noise level. There is a measurable amplitude beyond which the legislature has determined no citizen may be exposed or corporation go. It can be measured.

Measure for measure, all's well that ends well during a midsummer night's dream for the merry wives of Windsor. A million or more poets but only one Top Bard. How did he know so much about kings and fools and murderers? An Elizabethan and no Freedom of Information Act. Today it is fall. The legislature and president are at work and so are our machines. One by one and then in armies the leaves come down. It is not that someone must decide, we must decide how we will make decisions and where authority resides. What am I learning, sitting, watching the season turning? Content this morning to admire my sons' photos, reread my own poems searching for the prize answer, and answer the phone. I seem to be alienating potential business partners with a take it or leave it comme-ci comme-ca attitude. All you can do, the best that can be done is to go to your daily discipline. Driving home or waking up at night I think I'm dying. Do the much-admired writers of our time die more content than that?

War all the time. I've been fond of saying what distinguishes America is its daily low intensity warfare. Endless but not fatal conflict. Chambers of commerce, municipal government, big corporations wrestle nearly naked and will lie as needed for what? I tire like an 80 year old man of the storm and worry. I remember my early years when I had no known skill to offer and elections occurred without my vote being solicited. I noticed no harm or good I did was noticed. Autumn was all mine, mine alone, I was alone in the world with autumn. My mind could not stand it. I cried out for comfort, someone to obey. I needed to grow up and know money.

Anyway, what's this about, I'm not going anywhere, I chose to stay and hold my clod of soil in the landscape of community oh blah dah. I want like Shakespeare and other writers to discern the motivations of women, men, see through their lies to a humorous truth careless about success and able to explain why what happens today or on September 11th obtains. I was impressed by the critic who found that Shakespeare in Hamlet had tried to write about the thoughts of a man suspended between having decided to act and the act itself. Why bother he soliloquated why commit or submit to the great moment when mere men of bones and dust, disgusted with themselves and others are the actors of the moment, beheaders, rhymers, debtors. And, of course, the answer comes to one in the night like Chuang-tzu, or Lao, why not? The great moment is no greater than the small and the small no smaller than the great. You perform the history that surrounds you and go to your daily practice.

I'm something of a systems guy. I want the truth and death and worth to be independent of individual motives, paranoias, prejudice, peccadilloes, virginities, crucifixes, paradoxes, protons, protozoa or curses. I want pure human machinery, stainless steel, clear thinking, even handed, not a doubt that every doubt is wanted, needed, good to the last drop toward the ultimate ignition into outer space, colonization of diverse planets and immortality of the genome. Here's what's odd. While enduring ever more frequent panic attacks (and nudging toward survival and self-sufficiency my offspring) pounding and pinching my skin to stay sensate, maintain consciousness, I parabolate (always orbiting myself, eye on the tip of my *****) to another extreme, i.e. my belief mankind can escape the earth unlike Hamlet's dad's ghost.

A system is a set of inputs - values, policies, objectives, procedures, data - organized and repeated to generate significant quantities of desired outcomes without redesigning the system for each individual outcome. I design systems that allow people to do their best work regularly and predictably - instead of intermittently and by chance - and to produce outcomes in quantities large enough to make a difference in their communities. So I told Josh Rubenstein from Amnesty International at Ron Heifetz's daughter's coming of age party about my plan to reorganize the U.N. so only the democracies can vote and no nation has a veto. He said the world's not ready, with absolute certainty, knowledge and authority. I looked out the hotel window, this was shortly after 9/11, at dozens of American flags and a lone security guard. I'm always right I said to myself.
Julia Rose Jan 2012
I watched you play that violin;
your forehead wrinkled with frustration
as your fingers fumbled
with each bumble . . .
but I thought it was beautiful.
You have yet to play for long,
but you're really doing well!
I say these things, to your deaf ears,
for you refuse to hear
that your playing is beautiful.
Your determination spoke wonders
of your motivations.
You'd never give up,
even if it was rough.
P.S.) I think you're beautiful.
M Aug 2014
people seek only what they perceive to cause them good
people need attention, everything you or I do is for attention
I would not be posting poems on the internet if I did not want affirmation
you do nothing 'for yourself' or 'because I like to'
you 'like to' for a reason, because it serves some benefit
people are manipulative, they will use speech and body language to get what they want
people lie and steal and hurt
but they do it not because they know it is evil-
no, no one chooses to do an action that will cause them evil-
they do it because they are selfish
because the survival and progression of an individual
depends on the strength of his own self-interest
and it is in our nature to be selfish, that is just how we are
and the sooner we are honest about it, the better
for people can improve and work to benefit others
(but that will never be purely altruistic- benefiting others makes you happy-
therefore people give to others for themselves)
there are so many negative connotations to
'attention-seeking' and 'manipulative' when that is what each of us do,
every single day,
destroy these stigmas surrounding the truth-
the truth is, we are selfish,
but that is okay,
because that is who we are,
and that is who we have to be-
I have come to terms with this because I had to
you can never expect people to be more than they are
you must love them for all of them, rather than just the parts that are good or easy
all we have is each other and we cannot ignore that
because you have a choice in this world:
be ignorant of what people are, and hate them
be knowledgable of what people are, and hate them
be ignorant of what people are, and be deluded
or be knowledgable of what people are,
and learn to love them anyway.
Jaden Jun 2018
no more structured days
waking up at 5:30am and go to school
getting home to do homework
and drifting back to sleep at 10pm

my days slowly fall to pieces
no instructions on how to fix them
so the thoughts in my head
will run rampant again

just three more months
of this restricting freedom
squeezing my thoughts and actions
until my motivations been drained
DJ Thomas Jul 2010
Love and conscience

self image and experience

shape our very being

guide our motivations

freedoms of expression

ability to give ourselves

love with the gift of fun*


decisions made in the moment
leave embarrassment and guilt

ought we to learn and gain
not ponder them for ever

the flood of adolescence
its angst and experiences

cruelty, parenting, drugs
or our very survival

rob us, to shape us
separate - ourselves


nailing reactions
into our days
blanketing some
behind closed
blind eyes
for awhile
or forever
to leave us
with *****
or *****
and needs
more selfish
arrogant and


each our foibles and poetry

copyright© 2010
M Sep 2014
it is a strange practice, learning to understand someone
it begins with a rough sketch of 'the way they feel about
their parents' or 'what happened to their siblings'
and it progresses on with a Myers Briggs evaluation
sometimes taking their mental pulse in different subjects
marking what they care about and what they don't
enscribing the single sentence of their
self-worth, their desire, and their motivations
on whatever it is that binds the two of you together,
and growing with them and learning the way in which they grow
you know their crystal lattice and you know how it forms
a molecular structure in fractals, in fractals, in fractals
that builds and changes but is always quite the same,

I know what makes you laugh,
I know how to make you cry,
I have learned you and I know
which keyholes can be pressed, slid into, or clicked
I know of all your crevices and your breakages
and I know how to fix them or how to
drive a wedge so deep inside you that you splinter
I can map when your breath is short and I can chart
your secrets on the walls of my heart, kept there
like a case-file in a robbery- you have stolen
me, my very existence,
and there is an arrow and a pin and lines drawn
to every single bit of who you are
I have learned you, I have measured you,
you have been weighed and found wanting
and I know what it is you are wanting in the depths of your being
but the finding of these things is difficult and rocky and awkward
for you have taken what it is that is me and you have
patterned it over the immense and layered texture of you
breaking and filling holes, pouring into a mold
and I am invested, now, for I am made for you,
but there is no turning back and we must go on from here
I learn and change from the people around me
but first I must learn you.

It is a strange practice, learning to understand someone,
but once I understand you, then
now, now we can begin.
Reza Bavar Oct 2014
Reflected, in your eyes, I see...
Is that how you see me?
A taTteREd tappestry
    A misfit  
From my motivations and inspirations
These all seem to me to be reflected, you see, in what you see that I see reflected in me.
Eric W Aug 2013
You can see the effects,
but you cannot feel them.
No matter the amount of understanding,
in this, I am forever alone.
I try to remain strong, I try.
But the demons,
the fire and the darkness,
ruthlessly tear me apart.
And as much as I want to believe
I can control it,
they are separate               from me.
Once they take hold,
all I can do is reach for sanity,
which eludes so tortuously.
As the feeling creeps into my very soul,
I watch you, my friend, my lover,
become my enemy.
Your intentions seem vague and
sinister. Your motivations morph,
frightening and unreal.
I struggle,
against the demons.
I know you, they do not.
So they turn on me,
I am the *******.
I am the useless scumbag.
A willing sacrifice to be made
for you, my friend, my lover.
Are not my enemy.
Devastated was the word.  Yes, it fit.

The night before found her restless and fitful,  up and down, churning, besieged with scattered thoughts. Noisy chattering, fragmented bits of fear, hurt, shame, regret, disappointment and judgement, all jostling with one another, all scrabbling like jackals to be the first to gnaw on her bones.

Why was she carrying the full burden of shame? Had he not shown his flaws?

But as the indignation rose,  the words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn  wept through like an Artesian wellspring of wisdom reminding, "But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

"WAIT JUST ONE MINUTE HERE, AL!" she protested.
"Oh no!" says she to herself,  as she dusted off her Ouija board, "You will come back here!"  

Nervous fingers and shaky vocal chords work together in a synchronized effort to pull him away from his glass of fermented potato and there he was, a bearded wild haired man with an intense stare that left her wriggling under her skin. But she was on a mission and she would not be deterred.

Clearing her throat, she began, "Mr. Solzhenitsyn ---"
Aleksandr raised his hand up  in a gesture to stop her
His heavily accented English softly penetrated the air.
"Pебенок, tell me, what do you need?"
"I need to understand."
"Tell me why." he pressed.

"Why?"  She forced her words past the hurt that sat lumped in her throat,"I'm trying to make sense of betrayal. How can people insist they truly love even after lies have been uncovered?"
"Tell me Кэтрин, would you agree that morality can often be found to be at odds with passion and desire?"

She nodded.
He continued, "And that good intentions are often found to be at odds with unconscious motivations?"
"Yes." she whispered

Aleksandr sat thoughtful for a moment, then gently and softly spoke. "You understand Кэтрин, your problem is, you want too much from understanding. It cannot turn shadow into light and it cannot right wrongs. So, no Pебенок, you are not in need of understanding. What you need is to accept that a thing is what it is."

He drew on his pipe and smiled tenderly. 
 "And you need to make a decision.
You must decide if your wounds have made you more ... or have made you less."
Mitchell Duran Jan 2014
This standstill has to stop
There's no more blood on my hands
The clock has stopped ticking
My motivations are all thrown off
I'm locked in without a key

I walk and see this breathe in front of me
Strangers meander near collectively
Missing no meter of conversation with them
I grip my pocket and my pen

Oh' history never felt so far away
Funny everybody keeps telling me
It's all going to be okay
When they know as good as I
Sometimes you don't need a reason to cry

Money trees and empty banks
River flowing lazy and slow
She looks at me silent and low
Confused on what to do or where to go

Collapsed watches litter the grave site
Old' grandma just couldn't hang on
Snow is melting and the sun is coming out bright
I'll laugh if I make it through another night

Cradle me when I'm lonely
Leave me be when I'm high
Pay me when I've done my work
And love me when I've lost my sight

Apricot moon with red jelly perfume
Ankle tattoos and a crow that sews
We'll stay up all night baby, it'll be alright
Come here darling, I'll hold you tight

Never knew a promise I couldn't keep
Old mother would always weep
Whenever father would come home without a check
His heart was elsewhere whenever he held the deck

Taking notice of the frost around my desk
Pencils, pens, paper, books - no risk
A little danger in my ear with a devilish sneer
Magic never seemed so unclear

Fifteen rings scattered with no commercial promise
Oil spill divorce with an ocean all in flames
Can someone tell me the time or
At least that everything is going to be ok?
Daniel Regan Sep 2013
I fear the light with the sun and the dew. I fear my echoes that they might wake you.

I fear last night and I fear today. I fear the word that my motivations make us say.

I fear my regrets and I fear their truth. I fear that your maturity overpowers my youth.

I fear your thoughts and I fear your mind. I fear my willingness to be unapologetically kind.

I fear the silence that always rings through. I fear the awkward smiles they force out of you.

I fear my affections and how I react. I fear that my actions wont leave me intact.

I fear the road and I fear its end. I fear the message my silence will send.

I fear your love and I fear my pain. I fear the stillness that comes with the rain.

I fear my inaction and I fear my lingering hand. I fear where my emotions force me to stand.

I fear your smile and I fear his too. I fear the backstabbing that I just went through.

I fear my relations and their impact on me. I fear their power to bring me to my knee.

I fear the future and I fear my heart. I fear not returning from what was my start.

I fear my life and the time on my clock. I fear there is no one who can listen to me talk.

I fear my words and I fear yours too. I fear I have lost all trust in me and you.
let us perceive the world anew

and call to account that which

produces intolerable wrongs

of devious motivations

and let us give vindication

to a universal imperative

more powerful than

the pious injunctions of any belief system

whose lies cause such struggle of speech

to produce weird tormented admonitions

in hallucination

that pollutes with a tenacious

intractable meaningless vitality
Catherine Paige May 2010
For the first time
the flaws are fine

I can't justify them to my likes
I can't agree with why they exist
They are part of you currently
Currently I'm wanting to be part of you

I'm going to try and fix you up
Some flaws are ment to fade
But some of them I love
More than the ones I hate

False laughter inspiring real joy to burst from your lips
Movement lacking grace but never happiness
Motivations that are selfish but beautiful
The way you can't stop
This was written on January 5, 2009.

— The End —