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Nat Lipstadt Oct 2017
once upon a wrote

here and there, in fables and tales,
some in no guile and others
in chancier disguises,
some sine-known and some sign-unknown,
some dead in stillbirth,
some penned these words,
some a few decades old,
some of but a moment ago eyelash distant,
making me think that
someday I will scribe,
cobble some truths and
some falsehoods into one
leaping heaping melting scoop,
letting you decide,
which for better,
which for worse...


"No matter that plain words
are my ordinary tools,
With them I shall scribe the small,
Cherish the little, grab the middle,
Simplicity my golden rule,
Write they say,
about what you know best,
Surely in the diurnal motions,
The arc of daily commotion,
Do we not all excel?"


the reason we say so oft,
in whispers emboldened,

I love you

to our children
is not the utility of
its summarizing brevity

no, no.
it is because
the eloquence of simplicity
supersedes any other poem
any of us could ever write...


is this craft that chose you,
not defined by machine millimeters,
precision absolute,
curvatures, so eye-pleasing,
they demonstrate no tolerance
for tolerance of the ordinary?

the skill of words, too, cut so fine,
find the  extraordinary within,
refine, refine, refine,
shave away the trite,
the reused,
discard the instant recognition,


There are natural toxins in us all,
if you wish to understand the
whys, the reasons,
of the nearness of taking/giving away
what soully belongs to you,
do your own sums,
admit your own truths,
query not the lives of others,
approach the mirror...


The Truth Burden
is the accursed need obligatory,
the sacred sanctity requisitioned,
when the whenever,
chooses to drop in and upflag the mailbox,
an uninvited invitation,
announcing with precise bluntness,
that precisely now,
is the tool crafted moment
and you fool,
the selected tool

you must render unto Ceaser,
by your own hand,
render your own rendering,
do your own undoing,
go forth and in haste,
will thyself into the cauldron of the
Great Mystery of Creation

you cannot lie in poetry


come, sit for awhile, in poet's nook,
soft pillows for our hard Adirondack chairs,
situe hard by the bay, if too hot, we'll slow
drift to the sun room of
lace curtains and suicide poems,
still we'll observe the water, the rabbits, the cacophony low,
listening to all the noisier, nosier
creatures asking themselves,
and the trees and leaves,
where did all those poets come from?


to the interior delve,
via brush or limb,
pen or music,
the exposition, the exploration,
the reconstruction of composing
one's self, creation and destruction
of your own myths

movement of arms and legs,
sparseness of simplicity,
subsidiaries of centricity,
tributaries of complexity


how cold are the carpenter's hands,
the weather, but an added obstacle,
this heat, makes dying different difficult,
the wood bearing cross requires additional nails
and flesh, for the extra load he's bearing,
when it snows blood in Jerusalem

the whole world can transition
when one man dies and another is risen,
where oh where lies then, the juxtaposition?

there is none, for man is man,
his divine spark, embedded,
to his maker's mark, welded and wedded,
neither snow or sun,
can ever extinguish


now I ken better distance 'tween
artist and art,
I, a workingman's
daily dallying in simplistic machine craft,
my works deservedly lost in
the water-falling
of the endless also rans

non-nebulous distances.between skies of
Oregon country blue and
the worldy worn asphalt grayed words of
a graying man aging,
then let clarity speak, in plainest harmony,
know my deference’s soars to the high above,
one of us at birth, god gifted,
was not I,
it ain't me babe, but
one of us, his tongue,
like Moses-stung
with a hot coal
of language's divinity

Donall Dempsey Jul 2018
( for Brian )

"Your mum's an
ha ha ha ha alien!"

the children chant
and taunt.

I see through tears
their sneers and hated

etched upon
their features

like a mask they
could/couldn't take off.

It is like a thousand years ago
all over again.

The Age of the thing
called Trump

when humans were both
orange and stupid.

Now we have computers
built into each whorl

facts at our fingertips
with just a finger snap

we can call up what used to be
called videos

of the Trump thing
teaching humans how to hate.

I, unlike my sisters
am not green

except for
a slight greenish

hue every now
and then.

I am more the chameleon
and can blend in.

I have the necessary arms
and the obligatory number of eyes.

Only my mum and sisters
look like a lurid 1950's comic

yet earth would not be

here if aliens( us )had  not come
to save them from themselves

back when earth had entered
the Age of Dictators

as the history apps.
quaintly put it

Now is come again
the hateful hate

ma king Ame-rica
grate again

like a mind
grinding its teeth.

I'm sorry am
the English no good

and the spelling as well
we will

have to hide behind
our mind walls

that we had to build
to keep humans out.

My mother taking me
lovingly in her tentacles

stroking me and drying my eyes
and making tea

With a snap of my fingers
I bring up my favourite video

and a Kermit hologram
floats before my face

"It's not that  easy bein' green!"
and I singalong like any human being

"...when green is all there is to be."
Keep your eyes
On the pavement
There’s no telling
When it will begin
To drift away
To turn to rust
Or to drive
Itself crazy
So trust
You are alive
For a reason
Or a season
You can certainly
Try to hide
Your feelings
Keep them all
Inside of you
Or perhaps
That won't work
Love is just
Busted compromises
And wheat crusts
While we dust off
Our condolences
Solemn somnambulists
Seek retired singles
In obligatory
Obituary columns
Reprimanding angels
Fill our
Dinner tables
We are all lovers
From a fatal dose
Of something
That tastes a lot like
But is not quite
Total honesty
My body and I don't talk much anymore
But every night's a one night stand
Where brief connections are where we can barely stand to meet
My emotions and I haven't been on good terms lately
What does that say if I can't even understand me?

I hold genetics responsible for my obsessive tendencies
I think hyperfixation runs in the family
My father hoards movies
And I could count more DVDs
In our basement than words he ever ******* said to me

My brother liked rubix cubes
So he learned how to solve one in under a minute
Only took him 3 days
And I'm pretty sure the only language I ever spoke belonged to fiction

Is there a word for love that's obligatory?
The place in your chest where the hearts supposed to be?

Nothing is more my catnip
Than *** fiction
Because nothing is so enticing and foreign to me
Than love between men
Something so close to me
yet so out of reach

When I fall in love
I make a point to keep that person at a distance
Proximity breeds diapointment
And the less I know
The less I have to stop loving
That may sound tragic
But it hasn't hurt so far
Ignorance is not bliss
but it IS fleeting
It is temporarily uncomplicated feelings

Let's ignore the divorcé I've become from my body
Let's talk about my social anxiety
In public
where there's a target on my back and the darts are her and she
Let me believe
Pray one day that when I hear strangers say he
I think
I believe
they mean me

All my life I have been

inside a photo album
like little windows onto the past.

Here is even the obligatory
naked baby on hearth rug.

Mother's favourite
"I could only love you when

you were this small
...pity you couldn't stay a baby!"

With every page of the page I
grow up

impercitable at first but
then here I am again and again

at different stages of
who I am.

I flick the pages so
that I become

an awkward home movie
the semblance of life.

One time the world lives
in black and white.

Another - it's Kodachrome
here I am crying in colour.

Mother paying more attention
to the photos than to me.

I feel trapped in photos
as if sunlight had solidified

made the moment

The photo album sits
on top of the bonfire.

Burning the past.
Time going up in flames.

A black smoke reaches up
to touch an empty evening sky

as if creating the darkness
as night falls.

One photo manages to escape
snatched by the wind.

Obligatory naked baby
on hearth rug

with half its head
burnt off.

"Not so fast!"
I tell it.

Feed it to the embers
a flame flickers

back to life
eats it greedily.

"Ashes to ashes!"
I pontificate

as if I were the priest
of my own destruction.
Sid Lollan Aug 2017
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

(Authors of (obligatory)
Redemption: what is true genius if it ain’t dead yet?
Let you, who **** it, not be present for its resurrection.)

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

i had a nightmare:

i opened the door of my ranch-house in the boonies of
southern pa.
out-into the grasses of the old Congo;
There stood the Lion.
20 feet away
i, frozen in the magnitude of his vision;
spirit, dominated by his
Not even a growl.
i remained
paralyzed—he licked the backs of his paws
and combed a wiry mane...
…a halfa-second was a year if it was a halfa-second now...
somewhere in there
i regained my legs and without knowing
grabbed the doorknob. Twist. Open. Step inside.
turn to close the...doorway is gone, the house has vanished

i was nothing but-a body of plastic fear
melted and cast into mannequin limbs and head.
i could feel the Lion’s entire, real
spirit crushing spirt
on my hollow caste self.

his breathe stunk of blood that
forced my replicaego into infant curl…
…Finally, the beast roared a canyon
i shivered!
a shiver that shook inside my head
thru the spine to shake
my bones inside the bed.

Thru the constricting red curtain of bloodclot eye
spy the tiny eclipse
of the Black Crow inna massive sheet of african sun;
i must be dead already.
The Lion feels the Crow perched onna cape fig nearby
and his muscles tighten accordingly, his beastly hunger
displaced by boiled-blood anger.

with the beast
where Fear has reached saturation-point;
it is Nothing if it is Everything…
…the Crow lets out a hiss
like spikes of radio-static, interrupted by series
of whooping-caws…
…stomach vibrated by the Lion’s low,
almost internal growl. For the
first time, his tranquilizing orbs
divert from mine
to capture the Black Crow perched on the dying cape fig.
uncertainty taps my shoulder…then…i feel my body;
the weight releases
and as i motion to rise from the grass and dirt, the Congo dissolves and i’m
sitting up on my mattress with broken springs in the humid
summer slumber of southern pa.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

-What security?
under deep-cover;
jungian re-uploads. Them. Resurrected witha blackmarket
medicine a Witch Doctor devolution;
Replicate, regenerate, forever
<01100101 01100001 01110100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110100 01100001 01101001 01101100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01100111 01110010 01101111 01110111 00100000 01100001 00100000 01101000 01100101 01100001 01100100>
Bottom feeding grave robbers and tomb vandals are all they are!-

-Better check what ya put down here…liable to shape a ghoul,
and you know this haunt is made-up of enough spooks-

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Professors of chaos preach:
O wanderers!
write me the manifesto
walking atop a line of hot coals
-I smell me some burning soles-

(They intend to:
Pour, pure from cold-clear spring-spout
      into muddy-brown-clay, dissolved,
rushing against dried-up bones of gully-walls…
…the Crow just sits above
         and laughs there

Don’t ya see it?)

is not about the past,
about what the present
can mold the past
for the future.
-the marble’s trajectory sure to
flip onnit’s axis d’pending on which record you dig-

(One mistake
can a coward make
one accident happen
up-on that a martyr stake’d.
etched in the rut of each separate fate;)

The lion
must roar for his P R I D E
lion wears his hide
as a mascot
Black Crow eats crow egg blues
        black crow spotted me yellow in the bushes
pants down, gun-in-hand
-send your prayers-

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
SJG Sep 16
God is looming every day.
That plagiarist's life was snuffed in a night.

I'm a focus.
I'm hocus pocus.
I made a killing on the coast.
The killer coast.

Night ****** blooming in a tomb;
The fastest voice in any room.
The evaporation of a trembling touch;
A rabbit caught expired in a hutch.

This obligatory kite
Is riding high on the breeze tonight.

Locomotion, I have devotion
To any dreadnought shipping ***** around the coast.
The killing coast.

**** 'em, boys.
Striken your demands.

How it feel? Why it feel?
I find myself at the steps
Of the executioner's block.
I do not see an axe
Or dream a less fecund stop.

Setting shop at the outskirts of things.
Curious waifish spirits fog through the border
Of what they was, and what they thought they think.

**** 'em, boys.
A life is worth only so many groats.

Drowned sickly rodents.
Tumours budding in those solitary groves.

How it feel? Why it feel?
The walls of this house hide
A colony of little red ants.
They are not enemies of you or me,
Just victims of circumstance.
my way to say,
present, in Wonderland.

present in your life when least expected,
no qualifying reassurance reason,
and best!
dessert-deserved more than the rest of the days

prefer to have a postman ring twice,
imagining the look on your confused face,
the genuine life velocity wholeheartedly surprised,
the tickling happiest angst of wondering why...

the present of presence is selfish, me-gleeful,
good for the soul, and the surprise message,
for my presence is all the greater by my absence,
well, it tickles that warm spot you almost forgot about
that no rowed columnar calendar manager can pretend provide

that’s what is all about...
(and stop grinning already)
the unexpected, the ******* jack wondering,
the whys grows lesser,  
the message très simple:
the no reason season of surprise,
starts with a daily sunrise..  

C'est la vie au pays des merveilles

(Holiday and Birthday wishes/presents are now de rigeur, obligatory,
forgetting unacceptable, even as a date’s meaning grow less significant,
now that we’re on Facebook to be advised by AI that controls it & destroys simultaneously,
the reduction of the remembering quality of life)
Äŧül Oct 2018
My Progenitor along my Father,
She loves me as if She'll take care,
Of me and my needs today & forever.

My Mother is an inspiration for me,
She has tasted success after toiling for it,
Harder in nights than in days totally.

My studies were Her priority in my school days,
She is no different in these different college days,
Never does She let her mind divert Her gaze.

My language skills, I inherited from Herself,
She taught me Hindi, English & Kannada,
I learnt and honed the Sanskrit by myself.

My German & French are elementary, but,
She never discourages me or calls my efforts,
To learn them both, with passing time, rudimentary.

My health has been Her top priority,
She ignored Her own & there was a difficulty,
Her knees gave away and needed to be replaced.

My Father loves me too but my Mother is special,
She left Her beloved Karnataka to marry my father,
Now She looks after my Father as I am alright.

I am lucky, very lucky indeed, that I have them,
She is a living legend married to Another,
This poem is more about Her and a bit about my caring father too.

My Mother taught me how to speak,
How to speak and how to live, not just once,
But along my Father, she taught it all twice.

My Mother, along my Father, defines God,
Probably this is the case with everybody,
But few realise it when Death makes a ****.

I have seen her weeping for me when I was unwell,
Now it's my obligatory duty apart from a natural one,
Her I shall make proud along with my father, not just once but always.
A slam poem that I wrote on 25 October 2018.
Place: Exhibition Unit, National Dairy Research Institute campus, Karnal
My HP Poem #1725
©Atul Kaushal
S Smoothie Apr 18
The flicker of last nights midnight memory rushed through my head
the heart gave an obligatory thump while it tried to double summersault
it was the slightest touch bare skin on bare skin but I felt it so deep
magnatised by the heat in your stare, hips arching to its target
lips parted hanging in the air sending out invitations without care
it was a moment locked in eternity and you bent your head everso slightly
I swore swore you leaned in just before your phone rang
and love had brought you back to your senses and left me with
sweet nothings and a ache gouged deep across my pelvis
that tore me unexpectedly all the way through my heart

because you texted to say hey.
anna Mar 31
Raindrops splattered across the squeaky window as Lily slipped into a world entirely her own. She found out that the slightly dilapidated beige sofa can provide an alarmingly pacifying dark fortress.
It was the storm in her living room which led her to this point.

Her mother was a peculiar human in the aspect of coping methods. Most would turn to alcohol, but Lily's mother turned to books.

One would think a child of such age possessed great privilege, having such a mosaic of resources on literature, words, and literacy.

Every morning, Lily's mother would slip into a world entirely her own. Some days, her face would hold the cover of a Patrick O'Brian and other sleepy days would entail a bit of nineteenth-century British novels. Whatever the cover, the woman's disposition was also affected.

"Lily, listen to this- doesn't it sound blue?" The woman hoarded phrases from each book, and soon, Lily's mother was an endless world of words. Her mother's affinity for quotes turned into a tasteful obsession. Lily was naive to the abnormalities in associating words with colors; such as ‘nebulous' with orange, and 'surreptitious' with purple. To her, language was rich in color and feeling.

One might also surmise a girl with such enlightenment would take after her progenitor. Lily did not. Though, she was above her class in reading comprehension and competency, the very thought of books sent flashes of buried grudges.

"Everyone needs a therapist. The poor girl's been through so much," they say. 'They' being the individuals at church. After service, the doors would open. Lily would do everything in her power to weave around the sea of meaty vociferous faces. She didn't need their pity. Nothing happened.

'Nothing' meaning... perhaps a little something. Her father died. This, (Lily suspected) was the cause of her mother's book addiction. It must be peculiar for the spectator witnessing the situation from above. As we've stated before: most turn to alcohol.

Years elapsed in which an occurrence she termed, "The Rebellion," began her mother’s book exodus. She was never truly present and Lily desired for her to see the world as it was now- not in a novel or in the pages of fantasy.

The piano rang throughout the room every morning and every night for about an hour. Lily often turned to classical Vivaldi, Yiruma, or a dash of Paganini piano covers. She drank music like a shriveled sponge. Of course, her hobbies would be as far away from books as possible since she believed them to be an obligatory evil.

Tunes danced across her soul like the ghost of a memory almost arising. The voice of a piano carried bursts of purples, yellows, and reds. White and black keys proved unchanging and reliable. Lily latched to the idea.

"I'm going to play her out." The mourning doves cooed in the almost-vacant neighborhood, while two girls of the same height and age were ensconced under a magnolia tree near the street, their legs crisscrossed on grass.

"Too much piano?" Haley asked, plucking a dandelion from its roots while squeezing milky sap from the stalk with her fingernails.

"No, I want to." Lily answered.

A thought crossed her mind. Each book infested mother with unique feelings. Then, Lily deduced there is no such thing as too much piano.

It was quiet in the house as Lily had no siblings and the book-trace rendered mother speechless. Tape recorder near the piano, and fingers at the keys, she began playing au fait on her version of Vivaldi's Spring Season. She kept the imagery of wedding cake and rings in her mind. She introduced the song to her hands by means of segmented versions, leading towards the final masterpiece. Her aural senses acute, listening for the best complimentary notes. Soon, her fingers had written poetry. She liked to think that her left and right hand owned different stories to perform, yet once they met on-stage, they heightened the essence of each other's tales.

Lily played verses countless times until she was out of breath. If someone told her piano was a sport, Lily would concur.

The final piece was recorded on an 'old-fashioned' tape. Heart pounding, she tiptoed upstairs to her mother's hiding place.

"...a thin place where tissue paper separates the material from the spiritual.." the woman greeted Lily. She never looked up from her book.

"Listen, it's white,” the woman voiced hazily. Lily shoved the tape in her face. The mother’s hand reached out from behind the book, feeling the air before finally resting her hand on the plastic rectangle, sliding it into the player

and the music journeyed to her ears.

"Hmmm..." she said. And then all was quiet.

"I've got her." Lily declared in the convenience store on a rainy day.

"With a cake?"

"It was her wedding song. You know- the one playing while the bride walks in."

"What'd she say?"


"Why can't you just wake her up with some coffee?" Haley suggested as a golden aurora arose from behind the clouds.

Most of Lily’s playing sessions caused her to neglect her own physical well-being. So she rinsed a dusty plastic cup from the cupboard and filled it with water. M&Ms were food Lily associated with her sessions and she couldn't play without developing that deep-rooted Pavlovian response. Finally, in an attempt to be healthier, a plastic water cup was to her right, and M&Ms in a bag were to her left on the piano seat.

But first, a small kick in her belly drove her to a slight guilt. See, she believed in music the way some do religion, and thus, she did what others do when confronted with a critical moment in life.

"I'll bring her out," she began, "and I'll play for the rest of my life. If I can't, I'll give up music forever." She placed her fingers on the keys, completing the oath. And this occurred only because she was twelve and incredulously naïve in the field of religious traditions, that she didn't know that most oaths offered to a deity of higher power involved some form of great sacrifice for a desired result. This meant that her risk was greater than others, as it meant winning or losing it all.

Lily drew a deep breath, filling her nose with the memories of coffee. She began playing. An odd little tune traveling from her brain to the keys before her.

"Remember me, when we lived far away, down in the lonely lighthouse..." her mother chanted and Lily only half listening as she painted the cover of a CD containing her finished piano piece: Coffee.

"The sea air- spill in that lighthouse. The comfort we felt in that lighthouse." Her mother continued absorbing the ink on the pages, "Remember me, when I flew away with that chilling, cold sea breeze..."

Lily clicked the clear cover shut, handing it to the "Collective Works of Julie G." Once again, a wandering hand shot out from behind the cover, searching for the CD. Her mother did not look up.

"Music or an experiment?" she asked

"We'll see." Lily answered.

Her mother raised the CD to her player and inserted the disk, pressing play. Her wandering hand felt a small cup of coffee and as the music played, she sipped it slowly- quite peculiar. Her eyes looking up from the pages as though she were staring at something far away and her face, rubescent.

"Where did you learn to play that?" she said, leaning back and closing her eyes.

Haley and Lily entered a quintessential music store. Guitars lined the walls and classic vinyls were stacked on shelves. Small sleek keyboards welcomed guests as they stepped inside, synchronous to the resonance of a sharp bell.

Lily sped towards the CD section nestled near the corner in the store, while Haley flipped through the pages of violin classics.

"Lily, you're missing something." Haley noted from across the room, flippantly exasperated.

"Coffee didn't work." Lily replied in despair. "I thought I had her, but I didn’t."

Haley walked back towards her friend, new sheet music in hand, "Everyone's heart breaks a little differently and that means every cure must be unique. But there's something we all need- to feel safe. You did that for her."

"Then why is she still gone?"

"Because In order to return, she needs to remember what she lost and she needs to want it again... hold on." Haley held out a piano book in her hands. It was a neat white book with dark blue ink. Lily furrowed her brows.

"Just read it, Lily." Haley urged in the most loving way possible.

She still refused to use the book, diverging more from Haley’s instruction, cajoling her mother by use of classical music, modern music, and healing music. But nothing resolved and it seemed as though her oath to the Greater Deity would not fall in her favor.

It took a graying day for Lily to dig in her backpack and pull out the vile book. Inside revealed crisp white music sheets.

She itched to throw it away, however, something caught her eyes:

Kiss the Rain.

Lily stopped and stared out the window, inhaling to smell petrichor.

"Well, okay then." she reasoned. She pulled out  the piano bench and began finding the first few notes. The rest fell into sight reading. Just as the rain trickled down the living room window, the music trickled into the home's inhabitants' ears. Rain engulfed her soul.

The piece finished with a light touch on the last note. It resounded through the cozy expanse.

"I have something for you, mom." Lily proclaimed, placing the CD in her mother's hand, which then traveled to the player.

The woman failed to look up from her book, only staring into the distant pages as the notes tapped inside her ears. Ever so slightly, her eyes began to close and Lily could see the notes dancing behind eyelids.

"It feels like... rain." she commented. And as the last tickling touch of the last raindrop echoed through the dark room, her mother looked up, smiling at the sound, and her eyes met her daughter's.

"Why, Lily," she said, her voice laced with surprise, "look how you've grown.”
Short story!!
CL Fjell Mar 26
"All ears to me, I have problems"
Says the irrefutably woeful girl.
She'll expel her lungs powerfully,
Informing those around her how
Obviously, terribly, depressed she is.

Her friends will know!
Her family will know!
Her cats will know,
and the dogs too, will know!
But do they really know?

Do they know she's waiting?
Waiting indeed for a response
Other than "I'm sorry",
More than those lackluster words
That even her cats could mew.

In her mind she's begging for love.
For attention.
For a purpose.
But instead of drive from this disposition,
She sulks, she whines
She drags others down.

Like a benign tumor
She worries all she infects
With her seeking gaze
And obligatory wretchedness.
So they too feel her discomfort.
So they too might feel bad for her,
Like she does for herself.

Worried one day they'll all disappear
Like birds in her winter
She doesn't realize she's
For the girl that is always depressed
Starlight Jul 2018
He is
curled in
dark eyes
and a
smile that
makes her
want to

She is
of his
that he sends
birthday cards

she believes
non representative
of his
true feelings

she is
cursing him
winter storms
curl around her
wrists and
tie her
to the
leaking ceiling

he always

she wonders
what it means

she knows
would never
look at

she is
not much

but she
cannot stop
heart from
like some
as he
so radiant


in her

she thinks
she might
hate him
for being

he is
too similar
to the
wind that
crashes over her
the warm
that gives her
gold dust tingles
the gentle
hand that
on her
cheek and
drifts like
with small
to the
crest of her


— The End —