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I am
always falling for
the pavement.
The cold,
the rough,
the hard
pavement.

This pavement
yells,
screams
for me.

So
I look
and
I stare,
all day
and
all night,
giving it the
attention
I think it
deserves.

You begin
to realize  
the pavement is
a thing of
beauty.
So smooth,
so equal,
so perfect.
  
I yearn for
the pavement,
its wonder
more exquisite  
than anything
else in my
life.

Yet I am
clumsy
and trip,
and fall,
colliding  
with the
pavement.

Crimson
droplets
fall from
my nose,
landing on
the pavement
as I leave
the pavement.

It was hard
like falling
in love,
but not
being loved
in return.
howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

     The once busy street was fast emptying now, the lure of shop windows no longer enticed the casual browser as local traders closed their premises to the oncoming night, solitary lampposts curved hazily into the distance, casting little more than insipid pools mirrored in the gutter below, only the occasional stranger scurrying home on a bleak, rain swept afternoon, the hurried slap of wet leather soles on the pavement, the sightless umbrellas, the infrequent rumble of a half filled bus, hell-bent on its way to oblivion.

     In the near distance as the working day ended, a sudden emergence of factory workers told Beamish it was 5-o'clock, most would be hurrying home to a hot meal, while others, for a quick drink perhaps before making the same old sorry excuse... for Jack, the greasy spoon would be closing about now, denying him the comfort of a badly needed cuppa' and stale cheese sandwich.  A subtle legacy of lunchtime fish and chips still lingered in the air, Jack's stomach rumbled, there was little chance of a fish supper for Beamish tonight, it protested again... louder.

     From beneath the eaves of the building opposite several pigeons broke cover, startled by the rattle as a shopkeeper struggled to close the canvas awning above his shop window.  Narrowly missing Beamish they flew anxiously over the rooftops, memories of the blitz sprang to mind as Jack stepped smartly to one side, he stamped his feet... it dashed a little of the weather from his raincoat, just as the rain dashed a little of the pigeons' anxiety from the pavement... the day couldn't get much worse if it tried.  Shielding his face, Jack struck the Ronson one more time and cupped the freshly lit cigarette between his hands, it was the only source of heat to be had that day... and still it rained.

     'By Appointment to Certain Personages...' the letter heading rang out loudly... 'Jack Beamish ~ Private Investigator...' a throat choking mouthful by any stretch of the imagination, thought Jack and shot every vestige of credulity plummeting straight through the office window and amidst a fanfare of trumpet voluntary, nominate itself for a prodigious award in the New Year Honours list.   Having formally served in a professional capacity for a well known purveyor of pickled condiments, who  incidentally, brandished the same patronage emblazoned upon their extensive range of relish as the one Jack had more recently purloined from them... a paid commission no less, which by Jack's certain understanding had made him, albeit fleeting in nature, a professional consultant of said company... and consequently, if they could flaunt the auspicious emblem, then according to Jack's infallible logic, so could Jack.  

     The recently appropriated letterhead possessed certain distinction... in much the same way, Jack reasoned, that a blank piece of paper did not... and whereas correspondence bearing the heading 'By Appointment' may not exactly strike terror into the hearts of man... unlike a really strong pickled onion, it nevertheless made people think twice before playing him for the fool, which sadly, Jack had to concede, they still invariably did... and he would often catch them wagging an accusing finger or two in his direction with such platitudes as... "watch where you put your foot", they'd whisper, "that Jack's a right Shamus...", and when you'd misplaced your footing as many times as Jack had, then he reasoned, that by default the celebrated Shamus must have landed himself in more piles of indiscretion than he would readily care to admit, but that wouldn't be quite accurate either, in Jack's line of work it was the malefactor that actually dropped him in them more often than not.

     A cold shiver suddenly ran down his spine, another quickly followed as a spurt of icy water from a broken rain spout spattered across the back of his neck, he grimaced... Jack's expression spoke volumes as he took one final pull from his half soaked cigarette and flicked it, amid an eruption of sparks against the adjacent brick wall.  Sinking further into the shadow he tipped his fedora against the oncoming rain, then, digging both hands deep within his pockets, he huddled behind the upturned collar of his gabardine... watching.

     It was times such as these when Jack's mind would slip back, in much the same way you might slip back on a discarded banana peel, when a matter of some consequence, or in particular this case the pavement, would suddenly leap up from behind and give the back of Jack's head a resoundingly good slapping and tell him to "stop loafing around in office hours... or else", then drag him, albeit kicking and screaming back into the 20th century.  This intellectual assault and battery re-focused Jack's mind wonderfully as he whiled away the long weary hours until his next cigarette; cup of tea, or the last bus home, his capacity to endure such mind boggling tedium called for nothing less than sheer ******-mindedness and very little else... Beamish had long suspected that he possessed all the necessary qualifications.  

     Jack had come a long way since the early days, it had been a long haul but he'd finally arrived there in the end... and managed to pick up quite a few ***** looks along the way.  Whilst he was with the Police Constabulary... and it was only fair to stress the word 'with', as opposed to the word 'in'... although the more Jack considered, he had been 'with' the arresting officer, held 'in' the local Bridewell... detained at Her Majesties pleasure while assisting the boys in blue with their enquiries over a minor infringement of some local by-law that currently had quite slipped his mind at that moment.  Throughout this enforced leisure period he'd managed to read the entire abridged editions of Kilroy and other expansive works of graffiti exhibited in what passed locally as the next best thing to the Tate Gallery, whereupon it hadn't taken Jack very long to realise that it was always a good place to start if you wanted free breakfast, in fact the weeks bill of fare was tastefully displayed in vivid, polychromatic colour on the wall opposite... you just had to be au-fait with braille.
                            
     No matter how industrious Beamish laboured to rake the dirt there always appeared to be a dire shortage of gullible clients for Jack to squeeze, what would roughly translate as an honest crust out of, and although his financial retainer was highly competitive he understood that potential clients found it bewildering when grappling with the unplumbed depths of his monthly expense account, which would tend to fluctuate with the same unpredictability as the British weather, the rest of Jack's agenda revolved around a little shady moonlighting... in fact he'd happily consider anything to offset the remotest possibility of financial delinquency... short of extortion... which by the strangest twist was the very word prospective clients would cry while Jack beavered around the office with dust-pan and brush sweeping any concerns they may have had frantically under the carpet regarding all culpability of his extra-curricular monthly stipend... and they should remain assured at all times... as they dug deep and fished for their cheque books, and simply look upon it as kneading dough, which eerily enough was exactly the thick wedge of buttered granary that Jack had every intention of carving.

     Were there ever the slightest possibility that a day could be so utterly wretched, then today was that day, Jack felt a certain empathy as he merged with his surroundings... at one with nature as it were.  The rain, a timpani on the metal dustbin lids, by the side of which Beamish had taken up vigil, also taking up vigil and in search of a morsel was the stray mongrel, this was the third time now that he'd returned, the same apprehensive wag, yet still the same hopeful look of expectation in his eyes, a brief but friendly companion who paid more attention to Jack's left trouser leg than anything that could be had from nosing around the dustbins that day... some days you're the dog, scowled Beamish as he shook his trouser leg... and some days the lamppost, Jack's foot swung out playfully, keeping his new friend's incontinence at a safe distance, feigning indignance  the scruffy mongrel shook himself defiantly from nose to tail, a distinct odour of wet dog filled the air as an abundance of spent rainwater flew in all directions.   Pricking one ear he looked accusingly at Jack before turning and snuffled off, his nose resolutely to the pavement and diligently, picking out the few diluted scents still remaining, the poor little stalwart renewed its search for scraps, or making his way perhaps to some dry seclusion known only to itself.
  
     Two hours later and... SPLOSH, a puddle poured itself through the front door of the nearest Public House... SPLOSH, the puddle squelched over to the payphone... SPLOSH, then, fumbling for small change dialled and pressed button 'A'..., then button 'B'... then started all over again amid a flurry of precipitation... SPLASH.  The puddle floundered to the bar and ordered itself a drink, then ebbed back to the payphone again... the local taxi company doggedly refused to answer... finally, wallowing over to the window the puddle drifted up against a warm radiator amidst a cloud of humidity and came to rest... flotsam, cast upon the shore of contentment, the puddle sighed contentedly... the Landlady watched this anomaly... suspiciously.

     The puddle's finely tuned perception soon got to grips with the unhurried banter and muffled gossip drifting along the bar, having little else to loose, other than what could still be wrung from his clothing... Beamish, working on the principle that a little eavesdropping was his stock-in-trade engaged instinct into overdrive and casually rippled in their general direction...  They were clearly regulars by the way one of them belched in a well rehearsed, taken-a-back sort of way as Jack took stock of the situation and was now at some pains to ingratiate himself into their exclusive midst and attempt several friendly, yet relevant questions pertinent to his enquiries... all of which were skillfully deflected with more than friendly, yet totally irrelevant answers pertinent to theirs'... and would Jack care for a game of dominoes', they enquired... if so, would he be good enough to pay the refundable deposit, as by common consent it just so happened to be his turn...  Jack graciously declined this generous offer, as the obliging Landlady, just as graciously, cancelled the one shilling returnable deposit from the cash register, such was the flow of light conversation that evening... they didn't call him Lucky Jack for nothing... discouraged, Beamish turned back to the bar and reached for his glass... to which one of his recent companions, and yet again just as graciously, had taken the trouble to drink for him... the Landlady gave Jack a knowing look, Beamish returned the heartfelt sentiment and ordered one more pint.

     From the licenced premises opposite, a myriad of jostling customers plied through the door, business was picking up... the sudden influx of punters rapidly persuaded Beamish to retire from the bar and find a vacant table.  Sitting, he removed several discarded crisp packets from the centre of the table only to discover a freshly vacated ashtray below... by sleight of hand Jack's Ronson appeared... as he lit the cigarette the fragile smoke curled blue as it rose... influenced by subtle caprice, it joined others and formed a horizontal curtain dividing the room, a delicate, undulating layer held between two conflicting forces.

     The possibility of a free drink soon attracted the attention of a local bar fly, who, hovering in the near vicinity promptly landed in Jack's beer, Beamish declined this generous offer as being far too nutritious and with the corner of yesterdays beer mat, flipped the offending organism from the top of his glass, carefully inspecting his drink for debris as he did so.

     A sudden draught and clip of stiletto heels as the side door opened caused Beamish to turn as a double shadow slipped discreetly into the friendly Snug... a little adulterous intimacy on an otherwise cheerless evening.  The faceless man, concealed beneath a fedora and the upturned collar of his overcoat, the surreptitious lady friend, decked out in damp cony, cheap perfume and a surfeit of bling proclaimed a not too infrequent assignation, he'd seen it all before... the over attentive manner and the band of white, Sun-starved skin recently hidden behind a now absent wedding token, ordinarily it was the sort of assignment Jack didn't much care for... the discreet tail, the candid snapshot through half drawn curtains... and the all too familiar steak tartare... for the all too familiar black eye.

     To the untrained eye, the prospect of Jack's long anticipated supper was rapidly dwindling, when it suddenly focused with renewed vigour upon the contents of a pickled egg jar he'd observed earlier that evening, lurking on the back counter, his enthusiasm swiftly diminished however as the belching customer procured the final two specimens from the jar and proceeded to demolish them.  Who, Jack reflected, after being stood out in the rain all day, had egg all over his face now... and who, he reflected deeper, still had an empty stomach.  Disillusioned, Jack tipped back his glass and considered a further sortie with the taxicab company.

     "FIVE-BOB"!!! Jack screamed... you could have shredded the air with a cheese grater... hurtling into the kerb like a fairground attraction came flying past the chequered flag at a record breaking 99 in Jack's top 100 most not wanted list of things to do that day... and that the cabby should think himself fortunate they weren't both stretched flat on a marble slab, "exploding tyres" Jack spluttered, dribbling down his chin, were enough to give anyone a coronary... further broadsides of neurotic ambiance filled the cab as the driver, miffed at the prospect of missing snooker night out with the lads, considered charging extra for the additional space Jack's profanity was taking...

     And what part of 'Drive-Carefully', fumed Beamish, did the cabby simply not understand, that pavements were there to be bypassed, 'Nay Circumvented', preferably on the left... and not veered into, wildly on the front axle... an eerie premonition of 'jemais-vu' perched and ready to strike like a disembodied Jiminy Cricket on Jack's left shoulder, looking to stick its own two-penny worth in at the 'Standing-Room-Only' arrangements in the overcrowded cab... and at what further point, Jack shrieked, eyes leaping from his head as he lurched forward, shaking his fist through the sliding glass partition, had the cabbie failed to grasp the importance of the word 'Steering-Wheel...' someone wanted horse whipping, and as far as Beamish was concerned the sole contender was the cab driver...

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
Olivia Amelia Mar 2015
you are curled into a shell of a back hallway
into the syncopated off-beat
into the dark when I close my eyes when I cannot bear to watch this anymore
I have seen it
I have seen this movie and the hero dies at the end and the girl cries
the funeral is too loud in the grave by the highway where the cars can’t stop
won’t stop

and I am bleeding out in between your fingertips
I am pouring out between the ridges of the carpet and even in all of my pieces I can see you refuse to admit that you are holding my life in your hands

I could live without you for at least an hour
I could do it
I could forget
I could live for sixty glorious minutes
I could crush the bitter glass between my swollen lips and taste you on every ragged inhalation
and live
I don’t believe you
neither do I but you could at least lie, for my sake, you could at least try to pick up the pieces
What pieces?
*******
What pieces?
the pieces
What pieces?
the ones on the pavement
What pavement?
my pavement
The pavement you chose, the pavement you are painted on, the pavement you are falling between the cracks of
Yes, the pavement
It’s red hot this time of year
I know.  How long has it been?
4 minutes
Am I dead yet?
No
Am I alive?
Not quite
*******
You’re just in pieces
I know.   How much longer till I’ve won?
A lifetime
Well how long will that take?
How should I know?
Am I done yet?
The girl’s feet won’t be ****** after she runs down the street
It’s dry, then
Cleaned,  by now
How long?
*Long enough
jax shaw Mar 2013
A disappointment I had a few
A setback or two has come around to me
But
When it comes to love
I am just two left feet in the wrong shoes
Falling stumbling just plain tongue tied
Leaving me……
Chasing pavement
Am I bound seeing thru these rose colored glasses
I persist no insist on wearing
Love being so exulting
Just leaves me exhausted
Falling in love I persist no insist on
Chasing pavement
I want to believe that hurt aint around the corner
But I am gonna believe
For now
Cause I am falling fast and hard I can love with a pure heart
This maybe a fresh start
Even if I get torn apart
I will enjoy this ride
Get all the chills have all the thrills
That your love offers me
Here I go all over again
Chasing pavement
Cut and bruised
From love’s gentle touch
Feeling abused
Sometimes used
I go ……chasing pavement
I have my arms open
To embrace it all
Eyes wide shut
Ready able no matter what
Yelling at the top of lungs
My declaration of devotion
For that rollercoaster ride
Called love
Chasing pavement with abandonment and joy
I am waiting
I have my many doubts
Well maybe just a few
Here I am
Falling
Flying
Feeling
My guards down and out
Chasing pavement
In love with………You
Visionary2020 Jul 2015
I have grown up in the same house most of my life
15 years ago I stood on the pavement of my driveway
Learning how to hula hoop for the first time
Meeting my next door neighbors

15 years later I stand on the pavement looking down
I can't help but think how much it saw
How many people have walked on it
Friends, family, acquaintances, random handymen, or FedEx people

I wonder how many heartbreaks its seen
How many tears have been shed
How many skinned knees have happened

Today I stood on the pavement and wondered how many more heartbreaks
people
tears
skinned knees it has left to see

How many more years this pavement would have with me
With my family

I stood on this pavement wondering how the time was ticking
How this pavement has maybe 5 years left with me

*With the footsteps of my family.
B Woods Dec 2009
Rumblin' pavement roar 'lectrifies my soul,
Full focus eyes gaze cool on the fast lane,
Wind thrills chills through my hair as the wheels roll.
     Feet firm as a diver, perfect control,
     Tremors to send a normal man insane,
     Rumblin' pavement roar 'lectrifies my soul.

Surf the concrete wave, curve the Ocean Bowl.
Take a gyrating trip outside the main.
Wind thrills chills through my hair as the wheels roll.
     Careful for the cracks, they'll charge you a toll
     Scraped shins, knees, knobby elbows, pain don't stain.
     Rumblin' pavement roar 'lectrifies the soul.

Mind focus Buddha, the trucks kiss the pole.
A good sesh, I'd consider that set slain.
Wind thrills chills through my hair as the wheels roll
     I'll always cruise, its like a summer stroll
     With a lover, but I'm riding this train.
Rumblin' pavement roar 'lectrifies my soul,
Wind thrills chills through my hair as the wheels roll.
FIRST DAY

1.
Who wanted me
to go to Chicago
on January 6th?
I did!

The night before,
20 below zero
Fahrenheit
with the wind chill;
as the blizzard of 99
lay in mountains
of blackening snow.

I packed two coats,
two suits,
three sweaters,
multiple sets of long johns
and heavy white socks
for a two-day stay.

I left from Newark.
**** the denseness,
it confounds!

The 2nd City to whom?
2nd ain’t bad.
It’s pretty good.
If you consider
Peking and Prague,
Tokyo and Togo,
Manchester and Moscow,
Port Au Prince and Paris,
Athens and Amsterdam,
Buenos Aries and Johannesburg;
that’s pretty good.

What’s going on here today?
It’s friggin frozen.
To the bone!

But Chi Town is still cool.
Buddy Guy’s is open.
Bartenders mixing drinks,
cabbies jamming on their breaks,
honey dew waitresses serving sugar,
buildings swerving,
fire tongued preachers are preaching
and the farmers are measuring the moon.

The lake,
unlike Ontario
is in the midst of freezing.
Bones of ice
threaten to gel
into a solid mass
over the expanse
of the Michigan Lake.
If this keeps up,
you can walk
clear to Toronto
on a silver carpet.

Along the shore
the ice is permanent.
It’s the first big frost
of winter
after a long
Indian Summer.

Thank God
I caught a cab.
Outside I hear
The Hawk
nippin hard.
It’ll get your ear,
finger or toe.
Bite you on the nose too
if you ain’t careful.

Thank God,
I’m not walking
the Wabash tonight;
but if you do cover up,
wear layers.

Chicago,
could this be
Sandburg’s City?

I’m overwhelmed
and this is my tenth time here.

It’s almost better,
sometimes it is better,
a lot of times it is better
and denser then New York.

Ask any Bull’s fan.
I’m a Knickerbocker.
Yes Nueva York,
a city that has placed last
in the standings
for many years.
Except the last two.
Yanks are # 1!

But Chicago
is a dynasty,
as big as
Sammy Sosa’s heart,
rich and wide
as Michael Jordan’s grin.

Middle of a country,
center of a continent,
smack dab in the mean
of a hemisphere,
vortex to a world,
Chicago!

Kansas City,
Nashville,
St. Louis,
Detroit,
Cleveland,
Pittsburgh,
Denver,
New Orleans,
Dallas,
Cairo,
Singapore,
Auckland,
Baghdad,
Mexico City
and Montreal
salute her.



2.
Cities,
A collection of vanities?
Engineered complex utilitarianism?
The need for community a social necessity?
Ego one with the mass?
Civilization’s latest *******?
Chicago is more then that.

Jefferson’s yeoman farmer
is long gone
but this capitol
of the Great Plains
is still democratic.

The citizen’s of this city
would vote daily,
if they could.

Chicago,
Sandburg’s Chicago,
Could it be?

The namesake river
segments the city,
canals of commerce,
all perpendicular,
is rife throughout,
still guiding barges
to the Mississippi
and St. Laurence.

Now also
tourist attractions
for a cafe society.

Chicago is really jazzy,
swanky clubs,
big steaks,
juices and drinks.

You get the best
coffee from Seattle
and the finest teas
from China.

Great restaurants
serve liquid jazz
al la carte.

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they serve is Jazz
Rock me steady
Keep the beat
Keep it flowin
Feel the heat!

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they is, is Jazz
Fast cars will take ya
To the show
Round bout midnight
Where’d the time go?

Flows into the Mississippi,
the mother of America’s rivers,
an empires aorta.

Great Lakes wonder of water.
Niagara Falls
still her heart gushes forth.

Buffalo connected to this holy heart.
Finger Lakes and Adirondacks
are part of this watershed,
all the way down to the
Delaware and Chesapeake.

Sandburg’s Chicago?
Oh my my,
the wonder of him.
Who captured the imagination
of the wonders of rivers.

Down stream other holy cities
from the Mississippi delta
all mapped by him.

Its mouth our Dixie Trumpet
guarded by righteous Cajun brethren.

Midwest?
Midwest from where?
It’s north of Caracas and Los Angeles,
east of Fairbanks,
west of Dublin
and south of not much.

Him,
who spoke of honest men
and loving women.
Working men and mothers
bearing citizens to build a nation.
The New World’s
precocious adolescent
caught in a stream
of endless and exciting change,
much pain and sacrifice,
dedication and loss,
pride and tribulations.

From him we know
all the people’s faces.
All their stories are told.
Never defeating the
idea of Chicago.

Sandburg had the courage to say
what was in the heart of the people, who:

Defeated the Indians,
Mapped the terrain,
Aided slavers,
Fought a terrible civil war,
Hoisted the barges,
Grew the food,
Whacked the wheat,
Sang the songs,
Fought many wars of conquest,
Cleared the land,
Erected the bridges,
Trapped the game,
Netted the fish,
Mined the coal,
Forged the steel,
Laid the tracks,
Fired the tenders,
Cut the stone,
Mixed the mortar,
Plumbed the line,
And laid the bricks
Of this nation of cities!

Pardon the Marlboro Man shtick.
It’s a poor expostulation of
crass commercial symbolism.

Like I said, I’m a
Devil Fan from Jersey
and Madison Avenue
has done its work on me.

It’s a strange alchemy
that changes
a proud Nation of Blackhawks
into a merchandising bonanza
of hometown hockey shirts,
making the native seem alien,
and the interloper at home chillin out,
warming his feet atop a block of ice,
guzzling Old Style
with clicker in hand.

Give him his beer
and other diversions.
If he bowls with his buddy’s
on Tuesday night
I hope he bowls
a perfect game.

He’s earned it.
He works hard.
Hard work and faith
built this city.

And it’s not just the faith
that fills the cities
thousand churches,
temples and
mosques on the Sabbath.

3.
There is faith in everything in Chicago!

An alcoholic broker named Bill
lives the Twelve Steps
to banish fear and loathing
for one more day.
Bill believes in sobriety.

A tug captain named Moe
waits for the spring thaw
so he can get the barges up to Duluth.
Moe believes in the seasons.

A farmer named Tom
hopes he has reaped the last
of many bitter harvests.
Tom believes in a new start.

A homeless man named Earl
wills himself a cot and a hot
at the local shelter.
Earl believes in deliverance.

A Pullman porter
named George
works overtime
to get his first born
through medical school.
George believes in opportunity.

A folk singer named Woody
sings about his
countrymen inheritance
and implores them to take it.
Woody believes in people.

A Wobbly named Joe
organizes fellow steelworkers
to fight for a workers paradise
here on earth.
Joe believes in ideals.

A bookkeeper named Edith
is certain she’ll see the Cubs
win the World Series
in her lifetime.
Edith believes in miracles.

An electrician named ****
saves money
to bring his family over from Gdansk.
**** believes in America.

A banker named Leah
knows Ditka will return
and lead the Bears
to another Super Bowl.
Leah believes in nostalgia.

A cantor named Samuel
prays for another 20 years
so he can properly train
his Temple’s replacement.

Samuel believes in tradition.
A high school girl named Sally
refuses to get an abortion.
She knows she carries
something special within her.
Sally believes in life.

A city worker named Mazie
ceaselessly prays
for her incarcerated son
doing 10 years at Cook.
Mazie believes in redemption.

A jazzer named Bix
helps to invent a new art form
out of the mist.
Bix believes in creativity.

An architect named Frank
restores the Rookery.
Frank believes in space.

A soldier named Ike
fights wars for democracy.
Ike believes in peace.

A Rabbi named Jesse
sermonizes on Moses.
Jesse believes in liberation.

Somewhere in Chicago
a kid still believes in Shoeless Joe.
The kid believes in
the integrity of the game.

An Imam named Louis
is busy building a nation
within a nation.
Louis believes in
self-determination.

A teacher named Heidi
gives all she has to her students.
She has great expectations for them all.
Heidi believes in the future.

4.
Does Chicago have a future?

This city,
full of cowboys
and wildcatters
is predicated
on a future!

Bang, bang
Shoot em up
Stake the claim
It’s your terrain
Drill the hole
Strike it rich
Top it off
You’re the boss
Take a chance
Watch it wane
Try again
Heavenly gains

Chicago
city of futures
is a Holy Mecca
to all day traders.

Their skin is gray,
hair disheveled,
loud ties and
funny coats,
thumb through
slips of paper
held by nail
chewed hands.
Selling promises
with no derivative value
for out of the money calls
and in the money puts.
Strike is not a labor action
in this city of unionists,
but a speculators mark,
a capitalist wish,
a hedgers bet,
a public debt
and a farmers
fair return.

Indexes for everything.
Quantitative models
that could burst a kazoo.

You know the measure
of everything in Chicago.
But is it truly objective?
Have mathematics banished
subjective intentions,
routing it in fair practice
of market efficiencies,
a kind of scientific absolution?

I heard that there
is a dispute brewing
over the amount of snowfall
that fell on the 1st.

The mayor’s office,
using the official city ruler
measured 22”
of snow on the ground.

The National Weather Service
says it cannot detect more
then 17” of snow.

The mayor thinks
he’ll catch less heat
for the trains that don’t run
the buses that don’t arrive
and the schools that stand empty
with the addition of 5”.

The analysts say
it’s all about capturing liquidity.

Liquidity,
can you place a great lake
into an eyedropper?

Its 20 below
and all liquid things
are solid masses
or a gooey viscosity at best.

Water is frozen everywhere.
But Chi town is still liquid,
flowing faster
then the digital blips
flashing on the walls
of the CBOT.

Dreams
are never frozen in Chicago.
The exchanges trade
without missing a beat.

Trading wet dreams,
the crystallized vapor
of an IPO
pledging a billion points
of Internet access
or raiding the public treasuries
of a central bank’s
huge stores of gold
with currency swaps.

Using the tools
of butterfly spreads
and candlesticks
to achieve the goal.

Short the Russell
or buy the Dow,
go long the
CAC and DAX.
Are you trading in euro’s?
You better be
or soon will.
I know
you’re Chicago,
you’ll trade anything.
WEBS,
Spiders,
and Leaps
are traded here,
along with sweet crude,
North Sea Brent,
plywood and T-Bill futures;
and most importantly
the commodities,
the loam
that formed this city
of broad shoulders.

What about our wheat?
Still whacking and
breadbasket to the world.

Oil,
an important fossil fuel
denominated in
good ole greenbacks.

Porkbellies,
not just hogwash
on the Wabash,
but bacon, eggs
and flapjacks
are on the menu
of every diner in Jersey
as the “All American.”

Cotton,
our contribution
to the Golden Triangle,
once the global currency
used to enrich a
gentlemen class
of cultured
southern slavers,
now Tommy Hilfiger’s
preferred fabric.

I think he sends it
to Bangkok where
child slaves
spin it into
gold lame'.

Sorghum,
I think its hardy.

Soybeans,
the new age substitute
for hamburger
goes great with tofu lasagna.

Corn,
ADM creates ethanol,
they want us to drive cleaner cars.

Cattle,
once driven into this city’s
bloodhouses for slaughter,
now ground into
a billion Big Macs
every year.

When does a seed
become a commodity?
When does a commodity
become a future?
When does a future expire?

You can find the answers
to these questions in Chicago
and find a fortune in a hole in the floor.

Look down into the pits.
Hear the screams of anguish
and profitable delights.

Frenzied men
swarming like a mass
of epileptic ants
atop the worlds largest sugar cube
auger the worlds free markets.

The scene is
more chaotic then
100 Haymarket Square Riots
multiplied by 100
1968 Democratic Conventions.

Amidst inverted anthills,
they scurry forth and to
in distinguished
black and red coats.

Fighting each other
as counterparties
to a life and death transaction.

This is an efficient market
that crosses the globe.

Oil from the Sultan of Brunei,
Yen from the land of Hitachi,
Long Bonds from the Fed,
nickel from Quebec,
platinum and palladium
from Siberia,
FTSE’s from London
and crewel cane from Havana
circle these pits.

Tijuana,
Shanghai
and Istanbul's
best traders
are only half as good
as the average trader in Chicago.

Chicago,
this hog butcher to the world,
specializes in packaging and distribution.

Men in blood soaked smocks,
still count the heads
entering the gates of the city.

Their handiwork
is sent out on barges
and rail lines as frozen packages
of futures
waiting for delivery
to an anonymous counterparty
half a world away.

This nation’s hub
has grown into the
premier purveyor
to the world;
along all the rivers,
highways,
railways
and estuaries
it’s tentacles reach.

5.
Sandburg’s Chicago,
is a city of the world’s people.

Many striver rows compose
its many neighborhoods.

Nordic stoicism,
Eastern European orthodoxy
and Afro-American
calypso vibrations
are three of many cords
strumming the strings
of Chicago.

Sandburg’s Chicago,
if you wrote forever
you would only scratch its surface.

People wait for trains
to enter the city from O’Hare.
Frozen tears
lock their eyes
onto distant skyscrapers,
solid chunks
of snot blocks their nose
and green icicles of slime
crust mustaches.
They fight to breathe.

Sandburg’s Chicago
is The Land of Lincoln,
Savior of the Union,
protector of the Republic.
Sent armies
of sons and daughters,
barges, boxcars,
gunboats, foodstuffs,
cannon and shot
to raze the south
and stamp out succession.

Old Abe’s biography
are still unknown volumes to me.
I must see and read the great words.
You can never learn enough;
but I’ve been to Washington
and seen the man’s memorial.
The Free World’s 8th wonder,
guarded by General Grant,
who still keeps an eye on Richmond
and a hand on his sword.

Through this American winter
Abe ponders.
The vista he surveys is dire and tragic.

Our sitting President
impeached
for lying about a *******.

Party partisans
in the senate are sworn and seated.
Our Chief Justice,
adorned with golden bars
will adjudicate the proceedings.
It is the perfect counterpoint
to an ageless Abe thinking
with malice toward none
and charity towards all,
will heal the wounds
of the nation.

Abe our granite angel,
Chicago goes on,
The Union is strong!


SECOND DAY

1.
Out my window
the sun has risen.

According to
the local forecast
its minus 9
going up to
6 today.

The lake,
a golden pillow of clouds
is frozen in time.

I marvel
at the ancients ones
resourcefulness
and how
they mastered
these extreme elements.

Past, present and future
has no meaning
in the Citadel
of the Prairie today.

I set my watch
to Central Standard Time.

Stepping into
the hotel lobby
the concierge
with oil smooth hair,
perfect tie
and English lilt
impeccably asks,
“Do you know where you are going Sir?
Can I give you a map?”

He hands me one of Chicago.
I see he recently had his nails done.
He paints a green line
along Whacker Drive and says,
“turn on Jackson, LaSalle, Wabash or Madison
and you’ll get to where you want to go.”
A walk of 14 or 15 blocks from Streeterville-
(I start at The Chicago White House.
They call it that because Hillary Rodham
stays here when she’s in town.
Its’ also alleged that Stedman
eats his breakfast here
but Opra
has never been seen
on the premises.
I wonder how I gained entry
into this place of elite’s?)
-down into the center of The Loop.

Stepping out of the hotel,
The Doorman
sporting the epaulets of a colonel
on his corporate winter coat
and furry Cossack hat
swaddling his round black face
accosts me.

The skin of his face
is flaking from
the subzero windburn.

He asks me
with a gapped toothy grin,
“Can I get you a cab?”
“No I think I’ll walk,” I answer.
“Good woolen hat,
thick gloves you should be alright.”
He winks and lets me pass.

I step outside.
The Windy City
flings stabbing cold spears
flying on wings of 30-mph gusts.
My outside hardens.
I can feel the freeze
deepen
into my internalness.
I can’t be sure
but inside
my heart still feels warm.
For how long
I cannot say.

I commence
my walk
among the spires
of this great city,
the vertical leaps
that anchor the great lake,
holding its place
against the historic
frigid assault.

The buildings’ sway,
modulating to the blows
of natures wicked blasts.

It’s a hard imposition
on a city and its people.

The gloves,
skullcap,
long underwear,
sweater,
jacket
and overcoat
not enough
to keep the cold
from penetrating
the person.

Like discerning
the layers of this city,
even many layers,
still not enough
to understand
the depth of meaning
of the heart
of this heartland city.

Sandburg knew the city well.
Set amidst groves of suburbs
that extend outward in every direction.
Concentric circles
surround the city.
After the burbs come farms,
Great Plains, and mountains.
Appalachians and Rockies
are but mere molehills
in the city’s back yard.
It’s terra firma
stops only at the sea.
Pt. Barrow to the Horn,
many capes extended.

On the periphery
its appendages,
its extremities,
its outward extremes.
All connected by the idea,
blown by the incessant wind
of this great nation.
The Windy City’s message
is sent to the world’s four corners.
It is a message of power.
English the worlds
common language
is spoken here,
along with Ebonics,
Espanol,
Mandarin,
Czech,
Russian,
Korean,
Arabic,
Hindi­,
German,
French,
electronics,
steel,
cars,
cartoons,
rap,
sports­,
movies,
capital,
wheat
and more.

Always more.
Much much more
in Chicago.

2.
Sandburg
spoke all the dialects.

He heard them all,
he understood
with great precision
to the finest tolerances
of a lathe workers micrometer.

Sandburg understood
what it meant to laugh
and be happy.

He understood
the working mans day,
the learned treatises
of university chairs,
the endless tomes
of the city’s
great libraries,
the lost languages
of the ancient ones,
the secret codes
of abstract art,
the impact of architecture,
the street dialects and idioms
of everymans expression of life.

All fighting for life,
trying to build a life,
a new life
in this modern world.

Walking across
the Michigan Avenue Bridge
I see the Wrigley Building
is neatly carved,
catty cornered on the plaza.

I wonder if Old Man Wrigley
watched his barges
loaded with spearmint
and double-mint
move out onto the lake
from one of those Gothic windows
perched high above the street.

Would he open a window
and shout to the men below
to quit slaking and work harder
or would he
between the snapping sound
he made with his mouth
full of his chewing gum
offer them tickets
to a ballgame at Wrigley Field
that afternoon?

Would the men below
be able to understand
the man communing
from such a great height?

I listen to a man
and woman conversing.
They are one step behind me
as we meander along Wacker Drive.

"You are in Chicago now.”
The man states with profundity.
“If I let you go
you will soon find your level
in this city.
Do you know what I mean?”

No I don’t.
I think to myself.
What level are you I wonder?
Are you perched atop
the transmission spire
of the Hancock Tower?

I wouldn’t think so
or your ears would melt
from the windburn.

I’m thinking.
Is she a kept woman?
She is majestically clothed
in fur hat and coat.
In animal pelts
not trapped like her,
but slaughtered
from farms
I’m sure.

What level
is he speaking of?

Many levels
are evident in this city;
many layers of cobbled stone,
Pennsylvania iron,
Hoosier Granite
and vertical drops.

I wonder
if I detect
condensation
in his voice?

What is
his intention?
Is it a warning
of a broken affair?
A pending pink slip?
Advise to an addict
refusing to adhere
to a recovery regimen?

What is his level anyway?
Is he so high and mighty,
Higher and mightier
then this great city
which we are all a part of,
which we all helped to build,
which we all need
in order to keep this nation
the thriving democratic
empire it is?

This seditious talk!

3.
The Loop’s El
still courses through
the main thoroughfares of the city.

People are transported
above the din of the street,
looking down
on the common pedestrians
like me.

Super CEO’s
populating the upper floors
of Romanesque,
Greek Revivalist,
New Bauhaus,
Art Deco
and Post Nouveau
Neo-Modern
Avant-Garde towers
are too far up
to see me
shivering on the street.

The cars, busses,
trains and trucks
are all covered
with the film
of rock salt.

Salt covers
my bootless feet
and smudges
my cloths as well.

The salt,
the primal element
of the earth
covers everything
in Chicago.

It is the true level
of this city.

The layer
beneath
all layers,
on which
everything
rests,
is built,
grows,
thrives
then dies.
To be
returned again
to the lower
layers
where it can
take root
again
and grow
out onto
the great plains.

Splashing
the nation,
anointing
its people
with its
blessing.

A blessing,
Chicago?

All rivers
come here.

All things
found its way here
through the canals
and back bays
of the world’s
greatest lakes.

All roads,
rails and
air routes
begin and
end here.

Mrs. O’Leary’s cow
got a *** rap.
It did not start the fire,
we did.

We lit the torch
that flamed
the city to cinders.
From a pile of ash
Chicago rose again.

Forever Chicago!
Forever the lamp
that burns bright
on a Great Lake’s
western shore!

Chicago
the beacon
sends the
message to the world
with its windy blasts,
on chugging barges,
clapping trains,
flying tandems,
T1 circuits
and roaring jets.

Sandburg knew
a Chicago
I will never know.

He knew
the rhythm of life
the people walked to.
The tools they used,
the dreams they dreamed
the songs they sang,
the things they built,
the things they loved,
the pains that hurt,
the motives that grew,
the actions that destroyed
the prayers they prayed,
the food they ate
their moments of death.

Sandburg knew
the layers of the city
to the depths
and windy heights
I cannot fathom.

The Blues
came to this city,
on the wing
of a chirping bird,
on the taps
of a rickety train,
on the blast
of an angry sax
rushing on the wind,
on the Westend blitz
of Pop's brash coronet,
on the tink of
a twinkling piano
on a paddle-wheel boat
and on the strings
of a lonely man’s guitar.

Walk into the clubs,
tenements,
row houses,
speakeasies
and you’ll hear the Blues
whispered like
a quiet prayer.

Tidewater Blues
from Virginia,
Delta Blues
from the lower
Mississippi,
Boogie Woogie
from Appalachia,
Texas Blues
from some Lone Star,
Big Band Blues
from Kansas City,
Blues from
Beal Street,
Jelly Roll’s Blues
from the Latin Quarter.

Hell even Chicago
got its own brand
of Blues.

Its all here.
It ended up here
and was sent away
on the winds of westerly blows
to the ear of an eager world
on strong jet streams
of simple melodies
and hard truths.

A broad
shouldered woman,
a single mother stands
on the street
with three crying babes.
Their cloths
are covered
in salt.
She pleads
for a break,
praying
for a new start.
Poor and
under-clothed
against the torrent
of frigid weather
she begs for help.
Her blond hair
and ****** features
suggests her
Scandinavian heritage.
I wonder if
she is related to Sandburg
as I walk past
her on the street.
Her feet
are bleeding
through her
canvass sneakers.
Her babes mouths
are zipped shut
with frozen drivel
and mucous.

The Blues live
on in Chicago.

The Blues
will forever live in her.
As I turn the corner
to walk the Miracle Mile
I see her engulfed
in a funnel cloud of salt,
snow and bits
of white paper,
swirling around her
and her children
in an angry
unforgiving
maelstrom.

The family
begins to
dissolve
like a snail
sprinkled with salt;
and a mother
and her children
just disappear
into the pavement
at the corner
of Dearborn,
in Chicago.

Music:

Robert Johnson
Sweet Home Chicago


jbm
Chicago
1/7/99
Added today to commemorate the birthday of Carl Sandburg
Just Melz Jul 2014
It's crashing and caving
Down on me
This life,  I've worked so hard
Can't even get dealt one good card
And then the avalanche of pain proceeds
And I'll grieve
Try all over again
But it's the same **** thing
Lifetime of misery and defeat
Playing on repeat
Like...  
How did I get here?
How could I come this far
Just to get knocked down
This ground made of pavement
My new best friend
I'll just lay here awhile
Get walked all over
While I wear a pretty smile
Dial it down a notch
Like...
How much more can I take?
You've defeated me
I'm laying here holding you
Waiting for a breath
There's no wealth or help
No welfare consuming momma to help me out
I'll just kiss this pavement
Down for the count
Give up?
That's what I'll do...
You beautiful slab of concrete you
With me in life,  with me in death
It's my final breath,  
I'll spend it in your cold hard arms
My solace on the ground
As low as I can go
You've been walked on your whole life too
You feel what I do
******* Pavement
I hate you
Mateuš Conrad Dec 2016
it has been over a year, to what has become:
    i have made too many points to be caged into one
     fraudulence, or one whimsical suggestion
that might entomb me... too many times has
the wind been undecided concerning what direction
my thought would travel to,
if my i am remained enthralled
within a stasis plateau... i cannot say how many
works could be written from a
string of i, 1, think, 2, therefore, 3,
i, 4, am, 5: five words... perhaps because the fact
is so recurrent, and so diverse
you can almost always encounter it
over and over again,
   in a kaleidoscope -
                  you can say:
how much of my thought precipitates
      toward my being so
to thus be instructed?
   and what if one says the opposite:
like... i think parallels i am...
  thought parallels beings...
and for that: we have the case
of ontology...
                    oh this is old territory,
and only a few could find a hammock
in these arguments...
          because there is no pop glory in
them to be found: for all things that
such postscriptum remarks are these days:
they are not dealt with in this world...
for let us say: man finds it truly
       uncomfortable to be cradling a soul...
materialism bites back with a vengefulness
  to completely destroy such entities:
and call upon history to speed-up
   their reasoning of the profundity of
the argument first given: as history speeded-up
   is but mythology...
  to quickly forget.
                 i rarely like to recreate my
steps back into this fact of the pentagram...
          it sounds too over-ridden with
past examples that have been left alone
or alooft...      they are no longer in line
with the vogue zeitgeist...
or the zeitgeist of the current vogue...
      but it has been over a year
since i made this entry: and yes, i remember it...
did you know that walking in temperatures
   in the range of -1 to -3ºC  is actually more
pleasant than walking in temperatures
in the range of +1 to +3ºC?
          i guess it could be counter-intuitive...
but there's that outer-suburban road
in the night... and that empty street,
   and there's me walking right down the middle
of it, rather than on the pavement...
   and it's so much more pleasant
in temperatures below 0ºC than just slightly
above... more pleasant: because it's
actually warmer... and the reason being?
there's absolutely no moisture in the air...
suddenly the water once bound to water vapour
becomes crystals on the pavement...
   and yes, this be but the second night
when Jack Frost came back...
likened to yesteryear... that strange sight,
of paparazzi crystal flashing on the pavement...
i might have asked for a red carpet too...
but there is was, the paparazzi frost
    tingling on the pavement...
       a red carpet scenario with an audience of 1...
below 0ºC... the warmer air of frost,
where water no longer exacts authority in the air...
   as if laden with a tombstone that
my shadow is... but so much clearer to be content
with such a burden: than an image in a lake,
or a mirror, so much less burden with a shadow
than a reflection...
                    wherever i look i gaze at an atom
bomb explosion, yet without strobe-shadow-etchings
on Hiroshima brick walls... i gesticulate
  my shadow like a puppeteer... and it pleases me
to see the puppet walk and trot, and swiggle
down a bottle of beer, and ooze out cigarette
smoke between street-lamps...
               and... fay! no strings attached!
o whiskey: my amber fay... o amber fay!
      through your tides of moon and mood,
that none of us have seen fathomable in temperaments
above what the prescription suggests:
         not you puritan Amber at room temperature:
for you are not cognac...
   or classic 1950s Hollywood dabbling with soda water...
             on the tip of my tongue: a bonsai iceberg
tickles my tongue, and the glass rattles with many
of them: like castanets!
                        there you are:
   in the deafness of the night my chauffeur and
    snogging suitor: for each bite of frost indoors
i twirl to romance: that no barbiturates could ever
provide... then let me teach the one who ended
his literary career asking to be a disciple of Dionysus,
let eternity be for me: a chance to teach him
how to appreciate you...
                  of course the Green Fairy will be there
as if the Lilith of Eden: lizardly green
or perhaps chameleonic rainbow tinged
so frivolous as to be envious and yet hide it;
for if he truly wanted to be a disciple
     to the fervours of a company with you -
i can spare him a lesson or due, for him to complete
his transvaluation of all values, and perhaps
    the untimely permutations.
                yet only with prior obstacles already
cited, as if lines wriggling toward nowhere of a
student in an hour's worth of detention...
      a mantra must be stated, and then avoided:
the serpent of narrative must sidewind
    away from the clear indication of what can
possibly come prior, and post.
                      still... a year ago i looked at the same
sight as i did today: the flickering of frost
on the pavement under a street-lamp...
     like a red-carpet event at a movie premier,
frost like photographic paparazzi flashing -
but this? o Amber Fay... such a subtler version,
that metaphor of epileptic nervousness
         that comes without warning and sooths
having strained one's eyes on the heavens
too often... to think: such an array of diamonds
on a brutish scrape of pavement:
        o such blissful humbling by the coming of
winter... with a Quasimodo to add to the scene:
    to look down upon this world and feel
a hunch about what route to take...
                is but a frightful realisation that
by looking up... once sees so few a chance to appropriate
      passive magic of this world
              and you and the world entwined for a purpose
to simple see what needs to be seen:
     and expect no fathomable truce between
such sights on a frosty night on the pavement:
   and  the celestial       zodiac patterns
     that speak neither of man or a god: but simply of aeons
  of perfected harmoniousness, to nothing more:
than a ratio.
mascatics Jan 2018
I wonder what awaits me
If I'll take this pavement instead of the other one.
The lamp posts are brightly shining on this side
And fireflies begin to lit the darker end of it.
And I am now taking steps on this pavement with doubt,
With my feet, left and right.
I am now across this lamp post and I looked up
To notice it is brighter for me than the stars.
And I am now taking steps on this pavement with confidence,
With my feet, left and right.
And at the middle I can see someone
Walking towards me.
As our gazes meet, I notice him smiling at me.
I said "Hi!", and he said "Hello!".
And that bit of a moment makes my heart skip a beat.
And now, I am walking on this pavement with an endless smile.
Joe Sep 2014
It's Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
Not Pavement
There are no roads here

We don't need roads where
We're going

You got what you want
You want what you got

I've spent some time of late
With a poor impressionist
Although his impression on me
Was kinder than on most

It's Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
Not Pavement
There are no roads here

Roads are so straight
So Roman
The empire fell
The Pavement rendered redundant

It's Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
Not Pavement
Jasmine Luna Apr 2014
who knew that in about
4 years time,
or maybe
10,000 years lost in
10,000 multi hued tears,
id be on the same trip-
dancing to the same
shimmering inner grove as before-
braiding fresh cut
flowers-
delicate genital-hands, unfolding in prayer
into my subconscious mind
or perhaps into my hair-
saving colored prism fragments
of knowledge or nonsense-
digesting intoxicating
incense smoke into the
deep throated green streaked
laughter chasms
that are my lungs-
spinning vinyl, spun mind
unwinding, undulating
through string music-
contemplating the sunset's sweet
immaculate form, reoccuring
and balancing itself right outside my window-
dressing in shells, bones,
and beads; kaleidoscope fabric dripping from
the ******* like mother Kali in a Fellini
flick-
peeping out at heads slinking down
the ****** pavement streets-
my hairy angelic form grooving
intensely, spastic-
body flung, strung out in
hot patterns of
mirrored arms and legs-
brain brew bubbling; wicked, fantastic-
limbs waving and grabbing at
tangible tasty morsels,
smelling strongly of indigo
and patchouli-
the East smiling on me and
my intrepid journey to the ocean city-
head thrown back in
tranquil madness-
pipe smoke curling like
ancient hound howls from the corners
of my lips-
smiles spread like insanity, a wicked disease
lost in the forgotten finger painted
confounds of creamy
****** milk consciousness-
basking in lamplight
of the golden glistening
                                  Now.
blankpoems Aug 2013
Some things are certain.
Tonight the moon will rise only to be replaced by the warmth of the sun
again in the morning.
You're never as certain as the universe.
And even that could cease to exist at any given moment.

I keep searching for you in cracks in the pavement, in graffiti ridden alleyways
and in my most terrifying moments, when I cross the street looking behind me
instead of in front.
I keep thinking that you're going to be somewhere asking me to stay
or saying you love me or some other sentimental *******.

Truth is I'm a traveler. I don't stay in one place too long.
I don't make ties that can't be easily broken with the razor blade
that has become my only friend.

You don't understand and how could you?
You've been stuck in this one horse town your whole life
and you only gravitated towards me because I had tattoos
and silver metals sticking through my skin that spelt out rebellion.

You didn't see me as a flower, but a dandelion.
You wished on me, for a new life, a new love and a new thing to make you feel alive.
But all ghosts can do is make you think of death.

I'm a sad ghost of a girl I once was or maybe who I'm going to be.
And sooner or later I will find you in a crack in the pavement or over my shoulder.
And you won't ask me to stay, because you'll know better.
You'll tell me to look forward.
Anastasia Webb Sep 2014
I'll be eaten alive one day:
one day, i see it in my mind
so close to closure along an empty street
late at night
(owls just retired and birds
not yet up),
orbs of light tethered to tall electric poles
cast dappled circles on cracked pavement;
illumination and safety
(for that two metre radius).

Stepping between them
like a girl child on stones
across a garden,
I anticipate each missed step
as sinking into sand or frightful waves.

Singing drunk back-alley lullabies
i'll soothe the skelebabies in their sleep,
their poor crusted noses snuffled against
a cold shift of air
(their private torment plastered over billboards
with corporate logos and dim colours,
suggesting the city's lights have gone out and
the local government is in frantics.
That is, after all, what you'd focus on)

Girl child games were so tipsy and magic
(and so close to real coldness);
between two orbs of light i'll slip
through the cracks
in the pavement.

THE END.

(eat me alive,
eat me alive,
eaten alive by the
wolf at the door)
Edward Laine Dec 2011
Chapter one:

  The strange entanglement of the sun, twisted in kooky bedlam with The Great King Moon in winter.

Have you ever looked down at yr feet on the long walk home & wondered if you’re really moving forward any more or if all your really doing is just moving the ground? Don’t answer that, its a rhetorical question. Of course you have. We all have. You think you’re moving in the right direction, following the north star or the compass in your brain or maybe just your nose or your thumb and fore finger. You  believe that you’re gonna make it somewhere, you have to believe. What else is there. The truth is, you’re going nowhere, we are all going nowhere, we just spin on the slanted axis & never really go anywhere. We have been conditioned to believe that this is the way the world works but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t, you gotta buck up, **** up or ******* ‘*** let me tell you, yr ‘dreams’ mean nothing to anybody ‘*** living, real living is not connected to REM. That’s all just more ******* you’re gonna have to put up with people trying to sell you. Lick the boot, get over the barrel & bite down on your watch strap. That’s all there is to it. The mind is a magnet. If you find yourself staring in to the abyss: Jump right in. Swan dive. Hold your breath & wait. Everything will be OK. I promise you.

I’m writing, ah writing! Writing this worthless piece of *****// manuscript of means for you. For me, for the future, for love, for lust, for hatred of all things hating, for your mother & farther, for my friends, my beautiful angelic, clinically insane friends, for time, for the soles of my shoes with hundreds of miles under their laces, for your fat greedy pockets, for the moon, for the sun to spit on, for the wind to taunt, as he does like the great cowardly, perverted invisible fiend that he is, for nothing, for not quite everything, for your aching lovers, for your broken hearts, for the worlds water, may you always be clean & run free, for the great biblical liars, for the sorrowful wonder of the great homeless & may all their wants come to be wanted, for *******, for fumbling, for the vast oaken heavy doors on bars that keep us safe from the  horrors outside, for guilt, for sugar-blue smoke, for all the kids sitting in **** stained squat houses with half a horse embedded in their face, for my schools that gave up on a bored child, for warmth & fire & woollen clothing, for Paris where I can fulfil my great dream of becoming a sullen cliché, for the gravel-mounted marching marvel, may you never lose your way, for the Parthenon, for Aubergine, for The Firefly, the swan, bleeding,for growing up, for all the music makers,all people should play all instruments to any degree(rather than just, age & shrivel), for Howl for Carl Solomon, for every down & out that ever clawed his way up the street & through the yellow door, for all the animals that gave their lives to keep me fat & red faced, for Christ sake, for the invisible man in the sky, causing all war & so much death-thank you, for the wild west, for Bert & John, for the great literary mastodon to look down his reset nose at & ask me why. Why?

The way that old dial telephones look & feel. The questions that need no answers. Feeling down, down & out, upside down & inside out,upside in & downside out on the pavement at five am. Waking up in unknown beds & crawling down drain pipes. Getting lost in a place you have lived your whole life. Being in the woods simply to be in the woods. Drinking coffee even though you hate the taste. Never telling a stranger the truth. Living under a false name. Drinking yourself to death in the dark lonely-crowded corners of ***** stained wood floor warehouse floors. Feeling solid-sterling-gold for feeling so terribly horrifically half-corpse-like the only way you can really feel is completely statuesquely angelically magnificent and the only way is down(you really have no idea how far I fell that morning) , Only going out when it rains. Only going out in the dark. Staying up all night dreaming and sleeping all day. Remembering to forget, forgetting to remember to remember to be forgetful. Understanding that you and no one else understands nothing but eat-drink-sleep-****-death. Smoking until yr tongue bleeds and yr eyes burn like that fire in the sky in the fearful month of June. Wishing you knew how to tie a noose & writing ”suicide” on yr calender on a day you have no planned engagements. Shooting to the moon & back in the bee-bop-bo-bo-batter-batter-chitter-chatter like jazz on the neon streets of the earths mother. Crawling in to a stone cold bed after walking for six days & feeling bored & lonely again in ten minutes.

That’s why, I’m glad you asked. If I’m going out, then I’m out going with some steeze in a cloud of smoke, yr wife & I’m not taking you with me.

For all these things & more is the reason I write. To write for the sake of writing. For, some people write, just to write & they are truly the the lost meaning of it all.

Automatic travel rambles to plug up the holes in yr lonesome pockets. Blues.

Chapter two:  

Creeping moss-stick under-flowering the useless but grateful Tuesday poet, Jim Gravestone Sr.

The ghost of the monorail, living only in upturned memory sits slow & smooth/low against the Sunday evening rapture. You gotta know which way is down. Down. The dew on the grass & the creamy-green residue of the night before is just too close to a real drama. Absolute dahma. Down in the cold rising damp & the stain on your shirt.

He sits , sits like you, like me & like old Tom Mooney the prison king. If you ever saw such a sad sight as he, I do believe you would roll out your tongue on the pavement right there & then & wait for the road sweeper & all his secret, early morning charms & the great wolf man, pork chop sideburns (lupine dreams)to clean you up & clean you out. I do declare!

For he knows-for he has seen. Seen the sun rise from his pearly throne up on the dark side of the moon, the very face of Bowie, right there in the eye socket. He sees all. You can live your life, & you do, & you should, but he, O’ he, he has really been there & where & back again. You carry on with your sleepy routine of mule-back coffee office doom death jobs(you sleepy Bohemian, you)  & in you spare time trying to keep your nose from filling up with water & your private parts entwined with somebody else’s most private of parts, & on the side lines of you spare time you can deal with your family & all the friends that you’re sick of but hold on to, only for the fear of being left alone in the dark with nothing but all of the above. Then again you always have your studies(STDS)all of the ologies, of course.

Sleepology, cocaineology,rainolgy, sunology, lonleyology, depressionology, suicideology, talkology,empypocketsology, meaninglessology, masterbationology, coutntingyourmoneyinpintsology,walkology, onenightstandology, jumpthetaxiology, begology, borrowology, stealology,feelology, upallnightology, sleepalldayology, Xology, ologyology, etcology etc…ology etc.

Just find something you can care for ‘*** [insert atheist god/idol] knows that nobody is going to do your caring for you, even I they do in fact care for you.

I have been beginning to notice,that I(and I may not be alone)

always look at the past through a marigold monocle.

This, meaning nothing now ever seems to be joyous or gay or splendiferous until it is a past memory.

A cobweb. A rafter. A leaf on the ground. …I guess.

         Chapter three:

I know you know it but people that you don’t know, really are a funny, funny thing…

I stand outside the rain & watch the people passing by; really the most depressing experience of my ever increasing years. Un-jolly fat men with whiskey-nose & scuffle-feet stanzas of gibberish, talking gibberish & gibberish being their inner most self. Pre-war women with Arctic-blue hair, faces melting, everything pointing down, shuffle. Kids pushing prams full of ugly babies towards a house of who-gives-a-**** & ******* & I’m-gonna-die-here and what of it. Is there really no more to life. Listen to the top 40 on the radio, clueless, oblivious. Cogs. All cogs. Military troglodytes following them back in a dead eyed daze, dreaming of killing in the real and virtual. No you may not have a cigarette. Leave me alone, please. Let me listen to my watch ticking in peace & at least pretend that you don’t exist.

The human body is comprised of several ‘substances’

including..

Mercury,

hydrogen hydroxide,

fountain pens,

the lost dates of calenders,

various small woodland animals,

including…

Voles,

rabbits & field mice.

Other such things as…

Misplaced birthmarks(of the brain)

feelings of remorse and regret,

the stolen trinkets of past lovers,

and of course,

white blood cells,

pesticides,

and the second hand

from a 1956 ’Hamilton Rail road’ pocket watch.

E.L August 7th

           Chapter four:

Last night, last night was the last night it was the night last

Picasso raincoat. Imagelessness. Bottomlessness. I lost my umbrella & my Holden Caulfield head-wear, again. I was skipping on a rain cloud, corduroy boy and scarecrow girl, reunited in a soft entanglement sticky in the senses. Hoof! The only way is up when you walk down these stairs, snakes and blisters, but you’ll sweat it all out in babble cream conversation and love in your eyes. Tell me a story, tell me a story, tell me something to prop my chin up in this brown tunnel. Your name it is something I cant care to remember but of course I never really had a name of my own either, so we shall be the great wonder of the nameless masses, the ones born to no name and never wanted one anyway. A name is nothing but a label, a calling card, call me anything, call me king Charles II just as long as you do call me, the sound of a voice, your voice, any voice reeling off a comprised anagram of the alphabet is enough to get my short attentive ears to perk up and twist my noggin backwards towards the direction of my inbuilt gypsy sonar. So anyway, I was going to talk about something, something great… but now its gone and all I have is bloodshot eyes and sweaty liars palms to prove to the world that I had an idea once, I swear I did.

Here’s an idea for you to dig you heels into:

The world keeps making mistakes, everybody makes mistakes, its natural, nothing to fear, it happens all day every day. BUT, with every mistake we make, we then proceed to learn from that mistake, so.. stay with me here… Once the world, the whole world meaning everyone in it, has made every mistake they can make and of course and one would hope of course, that they have also learned from all of these mistakes; once this has happened, there will be no more mistakes to make, right? Therefore leaving the world perfect as a whole, no mistakes to make, learnt their lessons on every lesson and we can all go on with living a perfect existence, yes?…

No.

I’ve really thought long and hard about it -could never happen, people are not perfect, they never will be, if they were I wouldn’t want to know any of them, and the world, well the world is an imperfect place, and the same rule applies.

But let me hit you with another bit of knowledge to round things off and maybe put a positive spin on things. Hoist ye marrow-thumbs around this;

One of the many few early times that my legs forgot how to use them selves, I was sitting on the pavement, trying for one to reattach these two now useless appendages stuck like butter to my lower torso, but foremost trying to light a cigarette with my useless cold hands and equally useless matches, fearful of the sneaky clear coward, invisible old Mr wind, when a kindly stranger, half my size, red my hair, opposite my *** and now opposite my broken legs appeared like a person will appear when you mind is in other minds, a smile, a sympathetic look and two working hands to fire up the stick in my mouth. I said my thanks, babbled about babble and the generation of gibberish and im sure many other things inconceivable to the sober ear of a dame such as she, the bringer of flame and enlightenment, not of the smoke but of the simple mind, an idea is what she left with me and it never left. She stopped my rambling typewriter of a tongue and said ‘shush’ she held my head in her hands, looked at me straight,so I thought she might be death or god or that I was passing out,she all green eyed and like the woods, looked at my eyes like they were tethered together and dropped the bomb on me, she said ”if you are looking at the moon, then everything is alright” kissed my warm on frozen forehead and was gone into the night, never to be seen again.

That’s all the advice you will ever need, & so ll I will leave you with.

You never left a name, but I never wanted one anyway.

Midnight moment

beautiful rags

midnight joy.


Nevermind your little light,

set apart your golden dreams

that offen break,

& come to play.


Chapter five: There are things I want to write but I am not going to write them.

The End.

‘Stay gold, Pony Boy’
For
              Carl Solomon

                   I

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
      madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the ***** streets at dawn
      looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
      connection to the starry dynamo in the machin-
      ery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat
      up smoking in the supernatural darkness of
      cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities
      contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and
      saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tene-
      ment roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes
      hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy
      among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy &
      publishing obscene odes on the windows of the
      skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burn-
      ing their money in wastebaskets and listening
      to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their ***** beards returning through
      Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in
      Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their
      torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, al-
      cohol and **** and endless *****,
incomparable blind; streets of shuddering cloud and
      lightning in the mind leaping toward poles of
      Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the mo-
      tionless world of Time between,
Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery
      dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops,
      storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon
      blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree
      vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brook-
      lyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless
      ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine
      until the noise of wheels and children brought
      them down shuddering mouth-wracked and
      battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance
      in the drear light of Zoo,
who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford's
      floated out and sat through the stale beer after
      noon in desolate Fugazzi's, listening to the crack
      of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,
who talked continuously seventy hours from park to
      pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brook-
      lyn Bridge,
lost battalion of platonic conversationalists jumping
      down the stoops off fire escapes off windowsills
      off Empire State out of the moon,
yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts
      and memories and anecdotes and eyeball kicks
      and shocks of hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days
      and nights with brilliant eyes, meat for the
      Synagogue cast on the pavement,
who vanished into nowhere Zen New Jersey leaving a
      trail of ambiguous picture postcards of Atlantic
      City Hall,
suffering Eastern sweats and Tangerian bone-grind-
      ings and migraines of China under junk-with-
      drawal in Newark's bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the
      railroad yard wondering where to go, and went,
      leaving no broken hearts,
who lit cigarettes in boxcars boxcars boxcars racketing
      through snow toward lonesome farms in grand-
      father night,
who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telep-
      athy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos in-
      stinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas,
who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking vis-
      ionary indian angels who were visionary indian
      angels,
who thought they were only mad when Baltimore
      gleamed in supernatural ecstasy,
who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Okla-
      homa on the impulse of winter midnight street
      light smalltown rain,
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston
      seeking jazz or *** or soup, and followed the
      brilliant Spaniard to converse about America
      and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship
      to Africa,
who disappeared into the volcanoes of Mexico leaving
      behind nothing but the shadow of dungarees
      and the lava and ash of poetry scattered in fire
      place Chicago,
who reappeared on the West Coast investigating the
      F.B.I. in beards and shorts with big pacifist
      eyes **** in their dark skin passing out incom-
      prehensible leaflets,
who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting
      the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism,
who distributed Supercommunist pamphlets in Union
      Square weeping and ******* while the sirens
      of Los Alamos wailed them down, and wailed
      down Wall, and the Staten Island ferry also
      wailed,
who broke down crying in white gymnasiums naked
      and trembling before the machinery of other
      skeletons,
who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight
      in policecars for committing no crime but their
      own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were
      dragged off the roof waving genitals and manu-
      scripts,
who let themselves be ****** in the *** by saintly
      motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim,
      the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean
      love,
who balled in the morning in the evenings in rose
      gardens and the grass of public parks and
      cemeteries scattering their ***** freely to
      whomever come who may,
who hiccuped endlessly trying to giggle but wound up
      with a sob behind a partition in a Turkish Bath
      when the blond & naked angel came to pierce
      them with a sword,
who lost their loveboys to the three old shrews of fate
      the one eyed shrew of the heterosexual dollar
      the one eyed shrew that winks out of the womb
      and the one eyed shrew that does nothing but
      sit on her *** and snip the intellectual golden
      threads of the craftsman's loom,
who copulated ecstatic and insatiate with a bottle of
      beer a sweetheart a package of cigarettes a can-
      dle and fell off the bed, and continued along
      the floor and down the hall and ended fainting
      on the wall with a vision of ultimate **** and
      come eluding the last gyzym of consciousness,
who sweetened the snatches of a million girls trembling
      in the sunset, and were red eyed in the morning
      but prepared to sweeten the ****** of the sun
      rise, flashing buttocks under barns and naked
      in the lake,
who went out ******* through Colorado in myriad
      stolen night-cars, N.C., secret hero of these
      poems, cocksman and Adonis of Denver--joy
      to the memory of his innumerable lays of girls
      in empty lots & diner backyards, moviehouses'
      rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves or with
      gaunt waitresses in familiar roadside lonely pet-
      ticoat upliftings & especially secret gas-station
      solipsisms of johns, & hometown alleys too,
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in
      dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and
      picked themselves up out of basements hung
      over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third
      Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemploy-
      ment offices,
who walked all night with their shoes full of blood on
      the snowbank docks waiting for a door in the
      East River to open to a room full of steamheat
      and *****,
who created great suicidal dramas on the apartment
      cliff-banks of the Hudson under the wartime
      blue floodlight of the moon & their heads shall
      be crowned with laurel in oblivion,
who ate the lamb stew of the imagination or digested
      the crab at the muddy bottom of the rivers of
      Bowery,
who wept at the romance of the streets with their
      pushcarts full of onions and bad music,
who sat in boxes breathing in the darkness under the
      bridge, and rose up to build harpsichords in
      their lofts,
who coughed on the sixth floor of Harlem crowned
      with flame under the tubercular sky surrounded
      by orange crates of theology,
who scribbled all night rocking and rolling over lofty
      incantations which in the yellow morning were
      stanzas of gibberish,
who cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht
      & tortillas dreaming of the pure vegetable
      kingdom,
who plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for
      an egg,
who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot
      for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks
      fell on their heads every day for the next decade,
who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccess-
      fully, gave up and were forced to open antique
      stores where they thought they were growing
      old and cried,
who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits
      on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse
      & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments
      of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the
      fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinis-
      ter intelligent editors, or were run down by the
      drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality,
who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually hap-
      pened and walked away unknown and forgotten
      into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alley
      ways & firetrucks, not even one free beer,
who sang out of their windows in despair, fell out of
      the subway window, jumped in the filthy Pas-
      saic, leaped on negroes, cried all over the street,
      danced on broken wineglasses barefoot smashed
      phonograph records of nostalgic European
      1930s German jazz finished the whiskey and
      threw up groaning into the ****** toilet, moans
      in their ears and the blast of colossal steam
      whistles,
who barreled down the highways of the past journeying
      to each other's hotrod-Golgotha jail-solitude
      watch or Birmingham jazz incarnation,
who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out
      if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had
      a vision to find out Eternity,
who journeyed to Denver, who died in Denver, who
      came back to Denver & waited in vain, who
      watched over Denver & brooded & loned in
      Denver and finally went away to find out the
      Time, & now Denver is lonesome for her heroes,
who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying
      for each other's salvation and light and *******,
      until the soul illuminated its hair for a second,
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for
      impossible criminals with golden heads and the
      charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet
      blues to Alcatraz,
who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky
   &nb
Emma N Boyer Dec 2013
We can be different, you know. We do not have to stand behind society’s shoulder, figurative mascara staining our cheeks; cowering away from the world—we can be different. We can shine like a billion snowflakes on pavement, melting in the wind perhaps but immaculate all the same. We can stand up against the hurricane of second choices and broken opinions; we can diverge from the neon path of shattered hearts and clichés and we can go to sleep and let ourselves heal and sometimes we can decide that 24 hours is far too long to be conscious of our mistakes. We can be different. We do not have to write about wars or dragons or space we can write about the freckles on our palms, or the blue of a stranger’s eyes. We can skip all we want and we can breathe through our hearts; we can pull the lilies from our garden and water the weeds ‘til they bloom and we can watch Barney until we turn seventeen because it’s okay to be different. We are allowed to bury everything we have ever been told and learn things for ourselves because if “seeing is believing” then experiencing must be a gold star and a half—don’t tell me I’m wrong. We can be different. The only people who have ever said otherwise are hiding among us and the reason we have listened for so long is because we’re afraid that we are one of them. We are afraid to step out of the crowd of painted souls and rummage in the future for a color of our own. And we don’t understand that if the brushes are all taken, and the watercolors of individuality are dried up or used we can mix our own or use our fingers or stain our reality with melted crayons—it doesn’t really matter. Because it’s okay to be different. And every time we cut off our own voices, or burn our love letters we are encouraging the wind to whisk away the snowflakes plastered to the pavement, crushed under feet of people determined to be the same.  -Me
Emma Liang Mar 2012
I bounce a volleyball as I walk to my dorm
just to hear that delightful sound, that satisfying, clean thud off the cement.

look up, see you in that grey hoodie that gives me bad dreams
and curse under my breath, eyes darting like a cornered fox,
            there is nowhere to hide.
we almost exchange eye contact, I almost taste blood in my mouth
            I hate how familiar you are.
you look down, cough;
I murmur a dusty hello-goodbye into the ground, hold my volleyball tighter
against my chest –
and hurry on, court sneakers straining on the pavement, trying too hard to forget your cracked smiles.

--

I remember how we used to pass for hours
no sound but the volleyball slapping against our forearms,
brushing off our fingertips,
echoing through that Choate gymnasium, that cold spring;

My head had barely reached the middle of the net,
but you were tall and brave and handsome, my Prince Charming, and
I was a freshman girl with her heart on her sleeve, who
hugged a warm volleyball to her heart and smiled,

thinking herself lucky.

--

Spring thawed your heart, eventually,
and you let me hold your hand;
you had long fingers, cold to the touch.
you taught me how to set, complimented my hands,
trained me to cradle the ball with my thumbs like it was made of glass,
your hands around mine.

I was braver than you were,
because everything felt fresh and exciting to me, like the
smell of crushed pine needles in the air;
you kissed me (I kissed you?) on that night
and I leaned forward, curious and eager, and wrapped my arms
around your neck.

--

The days melted into one another,
and we became
like chalk drawings blurring after rain,
like floor burns from sliding to save a falling ball –
but missing it, all the effort gone to waste;
the burns will still burn and still scar, for nothing.

May to June, June to July,
I hugged you and laughed, but my eyes
were cold; you said I love you
And I tried to say it back, but I couldn’t without
sticking a used to before the love –
            the honey words stuck in my throat.

Our kisses were routine, stale
like the crackers I left out the night before;
I tapped my foot and
tossed the volleyball quickly behind my back with nimble fingers
and counted the seconds before it was acceptable to pull back;
I had homework and volleyball practice and quizzes to study for, you know – I tried to smile but
it felt so wrong, I stopped –
you asked what was wrong, I shook my head, there are no answers for some questions.

--

It’s been four years since we’ve spoken,
shared secret moments under solemn oak trees, behind library bookshelves
that promised to keep us away from prying eyes,
smiled into each other’s lips,
blinked stories into each other’s eyes.
It’s been four years since people have teased you for not
hitting the ball when we passed – you gentleman, you –

I will not say I miss you, because I refuse to lie for your sake;
but sometimes as I set a ball perfectly to a hitter
I think of you for a split second, wonder where you are and if you remember as much
as I do, which is, honestly
not very much.

--

she writes letters to him and then burns them all, the smell of smoke fills the room.
It’s as if she is stealing the fury of the sun, which is cooling down, melting into lava at the horizon –
it will be another cold winter, there is already frost in the grass, the air smells chilly.

Dear you,

I broke up with you as nicely as I could –
there was no reason I fell out of love, the same way
there is no reason people fall in love.

you have no right ******* me out on the internet the way you did.
Every time I hit a volleyball I imagine your face on my palm, and I hit harder.
I will never forgive you for the things you wrote,
and I don’t know if I ever loved you at all,
because you are despicable.

Goodbye,
the girl of your dreams.


--

it’s the beginning of the end of July, everything is so hot.
the pavement is baking, the volleyballs are flat,
her arms feel weak and limp like overcooked noodles.

it’s hard to think straight. She can hardly remember
her own name before remembering that she has a boyfriend.
He calls, he says I love you and she tries to choke out that well-rehearsed lie –
what was it again? something like I love you too?

But it’s too hot, and she
can’t do it anymore –

she swallows hard and grips her volleyball tighter,
her hands sweating against the weathered sphere that has been through so much with her
as she prepares to say goodbye.
Mateuš Conrad Oct 2020
i return to these words that are barely
an architectural promise of a house as a mere:
rummaging squatter,
that this will eventually become
scrutinised by eyes beside my own...
well it's not like i rhyme-on-the-cheap...
i've been trying to watch some penny
dreadful episodes:
what would woman do without
the devil; i suppose man tangled with
god is nothing but an obnoxious brat...
the devil of emotions
and their plethora; this belittling god
fiddling with stones and creases
in york oak stand-alones...
                          then it came like
an itch: poached-taming-(of a)-toe...
just a tatty... a humble:
i am pretty sure i saw the letters
prefix a toad somewhere: po-ta-to(e):
ah... there! poached tame toad...
a sputniks for a brainz...
in penny dreadful: john claire
the name of victor frankenstein's monster:
oh dear old god: this continued
exasperation with poetry:
one must live a most unsatisfying life
to cross the rubricon of
old testament anemia:
            i think i admired wordsworth too... -

playing house with robert duncan -
especially now:
when the house is in complete disarray
and what was once cluttered:
is more an upheaval...

- i used to write while listening
to music - no i write for the scraps
of this yawning silence
and all of its blisters of interludes -
yes:
i want a noun to turn
into a verb: not a mere:
metaphorical "transgression"
of how it's impossible
for the wine to be blood
for the bread to be flesh:
this poetry of: cannibalism?

i pry open the adventures with
cats:
i own two... my house doesn't
give off whiffs of ****:
god... i know the horrid stench
of either **** or ****
that isn't my own:
solipsistic in that...
       it's not a field of strawberries...

it's acidic to the nose:
it's beyond anything i'd ever
want to ingest: and i have once...
giggled... ******* into a glass
of wine to: punk up
the sacrament -
then again: i also ****** on my leg
when standing in a shower
cubicle and i attest to disagree:
there's something...

unconsciously prodding:
the advent prior to... learning to stress
that bladder into a muscle
and keeping it in...
that i can counter the will
of keeping it in...
that i can unwill the sensible
lesson and: it's like... anything
aqua focused -
a shower is a baptism
jumping into a pool is a rebirth:
or an invitation to
beside oneself with: start-agains...

it's very much unlike
drinking... whether it's a coffee
or a whiskey sour...
the ingestion of liquid is less
starry-eyed gluttonous freeze...
having ate nothing but hot air
or...
the whole body needs immersion
or... the ******* on a leg
prior to: then taking a shower...
hell... even mixing one's own
**** with a glass of the goat's blood
is also... "something" / something-...

to pray for sensible things is
to mumble or there's that devil's
dozen of oysters:
12 by feeding:
the 13th in the form of a ****
by nibble lick and spoon
of the tongue and lips' acrobatics...

i'm playing house with robert duncan...
i'm not a householder -
a term as ancient as: librarian
by my account -
              but the house is in disarray:
the kitchen is being subjected
to a 24 / 7  dehumidifier drone
army... i can hear the machines
working their insomnia down
below:
i have custard feet and i feel like
sinking: not falling...
when i stand to these machines:
hellish-jelly-feet...
   when i turn on the stove
and make an omelette -

     the living room (civil room,
a joke from my youth i conjured -
a room where we learn civility)...
is also a makeshift kitchen...
i'm currently playing chess from time
to time with: the memory of:
where did i put these spices...
this spoon this plate...
       it's not chess but the game is
irreversible -
it's also time consuming and it's
not that i don't keep attention to detail:
but i'm gladly not thinking forward...
i'm strategizing in reverse -

but such is the game...
robert duncan - poet and householder -
a chance reading of a moth:
but this is what makes all of this
so enjoyable: it's a niche a cul de sac
of decisions: an expansion
of time that doesn't make it to the annals
of: better to... burn... than to fade away...
either make it in your youth:
nice and proper...
or... what's the game then:
last man standing?
the list of contemporaries
drawing thin, short?

playing house... that i had a youth
i remembered when i'd too play with dolls with
my neighbour's daughter -
clearly ken and barbie had a problem
with their missing parts -
eunuchs of the sun's blind spots...
unlike when we were allowed
to take a bath together as:
not siblings but as strange dialectical opposites
to this duality: that wouldn't encompass
my somehow yet to be owned:
me good & evil...

    me tamer - me: 19th century's frankenstein:
dr. Jekyll etc.
     a rule for life: apparently...
is to pet a cat when you see one
in the street...
it's not exactly an easy task...
i guess first a show of mutual
assurance (and respect) -
this black tubby - with a bandana
for where a leash-leftover could
have been (collar) -
he starts walking anti-clockwise...
i turn aside and start walking
clockwise to pass him...
then we shuffle our approach...
like... i would always want
to pass a pigeon strutting
senseless on the pavement
with enough space so that it doesn't
have to find it necessary to fly off...

luckily for me i managed to "pet"
a stranger's cat...
my luck that it was black
but then again it was that sort
of hour
that's always a presumption
of a lazy gotten afternoon...
rule of life: pet a cat on a street...
it's not exactly a ******* given:
an "oops"... done that... tick...
self-help guru sold this trick...
                    
a selfie contra the days...
when the camera was used and...
other people would take pictures
of you... or of you and:
when there was an "us" - together...
shorthand of the limbos of life -
magnum opus words
constipated into this: makeshift
of a hopeful paragraph...

no, this couldn't be a simple meditation:
confined to...
robert duncan's household -
and my predicament of... playing memory
chess: well it's not exactly clutter:
the kitchen cannot be used
so there's a makeshift refugee camp
version of it in the living room yadda yadda...

which is a commentary on...
my distrust for the h'american literary movement
of the 20th century teasing an abandonment
with the "old ways"...
buddhism, odd... mostly...
   fair enough:
              ezra pound abhorred the taoists...
my one lesson from tao...
the best way you can aid the world:
is for the world to forget you
and for you to forget the world...
which is probably a plagiarism
of epicurus or vice versa...

              i can't imagine the demands
of pop philosophy:
pop culture on the other hand is much
easier to stomach: it's even enjoyable -
but the pop philosophy of nihilism -
which is: a pop philosophy...
it's not even required reading -
unless: you're rereading your own?
thrown into the river -
i am becoming a being of more becoming...
change is the only perpetual: blah...
if it's not my own rummagings it's
probably someone else's:
which has probably become diluted /
filtered down and is a cubism's monstrosity...

books sell for two reasons:
(1) they are genuinely read by a zeitgeist youth...
which invokes social pressures of
the collected experience - in ref. to:
something that can be talked about...
(2) they are read by "propagandists" -
by a small majority who pressure others to...
but the pressure only lasts for
airs - for a mere ownership of a book
should one be met with a scrutiny of
not owning it - reading it is beside the point...

and here in the land of "leftovers":
the middle of the road the people:
who of their own volition write and read...
that i was never ****** into
a cult of stephen king...
i was born too late to be:
but i was: ****** into a postmortem
oeuvre deity picking almost
anything by william burroughs...
i: reader: dear reader: clicked...

- i can't objectify this house -
i am subject to it: coerced by it...
made by bias upon bias
whether there's clutter or there isn't...
whether the kitchen is functionable
or not: that some people have
a kitchen but prefer to eat out:
to be seen: eating...
             i check the gradations of
punctuations and i know: still...
i will not recite these words not
out of gestures for bombast -
or pride - but for some sinister
urge to not abuse this sacred silence:
******* taught man
to manouvre... manouvre...
manouvre... maneouvre...
        man-oeuvre...
                   drop the hyphen boyo:
manoeuvre... wow!
"too many" consonants
in ****** words... how about a
magic trick? how many *******
vowels are in: man-oovr'eh?
phonetics king of the anti-spelling:
but then...
the synonym sounds
with aliases...
towing two different meanings:
too hot to count two
          ooh ooze - zizzez...
              zyzzes...
                     i can bring this anglo-slack-son
to kneel but only for a while:
before the architectural scholarly-
  takes over and the phonetic becomes:
lost, crude... based feral...

- a robert duncan is not a...
it's not mediocre is not necessary to be:
gee-whizz of frank o'hara's
cosmopolitan...
it's flesh of the h'american tongue
it's: sensibly accurate to provide
the best outlet:
for those of us still born in that
century - of what remained of us:
or rather of what remained
of the innocence of the 1990s...

that i am not nostalgic is: no proof...
that i write hardly any word of fiction:
one spaniard, once... commented
on my shoes:
i think he played a miniature version
of a flute: it looked like a reed...
the "spanish" superstition
concerning: a comment on one's shoes...
he admired... my shoes...
what's that saying:
about shoes: to best walk in one's
own before wishing to fill the shoes
of others...
a verb as simple as: there's no
presence of "run": when coupled
to: i am running: i ran...
it's raining...
i run i ruin fun... concentrated
"rhyming": literally linear: no staccato...

******* me over "jenga"...
this microcosm of sounds -
yet to draw deep leverage from
a meaning: it comes back as a mere
sound: worse a... mimic -
an aeon of only hearing
the heaving of a crow's crackling
croak... like a breaking of a tongue:
or... the lost trill of the R in
either fwench or: english...

exemplified R: with a diacritical mark
to make emphasis of the trill...

yes... this democratic oath of poets..
well: we're not going to tend to
the republic of the wizened goats
ex athens... are we?
the democratic oath of poets -
unlike the hippocratic loaf...
            which is a spectacular failure
since i have seen what
little ambitions can do:
when... the boat is not being
rocked: yet someone is still willing
to throw someone... overboard...
now that the boat is rocking:
i see nooses instead of paddles...
the seas are still rife with calm...

playing house with robert duncan -
especially now:
when the house is in complete disarray
and what was once cluttered:
is more an upheaval...

- i used to write while listening
to music - no i write for the scraps
of this yawning silence
and all of its blisters of interludes -
yes:
i want a noun to turn
into a verb: not a mere:
metaphorical "transgression"
of how it's impossible
for the wine to be blood
for the bread to be flesh:
this poetry of: cannibalism?

i pry open the adventures with
cats:
i own two... my house doesn't
give off whiffs of ****:
god... i know the horrid stench
of either **** or ****
that isn't my own:
solipsistic in that...
       it's not a field of strawberries...

it's acidic to the nose:
it's beyond anything i'd ever
want to ingest: and i have once...
giggled... ******* into a glass
of wine to: punk up
the sacrament -
then again: i also ****** on my leg
when standing in a shower
cubicle and i attest to disagree:
there's something...

unconsciously prodding:
the advent prior to... learning to stress
that bladder into a muscle
and keeping it in...
that i can counter the will
of keeping it in...
that i can unwill the sensible
lesson and: it's like... anything
aqua focused -
a shower is a baptism
jumping into a pool is a rebirth:
or an invitation to
beside oneself with: start-agains...

it's very much unlike
drinking... whether it's a coffee
or a whiskey sour...
the ingestion of liquid is less
starry-eyed gluttonous freeze...
having ate nothing but hot air
or...
the whole body needs immersion
or... the ******* on a leg
prior to: then taking a shower...
hell... even mixing one's own
**** with a glass of the goat's blood
is also... "something" / something-...

to pray for sensible things is
to mumble or there's that devil's
dozen of oysters:
12 by feeding:
the 13th in the form of a ****
by nibble lick and spoon
of the tongue and lips' acrobatics...

i'm playing house with robert duncan...
i'm not a householder -
a term as ancient as: librarian
by my account -
              but the house is in disarray:
the kitchen is being subjected
to a 24 / 7  dehumidifier drone
army... i can hear the machines
working their insomnia down
below:
i have custard feet and i feel like
sinking: not falling...
when i stand to these machines:
hellish-jelly-feet...
   when i turn on the stove
and make an omelette -

     the living room (civil room,
a joke from my youth i conjured -
a room where we learn civility)...
is also a makeshift kitchen...
i'm currently playing chess from time
to time with: the memory of:
where did i put these spices...
this spoon this plate...
       it's not chess but the game is
irreversible -
it's also time consuming and it's
not that i don't keep attention to detail:
but i'm gladly not thinking forward...
i'm strategizing in reverse -

but such is the game...
robert duncan - poet and householder -
a chance reading of a moth:
but this is what makes all of this
so enjoyable: it's a niche a cul de sac
of decisions: an expansion
of time that doesn't make it to the annals
of: better to... burn... than to fade away...
either make it in your youth:
nice and proper...
or... what's the game then:
last man standing?
the list of contemporaries
drawing thin, short?

playing house... that i had a youth
i remembered when i'd too play with dolls with
my neighbour's daughter -
clearly ken and barbie had a problem
with their missing parts -
eunuchs of the sun's blind spots...
unlike when we were allowed
to take a bath together as:
not siblings but as strange dialectical opposites
to this duality: that wouldn't encompass
my somehow yet to be owned:
me good & evil...

    me tamer - me: 19th century's frankenstein:
dr. Jekyll etc.
     a rule for life: apparently...
is to pet a cat when you see one
in the street...
it's not exactly an easy task...
i guess first a show of mutual
assurance (and respect) -
this black tubby - with a bandana
for where a leash-leftover could
have been (collar) -
he starts walking anti-clockwise...
i turn aside and start walking
clockwise to pass him...
then we shuffle our approach...
like... i would always want
to pass a pigeon strutting
senseless on the pavement
with enough space so that it doesn't
have to find it necessary to fly off...

luckily for me i managed to "pet"
a stranger's cat...
my luck that it was black
but then again it was that sort
of hour
that's always a presumption
of a lazy gotten afternoon...
rule of life: pet a cat on a street...
it's not exactly a ******* given:
an "oops"... done that... tick...
self-help guru sold this trick...
                    
a selfie contra the days...
when the camera was used and...
other people would take pictures
of you... or of you and:
when there was an "us" - together...
shorthand of the limbos of life -
magnum opus words
constipated into this: makeshift
of a hopeful paragraph...

no, this couldn't be a simple meditation:
confined to...
robert duncan's household -
and my predicament of... playing memory
chess: well it's not exactly clutter:
the kitchen cannot be used
so there's a makeshift refugee camp
version of it in the living room yadda yadda...

which is a commentary on...
my distrust for the h'american literary movement
of the 20th century teasing an abandonment
with the "old ways"...
buddhism, odd... mostly...
   fair enough:
              ezra pound abhorred the taoists...
my one lesson from tao...
the best way you can aid the world:
is for the world to forget you
and for you to forget the world...
which is probably a plagiarism
of epicurus or vice versa...

              i can't imagine the demands
of pop philosophy:
pop culture on the other hand is much
easier to stomach: it's even enjoyable -
but the pop philosophy of nihilism -
which is: a pop philosophy...
it's not even required reading -
unless: you're rereading your own?
thrown into the river -
i am becoming a being of more becoming...
change is the only perpetual: blah...
if it's not my own rummagings it's
probably someone else's:
which has probably become diluted /
filtered down and is a cubism's monstrosity...

books sell for two reasons:
(1) they are genuinely read by a zeitgeist youth...
which invokes social pressures of
the collected experience - in ref. to:
something that can be talked about...
(2) they are read by "propagandists" -
by a small majority who pressure others to...
but the pressure only lasts for
airs - for a mere ownership of a book
should one be met with a scrutiny of
not owning it - reading it is beside the point...

and here in the land of "leftovers":
the middle of the road the people:
who of their own volition write and read...
that i was never ****** into
a cult of stephen king...
i was born too late to be:
but i was: ****** into a postmortem
oeuvre deity picking almost
anything by william burroughs...
i: reader: dear reader: clicked...

- i can't objectify this house -
i am subject to it: coerced by it...
made by bias upon bias
whether there's clutter or there isn't...
whether the kitchen is functionable
or not: that some people have
a kitchen but prefer to eat out:
to be seen: eating...
             i check the gradations of
punctuations and i know: still...
i will not recite these words not
out of gestures for bombast -
or pride - but for some sinister
urge to not abuse this sacred silence:
******* taught man
to manouvre... manouvre...
manouvre... maneouvre...
        man-oeuvre...
                   drop the hyphen boyo:
manoeuvre... wow!
"too many" consonants
in ****** words... how about a
magic trick? how many *******
vowels are in: man-oovr'eh?
phonetics king of the anti-spelling:
but then...
the synonym sounds
with aliases...
towing two different meanings:
too hot to count two
          ooh ooze - zizzez...
              zyzzes...
                     i can bring this anglo-slack-son
to kneel but only for a while:
before the architectural scholarly-
  takes over and the phonetic becomes:
lost, crude... based feral...

- a robert duncan is not a...
it's not mediocre is not necessary to be:
gee-whizz of frank o'hara's
cosmopolitan...
it's flesh of the h'american tongue
it's: sensibly accurate to provide
the best outlet:
for those of us still born in that
century - of what remained of us:
or rather of what remained
of the innocence of the 1990s...

that i am not nostalgic is: no proof...
that i write hardly any word of fiction:
one spaniard, once... commented
on my shoes:
i think he played a miniature version
of a flute: it looked like a reed...
the "spanish" superstition
concerning: a comment on one's shoes...
he admired... my shoes...
what's that saying:
about shoes: to best walk in one's
own before wishing to fill the shoes
of others...
a verb as simple as: there's no
presence of "run": when coupled
to: i am running: i ran...
it's raining...
i run i ruin fun... concentrated
"rhyming": literally linear: no staccato...

******* me over "jenga"...
this microcosm of sounds -
yet to draw deep leverage from
a meaning: it comes back as a mere
sound: worse a... mimic -
an aeon of only hearing
the heaving of a crow's crackling
croak... like a breaking of a tongue:
or... the lost trill of the R in
either fwench or: english...

exemplified R: with a diacritical mark
to make emphasis of the trill...
i will not heed to market emphasis...
(Ꝛ if you might ask:
there's no leg to stand on...
the "R" falls into a turddle -
a tumble: a trill)...

ꝛ - a missing hammer: it would seem...
a sickle my dreading of apparents...

yes... this democratic oath of poets..
well: we're not going to tend to
the republic of the wizened goats
ex athens... are we?
the democratic oath of poets -
unlike the hippocratic loaf...
            which is a spectacular failure
since i have seen what
little ambitions can do:
when... the boat is not being
rocked: yet someone is still willing
to throw someone... overboard...
now that the boat is rocking:
i see nooses instead of paddles...
the seas are still rife with calm...

clamour for the subjective experince...
none of this: hammer to a nail
sort of "magic" that leaves
one... sensibly "ostententious":

a semi-decent poem contra:
a good night's sleep...
always the latter...
   but unlike today:
6am wake... giving blood for
scrutiny - subsequently...
a broad need for 4 hours in...
a makeshift wilderness...
from Hainault Forest
to Havering County Park...

                        i would clearly have
to start all over again...
should i mind reading back into Tironian
notes and what i had expected to find...
it will suffice to mind...
the characters of empress wu...

         國 (guo)

beginning: coming back to bite some back
from a beijing pork belly:
where you'd first have to make caramel
from the sugar dissolved in oil:
before all the wine would care to glisten...

             𤯔 (ren)...

                              in reverse:
ren-guo - people (of) nation...
                      walking past this field:
impromptu: please keep off of field...
that's what i read...
      this was exclusive -
there was not need to denote further...

and this funny oddity:
saying good-morning or a hello
in an environment that's beside...
walking down the street with a stable
hound of anonymity surrounding
crisp grey blockage of: the amass!
yet people are so expecting
a common courtesy to brief you
on a morning: good...
is it? incessantly so! apparently!
switch them to the torment of the cements
and the back-to-basics apathetic crew
is on the counter...
ghost faces...
  but push them far enough to be alone
and into nature:
they pass a stranger and apparently
demand a prompt: hello!

i go into a depth of nature like
i have *** with prostitutes in a brothel:
i want to have as little to do with talking
that i'd loan: smothering someone
to shut up...
i came for the crows the knee-high-hallubaloos
of nonsense that...
i will extract myself to break
fasting to give blood by foraging
some blackberries...

i still prefer the lesser democratic voices...
it's not that robert duncan was going
to be a stand-alone show akin
to gibsberg...
but... my house is currently in disarray...
i'm playing chess by having
a makeshift kitchen in my living room...
i don't even know where the spices
are! but i'll manage
to bake a **** fine moroccan kobhz!

- this little but current focus for a genetic
"protection": half of me,
then a quarter, an eight, a sixteenth,
a 32-and-a-third... jump toward
64... 128... and... from all these fractions:
half and half:
beauty is no longer viable:
i imagine love as being a prized
bull kept for nothing except
for ******* the gene pool silly...

that's "love" from a darwin from
a materialism: breeding racing horses
or... both the submissive
and the contentious workers -
pay up! but i am not looking
for the generic beauty of
the plateau of the women
employed as surrogates
in this darwinistic harem...
            
isn't it obvious? it would have been
better have be allowed ourselves
to be dead: aborted...
but then: critter load: make-up...
i actually offend my own existence
by affording these dorian gray
parades to take hope in puruing
norms...
i like the scaps i like the wounds
i even like nibbling on the shellfish!

****-****** literature is my achilles
heel...
better a heel than trodding along
with faking a ******* knee...
robert duncan... jack spicer...
i like reading eyes by (metaphorically)
licking up the ****...
and it's not like i might give good head...
i employ a growth of
***** hair to convert my chin
to a niqab like i might: perhaps blink...

then again: face-masks and fashion?
is... this... somehow...
a "thing"?
            well it must be new:
it's nothing from the sort
of the elders i might care to remember...
i walked the scenic route...
blackberries and horseshit...
everything is baking in a procrastination
of: tickle the rats' nibbling...
scrutiny of the lesser of the food
hierarchy: omnivore that i am...

yes... that i like petting criters
that find themselves adamant in their
superiority...
but who have yet to see me:
teasing myself with
a: what if...
                 hours match-up to
not keeping count: there's a fog of them
that goes way back to...
out of the womb... then abandoned
by the scholastic detail that
allows them to float: limbless...
and then return to earth: degenerate...
and less than amiable...

        douglas murray is probably
a hot topic... i too sometimes bewilder myself:
it would have been best to have
allowed the pendulum to swing both ways...
but he (ol' doug) speaks very well:
his writing is... beside the generic...
salt of grain: akin to my own...
for a cubic's worth of water...

    i don't want this tongue to be somewhow
exasperated with concerns for this / an "art"...
or that it can belittle a scientific bone...
thrown to the politics and red herring marches...
spins the doctor: no plates...
forever the new lies
kept in the same old... rhetorical: quirk-and-quickness
of the quilled-tongue...
a knock-knock stone cold: generic...
must: mediocre...
tired of living tongue of poetry
that has to become tired:
truth has to tire so easily...
so that politics: and the freshness
of lies and the no-niche-audience-allowance
can cast their:
"vote"... their... archaic... illiterate "X"..

i will not poetry for rhymes for
exasperations - fooled i: to you: to pursue
that paragraph of fiction - either...
but as freely as this will not:
become an exercise in myopic-claustrophobia...
so it will not rhyme:
perhaps: to advent a coming of my
prescribed punctuation:
but more: your own, your "post-nationalistic"
canadian:
something the people of India or
China will not share with you...
because:
they are still of the mindset: China...
India... hell! Russian is towing suitor!
individualism collapses nations...
whether with a homogeneity of ethnicity
or the heterogeneity of liberalism...

           a wonderful collage of stories...
from the 20th century:
agony aunt israel bewildering
to either confront or defend...
            2000 years have somehow passed
and: europe is no new: "anew"...
it's the same old bland palette
of readily ethno-primed availability
of spices...
hurrah for thyme! and rosemary! mint!

from some mythical above
to this drudge of the pressurised castor -
there was something about robert duncan
that might always have:
made me... diverge from...
it could have been expected...
stash a tonne of bricks by day...
weave in an escapism posit of cinema
come sabbath...
now... escapism into... where?!
critical reignition of marxism:
that sort of marxism my parents escaped
from from under the old soviet
yolk of the satellite state
of poland: thank **** i too am an
immigrant:
but i see no repatriation politics
either...
               go back to a state of
the littlest of all bald envy necropolis
Impoleons?

            no among my native people:
among the natives of these isles...
a thespian: knee deep in ****...
           faking best predicts a survival
rate of this uncoiling...
it's a nation full of: self-
pre-determina...
                  automated prefixation that
can never allow itself to:
make sensible coagulations
of the odd sociable pint...

this atom world this atom's worth
of man...
best life lived as designated
to a harem...
  my and my leftover "blues"...
this world of god and the adventures
of...
no longer available...
thus this one "reality" presented:
playing by man's rules
for the purpose of man's eventual:
transcendence...
a dwarf riding a hunchback
        toward a goal that's a talking donkey!

what's otherwise best?
this has to be an: exercise in futility -
that it had to come from somewhere like:
borrowed prior -
that it could only be borrowed prior:
this tongue had to be inherited:
it could never be acquired -
that a native speaker is...
of a higher status to a bilingual -
because the earth breathes rights...

i forget: i am not equipped
with the desirable physiognomy -
problem being:
when i might find black males
attractive like i might lions: distinct...
i have this ****** on my brain
that says to me...
  well... well...
     i'm not gay.. but i'm certainly
not heterosexual:
even if Flaubert might ask the question:
blondes, brunetters - afro-beauties:
ivory envy?
  what can i do? fest on a hard-on
chemical "oops" / short-cut?
i can't possibly have... a beijing fetish?
a mongol fetish?
i can't? there's only one variation
of interracial mixing...
i guess... so...

     it would be so much easier
to just be gay and leave this world
with a ******* massive **** salvo
of: not coming back!
               to **** a black girl:
not enough...
to not **** a black girl: doubly knot...
******* a lemon while
staring at the sun:
the sado-masochism of
all the post-colonial empires...
and me: whittle ol' resurrected
******... or searching:
the elder prus - the new estonians...
some little european *******...
i imagine...
going to Kenya and running
for parliament:
to concern myself for the voices
of the: minority!

it's... fiddling with the already
prescribed narrative:
trying to make a lee evans jokes
out of it... but...
it's not ******* happening woe-o'-sunshine...
is it?!
it's not like i'm strapped
to a northern monkey
reservation... while still retaining
my: immigrant southern fairy:
commuter hell "debate":
this is not devonshire...
this is not bristol: i'd love to scoop
up a life of a decade's worth
up in Bangor... but it's not even that...
pay by way to:
a collective identity crisis of:
zee vest...
            
if it's anger: perhaps...
it's more a seance in glorifying confusion:
it was once perhaps a little
bit... naive...
but then... who's naive enough
to repeat two-folds of yesterday
within the confines of a day:
to- / to- are not future even
if subjected to incremental changes...
fx/dx changes that might
spawn alternate realities...

        the breaking of a donkey's dollars
worth: i do fishing in the indian sea...
with some... somali pirates...
it's not like i'll ever wake up from
this guilt... the guilt that might
riddle a people that inherited...
i inherited exile from my fathers...
i inherited: no...
the ****** aristocracy didn't tend
to their garden... there was no Eton...
no rugby no football...
there was only a partitioning...
to look toward the past is
an agony that i wish to only hide
in the english countryside...
after all, i thought: who would't want...
make a feast of conquest of this land...
but in a way that was norman:
that the anglo-saxon debauchery could
be... delianted
and brought to a celtic-esque heel...
with a dash of neo-paganism:
a york-up sort o' pie...

without disturbing this dilligent
people of: a most fervent... attention to detail...
it's an island... it's devoid
of any continental squabble...
no mongol ever... no ottoman ever...
it break my heart...
it reminds me: although it shouldn't
remind me...
the aristocratic class (they deem themselves
as much, so why deny them?)
of this country are like the ******
aristocracy
of the three partition "era"...
as napoleon was celebrated "elsewhere"...
with the resurrection
of the duchy of warsaw...
and... england made a beef from
a wellington...
and how the confederacy of germans
repaid the english during the first:
thirst for war...

                   a shogun's pride:
no one would invade japan:
given the persistence of pressure
from a civility of: glamour creases...
it's still the ******* canon rolling
the pawns and pins...

i have but this little interlude in time
to entertain: a history i have learned...
beside citing the obvious apple
hanging on a tree...
who? the burning vietnamese monk?
that's who i am going to... erase...
2000 (circa) years of history with?
this is how i play: conquistador-catch-up?!
this is my whittle muhammad
stage-fright?!

these new surgical masks are
not imitations of the niqab...
the arabs are not drying up their dinosaur
marrow reserves and are not
scouting for willing sodomite freshers
to their gargantuan wealth-soiling
of "morals"?
no? this is all... a pauper's conspiracy
theory... god!
i try to imagine the conspiracy
theory of kings!
it must invite a realisation of
a god or gods...
and at least a quarter of an abstaining
pademomium!

the poets and the sceptics
living under: the... gates are open...
a republic under "scrutiny"...
the philosophers and the
geocentrists - have allowed
for nothing more... than this...
thespian "bureucracy" of
shadow "fiddling"... tail with now:
tail best quite...

attention spanning the glorifications
of non-replica, generic
Solomon comes to the furore
front: then a mismatch
when the brain: swiss cheese project:
is treated at the Avignon
pontiff...
the harem and debauchery shifts
focus...
there's that "we're" and...
dumb-lasso-dumber than you'd
pay the libido of a camel with: for...

i have to always imagine myself
petting cats... or dogs...
to have to dissociate myself from having
perfect: the needs for either halal or
kosher demands of leather...
i best prefer the pipsqueak of
a meow to... an actual oink
in the litany of cogs and perhaps:
clogging up the machinery of
"jurisprudence"... as some Jain might...

borrow from... export very little to...
come the omnivorse of the east
and all succumb to:
boy-scout avenues of:
yes ss'ir...
most loathsome ss'ir...
                     i have to interrogate
the dead man as i am:
the best example of a cul de sac
of dreams: the...
pedestrian could mind not thinking:
imagine: imagine the corpus deity
of: unimaginable thought...
or one which has
an alias: unthinkable imagiation...

memory freelance architect prior
to noon...
is somewhat justified with...
a boredom of a cat come
5pm... but by then...
no cat is ever really bored...
and i have no need to concern
myself with dogs... or leashes...
or desires to: address a
workability of legs...
          to: give scrutiny when all
other examples are wheelchair bound...

he held a piece of paper:
between his hands... like my shadow might:
hold a butterfly...
exasperation:
that philosophers of ancient greece
said: poets begone!
no wonder this...
currency... of wanting to imitate
a petting of animals...
and... this thespian autocracy
that no elders could abide by...
it can still be excused:
the role of actors:
the role of shadow-thieves...

it can still be salvaged...
some of us are still the same rummaging:
in ruinous...
wordsmiths or... best...
plumbers... not some aspirtation
beckons for youth...
it must rhyme:
it must come down to: 2 + 2 = 4
sort of: flimsy poetics...

i'd must prefer to be a
homosexual plumber these days
that my very own mediocre leftover...
thank god i do not encompass
a courtship of a woman:
then imagine!
what did i do with my time:
that i do so much!
having made... so little money!
ghosts can't spend: ****!
i did with my time that
would not allow woman
to turn time into money!
thus i turned money into monkey's
play on elephant and
called tha pennies: p'p'eh-nuts!

  the old man dies:
the youth of man was never
supposed to be born;

god... this was supposed
to be profound?
with this idiosyncratic lost...
spontaneity of punctuation...
i take this reading as
a leverage for making
image: of an anchor dropped:
that would sink the ship.
Sydney Victoria Oct 2012
Dawn Is Still Dusk As
  I Walk From Security
Into A Dark World

         Evil Lurks In
            My Presence And It Is Ruthless  
                   A Cold Wind Nips Skin
  
                                            The Scent Of Blood Hangs
                                        In The Atmospheless Air    
                                  Trees Gaze Past The Twinge
  
                      Cry If You Need To
                         Stars Will Take Away The Tears
                              The Moon Will Kiss You

Remember The Chills?
   The Sun Starts Slowly Rising
            To See Our Faces

                             Nails On A Chalkboard
                     Claws On The Frosty Pavements
                               Grass Dying Below

                                               One Last Kiss From Me
                                   One Last Goodbye From Hate
                                                    The Veil Is Lifted

                      You Can Regret All
                               The Misery And Pain
                                         But What About Love

                  The Cold Onyx Pavement                                                               Will Someday Lead Us To Clouds
                 And We Will Forget

                                 A Deal With Demons
                            Withdrawn From Eternity
                                 Drawn From Forever

                                                        ­Tonight It's Just Me
                           But In My Dreams It's Me And You
                                              And Tonight We Dance

                       *On A Dance Floor Of Pavement
I'm Really Starting To Fall In Love With Haikus
Julian Jul 2016
Fragile egg-shell mind on dawn’s highway bleeding the segue between times traversed only in momentary dreams or in enduring excursions

We drag our droll and quaint 60s baggage like the luggage of a safari made of concrete girding a cavernous expanse of unheralded ground

With our ears oriented to the floor, we leap out of body never to deplore….never to ignore….never to miss the blue bus of our drafted imaginations, so carefully culled from brash elitism

I trounce the intervening time between being friendless and an ironic end, and an irenic comrade becoming the dearest amazed but always aplomb friend

We simper in our glorious traversal, and though bedraggled through an ornamented cavern we linger just long enough to be celebrated

Then a blues riff emanates from a vapid bar, and finally someone heralds my exhumed memory still rusty with the pavement of encased concrete on an empty or full tomb

So I wander in my mind to that roughshod Paris glassy tincture a romanticized gild of proper sensibility crafted in the tongues of lizards emulating the tongues of serpentine Anglicans

As the power of love transcends the love of power, both are afforded serendipitously upon the stately occasion of a fitful revolt where heads literally rolled and deaths still unfurl from the slippage of a violent malevolent eternity, crafting a new creative way to expedite the smite of preventable scourge

So Jim, I see your picaresque side and your wide-eyed love for a listless ship anointed of a crystal blip just detectable long enough on RADAR to become the statistic to crack the slim WHIP

No wigs are needed at this formality, no figs grow from trees forty-five years buried and almost a full month unsung

Pitiable cretins of an invented insanity, they scoff at my ravenous and portentous heart for its excess and for aligning with an upstart verging on only a specious insanity

Why in all humanity could a month be mustered with every defense of history and yet for it to be so widely flouted as a risible exercise in futility

The irony that the artistic glamor of a past vogue becoming a revival that is often toked only to one song but never to the memorial of great cavernous and commodious imaginations, staggers with dismay where otherwise the mayday would be a disaster but still a great day

Then I look at a triggered-fingered omen of a death so ominous yet so brazenly confronted as the ambassadors of time provide plaudits to a fearless martyrdom

Why such a sad spate, why such a stringent but malevolent fate a malediction on a family whose crest is not crestfallen like rolling waves but ornamented with gravity impounding its own weight

A fugacious tomb, an eternal flame, a swan song announcing an independent authority on a prescient demise mashed and deprived

A single shot rippling through the broadened space between clasped eternity and a histrionic disgrace as a psychological confederate pays lip service to a reiterative applause

A cousin hardly American in a defected record of incendiary plumes of a hoarse hatred of waxen discs and flying discs alike,  climbs out of a bonfire mounted purely out of vindictive spite

Then upon a great white buffalo a wrapped package of Californian love before California ever alighted like something beyond an avaricious dove, saw a rocky park and a hearth of illuminated darkness the singular spark

Captain Morgan knows the jackknife applause of a botched deal morphing into a disbelieved spiel. A shibboleth of enormous mystical weight crashing down from an ethereal abode and heaven heavily saddened cannot hardly appeal

Then a loving spoonful of crystal blue persuasion led me to Ethel’s regimented keepsake and for once in my life nobility and I became a grateful waif. But temerity laughed, splintered spacecraft, and the wooden paws of a bearish applause led to resurgent clarity

Blinking stars shattered by knighted and raw applause punctured the liberated might of a sentient hortatory savior grasped by the internecine wrench of a waxen time

An indie track slides by unnoticed in an aleatory time, and the threadbare whine of centuries of lament becomes a dastardly barn set ablaze with the fury of ancients and the scurry of faineant patents

Perfidy slides in recess, and in gentle forbearance the winged angel lingers like a halo on conifer and spring above a remedial ring

I dial frisky celerity tingling the dangling claws of a raven’s screed and in plunder of all history’s pilfer secrets I eagerly weave a tapestry Indiana Jones himself would be proud to watch

Not the riotous ruin of a mystery tour of verdure crippled by genocide but overcome by the revived life of raised rain razing the moments of indelible pain

But the culmination of a proffered time taken at its word for its every careened bird, for its every brazen gird. The manger of proctored stars calls us home tonight and home forever. Life in quaked timorous stumbles suddenly no longer so fitfully absurd.

The quixotic plundered of pirates and emperors in direct emulation of some crooned pastiche of whittled integrity, surges above any encased blurb and any vain testament to a pyramid rigid in destiny and ragged in desultory and sturdy sincerity

Multiplying the ineffable by the division of arable divorced from edible is too creative to be eaten as pabulum when sparks curdle flickered moonlight crimson and that become golden only to the last laugh of ennobled ragamuffins

Frankly the desert of melliferous gorillas abetting the lark of a heavily vetted camarilla engaged in the sinecure of a rigged wall on a main street to block the tall from the lame bleat. Stocks grazed, costs engaged on a littoral beach at the end of a Bossy promenade

This prayer is a cutthroat collapse of a merry spare, a ribbed ****** waiting to plunge into the antithesis of female despair, but sincere in its restraint that vixens courted in love aren’t courted in litigation of a wagered dare

Ambulances chase Deloreans through the desolate moon-stricken skies of a time agape with fleets of phantasmagoria on a Cliffside too wise to ever mince words or excise cries

Skulking the red-teared caverns of entombed films and lampooned tinctures on a passion vetted only for certain and utter deracinated disguise, I wallop with winged men in a single soul armed to the teeth with inveterate tithes to eternal internments of poached and endangered gazettes

As growth older in wizened skin bets on epithets rather than epitaphs for rinsed peace and triumphant clefts we leap above in orbit of only the bellowing nether of blown tolls and untold souls aggregating the esoteric grasp of Alexandrian tomes

The denumeration of certainty is a carousel of wonder, a splurge of time ripped asunder with majesties of paparazzi scuttled impacts a throttled iniquity of regalia’s indicted blunder frenchified but still clean with inestimable sheens

With twenty-five dollars, a dime an assist and a nickeled reiteration of currency already so personable it is divine and sublime in crazed desist I watch the embroiled natives clash in denatured violence with the warriors of a crossed repast hearkening to an old land much of ire but too much of grandstand to ultimately last

Itching for a holy field husk of peerless ties listed as rumpus and beer, a two-packed smoked by bludgeoned blokes careless in irascible sputters of a muffled doom, a Vegan becomes the author of too many sacrosanct homilies becoming defiled witchcraft brooms dead on arrival too many lionized tombs

In plaudits and the scause of an amplified “what if?” of an olfactory nightmare of petrified fog of effluvium bogged in Wade and in heat it is always clogged, sinewy libations of toasted preemptive revenge become a powerballed hog

A castle in the sky founded on Franklin but scourged of wineskins brimming with a distilled time, a swift repartee becomes the whispered ladder of saints blather becoming not rather other than a Dan Rather spatter

A door breeched by a broached inconvenience of amphigory beyond common reach, I clamber excess and whisk the lingered love into destiny beyond any word other than a beseeched preach of nothing tired but everything inspired of noble love with abundance often to teach

Fireworks of turned tides of fallow tithes to aliens beyond any conceivable bribe the bushwhacker writhes but survives staying alive without even a hint of garbled jive a 27th floor glass elevator is quite a resplendent ride

Wellsprings knowing radical rolled tides of errant dice also themselves guilty of confessional tithes to the monolith of avarice at the nooked cranny of an evaporated time we whine as the police sting the album rained with songs too lugubrious to sing but in their elegy every lonely heart has a propinquity phone of souled resonance ring

Iterative mastery of a mathematics of love, loss decay and the dross of a dental Occidental floss, the sweep of screened queues become questions of inestimable importance to foreign dues on a horse with no name but so consumed with fumes

A fright occultist thriller prowls in a waylaying daylight, masquerading an innocent confection for a rescued triage of a dawn stabbed with knives in our last dying days of trembled plight

He resurrects only the wraiths of detest, squinted at by the putrefaction of summoned cardiac arrest and littered with bullets that somehow can penetrate even impregnable bullet proof vests the wrapped carcass of the mummified husk of ready despair offers itself a ghoulish and raspy prayer

Synchronized in a low roaring swathe of rollercoasters too immersive to ride, the terpsichorean obscurantism of deliberately shattered fragments becoming blurbs dismissed with hijacked deride the carnival of a summer sun becomes the ocean of limitless love becoming endless fun

We forget the drawl of the droll old tales that haunt like specters in the closet and beneath the bedridden valetudinarian of an effrontery of shackled fright, we sprawl the innumerable caverns of prophetic insight afforded by the pantheon of history enter stage left, depart stage right

And with their insight I write and write, I grasp the tusk of democracy and wage an insurrection against the doubt of plodding limitations in otherwise immaculate sight

*** and tyrannosaurus rex, of litigable offenses leading to pardonable arrests, the gated entryway of a poetic splurge leads to the demiurge of a demotic enlightenment and suddenly the frank becomes the frazzled retirement and that haunting hounding bunny transmogrified by a shattered eye averts the car crash that careens ponderous engines out of limitless twilight blue skies.

Diamond lightning in pristine skies escorts the telegraphic totems of riddled modems from 1967 to 2016 and suddenly all venerable personages converge on a teeming scene of a union unified by a universal dream. To become everything and yet nothing and out of light and darkness to become a beatific beam
On Hellespont, guilty of true love’s blood,
In view and opposite two cities stood,
Sea-borderers, disjoin’d by Neptune’s might;
The one Abydos, the other Sestos hight.
At Sestos Hero dwelt; Hero the fair,
Whom young Apollo courted for her hair,
And offer’d as a dower his burning throne,
Where she could sit for men to gaze upon.
The outside of her garments were of lawn,
The lining purple silk, with gilt stars drawn;
Her wide sleeves green, and border’d with a grove,
Where Venus in her naked glory strove
To please the careless and disdainful eyes
Of proud Adonis, that before her lies;
Her kirtle blue, whereon was many a stain,
Made with the blood of wretched lovers slain.
Upon her head she ware a myrtle wreath,
From whence her veil reach’d to the ground beneath;
Her veil was artificial flowers and leaves,
Whose workmanship both man and beast deceives;
Many would praise the sweet smell as she past,
When ’twas the odour which her breath forth cast;
And there for honey bees have sought in vain,
And beat from thence, have lighted there again.
About her neck hung chains of pebble-stone,
Which lighten’d by her neck, like diamonds shone.
She ware no gloves; for neither sun nor wind
Would burn or parch her hands, but, to her mind,
Or warm or cool them, for they took delight
To play upon those hands, they were so white.
Buskins of shells, all silver’d, used she,
And branch’d with blushing coral to the knee;
Where sparrows perch’d, of hollow pearl and gold,
Such as the world would wonder to behold:
Those with sweet water oft her handmaid fills,
Which as she went, would chirrup through the bills.
Some say, for her the fairest Cupid pin’d,
And looking in her face, was strooken blind.
But this is true; so like was one the other,
As he imagin’d Hero was his mother;
And oftentimes into her ***** flew,
About her naked neck his bare arms threw,
And laid his childish head upon her breast,
And with still panting rock’d there took his rest.
So lovely-fair was Hero, Venus’ nun,
As Nature wept, thinking she was undone,
Because she took more from her than she left,
And of such wondrous beauty her bereft:
Therefore, in sign her treasure suffer’d wrack,
Since Hero’s time hath half the world been black.

Amorous Leander, beautiful and young
(Whose tragedy divine MusÆus sung),
Dwelt at Abydos; since him dwelt there none
For whom succeeding times make greater moan.
His dangling tresses, that were never shorn,
Had they been cut, and unto Colchos borne,
Would have allur’d the vent’rous youth of Greece
To hazard more than for the golden fleece.
Fair Cynthia wish’d his arms might be her sphere;
Grief makes her pale, because she moves not there.
His body was as straight as Circe’s wand;
Jove might have sipt out nectar from his hand.
Even as delicious meat is to the taste,
So was his neck in touching, and surpast
The white of Pelops’ shoulder: I could tell ye,
How smooth his breast was, and how white his belly;
And whose immortal fingers did imprint
That heavenly path with many a curious dint
That runs along his back; but my rude pen
Can hardly blazon forth the loves of men,
Much less of powerful gods: let it suffice
That my slack Muse sings of Leander’s eyes;
Those orient cheeks and lips, exceeding his
That leapt into the water for a kiss
Of his own shadow, and, despising many,
Died ere he could enjoy the love of any.
Had wild Hippolytus Leander seen,
Enamour’d of his beauty had he been.
His presence made the rudest peasant melt,
That in the vast uplandish country dwelt;
The barbarous Thracian soldier, mov’d with nought,
Was mov’d with him, and for his favour sought.
Some swore he was a maid in man’s attire,
For in his looks were all that men desire,—
A pleasant smiling cheek, a speaking eye,
A brow for love to banquet royally;
And such as knew he was a man, would say,
“Leander, thou art made for amorous play;
Why art thou not in love, and lov’d of all?
Though thou be fair, yet be not thine own thrall.”

The men of wealthy Sestos every year,
For his sake whom their goddess held so dear,
Rose-cheek’d Adonis, kept a solemn feast.
Thither resorted many a wandering guest
To meet their loves; such as had none at all
Came lovers home from this great festival;
For every street, like to a firmament,
Glister’d with breathing stars, who, where they went,
Frighted the melancholy earth, which deem’d
Eternal heaven to burn, for so it seem’d
As if another Pha{”e}ton had got
The guidance of the sun’s rich chariot.
But far above the loveliest, Hero shin’d,
And stole away th’ enchanted gazer’s mind;
For like sea-nymphs’ inveigling harmony,
So was her beauty to the standers-by;
Nor that night-wandering, pale, and watery star
(When yawning dragons draw her thirling car
From Latmus’ mount up to the gloomy sky,
Where, crown’d with blazing light and majesty,
She proudly sits) more over-rules the flood
Than she the hearts of those that near her stood.
Even as when gaudy nymphs pursue the chase,
Wretched Ixion’s shaggy-footed race,
Incens’d with savage heat, gallop amain
From steep pine-bearing mountains to the plain,
So ran the people forth to gaze upon her,
And all that view’d her were enamour’d on her.
And as in fury of a dreadful fight,
Their fellows being slain or put to flight,
Poor soldiers stand with fear of death dead-strooken,
So at her presence all surpris’d and tooken,
Await the sentence of her scornful eyes;
He whom she favours lives; the other dies.
There might you see one sigh, another rage,
And some, their violent passions to assuage,
Compile sharp satires; but, alas, too late,
For faithful love will never turn to hate.
And many, seeing great princes were denied,
Pin’d as they went, and thinking on her, died.
On this feast-day—O cursed day and hour!—
Went Hero thorough Sestos, from her tower
To Venus’ temple, where unhappily,
As after chanc’d, they did each other spy.

So fair a church as this had Venus none:
The walls were of discolour’d jasper-stone,
Wherein was Proteus carved; and over-head
A lively vine of green sea-agate spread,
Where by one hand light-headed Bacchus hung,
And with the other wine from grapes out-wrung.
Of crystal shining fair the pavement was;
The town of Sestos call’d it Venus’ glass:
There might you see the gods in sundry shapes,
Committing heady riots, ******, rapes:
For know, that underneath this radiant flower
Was Danae’s statue in a brazen tower,
Jove slyly stealing from his sister’s bed,
To dally with Idalian Ganimed,
And for his love Europa bellowing loud,
And tumbling with the rainbow in a cloud;
Blood-quaffing Mars heaving the iron net,
Which limping Vulcan and his Cyclops set;
Love kindling fire, to burn such towns as Troy,
Sylvanus weeping for the lovely boy
That now is turn’d into a cypress tree,
Under whose shade the wood-gods love to be.
And in the midst a silver altar stood:
There Hero, sacrificing turtles’ blood,
Vail’d to the ground, veiling her eyelids close;
And modestly they opened as she rose.
Thence flew Love’s arrow with the golden head;
And thus Leander was enamoured.
Stone-still he stood, and evermore he gazed,
Till with the fire that from his count’nance blazed
Relenting Hero’s gentle heart was strook:
Such force and virtue hath an amorous look.

It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is over-rul’d by fate.
When two are stript, long ere the course begin,
We wish that one should lose, the other win;
And one especially do we affect
Of two gold ingots, like in each respect:
The reason no man knows, let it suffice,
What we behold is censur’d by our eyes.
Where both deliberate, the love is slight:
Who ever lov’d, that lov’d not at first sight?

He kneeled, but unto her devoutly prayed.
Chaste Hero to herself thus softly said,
“Were I the saint he worships, I would hear him;”
And, as she spake those words, came somewhat near him.
He started up, she blushed as one ashamed,
Wherewith Leander much more was inflamed.
He touched her hand; in touching it she trembled.
Love deeply grounded, hardly is dissembled.
These lovers parleyed by the touch of hands;
True love is mute, and oft amazed stands.
Thus while dumb signs their yielding hearts entangled,
The air with sparks of living fire was spangled,
And night, deep drenched in misty Acheron,
Heaved up her head, and half the world upon
Breathed darkness forth (dark night is Cupid’s day).
And now begins Leander to display
Love’s holy fire, with words, with sighs, and tears,
Which like sweet music entered Hero’s ears,
And yet at every word she turned aside,
And always cut him off as he replied.
At last, like to a bold sharp sophister,
With cheerful hope thus he accosted her.

“Fair creature, let me speak without offence.
I would my rude words had the influence
To lead thy thoughts as thy fair looks do mine,
Then shouldst thou be his prisoner, who is thine.
Be not unkind and fair; misshapen stuff
Are of behaviour boisterous and rough.
O shun me not, but hear me ere you go.
God knows I cannot force love as you do.
My words shall be as spotless as my youth,
Full of simplicity and naked truth.
This sacrifice, (whose sweet perfume descending
From Venus’ altar, to your footsteps bending)
Doth testify that you exceed her far,
To whom you offer, and whose nun you are.
Why should you worship her? Her you surpass
As much as sparkling diamonds flaring glass.
A diamond set in lead his worth retains;
A heavenly nymph, beloved of human swains,
Receives no blemish, but ofttimes more grace;
Which makes me hope, although I am but base:
Base in respect of thee, divine and pure,
Dutiful service may thy love procure.
And I in duty will excel all other,
As thou in beauty dost exceed Love’s mother.
Nor heaven, nor thou, were made to gaze upon,
As heaven preserves all things, so save thou one.
A stately builded ship, well rigged and tall,
The ocean maketh more majestical.
Why vowest thou then to live in Sestos here
Who on Love’s seas more glorious wouldst appear?
Like untuned golden strings all women are,
Which long time lie untouched, will harshly jar.
Vessels of brass, oft handled, brightly shine.
What difference betwixt the richest mine
And basest mould, but use? For both, not used,
Are of like worth. Then treasure is abused
When misers keep it; being put to loan,
In time it will return us two for one.
Rich robes themselves and others do adorn;
Neither themselves nor others, if not worn.
Who builds a palace and rams up the gate
Shall see it ruinous and desolate.
Ah, simple Hero, learn thyself to cherish.
Lone women like to empty houses perish.
Less sins the poor rich man that starves himself
In heaping up a mass of drossy pelf,
Than such as you. His golden earth remains
Which, after his decease, some other gains.
But this fair gem, sweet in the loss alone,
When you fleet hence, can be bequeathed to none.
Or, if it could, down from th’enameled sky
All heaven would come to claim this legacy,
And with intestine broils the world destroy,
And quite confound nature’s sweet harmony.
Well therefore by the gods decreed it is
We human creatures should enjoy that bliss.
One is no number; maids are nothing then
Without the sweet society of men.
Wilt thou live single still? One shalt thou be,
Though never singling ***** couple thee.
Wild savages, that drink of running springs,
Think water far excels all earthly things,
But they that daily taste neat wine despise it.
Virginity, albeit some highly prize it,
Compared with marriage, had you tried them both,
Differs as much as wine and water doth.
Base bullion for the stamp’s sake we allow;
Even so for men’s impression do we you,
By which alone, our reverend fathers say,
Women receive perfection every way.
This idol which you term virginity
Is neither essence subject to the eye
No, nor to any one exterior sense,
Nor hath it any place of residence,
Nor is’t of earth or mould celestial,
Or capable of any form at all.
Of that which hath no being do not boast;
Things that are not at all are never lost.
Men foolishly do call it virtuous;
What virtue is it that is born with us?
Much less can honour be ascribed thereto;
Honour is purchased by the deeds we do.
Believe me, Hero, honour is not won
Until some honourable deed be done.
Seek you for chastity, immortal fame,
And know that some have wronged Diana’s name?
Whose name is it, if she be false or not
So she be fair, but some vile tongues will blot?
But you are fair, (ay me) so wondrous fair,
So young, so gentle, and so debonair,
As Greece will think if thus you live alone
Some one or other keeps you as his own.
Then, Hero, hate me not nor from me fly
To follow swiftly blasting infamy.
Perhaps thy sacred priesthood makes thee loath.
Tell me, to whom mad’st thou that heedless oath?”

“To Venus,” answered she and, as she spake,
Forth from those two tralucent cisterns brake
A stream of liquid pearl, which down her face
Made milk-white paths, whereon the gods might trace
To Jove’s high court.
He thus replied: “The rites
In which love’s beauteous empress most delights
Are banquets, Doric music, midnight revel,
Plays, masks, and all that stern age counteth evil.
Thee as a holy idiot doth she scorn
For thou in vowing chastity hast sworn
To rob her name and honour, and thereby
Committ’st a sin far worse than perjury,
Even sacrilege against her deity,
Through regular and formal purity.
To expiate which sin, kiss and shake hands.
Such sacrifice as this Venus demands.”

Thereat she smiled and did deny him so,
As put thereby, yet might he hope for moe.
Which makes him quickly re-enforce his speech,
And her in humble manner thus beseech.
“Though neither gods nor men may thee deserve,
Yet for her sake, whom you have vowed to serve,
Abandon fruitless cold virginity,
The gentle queen of love’s sole enemy.
Then shall you most resemble Venus’ nun,
When Venus’ sweet rites are performed and done.
Flint-breasted Pallas joys in single life,
But Pallas and your mistress are at strife.
Love, Hero, then, and be not tyrannous,
But heal the heart that thou hast wounded thus,
Nor stain thy youthful years with avarice.
Fair fools delight to be accounted nice.
The richest corn dies, if it be not reaped;
Beauty alone is lost, too warily kept.”

These arguments he used, and many more,
Wherewith she yielded, that was won before.
Hero’s looks yielded but her words made war.
Women are won when they begin to jar.
Thus, having swallowed Cupid’s golden hook,
The more she strived, the deeper was she strook.
Yet, evilly feigning anger, strove she still
And would be thought to grant against her will.
So having paused a while at last she said,
“Who taught thee rhetoric to deceive a maid?
Ay me, such words as these should I abhor
And yet I like them for the orator.”

With that Leander stooped to have embraced her
But from his spreading arms away she cast her,
And thus bespake him: “Gentle youth, forbear
To touch the sacred garments which I wear.
Upon a rock and underneath a hill
Far from the town (where all is whist and still,
Save that the sea, playing on yellow sand,
Sends forth a rattling murmur to the land,
Whose sound allures the golden Morpheus
In silence of the night to visit us)
My turret stands and there, God knows, I play.
With Venus’ swans and sparrows all the day.
A dwarfish beldam bears me company,
That hops about the chamber where I lie,
And spends the night (that might be better spent)
In vain discourse and apish merriment.
Come thither.” As she spake this, her tongue tripped,
For unawares “come thither” from her slipped.
And suddenly her former colour changed,
And here and there her eyes through anger ranged.
And like a planet, moving several ways,
At one self instant she, poor soul, assays,
Loving, not to love at all, and every part
Strove to resist the motions of her heart.
And hands so pure, so innocent, nay, such
As might have made heaven stoop to have a touch,
Did she uphold to Venus, and again
Vowed spotless chastity, but all in vain.
Cupid beats down her prayers with his wings,
Her vows above the empty air he flings,
All deep enraged, his sinewy bow he bent,
And shot a shaft that burning from him went,
Wherewith she strooken, looked so dolefully,
As made love sigh to see his tyranny.
And as she wept her tears to pearl he turned,
And wound them on his arm and for her mourned.
Then towards the palace of the destinies
Laden with languishment and grief he flies,
And to those stern nymphs humbly made request
Both might enjoy each other, and be blest.
But with a ghastly dreadful
It poured a heavenly rain today
The roads washed anew
Little streams danced and slid down the alleys to the music rains play

The Gulmohar petals in orange red hues
Lay strewn on the pavement grey
Perched atop the green leaves
Glorious they looked in the warm sun rays

A walk in the evening mellowed rains
The tiny raindrops fell gently upon my face And raincoat peach
Luminous  under the street lamps
Silvery Rain-beams dance
21st June - Rains
guy scutellaro Oct 2019
The rain ****** through a darkening sky.

The man's eyes grow bright and he smiles. Softly, he whispers, " Man, you're the biggest, whitest, what hell are you anyway?"

The pup sits up and Jack Delleto caresses her neck, but much to the mutt's chagrin the man stands up and walks away.

Jack has his hand on the door about to go into the bar. The pup issues an interrogatory, "Woof?"

The rain turns to snow.

The man's eyes grow bright and he smiles, "My grandma used to say that when it snows the angels are sweeping heaven. I'll be back for you, Snowflake."

Jack shivers. His smile fading, the night jumps back into his eyes.

Snowflake chuffs once, twice.

The man is gone.



The room would have been a cold, dark place except the bodies who sit on the barstools or stand on the ***** linoleum floor produce heat. The cigarette smoke burns his eyes. Jack Delleto looks down the length of the bar to the boarded shut fire place and although the faces are shadows, he knows them all.

The old man who always sits at the second barstool from the dart board is sitting at the second bar stool. His fist clenched tightly around the beer mug, he stares at his own reflection in the mirror.

The aging barmaid, who often weeps from her apartment window on a hot summer night or a cold winter evening, is coming on to a man half her age. She is going to slip her arm around his bicep at any moment.

"Yeah," Jack smiles, "there she goes."

Jack Delleto knows where the regulars sit night after night clutching the bar with desperation, the wood rail is worn smooth.

In the mirror that runs the length of the bar Jack Delleto sees himself with clarity. Brown hair and brown eyes. Just an ordinary 29 year old man.

"Old Fred is right," he thinks to himself, "If you stare at shadows long enough, they stare back." Jack smiles and the red head returns his smile crossing her long legs that protrude beneath a too short skirt.

The bartender recognizes the man smiling at the redhead.

"Well,  Jack Delleto, Dell, I heard you were dead. " The six foot, two hundred pound bartender tells him as Dell is walking over to the bar.

"Who told you that?"

"Crazy George, while he was swinging from the wagon wheel lamp." Bob O'Malley says as he points to the wagon wheel lamp hanging from the ceiling.

"George, I heard, HE was dead."

The bartender reaches over the bar resting the palms of his big hands on the edge of the bar and flashes a smile of white, uneven teeth. Bob extends his hand. "Where the hell have you been?"

They shake hands.

Dell looks up at the Irishman. "I ve been at Harry's Bar in Venice drinking ****** Marys with Elvis and Ernest."

Bob O'Malley grins, puts two shot glasses on the bar, and reaches under the bar to grab a bottle of bourbon. After filling the glasses with Wild Turkey, he hands one glass to Dell. They touch glasses and throw down the shots.

"Gobble, gobble," O Malley smiles.


The front door of the bar swings open and a cold wind drifts through the bar. Paul Keater takes off his Giants baseball cap and with the back of his hand wipes the snow off of his face.

"Keater," Bob O'Malley calls to the Blackman standing in the doorway.

Keater freezes, his eyes moving side to side in short, quick movements. He points a long slim finger at O'Malley, "I don't owe you any money," Paul Keater shouts.

The people sitting the barstools do not turn to look.

"You're always pulling that **** on me." Keater rushes to the bar, "I PPPAID YOU."

As Delleto watches Keater arguing with O'Malley, the anger grows into the loathing Dell feels for Keater. The suave, sophisticated Paul Keater living in a room above the bar. The man is disgusting. His belly hangs pregnant over his belt. His jeans have fallen exposing the crack of his ***, and Keater just doesn't give a ****. And that ragged, faded, baseball cap, ****, he never takes it off.

When Keater glances down, he realizes he is standing next to Jack Delleto. Usually, Paul Keater would have at least considered punching Delleto in his face. "The **** wasn't any good," Paul feining anger tells O'Malley. "Everybody said it was, ****."

The bartender finishes rinsing a glass in the soapy sink water and then places it on a towel. "*******."

Keater slides the Giant baseball cap back and forth across his flat forehead. "**** it," he turns and storms out of the bar.

"Can I get a beer?" Dell asks but O"Malley is already reaching into the beer box. Twisting the cap off, he puts it on the bar. "It's not that Keater owes me a few bucks, "he tells Dell, "if I didn't cut him off he'd do the stuff until he died." Bob grabs a towel and dries his hands.

"But the smartest rats always get out of the maze first," Jack tells Bob.


Cigarette butts, candy wrappers, and losing lottery tickets litter the linoleum floor. Jack Delleto grabs the bottle of beer off the bar and crosses the specter of unfulfilled wishes.

In the adjacent room he sits at a table next to the pinball machine to watch a disfigured man with an anorexic women shoot pool. Sometimes he listens to them talk, whisper, laugh. Sometimes he just stares at the wall.

"We have a winner, "the pinball machine announces, "come ride the Ferris wheel."



"I'm part Indian. "

Jack looks up from his beer. The Indian has straight black hair that hangs a few inches above her shoulders, a thin face, a cigarette dangling from her too red lips.

"My Mom was one third Souix, " the drunken women tells Jack Delleto.

The Indian exhales smoke from her petite nose waiting for a come on from the man with the sad face. And he just stares, stares at the wall.

Her bushy eyebrows come together forming a delicate frown.

Jack turns to watch a brunette shoot pool. The woman leans over the pool table about to shoot the nine ball into the side pocket. It is an easy shot.

The brunette looks across the pool table at Jack Delleto, "What the **** are you starin at?" She jams the pool stick and miscues. The cue ball runs along the rail and taps the eight ball into the corner pocket. "AH ****," she says.

And Jack smiles.

The Indian thinks Jack is smiling at her, so she sits down.

"In the shadows I couldn't see your eyes," he tells her, "but when you leaned forward to light that cigarette, you have the prettiest green eyes."

She smiles.

" I'm Kathleen," her eyes sparkling like broken glass in an alley.

Delleto tries to speak.

"I don't want to know your name," she tells Jack Delleto, the smile disappearing from her face. "I just want to talk for a few minutes like we're friends," she takes a drag off the cigarette, exhales the smoke across the room.

Jack recognizes the look on her face. Bad dreams.

"I'll be your friend," he tells her.

"We're not going to have ***." The Indian slowly grinds out the cigarette into the ashtray, looks up at the man with the sad face.

"Do you have family?"

"Family?" Delleto gives her a sad smile.

She didn't want an answer and then she gets right into it.

"I met my older sister in Baltimore yesterday." She tells the man with sad eyes.' Hadn't seen her since I was nine, since Mom died. I wanted to know why Dad put me in foster homes. Why?

"She called me Little Sister. I felt nothin. I had so many questions and you know what? I didn't ask one."

Jack is finishing his beer.

"If you knew the reasons, now, what would it matter, anyway."

The man with the black eye just doesn't get it. She lived with them long enough. Long enough to love them.

She stands up, stares at Jack Delleto.

And walks away.


It's the fat blondes turn to shoot pool. She leans her great body ever so gently across the green felt of the pool table, shoots and misses. When she tries to raise herself up off the pool table, the tip of the pool cue hits the Miller Lite sign above the pool table sending the lamb rocking violently back and forth. In flashes of light like the frames from and old Chaplin movie the sad and grotesque appear and disappear.

"What the **** are you starin at?" The skinny brunette asks.

Jack pretends to think for a moment. "An unhappy childhood."

Suddenly, she stands up, looking like death wearing a Harley Davidson T-shirt.

"Dove sta amore?" Jack Delleto wonders.

Death is angry, steps closer.

"Must be that time of the month, huh," Jack grins.

With her two tiny fists clenched tightly at her side, the brunette stares down into Delleto's eyes. Suddenly, she punches Jack in the eye.

Jack stands up bringing his forearm up to protect his face. At the same time Death steps closer. His forearm catches her under the chin. The bony ***** goes down.

Women rush from the shadows. They pull Jack to the ***** floor, punch and kick him.

In the blinking of the Miller Light Jack Delleto exclaims," I'm being smother by fat lesbians in soft satin pants."  But then someone is pulling the women off of him.

The Miller Lite gently rocks and then it stops.

Jack stands up, shakes his head and smiles.

"Nice punch, Dell," Bob O' Malley says, "I saw from the bar."

Jack hits the dust off of his pants, grabs the beer bottle off of the table, takes a swallow. Smiling, he says, "I box a little."

"I can tell by your black eye." O'Malley puts his hand on his friends shoulder. "Come on I'll buy you a shot. What caused this spontaneous expression of love?"

"They thought I was a ******."


2 a.m.

Jack Delleto walks out the door of the bar into the wind swept gloom. The gray desolation of boarded shut downtown is gone.

The rain has finally turn to snow.

His eyes follow the blue rope from the parking meter pole to its frayed end buried in the plowed hill of snow at the corner of Cookman Avenue.

The dog, Snowflake, dead, Jack thinks.


The snow covers everything. It covers the abandon cars and the abandon buildings, the sidewalk and its cracks. The city, Delleto imagines, is an adjectiveless word, a book of white pages. He steps off the curb into the gutter and the street is empty for as far as he can see. He starts walking.

Jack disappears into empty pages.


Chapter 2


Paul Keater has a room above Wagon Wheel Bar where the loud rock music shakes the rats in the walls til 2a.m. The vibrations travel through the concrete floor, up the bed posts, and into the matress.

Slowly Paul's eyes open. Who the hell is he fooling. Even without the loud music, he would not be able to sleep, anyway.

Soft red neon from the Wagon Wheel Bar sign blinks into his room.

Paul Keater sits up, sighs, resigns himself to another sleepless night, swings his legs off the bed. His x-wife. He thinks about her frequently. He went to a phycologist because he loved her.

Dump the *****, the doctor said.

"I paid him eighty bucks and all he had to say was dump the *****." He laughs, shakes his head.

Paul thinks about *******, looks around the tiny room, and spots a clear plastic case containing the baseball cards he had collected when he was a boy.

He walks to the dresser and puts on his Giant's baseball cap. Paul sits down on the wooden chair by the sink. Turns on the lamp. The card on top is ***** Mays. Holding it in his hand, it is perfect. The edges are not worn like the other cards.

It was his tenth birthday and his dad had taken him to his first baseball game and his father had bought the card from a dealer.

Oblivious to the loud rock music filtering into his room, he stares at the card.

Fondly, he remembers.

Dad.


                                     *     

It arrives unobtrusively. His heart begins to race faster.
Jack Delleto rolls away from the cracked wall. He sits up and drops his legs off the bed.

Jack Delleto thinks about mountains.

When he cannot sleep he thinks about climbing up through the fog that makes the day obscure, passing where the stunted spruce and fir tees are twisted by the wind, into cold brilliant light. Once as he climbed through the fog he saw his shadow stretching a half a mile across a cloud and the world was small. Far down to the east laid cliffs and gullies, glaciated mountains and to the west were the plains and cities of everyday life.

The army coat is draped over the back of the chair. In the pocket is his notebook. Jack stands and takes the notebook from the pocket. When he sits in the wooden chair he opens the book and slides the pen from the binder.

When he finishes his story he makes the end into the beginning.



                                           Chapter 3


"I want a captain in a truck." The 10 year old boy with the brown hair tells his mom. "I want it NOW."

His blonde haired mom wearing the gold diamond bracelet nods her head at Jack Delleto. Jack looks up at the clock on the wall. It is only 9a.m. After four years of college Jack has a part time job at K.B. Toy store. "We're all out of them," he tells her for the second time.

"Honey," Blondie tells her boy, "they're all out of them."

"YOU PROMISED."

"How about a sargeant in a jeep?

"OK, but I want a missile firing truck , too."

Delleto turns to the display case behind the counter. Briefly, he studies his black eye in the display case mirror and then begins searching the four shelves and twenty rows of 3 inch plastic toys. He finds the truck. His head is aching. He finds the truck and puts it on the counter in front of the boy.

"Sorry, we're all out of the sargeant," Jack tells the pretty lady. The aching in his head just won't go away.

"Mommy, mommy, I want an ATTACK HELIOCOPTER, MOMMMEEE, I WANTAH TTTAAANNNK..."

Jack Delleto leans over the counter resting his elbows on the glass top. The boy is staring at the man with the black eye, at his bruised, unshaven face.

"Well, we haven't got any, GODDAMED TANKS. How about a , KICKINTHE ***."

Finally the boy and his mother are quiet.

"My husband will have you fired."

She grabs the boy by the hand. Turns to rush out of the store.

Jack mutters something.

"MMOOOMEEE,  what does..."

"Oh, shut the hell up," the pretty lady tells her son


                              
     

The assistant manager takes a deep drag on her cigarette, exhales, and crosses her arms to hold the cigarette in front of her. Susan looks down at Jack sitting on the stool behind the counter. He stands up. "Did you tell some lady to blow you?" She crushes the cigarette out in the ashtray on the shelf below the counter. "Maybe you don't need this job but I do."

"Sue, there's no smoking in the mall."

"Jack, you look tired," the cubby teenager tells him, "and your eye. Another black eye."

"I was attacked by five women."

'Oh, I see, in your dreams maybe. I see, it's one of those male fantasies I'm always reading about in Cosmo. You're not boxing again, are you Dell?" Sue likes to call him Dell.

"I go down to the gym to work out. Felix says I've got something."

"Yeah, a black eye." Susan laughs, opens the big vanilla envelope, and hands Jack his check.

She turns and takes a pair of sunglasses from the display stand. "You 're scaring the children, Dell ." Susan steps closer looks into Dell's brown eyes and the slips the sunglasses on his face. "Why don't you go to lunch."

                                        
     

It's noon and the mall is crowded at the food court area. Jack gets a 20oz cup of coffee, finds a table and sits down.

"Go over and talk to him. " Susan says. Jack turns his head , looks back, sees the Indian walking towards his table.

"Hello, Kathrine," says Jack Delleto.

"My names not Kathrine, it's Kathleen."

Jack pulls the chair away from the table, "Have a seat Kate."

Her eyebrows form that delicate frown. "My names Kathleen." As soon as she sits down she takes a cigarette from the pack sticking out of her pocketbook. "I had to leave. I told the baby sitter I'd only be gone an hour. Anyway you weren't much help."

"So why did you come over to talk to me?"

"You were alone, the bar full of people and you're alone. Why?"

"I like it that way. You've seen me there before?"

"Yeah, sitting by the pin ball machine staring at the wall, and sometimes, you'd take out your blue note pad and write in it.
What do you write about?  Are you goin to write about me..."

"Maybe. How many kids do you have?"

"Just one. A boy, and believe me one is enough. He'll be four in June," Kathleen smiles but then she remembers and abruptly the smile disappears from her face. "Sometimes I see Anthony's father in the mall and I ask him if he'd like to meet his son, but he doesn't.

Kathleen draws the cigarette smoke deep into her lungs, tilts her head back, and blows the smoke towards the skylight. Suddenly caught in the sunlight the smoke becomes a gray cloud. " I didn't want to marry him anyway, I don't know why he thought that."

She hears the scars as Delleto talks, something sad about the man, something like old newspapers blowing across a deserted street. She hears the scars and knows never, never ask where the scars came from.


                              
     

As Jack walks towards the bank to cash his check, he glances out the front entrance to the mall. It is a bright, cold day and the snowplows are finishing up the parking lot plowing the snow into big white hills. That is the fate of the big white pup plowed to the corner of Cookman and Main buried deep in ***** snow. At that street corner when the school is over the children will play on the hill never realizing what lay beneath there feet.

The snow must melt; spring is inevitable.

His pup will be back.



                                           Chapter 4


The 19 year old light heavyweight leans his muscular body forward to rest his gloved hands on the tope rope of the ring. He bows his head waiting to regain his breath as his lungs fight to force air deep into his chest. Bill Wain has finished boxing 4 rounds with Red.

Harry the trainer, gently pulls the untied boxing gloves from Red's hands. "Good fight, he says, patting Red on the back as the fighter climbs through the ropes and heads to the showers. Harry hands the sweat soaked gloves to Felix who puts one glove under his arm while he loosens the laces on the other 12ounce glove. He makes the sleeve wider.

"Do you want the head gear?" Felix asks.

Jack Delleto shakes his head and pushes his taped hand deep into the glove.

The old man takes the other glove from under his arm, pulls the laces out, and holds it open. Without turning his head to look at him, Felix tells Harry, "Make sure Bill doesn't cool down. Tell him to shadow box. Harry walks over to Bill and Bill starts shadow boxing.

Jack pushes his hand into the glove. "Make a fist." Jack does. Felix pulls the laces and ties it into a bow.

Felix looks intently into Delleto's eyes. "How does that feel?"

"About right."

"You look tired."

"I am a little."

"Are you sick or is it a woman."

"I'm not sick."

A big smile forms across the face of the former welterweight champion of Nevada. The face of the 68 year old Blackman is lined and cracked like the old boxing gloves that Jack is wearing but his tall body is youthful and athletic in appearance. Above Felix's eyebrows Jack sees the effect of 20 years as a professional fighter. He sees the thick scar tissue and the thin white lines where the old man's skin has been stitched and re-stitched many times. As he gives instructions to Jack, Felix's brown eyes seem to be staring at something distant and Jack wonders if Felix has chased around the ring one time too often his dream.

"And get off first. Don't stop punching until he goes down. You've got it kid and not every fighter does."

Jack and Felix start walking over to the ring.

"What is it I've got?" Jack Deletto wonders.

Felix puts his foot on the fourth strand of the rings rope and with his hand pulls up the top strand and as Jack steps into the ring, "You've got, HEART."

In the opposite corner Bill Wain waits.

"Will he be alright?" Harry asks.

"Bill's tired, " Felix replies, then he tries to explain. "It's not about money. I'm almost 70 and I want to go out a winner." Felix pauses and the offers, he can hit hard with either hand."

"Yeah, but at best he's a small middleweight and he only moves in one direction, straight ahead."

"Harry, I love the guy," Felix puts his hand on Harry's shoulder, he's like Tyson at the end of his career. He'd fight you to the death but he's not fighting to win anymore."

Harry puts his hands in his pocket and stares at the floor. "Do you want me to tell him to go easy." Harry looks up at Felix waiting for an answer.

"I'm tired of sweeping dirt from behind the boxes of wax beans and tuna fish. I'm sick of collecting shopping carts in the rain. A half way decent white heavyweight can make a lot of money. It's stupid for a fighter to practice holding back. Bill's a winner. Jack'll be alright."

Felix hands the pocket watch to Harry so he can time the rounds.

Bill Wain comes out of his corner circling left.

Jack rushes straight ahead.

Felix winks at Jack Delleto and whispers, "The Jack of hearts."



                                           Chapter 5


The front door of the Wagon Wheel bar explodes open to Ziggy Pop's, "YOU'VE GOT A LUST FOR LIFE." Jack Delleto steps over the curb and vanishes into the dark doorway.

"HEY, JACK, JACK DELLETO," The lanky bartender shouts over the din.

Delleto makes his way through the crowd over to bar. How the hell have you been Snake?" Jack asks.

"Just great," says Snake. "You're lookin pretty ****** good for a dead man."

"Who told you that? Crazy George?"

The bartender points across the room to where a man in a pin stripe suit is swinging to and fro from a wagon wheel lamp attached to the ceiling.

"Yeah, I thought so. Haven't seen Crazy George in a year and he's been telling everyone I'm dead. I'm gonna have to have a long talk with that man."

Snake hands Jack a shot of tequila. The men touch glasses and throw down the shots.

How's the other George? Dell asks.

"AA."

"How's Tommy? You see him anymore?"

"Rehab."

"What about Robbie?"

Snake refills the glasses. "He's livin in a nudist colony in Florida, he has two wives and 6 children."


Jack looks across the room and sees Bob O'Malley trying to adjust the rose in the lapel of his tuxedo. Satisfied it won't fall out O'Malley looks up at the man swinging from the lamp. "Quick, name man's three greatest inventions."

"Alcohol, tobacco, and the wheel," Crazy George shoots back.

O'Malley smiles and then jumps up on the top of the bar and although he is over six feet and weighs two hundred pounds, he has the dexterity and grace of a ballerina as he pirouttes around and jumps over the shot glasses and beer bottles that litter the bar.

Wedding guests lean back in their chairs as strangers fearful of his gyrations ****** their drinks off the bar. Bob fakes a slip as he prances along but he is always in control and never falters. Forty three year old Bob O'Malley is Jim Brown who dodges danger to score the winning touch down.

When Bob reaches the end of the bar he jumps to the floor, pulls two aluminum lids from the beer box, and with one in each hand he smacks them together like cymbals.

Some guests clap. The bemused just stare.

In the back of the room sitting at the wedding table the father of the bride leans over, whispers into the ear of his crying wife, "If I had a gun I'd shoot Bob."

The bride raises a glass of champagne into the smoke filled air and Bob takes a bow but then heads towards the kitchen at the other end of the room.

" Hey, Bob," Jack Delleto shouts to the groom.

O'Malley stops under the wagon wheel lamp and turns as Delleto steps into the  circle of light cast onto the floor.

"Congratulations, I know Theresa and you are goin to be happy. I mean that." Delleto offers his hand and they shake hands.

"Thanks, Mr. Cool."

Jack takes off the sunglasses.

"TWO black eyes. Your nose is bleeding. What happened?"

Dell takes the handkerchief from his back pocket, wipes the blood dripping down his face. "It's broken."

"What happened?" O'Malley asks again.

"Bill Wain."

"He turned pro."

"Yeah, but he's nothing special. Hell, he couldn't even knock me down."

O'Malley shakes his head. "Dell, why do you do it? You always lose."

"If you don't fight you've already lost."

"Put the sunglasses back on, you look like a friggin raccoon."

Dell smiles. The blood running down his lips."Thersa's beautiful, Bob, you're a lucky guy."

"Thanks Dell." O'Malley puts his hand on Dell's shoulder and squeezes affectionately. Bob looks across the room at Theresa. "Yeah, she is beautiful." Theresa's mother has stopped crying. Her father drinks whiskey and stares at the wall.

O'Malley looks away from his bride and passed the archway that divides the poolroom from the bar and into the corner. With the lamp light above his head gleaming in his eyes Bob seems to see a ghost fleeting in the far distant, dark corner. Slowly, a peculiar half smile forms uneven, white, tombstone teeth.  A pensive smile.

Curious, Dell turns his head to look into the darkness of the poolroom, too.

At night in July the moths were everywhere. When Dell was a boy he would sit on his porch and try to count them. The moths appeared as faint splashes of whiteness scattered throughout the nighttime sky, odd circles of white that moved haphazardly, forward and then sideways, sometimes up and then down.

Sometimes the patches of moths flew higher and higher and Dell imagined the lights those creatures were seeking were the stars themselves; Orion, the Big Dipper, and even the milky hue of the Milkyway.

One night as the moths pursued starlight he saw shadows dropping one by one from the branches at the tops of the trees. The swallows were soundless and when he caught a glimpse of sudden darkness, blacker than the night, he knew the shadows had erased the dreamer and its dream.

His imagination gave definition to form. There was a sound to the shadows of the swallows in his thoughts, the melody and the song played over and over. Wings of shadow furled and unfurled. Perhaps he saw his reflection in the night. Perhaps there are shadows where nothing exists to cast them.

"Do you hear them, Bob?"

"Hear what?" Bob asks.

"All of them."

"All of what?"

"Shadows," Delleto candidly tells his friend, then, "Ah, Nothin."

O'Malley doesn't understand but it does not matter. The two men have shared the same corner of darkness.

Bob calls to Paul Keater. Keater smiles broadly, slides the brim of his Giant baseball cap to the side of his forehead. The two men disappear through the swinging kitchen door.


                                          Chapter 6


"Hello Kate." Jack Delleto says and sits down. She has a blue bow in her hair and make up on.

"My names Kathleen."

She fondles the whiskey glass in her slim fingers. "Hello, Dell, Sue thinks Dell is such a **** name. Kathleen takes a last drag on her cigarette, rubs it out in the ashtray, looks up at him, "What should I call you?"

"How about, Darlin?"

"Hello, Jack, DARLIN," her soft, deep voice whispers. Kathleen crosses her legs and the black dress rides up to the middle of her thigh.

Jack glances at the milky white flesh between the blue ***** hose and the hem of her dress. Kate is drunk and Dell does not care. He leans closer, "Do you wanna dance?"

"But no one else is dancing."

"Well, we can go down to the beach, take a walk along the sand."

"It's twenty degrees out there."

"I'll keep you warm."

"All right, lets dance."

Jack stands up takes her by the hand. As Kathleen rises Jack draws her close to him. Her ******* flatten against his chest. He feels her heart thumping.

The Elvis impersonator that almost played Las Vegas; the hairdresser that wanted to be a race car driver; the insurance salesman with a Porche and a wife.  Her men talked about what they owned or what they could do well.

And Kathleen was impressed.

But Dell wasn't like them. Dell never talked about himself. Did he have a dream? Was there something he wanted more than anything?

Kathleen had never meant anyone quite like Dell.

She rests her head on his shoulder. "What do you what more than anything? What do you dream about at night?"

"Nothing."

"Come on," she says," what do you want more than anything? Tell me your dreams."

Jack smiles, "Just to make it through another day."  He smiles that sad smile that she saw the first time they met. "Tell me what you want."

Kate lifts her head off of his shoulder and looks into his eyes. "I don't want to be on welfare the rest of my life and I want to be able to send my son to college." She rests her cheek against his, "I've lived in foster homes all my life and every time I knew that one day I'd have to leave, what I want most is a home. Do you know the difference between a house and a home?"

"No. not at all"

Her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear, "LOVE."

The song comes to an end and they leave the circle of light and sit down. Kate takes a cigarette from the pack.

Dell strikes a match. The flame flickering in her eyes. "Maybe someday you'll have your home."

"Do you want me to?"

"Yeah."

Kate blows out the match.


                                  
     


"Can you take me home?" Kate asks slurring her words.

Kathleen and Jack walk over to where the bride and groom are standing near the big glass refrigerator door with Paul Keater. When Paul realizes he is standing next to Jack Delleto he rocks back and forth on the heals of his worn shoes, slides his Giants baseball cap back and forth across his forehead and walks away.

O'Malley bends down and kisses Kathleen on the cheek and turns to shake hands with Dell. "Good luck," says Dell. Kathleen embraces the bride.

Outside the bar the sun is setting behind the boarded shut Delleto store.

"That was my Dad's store, " Jack tells Kate and then Jack whispers to to himself as he reads the graffiti spray painted on the front wall.
"TELL YOUR DREAMS TO ME, TELL ME YOU LOVE ME, IF YOU LOVE ME, TELL ALL YOUR DREAMS TO ME."


                                         Chapter 7


An old man comes shuffling down the street, "Hello Mr. Martin, " Jack says, "How are you?"

"I'm an old man Jack, how could I be," and then he smiles, "ah, I can't complain. How are you?"

"Still alive and well."

"Who is this pretty young lady?"

"This is Kate."

Joesph Martin takes Kathleen by the arm and gently squeezes, "Hello Kate, such a pretty women, ah, if I was only sixty," and the old man smiles.

Kathleen forces a smile.

The thick eyeglasses that Mr. Martin wears magnifies his eyes as he looks from Kathleen to Jack, "Have fun now, because when you're dead, you're going to be dead a long, long time." And Martin smiles.

"How long?  Delleto inquires.

The old man smirks and waves as he continues up the street to the door leading to the rooms above the bar. He turns to face the door. The small window is broken and the shards of glass catch the twilight.

Joesph Martin turns back looking at the man and young woman who are about to get into the car. He is not certain what he wants to say to them. Perhaps he wants to tell them that it ***** being an old man and the upstairs hallway always smells of ****.

Joesph Martin wants to tell someone that although Anna died seven years ago his love endures and he misses her everyday. Joesph recalls that Plato in Tamaeus believed that the soul is a stranger to the Earth and has fallen into matter because of sin.

A faint smile appears on the wrinkled face of the old man as he heeds the resignation he hears in his own thoughts.

Jack waves to Mr. Martin.  Joesph waves back. The mustang drives off.

Earth, O island Earth.


                                               Chapter 8


Joseph pushes open the door and goes into the hallway. The fragments of glass scattered across the foyer crunch and clink under his shoes. The cold wind blowing through the broken window touches his warm neck. He shivers and walks up the stairs. There is only enough light to see the wall and his own warm breathing. There is just enough light like when he has awaken from a  bad dream, enough to remember who he is and to separate the horror of what is real from the horror of what is dreamt.

The old man continues climbing the stairs following the familiar shadow of the wall cast onto the stairs. If he crosses the vague line of shadow and light he will disappear like a brown trout in the deepest hole in a creek.

By the time he reaches the second floor he is out of breath. Joseph pauses and with the handkerchief he has taken from his back pocket he wipes the fog from the lenses of his eyeglasses and the sweat from his forehead.

A couple of doors are standing open and the old man looks cautiously into each room as he hurries passed. One forty watt bulb hangs from a frayed wire in the center of the hallway. The wiring is old and the bulb in the white porcelain socket flickers like the blinking of an eye or the fearful beating of the heart of an old man.

When he opens the door to his room it sags on ruined hinges.

Joesph searches with his hand for the light switch.  Several seconds linger. Can't find it.

Finds it and quickly pushes the door shut. He sits down on the bed, doesn't take his coat off, reaches for the radio. It is gone.

Joseph looks around the room. A small dresser, the sink with a mirror above it. He takes off his coat and above the mirror hangs the coat on the nail he has put there.

Hard soled boots echo hollowly off the hallway walls. The echoes are overlapping and he cannot determine if the footsteps are leaving or approaching.

The crowbar is under his pillow.

He grabs it. Holds it until there is silence.

He lays back on the bed. Another night without sleep. Joseph rolls onto his side and faces the wall.

Earth, O island Earth.



                                           Chapter 9


Tangled in the tree tops a rising moon hangs above the roofs of identical Cape Cod houses.

Jack pulls the red mustang behind a station wagon. Kathleen is looking at Dell. His face is a faint shadow on the other side of the car. "Do you want to come up?" she asks.

Kathleen steps out of the car, breathes the cold air deep into her lungs. It is fresh and sweet. Jack comes around the side of the car just as she knew he would. He takes her into his arms. She can feel his lips on hers and his warm breath as the kiss ends.

They walk beneath the old oak tree and the roots have raised and crack the sidewalk and in the spring tiny blue flowers will bloom. The flowers remind Jack of the columbines that bloom in high mountain meadows above tree line heralding a brief season of sun and warmth.

"Did you win?" Kathleen asks as she fits the key into the upstairs apartment door. The door swings open into the brightly lit kitchen.

Dell, leaning in the doorway, two black eyes, looking like the Jack of Hearts. "It doesn't matter."

"You lost?"

"Yeah."

Crossing the room she takes off her coat and places it on the back of the kitchen chair. When Kate leans across the kitchen table to turn on the radio the mini dress rides up her thigh, tugs tightly around her buttocks.

The radio plays softly.

Jack stands and as Kathleen turns he slips his arms around her waist and she is staring into his eyes like a cat into a fire. His body gently presses against the table and when he lifts her onto the table her legs wrap around his waist.

Kathleen sighs.

Jack kisses her. Her lips are cold like the rain. His hand reaches. There is a faint click. The room slips into darkness. It is Eddie Money on the radio, now, with Ronnie Specter singing the back up vocals. Eddie belts out, "TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, I WON"T LET YOU LEAVE TIL..."

When Jack withdraws from the kiss her eyes are shining like diamonds in moonlight.

The buttons of her dress are unfastened.  Her arms circle his neck and pull him to her *******. "Don't Jack. You mustn't. I just want a friend."

His hands slide up her thighs. "I'll be your friend, " says Jack.

Her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear. "*** always ruins everything," He pulls her to the edge of the table as Ronnie sings, "O DARLIN, O MY DARLIN, WON'T YOU BE MY LITTLE BAABBBY NOOWWW."


They are sitting on a couch in the room that at one time had been a sun porch.

Now that they have gotten *** out of the way, maybe they can talk. Sliding her hands around his face she pulls him closer.

"Jack, what do you dream about? You know what I mean, tell your dreams to me."

"How did you get those round scars on your arm?" Dell wonders.

"Don't ask. I don't talk about it. Do you have family?"

"Yeah. A brother. Tell me about those scars."

My ****** foster dad. He burned me with his cigarette. That's how I got these ****** scars.

And when I knew he was coming home, I'd get sick to my stomach, and when I heard his key in the door, I'd *** myself. And I got a beating.

But that wasn't the worst of it.

When they didn't beat me or burn me, they ignored me, like I didn't exist, like I wasn't even there. And you know what, I didn't hate him. I hated my father who put in all those foster homes."



                                             Chapter 10



Spring. All the windows in the apartment are open. The cool breeze flows through her brown hair. "You're getting too serious, Jack, and I don't want to need you."

"That's because I care for you."

The rain pounds the roof.

Jack Delleto sits down on the bed, caresses her shoulder. "I hate the rain. Come on, give me a smile. "Kathleen pulls away and faces the wall.

"Well, I don't need anyone."

"People need people."

"Yeah, but I don't need you." There is silence, then, "I only care about my son and Father Anthony."

"What is it with you and the priest?" You named your son Anthony is that because he's the father."

"You're an *******. Get out of here. I don't love you." And then, "I've been hurt by people and you'll get over it."

Then silence. Jack gets up from the bed, stares at her dark form facing the wall. "Isn't this how it always ends for you?"

The room is quiet and grows hot. When the silence numbs his racing heart, he goes into the kitchen, opens the front door and walks down the steps into the cold rain.


"Anthony," Kathleen calls to her son to come to her from the other bedroom and he climbs into the bed, and she holds him close. The ghost of relationships past haunt her and although they are all sad, she clings to them.


On the sidewalk below the apartment window Jack stops. He thinks he hears his name being called but whatever he has heard is carried off by the wind. He continues up the dark street to his Harley.

High in reach less branches of the old oak tree a mockingbird is singing. The leaves twist in the wind and the singing goes on and on.



                                            
     



The ringing phone. The clock on the dresser says 5 a.m.

"Who the hell is this?"

"Jack, I'm scared."

"Kate? Is that you?"

"Someone broke into my apartment."

"Is he still there?"

"No, he ran out the door when I screamed. It was hot and I had the window open. He slit the screen."

"I'll be right over."



                                         Chapter11


"How hot is it?" Kathleen asks.

The bar is empty except for O'Malley, Keater, a man and a woman.

"98.6," says Jack. The sweat rolls down his cheeks.

"Let's go to the boardwalk."

"When it's hot like this, it's hot all over."

"We could go on the rides."

"I've got the next pool game, then we'll go."

"It's my birthday."

"I bought you flowers."

"Yeah, carnations."

Laughing, Paul Keater slides the brim of his baseball cap back and forth across his forehead.

Jack eyes narrow. He starts for Keater, Katheen steps in front of Jack, puts her hands on his shoulders. She looks into his eyes.

"Who are you Jack Delletto? What is it with you two? But as always you'll say nothing, nothing." As Jack tries to speak she walks over to the bar and sits on the barstool.

"It's my birthday," she tells O'Malley.

When Bob turns from the horse races on the T.V., he notices her long legs and the short skirt. "Hey, happy birthday, Kate, Jack Daniels?"

"Fine."

Filling the glasses O'Malley hands one to Kathleen, "You look great," he tells her.

"Jack doesn't think so. Thanks, at least someone thinks so."

"Hope Jack won't mind," and he leans over the bar and kisses her.

Kathleen looks over her shoulder at Delleto. Jack is playing pool with a woman wearing a black tight halter top. The woman comes over to Jack, stands too close, smiles, and Jack smiles back.

The boyfriend stares angrily at Jack.

When Kathleen turns back O'Malley is filling her shot glass.

Jack wins that game, too.



                                                 Chapter 12



"Daddy," the little girl with her hands folded in her lap is looking up at her father. "When will the ride stop? I want to go on."

"Soon, Darling, "her father assures her.

"I don't think it will ever stop."

"The ride always stops, Sweetie." Daddy takes her by the hand, gently squeezes.


When the carousel begins to slow down but has not quite stopped Kathleen steps onto the platform, grabs the brass support pole. The momentum of the machine grabs her with a **** onto the ride, into a white horse with big blue eyes. Dropping her cigarette she takes hold of the pole that goes through the center of the horse. She struggles to put her foot in the stirrup, finds it, and throws her leg over the horse. The carousel music begins to play. With a tremble and a jolt, the ride starts.

Sitting on the pony has made her skirt ride well up her legs. The ticket man is staring at her but she is too drunk to care. She hands him the ticket, gives him the finger.

The ticket man goes over to the little girl and her father who are sitting in a golden chariot pulled by to black horses.

"Ooooh, Daddy, I love this."

"So do I," The father smiles and strokes his daughter's hair.

The heat makes the dizziness grow and as the ride picks up speed she sees two of everything. There are two rows of pin ball machines, eight flashing signs, six prize machines. All the red, blue and green lights from the ride blend together like when a car drives at night down a rain-soaked street.

Kathleen feels the impulse to *****.

"Can we go on again?" The little girl asks.

"But the ride isn't over, yet."


Kathleen concentrates on the rain-soaked street and the dizziness and nausea lessens. She perceives the images as a montage like the elements that make up a painting or a life. She has become accustom to the machine and its movement. The circling ride creates a cooling breeze that becomes a tranquil, flowing waterfall.

The ponies in front are always becoming the ponies in the back and the ponies in back are becoming the ponies in the front. Around and around. All the ponies galloping. Settling back into the saddle she rides the pony into the ever-present receding waterfall.

You can lose all sense of the clock staring into the waterfall of blue, red and green. Kathleen leans forward to embrace the ride for a long as it lasts.

Just as suddenly as it started, the ride is slowly stopping, the music stops playing.

Coming down off the pony she does not wait for the ride to stop, stumbles off the platform and out the Casino amusement park door. "****, *******," she yells careening into the railing almost falling into Wesley Lake.

She staggers a few steps, sits down on the grass by the curb, hears the carousel music playing and knows the ride is beginning again, and all of her dreams crawls into her like a dying animal from its hidden hole.

And it all comes up from her throat taking her breath away. A distant yet familiar wind so she lies down on the grass facing the street of broken buildings filled with broken people. From the emptying lot of scattering thoughts the mockingbird is singing and the images shoot off into a darkening landscape, exploding, illuminating for a brief moment, only to grow dimmer, light and warmth fading into cold and darkness.




                                      
     

"Your girlfriend is flirting with me," Jack Delleto tells the man. "It's my game."

The man stands up, takes a pool stick from the rack, as he comes towards Jack Delleto the man turns the pool stick around holding the heavy part with two hands.

There is an explosion of light inside his head, Delleto sees two spinning lizards playing trumpets, 3 dwarfs with purple hair running to and fro, intuitively he knows he has to get up off the floor, and when he does he catches the bigger man with a left hook, throws the overhand right. The man stumbles back.

His girlfriend in the tight black halter top is jumping up and down, screaming at, screaming at Jack Delleto to stop, but Jack, does not. Stepping forward, a left hook to the midsection, hook to the head, spins right, throws the overhand right.

The man goes down. Jack looks at him.

"You lose, I win," and Delleto's smile is a sad, knowing one.



                                                  CHAPTER­ 13

"It's too much," and Jack looks up from the two lines of white powder at Bob O'Malley. "I'll never be able to fall asleep and I hate not being able to sleep."

" Here," Bob takes a big white pill from his shirt pocket.

Jack drops the pill into his shirt pocket and says, "No more." He hands the rolled-up dollar bill to Bob who bends over the powder.

"Tom sold the house so you're upstairs? O Malley asks, and like a magician the two lines of white powder disappear.

"Till i find another place," Jack whispers.

Straightening up, O'Malley looks at Dell, "I know you 're hurting Dell, I'm sorry, I'm sad about Kate, too."

"Kate had a kid. A boy, four years old."

Jack becomes quiet, walks through the darkened room over to the bar. Leaning over the bar he grabs two shot glasses and a bottle of Wild Turkey, walks back into the poolroom. He puts the shot glasses on top of the pin ball machine. "We have a winner, " the pin ball machine announces. Dell fills the glasses.

"Felix came in the other day, he's taken it hard," Bob tells him.
Bill Wain knock down four times in the sixth round, he lost consciousness in the dressing room, and died at the hospital."

"I heard. What's the longest you went without sleep? Jack asks.

"Oooohhh, five, six days, who knows, after awhile you lose all track of time."

They take the shots and throw them down.

"I wonder if animals dream," Jack wants to know. "I wonder if dogs dream."

"Sure, they do, " O'Malley assures him, nodding his head up and down, "dogs, cats, squirrels, birds."

"Probably not insects."

"Why not? June bugs, fleas, even moths, it's all biochemical, dreams are biochemical, mix the right combination of certain chemicals, electric impulses, and you'll produce love and dreams."

                                          
     

Jack Delleto goes into his room above the bar, studies it. The light from the unshaded lamp on the nightstand casts a huge shadow of him onto the adjacent wall. Not much to the room, a sink with a mirror above it next to a dresser, a bed against the wall, a wooden chair in front of a narrow window.

The rain pounds the roof.

The apprehension grows. The panic turns into anger. Jack rushes the white wall, meets his shadow, explodes with a left hook. He throws the right uppercut, the overhand right, three left hooks. He punches the wall and his knuckles bleed. He punches and kicks the blood-stained wall.

At last exhausted, he collapses into the chair in front of the open window. Fist sized holes in the plaster revel the bones of the building. The room has been punched and kicked without mercy.

The austere room has won.

The yellow note pad, he needs the yellow note pad, finds it, takes the pencil from the binder but no words will come so he writes, "insomnia, the absence of dream." He reaches for the lamp on the nightstand, finds it, and turns off the light. Red and blue, blue and red, the neon from the Wagon Wheel Bar sign blinks soft neon into his room. The sign seems to pulsate to the cadence of the rock music coming from the bar.

Taking the big white pill from his shirt pocket, he swallows it, leans back into the chair watching the shadows of rain bleed down the wall. The darkness intensifies. Jack slides into the night.



                                           Chapter 14


The rain turns to snow.

With each step he takes the pain throbs in his arm and shoulder socket. His raw throat aches from the drafts of cold air he is ******* through his gaping mouth and although his legs ache he does not turn to look back. Jack must keep punching holes with his ice axe, probing the snow to avoid a fall into an abyss.

The pole of the ice axe falls effortlessly into the snow, "**** it, another one."

Moonlight coats the glacier in an irridecent glow and the mountain looms over him. It is four in the mourning and Jack knows he needs to be high on the mountain before the mourning sun softens the snow. He moves carefully, quietly, humbly to avoid a fall into a crevasse. When he reaches the top of the couloir the wind begins to howl.

"DA DA DUN, DA DA DUN, HEY PURPLE HAZE ALL AROUND MY BRAIN..."

Jack thinks the song is in his head but the electric guitar notes float down through the huge blocks of ice that litter the glacier and there standing on the arête is Jimi, his long dexterous fingers flying over the guitar strings at 741 mph.

"Wait a minute, " Jack wonders, stopping dead in his tracks. The sun is hitting the distant, wind-blown peaks. "Ah, what the hell," and Jack jumps in strumming his ice axe like an air guitar, singing, shouting, "LATELY THINGS DON'T SEEM THE SAME, IS THIS A DREAM, WHATEVER IT IS THAT GIRL PUT A SPELL ON MEEEE, PURRPPLLE HAZZEEE."


                                        
     


Slowly the door moans open.

"Jack, are you awake?" her voice startles him.

"Yeah, I'm awake."

"What's the matter, can't sleep?"

Jack sifts position on the chair. "Oh, I can sleep all right." He recognizes the voice of the shadow. "I want to climb to a high mountain through ice and snow and never be found."

"A heart that's empty hurts, I miss you, Jack Delleto."

"I'm glad someone does, I miss you, too, Kate."

There is silence for several minutes and the voice comes out of the darkness again.

"Jack, you forgot something that night."

"What?" The dark shape moves towards him. When it is in front of him, Jack stands, slips his arms around her waist.

"You didn't kiss me goodbye."

Her lips are soft and warm. Her arms tighten around his neck and the warmth of her body comes to him through the cold night.

"Jack, what's the matter?" She raises her head to look at him, "Why, you're crying."

"Yeah, I'm crying."

"Don't cry Darlin," her lips are soft against his ear. "I can't bear to see you unhappy, if you love me, tell me you love me."

"I love you, I do," he whispers softly.

"Hold me, Jack, hold me tighter."

"I'll never let you go." He tries to hug the shadow.


                                          
      *


The dread grows into an explosion of consciousness. Suddenly, he sits up ******* in the cold drafts of air coming into the room from the open window. Jack Delleto gets up off the chair and walks over to the sink. He turns on the cold water and bending forward splashes water onto his face. Water dripping, he leans against the sink, staring into the mirror, into his eyes that lately seem alien to him.



                                            Chapter 15


Someone approaches, Jacks turns, looks out the open door, sees Joesph Martin go shuffling by wearing a faded bathrobe and one red slipper. Jack hears Martin 's door slam shut and for thirty seconds the old man screams, "AAHHH, AAAHHH, AAAHH."
Then the building is silent and Jack listens to his own labored breathing.

A glance at the clock. It is a few minutes to 7 a.m. Jack hurries from his room into the hallway.  They pass each other on the stairs. The big man is coming up the stairs and Jack is going down to see O'Malley.

Jack has committed a trespass.

When the big man reaches the top of the stairs, the red exit light flickers like a votive candle above his head. The man slides the brim of his Giants baseball cap back and forth across his forehead, he turns and looks down, "Hello, Jack, brother. Dad loved you, too, you know." An instant later the sound of a door closing echoes down the hallway steps.


Jack Delleto is standing in the doorway at the bottom of the steps looking out onto the wet, bright street.

"Hey, Jack, man it's good to see you, glad to see you're still alive."

Jack turns, looks over his shoulder, "Felix, how the hell are you?"
The two men shake hands, then embrace momentarily.

"Ah, things don't get any better and they don't get any worse," shrugs the old man and then he smiles but his brown eyes are dull, and Jack can smell the cheap wine on the breath of the old boxer. "When are comin back? Man, you've got something, Kid, and we're going places."

"Yeah, Felix, I'll be coming back."  Jack extends his hand. The old fighter smiles and they shake hands. Suddenly, Felix takes off down Main Street towards Foodtown as if he has some important place to go.

Jack is curious. He sees the rope when he starts walking towards the Wagon Wheel Bar. One end of the rope is tied around the parking meter pole. The rest of the rope extends across the sidewalk disappearing into the entrance to the bar. The rattling of a chain catches his attention and when the huge white head of the dog pops out of the doorway Jack is startled. He stops dead in his tracks and as he spins around to run, he slips falling to the wet pavement.

The big, white mutt is curious, growls, woofs once and comes charging down the sidewalk at him. The rope is quickly growing shorter, stretches till it meets it end, tightens, and then snaps. Now, unimpeded by the tension of the rope the mutt comes charging down the sidewalk at Delleto. Jack's body grows tense anticipating the attack. He tries to stand up, makes it to his knees just as the dog bowls into him knocking him to the cement. The huge mutt has him pinned down, goes for his face.

And begins licking him.

Jack Delleto struggles to his knees, hugs her tightly to him. Looking over her shoulder, across Main Street to the graffiti painted on the boarded shut Delleto Market...

                               FANTASY WILL SET YOU FREE

                                                 The End

To Tommy, Crazy George and Snake, we all enjoyed a little madness for a while.


"Conversations With a Dead Dog..."
Melody Claire Jul 2015
When we're together
the world
Is spinning through jello
the leaves on trees
are hazy bits
of confetti in the wind.
The silence between us is thick.. and soothing
as we
glide along the summer pavement.
His scent fills my lungs like a sedative...
His scent..it makes me feel like
I'm in love again...
Like I could love again.
Keith J Collard Dec 2012
I still have flashbacks, horrifying and spectral: of conference meetings, projectors and efficiency meetings...corporate metrics, acronymic value cards that read like a Masonic Temple's pledge.. ...honesty, commitment, sacrifice, the dutiful worship of mercury and saltpeter; also customer satisfaction.
           Those flashbacks frequent my mind alot--especially when I am ramming my co-workers into the trash compactor with the blades of the fork truck. They say " ooooh" and " ahhhhh" as if they are getting a massage. They dull my blades with their dull heads.
          I have to ram them with the blades of the fork-trucks, or they will scramble out. They still say things like, " make sure that has a tag,".....and " wear your safety goggles," making chills run down my spine. I haven't put all the workers from the " Do-Wee depot" in the compactor only corporate cadavers and not zombies.
          But I have to forewarn, the zombies are not a threat, it is a few cadavers and the "consumers" that pose a threat to me and what I have built. The zombies are producers, even only if it is moans and putrefaction, but they are good sports, and my only friends.
         Some co-workers, who I was friends with before, I have spared from the compactor--owing mostly to that the part of their brain that was corporate, either fell out on the floor, or was gnawed on by a fellow zombie rendering them good sports and not cadavers.
        I use the building material section to chain them to their previous aisles. Jose, was my best friend, he was shaped like a slug, with a huge lower lip, and slicked back greasy hair, he always cheered me up, how busy it was and how slow he remained. Him and I worked together in the ' outside-lawn-and-garden' section. Even his zombie self has kept his lisp.
          I chain him to the outside lawn and garden section, where he likes to water the flowers. He lunges at me sometimes, but the chain is thick, and Jose is still a cool zombie.
Angry Joe is out there too. He is chained to the 'reach' truck. He is always mumbling about overtime.....or " Im not staying late."
         I have disabled the riding engine, so he just stands on it and runs the fork blades all the way up then all the way down, beeping the horn the whole while. He is the only one I kept, that has some vestige of corporacy in his brain, for the reason that he watches the back gate. The consumers are constantly probing this outside metal fence gate, and Joe has eaten all of them. Don't get me wrong, Joe can be a good sport, when he is not drooling about 'overtime' or ' I havn't took a lunch yet.' He can be quite funny.
          He banters with Ryan from inside 'lawn-and-garden' all the time. Ryan is alot younger, alittle younger than me. He has a mullet(what I call a mullet and he say's a hockey cut) and verily is--before he become a zombie-- the laziest person ever, and now that he is a zombie, well let's just say, I don't have to chain him anywhere, I know where to find him.....at the back gate smoking a ciqerette backwards with his mullet on fire or in the break room. He had the most squeeky voice when he was a human, but now odd fully enough, he sounds like Tom Jones.
         " You ate my cosumer Ryan," drools Angry Joe, " No I didn't Joe, you ate your own consumer," Ryan rejoins in his acapella voice ( I like hearing Ryan's deep zombie voice).
There are others, in the various departments of the Do-Wee Store, but this journal is to relate the first most pressing concern, two cadavers have escaped the compactor.
             The store manager Joyce and her minion(the assistant manager Damien) have escaped. They were ******* humans, and remained so in corporate cadaver form. They hide from me, as I plow through the aisles with the inside forklift. I have used wire from the fencing aisle to reinforce my forklifts. Sometimes a cadaver co-worker will jump out with a price gun, drooling " where is your spootterrrr...."( a safety regulation in the store).....I run them over with great gladness, but then wishing I heeded their advice of safety glasses."Splat."
            I have my theories, on how everyone turned to zombies. It started with over-ocurring routine, which my a.d.d could have been impervious to. But I couldn't have been the only one in the store with a.d.d? But that seems the case. The first day when I showed up to ' outside-lawn-and-garden' it took me six hours before I noticed everyone was zombies. I didn't notice they were zombies until I noticed them in good spirits.
               But the first day of the zombies, was concurrent with the rise of the consumers--ever more dangerous, greedy, and audacious are the consumers. They consume everything in their path, they consume good conversation, good manners, and replace with their mark, which is this....your life with the current moment is to be sacrificed to get them what they need to continue resuming their lives. They do not enjoy shopping, but enjoy holding you in place, consuming you and your values into their value, which has no value at all, since their mind has consigned the present moment that has you and not them, to a number that always has too much value, and they will bring you and it down while you are subject to time and they are not.  
             They turned my friends into prisoners of arbitrary time; and like putting a rabbit in a dank dark basement, with plenty of food and treats and space, it will slowly get diarrhea and die.  Everyday I marked the sunrise, and I would always pay thanks to it, no matter if I was on break or not.  The nine hour day could not ruin me, but my friends being ruined, that started to ruin me.
                       And that is what I believed started all this, nature has no room for two kingdoms of Consumers. So the producers(zombies) were created from the routine of being divested of life, and from nothing they came to produce: producing gases, vile ****** smiles, human  cannibalism, hearty conversation, practical jokes, moaning questions to the infinite sky.... they were created human again, given value, and most of all, I have my friends back, and they are happy again. But, the corporate cadavers that escaped the compactor , put my creation in risk, they look to let in the consumers again, they are up to something...
             But presently with the corporate cadavers gone, and the consumers held at bay, I have my Depot of Eden, I can grow anything, make anything, and soon will be able to ferment everything, especially fuel.   Now monday morning conferences that threaten you to pick it up because there are alot of people out there that want your job( iterated by the frizzy headed gangly Joyce) are replaced with 'zombie dance parties'.  
            " Zombies, what is the first rule of zombie dance party," they reply to me, " dohmp talk bout damp party," then we make a music video.  I let loose a couple of cat's in the break room, and presto, an agile cat make's flesh eating zombies look like Micheal Jackson.  Even I get busy with them, I feel so comfortable with them; dancing to Juvenile "back that *** up,".the best dancer gets to eat the cat...sure beat's listening Joyce's depressing morning pep talks about quotas while I am watching a bird outside the front glass trying to eat a dragonfly, " Keith you paying attention."  I just want to say, " No I am not you frizzy headed gangly walking skeleton key(she is skinnier than the gang of keys jingling on her belt)."    I will find her and put a roofing nail in her temple and her plans.
                The sound of zombies walking in here is music to my ears, like gypsys walking barefoot on a strawberry patch.  I don't know what that has to do with anything, but I like it, and don't care who knows.

            I fortified the outside of the store with everything within the store. I grew a garden, with all the fertilizers, and acids and alkilines of outside garden. I also use the garden chemicals to sprinkle on the brains of my co-worker zombies to change their acidity(almost like a hyrdrangea shrub). The purpose to get them somewhat coherent to play poker and darts in the breakroom. I figured out how to make explosives, with the nitrogen fertilizer and pool cleaning acid, well actually HeyZues did, he always eats both, and one day he moaned really loud  " BLOOOONDEEE " ( his nickname for me from The Good The Bad And The Ugly) and  gestured his expanding stomach, he blew up and gave me my first wound, he destroyed my dart board.   I took his head and posted it on the back loading dock, I know there are consumers trying to infiltrate when he sounds off with " BLOOONDEEEE..."  resounding through the whole store (almost like when he was a human).   I created another dartboard, I can create anything here, sometimes I think, that feeling is what........
                But the point of this journal is the two who escaped the trash compactor, Joyce and Damien. They haunted me before and haunt me still. When I leave to venture outside for gasoline for the generators(the only thing I need, not for long hopefully) they run amok. I will see new ' sale signs' in zombie penmanship, and I can see that they have hidden co-workers to have cadaver meetings, where they talk about ' customer satisfaction.'  I can sometimes hear keys jangle, it has to be Joyce, for the sound is to the cadence of her John Wayne walk, like she has been on horseback her whole life.
            Outside is very dangerous. There are many consumers out there.
                 I was outisde in the parking lot, where consumers still wallow around when a consumer asked "which product is better." I had to drop a cinder block pallet on him with the forklift; they are more adacious then my zombie co-workers. Even after a pallet of concrete is forklifted on them, they wave fliers with sale advertisments from underneath.
            Well, this particular trip, I returned inside and was startled by the loudspeaker, it was Damien's voice, the same as before, paging the hardware department. I jumped on the fast slim forklift to hunt for him. There are phone terminals everywhere, and he could be in the upper level offices. I saw Joyce's shape through the window once.
          They are up to something.
Everytime I ventured outside, the store became altered. I even saw a consumer waiting in line with the cashier machine now on. I sent the consumer to Angry Joe, who was due for a lunch break.
          There is a gap in my wire somewhere, I know it.
            I was at the gas station, getting propane and gas, when a consumer was scowling " where is the gas attendant, is everyone stupid or what?" while he was trying to figure out how to pump gas. I disabled the safety pumps, they do not shut off, and do not coincide with numbers, you hold the handle it pumps out as much as you need.
              He was pacing around like a little kid denied recess and suffering from sounds of frolic and kickball--dragging his feet due to the fact he had to pump his own gas, I heard a scraping metallic clicking noise. My eyes were caught by a bright glare on his shoe tread, I gripped my nail gun..... then he dropped the hose and walked back to his car with gasoline gushing as his wake. I saw what it was on his tread, I had no time to flee....it was a push button grill ignitor with the orange tint of a " Do-Wee" label on it......" ****."
              The last thing I registered was the consumer saying " ahhh don't touch me," apparently talking to flames. I woke up in a ditch, the big fork truck and my gas station destroyed.
I limped back to the " Do-Wee" store, and utter horror greeted my singed and surprised eyebrows.
              " Grand Re-Opening, 50% off everything." I squeezed the trigger of the nail gun, the nail harmlessly echoed off the parking pavement at which it was aimed. "They set me up at the gas station. "
               They had to do better than that to separate me from my zombies.

             I entered through the store in a nun-plussed state. I woke out of my unbelieving stupor with the sound of Jose's voice. " Welcome to Doooooo-Weeee....can I eat your...."
            "Jose it's me, who chained you to the entrance?"
         " Dammian, Keeeeeth, they are waiiiting....here's a newsletter...." --he smacked me across the face with the newsletter.
        " I don't want that ****.....' as I clutched the newspaper the loudspeaker went off in Dammians annoyingly over-polite and late-night-voice.
       " Attention shoooppers. all prices are feeeefty percent off, ask our associate Keeeeeth for a 80% discount, he is the skinny deleeecious looking kid with spicy skin, and a boston red sox hat on."
Hundreds of consumers pivoted their heads to my direction. " Hey, that kid has a Boston Yankees hat on."
         " Run Keeeth," zombie-lisped Jose.
           Fifty million imbecilic questions assailed me at once......" can I return this sprinkler for a jacuzzi.....can I get 120% off.....can you come to my house and fix my television for free"-- it was unabashed audacity, survial of the most annoying and repetitious; and the corporate cadavers have let this consuming flood in on me and my poor zombies.
           I needed to find my steed, my inside forklift. It was not where I left it near the entrance.            
        Surely they have sabotaged it. " the riding mowers," the thought uplifted my fading resolve. I darted past wallowing consumers before they could get my scent. I heard a consumer, " you obviously don't know what Im talking about," talking to zombie George, who was munching roofing nails.
         The consumer grabbed me, and said "here he is, this is Keith, he is wearing a Phoenix red sox cap"--panic bit into my brain, this consumers grip was implaccable. The grip that holds the steering wheel tightly driving nowhere fast, with anything in that interstice of commuting, not worthy of manners and the least of which being a friendly wave to 'go ahead.'
           They formed a wall of uttering stupidity, escape was cut off. They scratched at me, hissed, tore at my flesh and screamed demonistically in my ears. I caved and and called the hoard m'am and sir, they choked me, and loosened their grip only so I could tell them " Im sorry, sorry for your inconvenience, take my life and personality as tribute, take my imagination rendered prostrate by these sceptic corporate words that this mouth emits, betraying my personal form, the human element to this lifeless purposeless machine....destroy me, for finding the infinity between letters of corporate law and none between nature's laws......"
        I was almost unconscious, giving a speech to imagined hooded phantoms......" destroy me, for valuing friendship and imagination, and seeing infinity, in the shadow of a letter, eternity in the numeral of a number, and for defying the order to see things as others do....."...." destroy me, for seeing that people are unhappy and trying to uplift people for the sake of seeing them smile....destroy me, destroy my smirk, and add a lifeless smile to my corpse."
              I heard a horn, the riding floor mopper/buffer, it was Ryan, he commandeered the machine with precision-like drunkenness. He knocked down the consumers like twenty pin bowling. " What's up ***** cat," he possibly said, and I climbed to my feet.
         I walked to the riding mowers, and turned the key on the floor model. I sped the main aisle, with caresses of consumers that would be deep clawings at a slower speed. I dodged stupid question, and swerved from unabashed frugality. I turned up the tool aisle, grabbed a battery nail gun.
              " It says batteries are included, but are they included?" I answered with a 12 gauge nail, and resumed my course to the upper offices, that for too long looked down on me and my friends. I climbed the stairs and entered. The office was abuzz in corporate banalities. " Hello, this is Damian how may I help you.....oh helloooooo keeeeeth, one minute.......sir hold one second thaaaanx."
                I aimed the nail gun muzzle at his ugly overly polite mug." I finally found you, I will get the store back in shape Damian...."
          He cut me off, " no yoou woonn't, they are pouring in, we will meet our quota for the year...."
        " Me and my friends
Then Ulysses tore off his rags, and sprang on to the broad
pavement with his bow and his quiver full of arrows. He shed the
arrows on to the ground at his feet and said, “The mighty contest is
at an end. I will now see whether Apollo will vouchsafe it to me to
hit another mark which no man has yet hit.”
  On this he aimed a deadly arrow at Antinous, who was about to take
up a two-handled gold cup to drink his wine and already had it in
his hands. He had no thought of death—who amongst all the revellers
would think that one man, however brave, would stand alone among so
many and **** him? The arrow struck Antinous in the throat, and the
point went clean through his neck, so that he fell over and the cup
dropped from his hand, while a thick stream of blood gushed from his
nostrils. He kicked the table from him and upset the things on it,
so that the bread and roasted meats were all soiled as they fell
over on to the ground. The suitors were in an uproar when they saw
that a man had been hit; they sprang in dismay one and all of them
from their seats and looked everywhere towards the walls, but there
was neither shield nor spear, and they rebuked Ulysses very angrily.
“Stranger,” said they, “you shall pay for shooting people in this way:
om yi you shall see no other contest; you are a doomed man; he whom
you have slain was the foremost youth in Ithaca, and the vultures
shall devour you for having killed him.”
  Thus they spoke, for they thought that he had killed Antinous by
mistake, and did not perceive that death was hanging over the head
of every one of them. But Ulysses glared at them and said:
  “Dogs, did you think that I should not come back from Troy? You have
wasted my substance, have forced my women servants to lie with you,
and have wooed my wife while I was still living. You have feared
neither Cod nor man, and now you shall die.”
  They turned pale with fear as he spoke, and every man looked round
about to see whither he might fly for safety, but Eurymachus alone
spoke.
  “If you are Ulysses,” said he, “then what you have said is just.
We have done much wrong on your lands and in your house. But
Antinous who was the head and front of the offending lies low already.
It was all his doing. It was not that he wanted to marry Penelope;
he did not so much care about that; what he wanted was something quite
different, and Jove has not vouchsafed it to him; he wanted to ****
your son and to be chief man in Ithaca. Now, therefore, that he has
met the death which was his due, spare the lives of your people. We
will make everything good among ourselves, and pay you in full for all
that we have eaten and drunk. Each one of us shall pay you a fine
worth twenty oxen, and we will keep on giving you gold and bronze till
your heart is softened. Until we have done this no one can complain of
your being enraged against us.”
  Ulysses again glared at him and said, “Though you should give me all
that you have in the world both now and all that you ever shall
have, I will not stay my hand till I have paid all of you in full. You
must fight, or fly for your lives; and fly, not a man of you shall.”
  Their hearts sank as they heard him, but Eurymachus again spoke
saying:
  “My friends, this man will give us no quarter. He will stand where
he is and shoot us down till he has killed every man among us. Let
us then show fight; draw your swords, and hold up the tables to shield
you from his arrows. Let us have at him with a rush, to drive him from
the pavement and doorway: we can then get through into the town, and
raise such an alarm as shall soon stay his shooting.”
  As he spoke he drew his keen blade of bronze, sharpened on both
sides, and with a loud cry sprang towards Ulysses, but Ulysses
instantly shot an arrow into his breast that caught him by the
****** and fixed itself in his liver. He dropped his sword and fell
doubled up over his table. The cup and all the meats went over on to
the ground as he smote the earth with his forehead in the agonies of
death, and he kicked the stool with his feet until his eyes were
closed in darkness.
  Then Amphinomus drew his sword and made straight at Ulysses to try
and get him away from the door; but Telemachus was too quick for
him, and struck him from behind; the spear caught him between the
shoulders and went right through his chest, so that he fell heavily to
the ground and struck the earth with his forehead. Then Telemachus
sprang away from him, leaving his spear still in the body, for he
feared that if he stayed to draw it out, some one of the Achaeans
might come up and hack at him with his sword, or knock him down, so he
set off at a run, and immediately was at his father’s side. Then he
said:
  “Father, let me bring you a shield, two spears, and a brass helmet
for your temples. I will arm myself as well, and will bring other
armour for the swineherd and the stockman, for we had better be
armed.”
  “Run and fetch them,” answered Ulysses, “while my arrows hold out,
or when I am alone they may get me away from the door.”
  Telemachus did as his father said, and went off to the store room
where the armour was kept. He chose four shields, eight spears, and
four brass helmets with horse-hair plumes. He brought them with all
speed to his father, and armed himself first, while the stockman and
the swineherd also put on their armour, and took their places near
Ulysses. Meanwhile Ulysses, as long as his arrows lasted, had been
shooting the suitors one by one, and they fell thick on one another:
when his arrows gave out, he set the bow to stand against the end wall
of the house by the door post, and hung a shield four hides thick
about his shoulders; on his comely head he set his helmet, well
wrought with a crest of horse-hair that nodded menacingly above it,
and he grasped two redoubtable bronze-shod spears.
  Now there was a trap door on the wall, while at one end of the
pavement there was an exit leading to a narrow passage, and this
exit was closed by a well-made door. Ulysses told Philoetius to
stand by this door and guard it, for only one person could attack it
at a time. But Agelaus shouted out, “Cannot some one go up to the trap
door and tell the people what is going on? Help would come at once,
and we should soon make an end of this man and his shooting.”
  “This may not be, Agelaus,” answered Melanthius, “the mouth of the
narrow passage is dangerously near the entrance to the outer court.
One brave man could prevent any number from getting in. But I know
what I will do, I will bring you arms from the store room, for I am
sure it is there that Ulysses and his son have put them.”
  On this the goatherd Melanthius went by back passages to the store
room of Ulysses, house. There he chose twelve shields, with as many
helmets and spears, and brought them back as fast as he could to
give them to the suitors. Ulysses’ heart began to fail him when he saw
the suitors putting on their armour and brandishing their spears. He
saw the greatness of the danger, and said to Telemachus, “Some one
of the women inside is helping the suitors against us, or it may be
Melanthius.”
  Telemachus answered, “The fault, father, is mine, and mine only; I
left the store room door open, and they have kept a sharper look out
than I have. Go, Eumaeus, put the door to, and see whether it is one
of the women who is doing this, or whether, as I suspect, it is
Melanthius the son of Dolius.”
  Thus did they converse. Meanwhile Melanthius was again going to
the store room to fetch more armour, but the swineherd saw him and
said to Ulysses who was beside him, “Ulysses, noble son of Laertes, it
is that scoundrel Melanthius, just as we suspected, who is going to
the store room. Say, shall I **** him, if I can get the better of him,
or shall I bring him here that you may take your own revenge for all
the many wrongs that he has done in your house?”
  Ulysses answered, “Telemachus and I will hold these suitors in
check, no matter what they do; go back both of you and bind
Melanthius’ hands and feet behind him. Throw him into the store room
and make the door fast behind you; then fasten a noose about his body,
and string him close up to the rafters from a high bearing-post,
that he may linger on in an agony.”
  Thus did he speak, and they did even as he had said; they went to
the store room, which they entered before Melanthius saw them, for
he was busy searching for arms in the innermost part of the room, so
the two took their stand on either side of the door and waited. By and
by Melanthius came out with a helmet in one hand, and an old
dry-rotted shield in the other, which had been borne by Laertes when
he was young, but which had been long since thrown aside, and the
straps had become unsewn; on this the two seized him, dragged him back
by the hair, and threw him struggling to the ground. They bent his
hands and feet well behind his back, and bound them tight with a
painful bond as Ulysses had told them; then they fastened a noose
about his body and strung him up from a high pillar till he was
close up to the rafters, and over him did you then vaunt, O
swineherd Eumaeus, saying, “Melanthius, you will pass the night on a
soft bed as you deserve. You will know very well when morning comes
from the streams of Oceanus, and it is time for you to be driving in
your goats for the suitors to feast on.”
  There, then, they left him in very cruel *******, and having put
on their armour they closed the door behind them and went back to take
their places by the side of Ulysses; whereon the four men stood in the
cloister, fierce and full of fury; nevertheless, those who were in the
body of the court were still both brave and many. Then Jove’s daughter
Minerva came up to them, having assumed the voice and form of
Mentor. Ulysses was glad when he saw her and said, “Mentor, lend me
your help, and forget not your old comrade, nor the many good turns he
has done you. Besides, you are my age-mate.”
  But all the time he felt sure it was Minerva, and the suitors from
the other side raised an uproar when they saw her. Agelaus was the
first to reproach her. “Mentor,” he cried, “do not let Ulysses beguile
you into siding with him and fighting the suitors. This is what we
will do: when we have killed these people, father and son, we will
**** you too. You shall pay for it with your head, and when we have
killed you, we will take all you have, in doors or out, and bring it
into hotch-*** with Ulysses’ property; we will not let your sons
live in your house, nor your daughters, nor shall your widow
continue to live in the city of Ithaca.”
  This made Minerva still more furious, so she scolded Ulysses very
angrily. “Ulysses,” said she, “your strength and prowess are no longer
what they were when you fought for nine long years among the Trojans
about the noble lady Helen. You killed many a man in those days, and
it was through your stratagem that Priam’s city was taken. How comes
it that you are so lamentably less valiant now that you are on your
own ground, face to face with the suitors in your own house? Come
on, my good fellow, stand by my side and see how Mentor, son of
Alcinous shall fight your foes and requite your kindnesses conferred
upon him.”
  But she would not give him full victory as yet, for she wished still
further to prove his own prowess and that of his brave son, so she
flew up to one of the rafters in the roof of the cloister and sat upon
it in the form of a swallow.
  Meanwhile Agelaus son of Damastor, Eurynomus, Amphimedon,
Demoptolemus, Pisander, and Polybus son of Polyctor bore the brunt
of the fight upon the suitors’ side; of all those who were still
fighting for their lives they were by far the most valiant, for the
others had already fallen under the arrows of Ulysses. Agelaus shouted
to them and said, “My friends, he will soon have to leave off, for
Mentor has gone away after having done nothing for him but brag.
They are standing at the doors unsupported. Do not aim at him all at
once, but six of you throw your spears first, and see if you cannot
cover yourselves with glory by killing him. When he has fallen we need
not be uneasy about the others.”
  They threw their spears as he bade them, but Minerva made them all
of no effect. One hit the door post; another went against the door;
the pointed shaft of another struck the wall; and as soon as they
had avoided all the spears of the suitors Ulysses said to his own men,
“My friends, I should say we too had better let drive into the
middle of them, or they will crown all the harm they have done us by
us outright.”
  They therefore aimed straight in front of them and threw their
spears. Ulysses killed Demoptolemus, Telemachus Euryades, Eumaeus
Elatus, while the stockman killed Pisander. These all bit the dust,
and as the others drew back into a corner Ulysses and his men rushed
forward and regained their spears by drawing them from the bodies of
the dead.
  The suitors now aimed a second time, but again Minerva made their
weapons for the most part without effect. One hit a bearing-post of
the cloister; another went against the door; while the pointed shaft
of another struck the wall. Still, Amphimedon just took a piece of the
top skin from off Telemachus’s wrist, and Ctesippus managed to graze
Eumaeus’s shoulder above his shield; but the spear went on and fell to
the ground. Then Ulysses and his men let drive into the crowd of
suitors. Ulysses hit Eurydamas, Telemachus Amphimedon, and Eumaeus
Polybus. After this the stockman hit Ctesippus in the breast, and
taunted him saying, “Foul-mouthed son of Polytherses, do not be so
foolish as to talk wickedly another time, but let heaven direct your
speech, for the gods are far stronger than men. I make you a present
of this advice to repay you for the foot which you gave Ulysses when
he was begging about in his own house.”
  Thus spoke the stockman, and Ulysses struck the son of Damastor with
a spear in close fight, while Telemachus hit Leocritus son of Evenor
in the belly, and the dart went clean through him, so that he fell
forward full on his face upon the ground. Then Minerva from her seat
on the rafter held up her deadly aegis, and the hearts of the
suitors quailed. They fled to the other end of the court like a herd
of cattle maddened by the gadfly in early summer when the days are
at their longest. As eagle-beaked, crook-taloned vultures from the
mountains swoop down on the smaller birds that cower in flocks upon
the ground, and **** them, for they cannot either fight or fly, and
lookers on enjoy the sport—even so did Ulysses and his men fall
upon the suitors and smite them on every side. They made a horrible
groaning as their brains were being battered in, and the ground
seethed with their blood.
  Leiodes then caught the knees of Ulysses and said, “Ulysses I
beseech you have mercy upon me and spare me. I never wronged any of
the women in your house either in word or deed, and I tried to stop
the others. I saw them, but they would not listen, and now they are
paying for their folly. I was their sacrificing priest; if you ****
me, I shall die without having done anything to deserve it, and
shall have got no thanks for all the good that I did.”
  Ulysses looked sternly at him and answered, “If you were their
sacrificing priest, you must have prayed many a time that it might
be long before I got home again, and that you might marry my wife
and have children by her. Therefore you shall die.”
  With these words he picked up the sword that Agelaus had dropped
when he was being killed, and which was lying upon the ground. Then he
struck Leiodes on the back of his neck, so that his head fell
rolling in the dust while he was yet speaking.
  The minstrel Phemius son of Terpes—he who had been forced by the
suitors to sing to them—now tried to save his life. He was standing
near towards the trap door, and held his lyre in his hand. He did
not know whether to fly out of the cloister and sit down by the
altar of Jove that was in the outer court, and on which both Laertes
Rob Urban Jun 2012
Lost in the dim
streets of the
Marunouchi district
I describe
this wounded city in an
  unending internal
monologue as I follow
the signs to Tokyo Station and
descend into the
underground passages
  of the metro,
seeking life and anything bright
in this half-lit, humid midnight.

I find the train finally
to Shibuya, the Piccadilly
and Times Square of Japan,
and even there the lights
are dimmer and the neon
  that does remain
  is all the more garish by
contrast.
I cross the street
near a sign that says
  "Baby Dolls" in English
over a business that turns
out to be a pet
  shop, of all things.

Like
the Japanese, I sometimes feel I live
in reduced circumstances, forced to proceed with caution:
A poorly chosen
adjective, a
mangled metaphor
could so easily trigger the
tsunami that
    sweeps away the containment
             facilities that
                   protect us
                        from ourselves
                                                            and others.
  
The next night at dinner, the sweltering room
     suddenly rocks and
        conversation stops
                  as the building sways and the
candles flicker.

'Felt like a 4, maybe a 5,'
says one of my tablemates,
a friend from years ago
in the States.

'At least a five-and-a-half,'
says another, gesturing
at the still-moving shadows
on the wall. And I think
     of other sweaty, dimly lit rooms,
      bodies in slow, restrained motion,       all
          in a moment that falls
                         between
                                     tremors.

         Then the swaying stops and we return
to our dinner. The shock, or aftershock,
isn't mentioned again,
though we do return, repeatedly, to the
big one,
         and the tidal wave that
                           swept so much away.

En route to the monsoon
I go east to come west,
   clouds gathering slowly
     in the vicinity of my chest.

Next day in Shanghai, the sun's glare reflects
  off skyscrapers,
and the streets teem
with determined shoppers
and sightseers
wielding credit cards and iPhone cameras, clad
in T-shirts with English words and phrases.
I fall
          in step
             beside a young woman on
                 the outdoor escalator whose
shirt, white on black,
reads, 'I am very, very happy.' I smile
and then notice, coming
down the other side,
another woman
wearing
        exactly the same
       message, only
                        in neon pink. So many
                                  very,
                                          very
                                                 happy people!
Yet the ATMs sometimes dispense
counterfeit 100 yuan notes and
elsewhere in the realm
      police fire on
      protestors seeking
                more than consumer goods,
while officials fret
about American credit
and the security of their investments, and
     the government executes mayors for taking
                       bribes from real estate developers.
    
    A drizzle greets me in Hong Kong,
a tablecloth of fog draped over the peaks
   that turns into a rain shower.
I find my way to work after many twists and turns
through shopping malls and building lobbies and endless
turning halls of luxury retail.
               At dinner I have a century egg and think
of Chinese mothers
urging their children,
'Eat! Eat your green, gooey treat.
On the street afterwards, a
near-naked girl grabs my arm,
pulls me toward a doorway marked by a 'Live Girls’
sign. 'No kidding,’ I think as I pull myself carefully
free, and cross the street.

On the flight to Bombay, I doze
   under a sweaty airline blanket, and
       dream that I am already there and the rains
         have come in earnest as I sit with the presumably
           semi-fictional Didier of Shantaram in the real but as-yet-unseen
            Leopold's Café, drinking Kingfishers,
              and he is telling me,  confidentially,
                     exactly where to find what I’ve lost as I wake
with the screech and grip of wheels on runway.
            

     Next day on the street outside the real Leopold's,
bullet holes preserved in the walls from the last terrorist attack,
I am trailed through the Colaba district
by a mother and children,  'Please sir, buy us milk, sir, buy us some rice,
I will show you the store.'
    A man approaches, offering a drum,
                        another a large balloon (What would I do with that?)
A shoeshine guy offers
                                           to shine my sneakers, then shares
the story of his arrival and struggle in Bombay.
     And I buy
             the milk and the rice and some
                      small cakes and in a second
                          the crowd of children swells
                               into the street
               and I sense
                     the danger of the crazy traffic to the crowd
                         that I have created, and I
think, what do I do?
           I flee, get into a taxi and head
                             to the Gateway of India, feeling
                                                                                  that I have failed a test.

                                       My last night in Mumbai, the rains come, flooding
     streets and drenching pavement dwellers and washing
the humid filth from the air. When it ends
           after two hours, the air is cool and fresh
                                  and I take a stroll at midnight
          in the street outside my hotel and enter the slum
   from which each morning I have watched
the residents emerge,  perfectly coiffed. I buy
some trinkets at a tiny stand and talk briefly
      with a boy who approaches, curious about a foreigner out for a walk.

A couple of days after that, in
the foothills of the Himalayas,  monks' robes flutter
on a clothesline like scarlet prayer flags behind the
Dalai Lama's temple.
I trek to 11,000 feet along a
narrow rocky path through thick
monsoon mist,
   stopping every 10 steps
to
   catch
        my  breath,
              testing each rock before placing my weight.
Sometimes
    the surface is slick and I nearly fall,
sometimes
    the stones
        themselves shift. I learn slowly, like some
             newborn foal, or just another
                clumsy city boy,
                   that in certain terrains the
       smallest misstep
                            can end with a slide
                                             into the abyss.
                  At the peak there's a chai shop that sells drinks and cigarettes
                                of all things and I order a coffee and noodles for lunch.
While I eat,
      perched on a rock in a silence that is both ex- and
      in-ternal,
the clouds in front of me slowly part to reveal
a glacier that takes up three-quarters of the sky, craggy and white and
beautiful. I snap a few shots,
quickly,
before the cloud curtain closes
again,
obscuring the mountain.
                                                
                                     --Rob Urban: Tokyo, Shanghai, Mumbai, Delhi, Dharamshala
                                        7/13/11-7/30/11
igc May 2015
I saw the best minds of my generation congested and
polluted overdosing on irrelevance

Abandoned abused replaced
Fed to the thought police
Corrected corrupted
Declining the potential to be heard in
exchange for the opportunity to be documented

Lives being lived according to unfeasible standards
You either make it or you don’t
there’s no in between
there’s no maybe
there’s no equal

Left to meander through the conceived thoughts of others
decisions being made
moves being made
eulogies being made

nothings real
nothing’s right
nothing’s honest
nothing thought up matters


Who in the safety of their homes were taught respect
are told to mask their emotions
Identities saved for the weak
Only to be showcased when conducive

Who pump iron into their veins
looking for an angry fix of acceptance
Sweat streams surge down their backs
Failure prominent in their thoughts
Motivation blessing their features
the Devil clever in disguise

Who see little white fields of fairy dust
a never ending landscape of courage
giving them superpowers beyond belief

Nothing beats the freedom of being told
You can fly

Who dream of equality behind closed eyes
But render to imposed birth rights when open
The upper hand implying more than height
and executing more force than necessary to move them

It’s all about the cause until you’re indubitably
the effect

Who tuck monsters into their beds
Forgetting to check closets for skeletons not quite left behind
in the path of carefully chaotic self destruction
Conveniently purging themselves of words whispered
in the throes of passion
Forced upon the ears of all naive enough to listen

Who carelessly expend countless hours playing with
condescending pawns disguised as adults
All grown up with no where to go
Replacing quality with quantity
Leaving long dull trails of breadcrumbs
leading to hearts long since lost
Never to be recovered again

Who follow sexuality by the book
doing this to get that for this him them who what when where
Why does the finish line have to be covered with brightly colored lace and muffled drunk cries chanting no

Who stare dead straight into the soul of love but never
Never into her eyes
Told she is not worthy of being addressed directly
Fingers itching to cop a feel
Only to discover the body is but a passage to her straight dead soul


Who trade in their voice mind and individuality
for half assed smiles and superficial men
As the face of a leviathan nicknamed acceptance
hands them a paycheck they’ve worked too
night day night night hard to refuse

Who idolize the feel of phantom limbs of lovers past
Twisted words convoluting their heads
Forcing on masks of pure heroine
at the sight of scars left on the soul
Scratching at the need to feel wanted
But cowering at the ability to truly be heard

Who have perfected the art of parallel painting
Elegant red streaks hidden beneath layers of
choppy dark colored hate covering pretty pale limbs
Seeming to fade as colorlessly caked on insecurities susurrate bitter-sweet nothings that curl themselves just inside her mutilated skin

Who scavenged their looks from the bottom of holes
they’re expected to clamber out of
Smiling pretty smiling
Being treated to complimentary meals
Only to be served plates full of disappointment.

Who crave companion’s flaws
in ruthless attempts to satisfy their hunger for compassion
Selfless beings dedicated to less than noble attempts at vanquish
The call for heat too satisfying to refuse the trade off forever uselessly launching themselves into razor sharp blades
aimed at ***** sleeves

Who see soft lips as cushion enough to fall from towers built of fear
Dragging moist palms across pavement thighs
Tearing at the seams holding their
hearts together

Who cower behind brick wall appearances
fruitlessly clutching on to ideas reserved for the most fortunate
Scaring away potential with claws that seemingly only come
out to play in the face of acceptance

Who’s sick stick thin limbs trail their worn down
fingernails in an effort mar skin no one can see
Streaks titillate their bright red scalps
A reflection of their underlying journey

Who disgorge yesterday's meal from stomachs long before empty
Blood spewing from the mouth an open wound
Continuously sewed up but never stitched tight correctly
Wiring shut opinions but never gorged enough to
muzzle their Howls



Ideas, calm and collected have long been hijacked and invaded by Hestia

Hestia! Consent! Content! Acceptance!
Long nights and roid rage men!
Two faces fighting a losing battle!
Girls playing mom! Boys playing war!
Ill ridden parents still pledging to the
United States of Controlling Media!

Hestia! Hestia!
Overall reign of Hestia!
Hestia the beautiful!
Incarcerated Hestia!
Hestia the ******!

Hestia twisted and shaped to form the voice of conformity
Hestia constantly watching over and monitoring
Hestia being told what to ******* think

Hestia seeping creeping sneaking into the
darkest crevices of our minds
Hestia when least expected coming out to say
Hello

Too late! Hestia’s already made herself at home
Wedged between the rooks of your biggest fear and
burrowed deep into the folds of
Your  Worst  Nightmare

Stuck in a constant battle between
rejecting Hestia,
and accepting her.
This was obviously inspired by Allen Ginsberg's "Howl."
Considering it was, at the time, the voice of that generation, Welcome to Generation Y.
This is a work in progress.
Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret, Kenya;aopicho@yahoo.com)

All black virtues and white vices to day
Point to the reality around the British Empire
Or the famous Great Britain
Or the British Commonwealth
If not the English commonwealth
That its next monarch must be an African
Truly an African without streaks of cosmetic Africanity
Deeply black in colour, ***** in race and African in blood,

The monarchy of England should not be confined
To the parochial and Provencal English blood
Falsely named the royal blood
What a misnomer? For science and religion
Has nothing in history like the royal blood
But only brutal probability of genetics
Ever and ever will befall humanity,

The royalty of blood is only a smokescreen for racism
Or inter European apartheid or apartheid in universality,
The empire of British Commonwealth, Gambia included
Is not about the royal blood of charlese, Elizabeth nor Victoria
It is all about world class cultural inclusivity
Of all the pillars of the English culture,

English commonwealth is of culture, language, attitude and geography
This has to be known devoid of racial biase
And this is the great English empire;
It is a billion African English speakers
Its five hundred million American English speakers
It is a million Australian English speakers
It is a hundred million Indian English speakers
These are the bricks that mould the English commonwealth
Not queen Elizabeth and her son the cuckold of Egyptian mangy dog,
It is the nation of Uganda which is hundred percent African,
No Caucasoids nor Asians but its mother tongue is the British English,
Uganda is crazy; its peasants speak English like Cambridge scholars,
It’s the Nigerian Afro -cinema that promotes spoken English
With the muscle only inherent in the stampede of cultural imperialism,

The royal family is not royal at all in the informed understanding
Or else which family is not royal, show one me please
And I will show you folly of the day
Who wants not to be royal, why not all of us,
Crudeness of culture is the pedestal of reserved royalty
Inclusivity is the contrasting mother of cultural strength
Thus, all English speakers are the royal family
Of the British Commonwealth,
They don’t need royal blood
They already have full amour of the royal culture
Of the English linguistic or mental civilisation,
Please Queen Elizabeth listen to me carefully
Listen with your wholesome body and soul to this song
The song of freedom echoing cultural modernity;
Give to us, we your children of the commonwealth our rights
Include us in our hard earned monarchy,
I also want to be the king of England
I want to fill that royal palace with my dark skin
I want to speak and write English poetry inside the palace
The royal palace of England whose
Whose Golden floor and pavement are  s
Reeking the blood of colonialism
The wood and gold in the palace
Was taken from Africa without any pay
During colonial robbery with violence,
Give me my historical rights to be the king of England
Then my four African wifes; Lumbasi Opicho, Namwaya Opicho, Nangila Opicho and Chelangat Opicho, the most beautiful of all from the heroic Kipsigis
Will be the four queens of England, queens of the English commonwealth
Lumbasi for Scotland, Namwaya for England, Nangila for Wales and Chelangat
For the begotten Ireland,
I have all the virtues in my blood to be the English king
If it’s military, shaka the Zulu is my uncle
If it is wisdom, Nelson mandella is my uncle
If it is intellect Kwame Nkrumah is my father
If it is culture Taban Lo Liyong and Okot p’Bitek are my brothers
Whereas Leopold Sedar Senghor is a son of my father from another mother,
If it is beauty Cleopatra the Egyptian whose beauty killed the Roman king is my mother
If it is science my witchcraft is superior in technology to silicon computing
If it is ***, ask your daughter in law princes Diana
Now what am I missing to become the next English monarch?
Strange strings of thought.
Thoughts of loyalty and love,
thoughts of friendship and of ambition
and my condition;
thoughts of submission of subtraction and addition.

Unravel the secret of the continent,
oh how you are persistent.
The road uncoils and I uncoil down the pavement.
Off i go.
Twisted days of golden glow.
Off I go, into the black hole
of the road.
Benji James Apr 2018
VERSE ONE
She's bleeding from her lip
From every time he hit
Can't believe that she
Just turned up on my doorstep
Looking like this
And all that I can think
Is how much I want to **** him
Better help her in
Come on let's get you cleaned up
Tell me what happened
Tell me everything he did
Firstly let me clean the bloodstains
from beneath your lips
Wipe the smudged mascara
from beneath your eyes
Seeing you hurt like this
Hurts me deep inside
Gotta be strong for you
Make sure you're comforted
Reassure you everything is gonna be alright
Meanwhile, body temperatures raising
As anger boils deep within
All these thoughts come flooding in

PRE CHORUS
I'm not sure I can keep
All of this rage caged
Killer instincts kicking in
And all I want is revenge on him
For treating you like this
Gotta stay calm,
Keep this girls mind at ease
Help her rest and heal
And as I wipe the blood from your lips
ever so gently
As I wipe the tears from your eyes
You look deep into mine
with every ounce of strength,
she had left she said
please don't go after him
even after all he did

CHORUS
And as she takes my hand she says
You're different
All I need is for you to be there
I just need someone who really cares
Someone to wipe away these tears
You're the one guy who tames my fears
I don't need any more protection
then you already give
And I don't want you to end up like him
Even though the love I have for him
Runs deep, I see his faults
But I know his needs
And he is such a big part of my heart
His my addiction, my drug
Don't expect you to understand
I see the mess this is, I can't stop my love for him

VERSE TWO
All these words, I soak them in
All these thoughts
are running up and down my mind
How could she not let me step in
This hurting could stop right here
I'm giving her everything,
She just wants me to sit back
Watch from the sidelines
While she takes on this fight
Why won't she let me stand at her side?
And all of this confusion envelops in me
I'm losing focus, Push this to the back of my head
Need to take care of her here and now
Because she needs you here most
I carry her into the bed tuck her in
As I crash back on the couch
All of the things she said to me replay

PRE CHORUS
I'm not sure I can keep
All of this rage caged
Killer instincts kicking in
And all I want is revenge on him
For treating you like this
Gotta stay calm,
Keep this girls mind at ease
Help her rest and heal
And as I wipe the blood from your lips
ever so gently
As I wipe the tears from your eyes
You look deep into mine
with every ounce of strength,
she had left she said
please don't go after him
even after all he did

CHORUS
And as she takes my hand she says
You're different
All I need is for you to be there
I just need someone who really cares
Someone to wipe away these tears
You're the one guy who tames my fears
I don't need any more protection
then you already give
And I don't want you to end up like him
Even though the love I have for him
Runs deep, I see his faults
But I know his needs
And he is such a big part of my heart
His my addiction, my drug
Don't expect you to understand
I see the mess this is, I can't stop my love for him

VERSE THREE
As I wake the next morn
I go to the bedroom to check on her
I see an empty bed well made
on the bedside desk, a neat note laid
Saying thank you for everything you did
Repairing and mending me back to health
I couldn't have a better friend
Sorry I left before you awoke
Just had to get home
Just want you to know
I'm thankful and grateful for all that you are
You'll always be the brightest shining star
Guiding and watching me from afar
And as cheesy as it sounds
It brings a smile to my face
And for a slight moment concern leaves my conscience
But I hold out hope everything is gonna be okay
That's when images of last night run before my eyes

PRE CHORUS
I'm not sure I can keep
All of this rage caged
Killer instincts kicking in
And all I want is revenge on him
For treating you like this
Gotta stay calm,
Keep this girls mind at ease
Help her rest and heal
And as I wipe the blood from your lips
ever so gently
As I wipe the tears from your eyes
You look deep into mine
with every ounce of strength,
she had left she said
please don't go after him
even after all he did

CHORUS
And as she takes my hand she says
You're different
All I need is for you to be there
I just need someone who really cares
Someone to wipe away these tears
You're the one guy who tames my fears
I don't need any more protection
then you already give
And I don't want you to end up like him
Even though the love I have for him
Runs deep, I see his faults
But I know his needs
And he is such a big part of my heart
His my addiction, my drug
Don't expect you to understand
I see the mess this is, I can't stop my love for him

VERSE FOUR
Another night, another microwave meal
It's been a while since she last came over
Must be working out,
the counselling must be helping them now
And for once in my life I'm relieved
Knowing she's happy calms my mind
I watch the clock tick time passes by
through montaged scenes
This feels like a happy ending to this story
And photographs of you and I
Are packed in a box
I only open it up from time to time
Childhood memories captured in polaroid frames
I like reminiscing about all those good times
Everything was different then
Together just you and I
Hanging every day and every night
until you moved on with your life
that is just a perfect memory captured in my mind

PRE CHORUS
All of this rage is caged
Calm and content I've stayed
The revenge I wanted on him
Has been forgotten
Even after all he did
I'm calm, breathing and relaxed
My minds at ease
We're both rested and healed
The bloodstained cloths
that cleansed your lips are cleaned
ever so gently you're easing my emotions
As I wipe the tears from my eyes
I think of the way you always look into mine
with every ounce of strength,
You've made me a better man
She was right in what she said
even after all he did

CHORUS
Still feel the tender touch of your hand
And I remember every word she said
You're different
All I need is for you to be there
I just need someone who really cares
Someone to wipe away these tears
You're the one guy who tames my fears
I don't need any more protection
then you already give
And I don't want you to end up like him
Even though the love I have for him
Runs deep, I see his faults
But I know his needs
And he is such a big part of my heart
His my addiction, my drug
Don't expect you to understand
I see the mess this is, I can't stop my love for him
And all I can think is how lucky he is
To have a girl like you

VERSE FIVE
As I sit on my couch watching tv
It's been months since she last seen me
When I hear a soft knock at the door
I open it up to see you sitting on the pavement
outside of my front door
she is leaning against the brick wall
Head in her hands, crying
Tears constantly streaming down her cheeks
Bruised arms, black eyes
She looked at me and said
I'm bleeding from my lip
From when he hit
That sentence just tore me to bits
Gotta be strong, Take care of her first
Then I'll hunt him down and make him hurt
Shes covered in scratches, puffy eyes
He really lost control this time
And I'm about to lose mine
I pick her up and bring her in
Pull out the first aid kit,
A warm washer to clean her up
Every dab soft and tender to the touch
I won't hurt you like him ever
I'm the one who will make this all better

PRE CHORUS
I'm not sure I can keep
All of this rage caged
Killer instincts kicking in
And all I want is revenge on him
For treating you like this
Gotta stay calm,
Keep this girls mind at ease
Help her rest and heal
And as I wipe the blood from your lips
ever so gently
As I wipe the tears from your eyes
You look deep into mine
with every ounce of strength,
she had left she said
please don't go after him
even after all he did

CHORUS
And as she takes my hand she says
You're different
All I need is for you to be there
I just need someone who really cares
Someone to wipe away these tears
You're the one guy who tames my fears
I don't need any more protection
then you already give
And I don't want you to end up like him
Even though the love I have for him
Runs deep, I see his faults
But I know his needs
And he is such a big part of my heart
His my addiction, my drug
Don't expect you to understand
I see the mess this is, I can't stop my love for him

VERSE SIX
That time those words don't cut it
Now the hunters become the hunted
I tuck her into bed to sleep
stay with her until she falls into dreams
I watch her smile and breathe as she lays peacefully asleep
I go around to her house just when he walks out
I strike him hard and fast, I made him bleed so much blood
All the pain he put her through I made sure he felt that too
I couldn't keep that rage caged
had to let it out and get revenge
One day she will understand
I did what was best for her
I won't ever let her hurt
He got a few shots in
But nothing compared to what I did to him
Stitches in my hand and brow
I left him hospitalised
I'll never forget the look she gave
when she found out

PRE CHORUS
I tried to explain
I couldn't keep this rage caged
Killer instincts kicked in
And I got my revenge on him
For treating you like this
Didn't stay calm
Didn't keep her mind at ease
Help her rest and heal
I wiped the blood from her lips
I wiped the tears from your eyes
What he did to you killed me inside
with every ounce of strength,
And everything I am
I went after him
after all, he did

CHORUS
This time she didn't take my hand
And I knew I wasn't going to be a fan
of what she had to say
I regret putting my trust and faith in you
You aren't different
All I needed was for you to be there
I just needed someone who really cared
Someone to wipe away these tears
You were the one guy who tamed my fears
I didn't need any more protection
that you hadn't already given
I didn't want you to be like him
Violence never solved anything
I was ready to leave him for you
You went against everything I said
My love and admiration for you ran deep,
I see your faults
I know your needs
But now you have betrayed me
You were such a big part of my heart
You could have been my addiction, my drug
I was hoping you would listen and understand
Not go after him like you did
I can see the mess this is, my hearts been shattered
Beyond repair, I never want to see you again
Those lines run on repeat through my head.

©2018 Written By Benji James
Robin Carretti Jul 2018
The burr shaking in a
Bohemian Awakening
(Long) vintage stare how
her words were spelled
out snake tongue (Short)
The Death
Whats Up* Chap of a sport
Whats Up Doc
Going tick tock Mr. Rick
Don't trick this document
Oh! where did it drop
What!! He made the drop
dead gorgeous dress?

Born to die last lip of the spoonfuls
Cut to the chase with my chap lips
More deaths on the rise to deliver 
 
How love was the
mind controller
Hands out of the grave
couldn't hold her
Like the Boulder Chief head
Hothead on her shoulder
The better herbs of medicine
His racing car hot flame
gasoline

The Rapsody of her melody
holding on to her life
What a unique wife
Until time changes her moods
Opening up her world of flower buds
A different silence of home goods
We do believe we can be

The Champions

But the fallout of promises
Or jobs never big advances

Oh! Christ
Her chapped lips needed some
time to heal where is her next meal
The heat catching a death of cold
But staying alive the second
wind hot Ferrari Italian drive
Feeling deathly-sick faking
your death was no trick


Who disappeared never
really certain
if it was truly their
Building the fire mountain
Don't keep complaining
where the time went
Death of a cold wishes
not to die
where is our youth
Only takes one amazing birth
Lips kissing the fountain
The fortune teller booth

Who would want her chapped lips
Baby Ruth crunchy bar
down the mountain
The love confused her the
death would be
faster going once or twice up
Guilty trip or the graveyard shift
Hangover ski lift with her
Beeswax for chap lips
Taxman on the number rise flirting
What a good chap
In her coffee cup a little Robin birdie
told you

You made your own grave
time on my side or hanging
by a thread of stitches
Hats off up and away
Getting a green facelift of witches
You lived so far the good life
Feeling so wanted
he cooked your meals
He cleaned up your mess wearing
The Chef Apron 
 *He's Wanted
the sign
All over the world,
his face is wanted
The fool lips the fuller up lips
The heart went out of touch a deathly cold
She is wearing her heart-shaped lips
Doing what she is told
How the world has been
smudged with
rules
Noone knows where here

All her cracks of her lips
The cute button nose
Not Rudolph the Reindeer
The hunt for the ****** nose
Up close and personal
Lip to his lip journal
Such odds of numbers
So many even deaths
like tumblers
Through the loopers
Love and resentment
The world is a village commitment
Mcdonald Man beef and the
melted lady
cheese
whooper
You got an alert notice
The cast of spells the
fire went high
You couldn't even put it out
The death of a Salesman novice
Papercut snip computer nasty chip
The charcoal grill felt like it burned you
The fires new hires of California
The peace sign
Imagine people with no

Holy water
Whose mind is in order
The Dementia patients
Your own flame so many hot flames
The rest of the world caught a death
of a cold like an old flame

*The Goddess of Venus

The darker edge his cool hummer
Going on a shoot with chapped lips
Who is really keeping tabs

There was nothing to believe in to hold
To restore how do we balance the world
But we are not Gods
Chapped lips caused
such an alarm
All things take time then
it's in harm's way
Someone will understand to pay
Like a settlement
Deathly gray hairs on the pavement
Getting hurt but the best Godly soil
is still their like dirt
There was no reception hell broke
loose riot
Everything was naked sound
No time to sing a duet to
feet on the ground love couplet

That snow drift fall on your face
Who will be where you are in
the next century place

Perhaps your last picture
before you die
How the singer live on
to be remembered
  Why are we not discovered
Can we be saved from redemption
Like you have been squirted on
Like Heinz Ketchup did you catch up
To get his kiss did he feel your death of cold
But never to exist
What is on our bucket list?
This was something I thought of not everything we breath is pure that we adore
times are changing don't you feel your getting a death of a cold to think about it
Daniel Mashburn Oct 2014
I'll brood in quiet contemplation
Waves of indifference wash over me
I've been sitting on this cracking pavement
Bored to tears but still brimming with apathy.

I'm not choking on ambition
I'm not feeling a ******* thing
worlds converge in a papercup
come, come you on the tambourine
me on the harmonica
let's make music without the adjectives
let's live on the jingle-jangle of coins
 
tara na! this pavement
is our carnegie; metaphors
sans adverbs -- no illusions, no fantasies.
you and me and this street --
dancing like gypsies on a prairie
 
later tonight, while the moon watches over
we'll upstage the stars
with **** adverbs & adjectives
LiviKawa Jun 2014
I hit the pavement so hard
That even my bones bruised
And now I look like an abused victim
With patterns of black and blue
Slowly turning green and yellow within time
But little do you know
That when you gripped my body for the first time
You also threw me to the ground
And my hands couldn't find the pavement before my body did
So I was suspended in the air for a moment
Trying to remember what it was like standing
Before I fell for you
Craig Verlin May 2014
The night sky is
staring back at you.
You're checked out.
It's all gone to hell.
Bought a one way ticket
halfway to Shambhala.
The Christmas lights in
the tapestry above flicker
and fade out of conscious
thought. The moon hangs,
slack-jawed and silent,
shaking your shoulders as
you kneel into the pavement.
"Won't you leave me be?"
But no, he's calling the sun
and he's begging for help
"*******, stop it!"
They're driving you crazy.
The pavement is beautiful
against your cheek.
But here comes everything
You're flying on clouds,
and there is lights from the sun
and the moon is there, crying,
"Stop it, stop it!"
All you want is the pavement.
And your mothers screaming
through the glass. And the lights;
white and bright and cruel.
You only hear the pavement,
you only see the night sky;
staring back at you.
Jimmy King Jul 2013
That wolf we saw
On the pavement
Used the stairs
To escape our gazes
Having adapted
Slowly and sadly
To a world
Designed and created
By the hand of man

The way it ran
Suggested an understanding
That what had forced it
Out of the forest,
Onto that black reminder
Of total human *******,
In search of food scraps
Wrapped in styrofoam
Was staring straight at it

Maybe that wolf resented
Its inability
To dominate the world
With suits and pavement
But maybe not.
I hope not.

— The End —