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Em MacKenzie May 2019
You know I have every right to feel this anger swelling,
betrayal and heartbreak were the cards you wished to deal.
You say the future has no sure way of telling,
but I’m telling you now and you’re ignoring what I feel.

Try to save yourself, from the truth,
this time you won’t get my help,
so continue on acting aloof.
You know that I’m right to say,
if the tables had been turned,
it would all play out in a different way,
it’d be my name slandered and burned.

Please don’t make me live without you,
show me some mercy and be forgiving,
‘cause to be honest I’ll admit a fact painfully true,
life without you; I wouldn’t call that living.

You know I have a secret smile
that you and only you get to see
and I know that it’s been a while,
I don’t smile much at all lately.
You’ll take me, then you’ll break me and then fault me for the cracks.
You’ll shake me, and forsake me,
and try to wipe out and cover your tracks.

There’s this hole that’s essential
and it no longer can be filled.
A space in time so monumental,
I might as well have been killed

Please don’t make me live without you,
show me some mercy and be forgiving,
the skies are dark and it’s I that is blue,
as life without you; I wouldn’t call that living.

You are the one my heart beats for,
but you also brutally beat my heart.
You are the one that I completely adore,
but when I flatline can you restart?

Please don’t make me live without you,
show me some mercy and be forgiving,
there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do,
‘cause life without you; I wouldn’t call that living.

You know I’d never wish to hurt you,
before seeing you weep I’d choose to die.
But I could never even think to dessert you,
‘cause there’s no good in goodbye.

Do you feel a weight of regret,
do you even feel slightly bad?
‘Cause since the first day we met,
you said you’d still love me even wearing plaid on plaid.
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
Where do we meet
    Oh! No He_*
Getting onto
the next courses
Oh La- La "Cheri"
K>ANSAS>>City

_ Prime spot pretty

 let's >- jump ))) To Love
Please raise the horses

What a skirt steak in her
Petticoat Junction
Going to Kansas City affection
Different tribe or breed
What needs to love me
tender Elvis meet Beavis Buthead
    More  T.L.C  
computer DOC Tick Tock
IRS taking a meat beef
chunk is everybody drunk
IOS what is really the meat
Business Politician Trump

Subscribe well done
Cooked or rare spooked
Taking a Spin City kick
She got canned and licked
The prime meat hot seat

The ******* who arrives
first class steak knifes
Ms. Pork hard chew 
Mr. Beans second rate
Dark pumpernickel
Saloon *******, he
is eating
The young tender
chicken leg

High five thigh? Hands
up Robin Fly
Save the meat "let it be"
  "Let it Be" Beatles
The beat Colonel deep fried
Grade A rare meat slicing

Eating in a board meeting
The pig meat market
of pricing

Doe a deer
he loves
International beer
A very sensitive time
Slaughterhouse no way out
His poker face meets
potato heads beef jerky
Surrender Weds
maple smiles picky
The rich Syrup
Disney Mickey Mouse
Kansas City Wonder
meat house

The beauty of animals
"Moms kettle she is talking
to Parrots" meat
the market for rings riot
Six enemies making
6 rounds
Six servants 666 carats
Robin smiles heartily
"Campbells Chicken" little


He's the Beef Man stew
If you only knew

He's spitting tobacco chew
She peels the potato for the
meathead bad to the
T-bone Dachshund I Bone

Garlic knots heart of the
Sausage wearing the
meat corsage Superbowl
My sweet basil good soul
Grilling your bullhead
Pirate Ribeye steak pupils
Mr. "Billygoat" Bachelorette
Hair flat crepe Suzette

Moms Korean style fuss
coleslaw
what a seesaw
Playing Porgy and Bess
 Scarlet the red rare meat
Rolling stone baking pin
Mississippi one or two
Under my meaty thumb

Comes in three-4-5-6- Lucky 7
-Crazy 8 furries
Nine meat ribs-10 babies
with bibs
Hungry Man meat when!!
Country plaid tablecloth
"Kansas Men" of the cloth
The Pig approval
Kansas City Mayor
new arrival

Family together eating
Don't eat our animals
Why is life so unfair
Feeding the poor
with cans
The bad cut of meat devil
this is not the "Grade A"
This is not a ring
circus trainer Bullseye

Robin coffee animal-friendly
Two peas in a pod I pods
  I tune like Gods
Were the luckiest people to have
animals  

The Floridian with dog murals
Palm trees green thumb
plants sunshine events
The symphony dog tails
of hunts
Whats to compare her twilight
eyes hold the moment stare
Talk to the animal's hearts care
The barbecue all the meat men and the women who love their fruit listen to the Owl lady how she hoots those Kansas city slicker boots and the Hehaw have a good time with family and friends treat the animals with tender loving care
Sarah Apr 2015
What's so
**** about a
cigarette hanging
out of your mouth
and
an old Russian
book,
a line of
tiny sculptures
Greek and Roman
myths portrayed
in stone?

What's so
thrilling about your
old raincoat
your umbrella stand
the plaid,
    the plaid
the sheets
of all the papers
that you wrote
about Athena
and Mykonos

I can't take any more
stone and plaid
Mike Hauser Nov 2014
my favorite plaid shirt

smells of her perfume

letting memories saunter in

like she did to a room

now that it's all over

what else is there to do

except to wear my favorite plaid shirt

that smells of her perfume
Mitchell Duran Dec 2013
In the Fall, when the temperature of the Bay would drop and the wind blew ice, frost would gather on the lawn near Henry Oldez's room. It was not a heavy frost that spread across the paralyzed lawn, but one that just covered each blade of grass with a fine, white, almost dusty coat. Most mornings, he would stumble out of the garage where he slept and tip toe past the ice speckled patch of brown and green spotted grass, so to make his way inside to relieve himself. If he was in no hurry, he would stand on the four stepped stoop and look back at the dried, dead leaves hanging from the wiry branches of three trees lined up against the neighbors fence. The picture reminded him of what the old gallows must have looked like. Henry Oldez had been living in this routine for twenty some years.

He had moved to California with his mother, father, and three brothers 35 years ago. Henry's father, born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, had traveled across the Meixcan border on a bent, full jalopy with his wife, Betria Gonzalez and their three kids. They were all mostly babies then and none of the brothers claimed to remember anything of the ride, except one, Leo, recalled there was "A lotta dust in the car." Santiago Oldez, San for short, had fought in World War II and died of cancer ten years later. San drank most nights and smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day. Henry had never heard his father talk about the fighting or the war. If he was lucky to hear anything, it would have been when San was dead drunk, talking to himself mostly, not paying very much attention to anyone except his memories and his music.

"San loved two things in this world," Henry would say, "*****, Betria, and Johnny Cash."

Betria Gonzalez grew up in Tijuana, Mexico as well. She was a stout, short woman, wide but with pretty eyes and a mess of orange golden hair. Betria could talk to anyone about anything. Her nick names were the conversationalist or the old crow because she never found a reason to stop talking. Santiago had met her through a friend of a friend. After a couple of dates, they were married. There is some talk of a dispute among the two families, that they didn't agree to the marriage and that they were too young, which they probably were. Santiago being Santiago, didn't listen to anybody, only to his heart. They were married in a small church outside of town overlooking the Pacific. Betria told the kids that the waves thundered and crashed against the rocks that day and the sea looked endless. There were no pictures taken and only three people were at the ceremony: Betria, San, and the priest.

Of course, the four boys went to elementary and high school, and, of course, none of them went to college. One brother moved down to LA and eventually started working for a law firm doing their books. Another got married at 18 years old and was in and out of the house until getting under the wing of the union, doing construction and electrical work for the city. The third brother followed suit. Henry Oldez, after high school, stayed put. Nothing in school interested him. Henry only liked what he could get into after school. The people of the streets were his muse, leaving him with the tramps, the dealers, the struggling restaurateurs, the laundry mat hookers, the crooked cops and the addicts, the gang bangers, the bible humpers, the window washers, the jesus freaks, the EMT's, the old ladies pushing salvation by every bus stop, the guy on the corner and the guy in the alley, and the DOA's. Henry didn't have much time for anyone else after all of them.

Henry looked at himself in the mirror. The light was off and the room was dim. Sunlight streaked in through the dusty blinds from outside, reflecting into the mirror and onto Henry's face. He was short, 5' 2'' or 5' 3'' at most with stubby, skinny legs, and a wide, barrel shaped chest. He examined his face, which was a ravine of wrinkles and deep crows feet. His eyes were sunken and small in his head. Somehow, his pants were always one or two inches below his waistline, so the crack of his *** would constantly be peeking out. Henry's deep, chocolate colored hair was  that of an ancient Native American, long and nearly touched the tip of his belt if he stood up straight. No one knew how long he had been growing it out for. No one knew him any other way. He would comb his hair incessantly: before and after a shower, walking around the house, watching television with Betria on the couch, talking to friends when they came by, and when he drove to work, when he had it.

Normal work, nine to five work, did not work for Henry. "I need to be my own boss," he'd say. With that fact stubbornly put in place, Henry turned to being a handy man, a roofer, and a pioneer of construction. No one knew where he would get the jobs that he would get, he would just have them one day. And whenever he 'd finish a job, he'd complain about how much they'd shorted him, soon to move on to the next one. Henry never had to listen to anyone and, most of the time, he got free lunches out of it. It was a very strange routine, but it worked for him and Betria had no complaints as long as he was bringing some money in and keeping busy. After Santiago died, she became the head of the house, but really let her boys do whatever they wanted.

Henry took a quick shower and blow dried his hair, something he never did unless he was in a hurry. He had a job in the east bay at a sorority house near the Berkley campus. At the table, still in his pajamas, he ate three leftover chicken thighs, toast, and two over easy eggs. Betria was still in bed, awake and reading. Henry heard her two dogs barking and scratching on her bedroom door. He got up as he combed his damp hair, tugging and straining to get each individual knot out. When he opened the door, the smaller, thinner dog, Boy Boy, shot under his legs and to the front door where his toy was. The fat, beige, pig-like one waddled out beside Henry and went straight for its food bowl.

"Good morning," said Henry to Betria.

Betria looked at Henry over her glasses, "You eat already?"

"Yep," he announced, "Got to go to work." He tugged on a knot.

"That's good. Dondé?" Betria looked back down at her spanish TV guide booklet.

"Berkley somewhere," Henry said, bringing the comb smoothly down through his hair.

"That's good, that's good."

"OK!" Henry sighed loudly, shutting the door behind him. He walked back to the dinner table and finished his meal. Then, Betria shouted something from her room that Henry couldn't hear.

"What?" yelled Henry, so she could hear him over the television. She shouted again, but Henry still couldn't hear her. Henry got up and went back to her room, ***** dish in hand. He opened her door and looked at her without saying anything.

"Take the dogs out to ***," Betria told him, "Out the back, not the front."

"Yeah," Henry said and shut the door.

"Come on you dogs," Henry mumbled, dropping his dish in the sink. Betria always did everyones dishes. She called it "her exercise."

Henry let the two dogs out on the lawn. The sun was curling up into the sky and its heat had melted all of the frost on the lawn. Now, the grass was bright green and Henry barely noticed the dark brown dead spots. He watched as the fat beige one squatted to ***. It was too fat to lifts its own leg up. The thing was built like a tank or a sea turtle. Henry laughed to himself as it looked up at him, both of its eyes going in opposite directions, its tongue jutted out one corner of his mouth. Boy boy was on the far end of the lawn, searching for something in the bushes. After a minute, he pulled out another one of his toys and brought it to Henry. Henry picked up the neon green chew toy shaped like a bone and threw it back to where Boy boy had dug it out from. Boy boy shot after it and the fat one just watched, waddling a few feet away from it had peed and laid down. Henry threw the toy a couple more times for Boy boy, but soon he realized it was time to go.

"Alright!" said Henry, "Get inside. Gotta' go to work." He picked up the fat one and threw it inside the laundry room hallway that led to the kitchen and the rest of the house. Boy boy bounded up the stairs into the kitchen. He didn't need anyone lifting him up anywhere. Henry shut the door behind them and went to back to his room to get into his work clothes.

Henry's girlfriend was still asleep and he made sure to be quiet while he got dressed. Tia, Henry's girlfriend, didn't work, but occasionally would put up garage sales of various junk she found around town. She was strangely obsessed with beanie babies, those tiny plush toys usually made up in different costumes. Henry's favorite was the hunter. It was dressed up in camouflage and wore an eye patch. You could take off its brown, polyester hat too, if you wanted. Henry made no complaint about Tia not having a job because she usually brought some money home somehow, along with groceries and cleaning the house and their room. Betria, again, made no complain and only wanted to know if she was going to eat there or not for the day.

A boat sized bright blue GMC sat in the street. This was Henry's car. The stick shift was so mangled and bent that only Henry and his older brother could drive it. He had traded a new car stereo for it, or something like that. He believed it got ten miles to the gallon, but it really only got six or seven. The stereo was the cleanest piece of equipment inside the thing. It played CD's, had a shoddy cassette player, and a decent radio that picked up all the local stations. Henry reached under the seat and attached the radio to the front panel. He never left the radio just sitting there in plain sight. Someone walking by could just as soon as put their elbow into the window, pluck the thing out, and make a clean 200 bucks or so. Henry wasn't that stupid. He'd been living there his whole life and sure enough, done the same thing to other cars when he was low on money. He knew the tricks of every trade when it came to how to make money on the street.

On the road, Henry passed La Rosa, the Mexican food mart around the corner from the house. Two short, tanned men stood in front of a stand of CD's, talking. He usually bought pirated music or movies there. One of the guys names was Bertie, but he didn't know the other guy. He figured either a customer or a friend. There were a lot of friends in this neighborhood. Everyone knew each other somehow. From the bars, from the grocery, from the laundromat, from the taco stands or from just walking around the streets at night when you were too bored to stay inside and watch TV. It wasn't usually safe for non-locals to walk the streets at night, but if you were from around there and could prove it to someone that was going to jump you, one could usually get away from losing a wallet or an eyeball if you had the proof. Henry, to people on the street, also went as Monk. Whenever he would drive through the neighborhood, the window open with his arm hanging out the side, he would usually hear a distant yell of "Hey Monk!" or "What's up Monk!". Henry would always wave back, unsure who's voice it was or in what direction to wave, but knowing it was a friend from somewhere.

There was heavy traffic on the way to Berkley and as he waited in line, cursing his luck, he looked over at the wet swamp, sitting there beside highway like a dead frog. A few scattered egrets waded through the brown water, their long legs keeping their clean white bodies safe from the muddy water. Beyond the swamp laid the pacific and the Golden Gate bridge. San Francisco sat there too: still, majestic, and silver. Next to the city, was the Bay Bridge stretched out over the water like long gray yard stick. Henry compared the Golden Gate's beauty with the Bay Bridge. Both were beautiful in there own way, but the Bay Bridge's color was that of a gravestone, while the Golden Gate's color was a heavy red, that made it seem alive. Why they had never decided to pain the Bay Bridge, Henry had no idea. He thought it would look very nice with a nice coat of burgundy to match the Golden gate, but knew they would never spend the money. They never do.

After reeling through the downtown streets of Berkley, dodging college kids crossing the street on their cell phones and bicyclists, he finally reached the large, A-frame house. The house was lifted, four or five feet off the ground and you had to walk up five or seven stairs to get to the front door. Surrounded by tall, dark green bushes, Henry knew these kids had money coming from somewhere. In the windows hung spinning colored glass and in front of the house was an old-timey dinner bell in the shape of triangle. Potted plants lined the red brick walkway that led to the stairs. Young tomatoes and small peas hung from the tender arms of the stems leaf stalks. The lawn was manicured and clean. "Must be studying agriculture or something," Henry thought, "Or they got a really good gardener."

He parked right in front of the house and looked the building up and down, estimating how long it would take to get the old shingles off and the new one's on. Someone was up on the deck of the house, rocking back and forth in an old wooden chair. He listened to the creaking wood of the chair and the deck, judging it would take him two days for the job. Henry knew there was no scheduled rain, but with the Bay weather, one could never be sure. He had worked in rain before - even hail - and it never really bothered him. The thing was, he never strapped himself in and when it would rain and he was working roofs, he was afraid to slip and fall. He turned his truck off, got out, and locked both of the doors. He stepped heavily up the walkway and up the stairs. The someone who was rocking back and forth was a skinny beauty with loose jean shorts on and a thick looking, black and red plaid shirt. She had long, chunky dread locks and was smoking a joint, blowing the smoke out over the tips of the bushes and onto the street. Henry was no stranger to the smell. He smoked himself. This was California.

"Who're you?" the dreaded girl asked.

"I'm the roofer," Henry told her.

The girl looked puzzled and disinterested. Henry leaned back on his heels and wondered if the whole thing was lemon. She looked beyond him, down on the street, awkwardly annoying Henry's gaze. The tools in Henry's hands began to grow heavy, so he put them down on the deck with a thud. The noise seemed to startle the girl out of whatever haze her brain was in and she looked back at Henry. Her eyes were dark brown and her skin was smooth and clear like lake water. She couldn't have been more then 20 or 21 years old. Henry realized that he was staring and looked away at the various potted plants near the rocking chair. He liked them all.

"Do you know who called you?" She took a drag from her joint.

"Brett, " Henry told her, "But they didn't leave a last name."

For a moment, the girl looked like she had been struck across the chin with a brick, but then her face relaxed and she smiled.

"Oh ****," she laughed, "That's me. I called you. I'm Brett."

Henry smiled uneasily and picked up his tools, "Ok."

"Nice to meet you," she said, putting out her hand.

Henry awkwardly put out his left hand, "Nice to meet you too."

She took another drag and exhaled, the smoke rolling over her lips, "Want to see the roof?"

The two of them stood underneath a five foot by five foot hole. Henry was a little uneasy by the fact they had cleaned up none of the shattered wood and the birds pecking at the bird seed sitting in a bowl on the coffee table facing the TV. The arms of the couch were covered in bird **** and someone had draped a large, zebra printed blanket across the middle of it. Henry figured the blanket wasn't for decoration, but to hide the rest of the bird droppings. Next to the couch sat a large, antique lamp with its lamp shade missing. Underneath the dim light, was a nice portrait of the entire house. Henry looked away from the hole, leaving Brett with her head cocked back, the joint still pinched between her lips, to get a closer look. There looked to be four in total: Brett, a very large man, a woman with longer, thick dread locks than Brett, and a extremely short man with a very large, brown beard. Henry went back
When I was young and bold and strong,
Oh, right was right, and wrong was wrong!
My plume on high, my flag unfurled,
I rode away to right the world.
"Come out, you dogs, and fight!" said I,
And wept there was but once to die.

But I am old; and good and bad
Are woven in a crazy plaid.
I sit and say, "The world is so;
And he is wise who lets it go.
A battle lost, a battle won--
The difference is small, my son."

Inertia rides and riddles me;
The which is called Philosophy.
mask Feb 2012
If I could,
I would paint my room
The plaid of your old red flannel.

Rusty, ripped,
Rich with every piece of poor filth
Life has tossed your way.

I know you will go,
And I may forget,
But my red plaid walls
Will stay.
s y kalindara Mar 2014
Many people have asked
why I seem so empty
and I found myself arguing
about how that wasn't true.
Yet here I am,
reminiscing painted blue skies,
nostalgic, for back then
for us,
for you.

When mornings began with casual long walks
plaid skirts,
black coffee,
the daylight's warmth.
Arm in arm, against all odds
we had laughed
we had sung
we were wild, we were young.

I'll remain yearning for those Bambi brown eyes,
long chestnut hair,
darling little dents of delight.

Distant yet close
for I think of you always.

Wishing for time to fly
to when I can hold you in my arms
again.

Copyright © 2014 by S. Y. Kalindara.
All rights reserved.
To my best friend. I wish you were here.
Stephan May 2016


Vagabond brothers in plaid patchwork socks
Crossing the street between stripes painted yellow
Stretching the avenue half past the hour
Dodging the drunk, he’s a staggering fellow
Reaching for handles of brass alabaster
Gathering things at a grocery store
Paying in cash with a currency foreign
Offering nickels, they don’t have much more
Pork chops on Sunday and sweet apple cider
Pushing their cart over ten city blocks
Still they are known for their colorful fashions
Vagabond brothers in plaid patchwork socks
I was given the title and challenged to write a poem to it
Kate Apr 2014
When i was 13 I thought that gay and straight were things that other people were
People that weren't raised christian
People that didn't have dads
People that were abused
People that i should pray for but not get close to

when i was 14 my best friend came out as gay
i didn't see it coming but i probably should have
she wore ties every day
and plaid shirts with the sleeves rolled up
and cut her hair short as soon as she could
but i didn’t see it because gay was other people

when i was 14 i watched as the news spread like wildfire
“did you hear? that girl is gay.”
I watched as people slowly backed away from her
people that knew her all her life
that is, the people that didn’t cut her off instantly

I watched as the youth group we had both attended asked her to leave
I watched as her drama group kicked her out because they were afraid of the yearly camp we went to
that somehow knowing that she was gay made her more likely to attack the other girls in their beds than the year before

I watched.
I didn’t do anything.

what changed my mind wasn’t a change of perspective on queer people
it still took me a year to decide being gay wasn’t wrong
but i decided that my best friend was someone i would stick with
because i loved her

I quietly stayed.
didn’t make a fuss, didn’t call people out when they called her names behind her back.
I should have.
but i didn’t.
I didn’t join in, but i didn’t defend her
i didn’t say to these people
*******
that girl is beautiful and amazing
and if you can’t see through your hatred then i don’t want to be your friend either
but i didn’t .
I didn’t go through what she did.
I didn’t get kicked out of anything, i didn’t lose friends

When i was 15, i got fed up
I left that drama group.
I stopped going to that church.
I stepped away from those friends and even though i never said why
the look on my face when i ran into them and they asked, “how’s she doing?”
answered that question for them.

I spent 24 hours examining my bible
trying to find the verses that say being gay is wrong
there were barely any
and they were right next to verses that said eating pork was wrong
or planting crops next to each other
or wearing two different fabrics

there was my answer.

this isn't a story of my journey.
This isn't me building myself up
“hey, I wasn't as bad as those other people
I’m good now”

this is a story of how one person can change your life forever

if i didn't have a gay best friend
what a way to start a story, huh?
if i didn't have a gay best friend then I would still be there
quietly praying for the sins of others, but not trying to understand
so don’t look at all Christians and say
they’re awful
they’re bigoted
they’re judgmental
because we are
but often it’s because we don’t know any better
teaching us kindly works
leading by example.
So, this is the first poem I've ever actually finished. I had a emotional night, and wrote three things at about 2AM, so this is the first one.
Ayeglasses May 2013
I've noticed something.
That it's always plaid.
Something about it.
Ends up being sad.

The perfect lines.
And colors.
Are mines.
For me and for others.

Even from across the room.
I can see it.
I can see it.
I wonder if anyone remembers.
That the embers to that fire.
Were red.
Red **Plaid.
L B Sep 2016
Route 84 would not lend me
the light of a star last night
Radio blazing at 75 mph
nonsense noise to chew gum by
Crackling political commentary
Static of distance and thick clouds
Invisible mountains blocking
Memories seeping through the cracks
coating the music in a film
I rub my eyes
watch myself punch alert buttons
But it’s the angels’ jukebox tonight

Roll down the window
Watch the heat escape

Summer again

I am building a castle of ancient stones
pulverized by relentless tides
Dragged across maps by mastodons
and mammoth glaciers
The scouring hiss
the ocean sighs
Time has lulled these smoothly
rolling them in the softest hands of sand
and gels of life’s comings and goings
tenderly tumbling
in the millionth moonrise—
Time deposits them here
wet and glistening

For the girl with the plaid two-piece to gather
Shoulders sun-burnt barely say
one week only,
one week of the fifty two
“It’s the time of the season…”
and daddies on the beach are watching….

She has chosen yet another stone
And the castle continues—
in oblivion to all but her legend…

     The queen will be safe here
     from the rabble
     The disgraced Tristan will surely seek her
     Among these lofty cliffs
     Between the raging circuit of the tide
     Here winds forbid the vengeful mob
     Here lovers learn
     the debt of love’s bad timing
     “Drink ye all of it!”
     --the potion that assigns our sorrow….
     She will not sleep—
     while I chew this gum--  GUM?

Roll down the window!

Angels escape with the heat
Waking me with the brush of their wings

As that eighteen-wheeler hugs my flank
And leans on the horn
Lights flashing
Rude rumbling under right tires
Tantrum of snow
In the draft of mass and velocity

…and the angels?
They’ve chosen another good one!
They must’ve liked the 80’s
Their wings slapping the windshield madly  
Their hands steady the wheel
As a fourteen-year old, I picked up a book to read at the beach about the legend of the lovers, Tristan and Iseult.  I was so captivated by their story that it ruled my imagination that summer.  

Anyway, I still think of it when I think of the ocean-- as I did on this cold dark occasion when I should have pulled off somewhere for a coffee, but I was trying to beat the snow storm home.
Route 84, also known as Dead Bambi Highway, has a desolate, treacherous section going over the mountains between NY and Pennsylvania.  Didn't have much option for music at the time, so I leaned heavily on the radio pushing the search button to find anything bearable-- not too much static.
Song reference in this: "Time of the Season" by the Zombies-- all time favorite beach song that happened to be on the radio that night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBxK3CcOQD8
Colt Jul 2013
for Those who eat ramen by choice, or not.*

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by disillusionment,
lacking egotistical sold, dragging themselves through the hip streets at dawn
looking for a socially self-aggrandizing fix.
Poets, as they sit in desks and discuss discourse
about discourse about discourse about discourse,
who fear that thinking itself was buried with Vonnegut,
who are lost in forests of brick walls,
inviting, because they block the wind of dying fall,
who swim in cesspools filled with academic sewage, yearning for freedom,
for truth, as they always have,
mining their minds for images, and searching for words to describe
-a reality which is virtual at its core and each act, another chore./
-a scene of life which reflects all that is poignant and sacred.
Poets seek musicians while musicians seek poets.
and the dog chases its tail, endlessly
and the dog chases its tail, endlessly
and the dog chases its tail, endlessly

These poets who search aimlessly for the feeling of feeling,
who are overwhelmed with meaning to the point where meaning
has no meaning in itself.
Who claim this poem as their own and continuously write themselves into it.
It is those who suffer in truth that live the poetic.
Those who sit in front of space heaters eating peanut butter sandwiches in winter,
who sweat unknowingly in summer, comforted in each’s odor.
Those who open Macbooks while squatting in empty flats.
Signing up, logging in and zoning out, forever disengaged.
Those who type prophecy on keypads and let keyboards gather dust-
stratification, signs of long nights spent in century-old homes still not renovated,
ceilings sinking at the sides while those above pogo to punk rock long dead,
or grind genitals to old soul, simulating all that is sensual.
Those who play archaeologist to their own layers of makeup, grimed on the sink.
Those who share their food with the roaches and the mooches who all have keys,
who use the books as shelves to hold ceramic mugs, stained with a single drip-drop,
who, with arms crossed, watch bands in basements play noise.
Those who replaced their nu-metal records with folk but kept the unkempt beards.
Those who drink stale beer on stranger’s rooftops.
Those who live with bags under eyes, themselves asleep, lacking a body,
sleeping naked together to stay warm,
sleeping naked together to stay sane,
sleeping naked together to stay touched.

Those who leave coffee in unplugged automatic pots, decaying rapidly.
Those who eat pizza for breakfast, cold or microwaved, as an act of ultimate indulgence.
Those who prance about in un-matching socks
from hardwood floors to vinyl floors to tile floors, all under the same popcorn ceiling,
dancing to the sound of rhythmic silence.
Those who fight with lovers about acts, but never once mention the act of love itself.
Those who don flannel plaid in springtime color, constructing Williamsburg,
who consider gentrification a new form of landed gentry,
who live in poverty as if it were a novelty,
capitalist martyrs sacrificing employment to hide being non-hirable,
who shop in online surplus department stores for unique vintage.
Those who, who, who hoot like the owls framed on their walls, eyes wide but beaks small.
Those who are oppressed by nonexistent kings ruling in imaginary suits.
Those who crave something new, not tired-as the form of this very poem-
something which is not-yet auto-tuned.
Those who, faux-hawked and shredded, rock and bop to Bowie doing Lou
on Sunday Morning from Station to Station shooting ******,
who walk swiftly with denim skin on their legs and refuse socks.
Those who, in their rightest mind, are the wrongest-minded.
Those who can reject privilege only because they are privileged,
who, in their uniform whiteness, denounce racism,
who, in their uniform straightness, claim immune to homophobia
who, with their ***** ***** in a row, claim to be feminists.

And those who search for revolution in a time when rebellion is conformity.
Listening to the  pounding sound of blog-protesters typing n o w.
who, in claiming to accept, don’t accept the unaccepting,
who got veggies tattooed on their sides while snapping bacon in their teeth,
who ironically infiltrated asylums and performed madness until the shocks came
and they were maddened, for good, eaten alive by volts resounding
ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.
Who sleep naked together to be together but end up being alone,
exchanges from lips that move in pretentious drone,
and the dog chases its tail, endlessly.
When the abnormal is normal and the whole structure is inverted and
heaven is here and flames under the soil are no longer hell burning for soles of the
Converse, Adidas, and Nike sneakers on the bicycle pedals of poets who ride at night,
listening to the sound of owls that question:
who?
whoo?
whooo?
Trisha Apr 2014
"THIS PICTURE WILL NOT CHANGE THE WORLD, BUT I STILL NEED FEMINISM AND I’M GOING TO REALLY, REALLY TELL YOU WHY":

-Because I got called a ***** for wearing a short plaid skirt when I was 10

-and because when Nujood Ali from Yemen was 10 she got divorced

-Because black girls’ names became my classmates’ favorite “joke” when I was 11

-and because when an 11-year-old girl in Texas was ***** by 18 men the New York Times wrote of how the girl “dressed older than her age”

-Because I started counting calories when I was 14

-and because when Malala Yousafzai was 14 she was shot in the head for trying to go to school

-Because I heard a boy greet a girl with “hey ****” today at age 16
-and because when a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio was filmed being ***** by two boys at a party while unconscious the CNN reporters talked about how tragic it was because the rapists had such bright futures as athletes

-Because I will have to watch my drink at all bars and parties when I am 22

-and because when CeCe McDonald was 22 she was sentenced to 41 months in prison for defending herself against a man who screamed transphobic, racist insults at her and then slashed her face with a bottle

-Because no matter what age I am the biggest threat to men will still be heart disease, and the biggest threat to women will still be men.

-Because it is not just about me, because it is not just about anger, because it is not just a JOKE, because it is not just about “hating men,” because it is not just about girls with vaginas, because it is not just about ending “****”, because it is not just about white straight girls in Rookie magazine, because it is not just about writing on backs, because it is not just about the fact that gay men are “****” but lesbians are “hot,” because it is not just about pictures of thin white girls being the only google image results for the search phrase “beautiful women”, because it is not just about writing signs, because it is not just about what she was wearing or how many times she said yes before she changed her answer to no, because misogyny is not just about one thing and feminism is not just about one thing and it is not just “a trend” and it will not “happen” in just one way.

-And because yes. It is about equality for EVERYONE, but first and foremost it needs to be about equality for girls, because they are not treated equally to men, in every single sense, and you are not going to take feminism away from me and call me bossy/hostile/aggressive and make this about yourself or make it into a joke, because truth be told, I’m not joking and I’m tired of explaining. If you want to call yourself a feminist, you work hard to spread feminism, you do not turn this into a contest of whose struggle is greater and constantly demand to know what you can get out of feminism personally. Feminism is not just about you, or me, it is about everyone. If you’re male and you’re tired of men being stereotyped as hyper-masculine, soulless, sexist, inherent leader-tyrant creatures, then go out and prove the patriarchy wrong and fight for girls, like someone with a soul who believes in equality would. Then, yes, feminism will be about everyone.


- http://crystallized-teardrops.tumblr.com/post/81364478634/wearethefourthwave-this-picture-will-not -
Again it is not a poem. I found this on Tumblr and I felt like sharing because it is wonderfully written.
Scar Sep 2015
Red plaid shirt
You wore it on the night of our second sober kiss
The end of last November was good to me
We planned out our winter breaks -
We said we lay on the kitchen floor and listen
To a song about sisters
(We know about sisters)
We stood with nervous hands gripping onto the counter
Your parents were home
Holiday breaks hold nostalgia in paper cups
Holiday breaks hold sad Summer magic under frozen high school football fields

Red plaid shirt
You wore it on the night that you forgot her mother was gone
August has always broken my heart
Wether I'm begging for forgiveness from the pine trees in my backyard, or smoking things to gather your attention -
I have never been at peace with the end of an era

We walked home in silence, party hat strings cut from our throats, and tears streaming from the birthday moon

You and your new friends gawked behind us -
forgetting every lap we ever took around your neighborhood
forgetting every song that ever made you cry
forgetting that the worst part about death is that we are expected to go on living
The Affair

I fell in love with childhood,
he wore a red cape
made of polyester plaid,
tiny stitches of lines
circulated around his palm.
He never wore a mask,
his memories wore enough of one,
a fog remnant of a dream,
his home he’d never see again
all along the river, led up to a lake.
It didn’t matter anyway,
a wedge upon two brick walls
was a plaque – or a warning –
a memorial, perhaps, but
all succumbed to his pain,
every inch crumbled to dust.  
That’s when I took his childhood away.
I fell in love with memories.
Sa Sa Ra Nov 2012
I just knew I had to get there
try to begin again again yay
it was not conveniently along
the way to any ordinary business
else i had along to get on this day
but when i finally arrived i forgot
if it were the coffee or the chocolate
shop...20 oz got the mud and like me
just a single dark chocolate coconut turtle love
no trip to sip upon my way to self serve raw milk cows
and so return to head of the class or is it the line free pass
and refill...so coffee shop and coffee house does play; 'your troubles
are my troubles every dear sweet day'; sip sip 'how are you today', 'I don't believe' she said;
'but i have nothing else better to do myself' I'd say...we're acute of mars and where we are across
enchantments and beyond the covering of the bridge and bridges...wifi sure if you like so very need; 'email leave it here' she's owner 'there's the pad' 'but what?' oh silly me 'do I get' fearing junk and praying for the hand signed invite to the 'Caffeine Ball' in the tiny little town with two chocolate shops just in case you are northern or southward bound, you're 'Cafe Casual' or 'Belgium Tweaked', she the owner tickled me 'you get my email'!!!

...here and there it is the season of the witch; and here today it's black tight city in the pretty country sweet nitty gritty; soccer so too the day and I don't know the preppy privates or the awesome lovey local blessed pirates; moms and girls all a twirl and I'm just trying to empty this lovely cup; this sweater too is dark and fairly long but upon the tights its out of sight but upon any other else it's something else; here is mom silver lovely flows as she too can bounce about as if she's the star ready to run and play kick in the winning goal, saves the day again again again, and the line is steep and the shop full of eye candy take home treats; and too tights sporting is she though jumper; guess they don't got to be so long in seasonal dark bold yet subtly nifty blackish white grey shifty plaids with tinging blue line-ish sky-ish snuck sneakin' in and out and oh the kicker so very dainty being in defiance like of gravity as in light and loosely sweet, and the lucky man for the ring upon the left of hand, but it's all lovely to see the happy be and the treats she seeks to take home to for about that lucky other and at times we are other me's but there this time he is he; and I've got 6 oz to go before my free pass to head of the class upon the tip of the spear nothing to fear before the all waiting for the dearest of sweet service the all so love here; nah no Starbucks come close to dare about anywhere the near blessed be here, we all so are; our bubble ya, or so I am most likely blaspheming here for true I can repeat I am overly needy speaking for myself and so overly shameless about my overly humanness at the risk of judgement and inhumanity; so it is better to know thyself first and foremost;

6 oz and I'm still working hard sip or gulp b/s or bust but then silver soccer plaid treat tweaker; there we are; "I love the plaid" said I, "Oh why well thank you so much" "That's lovely" I am not used to compliments" she seemed so...well I'd love to know, "I saw the ring" I said "and that should be no penalty"

...but I am never prepared for the overly shocking and we lost ourselves beyond our paths crossing and out beyond the door; I imagine we are, she is routin' team and life the more for all; 
once upon a time
 I was overly dedicated to the loosing cause with all endearment and flattery in every way first thing in the morning and like every night tag team between raising angels and in defiance of everything I have ever heard they say about what you just can't get with a man; but then they forget to tell you if it just so happens; there may be better men you can steal from and who cares what if from other women other husbands and their retirement plans; while we're at it I don't worry 'bout that but blessed be I ain't no Mr Right even though overly right for much right right now, though nearest my age I wouldn't then stand a chance to be fooled by sweet angels but who rarely just don't get a **** thing not 'bout me my deep and long term needs and cares, not that any couldn't but I ain't spelling out those tales here now so well;
but hit me it did that goddess blessed soccer mom-ma
not used to compliments ripping me up still
and forever till we get the heck out of
our b/s self created living hell
which repeat repeat
our simple choosing
in the more willing
and overly
responsive
here we are
in the better
place for heaven
ain't that true as well...

I wish I could ask is anything real
but it's all true as well,
if we ever got real out
of here this way

look out we'd might
just miss all the
HELL
'O'!!!
Parker Vance May 2014
Someone at the end of this hallway
Is wearing plaid shorts
And they look like the ones you always wear
For a minute I think
Oh god, it's him.
And I'm not sure if I'm happy or terrified
Nervous or excited
But it was you in that moment and that's all that mattered.
Brandon Webb Nov 2012
1
she taps he hand, twice.
across the room,
he stares, thinking
into empty air.
others, scattered
tap pencils or fingers
on desktops, booktops
and phone keyboards

the balding man
with black hair:
combed backward
and to differing angles
so that his head is split
vertically-
stands, above the room
his back turned

his words,
meant for the crowd
reverberate only
along classes fringe
but still take precedence
over nothing
even to them-
academics, outcasts


2
back of the room
reveals everything
to the observer
trying to see

blue-eyed brunette
glares vengefully
at no one,
just to glare

he looks up once
to watch
as another
pulls up
drooping jeans.
she laughs
at conversation
unmeant for,
and inaudible
to her


3
today, she smiles
and lets her lip fall
begging, like a puppy
But when they
lose eye contact,
she glares, again

he leaves footprints
on parallel desk
from lounging
then fires himself
to his feet
using stored energy,
and sugar from gum

words bounce along
the walls in the back,
and isolated eyes peer
towards the screen
but hide the fact
that they care


4
two week vacation
has left their minds
full of everything
except math,
so they listen
to him, while he speaks

but travel backward
in time, with
those closest them
while he creeps,
silent, around the room

she concentrates hard,
on her work
glaring at the page.
he sits a desk forward
feet on floor
neighboring desk full
today, but only physically

blue hat rests
on sketchbook,
its border
barely covering
closed eyes

blond head
implants itself
jokingly, into
smooth shining
white wall
with enough force
to collapse
accidental target

a hand raises
attracting gazes,
awestruck,
at her interest
in forgotten
material
of future tests


5
only a few eyes wander
from blue lined notebooks
though the left flank
still chatters, embodying
either a secretive chipmunk
or the breeze which starts the storm

storm clouds appear slowly
in sketchbook, blue hat bobbing
rhythmically in response to active pen

perched above the flock
reminiscent, split headed
papa bird scans the masks
of his shockingly silent chicks

random lecture breaks the silence.
Her eyes aren’t the only ones
Fixed into a steel laden glare
But the chipmunk wind ceases


6
his questioning glance lands
on uninhabited space,
exhibiting a yawn
which traverses through,
and twists, the faces of
those otherwise engaged

lecture ends with a question,
the scent of nuts blows through
mentally empty classroom
turning desks to predetermined
positions and swiftly inhabiting
three-quarters of the physical class

his steel glare has replaced hers
the latter’s eyes now soft as an infants

within five minutes, his voice
undergoes  a brutal, complete cycle
pleading, congratulating, yelling
and as always, lecturing


7
pre-test:

preparations for misery-
mundane chipmunk chattering,
jokes and laughs from random
oddities appearing everywhere

blue hat rests in intervals.
Blue coat rearranges
essay for another class

The girl in the sunny plaid
Rolls an orange along her hand

He points at nothing and asks
Nobody something without answer

The left flank, as always
Is turned away, conversing

A sigh rings outward loudly
Everyone glares, nervously,
Everywhere, reward of concentration


After my test:

First paper in, he scans lightly
Sets it down with a scowl
and yawns, twice, breaking the
silent shroud of heavy fog
which is hanging overhead

wandering free eyes witness
down-turned heads concentrating
as much on tests  as on moving
their hands wildly, excitedly
trying to communicate non-vocally

others have yet to detach themselves
from their seats and stride upward,
hopefully more triumphantly
than their sole predecessor

one shuffles now, slowly toward him
his hand shaking as he releases
that  paper, he turns away as it flutters
onto the desk- he replants himself in his

twelve others walk forward
smiling, shrinking, sometimes speaking
and always he glares, triumphant
knowing his success at our failure


later:

his near-sleeping form            
finds distraction, in waking
dreams, jumping back suddenly
breaking from his plank-like state
without speaking. excitement
for approaching weekend is
communicated in the left flank

two girls break the silence
running in from outside            
he glares at them, but laughs

everyone breaks into groups
after the conversation about
mysteriously nutty discarded sock

he runs to the forefront
forehead folded, finger on mouth
no-one notices, but still he glares

8
he smiles and glares at the floor
his legs swinging back and forth            
tan slacks rustling softly

exaggerated scores bubble in ears            
as they search for their destroyer

in front of forgotten faces falls
the page of a forgotten tome

several yawn, hoping, understandably
that their stretched lips
will pull themselves far enough
to barricade ears from his droning

he kills himself, twice, bumbling
into half-thought chastisements
of the  flittingly flirtatious students
intermingling hoping behind him
causing waves of whispers, laughter
and slightly strengthened chatter

he re-aligns his thoughts quickly
and rambles on again, always

9
he speaks to her softly
from across a sea of desks
she looks up, panicking calmly
distracted from distraction

in silence, blank eyes turn
surprised at the non-withering
state of her barely living corpse

he asks a question, looking up
a single answer is given
unemotional and short, buy ending
heavy hanging awkward silence

how talented the teacher
who gives his lecture while
still addressing unrelated
student self lectures

the still silence given
in his questioning lull
hangs so loudly the whispers
traversing the classroom appear
silent as finger wiggle
and pencils trace zeros

his extrication, caused by
distractingly thunderous voice
is met with a comment
causing a wave of laughter
starting at his mouth
and extending to inhabit everything

10
half the time gives
twice the attention
as they concentrate
on keeping him on
the undying topic
of the work we
have already done

they admit defeat
as dusty tome opens
spreading a nutty cloud
causing heads to turn
and words to leap.

from opens lips,
mischievous gremlins
sprout, dancing on
tables and chuckling
away from the sigh
of his down-turned, split
shining, globular mind

he scratches pink ear
with bone pale finger
reading unrelated words

in the center of the room
both mentally and physically
he sits, momentarily quiet
as dark eyes glare past
rumpled pink nose,
concentrating

blue hat rests on open palms
above dust covered open page
he slips into sleeping state
but picks himself up
and stares though thin borderline
toward shiny rambling forehead

a shutter cord flies forward
the hand at the end pulling hard
but with no affect to the shutters
neither lowering the physical
or raising the mental

the color of non-color pencils
interrupts the class momentarily
as she strides forward to compare
and then criticizes his care

he just sits, smiles and stares

11
eleven desks lie empty
of one form more than usual
amplifying the arm movements
of the ever ticking seconds

his obscured mouth flings seeds
which sprout into words
before even meeting the worn
blood-colored carpet below

in the main room, sixteen
sit silent, sketching, sleeping
or siphoning the last minute

12
those left awake, and alive
have come to understand
the numbers on the screen
this being their specialty
in a nutty shell, of course
splitting, as we are, large
crowds of numbers, and us
being teenagers, isn’t that
how we think, in numbers
and ratings of everything
and, sitting in the central
crowd are the talented
crowd-splitters
flattery-spitters

13
the silence of half absence
is pierced, as always by vocal
anomaly, centered around
rows of shining wood
bookrests, but only one
set of hollow, dark-rimmed
vacant eyeballs watches
well-welcomed interruption

he lets us work, standing.
Someone somewhere opens
A large container of nuts
Entire class starts stuffing
Handfuls into puffy cheeks
Absorbing sensations into
Eternally ravenous minds

The apocalyptic mix of noises
Is split again by central
Nutcracker, and those in corners
Glare, smiling, rubbing shadowed
Acne scarred faces
with raw-bitten nails

14
balding papa bird speaks loudly
transforming his voice, becoming
vocally legendary cartoon duck

the wave of resulting laughter
ends in un-given nut-break
spreading, without speech
the understanding that his
comedic digression will not
meet a quick extinction

we greet the weekend
by rising early
our excuse: competition
to devour the worm

15
three heads are downturned
peering into textbooks
as the tsunami breaks

the days end starts
and beady eyes peer
in the direction of his
moving head, colored
gothic gargoyle in the
dim cloudlight streaming
through dust coated
slit windows

the room transforms
becoming triumphantly,
grumpily, repeatedly
conversational

artificial silence
spreads like a wave
from right back corner
to left front corner
leaving behind
the half of the room
hidden behind the wall
of troublemakers
who will eventually
cause the wall to topple
with the sheer force
of assorted nuts

16
blue hat is scrunched
under the of a fist
pounding on his head,
result of the decibels
consumed, and produced
by the embodiment
of the thoughts around him
which fall from stuffed
cheeks. Bounce off tables
and spread a sickening aroma
as their shells split
exposing, revealing
nothing

17
red face glances upward
as harsh words split
the widening sea of snickers
his words stop, first time today
as whispers spread wildly
of his speed in delivering answers
seconds later, room is silent
as statement ends and lecturer
turns back to him, offering
as always, another wave
of deep felt, anger hardened
quietly whispered, criticisms

thunderous-rush-voice leads
out of habit and necessity
the minutes following
his behavioral digression
each word stabbing split-headed
pointy-nosed papa bird, their
form a walnut-wood spear
crafted from drifted thoughts
of those sitting nearest him

18
on his back lies a pile of nuts
professor’s earthquake
shoulder shaking causes
eyes to open, back to rise
and with a tremendous roar
both physical and meta-physical,
it topples to worn carpet
and the laugh-track plays on

19
silence- pierced into being
by shrill, violent, mountainous
rise, and fall, of thunderous decibels-
hangs, heavier, louder than
the quick gone loudness replaced
or, in all actuality, displaced
mere seconds before being scrawled
into eternal memory
of those whose noses
sniff, daily, nutty clusters
of letters, which exclude
always, the ever-present x
the destructive π
and that y, which of course
flies as high as forgetful
nut-bearers




©Brandon Webb
2012
This is a series of observations, and. collectively, is the longest thing i've ever written, at 8847 words
Kerri Jun 2015
Too young for marriage
too old to stay with mom & dad.
But she hopped a bus following him West
and gave up all she had.

Skinny dipping in the salty sea
Infatuation in a rusty car
Plaid shirts and promises,
he was a thief that stole her heart

He gave her two babies
but she always felt alone,
between those wood paneling walls
his explosive temper was shown.

Beer bottles and ashtrays.
Tumbleweeds and sand.
Black, blue, and purple
painted by his hand.

So weak for so long,
she would cower in fear
Until she saw her children's faces,
filled with confusion and stained from tears

She left with just the clothes on her back
and two babies clinging to her hand
following the sunrise in the East
going home to mom & dad.
Another rhyming poem
samasati Nov 2012
I believe in smiling at strangers. I believe in saying hello. I believe in shyness. I believe in fear of rejection. I believe in the need of affection. I believe in the need of reminders. I believe in candles, especially those that smell of vanilla or christmas. I believe in wearing small crystals around my neck. I believe in energetic vibrations. I believe in colours - I think each person has their own colour. I believe every feeling is valid. I believe in chapstick and I believe in mascara that doesn’t clump. I believe in nail polish - every colour of nail polish. I believe that the only reason we lie is because we fear something. I believe in poetry. I believe in bluntness. I believe in the intention behind words, but I don’t necessarily believe in words. I believe in travel. I believe in travelling solo. In fact, I believe in travelling so much that it is pretty much all I want to do. I believe in music. Boy, do I believe in music. I believe any kind of musical composition can change a person. I believe music can cure depression. I also believe music can feed depression. I believe a melody can say more than lyrics and I believe that lyrics can be what someone couldn’t put together themselves to explain exactly how they are feeling. I believe anyone can create a song, even though they believe they cannot. I believe a single note can sound like the most beautiful sound in the world. I believe if someone records a song when they’re in an ugly mood, the ugliness emits to its listeners and can drain them. I believe in art. Of course I do. I believe in acrylic paint. I believe in oil paint and watercolours, but not as much as I believe in acrylic. I believe in fingerprinting. I even believe in painting with your toes. And I believe in dancing; even if it looks weird. I believe in flailing your arms even, as long as it feels good and right. I believe in dancing ‘til you sweat, though I don’t like that icky feeling too much. I believe that a babe can be a very ugly person and a physically unattractive person can be a very beautiful person. I believe that people who smile are beautiful. I believe that people who frown are beautiful too, just in a different way. I believe that there are sincere smiles and there are manipulative smiles. I believe that some people just know how to use their eyes well. I believe in eye contact. I believe in engaging. I believe in listening and dropping everything else that is going on in your mind just to listen to what a person is trying to share with you. I believe in sharing - sharing cookies and sharing love. I believe in the frosty cold. I believe that it doesn’t have to feel as cold as it really is. I believe that people complain a lot. I believe that people often have too much pride to be happy. I believe that we should embrace our discomforts and shames, that we should welcome them wholeheartedly so that we can be happy. I believe in honesty. I believe in empathy. I believe in tea. I believe in jelly donuts but only on certain occasions. I believe in quirky bow ties. I believe in knit toques and mittens and scarves. I believe in dresses. I believe in flirting. I believe in coffee in the morning. I believe in big comfy beds. I believe in walking around your empty house in your underwear or birthday suit, singing loudly. I believe in singing in the shower. I believe in singing on the street. I believe in stage fright. I believe in meditation, though I don’t really strictly set times to do it anymore. I believe mundane activities can be done in a meditative state of mind. I believe in clarity. I believe in not judging people because everyone is human. I believe every human has something very interesting about them. I believe in boring people too. I believe in christmas music - not the radio kind, the choral kind. I believe in cheap sweet wine. I believe in Billy Joel and I believe in The Beatles. I believe in Regina and Sufjan too. I believe that the ukulele is a very overrated instrument. I believe in having healthy hair. I believe in moisturizer. I believe in getting to pick a coloured toothbrush at the dentist. I believe in thick wool socks. I believe in baggy sweaters. I believe in yoga gear but I do not believe in sweatpants. I believe that yoga is one of the healthiest things for a person - ever. I believe in buying a friend drinks or dinner once in awhile. I believe in collecting shoes and scarves and rings. I believe in chords but I don’t really believe in jeans. I believe in hot chocolate with whip cream but not with marshmallows. I believe in dorky Christmas sweaters. I believe in baking cookies instead of cake. I believe in eating disorders - I do not support them, but I do believe they are much more severe and various than most people think and I believe there should be better/proper help for those who suffer instead of the usual cruel inpatient/outpatient care. I believe in trichotillomania and I believe in dermatillomania and the severity and impact it can have on its sufferers. I believe in gardens. I believe in every single flower. I believe that everyone is always doing their best. I believe that most people love to struggle. I believe in hope. I believe in having faith in yourself. I believe in iPod playlists. I believe in gym memberships in the winter, not the summer unless it’s to swim. I believe in matching underwear every day. I believe in Value Village. I believe in singing in bus shelters when you’re waiting for the bus. I believe in dressing up according to holidays. I believe in Grey’s Anatomy and I believe in Community. I believe in skirts and dresses that twirl like the ‘ol days. I believe in longboards more than skateboards. I believe in plaid like most young people do. I believe in bows in my hair, but not as much as I used to. I believe in foot massages and hand massages. I believe in reflexology and reiki and essential oils and chakras and crystals and holistic nutrition. I believe in anxiety; even crippling anxiety. I believe in awkward romances. I do not believe in flip flops. I do not believe in Beatles covers unless they are really insanely good; then my mind is blown. I believe in having long enough nails to scratch someone’s back appropriately. I also believe in biting nails. I do not believe in telephone calls unless I am extremely comfortable with the person. I believe in blogs. I believe in journals. I believe in naming special inanimate objects like journals, instruments, technology and furniture. I believe in the idea of cats more than I believe in cats. I believe in sharpies or thin pointed permanent markers. I believe in temporary tattoos. I believe in streaming movies online. I believe in royal gala apples. I believe in avocados. I believe in rice cakes. I believe in popcorn. I believe in airports but I hate the LA airport. I believe in openly talking about *** but I don’t believe in making it seem shameful and gross. I believe there should be no shame regarding sexuality. I believe in reading some great books more than once. I believe in laying on the couch under cozy blankets, watching a great suspenseful tv show or movie. I only believe in having a couple bites of cheesecake. I don’t really believe in lulu lemon. I don’t believe many people can pull off the colour yellow. I believe in buttons over zippers even though zippers are easier, they just look kind of dumb and cheap. I believe in the sun and the moon equally. I believe in closets over dressers. I believe in staring out the window for a good hour or so.
Lacey Clark Oct 2018
Raised faux-religiously in a catholic school by convenience of neighborhood (though, I loved the plaid and I wanted to do Eucharist but my mom explained I wasn't catholic, so I dabbled with the hymns and cursive) by my two gay moms and some 'extra kids' (fostering, etc) in Spokane. Homeschooled later (and seriously religiously, Vacation Bible School, NO HARRY POTTER and no saying 'stupid', a lot of neighborhood scootering) by uncle auntie and my two home-made and hilarious cousins (siblings) in Nevada. another private school in the Wild West with my grandpa and grandma (maybe religiously? they took me out to Mexican dinner religiously). And scattered across the West, Mid-West and South for all the rest. Public schools interwoven and equally traumatizing in between states.
One school in florida was known for fist fights and head lice. I kissed my first boy there. and girl. I left for what I thought was summer vacation and never came back. Another accidental move.
I had been squeezed in-between the palms of each coast for high school (plopped in the midwest).
In Wisconsin, I popped like a pimple and broke some major skin. Tried to end my life a few times. Psych ward after psych ward. Pills. Pills. Pills! A nurse took me aside and said "i have hope for you" and it was the first time i felt seen. met hard drugs to replace the cutting- they felt like long lost friends. Easy to pick up.
And recovery was like feeling your face after a satisfying shaving... and not a scratch since.
Now gliding along the West Coast in Academia's matrix. Politics and community engagement and the center. Clean. In the Heart of the City. Biking with helmets. Shoebox studio apartments. Nose in book, nose in food. Day job with a class of kids who I love and who love me. Space to grow, assess, reshape. Optimism. Peace. Stability.
Mateuš Conrad Aug 2018
i've moved past my belief
in the Christian trinity...

for me...
the meditation stands
on the pivot of
the following translation

the hexagon,
start of david -
which translates
as the Holy Ghost -
which denotes
a congregation...

the pentagon?
of the befitting analogy
to the five senses...
the "son of man" -
or simply...
the myopia of man
having to excavate
the sixth sense
using telescopes,
microscopes, the like...

and, finally?
on a hand of five extensions,
there are four...

the square...

  Y                    H

            ⠁⠑              ­       read clockwise
                                      like English traffic
H                     W            on a roundabout.

which? denotes the father...
    if the Hebrews "think" they
can hide their vowels?
   the Latin answer is...
   to interpolate Braille into
their language...
    
  and Emperor Nero would have
appreciated it...
whether with, or without
the Byzantine propaganda machinery
of the nevus testamentum...

and it wasn't a propagandist
piece?
    how much longer did the eastern
Empire, outlive the Western
empire, when the onslaught
by the Ottoman's reached
                  Constantinople?!

the Greek were craving
a cultural revival!
        they believed the Romans
to have origins in Troy!
they plaid the weakest cultural
card of Judaism,
revamping it into Christianity...
hell... that's what i believe...
and i'm not about to meet
a Jehovah's Witness propagandist,
or some aged Pakistani
citing the Quran on a park
bench...
  or some Scientologist
on Oxford St. with his wacky
machine...
  or some pseudo Hare Krishna
monk with a book about
some guru, pushing it like
marijuana...
   to change my mind on what
i'm digesting!

plus?

  ⠽                   ⠓

              Æ                   ( read anti-clockwise)     
                                      
⠓                    ⠺

fits in perfectly into the Adam
and Eve narrative -
as with all mythology -
given the extent of time...
    nuance, metaphor...
abbreviation...
                   ars poetica!
Andra Jul 2015
Today. I give up.*

I got up to you,
I climbed
all the stairs of the seven storeys, until
I got there, where
I forsook
the costume and the mask,
the desire and the expectancy.
I left them all neatly folded at the door.
You will find them in the morning when
you will wake up and
you will leave sleepy for the office.
You probably won't put them into consideration.
You'll step over "i miss you",
over "i'd love to",
and you''ll hit the little"why" in its belly while
he slowly pulls your sleeve.
Don't worry,
I am better now.
I forgot about the dimples and the mole.
How does your voice sound?
Your eyes... are they green or brown?
That yellow t-shirt,
that plaid shirt...
I do not even care if
you will see the pile
waiting for you outside the door.
It's not like
you have not seen
my backpack every time
we met...

Today I give up.

Because
I am not made of concrete,
and that's how the breeze that
you carry with you
always
unbalances
me.
Because
I really know how to ride a bike and
I do not need training wheels.
Because
I am not afraid.
Because
I have courage.
And especially,
because
I have nothing to do here.
It's empty and deserted.
It's nothing.

*Today I quit.
hand slaps shoulder knee rhythmically that’s called hamming the bone sitting on a street curb singing making up lyrics i got a transitor sister loves cossack named jake he rides Cherokee chopper all he’s ever known is hate he’s going down underground where a man can be a man wrestle alligators live off the land ebb flow i don’t know racing chasing hair-pin turning at 150 miles per hour downshift to 3rd spread the word sweet sour naked flower touching skin deep within defies all sin with a grin speed speed speed all i need i’m getting off coming on you tawny scrawny bow-legged pigeon-toed knock-kneed Don Juan Ponce de Leon Aly Khan all wrapped up into one going to have ******* good time good time tonight i feel like an orphan mom and dad seem so far away tonight i feel like an orphan you make me feel this way hand slaps shoulder knee rhythmically hand bone hand bone

Odyseuss drifts job to job construction worker office assistant waiter whatever he does not understand how road to recognition works continues showing portfolio to art dealers but they react indifferently he does not know how to attain notice in art world begins to suspect there is no god watching over souls instead he imagines infinite force juggling light darkness creation destruction love hate Mom and Dad insist he can earn respectable income if only he will learn commodity futures like cousin Chris Mom says you can work down at the exchange and paint on the side a part of Odysseus wants desperately to please his parents he considers perhaps Mom is right for the time being maybe build up nest egg it seems like sensible plan he wonders why Dad and Mom never speak about money how to save manage they treat the subject as forbidden topic Odysseus has no idea what Dad or Mom earn or investment strategies Odysseus is about to make serious mistake the decision to get job working at commodity exchange needs deeper examination why is he giving in to his parents what attracts him to commodities trading is it Chris’s achievement and the money? does Odysseus honestly see himself as a winning trader or does it simply look like big party with lots of rich men pretty young girls is that where he wants to be why is he giving up on his dream to be a great artist does it seem too impossible to reach who makes him think that? is he going to give up on his true self? he halfheartedly follows his parent’s advice begins working as runner at Chicago Mercantile Exchange several friends including Calexpress disloyalty for entering straight world commodity markets are not exactly straight in 1978 clearing firms pay adequately hours are 8 AM to 2 PM over course of next 6 months Odysseus runs orders out to various trading pits cousin Chris rarely acknowledges Odysseus maybe Chris feels need to protect his image of success perhaps in front of his business associates Chris is embarrassed by Odysseus’s menial rank and goof-off attitude maybe Chris senses what a terrible mistake Odysseus has made

Chicago suffers harsh winter in February Roman Polanski skips bail in California flees to France in April President Carter postpones production of neutron bomb which kills people with radiation leaving buildings intact in October Yankees win World Series defeating Dodgers in November Jim Jones leads mass-****** suicide killing 918 people in Jonestown Guyana in December in San Francisco Dianne Feinstein succeeds murdered Mayor George Moscone in Chicago John Wayne Gacy is arrested

darkness descends upon Odysseus his heart is not into commodity business more accurately he hates it he loathes battleship gray color of greed envy he resents prevailing overcast of misogyny he meets many pretty girls yet most of them are only interested in catching a trader it is rumored numerous high rolling traders hire young girls for sole purpose of morning ******* remainder of day girls are free to mingle run trivial errands commodity traders typically trash females it is primitive hierarchy Odysseus bounces from one clearing firm to another then moves to Chicago Options Exchange then Chicago Board of Trade on foyer wall just outside trading floor hangs bronze plaque commemorating all men who served in World War 2 Uncle Karl’s name is on that plaque Daddy Pat bought his son seat hoping to set him up after war Uncle Karl’s new wife wanted to break away from Chicago persuaded him to sell seat move to California Uncle Karl bought car wash outside Los Angeles with Daddy Pat’s support Mom and Dad encourage assure Odysseus commodities business is right choice they promise to buy him full seat on exchange if he continues to learn markets they feel certain he can be saved from his artistic notions the markets are soaring in profits cousin Chris is riding waves a number of Chris’s friends are sons of parents who belong to same clubs dine at same restaurants as Mom and Dad Odysseus is not alpha-male like Chris Odysseus is a dreamer painter poet writer explorer experimenter unlike Chris who has connections Odysseus starts out as runner then gets job holding deck for yuppie brokers in Treasury Dollar trading pit Odysseus holds buy orders between index and middle fingers sell orders in last 2 fingers arranged by time stamp price size in other hand holds nervous pencil he stands step below boss in circular pit in room size of football field full of raised pits everything is traded cattle hogs pork bellies all currencies gold numbers flash change instantaneously in columns on three high walls fourth wall is glass with seats behind for spectators thousands of people rush around delivering orders on telephones flashing hand signals shouting offers quantities every moment every day calls come in frantically from all around world space is organized chaos sometimes not so organized fortunes switch hands in nano-seconds it is global fiscal battleground rallies to up side or breaks to down side send room into hollering pushing shoving hysteria central banks financial institutions kingpin mobsters with political clout daring entrepreneurs old thieves suburban rich kids beautiful people pretty young females abound big guns **** in same air stand next to low-ranking runners everyone flirts sweats sneezes knows inside they are each expendable Odysseus is spellbound by sheer force magnitude he feels immaterial only grip is his success with girls it is not conscious talent he grins girls grin back Chris’s trader friends recognize Odysseus’s ability they push him to introduce girls to them it is way for Odysseus to level playing field he has no money or high opinion of himself he simply knows how to hook up with girls

1979 January Steelers defeat Cowboys at Super Bowl Brenda Ann Spencer kills 2 faculty wounds 8 students responds to incident “i don't like Mondays” in February Khomeini seizes power in Iran in March Voyager space-probe photographs Jupiter’s rings a nuclear power plant accident occurs at Three Mile Island Pennsylvania in May Margaret Thatcher is elected Prime Minister in England in Chicago American Airlines flight 191 crashes killing 273 people in November Iran hostage crisis begins 90 hostages 53 of whom are American in December Soviet Union invades Afghanistan 1980 in November Ronald Reagan defeats Jimmy Carter one year since Iran hostage crisis began

he meets good-looking younger girl named Monica on subway heading home from work he has seen her running orders on trading floor she is tall slender with long dark brown hair in ponytail pointed nose wide mouth innocent face she confides her estranged father is famous Chicago mobster Odysseus recognizes his name they talk about how much they dislike markets arrant disparity of wealth between traders and themselves Odysseus says i hate feeling of being so disposable worthless Monica replies yeah me too he tells her if i was a girl i’d ******* myself to several handsome generous traders Monica acknowledges that’s an interesting idea but who? how? which traders? do you know? he answers yeah i know exactly who and how Monica says if you’re serious i’m in i have a girlfriend named Larissa who might also be interested i’ll call Larissa tonight following day Monica approaches Odysseus at work agrees to meet at his place after markets close that afternoon Monica and Larissa show up eager to learn more about Odysseus’s scheme Larissa is petite built like a gymnast giggly light brown hair younger than Monica he lays it all out for them cousin Chris and his buddies the money ******* both girls are quite lovely he suggests they rehearse with him he will coach them on situations settings techniques girls consent for 4 weeks every afternoon they meet at Odysseus’s place get naked play out different scenarios he shows girls how to pose demure at first then display themselves skillfully fingers delicately pulling open ***** spreading wide apart buns working hidden muscles he directs each to take up numerous positions tasks techniques then has them switch places he teaches them timing starting slow gradually building up rhythms stirring into passionate frenzy having two mouths four hands creates novel sets of possibilities one girl attends his front while other excites his rear he positions them side-by-side so he can penetrate any of all four holes he stacks them one on top of the other many other variations after reaching ****** several times making sure to reciprocally satisfy their eager needs Odysseus dismisses girls until following day finally after month of practice Monica and Larissa feel confident proficient primed Odysseus arranges for girls to meet with 2 traders through Chris most traders have nicknames Twist who is hosting event is notoriously wild insatiable on opening night Odysseus behaves like concerned father Larissa and Monica each bring several dresses and pairs of shoes Odysseus helps them choose suggests Monica ease up on make-up he styles Larissa’s hair instructs Monica to call him when they arrive again when they leave he requests they return directly to his place Monica wears hair pulled back in French twist pearl earrings sleek little black dress black stiletto heels she stands several inches above Odysseus Larissa wears braided pigtails pink low-scooped leotard brown plaid wool kilt just above knees brown suede cowboy boots he kisses each on lips then pats their butts warns them to be careful mindful Monica winks Larissa giggles more than an hour passes as Odysseus sits wondering why he has not heard from girls suddenly reality hits he does not want to be commodities trader and certainly not a **** this is not how he wants to be known or remembered Odysseus wants to be a painter and writer Monica and Larissa are good sweet girls whom he has misguided he calls Twist’s place Twist answers Odysseus asks to speak with Monica when she comes to phone he questions are you all right Monica answers yes we’re fine we’re having a fantastic time why are you calling what’s wrong he explains you were suppose to call me when you arrived i began to worry i think maybe this whole arrangement is a bad idea i want you to call it off and come back home i don’t want either of you to become prostitutes i love you both and don’t want to be associated with dishonoring you Monica says it’s a little late to call it off but we’ll see you when we’re done kissy kiss bye Odys another hour passes then another he frets wondering what they are doing after 4 hours as he is about to call Twist’s house again doorbell rings Monica and Larissa both giggling beaming Odysseus can spot they have a coke buzz Monica announces you should be proud of us Odys we got each of them off 2 times we left them stone-numb and tapped out the girls open their purses each slaps 5 hundred dollar bills unto table Monica says this is your cut Odys we both got a thousand for ourselves he replies i can’t touch that money we need to sit down and talk Monica demands no talking Odys take off your clothes he insists i’m serious Monica i’m never going to send you out again Larissa claims there’s no turning back for me i had too much fun Monica  pleads come on Odys we’ll be good we promise now take off your clothes Twist and his buddy never attended to our needs i’m ***** as hell Larissa where’s that little bottle of dust Twisty handed you

Chicago Monday night December 8 1980 Cal and Odysseus sit at North End they're on 4th round feeling buzz the place is lively adorned with holiday decorations Cal says you’ve changed Odysseus questions what do you mean? how? Cal says the commodity markets and your cousin and his friends they’ve changed you when was the last time you painted Odys? are you dealing coke Odysseus looks Cal in the eyes answers they’re so ******* rich Cal you can’t believe it one drives a black Corvette Stingray another a ******* Delorean anything they want they buy girls cars clothes condos boats yeah i’m dealing coke to Chris’s friends it’s my only leverage remember the Columbian dude Armando we met at tittie bar? i score from him and keep it clean Chris’s buddies pay up for the quality i don’t remember my last painting maybe the black painting i never finished after breaking up with Reiko Lee a girl falls off bar stool crashing to floor at other end of bar Cal says Odys, you better play it careful you’re messing with the devil got any blow on you suddenly bar grows quiet someone turns up TV volume they watch overhead as news anchorman speaks slow solemn camera pans splattered puddle of blood pieces of broken glass on steps to Dakota Building Cal looks to Odysseus John Lennon has been murdered Cal waits for Odysseus to say something tear rolls down cheek Cal glances away stares down at floor they drink in silence
An evening all aglow with summer light
And autumn colour—fairest of the year.

The wheat-fields, crowned with shocks of tawny gold,
All interspersed with rough sowthistle roots,
And interlaced with white convolvulus,
Lay, flecked with purple shadows, in the sun.
The shouts of little children, gleaning there
The scattered ears and wild blue-bottle flowers—
Mixed with the corn-crake's crying, and the song
Of lone wood birds whose mother-cares were o'er,
And with the whispering rustle of red leaves—
Scarce stirred the stillness. And the gossamer sheen
Was spread on upland meadows, silver bright
In low red sunshine and soft kissing wind—
Showing where angels in the night had trailed
Their garments on the turf. Tall arrow-heads,
With flag and rush and fringing grasses, dropped
Their seeds and blossoms in the sleepy pool.
The water-lily lay on her green leaf,
White, fair, and stately; while an amorous branch
Of silver willow, drooping in the stream,
Sent soft, low-babbling ripples towards her:
And oh, the woods!—erst haunted with the song
Of nightingales and tender coo of doves—
They stood all flushed and kindling 'neath the touch
Of death—kind death!—fair, fond, reluctant death!—
A dappled mass of glory!
Harvest-time;
With russet wood-fruit thick upon the ground,
'Mid crumpled ferns and delicate blue harebells.
The orchard-apples rolled in seedy grass—
Apples of gold, and violet-velvet plums;
And all the tangled hedgerows bore a crop
Of scarlet hips, blue sloes, and blackberries,
And orange clusters of the mountain ash.
The crimson fungus and soft mosses clung
To old decaying trunks; the summer bine
Drooped, shivering, in the glossy ivy's grasp.
By day the blue air bore upon its wings
Wide-wandering seeds, pale drifts of thistle-down;
By night the fog crept low upon the earth,
All white and cool, and calmed its feverishness,
And veiled it over with a veil of tears.

The curlew and the plover were come back
To still, bleak shores; the little summer birds
Were gone—to Persian gardens, and the groves
Of Greece and Italy, and the palmy lands.

A Norman tower, with moss and lichen clothed,
Wherein old bells, on old worm-eaten frames
And rusty wheels, had swung for centuries,
Chiming the same soft chime—the lullaby
Of cradled rooks and blinking bats and owls;
Setting the same sweet tune, from year to year,
For generations of true hearts to sing.
A wide churchyard, with grassy slopes and nooks,
And shady corners and meandering paths;
With glimpses of dim windows and grey walls
Just caught at here and there amongst the green
Of flowering shrubs and sweet lime-avenues.
An old house standing near—a parsonage-house—
With broad thatched roof and overhanging eaves,
O'errun with banksia roses,—a low house,
With ivied windows and a latticed porch,
Shut in a tiny Paradise, all sweet
With hum of bees and scent of mignonette.

We lay our lazy length upon the grass
In that same Paradise, my friend and I.
And, as we lay, we talked of college days—
Wild, racing, hunting, steeple-chasing days;
Of river reaches, fishing-grounds, and weirs,
Bats, gloves, debates, and in-humanities:
And then of boon-companions of those days,
How lost and scattered, married, changed, and dead;
Until he flung his arm across his face,
And feigned to slumber.
He was changed, my friend;
Not like the man—the leader of his set—
The favourite of the college—that I knew.
And more than time had changed him. He had been
“A little wild,” the Lady Alice said;
“A little gay, as all young men will be
At first, before they settle down to life—
While they have money, health, and no restraint,
Nor any work to do,” Ah, yes! But this
Was mystery unexplained—that he was sad
And still and thoughtful, like an aged man;
And scarcely thirty. With a winsome flash,
The old bright heart would shine out here and there;
But aye to be o'ershadowed and hushed down,

As he had hushed it now.
His dog lay near,
With long, sharp muzzle resting on his paws,
And wistful eyes, half shut,—but watching him;
A deerhound of illustrious race, all grey
And grizzled, with soft, wrinkled, velvet ears;
A gaunt, gigantic, wolfish-looking brute,
And worth his weight in gold.
“There, there,” said he,
And raised him on his elbow, “you have looked
Enough at me; now look at some one else.”

“You could not see him, surely, with your arm
Across your face?”
“No, but I felt his eyes;
They are such sharp, wise eyes—persistent eyes—
Perpetually reproachful. Look at them;
Had ever dog such eyes?”
“Oh yes,” I thought;
But, wondering, turned my talk upon his breed.
And was he of the famed Glengarry stock?
And in what season was he entered? Where,
Pray, did he pick him up?
He moved himself
At that last question, with a little writhe
Of sudden pain or restlessness; and sighed.
And then he slowly rose, pushed back the hair
From his broad brows; and, whistling softly, said,
“Come here, old dog, and we will tell him. Come.”

“On such a day, and such a time, as this,
Old Tom and I were stalking on the hills,
Near seven years ago. Bad luck was ours;
For we had searched up corrie, glen, and burn,
From earliest daybreak—wading to the waist
Peat-rift and purple heather—all in vain!
We struck a track nigh every hour, to lose
A noble quarry by ignoble chance—
The crowing of a grouse-****, or the flight
Of startled mallards from a reedy pool,
Or subtle, hair's breadth veering of the wind.
And now 'twas waning sunset—rosy soft

On far grey peaks, and the green valley spread
Beneath us. We had climbed a ridge, and lay
Debating in low whispers of our plans
For night and morning. Golden eagles sailed
Above our heads; the wild ducks swam about

Amid the reeds and rushes of the pools;
A lonely heron stood on one long leg
In shallow water, watching for a meal;
And there, to windward, couching in the grass
That fringed the blue edge of a sleeping loch—
Waiting for dusk to feed and drink—there lay
A herd of deer.
“And as we looked and planned,
A mountain storm of sweeping mist and rain
Came down upon us. It passed by, and left
The burnies swollen that we had to cross;
And left us barely light enough to see
The broad, black, branching antlers, clustering still
Amid the long grass in the valley.

“‘Sir,’
Said Tom, ‘there is a shealing down below,
To leeward. We might bivouac there to-night,
And come again at dawn.’
“And so we crept
Adown the glen, and stumbled in the dark
Against the doorway of the keeper's home,
And over two big deerhounds—ancestors
Of this our old companion. There was light
And warmth, a welcome and a heather bed,
At Colin's cottage; with a meal of eggs
And fresh trout, broiled by dainty little hands,
And sweetest milk and oatcake. There were songs
And Gaelic legends, and long talk of deer—
Mixt with a sweet, low laughter, and the whir
Of spinning-wheel.
“The dogs lay at her feet—
The feet of Colin's daughter—with their soft
Dark velvet ears pricked up for every sound
And movement that she made. Right royal brutes,
Whereon I gazed with envy.
“ ‘What,’ I asked,
‘Would Colin take for these?’
“ ‘Eh, sir,’ said he,
And shook his head, ‘I cannot sell the dogs.
They're priceless, they, and—Jeanie's favourites.
But there's a litter in the shed—five pups,
As like as peas to this one. You may choose
Amongst them, sir—take any that you like.
Get us the lantern, Jeanie. You shall show
The gentleman.’
“Ah, she was fair, that girl!

Not like the other lassies—cottage folk;
For there was subtle trace of gentle blood
Through all her beauty and in all her ways.
(The mother's race was ‘poor and proud,’ they said).
Ay, she was fair, my darling! with her shy,
Brown, innocent face and delicate-shapen limbs.
She had the tenderest mouth you ever saw,
And grey, dark eyes, and broad, straight-pencill'd brows;
Dark hair, sun-dappled with a sheeny gold;
Dark chestnut braids that knotted up the light,
As soft as satin. You could scarcely hear
Her step, or hear the rustling of her gown,
Or the soft hovering motion of her hands
At household work. She seemed to bring a spell
Of tender calm and silence where she came.
You felt her presence—and not by its stir,
But by its restfulness. She was a sight
To be remembered—standing in the straw;
A sleepy pup soft-cradled in her arms
Like any Christian baby; standing still,
The while I handled his ungainly limbs.
And Colin blustered of the sport—of hounds,
Roe, ptarmigan, and trout, and ducal deer—
Ne'er lifting up that sweet, unconscious face,
To see why I was silent. Oh, I would
You could have seen her then. She was so fair,
And oh, so young!—scarce seventeen at most—
So ignorant and so young!
“Tell them, my friend—
Your flock—the restless-hearted—they who scorn
The ordered fashion fitted to our race,
And scoff at laws they may not understand—
Tell them that they are fools. They cannot mate
With other than their kind, but woe will come
In some shape—mostly shame, but always grief
And disappointment. Ah, my love! my love!
But she was different from the common sort;
A peasant, ignorant, simple, undefiled;
The child of rugged peasant-parents, taught
In all their thoughts and ways; yet with that touch
Of tender grace about her, softening all
The rougher evidence of her lowly state—
That undefined, unconscious dignity—
That delicate instinct for the reading right
The riddles of less simple minds than hers—
That sharper, finer, subtler sense of life—
That something which does not possess a name,

Which made her beauty beautiful to me—
The long-lost legacy of forgotten knights.

“I chose amongst the five fat creeping things
This rare old dog. And Jeanie promised kind
And gentle nurture for its infant days;
And promised she would keep it till I came
Another year. And so we went to rest.
And in the morning, ere the sun was up,
We left our rifles, and went out to run
The browsing red-deer with old Colin's hounds.
Through glen and bog, through brawling mountain streams,
Grey, lichened boulders, furze, and juniper,
And purple wilderness of moor, we toiled,
Ere yet the distant snow-peak was alight.
We chased a hart to water; saw him stand
At bay, with sweeping antlers, in the burn.
His large, wild, wistful eyes despairingly
Turned to the deeper eddies; and we saw
The choking struggle and the bitter end,
And cut his gallant throat upon the grass,
And left him. Then we followed a fresh track—
A dozen tracks—and hunted till the noon;
Shot cormorants and wild cats in the cliffs,
And snipe and blackcock on the ferny hills;
And set our floating night-lines at the loch;—
And then came back to Jeanie.
“Well, you know
What follows such commencement:—how I found
The woods and corries round about her home
Fruitful of roe and red-deer; how I found
The grouse lay thickest on adjacent moors;
Discovered ptarmigan on rocky peaks,
And rare small game on birch-besprinkled hills,
O'ershadowing that rude shealing; how the pools
Were full of wild-fowl, and the loch of trout;
How vermin harboured in the underwood,
And rocks, and reedy marshes; how I found
The sport aye best in this charmed neighbourhood.
And then I e'en must wander to the door,
To leave a bird for Colin, or to ask
A lodging for some stormy night, or see
How fared my infant deerhound.
“And I saw
The creeping dawn unfolding; saw the doubt,
And faith, and longing swaying her sweet heart;
And every flow just distancing the ebb.

I saw her try to bar the golden gates
Whence love demanded egress,—calm her eyes,
And still the tender, sensitive, tell-tale lips,
And steal away to corners; saw her face
Grow graver and more wistful, day by day;
And felt the gradual strengthening of my hold.
I did not stay to think of it—to ask
What I was doing!
“In the early time,
She used to slip away to household work
When I was there, and would not talk to me;
But when I came not, she would climb the glen
In secret, and look out, with shaded brow,
Across the valley. Ay, I caught her once—
Like some young helpless doe, amongst the fern—
I caught her, and I kissed her mouth and eyes;
And with those kisses signed and sealed our fate
For evermore. Then came our happy days—
The bright, brief, shining days without a cloud!
In ferny hollows and deep, rustling woods,
That shut us in and shut out all the world—
The far, forgotten world—we met, and kissed,
And parted, silent, in the balmy dusk.
We haunted still roe-coverts, hand in hand,
And murmured, under our breath, of love and faith,
And swore great oaths for one of us to keep.
We sat for hours, with sealèd lips, and heard
The crossbill chattering in the larches—heard
The sweet wind whispering as it passed us by—
And heard our own hearts' music in the hush.
Ah, blessed days! ah, happy, innocent days!—
I would I had them back.
“Then came the Duke,
And Lady Alice, with her worldly grace
And artificial beauty—with the gleam
Of jewels, and the dainty shine of silk,
And perfumed softness of white lace and lawn;
With all the glamour of her courtly ways,
Her talk of art and fashion, and the world
We both belonged to. Ah, she hardened me!
I lost the sweetness of the heathery moors
And hills and quiet woodlands, in that scent
Of London clubs and royal drawing-rooms;
I lost the tender chivalry of my love,
The keen sense of its sacredness, the clear
Perception of mine honour, by degrees,
Brought face to face with customs of my kind.

I was no more a “man;” nor she, my love,
A delicate lily of womanhood—ah, no!
I was the heir of an illustrious house,
And she a simple, homespun cottage-girl.

“And now I stole at rarer intervals
To those dim trysting woods; and when I came
I brought my cunning worldly wisdom—talked
Of empty forms and marriages in heaven—
To stain that simple soul, God pardon me!
And she would shiver in the stillness, scared
And shocked, with her pathetic eyes—aye proof
Against the fatal, false philosophy.
But my will was the strongest, and my love
The weakest; and she knew it.
“Well, well, well,
I need not talk of that. There came the day
Of our last parting in the ferny glen—
A bitter parting, parting from my life,
Its light and peace for ever! And I turned
To ***** and billiards, politics and wine;
Was wooed by Lady Alice, and half won;
And passed a feverous winter in the world.
Ah, do not frown! You do not understand.
You never knew that hopeless thirst for peace—
That gnawing hunger, gnawing at your life;
The passion, born too late! I tell you, friend,
The ruth, and love, and longing for my child,
It broke my heart at last.
“In the hot days
Of August, I went back; I went alone.
And on old garrulous Margery—relict she
Of some departed seneschal—I rained
My eager questions. ‘Had the poaching been
As ruinous and as audacious as of old?
Were the dogs well? and had she felt the heat?
And—I supposed the keeper, Colin, still
Was somewhere on the place?’
“ ‘Nay, sir,’; said she,
‘But he has left the neighbourhood. He ne'er
Has held his head up since he lost his child,
Poor soul, a month ago.’
“I heard—I heard!
His child—he had but one—my little one,
Whom I had meant to marry in a week!

“ ‘Ah, sir, she turned out badly after all,
The girl we thought a pattern for all girls.
We know not how it happened, for she named
No names. And, sir, it preyed upon her mind,
And weakened it; and she forgot us all,
And seemed as one aye walking in her sleep
She noticed no one—no one but the dog,
A young deerhound that followed her about;
Though him she hugged and kissed in a strange way
When none was by. And Colin, he was hard
Upon the girl; and when she sat so still,
And pale and passive, while he raved and stormed,
Looking beyond him, as it were, he grew
The harder and more harsh. He did not know
That she was not herself. Men are so blind!
But when he saw her floating in the loch,
The moonlight on her face, and her long hair
All tangled in the rushes; saw the hound
Whining and crying, tugging at her plaid—
Ah, sir, it was a death-stroke!’
“This was all.
This was the end of her sweet life—the end
Of all worth having of mine own! At night
I crept across the moors to find her grave,
And kiss the wet earth covering it—and found
The deerhound lying there asleep. Ay me!
It was the bitterest darkness,—nevermore
To break out into dawn and day again!

“And Lady Alice shakes her dainty head,
Lifts her arch eyebrows, smiles, and whispers, “Once
He was a little wild!’ ”
With that he laughed;
Then suddenly flung his face upon the grass,
Crying, “Leave me for a little—let me be!”
And in the dusky stillness hugged his woe,
And wept away his pas
Chuck May 2013
Plaid slacks
Feather cap
Argyle socks
Flip phone
Mullet hair
Greasy hands
Crusted fingernails
White belt
Sketchy beard
Members only
Casio watch
Deck shoes
Muscle shirt
Tribal tattoo
Chest hair
Plumbers crack

You look great, Mom!
Just joking. My mom is gorgeous. I started out picking out fashion flaws then I realized I know nothing about fashion, so I made it a joke poem. I hope you like it better than my mom would. Please don't tell her! Haha
Ranita Mar 2013
9:00pm: We hugged and chatted. Your sister joking with us, your brothers being silly. I love your siblings.

9:30pm: We went hunting for gear. Your dad helped us find sleeping mats and told us where to find some tarps.

10:00pm: We climbed onto the fort and made our beds. I swept the bugs and pine needles away. I remember thinking, I hate pine needles. Why Florida trees, why?

10:30pm: We made tea and got ready for bed. I love chamomile tea. Lots of sugar. Washing off my makeup was easy with your sister's fancy face wipes.

10:45pm: We climbed into our sleeping bags. I was warm. I love the plaid pattern of the sleeping bag I always use.

11:00pm: We ate snacks, drank tea, and talked. Poptarts are so good late at night. Better than in the morning. And the hot tea felt so good against the chilling breezes.

11:30pm: I turned off the flashlights. I liked it better that way. I like hearing only voices, not seeing the person. My hearing what they say feels amplified that way.

11:30pm: I laid on my back and realized how pretty the trees are. The sky was orange, oddly lit up more than normal for that time of night. Few clouds drifted in the sky.

12:00am: I poured the story out to you.

12:05am: I began watching the moon cross the sky. It was very orange and it moved faster than I imagined it would.

12:30am: I got a text.

1:00am: I proposed an adventure. I wanted to do something. I wanted not to have to think for a while. I like late night happenings. And I like not being alone.

1:15am: We got off our lazy butts and went to the garage. I started riding the ripstick. I picked it up right away and didn't fall which was new for me.

1:30am: You taught me how to longboard. It was fun, though I kept forgetting which way I would put my feet.

1:45am: We started riding bikes. I love your mom's bike. It's so smooth and easy to ride..but it clicks sometimes in weird ways. I liked the clicking too.

1:50am: ***** it, I didn't want to reply.

2:00am: We rode through the neighborhood. I love the houses in Naples..

2:05am: I fell in love with the night sky. It was beginning to look more like the normal dark blue rather than orange. The stars started to peek through better.

2:10am: The cold air made my blood rush. I was wearing such warm clothes, but the wind went straight through. I loved going fast, racing you. Speed is beautiful on a bike.

2:15am: I never wanted the night to end. I wanted to ride late at night forever.

2:35am: The silence was so beautiful. We would be quiet for short bits. I liked the pictures my mind created during that time.

2:40am: I wished I had his time stopping watch. I always wish I did.

2:45am: We started the ride home. My breathing got pretty rough. Cold air always hurts my lungs. But it was so worth it.

3:00am: We put the bikes away and crawled back into bed. I loved the fort so much..

3:10am: You fell asleep.

3:15am: The moon was higher in the sky. It was clear and white and full.  I could see it perfectly. Peeking through the trees. I fell asleep slowly. Loved it all.
Sleepover at a friend's house. That night was lovely. The next day was beautiful as well.
Florida weather has its perks.
JJ Hutton Aug 2012
In the stands, down 35-3 with two minutes left in the fourth,
Fred Carson picks at the sticky, white remnants of a Coke bottle's label.
He leans over to me,
"Do you mind if I talk to you again?"
I don't, and haven't since kickoff.

"You know, I played running back on this same field."

"Oh yeah?" I say, allowing the story to commence.

"Started all four years. Rushed 1,000 yards as a freshman."

"Wow."

"It took five guys to bring me down by my senior year."

"That's insane."

"I probably still hold the record for most rush yards,
but I doubt they keep up with things like that."

He takes a sip from his drink. It's half empty.
His hair -- greasy, most likely on its third unwashed day --
parts to the left and clings to his skull.
He's wearing a long sleeve, plaid dress shirt.
The shirt is buttoned to the top.

"Hell, that was back in 1968," slows, "I graduated in 19-68. Jesus."

Fred retired from the post office six years back.
He claims he's never missed a game of Blue Jay football since 1970.
The high school band starts playing in the section next to us --
a misshapen cover of "Louie, Louie".
Fred raises his voice,

"You know, I've been to every football game since 1970."

"Yeah, you mentioned that last week."

"I apologize. Yeah, if it wasn't for that first year of college.
I got a scholarship to play ball at Florida State.
Couldn't be there and here at the same time, you know? Kinda hard."

He runs his big-knuckled right hand along his khaki'd thigh, checking his pocket.
He checks the left thigh -- nothing.
Reaches into his shirt pocket and reveals a lighter.
Then a soft pack of Marlboro Lights emerge.

"You know, I ran the fifty in less than five seconds."

To the dismay of cheerleader moms sitting behind us,
he lights the cigarette.
He stares at the Bic lighter with some NASCAR driver -- number 88 --
I don't recognize.
The cutout of the NASCAR driver's scraggly face
sits atop a navy blue and spiraling purple backdrop.
He starts to scratch at the label on the lighter.
A screech from a clarinet rises above the rest of the band,
Fred grimaces, takes a drag, continues,

"The coach at Florida State said I was the fastest boy he'd ever seen.
He said I was going to go pro. Sure thing, he said. I rushed for nearly
300 yards in the first game my freshman year. After the game,
the coach was like, see boy, I told you. You are going to tear it up
this season."

The NASCAR decal comes completely off. Under that purple and blue label,
Fred uncovers a white lighter.

"Would you look at that. I wouldn't have bought the **** thing if
I knew it was a white lighter. That's bad luck, you know. Hendrix and
that--uh--Janis Joplin lady both died with a white lighter in their hand.
Bad luck. A white lighter is bad luck."

"What happened at Florida State?" I ask.

"Well, we were playing Notre Dame during the second game that season.
Down by five with three seconds left on the clock.
We were on our own thirty, and the coach of Florida State was like,
run the hail mary play. But in the huddle, I look the quarterback
square in the eyes, and I say to him, captain -- he was team captain --
I say, captain, I'm hungry for that ball. He knew I could do it.
He took the snap, the receivers rushed down field, and I bolted toward
that line of scrimmage, took the handoff and I was gone, baby."

The crowd begins to cheer as the Blue Jay quarterback throws a long pass
to a wide open receiver. Fred freezes mid-story.
The cheer blurs into a silence, as each person in the bleachers
watches the ball ascend.

For the first time all night, the band lowers their instruments from their lips.
Just a ball floating.
The buzz from the stadium lights becomes audible.
One person gasps.
Then like dominoes the stadium follows suit.

The high arc of the ball betrays the distance,
and the pigskin plummets sharply.

"Interception!" the announcer cries through the speakers.

"That's a **** shame. I thought he was going to have it.
What were we talking about?" Fred asks as he drops his
finished cigarette into the nearly empty, naked Coke bottle.

"You were talking about Florida State. You were down five and--"

"That's right. So, I break up the middle. I dust that noseguard.
I stiff arm a linebacker. I looked like a Heisman trophy in motion.
I travel 69-yards down the field. I'm slowing down at the endzone,
thinking nobody is around, and sure enough -- plow -- the cornerback
dives right into my leg. I broke all kinds of bones and tore all kinds
of muscles. The doctor told me, he'd never seen anything like it."

The band plays the fight song as the clock winds down and the Blue Jays lose.
I try to disappear in the sea of blue and silver exiting t-shirts,
but Fred slows me down,

"It sure was good talking to you. I'll have to tell you more about Florida State
next week. Be sure to sit by me."

"I will," I say as the band director, Mr. Morton, steps in front of me.

"Hey, Fred," Mr. Morton says. He looks at me, then back to Fred.
He's trying to decide whether or not I'm of relation.
"Son, I went to Seminole State Junior College with Fred here
when we got out of high school."

"Really? Did you guys play football together?" I ask with innocent inquisitiveness.

"No, we weren't really into that. Though, we were at all the games.
We were in band together. Until Fred's wild streak got the best of him,"
Mr. Morton laughs, "am I right, Fred?"



The fight song came to a close.
With a lowered head, Fred walked into the silver, blue crowd
with a plaid dress shirt buttoned to the top.
Scarlet London Dec 2012
as the gray scale pictures appeared
i saw you bring yourself near
and the blackness so well hid your face
even with the red lights filling the space
you were in the back corner i was across the way
making masterpieces after every mundane day
with my hair in a braid clipped up on my head
and your hands in your pockets when you scared me to death
all those photos of yours, like the trigger of a gun
i held my arms wide and smiled with the sun

now you wont even hold my blank canvas eyes
and yours smile to me on the stairs every time
but you wont say a word nor make a sound
you won't even blink while my soul hits the ground
i guess all the chemicals made me insane
and my dream didn't help, you pressed to my face
in a blue plaid shirt, i see you across the room
i guess i was the only one to feel the fumes
but somehow i know that's not true

there were the days of just you and i
and the world around us-where are the lights?
i remember awaiting my pride to take form
and trying too hard and feeling so torn
and holding so tightly to the print you made
for no real reason besides the look you gave
showing off to you for no purpose at all
i know it meant nothing, just a cushioned fall

now you wont even hold my blank canvas eyes
you know yours strung me in a web of lies
you walk away when my skeleton comes around
do you see this smile? it's sinking to the ground
i guess all the negatives inverted my view
and this nightmare rewired the image of you
in a blue plaid shirt, you wore it yesterday
i guess i was the only one to see it that way
but somehow i wanted it to fade

how could you look in my eyes
and know about the scars i despise
how could you see into my heart
when i never saw you coming from the start
how could you sever that broken touch
without even asking me what i want

but today you looked into these blank canvas eyes
and yours, hidden by glass, were the first to shine
and you quoted a movie and laughed with me
and pulled me towards you, my smile you didn't see
i guess your arms are strong as the walls
the hidden room that was home to it all
in a blue plaid shirt, i see you across the room
but i still won't admit that i felt those fumes
even though you know the sad truth
Months of stale, cigarette smoke
and spilt **** water pleasantly
offset the stench of cheap cologne
and ratty, abused furniture.
    
Fictitious stories occupy this tiny, dim
apartment, birthed on the lips of
rebellious juveniles whose tongues
pierce the ears of our elders.

In a forsaken corner, Jeremy lounges
awkwardly on a grubby-plaid sofa that
suitably complements his button-down shirt.  
I join him.

Behind his right ear rests a lonely cigarette, while
another sits snug between his lips, set ablaze
by the 1968 Slim Model Zippo he inherited from
his beloved grandfather.

His transparent sense of self-worth emanates
from his grubby, grease-stained hands, scuffed boots,
blotchy-checkered flannels, and faded blue jeans
that are completely obliterated with holes.

I look into his pale blue eyes, the depth of which
often goes unrecognized.  Jeremy is a soft-hearted,
pudgy youngster with the kind of chunky cheeks
that all grandparents love to torture.  

But his marred, acne-ridden face betrays the transition
that has been forced upon him.  Slowly, his trademark
grin appears across his face – subtle, mischievous, and
typically without reason.  But this time it appears justified.

Jeremy takes a moment’s break from his cigarette to drop two
hits of acid.  A new drug for him, he hopes to find relief from
his seething anxiety, evidenced now by the wide expansion of his
chest as he takes another, more lengthy and powerful pull from his cigarette.

The mundane chatter that fills the room continues, a seeming
necessity to offset any potential awkward silence. I feel as if
this noise is closing in around us.  But just as suddenly as I
feel overwhelmed by this sensation, the noise stops.

I look around, noticing everyone’s eyes staring in my
direction.  Jeremy is still next to me, now giggling
like a little school girl.
I begin to feel sick.

Jeremy swiftly leans forward, giving his
cigarette a premature but honorable
death, eliminating its glow as he smashes
the cherry into tiny bits against the ashtray.

As he sits back against the couch, I can see that
his eyes are now indifferent. Foreign.  With a perplexed
and fascinated stare, he watches the pearly-white smoke
slowly slither upwards towards the ceiling.

There’s no question in my mind that his
soul has fled. Jeremy sinks further into the
couch, turning his vacant eyes in my direction.
I want to *****.

His high-pitched giggle has now subsided into a
low whimper.  Gradually extending his left arm into
the air, he tilts it from side-to-side, examining it as if
an infant discovering his genitals for the first time.  

Bike wheels appear in the corners of the room.
Entertained, his eyes rapidly zigzag from the
corners of the walls to his hands. He asks me
if I can see the wheels. I don’t respond.

Intervals of psychotic emotion begin to cycle. Jeremy’s eyes
fill with tears as he tries to understand the hallucinations
engulfing him.  The expression on his face betrays the reality that
he has stepped onto the never-ending theme-park ride from hell.  

Together we leave and walk to the bus station, Jeremy
walking slowly and whimsically. The bus arrives,
and I hand him a few crumpled, single-dollar
bills as I attempt to instruct him where to get off.  

All I can envision is his mother’s first reaction to her son’s arrival.  
Would she collapse at her son’s knees, crying like a mother whose boy
has come home from war?  Would he forever be an awkward guest
at the dinner table? Would she disown him?  Would he become a feral child?






I no longer know what day it is. I am surrounded by lockers
and students, trapped in a tunnel of shadowy walls.  As I stand
alone, I find myself entranced by the blinding, January sunlight
that floods through the double doors a mile away.

My vision is unexpectedly blocked by a figure
standing in front of me. Clothed in little but jeans
and a bright, white t-shirt, Jeremy stares at me, his eyes
mirroring the emptiness I now feel.  

“Do you have a lighter?”  My hands pointlessly search my pockets for
what I already know is not there. “No, man. Sorry.” A look of confusion
spreads over his face, and I suddenly cannot help but notice the sick irony
of the scene in front of me - Jeremy flooded in light as if born again.  

My thoughts linger here too long, and just as swiftly as Jeremy
appeared, he is a mile away sauntering out through those double
doors. Estranged, I continue to stand here, hoping with
futility that this isn’t the last time I have looked upon him.
Year: 1995
Hewasminemoon Jul 2014
It was almost February and winter still hadn’t hit. I was beginning to
think that it wouldn’t arrive, and that spring was here. One evening as I was walking down the streets of the city I looked up to see a single snowflake falling down to meet my face. It was tiny and looked lonely, but a few moments later, it was followed by several more snowflakes. Sooner than later, the ground was covered in a white sheet of snow. and I was stuffing my hands in my coat pockets and pulling my hood on to brace myself against the bone-chilling wind. I made my way into a small coffee shop that was still open and was greeted by a short stocky man in his mid thirties with a dark, curly mustache and sleeves of faded tattoos.
“Hello” he said, his voice sounding deep and smooth. I pulled out my headphones that were burning in my ears, pressed pause on my phone and shoved them carelessly in my messenger bag.
“Hello”, I replied back with a slight smile, pulling my hands out of my
pockets and making my way to the counter.
The shop was small, but it had a staircase leading upstairs with more room for seating. The man who stood behind the counter continued to unpack small plastic covered packages, putting them away in cupboards and freezers. I pulled out my wallet from my bag and plopped it on the counter, feebly attempting to pull out my card with my hands shaking violently from the cold.
“What a night”, the man said, his eyes still focused on his duties.
“Hmm.” I said, nodding. “Can I get a 12oz mocha, please?” The man looked up from his package, and giggled coyly.
“Sure you can, sweetheart." He put the package that he was holding down below him, and began making the drink I had just ordered. My credit card held tightly in my hand, still shaking. There was awkward silence between us and I got the feeling the man understood I didn’t feel like talking. He finished my order, filling a small, white ceramic mug, and pushed it across the counter towards me.
“Anything else?”
I shook my head, implying no and handed him the cold card. He swiped it and handed it back to me, along with a receipt and a pen to sign. I signed the receipt, grabbed my coffee and headed up the stairs to my right. Upstairs, there was a large room with a dining room looking table and several chairs, and to the left, and a small hole in the wall with several cushions. I smiled at the welcoming spot, and took a seat. Pulling a small table up next to me, I set my coffee down, and rested my bag on the floor below me. The upstairs was completely empty. In fact; the entire shop was empty besides the man working downstairs. I took a deep breath in and let my head rest on some of the cushions behind me. Closing my eyes, I let out my breath and felt the warmth and the vast history of the shop run envelop me. I grabbed at the cup beside me and sipped at my coffee. It was still too hot to drink comfortably, so I set it down. Out of my bag, I pulled out my phone with the headphones still attached and scrunched into a tight tangled ball.
Untangling them, I placed each bud in my ear, and pressed play, continuing the song I had stopped when I had entered the coffee shop. I felt my eyelids grow heavy and I sunk deeper and deeper into the pillows around me, the smell of old books seeping into my skin. Finally, I closed my eyes, and after a few moments, was sound asleep.
When I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was a man’s face, unfamiliar but comforting.
“Excuse me…” he said, with a wide grin.
I jumped with embarrassment; ripping my headphones out of my ears, although they were no longer playing anything. How long had I been asleep? And who was this young man? An employee of the shop? A customer?
“Sorry!” I yelped.
The man chuckled as I swung my feet around to the floor and pulled out my phone to check the time. Realizing it was dead, I scanned the room for a clock and with no success I asked the stranger “What time is it?”
He rolled up his sleep, and checked what to be a rather expensive watch. The man was dressed nicely, but nothing too formal. A clean pair of black jeans, a plaid shirt and a sweater over it. His hair, a dark brown looked thick and slightly curled. He ran his fingers through it as he responded. “It’s quarter past.”
“Past what?”
He blinked at me. “Eight…” he paused at my confused look. “A.M”
I gasped at the time. It was just past nine at night when I had dozed off.
Why did the short stalky man not wake me? Did he forget I was upstairs?
Maybe he assumed I had left, and just missed me doing so.
“I…I…” I stumbled upon my words. I wasn’t quite sure what to say, still
unsure who this man was.
“My boss told me you’d be up here.” He lifted my cup of cold coffee and
handed it to me. “I can get you a warm cup if you’d like. We don’t open for another half hour.”
I nodded, and with the cup in hand, the man turned and headed down the stairs. I gathered my things, smoothed out my shirt, tossed my hair to one side and followed the man down the stairs.
“My names Elliot” he shouted from behind the counter and the noises of the coffee machine.
“Ellie.” I shouted back.
A door swung open and in Elliot’s hand was a new cup of coffee.
“That’s a coincidence.”
I smiled nervously and took the cup from the man.
“Sit.” he said, nodded to a table.
I followed his instructions and set my cup down and pulled out a chair.
He stared at me for a moment as I stared at my coffee. After a long moment of silence, I started.
“I am so sorr-”
He stopped me and reached out, resting his hand on top of mine.
“It’s alright Ellie…really.”
I had a few questions but didn’t know where to start. So I let the silence
continue.
“My boss figured you needed a place to stay.”
I wasn’t homeless. Did I look homeless?
“Do you...have somewhere to go…?”
I nodded. “I’m not homeless…” I proclaimed. I couldn’t help but stare at
his hands. There was something different about them from the rest of the
man.
“I figured. You’re too well dressed to be homeless.” He smiled, and his
hands moved up and through his hair again.
“So, if you’re not homeless then what’s your story?”
My story? I didn’t have a story. I was a young single girl. Lonely. Living
on her own in the city. On her way home when a snow storm hit. I just stopped into the coffee shop to get warm, not to spend the night like some refugee.
“My story?”
“Yeah, your story.” he continued to grin at me.
I paused to think of an answer.
“I was just on my way home. Stopped in for a cup of coffee. Guess I didn’t
drink enough of it.”
He laughed at the comment, showing a set of pearly white teeth.
“Maybe it wasn’t a very good cup of coffee.” He glanced at the cup in front of me. I lifted it and took a sip.
“This cup’s better.” We both laughed softly, then found each other staring
for long while at one another.
“I’ll make sure not to tell my boss you said that.”
I took another sip. “I should probably go…” I said, standing up.
“Go where?”
“Home.”
He shook his head chuckling slightly. “Hang out. I’ll open late.”
“I don’t want to be more of an inconvenience than I already have been.”
Elliot reached out and took my hand in his, squeezing it softly.
“Ellie.”
My eyes grew wide, and I felt my heart beat quickly within my chest.
“Let’s not play games with one another. Stay.”
I pulled my hand away, and bit my lip.
“I can’t. I’m sorry Elliot.” I grabbed my bag from under the table, and thew
it across my shoulder. “Thank you…” I said, thinking of his hands but
staring at the blue in his eyes. I turned around, and pushed the door open.


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

It was Valentine’s Day (or as I like to call it “Singles Awareness Day” ) and my friend had dragged me out to this terrible bar in the suburbs  titled “Distraction” My friend, who was newly single and “ready to mingle” laughed when she saw the big blue sign with the name.
“That’s an ironic name” she said, snickering.
I nodded my head and groaned as we headed inside. She was right. What was this bar distracting me from? If anything, it was drawing more attention to the things I was supposed to be distracted from by just existing with such a name. My friend walked up to the bar, leaned against a stool and ordered something sweet. She asked me if I wanted anything, but I shook my head no. After a few minutes of small talking with her, and watching her sip at her watered down drink, I noticed a young man walking towards us. The bar was dimly lit, and I couldn’t quite make him out but I sighed and turned towards the bartender.
“*** and coke” I hollered out to the man. “Pour heavy!”
I stayed facing the shelves of drinks, the different bottles organized by color and type. Whiskey, Tequila, *****. Suddenly, I felt someone tap me on the shoulder and with a deep inhale, I turned; expecting some man with sleeked back hair and a bad tan to be facing me.
Instead, it was Elliot. Staring at me, standing inches from my face. I took a step back into a bar stool, and fell into a seat.
“Ellie” he said, smiling.
I couldn’t help but smile for a moment too, but then I quickly wiped it away as the bartender slid my drink to the right of me. Before I could do anything, Elliot placed a few dollars on the counter.
“You don’t have to -“
“It’s fine”  He continued to smile widely.
I looked around the room for my friend, she was across the room playing darts with some broad shouldered man. I took my glass, placed the straw on the counter and gulped down about half of it in one drink.  
“Happy Valentines Day” he said, almost sarcastically following the statement with a slight laugh.
I felt myself smiling again and took another gulp. The bartender definitely poured heavy. The liquid burned as it slid down my throat, and I clenched my teeth. I could tell Elliot was trying hard not to laugh.
“Would you like to dan-“
I bursted out laughing.
“Dance? Oh god, please. Don’t do this Elliot.”
He stared at me widely for a moment. “What are you so afraid of Ellie?”
I scoffed, and shook my head, taking another drink I responded
“I’m not afraid of anything”
He blinked at me, then ran through his fingers through his hair and breathed out loudly.
“Is it me?”
I wasn’t sure how to answer this, or what he was really even asking. I stumbled on my words, stuttering. I finished my drink, and set the glass down on the counter.
“Another?” he asked.
“No...” I paused. “Thank you”
He stared at me for a moment, his brows furrowed. He reached out to touch me, and I pulled away.
“Ellie...Let me-“
I interrupted him and shouted out “space!”
He looked puzzled, then chuckled.
“What?”
“I’m afraid of space”
“Space....? Please elaborate.”
“Like the sky, and the planets and the stars and ****”
He laughed softly. “And ****...”
“Think about it. We have no idea what’s out there. We have no idea what’s coming for us. We are so small, comparatively.”
“So you believe in aliens?”
“I believe in possibility”
“Anything could happen.”
“Exactly! Right now, as we speak, the sun could explode.”
“Or, aliens could invade!”
“You’re really stuck on the alien thing.”
“It’s a possibility”
We both sat in silence for a moment, his eyes felt heavy on me. I stood up from my stool, our bodies were almost touching.
“I’ve got to go see if my friends OK.” I said, glancing over at her. She was still playing darts with the broad shoulder man. He had his arms wrapped around her, ‘showing’ her how to hold the dart now.
“She looks like she’s doing ok to me” Elliot said with a snicker.
I didn’t argue.
“What’s your last name?” he asked.
I shook my head violently. “Look, Elliot. You seem-“ I stopped and thought of how I wanted to finish my sentence, but before I could, Elliot grabbed my hand and held it tightly.
“Ellie. I’m just a man. I’m not some comet coming down or some alien race a million light years away. You don’t need to be afraid of me.”
I took a few shallow breaths, my heart was pounding. I tried pulling away, but Elliot just pulled himself closer to me.
“You said you believe in possibility. You can’t deny the possibility of you and me.”
“I...”
He reached up, and tucked a hair that was falling down my face behind my ear then stepped back, letting go of my hand.
“I have an idea.”
“What’s that?”
“I want to help you conquer your fear”
“Oh?”
He grabbed my hand again and pulled me towards the door, I looked over to my friend, but didn’t fight him.
“She’ll be okay.” he said, still tugging me.
I followed him out the door and down the street. We stopped and hailed a cab, as one pulled up, he opened the door for me.
“Get in.”
“I don’t even know you. You could be taking me to some wear house to **** and ****** me!”
“Ellie. Don’t be so dramatic. Get in”
“Where are we going?”
“To the moon.”
“And back again?”
“We’ll see. Maybe once you get there, you’ll never want to leave.”
“It’s a possibility”
I stepped inside the cab, and so did he.

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


Once we were in the cab, the rush of excitement I was feeling in the bar and in the street had faded. Elliot handed the man his phone, which had an address written on it. The cabbie put the address into his GPS and started the meter as he drove on.
“So are we taking the cab to the moon? Or are we just taking the cab to NASA and then a spaceship to the moon?” I said sarcastically, my voice breaking from nervousness. Elliot put his hand on my leg, and sat back into his seat without saying anything.
“Who’s paying for the cab Elliot?”
He continued to be silent. I turned at stared out the window, I noticed the cab was taking us out of the city and I began to get a little worried.
“Can you please tell me where we’re going?” I asked quickly. I looked back at Elliot, he was sweating.
“Elliot? Is everything OK?” His eyes were shut and his breathing was heavy.
“I’m afraid of things in motion.” he muttered softly.
“Isn’t everything in motion?” he opened his eyes, raised his brows and then smiled at me.
“I mean, the world is always turning and we’re walking, or breathing. So we’re moving, no matter what-“
“Can you be quiet please?”
I looked back out the window again for what felt like a long while. Finally, the cab stopped in front a large abandoned dome like building in a town I had never been in. Elliot was quick to exit the cab, and circle the car to open my door. I stepped out, Elliot paid the driver and the cab drove away.
“So you ARE going to **** and ****** me?”
Elliot looked at me, and took my hand.
“I’m sorry about in the car. What mean by things in motion is like, cars and trains and planes and...” he paused, “and ****...”
We both laughed.
“I knew what you meant. I’m sorry if I was being difficult.”
He gave me a look and I nodded at him. He took me by the hand and led me closer to the building. We reached a door that had been boarded up.
“This doesn’t look like the moon...Or NASA...”
“Ellie. Do you trust me?”
“I...I don’t really even know you so-“
Elliot pried back at the board, slipping into the building through a small space and pulled me inside with him. The room we stepped into was a circle, and in the center; a large telescope.
“Does that even work?”
He squeezed my hand, then let go. Approaching the telescope, he stepped up a small set of stairs to a control panel. He pushed a few buttons and a few moments later, I heard a whirring and a low rattle followed by a deep sound. I felt a slight vibration and suddenly the roof was opening above me, exposing the night sky. On this night, the stars were bright, and the moon was full.
“Come here” Elliot called out from near the telescope.
I started to shake only slightly at the sight of the sky above me, I felt frozen and tense, as if I couldn’t move. Elliot made his way down the stairs and towards me.
“It’s okay Ellie.” he said, reaching for my hand and guiding me towards the telescope. We stepped up the stairs, and he stood next to me, still holding my hand as he adjusted a few things, looking in the telescope, then at me, then back through the telescope. He turned towards me, nudging me.
“Go ahead.”
I looked at the giant metal telescope, and shook my head.
“I really appreciate what you’re trying to do here but-“
He put his hand on my lower back, and pushed me towards the telescope.
“Just look.”
I put my face close to the telescope, an
Nihl Jun 2013
“And as for you, River, there will be a day when you will flow with blood more than water. And dead bodies will be stacked higher than the dams. And he who is dead will not be mourned as much as he who is alive. Asclepius, why are you weeping? ”

CHAPTER I

The lake house was always a place of good memories. I couldn’t help but remember the countless summers just like this one, where I had spent days down by the lake, beside my father, catching rainbow trout with nothing but a line and a little bread or bait worm. The sound of crickets chirping in chorus at dusk, while just a slither of gold managed to peek over the mountain range that hung like curtains, draped across the horizon on every side. It was our paradise on earth, the Coulter families’ personal heaven. A humble log house nestled in the heavy shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Standing peacefully beside our private little lake, cradled within a thick pine forest. It was our pine forest.
-
We had arrived at the house two days ago, on a particularly overcast Friday afternoon. But the grey sky had parted, and left us with clear blue skies almost as soon as we arrived. Now nothing but the occasional broad, pearl-white, sky conquering clouds would dare to appear. This made the weather perfect for a swim in the lake, as well as an afternoon frying the day’s catch of trout in the fire pit just outside the cabin. I was inside the cabin, stuffing the weekend’s filthy clothes into my pack, in preparation for the long journey home tomorrow morning. Dad was gathering a load of firewood from our great proud pile of logs outside. I always liked adding to the pile the same way I found a mundane joy in saving money, I watched as we built it up into a neat pyramid, then imagined how long it would last us and how many cold nights they would ward off.
After packing my last well-worn flannel shirt into my now plump olive duffle bag the sun had disappeared behind the mountain; leaving a quickly dying amber streaked across the western sky.
I could hear my father’s footsteps as he entered the house, dropping a collection of heavy wood at his feet in front of the fireplace. Then quickly transporting the two best-looking ones straight into the warm mess of crackling flames that kept our cabin warm. I climbed under the covers of my bed and sat with my back against the wall, with a clear view into the living room.
I am Curtis, and George Coulter was my father, a broad man with dark brown hair, a short cropped haircut, bright blue eyes and dark stubble with traces of silver sneaking through. He was a weathered man with a tough 37 years over my easy 16, and always seemed to dress like a cliché lumberjack. Apart from the weathered appearance, sprouting grey hair and working class fashion sense, we were practically a splitting image. My mother would always say that looking at me was like stepping back in time and that every day I looked more like him.
-
“That should keep it going for a while.” George said, obviously exhausted from the events of the weekend and He slowly moved just inside the doorway and leaned against the frame, rubbing his eyes with his right hand before bringing it down to form a soft v shape on his chin.
“I’ve already loaded the truck, so we’ll be able to leave bright and early tomorrow.” He turned his head quickly as if to listen carefully for something else in the room. I found this to be a perfect opportunity to shoot a question I’d been wondering recently.
“Do you think there really is life after death?” I asked him abruptly and he looked straight at me with a quizzical expression and replied “Why do you ask, did someone say something?” I sat up straight on my bed pulled my hands into my lap.
“No, no one said anything. It’s just that I rode my bike by the cemetery last week, and there was a statue of an angel in the middle of all the gravestones, it just made me wonder, you know. Does all that stuff really exist?” I had a lump in my throat and swallowed hard to keep in down. My father sat down beside me at the foot of the bed.
“I think…” He started, still searching for the right words to say. “I like to think that there’s a place somewhere up there for us.” He turned his gaze towards the window and observed the last light in the sky before turning quickly back to me.
“Do you think mom will be up there?” I asked, and his face dropped a little.
“Your mother is up there waiting for us and the first thing she’ll do is tell us to take our shoes off so as not to get the cloud *****.” He said with a slight smile, I laughed at the idea as he continued. “But you don’t have to worry about that for a long time Curt.” He grinned, roughed up my hair, and then forced me into bed playfully. “I’ll do my best to make sure of that.” He rose from the bed and advanced towards the door. “Now get some sleep. I don’t want to have a conversation with myself on the ride back.” He disappeared into the main room and slumped into a lazy boy chair to gaze at the fireplace in the warmth of our now quiet cabin, as my room was filled with the soft lullaby of crackling fire. I turned towards the window and stared out towards the stars, my mind wandering as I closed my eyes. Tomorrow we would begin the long journey home.
-
Without any warning I was startled awake by a terrifying ripping sound. A great rip echoed throughout the house like a plastic bag violently flailing about in heavy wind. I immediately sat up on my bed, and blindly stared out into an ocean of black. A strange loud thumping sound rang from the living room in regular intervals. It had seemed like no time at all had passed since I had closed my eyes, my heart was thundering like the gears on a full-speed freight train and my eyes fed off the darkness in the room, starving for even the slightest idea of a source for the noise. But all I could see was darkness beyond my doorway. I struggled to pull myself back together from my state of screaming fear and cautiously got to my feet.
As far as I could tell the thumping was coming from outside, as I moved towards the doorway and peered into the living room. For some reason the fireplace that should still have been flickering with hungry flames was now dark and dead, as though it had gone cold days ago and the house completely vacated. The warmth that the fire had supplied moments ago had now been replaced with a cruel cold midnight breeze sailing in through the wide open swinging cabin door. The cabin door was clashing against the cabin wall outside in the wind I now knew was the source of the horrifying thumping that my imagination had played so helplessly with. My breath became shallow as I contemplated my situation, how long had I been asleep, and where was my father? I turned to the lazy boy in the living room and noticed it upturned and vacant. My heart started firing again like a machine gun and cold sweat now dawned on my brow. There was no sign of dad, not in the cabin at least. With my heartbeat slowing to the manageable speed of a cruising passenger train, I wondered where he could have gone while struggling to tame the rising feeling of dread as I hurried towards the front door and looked out over the hill and down towards the lake. There was no jagged black figure or human form in sight. A great deal of me was hoping to catch him investigating the same noise that startled me. But he was nowhere near, which made my blood run cold.  
-
The unforgiving night’s ice cold wind stung my ears and pinched my face, my breath trailing off in vapour. “Dad!” I called out, towards the southern wharf down by the water, nothing. Again I called, towards the vegetable patch on the eastern side of the house, nothing. I tapped my fingers anxiously on the door frame before proceeding down the few steps leading into the cabin, closing the cabin door behind me to stop the jarring thump. With that I was engulfed in the darkness and violent wind. Disoriented I called out once more towards the pine forests to the west, “Dad!” my voice cracked from desperation and bounced through the gale, ringing in the distance as if it had been carried by the wind and exploded skyward, amplified by the mountains surrounding the lake.
-
A light! A light darted between the tree line and danced in the darkness before disappearing just as quickly as it came. I stared in awe as the wind found its way through my clothes and now chilled me completely. My bare feet screamed from the cold grass that I tortured them with and I could hear the abhorrent ripping sound bellowing back at me from the distant forest. I stood still, confused and staring hopefully. I heard him, faint at first, but I was certain that I heard my father’s voice on the wind.
“Curt.”
I followed the voice out into the darkness, past the fire pit and towards the western tree line. I waved my arms in front of me pathetically probing the air for something to guide me. My eyes squinted hard to try and make out detail from nothing. “Curt.” Again it whispered from the distance. I stumbled across the field until I reached the outskirts of the woods and I could feel the first cluster great pine looming overhead. The wind and chill was slowly cut off by the wall of trees, as I followed the origin of my father’s voice.
The forest bed was thick with undergrowth and as familiar as this place was during the day, at night it was like another world, a world in which sight had to be thrown to the wind and I was forced to rely on my other senses for navigation. I could smell the heavy musk of the leaf litter, and hear the wind from the field. But I could see nothing more than the glare of the full moon hanging behind the thick clouds and the faint outline of the countless pine trees that shot skyward.

It was strange, I could smell him now. I could smell my father laced upon the air, boot-polish and old sweat. The same smell hanging among the trees as the red plaid shirt that he'd use to polish his boots and labour all weekend around the lake house. It was as if he was right beside me, this idea urged me to quickly turn side to side hoping that this was in fact, true. But all I found was more vague lines in darkness, freezing fingers and whipping wind songs from the distant clearing. The smell slowly disappeared, replaced with an eerily familiar, metallic, pooling scent…
My heart thundered at the realization, Blood. I could smell blood swimming in the air, as if someone painted the trees with buckets of human blood. I could taste it on the tip of my tongue the air was so filthy with the scent.
-
My eyes opened wide, panicking at the lack of visual aid as I stopped dead in my tracks. Something felt awkward, space felt strange, warped and twisted. It was like the world was turned on its side. It felt as though someone somewhere had invaded the space I now stood in. And I could feel its presence, I felt its eyes burning a hole in the back of my head, and the hair on my neck stood upright. My heart began racing faster and faster, thumping now like the cabin door, slamming against the wall in the wind. I could feel something out there, watching and waiting. I could feel it getting nearer, getting ever closer and growing. It was as if it was feeding on the shadows and becoming larger, filling the darkness with its horrid presence. I couldn't bare it anymore; I felt it creeping up on me and my skin was crawling. My head screaming for me to turn around but I couldn't move. I felt an impossible grip encompass my entire body and swallow me in darkness. Cold sweat like ice running down my cheeks and my clothes were now saturated.
-
My breath was pounding rapidly in short, sharp bursts as I watched it fog and pillar upwards through the cutting wind. I couldn't hear anything past the roaring noise in my head, raw panic like nails on a chalkboard. My thoughts were like a game of Ping-Pong, bouncing back and forth and I couldn't focus on anything. I felt it slithering at my heels now, like a python slowly constricting its prey, playing with it before a sudden death. A twisted cold breath falling onto my shoulders as every muscle in my body tensed to point where it felt I could explode at any time. I it leaned in closely beside me, with its face hanging inches away from my ear. I could hear its lungs gathering the icewind for speech, and its tongue slithering in between razor teeth, preparing for the first terrifying bite.
-
“It’s so close.” Hisses from its jaws in several thunderous voices spawning from the darkness in every direction, the trees dissolve, the sky falls apart and my entire world collapsed away into pitch black.

N.H.

CHAPTER II
http://hellopoetry.com/poem/possession-two/
Austin Bauer Oct 2016
White Converse shoes,
Pants pulled up like
You came straight
From the 50s.
McFly! McFly!
You were reading
The paper when
You got up to ask me
To borrow a chair.
After all, it was dark
Where you were sitting,
And it takes a healthy
Amount of natural light
To read the paper.
At least that's what you told me.  
Of course I obliged because  
It does make it easier
For me to write about you when
You're sitting right across
From me. Mr. Plaid Shirt with
A Pilot G-2 Gel Ballpoint Pen.
Maybe if you're lucky,
Your coffee won't be cold
By the time you read,
"Animal Cuisine, for Animals,"
Or, "This Sushi Waits for No One."
What does it say about me
That I would sit here
And describe you as you read?
I could interrupt you,
Asking you a few questions
To really get to know you.
I assume you're a kind person
Based on the laughter-lines
Surrounding your eyes;
Based on the way you smiled
At that young woman as
She walked by.
Gather ‘round, warriors. This is your time.

This is your time to shine. It’s your day in the sun. It’s one-of-a-kind, o ye cheaters of death, but this is, nevertheless, your finest hour.

You found a home in war. You entered into a contract with bad company and gave up the rights to your body, your mind, everything but your mortal soul. They took advantage of the circumstance and you wound up deep in a bunk hole, hiding behind the tenuous wall of a manure pile. Bullets whizzed by your ears, fear possessed your frames like a demon taunted by the Lord. Death swooped in to put it’s fear into you, but you all laughed in his face and spat in his eye, turned your back on him without saying goodbye. Perhaps “See ya later” would have been appropriate. 

But no matter, husky gladiators. It is time to rest from your battle. It’s time to put away your swords and scabbards, your spears and your slings. Your automatic machine guns and your hand grenades. Your potent strains of anthrax and your agent orange. Surrender your arms, troglodytes. Cast them to the ground below. Consider the clatter they all make as they fall to the pavement. Take it in, breathe it all in, make it yours…

…for it IS yours.

Sorry, we didn’t get around to telling you. It was always yours, we just figured you would find it out on your own if you wanted it bad enough. No, I would agree: that is NOT fair. And I would also say this to you, “Fairness is a relative concept. When you consider the value we placed on you actually knowing this as a fact…well, I think it should be pretty ****** obvious. Don’t be a *****, you give all servicemen a bad name when you do that, you know?”

But enough of the self esteem-building fodder all, that is not why I have gathered ye here to-day. Nay, not even close. I have brought you all here together because I wanted to be the first to tell you. You’re all going home. That’s right, you’re homeward bound. Soon you’ll be able to pack your **** and take a southbound train to ride. You’ve lost your minds killing innocent civilians, you’ve struggled to keep your eyes open most nights, as staying awake meant staying alive. But you’re going home! Warm nights tucked between clean linen sheets. Soft goose down pillows to bore your heads into. The smell of coffee in the morning, bacon and eggs if you’re lucky. The prospect of another day that won’t be defined by the number of lives you’ve ended between sunrise and sunset.

The journey home will be a victorious one, indeed. You shall see it from the comfort of a first class seat on the most expensive airliner we can afford! A small bottle of gin or whiskey is only a few feet away and all you have to do to get one is ask the attendant. If you ask nicely I don’t doubt she might let you have more of those little bottles than administrative policy usually allows. But she sees it in your eyes…you’re a grizzled soldier. You’re still warm to the touch from the heat of battle. You know this. This is who you are, it’s what we made you. And she will sense this. It will drive her mad with desire. Her knees will quiver, she’ll blush, she’ll radiate ****** charm…but all you’ll be able to think of is that Vietnamese farmer with the plaid shirt. 

A ***** plaid shirt. Dripping with dark, brown mud, he smiled at you from beneath the brim of a straw hat that looked as if it had seen many better years. A smear in the drying clay was on the right side of his face where he’d wiped sweat. His lips were dry and cracked and his nose was a little runny. 

The buttons on that plaid shirt were the cute mother-of-pearl finish jobs, the kind that snap shut real easy. How many men would have noticed that? How many of the sharpest minds in the known universe would have missed how his left boot didn’t quite seem to match the right. But you caught it right away and you stored it into that immense data bank that is your United States Marine Corps certified brain. 

If only you could forget it, though. Right men? I see a few tears in a few eyes. I know I’m on the right track here, so if you still think I’m not talking to YOU, I have an invitation right here in my back pocket that will entitle the man to whom I give it a 6 month stint in the back of a mess peeling spuds. You don’t want that, now, do ye? What? No takers? I thought not.

But where was I? Oh, HOME, that’s what I was on about. You all have very nice homes, no doubt, and I’d bet there’s not a single one of you who isn’t just itchin’ to get back to ‘em. Is it the one you grew up in? Is it one you just bought? No matter, when you leave this place it will either be in a body bag or on the better side of Uncle Sam, who looks after all of those fine men and women who have risked life and limb in his service.

So what’s it going to be, worms? Death? He calls often here, and don’t think I don’t know that his is the song of the siren to many a worn out Spartan. But faileth not, loyal comrades. 

Will it be insanity? Will the wage of life and death struggle prove to be nothing more than a tug-of-war between lucidity and madness? Yer going home, grunt, why should it matter? Either one’s better than lying face down in a pool of your own guts. Don’t worry about it, just get on the plane. Baby, it’s your ticket to ride.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

I stepped onto the tarmac with a firm determination to forget the last 2 years. Maybe even the last 15. I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m just tired of looking for an answer. I’ve listened for the still, small voice of reason and wisdom, but it seems to have stayed behind in the battlefield. Probably where it belongs. 


The night was cloudy and the stars shone like pinpricks in a dark black veil that covered the most brilliant light…ha, I almost said “life”…I may not have been too far wrong there. I wanted to cut the cord of gravity, float through however many miles it might take to reach one of the punctured holes. Then I would tear the fabric and crawl into the other side. Disappear into the brilliant aura.

Only a dream, only a wish. I drug my weary frame from the bustling airport to the highway. An old two-lane road, dangerous after dark. It doesn’t bother me. It’s purpose is to facilitate the traversing of distance from one point to another. I could care less about where it could lead me. I only knew that I would not turn back no matter where I wound up, so I stuck out my thumb and waited for someone to give me a ride.

Does anybody stop to give rides to strangers anymore? I wouldn’t. It’s not something I condone. In fact, I have only done it once in my life, when I was just a kid, before seeing “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer”. After watching that seminal film I resolved to never, ever pick up hitch-hikers again. I wasn’t going to help anybody on the side of the road, either. **** being a “good Samaritan” if it means getting my brains blown clear out of my skull, flung to the side of the road like rotten fruit. 

Despite all of this I still had my hand stretched out, thumb in the universal position that signifies the need of transportation for the “down-on-his-luck” traveler. I remember asking myself what could be more pathetic. I was reduced, by circumstances beyond my control, to hitching or hoping that someone might be clueless enough to pick me up.

Yet, that is exactly what happened.

A hookah smoking caterpillar sat behind the wheel, and he seemed glad to do a small kindness to me. He could tell I was a veteran of psychic wars. He felt obligated, I was sure.

“Hop in, friend,” he said. “I can see that you’re a little down on your luck. I been there ma’self a time ‘er two. Just throw yer pack in the back seat and climb up here with me.”

I wasn’t shocked in the least that a hookah smoking caterpillar was driving a GMC Jimmy east on Route 66. It did, however, give me quite a shock to think that he would pull over and offer me a ride. I am no fool.

“Off we go,” I said to him. 


The road was a long one that took us out of the state. As we crossed the line the caterpillar turned the radio up real loud and started singing along to a Journey song they were playing on the classic rock station.

“Ooooh, wheel in the sky keeps on turning,” he wailed. “I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow!!!”

I turned to him. “You have a very distinct grasp of Steve Perry’s vocal mannerisms. Have you ever sang professionally?”

“Oh no, not me. I could never go onstage in front of a lot of people and sing. I just don’t have it in me.”

“Well, you aren’t afraid to sing in front of me. What’s the difference between one stranger and a hundred strangers?”

“Oh, it’s not that. It’s not that at all,” he repeated. “I had a friend who used to play and sing in a lot of the bars on the circuit between California and New Orleans. It was a job to him, you know? He told me about a lot of the stuff that goes on in those places. He told me how one time he was singing a Roy Orbison song when some pool-shooting loser throws the cue ball right at him. Beaned him on the forehead, BOP! Had to hurt. Said the bruise swelled up so bad directly afterwards that people started calling him “the Elephant Man”. I was a beginner in the days when he regaled me with these anecdotes and mister, I’ll tell you, he put the fear of God in me. I was so terrified of getting conked in the head with a pool ball that I never pursued the craft.”

I felt a tinge of sympathy for his plight. “I’m sorry to hear that. I bet you would have been a star if you’d gone for it. Bigger than Steve Perry, even.”

“Oh, it’s okay. I don’t feel cheated or like I’ve missed anything essential to my happiness. As long as I’ve got wheels, my hookah and something to put in it, I am a happy caterpillar. Remember that: I am merely a caterpillar.”

“I will do that, but you’re a caterpillar who could kick Steve Perry’s *** any day of the week!”

“Wheel in the sky keeps on turning!”

“**** straight…I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow!” 

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

The caterpillar held the wheel steady and kept on truckin’. He sang along with every single classic rock song that came on the radio. From Kansas to Boston to “Sweet Home Chicago” he knew them all and, to be perfectly honest, he did a **** good job. He belted ‘em out like Springsteen, he crooned like Bryan Ferry, he croaked like Joe Cocker, he wailed like Janis Joplin, he screamed like that dude from Slayer. No two ways about it. This hookah smoking caterpillar had serious talent. 

I was curious. “So, mister, what to do you do for a living?”

“My friend, I am a mortician. I deal with death every single day. I do a job that most folks would find distasteful and not a little disturbing. And yet I love my job. I do, oh yes, I do. I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the whole world.”

“Sounds interesting,” I said. “How does a man get a start in a field like yours?”

“It’s not too hard, really,” he replied. “You come with me, I’ll make you an apprentice. You lookin’ for work?”

“No, sir. I can’t say that I am right now. Still got a little cache stashed away from military days.” I made a gesture with my hand that signified that I was grateful for the offer, but would have to pass. “Maybe one of these days I might change my mind. I think I could handle it. I’m not squeamish. No, not at all.”

“Oh, I’m sure you could handle it. I can tell by the way you look straight ahead, you don’t look back, you’ve got a grip on everything in this world and you think there’s nothing that could ever shake your foundations, whether it be from the east wind or the west. The north or the south. Do I read you correctly?”

“I reckon you do. I’ve had a hard run most of my days. Experience has taught me one lesson, but it taught me good and well: Nothing is as you really think it is, and it could all be gone tomorrow. ”
JJ Hutton Jul 2013
The first time a man ever pointed a gun at me and asked me to love him was at Granny's Kitchen in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The waitress, a soft spoken white woman with her hair pulled back in a bun, had just dropped off my plates --- a simple mix of scrambled eggs, two pieces of greasy bacon, and a short stack of pancakes. Now, no matter how cheap, I always feel like I'm cutting loose at breakfast places for the sheer abundance of plates. While I'm sure the eggs and bacon could have shared real estate, each component had its own china.

The waitress lingered at my table, her fingers fidgeting with straws in her apron. I made eye contact. Well, my eyes contacted hers; she was staring at my lips.

Sure I can't get you something to drink? she asked.

This was approximately the tenth time she'd made sure. She was uncomfortable that I had supplied my own beverage -- a Big Gulp. But even more than that, she was uncomfortable by the deep red stain taking over my lips. Contents of the Big Gulp: merlot, boxed.

(That is an unnecessary detail. I've only written it so I never do it again.)

Before Greg hopped up on a table and announced to the restaurant, If I could have your attention, my name is Greg and this will only take a second, blah, blah blah, I poured a copious amount of syrup on my pancakes. Then I moved the bacon to my pancake plate. In my experience, very little in this life is better than syrup on bacon.

I shut my eyes for that first bite, just like the commercials. The syrup dribbled a bit onto my beard, and when I opened my eyes, I discovered it had also landed on my shirt. I grabbed a napkin. Heard a chair slide backwards. I started with my beard, peering around the diner, making sure no one saw. I think I heard someone gasp. But I was busy, working that napkin then against my shirt. Jesus, I thought. My grandma, who's got a splash of the Parkinson's, could eat with more grace.

If I could have your attention, my name is Greg and this will only take a second, a very official voice boomed behind me.

I turned around to see if I recognized him as one of those cuffed jean-sporting, wild plaid-loving NPR hosts. He wasn't one of those. He was a sunburn with mop hair in a black tank top and hemmed jean shorts. He did, however, have a cleft chin. That's actually worth noting. Don't see a lot of them these days.

I know you guys are busy, he said. I know that like me, you guys are probably broke as hell. I mean no offense Granny's, I love this place, but it ain't exactly four stars. Or three. Anyway, all I want from each of you is five dollars. If you ain't got five, give me four. Ain't got four, three. And so on.

He started with the stringy Japanese couple on the west side of the restaurant. Nobody really seemed scared, not the freckled brat in canvas sneakers, not the liver-spotted gentleman with a copy of that day's paper.

My old friend Jerome used to say that white folks are the only romantic criminals. He tacked it up to that whole Bonnie and Clyde crap. Greg, it seemed, was privy to that information, too. He smiled and thanked each person as he robbed them of a few presidents. The victims, smiling back, seemed to be thinking of their names tagged at the end of some newspaper dialogue. A few even gave more than he asked.

Here, take fifteen. Times will get better.

Aren't you just a charmer.

It was all very moving.

So he gets to me, and of course, I don't have any cash. I carry a debit and an arsenal of credit cards like a normal American. I don't know how he made it to me before running into this particular problem.

No, I don't have one of those iPhone card swipers, he said. Well, you gotta give me something.

I offered a gift card to Harold's Clothes for Men, it had like two bucks on it, but he wasn't interested.

What's your name?

Henry.

How much do you weigh?

Enough to keep me prohibited from most amusement park rides.

I like you, Henry. Well, let me ask you something. Have you ever loved a man? he asked, pointing his smudgy revolver just past my ear.

I shook my head no.

Me neither. I've always been curious, though. You been curious?

There was a time when I was thirteen -- Blake Hinton was changing after basketball practice -- and I remember thinking, that is an incredible chest. These lines just sprawled from his sternum, lines leading to these almond *******, and I specifically remember wanting to eat them like, well, almonds. But that hardly counts as curious. So, I said, No.

To which Greg responded: Get curious, boy. You're coming with me.


In the spirit of honesty, I was in a bit of a haze before Greg made me climb into his beat up Cavalier. Not just from the Big Gulp brimmed with merlot, no, I hadn't slept in two days prior to the whole gun-in-face incident. Reason being, I was, as Greg would say, broke as hell, and the rent was due. I stayed up both nights conspiring (and drinking). So, really I was pretty thrilled to be kidnapped away from the whole situation.

I had visions. I guess from the lack of sleep. Maybe they weren't visions, maybe just dreams, or fever dreams, I don't know. All I know is I blinked, and we were in the Appalachians. And there was a grey longbeard in the backseat rattling on and on about how change is easy, movement is easy; it's that whole nesting thing that takes courage and strength, blah, blah, blah. I told him to be quiet. Greg told me to get some sleep. I blinked.

We were in a karaoke bar in Madison, Tennessee. There was a gin and tonic in front of me. I took a drink. There was a water with lime in front of me.

Greg asked, Where did you go?

I told him, your dreams, trying to be cute. He turned and asked the bartender for a Yeager bomb. Reaching for the server in -- granted -- an overly dramatic gesture, I said, Make it two. We made it three. We made it four. Seven. Then some vague, but perfect number, because my head rang right. The words came right. And I was a journalist, asking Greg all the right questions.

I'm not a criminal, he said.

I was just bored, man, he said.

You see, I was in a rut, he said. Last month I put up a personal on Craigslist. I know, it's pretty ******* desperate. I've read the kind **** people put on there. But mine was different. I just wanted some time with my ex-wife. Some couch ***, you know? We hadn't done it on a couch since I dropped out of college, and I hadn't even really thought about it until a couple weeks after the divorce. Then it was all I could think about.

A black woman, whose teeth glowed under the black light, began singing "Wild Horses." Then he read my mind, I think.

Yeah, she answered it. Did our thing on her sofa. It was nice and all, and like all nice things, you just want more, but she said I couldn't have no more, this was a fluke, a one-time, or no, a one-off thing, she said. Had to relocate, so that's why I did that whole thing at Granny's.

You ever get it on a couch? he asked.

No, I said. I've see a bra though --- two actually.

He took that as a joke, which was good.

Though wild horses couldn't drag me away, a gasoline horse could.


He handed me a courtesy breath mint after I finished throwing up. The Nashville skyline looks perfect, he said. Especially at night.

My stomach was gravel in a washing machine. Masculine love. At gunpoint, I had agreed to indulge it. I was going to make love to a man -- not just a man -- a criminal. Not something to write about on a postcard.

Mr. Winters, my esteemed landlord,
Apologies about the rent. Got kidnapped by a *******, and I'm presently banging and being banged by him in Music City, USA.


I blinked.

We laid on opposite ends of the queen-sized mattress.

I always liked Super 8s, Greg said. I don't see the point in spending so much on a hotel. A bed is a bed.

And I tried to be funny with something about the confidentiality of dark bedsheets, but it fell flat.

Greg cried. I love my ex-wife, he said.

Can I help?

Will you hold me? he asked.

The air conditioner kicked on in the already freezing room.

I'm sorry. You don't have to, he said.

I scooted against him. He smelled pleasant in a family-vacation-kind-of-way, like a fresh pretzel covered in salt. I put my arm under his neck. He buried his face into my shoulder. I blinked.


The front end of his Cavalier was held together with copper wire and coat hangers. It was a two-door. Both doors dented from, according to Greg, hit-and-runs. It had a Vermont plate on the back. It was red. I mention all of this to say: if we kept moving, we were bound to get pulled over.

In the parking lot of 3B's Breakfast, Burgers And Beer, Greg asked me to retrieve his revolver from the glove compartment. You kinda have to uppercut it, he said. And I did.

I don't want to do it again, but we have to. I'm not staying put, not until I hit the ocean. But don't worry, I'm not going to hurt anyone.

He showed me the revolver. No bullets. I nodded, in approval, I guess.


The second time a man ever pointed a gun at me and asked me to love him was at 3B's Breakfast, Burgers And Beer in Bellevue, Tennessee. Of course, it was the same man, Greg, but the circumstances were a little different.

I went with two orders of biscuits and gravy --- or B & G as my dear friend Chance affectionately calls it. Four bites in and I'd yet to hit biscuit. For a moment, I wanted to tell Greg, C'mon man, ***** the ocean. Tennessee does gravy the way God intended. Nobody would find us in this suburb. We could be sharecroppers. Do they still have sharecroppers?

Do you like fresh corn? I asked. It was the first crop that came to mind.

Greg didn't answer. I noticed his plate of hash browns and eggs -- sunny-side up -- were untouched. You okay?

He was, he said, trying to get in the zone, that's all.

Alright.

Our waitress looked like a poster child for ******'s Youth. She couldn't have been much more than sixteen. She had blonde -- almost white -- hair. Her eyes changed color with the intensity and direction of light, a gradient between seaweed and dark ocean blue. She appeared to be an amish girl gone defective, and I was about to inquire into that very supposition when Greg stood on the table, and said, If I could have your attention, my name is Greg and this will only take a second.

Tennessee is not North Carolina. In North Carolina, they got a healthy aversion to firearms. In Tennessee, however, once a babe can walk, the *******'s got a BB gun and an endless supply of empty soda cans for target practice. I say that, to say this: when Greg stood on the table, so did three other men. Their three guns pointed right at him.

Lower that gun, brother. You ain't gettin' any money out of us.

Hate to shoot you in front of your boyfriend.

Coffee spilled and ran off the tray our waitress held. She shook so hard, it wasn't clear how many women she was.

Greg's cleft chin centered on one gunman, than the other, than the other.

Just drop the gun, *******.

We don't want to ruin no one's breakfast.

Fellas, I said, he doesn't have any bullets in his gun. We need a little money that's all.

That ****** is just trying to protect him.

I'm calling the cops, a purple-haired old woman yelped from under her table. Silverware clanged against the floor. Then the buzz of a fly. Then the pop of fries drowning in grease. Then the bell chimed as some idiot walked inside.

Greg's arm was shaky as he pointed the gun at me. Do you love me? he asked.

I blinked.

And I was at 3B's in Bellevue, Tennessee.

I blinked.

And I was at 3B's in Bellevue, Tennessee.

I blinked.

And I was at 3B's in Bellevue, Tennessee.

I put my arms up. Slid my chair back a ways. Stepped on the chair, then unto the table.

Do you love me? Greg asked.

His breath smelled like last night's alcohol and that morning's coffee. He was a child, a sunburnt child with a cap gun. He wasn't going to hurt anyone.

I put my hand on top of the revolver and lowered it. He crumpled, as if I were scolding him. They still pointed their guns at us. But for the first time in my life, I felt secured, tethered to a space.

I lifted Greg's chin up with my index finger. Covered his eyes with the palm of my hand. And I kissed him. I kissed him, keeping my eyes closed tight.
judy smith Oct 2015
Even when going incognito, she oozes A-list glamour.

And Jessica Alba looked sensational as she stepped out in West Hollywood to grab a refreshing drink with her daughters Honor, seven, and Haven, four, at Verve Coffee Roasters on Sunday.

The 34-year-old actress, who is married to producer Cash Warren, perfected the low-key look in a grey cotton ****-dress with a **** split, which she teamed with a khaki and navy plaid shirt.

Jessica oozed laid-back cool in her chic ensemble which comprised of a soft cotton dress, which skimmed her gym-honed figure while a large split up one side revealed her legs.

The Sin City starlet ensured her accessories were equally on-point, topping off her look with a stylish navy felt fedora.

Yet again giving the look a matching addition, Jessica toted an oversized navy leather handbag, which boasted a large front-facing pocket with a gold buckle.

The stunning star topped off the edgy ensemble with a pair of ankle boots with a low heel.

Jessica wore her ombre locks loose over hers shoulder with a slight kink styled into her hair.

Clearly completely comfortable for her day trip, the actress opted to forego make-up, allowing her stunning complexion to stand out.

Getting ready to take her girls and their friend into the car, Jessica juggled her car keys, a parking ticket and two refreshing soft drinks.

The day trip comes just days after the actress and entrepreneur launched her new make-up range.

Jessica is the founder of lifestyle brand The Honest Company, which promotes and sells natural and non-toxic home and body products.

The company has introduced a new line of make-up - Honest Beauty - and established its first pop-up shop at The Grove in Los Angeles.

Speaking with Women's Wear Daily of the new venture, Jessica explained that the line had been inspired by her years in the business, and wanting dependable, quality make-up.

'I've been working since I was 12, so I have over 20 years' experience with make-up, and I am used to a really high standard of effectiveness and quality,' she told the website.

The Sin City star also revealed that she was always planning on launching a make-up line, but she just wanted to take time to make sure she got it right.

read more:www.marieaustralia.com/backless-formal-dresses

www.marieaustralia.com/****-formal-dresses
Miranda Renea Dec 2013
I think you're the sea.
Your blue plaid shirt the waters and
My red plaid jacket the sunset,
Our hands are oars,
Yours tracing my fingertips-
My skin-
Arms, legs, and stomach,
Sending shivers down my spine,
Exploring my body like a ship
Sailing out into the horizon.

I hear your heart,
It beats in time with the tide,
Your breath a sweet ocean breeze
As it tousles my hair,
And I'm hyper aware of how
Deep your eyes are.
Not blue,
But brown like the ground of
The earth underneath the water.

Our kisses are dives,
Striving to reach the
Sunken treasure at the bottom
Of your ocean,
Of my ocean,
The pieces are scattered but
We'll find them and
Piece it back together.
Our hands intertwine to
Lock the chest but
I find I drown in your stare

Because seas are violent.
I'd forgotten that, but the thought
Seizes my mind as your waters
Grip my throat and I
Gasp for air but I find I can't
See anymore.

Your hands are cold against my body,
Like the tide of your heart casting me out
Onto the shore,
Naked and sure of indifference
Your breath a typhoon of ice
Hurled perfectly at my chest-
You used this sunset and
Left a storm in my eyes.
Painted a picture of sincerity but
Blue is the color of clarity and
Mine won't forget your
Murderous waves or
Mischievous ways and

Through you I've come to know
Some people aren't that lucky-
We cry alone.
Throw a rock, aim right at our chest,
Our hearts are stone.
We suffer in silence. And
If I could catch all the tears I've cried in a pitcher,
I would rain them down,
Drown a river in my sorrow.
Drown my sorrow in a river?
What's the difference? Life is only borrowed, anyways.
Second slam piece I've ever written.
alavandala Jan 2014
sign your poetry
with a cigarette burn
and your letters with

"goodbye"

leave a note at 12 o clock
"see you soon"

run to the tracks
use them as a balance beam
SCREAMmynamehurry
get off
the train
is coming

sprint.

run away from you
run away from the
bad and into the
arms of the good
the chase
           is over

the life you wanted-
             gone

a skip jump hop
          in my step
i give my heart to you

— The End —