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Đaviđ Sep 2019
I see many portraits in my visions.
portraits of black sheep in division.

portraits of eyes so deep,
a portrait for ones soul to keep.

portraits of two hearts collided,
a portrait of a life divided.

portraits of wise men citing verse,
a portrait of sage ending in curse.

portraits of shadows with knives,
a portrait of the horned ones as they connive.

portraits of footprints imprinted in the sand,
a portrait of those footprints washed free of this land.

portraits of life and blackness of dieing,
a portrait of some innocence, then crying.

portraits of smiles not to be trusted,
a portrait of a chain all weathered and rusted.

i have many portraits my collection has grew,
a portrait of my life and a visionary portrait of you.
“We love what we don’t know, what it’s lost already…”*
Jorge Luis Borges

I hang on to your portrait, in front of me;
among candles, copal, and all those things you worship in a mexican altar to the death.

You are my invisible jaguar,
you appear before me, between dreams, and I fell alive.

Full of wounds,
lacerated by my absence,
I put your portrait in front of the altar that my mind has conceived,
and you seem to hold the paradise's secret in your hands,which are made of ashes.
Then, according to the mexican & catholic tradition,
like a rural priest,
you start to draw a cross, made of the ashes of your magic, sacred hands.

The smell of the whole,
sacred being that exists in this spiritual plane,
lays on your profile, so beautiful embodied in your portrait,
which I prefer above any other reflex.

Finally, when I think on your lips,
is when I stop believing  in anything else,
and just keep on holding the devotion that I worship to your portrait...
Then I chase each single one of the naked,
flaccid,
vulnerable memories of you,
trying to protect me.

I think of you,
so profoundly and vividly right now,
that my skin transpires,
bleeds,
my muscles are tense,
and my mouth recites your name with all and its last name.

I wish that, under a supernatural power,
you're also thinking of me, at this precise moment,
and that some thought can touch me below my skirt,
and make the skin of my white buttocks to bristle.

White –Blanca in Spanish-; the name of one of my childhood’s friend.

And the same color of your so polish, european skin.

The rainforest of your sacred Chiapas.

I need you excruciatingly.
Like a dagger into my body.

I will like to see your portrait being devoured by the flames,
but I do not have the courage to throw it to the fire,
for its image will become strongly painted in my mind,
and the effect that you exerts towards me it will be more powerful.
Dangerous.

I had a dream a couple of hours ago,
it was me,
so earthly,
being blessed by your voice,
and the tattoo you have on your left arm, being kissed by my simple mouth.

Our skin,
together,
united,
white,
is the wall where the moon lays on,
Lays in our bodies making love,
in a black hammock,
conjuring with our pneuma to the whispering of the rainforest...
P-Røšę Pøę Jun 2019
I see many portraits in my visions.
Portraits of black sheep in division.
Portraits of eyes so deep,
a portrait for ones soul to keep.
Portraits of two hearts collided,
a portrait of a life divided.
Portraits of wise men citing verse,
a portrait of sage ending in curse.
Portraits of shadows with knives,
a portrait of the horned ones as they connive.
Portraits of footprints imprinted in the sand,
a portrait of those footprints washed free of this land.
Portraits of life and blackness of dieing,
a portrait of some innocence, then crying.
Portraits of smiles not to be trusted,
a portrait of a chain all weathered and rusted.
I have many portraits my collection has grew,
a portrait of my life and a visionary portrait of you.
He walks through a wood once every month
He takes the same route near The Wishing Pond

He meets with the Collector in a secluded building
Who never fails to purchase every new painting

The man was an artist, the Collector was a fan
His works and his reputation was known throughout the land

The Artist had it all: a nice house, a loving wife,
friends in every town and city, and wealth to last his life

Every month, another painting
Every month, the Collector's money

His life was set, his life was perfect
All he needed as an artist was a self portrait

So this next month's painting would be special
For when he would pass, this will be his memorial

He started on an early morning, standing in front of a mirror
With skill and patience, shading and texture, the first sketch was done

The painting process took a few days
Without sleep or food, for hours in his room he stayed

Near the end of the month, the portrait finally done
Proud and exhausted, the artist exclaimed, "This is a special one."

The next day, he readied his portrait to take
To the Collector, who was expecting to be amazed

With a glance at the picture before he could leave
He noticed many flaws and said, "I want a perfect me"

He sent a letter explaining the delay
To the Collector, disappointed, he lessened the pay

For days, the Artist fixed each flaw
The big ears, the small nose, the feminine jaw

Every day he found a new imperfection
But after months and months of fixing, he achieved satisfaction

He took his self portrait on his once monthly walk
To the Collector's house, pass The Wishing Pond

He tripped on a rock, dropping his portrait
Falling into the pond, his art was ruined

The canvas had sunk, the water grew murky
The paint spread around and clouded before him

The cloudy colors swirled in the water's waves
The Artist, distraught, sat in heartache

A figure rose from the water, the colors had faded
He recognized it immediately as the perfection he painted

His portrait was alive for to not be was imperfect
His creation looked back at him and exclaimed, "I am The Artist"

Throughout the years, the portrait had adopted The Artist's life
With perfect skills, perfect fame, and even the love of his wife

The Collector, impressed by its own work, gave it double the pay
He also terminated his contract, he and the Artist had made

The Artist was left with nothing
His life stolen by his painting

Embodied perfection had taken it all
Living wishful thinking, alive from The Pond

He tasked, and pushed, and berated himself to achieve perfection
He succeeded, but lost everything to his perfect version.
Gayle Bell Sep 2012
Blues Haiku

Freddie King’s guitar
Waits for a big leg woman
Fishnets adorn mine


Self Portrait LIII
Reading street hieroglyphics
comfortable in it’s dark caress
Buildings like promises
Broken and lost
The wheels spinning
My mp3 jazz loop
Sing that skit skat baby
The things I tell my pillow makes it blush

Self Portrait 54
Weekend
Books at half mast
Reading a book on Af Am essays
Wondering what happened to
The ‘Dream”
Monday
Listening to Bob Segar and Snoop
Tatas at attention mode
Bopping to the
Unemployment office
to see a lady about a check
and a “Dream Deferred”
1.

I am thirty this November.
You are still small, in your fourth year.
We stand watching the yellow leaves go queer,
flapping in the winter rain.
falling flat and washed. And I remember
mostly the three autumns you did not live here.
They said I'd never get you back again.
I tell you what you'll never really know:
all the medical hypothesis
that explained my brain will never be as true as these
struck leaves letting go.

I, who chose two times
to **** myself, had said your nickname
the mewling mouths when you first came;
until a fever rattled
in your throat and I moved like a pantomine
above your head. Ugly angels spoke to me. The blame,
I heard them say, was mine. They tattled
like green witches in my head, letting doom
leak like a broken faucet;
as if doom had flooded my belly and filled your bassinet,
an old debt I must assume.

Death was simpler than I'd thought.
The day life made you well and whole
I let the witches take away my guilty soul.
I pretended I was dead
until the white men pumped the poison out,
putting me armless and washed through the rigamarole
of talking boxes and the electric bed.
I laughed to see the private iron in that hotel.
Today the yellow leaves
go queer. You ask me where they go I say today believed
in itself, or else it fell.

Today, my small child, Joyce,
love your self's self where it lives.
There is no special God to refer to; or if there is,
why did I let you grow
in another place. You did not know my voice
when I came back to call. All the superlatives
of tomorrow's white tree and mistletoe
will not help you know the holidays you had to miss.
The time I did not love
myself, I visited your shoveled walks; you held my glove.
There was new snow after this.

2.

They sent me letters with news
of you and I made moccasins that I would never use.
When I grew well enough to tolerate
myself, I lived with my mother, the witches said.
But I didn't leave. I had my portrait
done instead.

Part way back from Bedlam
I came to my mother's house in Gloucester,
Massachusetts. And this is how I came
to catch at her; and this is how I lost her.
I cannot forgive your suicide, my mother said.
And she never could. She had my portrait
done instead.

I lived like an angry guest,
like a partly mended thing, an outgrown child.
I remember my mother did her best.
She took me to Boston and had my hair restyled.
Your smile is like your mother's, the artist said.
I didn't seem to care. I had my portrait
done instead.

There was a church where I grew up
with its white cupboards where they locked us up,
row by row, like puritans or shipmates
singing together. My father passed the plate.
Too late to be forgiven now, the witches said.
I wasn't exactly forgiven. They had my portrait
done instead.

3.

All that summer sprinklers arched
over the seaside grass.
We talked of drought
while the salt-parched
field grew sweet again. To help time pass
I tried to mow the lawn
and in the morning I had my portrait done,
holding my smile in place, till it grew formal.
Once I mailed you a picture of a rabbit
and a postcard of Motif number one,
as if it were normal
to be a mother and be gone.

They hung my portrait in the chill
north light, matching
me to keep me well.
Only my mother grew ill.
She turned from me, as if death were catching,
as if death transferred,
as if my dying had eaten inside of her.
That August you were two, by I timed my days with doubt.
On the first of September she looked at me
and said I gave her cancer.
They carved her sweet hills out
and still I couldn't answer.

4.

That winter she came
part way back
from her sterile suite
of doctors, the seasick
cruise of the X-ray,
the cells' arithmetic
gone wild. Surgery incomplete,
the fat arm, the prognosis poor, I heard
them say.

During the sea blizzards
she had here
own portrait painted.
A cave of mirror
placed on the south wall;
matching smile, matching contour.
And you resembled me; unacquainted
with my face, you wore it. But you were mine
after all.

I wintered in Boston,
childless bride,
nothing sweet to spare
with witches at my side.
I missed your babyhood,
tried a second suicide,
tried the sealed hotel a second year.
On April Fool you fooled me. We laughed and this
was good.

5.

I checked out for the last time
on the first of May;
graduate of the mental cases,
with my analysts's okay,
my complete book of rhymes,
my typewriter and my suitcases.

All that summer I learned life
back into my own
seven rooms, visited the swan boats,
the market, answered the phone,
served cocktails as a wife
should, made love among my petticoats

and August tan. And you came each
weekend. But I lie.
You seldom came. I just pretended
you, small piglet, butterfly
girl with jelly bean cheeks,
disobedient three, my splendid

stranger. And I had to learn
why I would rather
die than love, how your innocence
would hurt and how I gather
guilt like a young intern
his symptons, his certain evidence.

That October day we went
to Gloucester the red hills
reminded me of the dry red fur fox
coat I played in as a child; stock still
like a bear or a tent,
like a great cave laughing or a red fur fox.

We drove past the hatchery,
the hut that sells bait,
past Pigeon Cove, past the Yacht Club, past Squall's
Hill, to the house that waits
still, on the top of the sea,
and two portraits hung on the opposite walls.

6.

In north light, my smile is held in place,
the shadow marks my bone.
What could I have been dreaming as I sat there,
all of me waiting in the eyes, the zone
of the smile, the young face,
the foxes' snare.

In south light, her smile is held in place,
her cheeks wilting like a dry
orchid; my mocking mirror, my overthrown
love, my first image. She eyes me from that face
that stony head of death
I had outgrown.

The artist caught us at the turning;
we smiled in our canvas home
before we chose our foreknown separate ways.
The dry redfur fox coat was made for burning.
I rot on the wall, my own
Dorian Gray.

And this was the cave of the mirror,
that double woman who stares
at herself, as if she were petrified
in time -- two ladies sitting in umber chairs.
You kissed your grandmother
and she cried.

7.

I could not get you back
except for weekends. You came
each time, clutching the picture of a rabbit
that I had sent you. For the last time I unpack
your things. We touch from habit.
The first visit you asked my name.
Now you will stay for good. I will forget
how we bumped away from each other like marionettes
on strings. It wasn't the same
as love, letting weekends contain
us. You scrape your knee. You learn my name,
wobbling up the sidewalk, calling and crying.
You can call me mother and I remember my mother again,
somewhere in greater Boston, dying.

I remember we named you Joyce
so we could call you Joy.
You came like an awkward guest
that first time, all wrapped and moist
and strange at my heavy breast.
I needed you. I didn't want a boy,
only a girl, a small milky mouse
of a girl, already loved, already loud in the house
of herself. We named you Joy.
I, who was never quite sure
about being a girl, needed another
life, another image to remind me.
And this was my worst guilt; you could not cure
or soothe it. I made you to find me.
Anne Jan 2019
There’s a moving portrait above my sink,
her cheeks are pudgy,
her skin is pink.

Her eyes are melting,
teeth fallen out,
her noose is bleeding
a river of doubt.

The portrait screams,
she cries for aid,
she tells a dead god,
that he could have stayed.

No oil,
no paint,
no canvas,
not a brush;
Instead this portrait feels and aches,
her rawness still to gush.

Yet dusk is dusk,
and by dawn it is dawn.
You may look for such a portrait,
to find that it is gone.

Not a finger nail in sight,
not a single clogged hair.
It begs but one question:
Was she ever really there?
every **** night
Matt Jursin Dec 2009
Dont be so stuck-up, i'm just bein' nice.
Jus tryin' to have an intelligent conversation...
Maybe I'm fairly flirtatious, but...
Im bein' polite.
Not tryin to take you home tonight.
Unless you give me the green light, then maybe I might...

C'mon, I'm just playin...

Y'know...
I could make you blush in a few minutes time.

Could get you naked in a few moments...
Dont...
Be...
No...
Fun.

Dont tell me you dont like it...
I know when I hear lies.
Dont call me if you dont lick it...
'Cause I know what I like.

If you don wanna practice makin babies...
**** it.
I'll just **** it 'til I dribble.
That one's for you ladies;-p

I can paint a clear mental picture...
A perverted portrait with my paintbrush...
Of your hot, soft, wet flesh before me...

I could show you a few things.

A perverted portrait...
My.
Paint.
Gets.
You.
Wet.

A perverted picture.
Your body wincing...
Pinching me.
Every inch of me.
A few more than 3 or 4...
You'll find...
A couple more...

If...
You...

Want...
To...
Score.
Yah well...I'm a Scorpio;-)
Marta Nov 2018
I am painting a portrait

I was painting a portrait of my FRIENDS
But instead

I am only portraying what I THINK
I SEE

There is so much I DON’T see

My words
They don’t portray the friends at all
They only portray how I SEE them
They only portray ME

Is there a painter WHO paints what IS
Not what is SEEN?

Would you have to be HEARTLESS
Would you have to be FEARLESS
Would you have to be THOUGHTLESS

Let’s face it
I am painting a SELF portrait
Words, they convey more about ourselves then the topic we trying to cover.
Words, we all interpret them differently.
Words, they are so frustrating!
How can we ever hope to understand each other!
Mymai Yuan Sep 2010
I was born a sickly, screeching baby, two months earlier than expected. The doctor and midwife did everything they could to keep my little limbs moving and to keep my tiny heart beating, fluttering like the wings of butterfly.
“Is it a boy?” my mother whispered through her pale lips, as they bathed my naked body in hot water.
“No, ma’am, it’s a girl” The midwife struggled to add on something that would make the wailing creature seem more desirable. “With exquisitely shaped feet, so perfectly miniature”
She let out a croak of conflicting emotions: the joy and pride of a newly-founded motherly love, the fear of presenting a girl as a first-born, the relief that the hours of agony in childbirth were over and the dread of facing her husband once he found out about me.

My mother was not healthy after my birth for a long time; and when I was only one and two months old she fell dangerously ill, and the house whispered footsteps running to her room late at night and muffled voices of different doctors. Mercifully, she survived but was left barren and forever unfertile.
I can not imagine my father’s fury. He believed in having sons to carry on his old last name of thirty-one generations; it was his religion and had I been a son, I would have been worshipped as a god. I can imagine how my mother prayed and thanked her ancestors that her dowry was of a large one.

He could barely tolerate being in the same room as me during my toddler years. Every time he entered a room I was playing in, nurse would sweep me to our garden out side; answering to my startled queries, “Be an obedient daughter, don’t bother your father and don’t ask questions”
My body had been born frail, but my natural spirit was as healthy as could be, full of inquiries, wonders of the world around me and everyday I would learn something new just wandering around the neighborhood observing things, with my nurse trailing with a worried eye behind me muttering, “Girls are not supposed to be exposed to this” she spoke the words as if they were sour, “you should be sitting at home and accompanying your mother.”

Every day at dinner, the two females of the house, me and my mother, were silent while my father ranted on and on. My appetite being very delicate, I often just sat there as still as I possibly could and listened to my father talking about politics, jobs, money. Things he called ‘men business’. I longed to ask questions about these ‘men business’, especially ‘university’ for I had an inquisitive sort-of nature but was refrained with a sharp, piercing look from my mother every time I opened my mouth and sometimes, she pinched me under the table leaving purple splotches which flashed, “Don’t question your father”
Sometimes, he would talk about the future he had decided for me, “You will marry off, sixteen at the latest, to some one rich and beneficial to our family. You will do as I say till I marry you off, and then you will do as your husband tells you.”
“Yes father, for I should repay everything you have done for me” I replied as sweetly as I could.
“Yes, you’re a good daughter. Bear lots of sons for him and your house will be one of happiness.”
I was proud that he had given me a compliment. “Yes father, for it will make you joyful as I always wish to make you so”
My childish heart did not understand why my mother turned her head down while her left eyebrow twitched, and why that night, as she tucked me into bed, I thought I saw a tear roll down her cheek and why as she kissed me that night she whispered, “Do not love me so; love your father. The men in your life are your gods.”

My physical health would constantly limit the desires of my free spirit. I could not to do what others who were as free of spirit as I was could do, and couldn’t socialize with them and the rest of the children in my neighborhood had their siblings to mingle with, causing me to become the pitiful outcast.
I saw children around my age, around seven or eight, climbing trees and wanted to do so as well, but my white feet did not have grip enough to grasp onto the fat branches.
Father caught me once trying to propel myself up a tree and his expression was both of a resigned anger and sadness before he turned him and his face away and back into the house without a word.
That night, mother told me not to climb trees ever again. I noticed a faint bruise on her cheek bone that had been covered with white powder.

When I was eleven or twelve, and was allowed to wander further out into the neighborhood with my nurse I saw the boys fishing in the nearby pond and wanted to do so as well. Starting that day, every week I pocketed the three coins mother gave me until I could buy the best fishing rod in the little store and ran as fast as my skinny, weak legs could carry me to the pond. I mimicked the way the boys flung the fishing rod out over the water but the metal pole was too heavy for my pale, shaking arms. I tried over and over again as my nurse watched, biting her lip in anxiety. I held the fishing rod with trembling sore arms till  I felt a bite; I pumped my small arms to reel it in, but they were so tired and I was far too slow, losing the fish I had spent half the day trying to catch. “Ah, just bad luck, don’t worry! It was a smart fish, I tell you!” nurse exclaimed, though her eyes flashed a look of pity and I knew she knew it wasn’t just bad luck or a smart fish.
In anger, I sold the fishing rod to one of the boys for two-thirds of the price I had bought it for. He was delighted with the bargain and I watched with a lump in my throat as he caught three fish with the tug of his healthy, muscular arm within fifteen minutes. “This is a beautiful rod, and the pond is just filled with fish today, Little Sister!”
Wanting to spend the money jingling inside my pocket, money that to me was just a reminder of a painful memory, I headed off to the collection of little shops close to my house where I was guaranteed distraction. Nurse, sweating and complaining of the heat, followed me.
An ageing man with a bunch of filthy hair working away on a piece of thick, rough paper with wondrous colors inside a shop caught my eye as I peered inside the window. He turned the picture upside down and continued blending in the dark colors of the shape to create a shadow along the curve of it. I entered the shop. “What is that?” I asked of him.
“A face” he replied back absentmindedly.
“Doesn’t look like one to me” I confessed with my honesty.
He looked up at me, “No, it does not to you, and maybe, neither will it at the end. To me, it looks like an angle of a faded face. But slowly, with time, it will become clearer and clearer, yet only to me, and as it does, I will be able to choose more colors to make it yet more beautiful. The outcome of this painting is entirely up to me.”
I felt my challenging self rising up. “But what if you imagined a certain color in your head but couldn’t find it or be able to mix it to your mind’s perfection?”
“Then I would create my own paint color.”
“You know how?”
“No, but if I could not find the paint color already made I would make it myself, and no matter what, would learn how to. So far I have always been able to compromise and mix different colors to please me.”
“You do an awful lot of shadowing light colors with dark colors”
“Why do you think I do so?” he questioned me this time, with bright eyes.
I pondered for a moment to give as good an answer as he had given me and then told him my answer.
He nodded with impress, “Yes, yes, absolutely right. I never thought I’d hear that from a child” and looked at me with his head cocked in curiosity.
“What would you like to buy from here, Little Sister?”
Still deeply interested in our conversation I pulled out the coins I had in my pocket. “How much stuff can I buy with all this money? I’d like those crayons, I’ve tried them once before and they are so creamy and smooth.”
“Oil pastels?” he asked, a little confusedly.
Feeling ashamed of my ignorance, I nodded. The tutor father hired evidently bent to father’s strict rules of what should be taught and what would not be taught. Father disapproved of women painting, and would’ve dismissed nurse had he known that instead of taking me out for a little walk to smell the blooming daffodils, she in fact let me explore the environment around me to the best of my ability even in disgruntle.
The man gave my red-patched cheeks and undeveloped translucent frame a sympathetic look and when he spoke, his voice was gentle. “Little Sister, I’ve a whole basket of oil paints that I’ve used but rarely and so are still in perfect condition. Would you like to carry the whole basket home for all the money you have in your pockets?”
I handed him all my golden coins, “But first I must see if I like it.”
“You won’t be disappointed” he chuckled and walked with an imbalanced limp to the back of the store. I noticed a wooden stump protruding from the bottom of his long, black pants. My heart throbbed achingly; he was ****** limited too. I turned to his painting and smiled from deep inside, a smile I rarely wore.
He came back tugging a huge brown basket filled to the brim with sticks of oil pastels, some longer or thicker than others. He lifted an orange one up and showed the tip of it to me, which was stained with a black mark. “Sometimes when you blend colors this will happen, but it’s easy to rid off. Just softly, and patiently rub it off on a cloth until it disappears.” He demonstrated upon his black pants.
“Thank you. It’s kind of you. But...I can’t carry this home myself. It’s heavy.”
I turned to nurse and smiled my best pleading smile.

The basket was toiled up as nurse undressed me from my shower and father and mother were otherwise occupied. That night, with my precious basket safely under my bed, I cleaned all the multi-colored oil pastels on an old shirt, and as soon as the house was ringing with silence, I locked my door and flicked on the lamp light, and started pressing the smooth colors into the paper to blend and make a picture of kissing colors on a relatively large piece of white paper. A thrill ran from my finger tips and along my arm, and made my palms tingle as I held the colorful sticks in my hand to the paper. I hid it underneath my bed just as a rosy sun was rising.
*
I was sixteen, and I was thought beautiful: for now, at this age, it was considered beautiful to be so pale of skin, so small of feet and hands, graceful to have tiny limbs and charming to have little strength for it was now considered ‘feminine’.
It was three weeks after I had turned sixteen and for dinner, father had brought over an ugly man with a bulging waist and shiny bald head who continually made ****** jokes at the dinner table while he believed I did not understand them. He was infamous for the two wives he had had (before they died from sickness), and how he not only hit them but kept other lovers too. Yet he was desirable for his vast richness. He leered at me obnoxiously, in an attempt to smile.
Father caught him looking at me, “She’s incredibly silent, never says a word of defiance and will be a most dutiful wife.”
“Yes, she is beautiful”
My heart froze and my brain was stimulated to work twice as fast. Him?! Him?! The man who’s wives were killed through an illness called ‘abuse, neglect and disloyalty?!’
I cast my eyelashes down in order to appear a calm, modest young lady while my heart hammered in fury, disgust and a rising hysterical panic. I shot a look at my mother whose left eyebrow was twitching as she stared down at her dinner plate, and I knew she was having the same thoughts as I.
“I would be glad to have you as my son-in-law. You would have no trouble with her, and would be embraced with open arms into our family.”
They continued this path of talk through dinner while he eyeballed me in a way that made me cringe. I felt his foot nudge mine under the table and in haste tucked it under the chair with a little gasp. His eyes glittered at my gasp and I was furious with myself for letting him feel a rotten triumph. Though I had always felt an extremely strong dislike towards him from what I knew of him and sometimes saw of him with an immoral lady, something pushed in the pit of my tummy, and I knew it was pure hatred.
When mother tucked me in she was being strange. On closing my door she whispered, “I love you… so I wish you to know… don’t ever contradict men”

As I was secretly drawing a picture as I did every night till dawn, I heard my father’s voice roar in the dead of the night. In a sudden, I shoved my portrait under the bed and threw all my oil pastels into the basket, hid it, and switched the light off. I heard his voice roar again, accompanied by a thud. I was wild with fear as I crept to my door and pressed my ear against it, barely even shocked at my own daringness as my instinct, love, took over- my instinct of must knowing what was happening to my mother.
“How dare you say I’m wrong!?” there was another thud, and this time I heard a soft whimper. “She is worthless to me, not a son. And I will marry her off to a rich man who can actually benefit this family.” He roared.
There was a whisper which I strained to hear, “He will **** her”
“From the moment she was born she wasn’t made to live!” he yelled.
A hiss escaped my tongue and I coiled like a serpent, flinching as a thud was heard yet again and an immediate cry of pain escaped from both my lips and my mothers’.
A fire awoke inside me, burning my temples and my whole body and my eyes stung with hot tears; tears that burned my face as they splashed down. My whole body was shaking and my tightly squeezed eyes were going through spasms. I was no longer wild with fear, but with anger.
I turned my light back on and tugged my basket of oil pastels out. I yanked my portrait off from a thick of pile of different pictures I had drawn.
My breath was coming in quick short breaths as I finished my portrait to the utmost perfection, using every oil pastel in the basket. Every time I heard a thud, I colored with more fiery… shadowing my jaw line with the fat black oil pastel, in the crook of my ear, the corner of my mouth… where the light shone upon my fore head, how it reflected in the color of my eye and glowed on my cheeks.
When I was finished, the house was deadly quiet again and dawn was breaking. I looked down upon it and realized something that changed my life.
In frenzy I swatted out all the things I had ever drawn and stared at them in an awakening.
The colors on them were the events of my life, the things that characterized it, the decisions. They were beautiful for they had been chosen and controlled by me … I had chosen the colors I wanted and thought best for my pictures; and spent thought over how to blend different colors to the color I wanted.
And everyday, as I worked into the drawings with time, they became clearer and clearer on what was the right thing to do, and how it should possibly look like in the next stage.
I leaned over and kissed the thin lips of my portrait that didn’t look exactly like me for not even the most skilled artists have complete control over what they draw.

Then I remembered what I had told the one-legged man in the shop a few years go:
“Lights not only illuminate, they also cast shadows. The contrast makes you able to appreciate the power of both.”
Now it was time to truly let the light illuminate my life, and let the shadows let me appreciate the light that shines upon me; I color my own life, and choose my own colors.

To pull out the colors underneath the darkness of my bed…
And spill it to the world outside.
RAJ NANDY Apr 2016
Dear Poet Friends. Some of my earlier poems like this one, - are  available on 'Poetfreak.com'. But since that site is likely to shut down by the year end, I have decided to post some of my earlier poems on this friendly Poetry Site, to give them a fresh lease of life! Hope you like them.  Best wishes, -Raj, New Delhi.

              A TRIBUTE TO MONA LISA

BACKGROUND :
Unlike the legendary Helen of Troy her enigmatic
face never launched a thousand ships as 'Dr. Faustus'
says,
But she continues to inspire artists, poets, and
viewers alike till this day,
Even though five intervening centuries have passed
our way!
Leonardo da Vinci who had left many of his paintings
incomplete,
Commenced painting 'Mona Lisa' in 1503, taking four
long years to complete!
He had carried the portrait with him for sixteen
long years,
While seeking work in Milan, Rome, and into exile  
in France!
But after Leonardo's death in 1519, the portrait became
the possession of Francis the First, the French King .
But later, Louis the XIV had moved 'Mona Lisa' to his
Palace at Versailles!
It had also adorned Napoleon’s bedroom, who hung
it over the mantelpiece!
We learn from Art historian George Varsi, that the
portrait belonged to one Lisa Gherardini.
She was the wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant,
Who had commissioned Leonardo to paint his
wife’s portrait !

AESTHETIC VALUE OF 'MONA LISA' :
Leonardo here creates an innovative painting style,
Using oil instead of tempera on poplar wood panel, -
which was unique in his time!
The three quarter pose with a wide pyramidal base,
A ‘stumato’ blending of translucent colours with
light and shade ,
Creating depth, volume, and form, with a timeless
expression on Mona Lisa’s countenance !
Here, Leonardo’s passion and pre-occupation of a
life time come together,
As he waves his magic brush to create 'Mona Lisa' !
Lisa’s mystic smile with its play of light and shade,
Appears and disappear when viewed from different
sides,
Creating an optical illusion before the viewer's eyes!
Mona’s mystic smile and her gaze, creates a mixed
emotion on her countenance,
Mesmerizing the viewers as they stand and gaze!
Insurance Companies have declared that this portrait
is beyond Insurance, -
Since its value remains Priceless !

SECURITY MEASURES ADOPTED :
In 1911, during broad daylight from Louvre in Paris,
The painting was stolen by an employee!
He hid it for two years in an attic before smuggling
it to Florence in Italy;
And was apprehended trying to sell it to an art
dealer clandestinely!
Later in 1956, a mad man named Ugo Ungaza,
Threw a rock creating a patch near the left eye of
'Mona Lisa' !
The Art Curators at Louvre now toil ceaselessly,
To preserve this fabulous painting for posterity!
Today the priceless 'Mona Lisa' is housed in a
dehumidified, air-conditioned container,
Protected in a triple bullet-proof glass chamber;
With six million tourists visiting her every year!
“It is the ultimate symbol of Human Civilization ”
  - exclaimed President Kennedy !
And with this I pay my tribute to Leonardo da Vinci !
Thanks for reading patiently, from Raj Nandy of
New Delhi.
..........................................................­................................
While composing the Story of Italian Renaissance in Verse, I read about 'Mona Lisa', and had composed this verse on the 30 Dec 2010.
You read--what is it, then that you are reading?
What music moves so silently in your mind?
Your bright hand turns the page.
I watch you from my window, unsuspected:
You move in an alien land, a silent age . . .

. . .  The poet--what was his name--?  Tokkei--Tokkei--
The poet walked alone in a cold late rain,
And thought his grief was like the crying of sea-birds;
For his lover was dead, he never would love again.

Rain in the dreams of the mind--rain forever--
Rain in the sky of the heart--rain in the willows--
But then he saw this face, this face like flame,
This quiet lady, this portrait by Hiroshigi;
And took it home with him; and with it came

What unexpected changes, subtle as weather!
The dark room, cold as rain,
Grew faintly fragrant, stirred with a stir of April,
Warmed its corners with light again,

And smoke of incense whirled about this portrait,
And the quiet lady there,
So young, so quietly smiling, with calm hands,
Seemed ready to loose her hair,

And smile, and lean from the picture, or say one word,
The word already clear,
Which seemed to rise like light between her eyelids . .
He held his breath to hear,

And smiled for shame, and drank a cup of wine,
And held a candle, and searched her face
Through all the little shadows, to see what secret
Might give so warm a grace . . .

Was it the quiet mouth, restrained a little?
The eyes, half-turned aside?
The jade ring on her wrist, still almost swinging? . . .
The secret was denied,

He chose his favorite pen and drew these verses,
And slept; and as he slept
A dream came into his heart, his lover entered,
And chided him, and wept.

And in the morning, waking, he remembered,
And thought the dream was strange.
Why did his darkened lover rise from the garden?
He turned, and felt a change,

As if a someone hidden smiled and watched him . . .
Yet there was only sunlight there.
Until he saw those young eyes, quietly smiling,
And held his breath to stare,

And could have sworn her cheek had turned--a little . . .
Had slightly turned away . . .
Sunlight dozed on the floor . . . He sat and wondered,
Nor left his room that day.

And that day, and for many days thereafter,
He sat alone, and thought
No lady had ever lived so beautiful
As Hiroshigi wrought . . .

Or if she lived, no matter in what country,
By what far river or hill or lonely sea,
He would look in every face until he found her . . .
There was no other as fair as she.

And before her quiet face he burned soft incense,
And brought her every day
Boughs of the peach, or almond, or snow-white cherry,
And somehow, she seemed to say,

That silent lady, young, and quietly smiling,
That she was happy there;
And sometimes, seeing this, he started to tremble,
And desired to touch her hair,

To lay his palm along her hand, touch faintly
With delicate finger-tips
The ghostly smile that seemed to hover and vanish
Upon her lips . . .

Until he knew he loved this quiet lady;
And night by night a dread
Leered at his dreams, for he knew that Hiroshigi
Was many centuries dead,--

And the lady, too, was dead, and all who knew her . .
Dead, and long turned to dust . . .
The thin moon waxed and waned, and left him paler,
The peach leaves flew in a gust,

And he would surely have died; but there one day
A wise man, white with age,
Stared at the portrait, and said, 'This Hiroshigi
Knew more than archimage,--

Cunningly drew the body, and called the spirit,
Till partly it entered there . . .
Sometimes, at death, it entered the portrait wholly . .
Do all I say with care,

And she you love may come to you when you call her . . . '
So then this ghost, Tokkei,
Ran in the sun, bought wine of a hundred merchants,
And alone at the end of day

Entered the darkening room, and faced the portrait,
And saw the quiet eyes
Gleaming and young in the dusk, and held the wine-cup,
And knelt, and did not rise,

And said, aloud, 'Lo-san, will you drink this wine?'
Said it three times aloud.
And at the third the faint blue smoke of incense
Rose to the walls in a cloud,

And the lips moved faintly, and the eyes, and the calm hands stirred;
And suddenly, with a sigh,
The quiet lady came slowly down from the portrait,
And stood, while worlds went by,

And lifted her young white hands and took the wine cup;
And the poet trembled, and said,
'Lo-san, will you stay forever?'--'Yes, I will stay.'--
'But what when I am dead?'

'When you are dead your spirit will find my spirit,
And then we shall die no more.'
Music came down upon them, and spring returning,
They remembered worlds before,

And years went over the earth, and over the sea,
And lovers were born and spoke and died,
But forever in sunlight went these two immortal,
Tokkei and the quiet bride . . .
John Stevens Aug 2012
The Canvas
(c)08-25-2012

A canvas sets on the edge of greatness and beauty, blank, waiting for the touch of the master’s hand. She takes charge of what is to be. Gentle strokes, broad strokes, strokes that caress the canvas… leaving the marks of imagination, transforming nothing into beauty. The image emerges revealing the thoughts and desires and power of the canvas. It is breath-taking to the beholder. She understands the difference between OK and great. Nothing will do but great. It must emulate the original. It must be the original! So it is with our canvas of life.

We start life as a blank canvas. Brush strokes are made by those around us as we begin to grow. Made by mom, dad, friend and strangers alike. All try to add their image to our canvas. An image of who they think we are. As we grow into the artist we strive to be, we accept or reject the strokes of others and create a portrait we strive to become.

Some strokes by others can leave an off color, covering who we really strive to be. A brush stroke that is not us can be covered by our touch, our color, our imagination of who we are, adding integrity to the texture and hue. Revealing an inner beauty as the artist of our life takes control, guiding our hand, adding the touches that transform the canvas from OK to great.

The Artist chooses the colors, the brushes from which she wants to define her life. The decisions are hers to make as she selects the shades of color, or even black and white, that will define her life. She paints a portrait of peace and joy, of self-less love for family and friends.. All else is unimportant. The things of past are covered. Today and tomorrow are forming a painting that will be great.

Letting the Master’s Hand guide our hand, we find freedom flowing freely onto and into our canvas. In doing His will in our life, we are set free. A freedom indescribable at times as we are lost to the distractions of the past. Caught up in the hope and love of today.

The Master guides our hand, willingly or even unwillingly at times in our artistic endeavor. As we learn to relax and give Him control of our hands, He reveals the beauty that is within us. It is great.

I have heard being an artist and painting described as being easy but living life as being difficult and unsure. Life can be described as a series of brush strokes, choices. Some can destroy the beauty intended for our canvas. Some strokes can create breath-taking beauty which radiates outward, inspiring the ones observing our portrait.

This was inspired by a young friend of mine, she left a few brush strokes on my life. They will not be painted over. They will be treasured, remembered for a long time to come.

When I look into a mirror, I want to see Jesus, the Creator of my portrait.
Amazing young lady.  Her paintings are truly works of art.
http://www.capturedmomentsartwork.com/
Mokomboso Dec 2014
When I was younger
My whole world was mermaids
Every hour of every day
Seaweed braided hair and scales  
I'm gliding through the house
In slow motion, waving my arms about
Under the sea as long as I'm aware
Even now when I swim I transport myself
To blue tropical seas in which my childhood dreams
Let themselves flow free
I was a mermaid growing up
It taught me how to swim
Out of the need to be what I mimed
In the bath every evening
Self taught in my teens, better late than never
My only inspiration for fitness
The mermaid, my own self portrait
Re-imagined
I WANT A SWIMMABLE TAIL SO BAAAAAAD
anne p murray Apr 2013
She seemed to be like a delicate portrait
   which had fallen from its gilded frame
Abandoned, lying face down on the cold winter floor
   An elegant portrait once painted
In resplendent hues of indigo blue
Her eyes told a story of bittersweet
   magenta colored sorrows bathed in tears
that etched themselves throughout
   The frail intricately, woven canvas of her soul

Over time thoughtless hands had subtly
   Contrived to manipulate the beauty
Of her painted portrait into a resemblance
   Likened to that of a cold, chiseled statue
Carelessly molded by calloused fingers
   Lancinating the fragile fragments
Of her spirit leaving her heart
   With etiolated worn fabric - called her life

She dreamed of Icarus soaring down
    on silvery wings of steel shrouded
in cobalt and lavender clouds
    with outstretched, feathery fingers
lifting her up to dance a Stravinsky ballet
    As it was meant to be - not how it was

She was a beautiful, fragile butterfly
    bruised by a world much too harsh
for her diminished spirit
    leaving her unable to fly away
from the skis thirsty rains
    making it difficult for her to fly away
from the skis thirsty rains
    It left her struggling to stay afloat
In the springs melting snow

Life had bruised her tender skin
   Gnawing away like insatiable insects
On her delicate pink frescoed soul
   Leaving her feeling
Like a fabricated manikin on display
   For all to pose her as they may

Muddied soil was the blood that coursed
  through her veins, holding her tethered heart
in fleshy, mounds of chocolate brown earth
  It held her helpless in its hold
clogged by the silt which descended down
  Into spaces of her soul…
Like murky strings of yellow tattered maize
  Leaving their ragged tassels tangled
Throughout her life flowing veins
  Choking off the blood she needed
To nourish her hungry heart

Mighty winds toppled her willowy limber tree
  Snapping the delicate boughs
Of her outstretched arms
  As they pulled at the tender fleshy bark of her skin

She stood cold and alone
  In the icy winter night wrapped
Only in her wounded, naked flesh
  With open, bleeding wounds
Under the icy blue mist of the winter moon
Her heart and soul painfully revealed...
   In shades of indigo blue
RAJ NANDY Nov 2015
GREAT ARTISTS & THEIR IMMORTAL WORKS :
CONCLUDING ITALIAN RENAISSANCE IN
VERSE.  -  By Raj Nandy, New Delhi.

Dear Readers, continuing my Story of Western Art in Verse chronologically, I had covered an Introduction to the Italian Renaissance previously. That background story was necessary to appreciate Renaissance Art fully. Now, I cover the Art of that period in a summarized form, mentioning mainly the salient features to curb the length. The cream here lies in the 'Art of the High Renaissance Period'! Hope you like it. Thanks, - Raj.

                          INTRODUCTION
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, &
  Poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
                                                        – Leonardo Da Vinci
In the domain of Renaissance Art, we notice the
enduring influence of the Classical touch!
Ancient Greek statues and Roman architectures,
Inspired the Renaissance artists in their innovative
ventures!
The pervasive spirit of Humanism influenced
creation of life-like human forms;
Adding ****** expressions and depth, deviating
from the earlier stiff Medieval norms.
While religious subjects continued to get depicted
in three-dimensional Renaissance Art;
Portraits, **** figures, and secular subjects, also
began to appear during this great ‘Re-birth’!
The artists of the Early and High Renaissance Era
are many who deserve our adoration and artistic
due.
Yet for the sake of brevity, I mention only the
Great Masters, who are handful and few.

EARLY RENAISSANCE ARTISTS & THEIR ART

GITTO THE PIONEER:
During early 13th Century we find, Dante’s
contemporary Gitto di Bondone the Florentine,
Painting human figures in all its beauty and form
for the first time!
His masterwork being the 40 fresco cycle in the
Arena Chapel in Padua, depicting the life of the
****** and Christ, completed in 1305.
Giotto made the symbolic Medieval spiritual art
appear more natural and realistic,
By depicting human emotion, depth with an
artistic perspective!
Art Scholars consider him to be the trailblazer
inspiring the later painters of the Renaissance;
They also refer to Giorgio Vasari’s “Lives Of
The Eminent Artists,” - as their main source.
Giotto had dared to break the shackles of earlier
Medieval two-dimensional art style,
By drawing lines which head towards a certain
focal point behind;
Like an illusionary vanishing point in space,
- opening up a 3-D ‘window into space’!
This ‘window technique’ got adopted by the
later artists with grace.
(
Giorgio Vasari, a 16th Century painter, architect & Art
historian, was born in 1511 in Arezzy, a city under the
Florentine Republic, and painted during the High
Renaissance Period.)

VASARI’s book published in 1550 in Florence
was dedicated to Cosimo de Medici.
Forms an important document of Italian Art
History.
This valuable book covers a 250 year’s span.
Commencing with Cimabue the tutor of Giotto,
right up to Tizian, - better known as Titan!
Vasari also mentions four lesser known Female
Renaissance Artists; Sister Plantilla, Madonna
Lucrezia, Sofonista Anguissola, and Properzia
de Rossi;
And Rossi’s painting “Joseph and Potiphar’s
Wife”,
An impressive panel art which parallels the
unrequited love Rossi experienced in her own
life !
(
Joseph the elder son of Jacob, taken captive by Potiphar
the Captain of Pharaoh’s guard, was desired by Potiphar’s
wife, whose advances Joseph repulsed. Rossi’s painting
of 1520s inspired later artists to paint their own versions
of this same Old Testament Story.)

Next I briefly mention architects Brunelleschi
and Ghiberti, and the sculptor Donatello;
Not forgetting the painters like Masaccio,
Verrocchio and Botticelli;
Those Early Renaissance Artists are known to
us today thanks to the Art historian Giorgio
Vasari .

BRUNELLESCHI has been mentioned in Section
One of my Renaissance Story.
His 114 meter high dome of Florence Cathedral
created artistic history!
This dome was constructed without supporting
buttresses with a double egg shaped structure;
Stands out as an unique feat of Florentine
Architecture!
The dome is larger than St Paul’s in London,
the Capitol Building of Washington DC, and
also the St Peters in the Vatican City!

GILBERTI is remembered for his massive
15 feet high gilded bronze doors for the
Baptistery of Florence,
Containing twenty carved panels with themes
from the Old Testament.
Which took a quarter century to complete,
working at his own convenience.
His exquisite naturalistic carved figures in the
true spirit of the Renaissance won him a prize;
And his gilded doors were renamed by Michel
Angelo as ‘The Gates of Paradise’!
(
At the age of 23 yrs Lorenzo Ghiberti had won the
competition beating other Architects for craving the
doors of the Baptistery of Florence!)

DONATELLO’S full size bronze David was
commissioned by its patron Cosimo de’ Medici.
With its sensual contrapposto stance in the
classical Greek style with its torso bent slightly.
Is known as the first free standing **** statue
since the days of Classical Art history!
The Old Testament relates the story of David
the shepherd boy, who killed the giant Goliath
with a single sling shot;
Cutting off his head with Goliath’s own sword!
Thus saving the Israelites from Philistine’s wrath.
This unique statue inspired all later sculptors to
strive for similar artistic excellence;
Culminating in Michael Angelo’s **** statue of
David, known for its sculptured brilliance!

MASSACCIO (1401- 1428) joined Florentine
Artist’s Guild at the age of 21 years.
A talented artist who abandoned the old Gothic
Style, experimenting without fears!
Influenced by Giotto, he mastered the use of
perspective in art.
Introduced the vanishing point and the horizon
line, - while planning his artistic works.
In his paintings ‘The Expulsion from Eden’
and ‘The Temptation’,
He introduced the initial **** figures in Italian
Art without any inhibition!
Though up North in Flanders, Van Eyck the
painter had already made an artistic innovation,
By painting ‘Adam and Eve’ displaying their
****** in his artistic creation;
Thereby creating the first **** painting in Art
History!
But such figures greatly annoyed the Church,
Since nudes formed a part of pagan art!
So these Northern artists to pacify the Church
and pass its censorship,
Cleverly under a fig leaf cover made their art to
appear moralistic!
Van Eyck was also the innovator of oil-based paints,
Which later replaced the Medieval tempera, used to
paint angles and saints.

Masaccio’s fresco ‘The Tribute Money’ requires
here a special mention,
For his use of perspective with light and shade,
Where the blithe figure of the Roman tax collector
is artistically made.
Christ is painted with stern nobility, Peter in angry
majesty;
And every Apostle with individualized features,
attire, and pose;
With light coming from a single identifiable source!
“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,
and unto God things that are God’s”, said Christ;
Narrated in Mathew chapter 22 verse 21, which
cannot be denied.
Unfortunately, Masaccio died at an early age of
27 years.
Said to have been killed by a jealous rival artist,
who had shed no tears!

BOTTICELLI the Florentine was born half a
century after the Dutch Van Eyck;
Remembered even to this day for his painting
the ‘Birth of Venus’, an icon of Art History
making him famous.
This painting depicts goddess Venus rising out
of the sea on a conch shell,
And the glorious path of female **** painting
commenced in Italy, - casting a spell!
His full scale **** Venus shattered the Medieval
taboo on ******.
With a subject shift from religious art to Classical
Mythology;
Removing the ‘fig-leaf cover’ over Art permanently!

I end this Early Period with VERROCCHIO, born
in Florence in fourteen hundred and thirty five.
A trained goldsmith proficient in the skills of both
painting and sculpture;
Who under the patronage of the Medici family
had thrived.
He had set up his workshop in Florence were he
trained Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, and other
famous Renaissance artists alike!

FOUR CANONICAL PAINTING MODES OF
THE RENAISSANCE:
During the Renaissance the four canonical painting
modes we get to see;
Are Chiaroscuro, Sfumato, Cangiante and Unione.
‘Chiaroscuro’ comes from an Italian word meaning
‘light and dark’, a painting technique of Leonardo,
Creating a three dimensional dramatic effect to
steal the show.
Later also used with great excellence by Rubens
and the Dutch Rembrandt as we know.
‘Sfumato’ from Italian ‘sfumare’, meaning to tone
down or evaporate like a smoke;
As seen in Leonardo’s ‘Mona Lisa’ where the
colors blend seamlessly like smoke!
‘Cangiante’ means to ‘change’, where a painter
changed to a lighter or a darker hue, when the
original hue could not be made light enough;
As seen in the transformation from green to
yellow in Prophet Daniel’s robe,
On the ceiling of Sistine Chapel in Rome.
‘Unione’ followed the ‘sfumato’ quality, but
maintained vibrant colors as we get to see;
In Raphael’s ‘Alba Madonna’ in Washington’s
National Gallery.

ART OF HIGH RENAISSANCE ERA - THE
GOLDEN AGE.

“Where the spirit does not work with the
hand there is no art.”- Leonardo

With Giotto during the Trecento period of the
14th century,
Painting dominated sculpture in the artistic
endeavor of Italy.
During the 15th century the Quattrocento, with
Donetello and Giberti,
Sculpture certainly dominated painting as we get to
see!
But during the 16th century or the Cinquecento,
Painting again took the lead commencing with
the great Leonardo!
This Era was cut short by the death of Lorenzo the
Magnificent to less than half a century; (Died in 1493)
But gifted great masterpieces to the world enriching
the world of Art tremendously!
The Medieval ‘halo’ was now replaced by a fresh
naturalness;
And both Madonna and Christ acquired a more
human likeness!
Portrait paintings began to be commissioned by
many rich patrons.
While artists acquired both recognition and a status
of their own.
But the artistic focus during this Era had shifted from
Florence,  - to Venice and Rome!
In the Vatican City, Pope Julius-II was followed by
Pope Leo the Tenth,
He commissioned many works of art which are
still cherished and maintained!
Now cutting short my story let me mention the
famous Italian Renaissance Superstar Trio;
Leonardo, Raphael, and Michael Angelo.

LEONARDO DA VINCI was born in 1452 in
the village of Vinci near the City of Florence,
Was deprived of a formal education being born
illegitimate!
He was left-handed, and wrote from right to left!
He soon excelled his teacher Varrocchio, by
introduced oil based paints into Italy;
Whose translucent colors with his innovative
techniques, enhanced his painting artistically.
Sigmund Freud had said, “Leonardo was like a
man who awoke too early in the darkness while
others were all still asleep,” - he was awake!
Leonardo’s  historic ‘Note Book’ has sketches of a
battle tank, a flying machine, a parachute, and many
other anatomical and technical sketches and designs;
Reflecting the ever probing mind of this versatile
genius who was far ahead of his time!
His ‘Vituvian Man’, ‘The Last Supper’, and ‘Mona Lisa’,
Remain as his enduring works of art and more popular
than the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Pen and ink sketch of the ‘Vitruvian Man’ with arms
and leg apart inside a square and a circle, also known
as the ‘Proportion of Man’;
Where his height correspondence to the length
of his outstretched hands;
Became symbolic of the true Renaissance spirit
of Man.
‘The Last Supper’ a 15ft by 29ft fresco work on
the refectory wall of Santa Maria, commissioned
by Duke of Milan Ludovic,
Is the most reproduced religious painting which
took three years to complete!
Leonardo searched the streets of Milan before
painting Judas’ face;
And individualized each figure with competence!
‘Mona Lisa’ with her enigmatic smile continues
to inspire artists, poets, and her viewers alike,
since its creation;
Which Leonardo took four years to complete
with utmost devotion.
Leonardo used oil on poplar wood panel, unique
during those days,
With ‘sfumato’ blending of translucent colors with
light and shade;
Creating depth, volume, and form, with a timeless
expression on Mona Lisa’s countenance!
Art Historian George Varasi says that it is the face
of one Lisa Gherardini,
Wife of a wealthy Florentine merchant of Italy.
Insurance Companies failed to make any estimation
of this portrait, declaring its value as priceless!
Today it remains housed inside an air-conditioned,
de-humidified chamber, within a triple bullet-proof
glass, in Louvre France.
“It is the ultimate symbol of human civilization”,
- exclaimed President Kennedy;
And with this I pay my humble tribute to our
Leonardo da Vinci!

MICHEL ANGELO BUONARROTI (1475-1564):
This Tuscan born sculptor, painter, architect, and
poet, was a versatile man,
Worthy to be called the archetype of the true
‘Renaissance Man’!
At the age of twelve was placed under the famous
painter Ghirlandio,
Where his inclination for sculpting began to show.
Under the liberal patronage of Lorenzo de Medici,
He developed his talent as a sculptor as we get
to see.
In the Medici Palace, he was struck by his rival
Torregiano on the nose with a mallet;
Disfiguring permanently his handsome face!
His statue of ‘Bacchus’ of 1497 and the very
beauty of the figure,
Earned him the commission for the ‘PIETA’ in
St Peter’s Basilica;
Where from a single piece of Carrara marble he
carved out the figure of ****** Mary grieving
over the dead body of Christ;
This iconic piece of sculpture which along with
his ‘David’ earned him the ‘Superstar rights’!

Michel Angelo’s **** ‘DAVID’ weighed 6.4 tons
and stood 17 feet in height;
Unlike the bronze David of Donatello, which
shows him victorious after the fight!
Michel’s David an epitome of strength and
youthful vigour with a Classical Greek touch;
Displayed an uncircumcised ***** which had
shocked the viewers very much!
But it was consistent with the Mannerism in Art,
in keeping with the Renaissance spirit as such!
David displays an attitude of placid calm with
his knitted eyebrows and sidelong glance;
With his left hand over the left shoulder
holding a sling,
Coolly surveys the giant Goliath before his
single sling shot fatally stings!
This iconic sculpture has a timeless appeal even
after 500 years, depicting the ‘Renaissance Man’
at his best;
Vigorous, healthy, beautiful, rational and fully
competent!
Finally we come to the Ceiling of the Sistine
Chapel of Rome,
Where Pope Julius-II’s persistence resulted in the
creation of world’s greatest single fresco that was
ever known!
Covering some 5000 square feet, took five years
to complete.
Special scaffoldings had to be erected for painting
scenes from ‘The Creation’ till the ‘Day of Judgment’
on a 20 meter’s high ceiling;
Where the Central portion had nine scenes from
the ‘Book of Genesis’,
With ‘Creation of Adam’ having an iconic significance!
Like Leonardo, Michel Angelo was left-handed and died
a bachelor - pursuing his art with devotion;
A man with caustic wit, proud reserve, and sublimity
of imagination!

RAFFAELLO SANZIO (1483-1520):
This last of the famous High Renaissance trio was
born in 1483 in Urbino,
Some eight years after Michel Angelo.
His Madonna series and decorative frescos
glorified the Library of Pope Julius the Second;
Who was impressed by his fresco ‘The School
of Athens’;
And commissioned Raphael to decorate his
Study in the Vatican.
Raphael painted this large fresco between 1510
and 1511, initially named as the ‘Knowledge of
Causes’,
But the 17th century guide books referred to it
as ‘The School of Athens’.
Here Plato and Aristotle are the central figures
surrounded by a host of ancient Greek scholars
and philosophers.
The bare footed Plato is seen pointing skywards,
In his left hand holds his book ‘Timaeus’;
His upward hand gesture indicating his ‘World
of Forms’ and transcendental ideas!
Aristotle is seen pointing downwards, his left
hand holds his famous book the ‘Ethics’;
His blue dress symbolizes water and earth
with an earthly fix.
The painting illustrates the historic continuance
of Platonic thoughts,
In keeping with the spirit of the Renaissance!
Raphael’s last masterpiece ‘Transfiguration’
depicts the resurrected Christ,
Flanked by prophets
Mateuš Conrad Sep 2018
. you're using all the right words: for all the wrong reasons... and let's face it: if women own the monopoly on reproductive avenues... then men hold the ego-key, to slot their presence, through a door, that curbs or gives allowances, to what is thought... *** was nether a transluçent enterprise... oh look... the Roma sigma pops up... dire straits: de profundis - money for nothing riff - boogie boogie... milkshakes from the 1950s 'n' all... you know what my biggest pet peeve is? the englih language imitating ancient Latin, i.e. not applying diacritical "punctuation" markers to close in on syllables and make the language atomic (i.e. H is hydrogen, He is helium)... **** me... the same Brits who lived in the 19th century, are not the same Brits living in the 21st century... no wonder the fertility rate is s ****** low.... try ******* an english bride... no thank you; i'd rather **** a female gorilla.

the milkman passes my house
at, circa, 3am...
see the van skid around the bend
up the hill...
            
i listen to music at volumes
equivalent to my father working
the construction site -
i'll be deaf by the time i'm 50...
     and guess what:
                  for the music i'm listening
to? it'll be worth it...

dittoing out:
   have the criticism of post-modernists
ever suffer?
doubt: doubt, is the modern
relief from existentialist
    negation...
  
why is doubt being attacked?
doubt is half than that outright
******* of denial
proposed by French existentialists...
doubt is good in that it's
tornado of emotions,
you want to imitate Christ on
Golgotha?
  you doubt, and achieve the pinnacle
of the passion...
you start negating?
     you're, nowhere...

    on your own...

came the noun-phobia of philosophers -
the tinkers and tailors
of a.. what seems to be:
a noun-phobia
  guaranteed with fog...
   and thing..

  the term
  "thing" presupposes
the supposition of tree...
     which subsequently serves
the proposition: let's hide in it!

      philosophy and its infamous
noun-phobia -
               thing...
           and it's nihil...
  its nothing...
      
                 a ******* cul de sac -
     epigram -
       of quasi morse encoding -
     braille to boot -
September is coming -
           van Morrison (moondance) -
hiding autumnal chill -
           pan-Europeanism:
proto-"africa": either in Hindustan -
or Siberia;

suppose a moon, suppose a shadow by
candlelight, some edgy urban solo -
as a bricklayer i could raise kids
and crux on a woman -
          chicken / doctoral itching with
a blunt nail are called scratchings -
       hand-writing:
             less digits in the digital
formatting - and more
calligraphy...
                      the rotten handwriting
of general practitioners...
     Hippocrates might have made an oath...
but in terms of a handwritten cipher?
no clue...
               the canvas of a monkey
onomatopoeia within the confines
of a custard of a lexicon...
   a mouth thus opens -
a month begins -
instead of a tongue ejected from
the ivory temple -
  a sludge crescendo of a quasi
                 cascade of sludge gluing the
whole theater into
a replica of a Russian drinking game...

....                 ⠞⠓
          ...     ⠑⠁⠑
     ...           ⠞⠑
    ............                  ⠞
...                      ⠥ ⠎
     : : :           -  ⠎          
   ........ : ....           ⠕?

100 wolves of the continent...
for, but 1, fox,
of the English isles...
   i'll settle for that ratio...
and then i'll bite to ensure
a signature!

  howl all you want...
but have you ever found seagulls
annoying up the river?
more annoying than magpies
or crows?
             the wolves can howl
all they want..
ever endear the ear
to hear a fox "laughing"?
   no?
  might as well listen to me.
i cradle that sound,
above the chariots
of a human newborn...
        i grieve!
   i am... sombre gsture...
    a past, a passing,
a future, a wicker man within:
torch...
   banquette of souls!

    let's interlude -

   touko "tom" laaksonen -
    how can people "do" sober
           when entertaining such
extravagances....
        is it empathy, or sympathy?
            in the name of the either,
with either being the sum
of what wll never be a sum
allowance,....
     to gain from...
                  why not
       ****-ease up the ****
    for a zeppelin-esque
                            bomb drop -
(minor the Nagasaki) -
                    and hand-piked ****
with the cusp of your hand -
         throne of thrones -
  flagship?
   "king of kings":
  like ****...
  the holy trinity of
       the no. 1, as the no. 2,
   and subsequently the no. 3:
**** (father),
       take a **** (son)...
            ******* (the holy ghosts)...
king of kings,
never sat on the throne
of thrones...
   i always hated "artists"...
    painters -
   plagiarists -
      cheque sketchers...
             plagiarists...
         ******* indentation
from holding a pen to add to having
exposure to a grammatical examination...
       quality cinema:
panorama take on a versus of
heavy editing...
                     and there was a time
frame to encompass dialogue...
      somehow it fits:
the verbal myopic -
            the entire pre-
& post- canvas of a blinking eye...
   always the question of the
pre-industrialißed sketch;
words predating metaphor
akin to  -
  words versus metaphor
in genesis -
   format? anecdotal.

      in writing:
            by one hand alone,
made into two...
        my, my...
  what a ****** self-portrait
"assumption"...
        a self-portrait...
a wish for color,
with nothing to show,
but the relief of encompassed bones;
that become a disembodied
skeleton - minus a purpose
of tendon attachments...

∟          "contra"    Δ          -
equilateral my ***...

            a few days spent within the confines
of a Promethean *****,
     there be, elemental insomnia
of an electric bespoke...
if Prometheus stole fire,
who, in in all for ****'s sake
stole the saber of Zeus,
the thunderbolt -
electricity, who?
who craved the insomnia?!
             this Frankenstein-esque
insomnia-zombification -
             white as is white:
with all the dermatological
copper take on broken shins...
         should ivory coco -
come between piglet *** copper
auburn in terms of autumn...
******...
             *******!

take your ****** *** elsewhere,
and then... start spelling
it with a missing G...
when citing Niger...
  you do the double dip of the NBA...
you count the second dip...
why do i love Batman as the best
superhero?
  not of his superhero powers,
he has none...
          his enemies are
the only interesting
counter-factoids of
having implemented an existence
for.
   there is no exacting of
a superhero,..
   but there is enough
to mind an antithesis...

          tylko wieśniak
by wydział film w tym,
          bo sie nie rusze -
    cegła, kamień -
       pień - mur -
           i by mówił - w tym
co zamarzło -
          to co ostygłe -
    w co z tym samym -
        meine filmisch -
      i skakaniem świec -
   od i na nagim cieniem -
   pytać nad pyche -
       tanz! tanz!
                 moje iskry słów...
   sto! i lat,
    o wielbłąd churem o
grzbiet da, i da,
       iskra; alfabetu!
    bogiem impromptu
o czym warty: -gień.


- suppose a moon, suppose a shadow,
by candlelight - within the confines of
mercury - that quickened silver -
some edgy urban solo -

      as a bricklayer or a cobbler  -
shoes that deviate from ushering
an echo -
          i could raise children and keep
a woman: only if she decided
upon not allowing me
a leash -
            what a saddening affair
of minds and freedom...
           chicken doctoral -
i don't know: vanity of the impossible
mortal gain...

    the monkey onomatopoeia
    within the confines of a custard
of  lexicon....

          that Victorian image proof
source of envisioned Braille in
the confines of a primate...
  
handwriting:
itches, scratches, chicken esque
clucking... which is what
handwriting looks like these days,
what, with the coding...
    semi plumber,
half the electrician...
  and certainly null when it comes
to calligraphic invigoration...

- homosexuality was always a contingency
escapade to release suppressed yearnings -
a sudden but a non-fulfillment questioning
celibacy...

               you can enforce curbing homosexuality,
but then there are two outlets...
the perversity: or the question...
of Ayn and Sophia...
                          
        greeks ****** the hebrews in the hole
without an outlet - zee heed: with a missing A...
      Ayn - Aleph -
                    twin Adam -
          perhaps a Siamese abomination...

mind you... the forbidden fruit?
sounds more like... the forbidden flesh...

thee burdensome walking
the already burdened earth: as the fruit,
somewhere between the flesh of man's last predator,
contained, on land, and his hidden desire
for revenge and introspection,
a denial of commonality and shared purpose -
thou shall not consume
that which also hunts you -
little or no concern with equal
     measure of forbidding, that which you pet...
the forbidden "fruit",
in between the flesh of a sabertooth tiger,
and Cain's fruit of famine and incompetence:
               cannibalism...

   and why would you think about
drinking a ms. amber with pepsi...
pepsi! to coca -
and not slide in a slice of lemon
while you're at it?
  terrible mistake...
       well... one way to get y'er vit amins...

        and why is it that all the best
movies these days are about homosexuals?
the dutch girl for starters...
   me, drinking, watching t.v.?
either **** good drama,
a western,
   or a movie about a *******
homosexual...
          did i mention that i think that
homosexuality is an auxiliary escapade plan?
natural, of course,
    but i'd hate to have to life
a doubled up life -
then again...
     perhaps i would...
           me? i have a new girlfriend -
Sophia - and her ****: Philip -
           so am i expected to make demands
for the child they might end up
called Ayn, or Aleph?
                - the Wahhabi hypocrisy
    concerning music, or rather, censoring it...
but... but i thought the adhan:
the call to prayer: was sung,
rather than abiding by the catholic
credo murmur?
     no?
                         my bad... you know better...
i'll send you a postcard from
the Galapagos Islands,
if i find the time, to find:
    that 4th dimensional concept doing
the trigonometric shoom! elsewhere -
on a tangen "bias": **** knows where -
like a comet - missing a tail -
shoom!                                       gone.

shrapnel:

            not enough thrills for a hard-on...
... images... drawings...
   apparently fine art is not enough
stimulation to ******* to for these Arabs...
****? .....   in general?
cartoons.... cartoons of women....
   ... because?
well... apparently the niqab...
  extends beyond the realm of...
  readily available attire...
            women on the street?
   pornographic "actresses"?
                       you see the cartoon?
it's all ******* ******...
                  oh don't get me wrong...
amy adams?
  buff as an exploding Hindenburg...
    the pale ginger - milchskin...
                - unrelated:
   how about i sneak a skunk into
        a coco chanel perfumery -
while advocating that people will still
call it a: scent just shy of roses and strawberries.

- people have heard of incels -
but have they heard of Vcels?
    huh?!
   yeah, yeah... voluntary celibacy -
i know what a ****** sounds and looks like -
and, to be honest?
   there's hardly any rhetorical ***
involved -
         a bit like jerking off...
              monkish chants -
Byzantine -
     the fear of man,
   when his own inability flourishes:
     in a woman...
                          
these acts have become well trodden...
so well trodden that i'm
authentically surprised that anyone
would still goosestep them into
their mundane plagiarism's existence...
    replica invigoration:
turns out...
    
   zeit ist nicht gerade, aber
kreisförmig
...

                              touko "tom" laaksonen...
i.e. tom of finland...
   question: you think a macron over
one of those As
                     would do the trick in terms
of spelling correction?

  touko "tom" laaksonen...
you seriously can only watch European cinema
while drinking...
    again... invigorating the english language:
one baby step at a time -
a simple grapheme -

    the vater's S Z interchangeability -
   synchronised contra synchronized -
    settled -
    synchronißed -
                       sometimes the slithering S
of a snake -
   otherwise the rigid totem with
a torso of a zebra...
                     hardly a major investment -
but when i see English having moved
from the Elizabethan Shaky Steward of
thou etc. -
       imitating ancient Latin -
    coordinating the Greenwich study of
dyslexia...
            Joyce...
              no diacritical application?
   hell...
                 might as well release a bull
into a China shop...
                 or a rottweiler into chicken shack...
still... why is there an orthographic aesthetic
in practice, hovering over I and J,
  when there's no difference, as suggested
in CAPiTAL letterIng?
                                       ah... i see...
the english "think" they can bypass the para-
frontier, and the orthographic frontier
and race down to the metaphysics...
        first?
   you explain why it's i and not ι,
  and why it's j and not ȷ.
Arfah Afaqi Zia Sep 2015
If I ever had the chance to sketch a portrait,
I'd sketch a portrait of you,
Your beady grey eyes,
Your jawline,
So definite,
Your smile,
Your hair,
So surreal and breath taking.
You are perfection,
And the  best piece of art I could ever draw.
If you detect any mistake please tell me right away.
Mercie B Jul 2013
A picture can capture a single moment in time which then can be worth a thousand words , if asked I  believe most would agree to say.

I often find myself left wondering, sad  but true, how many of these  pictures are speaking lies and half truths on family portrait day.

Gathered around the camera , each one dressed up to the nines, making sure they all look flawless in the glow of the photographer's light.

Inside their heads are swirling and mom is still raging with fury, but nothing will ruin this photo not even memories of last nights fight.

Dad has been hitting the bottle to escape from his this life that he leads but for this photo, this precious remembrance, just consider him Mr.Brady

Mom's holds a secret as well, while dad is away she hides her brand new playmate, but this snapshot has paused her game  and Mom pretends she is a lady.

There is daddy's precious little girl, he pretends not to see that she is very unstable doing lines at the table, while  her beauty hides all of her madness.

Wait there is one that was almost forgotten, which is how he spends most of his life, in this portrait he'll shine covering up his heart wrenching sadness.

The picture turned out to look brilliant , so proudly it was first mounted then hung high up on the wall.
  
The portrait will last a life time, in fact it will most likely still gleam when this perfect family starts to fall.
She introduced herself, as
Sunset.
Batted her lashes not to be flirtatious ,
But to hide that her eyes were wet.
All around me were blurred, but beautiful faces.
Yet, my eyes only focused on hers
The first that I noticed.

When I bought my first camera,
From that sales-man down in Alabama.
And he taught me how to use it,
He said, "see here son, if I was to take your picture I'd set this camera here on portrait.
But if I took a picture of that pretty little girl 'cross the road"
he said with a smirk
"I'd have to set this here camera on Firework"


It's funny how memories work.
I think of that man now, of his coffee colored skin and straw hat.
I never thought I'd need to know any of that.
but right here and now I set that camera to sunset.
raise it to my eye
And take a picture of
Sunset.
As if she were a colorful sky.
and that's it.
some people deserve more than a portrait.

And I know, I'm going to take her to a dark room.
And see what develops, of her negatives.
But first, I want to hear all about her crazy relatives.
Who gives her, her beauty?
where's she take her dog to groom?
The poodle on her leash is a cutie.
and what does she doodle on her notebooks?
stars or hearts or sugar skulls....
Does she know she's caught me on her fishin' hook?
What's she think of me, I'm sure I look dull.
Why are her teary eyes so full, About to overflow.
There were so many things I wanted to know....
before I took her to a dark room.
But it happened
And all I found in the picture that developed was gloom.
I realized I was her first.
And the best night of my life became my worst.
because I took something from her she didn't want to give.
But I just didn't know that she wouldn't want to live.
Keep reading, this ends beautifully.
beautifully like a sunset ends a day.
But, you have to believe me when I say that's not nearly as beautifully
As Sunset ends my hopes and dreams.
How she ended her own life
With pretty little pink pills.
One....Two....Three
gripped in her hand they found a picture of me.
And now I know, Sunsets are all about Beautiful Endings.
It's funny how memories work

© copyrighted Nicole Ann Osborn
a Jan 2016
I had a dream last night
about drawing a live model.
it was abstract, the portrait.
it was all the remnants of myself—
my emotions, the hues
my passion, the strokes
my thoughts, the lines

and at the end of the session,
I turned around
and discovered an exact copy
of my portrait sitting beside me,
drawn by someone else entirely

and in that moment, I realized
that my portrait wasn't mine
I subconsciously replicated someone else's
hues and strokes and lines

and maybe, just maybe,
maybe, it's telling me
that I've gotten so good
at copying other people,

I've forgotten how to copy me.
12/16/15
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
Ramona Argo Sep 2014
There's an awkward thrill I feel
like wicked-wet rabies –
Oh. Ah. Oh.
To gaze over photos of the woman I created.
With my warped perception,
saturating and cropping everything into delicious
oblivion.
I am the knife as well as the ingredients
that sauteed her together in a camera flash.
She sits hot like heaven.
And I want to
stare at her picture all day until she comes to life.

The woman I created, I hang up like perfected rotisserie
and fall in love with her accidentally every day.
Looking into those precisely underlined
tiger-*** eyes of startling navy. Knowing their true dullness.
Hissing at the free-swinging curls
and the hours behind them. Loving the lie.
The flowy top and sleek trousers gliding down lovely as Niagara
over chaffing chub; all hidden. And thighs; unshaven.
And that topical smile everyone likes to see, waiting to plummet
into suicide like a kite hanging in one tight second.
Her image is my greatest
False accomplishment.

I hang my portrait up on a wall of the internet
for people of the world to migrate to
the photo exhibit, my little show-off room.
They make offers and toss compliments
with their “I like this. I like this." nonsense.


They don't know that the girl in the portrait, she
isn't organic. They seem not to notice
that she is something of a chemical flower.
Her face is my face, only with whiteout poison-paste
smoothed over twice.
And they want to
stare at her picture all day until she comes to life.

Gazing upon her believed-to-be beauty, as I hang my paintbrush,
she bites her body still as a painting,
bruised and needled
into perfect frame. She cries
like Jesus Christ, as she is stared at, but not seen.
I am the artist as well as the object.
And the woman in the portrait is
nothing,
but dot after dot of manipulated color.
And we want to
stare at her picture all day until she comes to life.
Salty rancher spackle is to Earthy diva smackers as Swinging hotel number is to?
Rippling cling bread is to Three lizard chariots as Indigo lime tangent is to?
Nighttime reunion planet is to Nettle lane scuffle as Soaking spider *** is to?
Fancy trance logs are to Sticky fudge lather as Vivacious gator college is to?
Cheerful blossom face is to Secret tractor rocket as Canned gremlin emblems are to?
Jealous pitchfork generals are to Heartbreaking patchwork veranda as Folding robot noise is to?
Pretty rhino rash is to Lost locket vengeance as Back pocket weather is to?
Frosted candy sidewalk is to Sneaky kook code as Shiny waffle smoke is to?
Sapphire cloud romance is to Magnetic comet lava as Blue triangle envy is to?
Vanishing honey melody is to Thermal elf pajamas as Whistling iceboat shampoo is to?
Peach mint politics is to Frozen doll pennies as Rusty anchor catapult is to?
Swollen pony fever Throbbing sword kazoo as Silent turbine science is to?
Obese germ thunder is to Stacked lemon towers as Corrupt moon jockey is to?
Demented insect whistle is to Glass trophy cleanup as Purple geode bubble is to?
Nighttime razor slime is to Lacquered dragon maps as Tint paper mittens are to?
**** camel drops are to Velvet ****** shoes as Slippery red muffins are to?
Flying hot drool is to Pale chocolate telescope as Tin trumpet ballet is to?
Expensive puppy speed is to Flowered duck mirror as Cosmic needle factory is to?
Fractured laser doodles are to Cracked butter gravel as Rubber holster straps are to?
Majestic panther fortress is to Jeweled cork target as Iron swan taxi is to?
Poisonous pepper bouillon is to ****** goat soap as Chrome feather pirates are to?
Digital gorilla scriptures are to Timid hunter stench as Frozen domino video is to?
Eccentric troll opera is to Transparent wax village as Spoiled coral agony is to?
Bizarre green metal is to Pillow eating hamster as Leather cavern ***** are to?
Eternal hurricane evidence is to Powdered rainbow perfume as Smoking yellow prune is to?
Liquid wish cleanser is to Exploding meadow ladders as Brittle rose hammer is to?
Caged foam filter is to Cherry balloon string as Ivory cactus spider is to?
Carbon puppet watch is to Sad kings compass as Elastic lace whiskers are to?
Nitrogen trolley dust is to Lazy elephant toffee as Orange toad choir is to?
Dark pole zodiac is to Blue finger blanket as Illegal bug nozzle is to?
Stinky towel cookies are to White jade caskets as Sticky snail tea is to?
Converting stellated caramels is to Mythic aerosol socks as Rubber raspberry jokes are to?
Flying clock carousel is to Whisky nut worms as Plastic fish platforms are to?
Queasy Vaseline queens are to Moody pigeon pills as Aqua mice fur is to?
Spotted bowl shadow is to Idiotic radiance lotion as Bungalow toad hearse is to?
Gushing chimney fungus is to Funky lamb acrobat as Utopian **** sprinkler is to?
Twinkling bungalow tablet is to Botanical duck rope as Bug hat ram is to?
Broken clock fossil is to Black ginger confetti as Parisian cobra meatloaf is to?
Silly Xerox ribbon is to Obedient raccoon carny as Traditional cat linguini is to?
Last astral advisor is to Elastic badger riddles as Broken circle rifles are to?
Bagged squire channel is to Temporary mosaic cake as Ancient bacon thread is to?
Wireless math army is to Moronic neon money as Pearl razor radar is to?
Rubber buzzard blizzard is to Troubled bubble wizard as Crushed hash ******* is to?
Purple birdy cure is to Tangled frost blossoms as Silken bridal saddle is to?
Unisex owl accordion is to Sugar bottomed boat as Optical nougat treasure is to?
Flavored saline rain is to Black arrow clan as Transistorized clam guitar is to?
Sharpened twig scar is to Mutant beet sonar as Baked troll mask is to?
Boxed noodle secrets are to Traditional guru buttons as Glossy marshmallow strategy is to?
Vibrating melted jelly is to Silver furniture dream as Spewing collated seats is to?
Burnt mountain pickles are to Baby preacher shoes as Sympathetic pilot pain is to?
Narrow portal treaty is to Monkey warehouse vacancy as Painted tornado trap is to?
Porch penny sulfur is to Glowing pony fat as Patched mattress bait is to?
Frigid waitress fallacy is to Graphic shrimp salute as Misted sneezing window is to?
Moist apple moss is to Daddy’s zoom seed as Downtown Pope cart is to?
Tired felon trickle is to Holographic squirrel candle as Wild ray hay is to?
Deadly zero chalk is to Folding wilderness chart as Curved ******* vacuum is to?
Hollow porcelain pellets are to Strawberry rain stencils as Microwave taxi nomads are to?
Wasted machete balcony is to Crumpled creature confessions as Fridge fuzzed fruit is to?
Sloppy demon damage is to Squeaky puppet chuckle as Mental arcade combat is to?
Monster trout stories are to Lewd pirate cocktail as Locked mammal grommet is to?
Rotting rope network is to Tragic toy goat as Cotton submarine shoes are to?
Complex pepper dance is to ****** cloud cushion as Marching taxi holiday is to?
Mental petal collectors are to Spooned barn putty as Dork factory fiction is to?
Hot spotted tops are to Timed stepping pests as Yogurt notching tartar is to?
Crazy dog comics are to Ambitious cartoon sphinx as Pavlov’s zinc ballet is to?
Soiled spinster wedding is to Padded razor wound as Floating fish map is to?
Slippery leopard pants are to Perfumed nut button as Dart wizard party is to?
Needy alien elephants are to Barking garden gnats as Quasar focused paper is to?
Slanted heart **** is to Bronzed cliff sandals are to Cunning jockey jokes are to?
***** thumbprint massage is to Holistic princess memory as Sliding dental sword is to?
Drifting wood whistle is to Fluorescent carpet powder as Foam dragon whistle is to?
Chopped web shadow is to Immortal vermin soup as Collapsing porch conspiracy is to?
Stolen thunder chant is to Haunted comet heart as Swollen throat portrait is to?
Fragrant frost parfait is to Grumpy caveman *** as Random stingray solo is to?
Squeaky polar turbine is to Silent lava fever as Oversized lunar fulcrum is to?
Synthetic dew droppers are to Pocket poster paste as Hypnotic screen dog is to?
Symbolic whirlpool nausea is to Dreaming tree phantom as Log badge bracket is to?
Camp hippo map is to Horseradish seizure insurance as Distant insect mirror is to?
German lady sherbet is to Stuntman laundry wax as Hungry butterfly ghost is to?
Fly smudged foil is to Amped maze coil as Shifting optic terror is to?
Automatic sheep floss is to Panoramic tanker anchor as Throbbing bone pillow is to?
Mutant clown village is to Nightmare translation treasure as Spotted spectral chakra is to?
Blind roach tweat is to Hermit worm tiara as Divine logo ritual is to?
Glueless gun stamp is to Malicious spam pump as Floral toffee pods are to?
Dudgeon mist removal is to Menacing bolt smacker as Boating duke shadow is to?
Costly metal plungers are to Creaky buzzing gushers as Glowing star cushions are to?
Raked barge sludge is to Crusted cream glitter as Zircon gutter babble is to?
Fake gold scholar is to Amish ******* mogul as Faithful ***** choir is to?
Sacred limo prayers are to Fried mice café as Splintered ****** thimble is to?
Dealing rabbit decals is to Pelican bongo festival as Patched equator rot is to?
Freedom gourd gasoline is to Cobblers studying acorns as Desecrated dice crater is to?
Tattered tapestry rod is to Busted particle scanner as Bogus piffle catalogue is to?
Trifle truffle raffle is to Last lamb laminate as Segmented cake goggles are to?
Domestic tackle tactic is to Ticking tic talk as Cordial corps coordinates is to?
Tucked duck caftan is to Sunken ramp ruckus as Wretched ranch rhetoric is to?
Clearly incomprehensible directions are to Useful archaic nonsense as Antiquated skeletal outline is to?
Bewildered beasts feasting are to Lazy busybodies resting as Vaccinating brave volunteers are to?
Lucky wagon dragons are to Famous gargoyle gargle as Formal postman funding is to?
Furrowed shroud chowder is to Borrowed tartan pajamas as Martini mixed algebra is to?
Cowgirl balloon helium is to Chewy glucose habitat as Stationary monument movement is to?
Diamond powered powder is to Diagonal diameter diagram as Purposely condensed expansion is to?
Organic iodine capsule is to Gleaming beach probe as Dominant dome static is to?
Shaving wrinkled targets is to Petting sensible monsters as Selling invisible whiskey is to?
Frozen piano architecture is to Note dotted clouds as Screaming Korean worms are to?
Sonic plant website is to Telepathic climbing clam as Bored protein exercise is to?
Gourmet mollusk cone is to Numb poodle caravan as Asian raven radar is to?
A child draws the outline of a body.
She draws what she can, but it is white all through,
she cannot fill in what she knows is there.
Within the unsupported line, she knows
that life is missing; she has cut
one background from another. Like a child,
she turns to her mother.

And you draw the heart
against the emptiness she has created.
Staff Sgt. Joseph D'Augustine
a proud Jersey son
whom Thou hast blessed
laid in St. Luke’s ground
for his heavenly rest
April 4, 2012

1.

in a far off province of
God forsaken Helmand,
our dear son Joey
met his untimely end

an explosive crack
a most terrible sound
felled a beloved Jersey son
to the cold cruel ground

working the live wires
of a well placed IED
a deathly burst killed him
it was awful to see  

Staff Sgt. Joseph D’Augustine
in solemn duty fell
fellow brothers in arms
will forever reverently tell

of courage and character
of a dear fallen friend
and how the valiant warrior
met with death at his end

for he was always faithful
to his beloved corps
comrades couldn't ask
a valiant marine for more


2.

details of his death
are not the real story
selflessness and bravery
are but part of his glory

is it brash to
question why he fell?
in a useless bitter war
an embroiled senseless hell

a generation mustered
to fight in the war on terror
serving four tours of duty
in a lost decade of errors

two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq
could a nation ask a man for more?
for he was always faithful to the call
upholding pledges he hath sworn

3.

the burden of war
to a  few confined
it rarely crosses
an American’s mind

incessant war machine
drones on apace
the horror of conflict
so cleverly displaced

with afternoon baseball
and super bowl parties
big disco paychecks
and other selfish priorities

pay hollow tribute
to dear weary troops
when valor is mentioned
we gather in groups

we’ll raise the flag
sing stirring anthems
than its back to the party
pay it no more attention

self styled patriots
wave handfuls of flags
but ask them to contribute
the zeal soon lags

its left to the few
to shoulder burdens of many
fairness is lost
its a democratic calamity

four tours in a decade
an inhumane task
burdens require sharing
its only fair to ask

Joey was always faithful
to the task at hand
willing to step forward
to serve his homeland


4.

in the wake of 9/11
a nation deeply shaken
young patriots stirred
liberty’s call not forsaken

a call to serve answered
to quell the rise of terror
a clear clarion alarm
marks the nature of the era

Joey boldly came forward
to train and learn
the art of warriors
his bright patriotism burned

deployed to Afghanistan
to capture Osama
routing the Taliban
without much problem

but a pacified Afghan
not enough for Bush
he invaded Iraq
another military push

we rolled into Baghdad
adorned with victors garlands
Saddam’s statue toppled
our troops were honored

deposing a dictators
soon turned to occupation
a ****** mission transformed
to build the Iraqi and Afghan nations

once honored liberators
now a conquering force
bestriding broken nations
on a civil war course

military industrialists
stood to profit most
sweet protracted conflict
record earnings to boast

lives bartered for lucre
a region held hostage
the conflict deepened
hostilities hardened

America dipped into
a great recession
the war machine
bled money and
kept on ticking

scooping up contracts
rewarding investors
the dividends of war
heaven sent treasure

continuation of hostilities
preys on a nation's youth
as casualties mount
ill portents forsoothed

a fraction of citizens
bare heartaches of war
gulping measures of despair
to guard a nations door

a nation always faithful
to the holy pursuit of profit
a highest citizens calling
put money into your pocket


5.

our beloved Jersey son
gave a full measure of devotion
in dress blues they shipped him
back across the ocean

on the Dover tarmac
they received his remains
for a last ride northward
to his hometown terrain

repatriated body
bereft of soul saluted
solemn escort knelt
hearts trembled, tears muted

a hearse for a gallant man
flanked by state troop cruisers
to escort the funeral train
assure an honored movement

one last trip up
old thunder road
the storied highway
Joey often trod

the last detail legged up 17
reverent firefighters saluted  
from overpasses
to honor  the woeful scene

as the motorcade passed
the Garden State Malls
frenzied consumers
failed to notice at all

busy window shoppers
didn't to turn an eye
as Joey rolled home
to the sweet by and by

vets interred at the
Old Paramus Church
gently stirred in their graves
reasons for war they search

Channel 12 Chopper
circled its eye in the sky
televised the sad parade
captured many teary eyes

the early spring blooms
colorful petals displayed
maples and forsythias
a royal carpet laid

spring remains always faithful
as the new season turns
offer sunshine and glory
as our sinking hearts burn

6.

motorcycle escort
northbound lane clear
rolling homeward
Waldwick was near

leaves exploding
green shoots budding
****** white maple blooms
natures accolades stunning

the oaks yet bare
just waking from slumber
winters death passing
a sad day put asunder

the motorcade passed
Joey’s home on Prospect Ave
few  envision lifes endings
this woefully sad

red chevy pickup idles
in hoop crowned driveway
never to drain jumpers again
departed children can’t play

the eye in the sky
framed neighbors in mourning
welcoming back a fallen hero
unsettled emotions dawning

neighbors waved Old Glory
from painted stoops and curbs
unsure how this tragedy
visits this blessed suburb

green grass of home
always flush with spirit
tears welled in the eyes
most difficult to bear it

last cruise of the town
sad neighbors stand witness
paying final due respects
and ponder from a distance

what purpose is served
by this man’s passing?
the dead cannot speak
rationale is for the living

the terrible herse
death circles our town
moves through our day
hope of spring drowned

murderer of sunshine
killer of young flowers
budding trees breaking
our hearts an ashen pallor

we remember the beauty
of Joey’s stout face
as it looked on your finest day
exuding pure honor and grace

old vets gather
donning caps and pins
boasting semper fi jackets
jutting tear dripping chins

shaking hands, giving hugs
bearing tattered banners
the hearse ambles onward
we head home in solemn manner

good folks are always faithful
where beloved ones grew
the death of our children
we sadly cannot undo


7.

the bells of St. Lukes
called out from the sky
platoons of limping vets
marched in with pride

pomp and circumstance
requisite dress blues
family, friends, townsfolk
overflowed the pews

doleful bells resound
tolling a mournful reckon
the cost of war mounts
a family’s loss beckons

the casualties of war
falls upon a nation's youth
a seasons page not  turned
a flowing wound not soothed

the wistful cornet calling
floats on the fluted air
the bereaved ***** gently sounds
a congregations somber despair

an unsettling dirge
the parish grows uneasy
nationalist bravado wanes
in the forlorn sanctuary

both church and flag
draped in colors of war
mock stain glass windows
communicants adore

is it a betrayal of the flag
to offer enemies
psalms of reconciliation?
where does true loyalty lay
with God or a warring nation?

afterall this is a sanctuary
where peace and harmony reigns
are we not called to beat swords
into ploughshares as the highest
calling of our Lord?

we are always faithful
to the pathways to war
when the practice of peace
is what we should adore

8.

coughing and whispers
incessant low murmur
a baby cries out
we sit and remember

the crucifers process
in solemnity to greet
subtle ***** notes salute
a coffin draped in Old Glory sheets

the beloved child welcomed
to his eternal repose
priests splash holy water
within the sacred dome

an amazing grace revealed
lifted by marine pallbearers
dearly departed body presented
gently placed at the altar

a grief struck sister
lovingly eulogizes
recalls tonka trucks,
GI Joe’s and cool transformers

a punch in the nose
an approaching wedding
beckoning Eastertide
vacation plans left begging

my second grade class sent
Christmas cookies and cards
to dear Joey and warrior friends
he said it warmed stark winter hearts

he was raised in this church
taught trust and reconciliation
the comfort of the Lords peace
may it surely go with him

for he was always faithful
to sisters, family and faith
his resurrection service
imbues sacredness
to this space

9.

sharp in dress blues
Eddie T USMC Gunny
big 50 caliber smile
offers his eulogy

Bada Bing Jersey Humvee
we called him Joey Calzones
good mood, loved sausages
he tickled the funny bone

always willing to sacrifice
loved the Patriots Tom Brady
a women dominated household
gave him a way with the ladies

his calling explosive ordinances
he said he was livin the dream
March 6th last time we met
knocking frost off cold ones
man whatta scream

a gallant marine,
beloved brother,
a sure friend
he was always faithful
I’m deeply wounded
by his untimely end


10.

the gospel read
the homily offered
Ecclesiastes wisdom
a time for everything
proffered

God never turns
an eye from the beloved
though seasons change
we are not forsaken
never unloved

as loss arrives
surely grief grows
turn away not
wisdom knows

in resignation
love lay dead
diligent intention
banishes dread

our rekindled hope
we rend and sow
our beloved Joey
knew this was so

our favorite son’s
example taught us
now rises on eagle’s wings
to claim his divine justice

Jesus faithfully tramped
the path to an awful death
Joey too fought the good fight
a warrior now gratefully at rest

The Lord holds him close
to the ***** of sure love
a cantors beatific voice incants
Joey’s spirit that forever enchants

The Lord is always faithful
to the bereaved and  beloved
no one ever forsaken
all unconditionally loved

11.

the Holy Eucharistic cup
affirms everlasting giving
tasted to nourish evermore
a libation for the living

singing the Beatitudes
praising peace makers
mercy filled voice and song  
pallbearers lift Joey’s coffin

off to seek his final peace
an earthly occupation ended
he’ll suffer worldly hate no more
down the aisle his coffin wended

the family closely followed
a mother haltingly sobbing
faithful marines came forth
to steady her wobbling

there is no sudden waking
from this terrible dream
the pungent incense rose
to the chapels sacred beams

the stained glass murals depict
the passion of Jesus’s story
illuming a consuming sorrow
in all its grace filled glory

the ***** of death slinks on again
we search for consolation
the recompense of honor blest
leaves a hollow heart wanting
no answers offered to quell the dark
of these terrible life’s moments
only the desperate need to hold onto
beleaguered treasure that sustains us

for we are always faithful
to the things we know
always faithful to the
things we refuse to let go

12.

the color guard and funeral detail
assembled in front of St. Luke’s
the cemetery right next door
the procession a short troop

the living will stumble through
the darkness of separation
seeking elusive answers
of poignant uncertainty;
all gave some, Joey gave all
nothing more required for his
journey through eternity

Joey will always be with us
his stories forever retold
as long as the machinery of
great nations engage
the gears of wasteful war

Joey’s spirit lives
in a peoples desire
for freedom, only if
our hope of peace
is greater than the
need for conflict

Joey’s lifes work
is sure to bear fruit
if those remaining
fight the good fight
by taking up the
task to protect and
expand the values
of liberty we
hold most dear

like our good
friend Jesus
Joey wears a crown
bejeweled with
a ring of thorns
hoisted on a
terrible cross
the sweet
incense of you
meets our nose
we inhale your
earthly presence
beholding beautifully
adorned crucifix,
a reminder of
unjust persecution
and a perfect
resurrection
yet this wretched
coffin remains

pledging allegiance
we rationalize our
stories, articulating
our small parts
in  heroic sagas,
reciting myths of
ourselves, recording
the grim history of
a young marine
surrounded by
a smart color guard,
feasting on todays
eucharist, this
days sweet taste
of  the daily bread
of human sorrow

The priest finishes
his graveside
commendation
of Joey D

Taps conclude
a wind rises
crows take flight
winging over
a stand of budding
Sugar Maples
exploding in white
blooms, reveling
in the glorious
sunshine of this
magnificent day

St. Luke’s stairway to
God Country and Home
smiling portrait of you
forever young

we surround your grave
to bless the earth
you've returned home
to your place of birth

our flowing pride
and salty tears bless
the anointed ground
that you loved best

a proud Jersey son
whom Thou hast blest
laid in St. Luke’s ground
for his heavenly rest

for he was always faithful
to the blessed land
forever at peace
in the soils sure hands

Charles Ives
The Unanswered Question

Oakland
11/10/13
jbm
JV Beaupre May 2016
Canto I. Long ago and far away...

Under the bridge across the Kankakee River, Grampa found me. I was busted for truancy. First grade. 1946.

Coming home from college for Christmas. Oops, my family moved a few streets over and forgot to tell me. Peoria, 1961.

The Pabst Brewery lunchroom in Peoria, a little after dawn, my first day. A guy came  in and said: "Who wants my horsecock sandwich? ****, this first beer tastes good." We never knew how many he drank. 1962.

At grad school, when we moved into the basement with the octopus furnace, Dave, my roommate contributed a case of Chef Boyardee spaghettios and I brought 3 cases of beer, PBRs.  Supper for a month. Ames. 1962.

Sharon and I were making out in the afternoon, clothes a jumble. Walter Cronkite said, " President Kennedy has been shot…” 1963.

I stood in line, in my shorts, waiting for the clap-check. The corporal shouted:  "All right, you *******, Uncle and the Republic of Viet Nam want your sorry *****. Drop 'em".  Deferred, 1964.

He electrified the room. Every woman in the room, regardless of age, wanted him, or seemed to. The atmosphere was primeval and dripping with desire. In the presence of greatness, 1968.

US science jobs dried up. From a mountain-top, beery conversation, I got a research job in Germany. Boulder, 1968. Aachen, 1969.

The first time I saw automatic weapons at an airport. Geneva, 1970.

I toasted Rembrandt with sparkling wine at the Rijksmuseum. He said nothing. 1972.

A little drunk, but sobering fast: the guard had Khrushchev teeth.
Midnight, alone, locked in a room at the border, why?
Hours later, release. East Berlin, 1973.

She said, "You know it's remarkable that we're not having an affair." No, it wasn't. George's wife.  Germany, 1973.

"May be there really are quarks, but if so, we'll never see them." Truer than I knew.  Exit to Huntsville, 1974.

Hard work, good times, difficult times. Not fully digested. 15 years in Huntsville and counting.

The golden Lord Buddha radiated peace with his smile. Shots in the distance. Bangkok. 1992.

Accomplishment at work, discord at home. Divorce. Huntsville. 1994. I got the dogs.

New beginnings, a fresh start, true love and life-partner. Huntsville. 1995.

Canto II. In the present century....

I started painting. Old barns and such. 2004.

I quietly admired a Rembrandt portrait at the Schiphol airport. Ever inscrutable, his painting had presence, even as the bomb dogs sniffed by. Beagles. 2006.

I’ve lost two close friends that I’ve known for 50-odd years. There aren’t many more. Huntsville. 2008 and 2011.

Here's some career advice: On your desk, keep a coffee cup marked, "No Whining", that side out. Final retirement. 2015.

I occasionally kick myself for not staying with physics—I’m jealous of friends that did. I moved on, but stayed interested. Continuing.

Honest distortions emerging from the distance of time. The thin comfort of fading memories. Thoughts on poor decisions and worse outcomes. Not often, but every now and then.
CK Baker Mar 2017
there’s a barnacle scar
deeply ingrained
on the basalt stack
at mark thirty two
whispering summer winds
scented oil
cotton and roe
drift
as waves brush
and shape
the sandstone shore

the briny air
and lost erratic
set a tone to this
pollyanna portrait
it's andrews undulations
and gifted benches
its concessions
and traces of the barry burn
its sculpted driftwood
and sanko lines
make this picture
almost perfect

children play
as venom spews
from the caterwaul pair
those odd looking mates
casting smiles
with arrested despair
settling shots
swiping bugs
dipping and darting
as photo men
and muscles
and long neck seabirds
make their turn

the hunched hoody
and his sorted sidekick
get their fill
(of moss and rubble ~ chubby and kelp)
nice to meet your acquaintance
the pho man would say
an odd drop
and ironic turn
from those horrific corners
of timeless desperation
down by cannon bridge

harbor seals
and carriage horse
are fronted by
raven shade
jolly tides pause
in quiet bays
(with curious looters
and *** pickers)
sand merchants
and field totems
all streamed by the light

cirrus strands
blanket the
outer edge
hovering craft
and shimmering willows
bolt the evening frame
blood orange
and tethered
with a filtered glare
bottle-nose dolphins
and seabirds
(and shifting tides)
are all settling in
for the long night stay
B Young Aug 2015
Like the portrait by John Singer Sargent,
of two helplessly hopelessly wedded souls.
The portrait was dim, even in 1897.
The couple grimly seeking searching reaching towards heaven,
timeless romantic.
Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Newton Phelps, who are you?
Starring through a century of fading oils, all my emotions become,
revoked. I sit and stare in repose.
What's left but to stoke the flame; the burning desire, love, and addiction.
Mr. Sargent did you understand my affliction?
Lest I travel back to the Rocky Mountains, those billowing rocks so beautifully captured by your contemporaries, by Albert Bierstadt.
I am a lost wandering critic, traveling through time using paint as my medium, to form these rhymes.
Ridding myself of a life that has become full of all things labeled tedium.
From the French to the Austrian to the English to the American, a new world unfurls.
All cultures aiming to capture the intrinsically fleeting moments of life, nature, and the beautiful, as they curl.
In and out, a dance of colors, a pageantry of light yet again is unfurled.
Only then does my soul feel full and bright.
The fog clears as my headlights part the mist, and I realize, as these masters before me, I do have something to offer...
Love!
Forgiveness!
Hope!
                               ...for a new tomorrow...
A new heaven.
A new Earth.

Today
Triste Sep 2019
She met an artist
His fingers were made of gold
They moved like brush strokes
She was an empty canvas
His portrait of rainbow tears
Nat Yonce Aug 2010
"You know, I used to be good at math,"
He says,
A cigarette cradled in his fingers,
Spilling ash on his blue jeans.
He rearranges himself, removes his jacket -
It's much too hot for leather now -
And reveals a Dean t-shirt.
Too cool for school, I suppose.

"The rules just got too crazy, too specific.
Too dependent and tangled.
Well, too much so for the effort I was willing to exert."
He's frank, I'll give him that.
How does he make utter sloth seem so innocent?
Too cool for school, I suppose.

He calls himself a Methodist.
Not like that, though.
He says he's just figured life out.
He means the hows, not the whys.
The stops along the tour of personal success.
A Methodist.
Too cool for school, I suppose.
©2007

— The End —