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howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
zebra Jun 2017
she loved thunder storms most of all
the crackle of white hot bolts ripping through the sky
the shear immensity of power
she always thought it was him
her beloved God
big boy
Thor
with his flowing blond hair
blue aquatic eyes
washboard stomach
and delicately curved *****
finally a man good enough for her
even if he was fly by night

when the heavens thickened gray
like soggy cotton
she could feel atmospheres shift
it made her ******* pert
her mouth would salivate
like a lurid peach
her ***** swelled and dampened
tears of adoration and enchantment
filled her eyes

no longer able to contain her self
she would strip naked
fling off her *******
and run out to the lush verdant meadows
calling at the top of her lungs
yoooooooooo hooooooooooo

as the cool rain descended
she ran thrilled to the mud between her toes
seeing great claws of white lightening  echo
through the sky

without hesitation
she fell to the cool earth beneath her
wallowing in the delicious sloshing ooze
positioning her self on all fours
head thrown back
*** up high
calling to the heavens
come on, come on big boy
ive been waiting for you
let me have it good
her clitoral lips
drooled with anticipation
her ******
a pulsating aching

the sky rumbled
with stretching streaks of fire
like a great freight train
spanning infinity
while the earth shook like a
hollow moon
she swayed her hips
rhythmically to and fro
whispering a love song

oh sir
i need a man like you
wont you love me
adorations true

i kneel before
my sweet Lord Thor
where's that hammer
come on and score

you are so big
and im so little
how about it God
just a tickle

hit it now
give it to me good
kisses baby
like you only could


tears of desire cascaded
down her pink cheeks
as she recited her love mantra
her mouth naked wet

suddenly
a great bolt of lightening
shot down from heavens throne
entering her ******
splitting her in flames
her head turned dark mahogany
sent careening fifty yards
leaving her mouth
a yawning twisted smudge
of fossilized obsidian
with eyes
blackened flaring hollows

her tender pink ****
a chard flower
smoldering
like a
petite
grilled
calamari
mygreatestescape Jan 2017
Did the sea
seem inviting
that day?
The way
it must have
taken your breath
away
for you to
say,

"Ah, here
I'll stay,"

Did you love the
sea more
than air
that day?

As the skies
rumbled,
downpouring
their gentle
guilt
in your tangled
mess of hair,

The way
it trickled down
your smiling face
- into your mouth,
I can almost imagine,

Did the sea
not scream
******
as you divulged
beneath
its rough
edged
waves,

Did you not
claw
towards the
heavens,
Did you not
scream
Until
you were
strangled
alive?

Did you love
the sea so dearly,
to let it's
cold
arms
drag you
to even colder
places.
For a friend and another suicide attempt.
Terry O'Leary Feb 2017
Awaking blithe each morning,
with eyes upon the World,
I wonder, are we mourning
with ebon flags unfurled –
or are they but a warning,
some draped like snakes and curled,
stray stars and stripes adorning,
sent from the netherworld.

I wander through the garden
with nothing on my mind
and say 'I beg your pardon'
alarmed at what I find
as winds begin to harden
and fate begins to grind.

Confused, I watch my neighbours,
they're wide-eyed, unafraid
to halt all useful labours
and join the death brigade;
the ritters rattle sabres,
the frail and fragile fade,
morticians tap on tabors,
the potentates parade.

The military blesses
(in tunics somewhat browned)
its crimson-stained successes,
hell bent and heaven bound.
Such scenes no more distress us:
a ****** battleground,
dissevered heads with tresses
and arms and legs abound;
the fourth estate suppresses
the heaps of bodies  found
(collateral excesses
discarded in a mound).

Society regresses,
now living by the sword,
with torture and its stresses
upon a waterboard;
a captive kid confesses,
his innocence ignored -
fallacious facts and guesses,
the guts of justice gored!

With canting vindication
a big brass bully brags
(with pearls of perspiration
and swollen tongue that gags)
of third world  subjugation
for gelt and oily swags,
of human rights' castration,
and on and on it drags.

The manifold migration
of refugees in rags
while searching for salvation
soon finds compassion lags;
uprooted populations
are fleeing from their flags
else dying of starvation
as naked hunger nags.

With trump cards politicking,
two little hands (all thumbs)
may send the Mad Dog siccing.
Insane! All sense succumbs.

Atomic timepiece ticking
until the Reaper comes
as Geiger counters clicking
drown out the droning drums.

Cast out for not conforming,
I wander day by day
to find the earth deforming
as nature wastes away,
with bees no longer swarming
(expunged with garden spray)
and ocean depths transforming
(neath plastic overlay).

With CO2 performing
the climate's led astray,
the atmosphere's been warming,
the grasses ashen gray,
eternal tempest storming
while permafrosts decay,
and ozone holes are forming
in deadly disarray.

The people profiteering
descend a slip'ry *****
destroying, never fearing        
of running out of rope;
instead they sit back sneering
“our wealth’s your only hope”.

Yes, Armageddon's nearing,
it's doubtful that we'll cope,
for Evolution's jeering,
she's scanned our horoscope:
we'll soon be disappearing
with whale and antelope.


           Epitaph

The multitudes were jumbled,
some milling ’round the mall,
while politicians bumbled
when bracing for the brawl.

The World around us rumbled,
our backs against the wall,
as bombs were tossed and tumbled
across our broken ball.

My kneecaps creaked and crumbled
but I, too proud to crawl,
took but a step and stumbled  
yet found no place to fall.

And no one heard me grumble
although I tried to call,
or maybe I just mumbled,
as strength began to pall.

Well now the World’s been humbled
I seek an urban sprawl,
but since the feuds were fumbled
there’s nothing left at all.
One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound
except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember
whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve
nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky
that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in
the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays
resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her
son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland,
though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we
waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they
would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and
moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their
eyes. The wise cats never appeared.

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows - eternal, ever
since Wednesday - that we never heard Mrs. Prothero's first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or,
if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor's polar
cat. But soon the voice grew louder.
"Fire!" cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong.

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring
out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier
in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the
house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room.

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a
newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, "A fine Christmas!" and
smacking at the smoke with a slipper.

"Call the fire brigade," cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong.
"There won't be there," said Mr. Prothero, "it's Christmas."
There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his
slipper as though he were conducting.
"Do something," he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke - I think we missed Mr. Prothero - and
ran out of the house to the telephone box.
"Let's call the police as well," Jim said. "And the ambulance." "And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires."

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose
into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier
Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt,
Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would
say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets,
standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, "Would you like anything to read?"

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel
petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt
like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the
English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the
daft and happy hills *******, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I
made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."

"But that was not the same snow," I say. "Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it
came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow
grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and
settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards."

"Were there postmen then, too?"
"With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and
mittened on them manfully. But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells."
"You mean that the postman went rat-a-tat-tat and the doors rang?"
"I mean that the bells the children could hear were inside them."
"I only hear thunder sometimes, never bells."
"There were church bells, too."
"Inside them?"
"No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks. And they rang their tidings
over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It
seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our
fence."

"Get back to the postmen"
"They were just ordinary postmen, found of walking and dogs and Christmas and the snow. They knocked on the
doors with blue knuckles ...."
"Ours has got a black knocker...."
"And then they stood on the white Welcome mat in the little, drifted porches and huffed and puffed, making
ghosts with their breath, and jogged from foot to foot like small boys wanting to go out."
"And then the presents?"
"And then the Presents, after the Christmas box. And the cold postman, with a rose on his button-nose, tingled
down the tea-tray-slithered run of the chilly glinting hill. He went in his ice-bound boots like a man on
fishmonger's slabs.
"He wagged his bag like a frozen camel's ****, dizzily turned the corner on one foot, and, by God, he was
gone."

"Get back to the Presents."
"There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths;
zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o'-warred down to the galoshes; blinding tam-o'-
shanters like patchwork tea cozies and bunny-suited busbies and balaclavas for victims of head-shrinking
tribes; from aunts who always wore wool next to the skin there were mustached and rasping vests that made you
wonder why the aunts had any skin left at all; and once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now,
alas, no longer whinnying with us. And pictureless books in which small boys, though warned with quotations not
to, would skate on Farmer Giles' pond and did and drowned; and books that told me everything about the wasp,
except why."

"Go on the Useless Presents."
"Bags of moist and many-colored jelly babies and a folded flag and a false nose and a tram-conductor's cap and
a machine that punched tickets and rang a bell; never a catapult; once, by mistake that no one could explain, a
little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that
an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the
trees, the sea and the animals any colour I pleased, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the
red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches,
cracknels, humbugs, glaciers, marzipan, and butterwelsh for the Welsh. And troops of bright tin soldiers who,
if they could not fight, could always run. And Snakes-and-Families and Happy Ladders. And Easy Hobbi-Games for
Little Engineers, complete with instructions. Oh, easy for Leonardo! And a whistle to make the dogs bark to
wake up the old man next door to make him beat on the wall with his stick to shake our picture off the wall.
And a packet of cigarettes: you put one in your mouth and you stood at the corner of the street and you waited
for hours, in vain, for an old lady to scold you for smoking a cigarette, and then with a smirk you ate it. And
then it was breakfast under the balloons."

"Were there Uncles like in our house?"
"There are always Uncles at Christmas. The same Uncles. And on Christmas morning, with dog-disturbing whistle
and sugar ****, I would scour the swatched town for the news of the little world, and find always a dead bird
by the Post Office or by the white deserted swings; perhaps a robin, all but one of his fires out. Men and
women wading or scooping back from chapel, with taproom noses and wind-bussed cheeks, all albinos, huddles
their stiff black jarring feathers against the irreligious snow. Mistletoe hung from the gas brackets in all
the front parlors; there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons; and cats in
their fur-abouts watched the fires; and the high-heaped fire spat, all ready for the chestnuts and the mulling
pokers. Some few large men sat in the front parlors, without their collars, Uncles almost certainly, trying
their new cigars, holding them out judiciously at arms' length, returning them to their mouths, coughing, then
holding them out again as though waiting for the explosion; and some few small aunts, not wanted in the
kitchen, nor anywhere else for that matter, sat on the very edge of their chairs, poised and brittle, afraid to
break, like faded cups and saucers."

Not many those mornings trod the piling streets: an old man always, fawn-bowlered, yellow-gloved and, at this
time of year, with spats of snow, would take his constitutional to the white bowling green and back, as he
would take it wet or fire on Christmas Day or Doomsday; sometimes two hale young men, with big pipes blazing,
no overcoats and wind blown scarfs, would trudge, unspeaking, down to the forlorn sea, to work up an appetite,
to blow away the fumes, who knows, to walk into the waves until nothing of them was left but the two furling
smoke clouds of their inextinguishable briars. Then I would be slap-dashing home, the gravy smell of the
dinners of others, the bird smell, the brandy, the pudding and mince, coiling up to my nostrils, when out of a
snow-clogged side lane would come a boy the spit of myself, with a pink-tipped cigarette and the violet past of
a black eye, cocky as a bullfinch, leering all to himself.

I hated him on sight and sound, and would be about to put my dog whistle to my lips and blow him off the face
of Christmas when suddenly he, with a violet wink, put his whistle to his lips and blew so stridently, so high,
so exquisitely loud, that gobbling faces, their cheeks bulged with goose, would press against their tinsled
windows, the whole length of the white echoing street. For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after
dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch
chains, groaned a little and slept. Mothers, aunts and sisters scuttled to and fro, bearing tureens. Auntie
Bessie, who had already been frightened, twice, by a clock-work mouse, whimpered at the sideboard and had some
elderberry wine. The dog was sick. Auntie Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Auntie Hannah, who liked port,
stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush. I would blow up balloons to
see how big they would blow up to; and, when they burst, which they all did, the Uncles jumped and rumbled. In
the rich and heavy afternoon, the Uncles breathing like dolphins and the snow descending, I would sit among
festoons and Chinese lanterns and nibble dates and try to make a model man-o'-war, following the Instructions
for Little Engineers, and produce what might be mistaken for a sea-going tramcar.

Or I would go out, my bright new boots squeaking, into the white world, on to the seaward hill, to call on Jim
and Dan and Jack and to pad through the still streets, leaving huge footprints on the hidden pavements.
"I bet people will think there's been hippos."
"What would you do if you saw a hippo coming down our street?"
"I'd go like this, bang! I'd throw him over the railings and roll him down the hill and then I'd tickle him
under the ear and he'd wag his tail."
"What would you do if you saw two hippos?"

Iron-flanked and bellowing he-hippos clanked and battered through the scudding snow toward us as we passed Mr.
Daniel's house.
"Let's post Mr. Daniel a snow-ball through his letter box."
"Let's write things in the snow."
"Let's write, 'Mr. Daniel looks like a spaniel' all over his lawn."
Or we walked on the white shore. "Can the fishes see it's snowing?"

The silent one-clouded heavens drifted on to the sea. Now we were snow-blind travelers lost on the north hills,
and vast dewlapped dogs, with flasks round their necks, ambled and shambled up to us, baying "Excelsior." We
returned home through the poor streets where only a few children fumbled with bare red fingers in the wheel-
rutted snow and cat-called after us, their voices fading away, as we trudged uphill, into the cries of the dock
birds and the hooting of ships out in the whirling bay. And then, at tea the recovered Uncles would be jolly;
and the ice cake loomed in the center of the table like a marble grave. Auntie Hannah laced her tea with ***,
because it was only once a year.

Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like
owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the
stairs and the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn't the shaving
of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we
stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand
in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant
and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house. "What shall we give them?
Hark the Herald?"
"No," Jack said, "Good King Wencelas. I'll count three." One, two three, and we began to sing, our voices high
and seemingly distant in the snow-felted darkness round the house that was occupied by nobody we knew. We stood
close together, near the dark door. Good King Wencelas looked out On the Feast of Stephen ... And then a small,
dry voice, like the voice of someone who has not spoken for a long time, joined our singing: a small, dry,
eggshell voice from the other side of the door: a small dry voice through the keyhole. And when we stopped
running we were outside our house; the front room was lovely; balloons floated under the hot-water-bottle-
gulping gas; everything was good again and shone over the town.
"Perhaps it was a ghost," Jim said.
"Perhaps it was trolls," Dan said, who was always reading.
"Let's go in and see if there's any jelly left," Jack said. And we did that.

Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang "Cherry Ripe," and another
uncle sang "Drake's Drum." It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip
wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a
Bird's Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out
into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other
houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas
down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.
howard brace Oct 2012
A nervous shiver rippled briefly across his shoulders as Dunstan peered over the balcony, it was a long way down from his penthouse suite he guessed, shrinking back from the handrail... at a rough guess somewhere between the upper observation deck, Eiffel-Tower, Paris, France and lower basement mezzanine at Miss Selfridge, London, England... and Dunstan was terrified if heights.
  
     It scarcely seemed anytime at all really since he'd relocated to his new and upwardly situated des-res, yet for all that he could hardly recall living anywhere else, once you'd seen one, well... you got the idea,  after a while they all looked pretty much the same, you just had to be able to haggle, but for now at least he was obviously safe enough where he was, sunning himself on the balcony watching the world go by as he scribbled down a shopping list... but lunchtime was almost upon him and then all hell was sure to break loose.

     Having finally determined to put down roots and raise children of her own, his mother Elvera, finding herself in the family-way had wasted no time at all in tearing several well thumbed pages out of her mother's book, then taken both Dunstan's father and his gene-pool straight to the cleaners, just to keep them, so page three informed her firmly in the family... so Dunstan grew up knowing a great deal about laundry and dry-cleaning, but very little about his father, just the occasional anecdote cast to the wind like so much bird seed, about their early courting days and how they'd both wanted him to grow into a strong, healthy lad and do well at school, climbing the corporate ladder, so-to-speak and go to Boy-Scouts every Tuesday evening just like his father had done before him... and learn all about knots, but Dunstan had vertigo and couldn't tie knots for toffee.
                                    
     All hell was certainly dead set on breaking loose that lunchtime, or rather Houdini were they to continue and remain on first name terms... and there was nothing Dunstan loved more than a captive audience.   Reflecting deeply and never wanting a repeat of the previous week he studied the hastily bound swaddling, perhaps the odd tweak here and there just to be on the safe side should ensure the safety of his dinner guest for the remainder of the afternoon.   As Dunstan snipped the final thread he considered that simply nothing was too much trouble where todays 'entree was concerned, he now sat before Houdini smacking his lips in anticipation, quivering in the front parlour waiting for the dinner gong to sound, the Sunday lunch however, now in a mounting state of frenzied agitation continued bouncing around on the embroidered tablespread.  

     Dunstan could never understand what the fuss was all about... I mean, it wasn't as though his dinner guest hadn't been invited, he argued and that for the umpteenth time, as he reached for the carving knife and steel, he simply wasn't going to take no for an answer, leaving his dinner guest still bouncing about, insisting that he'd merely dropped in for directions... and that he, The Great Houdini, currently billed at The London Hippodrome for the remainder of the season had a far more pressing dinner engagement elsewhere, with a diary for the foreseeable future distinctly at odds with those of his host... leaving Dunstan so he hoped, far behind and in no uncertain doubt that not only had he been left hanging in stickier corners than this one, but had every intention of extracting himself from being principal dish of the day before third curtain call... and having done so, wish Dunstan a very good day and remit his professional fee by return of post.

    Meanwhile, insisting that his guest needn't feel obliged to dine elsewhere when they could both enjoy a really splendid one right here, chewing over happier times together, although should Houdini wish, then Dunstan felt confident that his dinner guest was more than capable of punching his way out of as many wet paper bags as he liked... and just what were the Marquis of Queensberry Rules anyway... so encouraged, Dunstan continued sharpening the knife. 

     "Well really", thought Dunstan... 'and without so much as a by-your-leave' carefully examining the damage to his new lace tablecloth, torn in Houdini's haste to depart, he really must be careful as he rummaged for his darning needle, not to fall through.  It had been the shortest dinner party in living memory, Dunstan sighed, it simply would not do, what would all his neighbour's think, he'd never hear the last of it, his reputation they would whisper, well... it would all end in ruins, mark their words it would.  Dunstan's tummy rumbled, he'd been filled with nothing but anticipation that day and very little else, but other than a torn tablecloth and superfluous items of Houdini, shrugged of in his bid for freedom, no one would be any the wiser... having said that, Dunstan would have to make do with a cold repast for luncheon instead, hanging quite still in the larder.

                                                        ­     ­ ...    ...   ...**

A work in progress.                                                        ­                                                               831
Big Virge Jun 2018
Ya Know … They Say When You Age …
That You Should Stay … " ACTIVE " … !!!

Now Physically …  
That Makes Sense To Me …  
  
But NOT IF ... " Mentally " …  
Your Mind State's Captive … !!!!!
Reactive And Lacking ...
In Thoughts ... Attracting …  
  
A Balanced Life ...
In … " Body And Mind " …  
  
So I KEEP Mine As In My Brain ...
Active And Inclined To ELEVATE ...  
And Therefore Maintain A STRONG Mind State … !!!!!  
  
A Thing I Exhibit In My Wordplay … !!!
Whenever I Visit An ... A4 Page … !!!!!  
And Let My Lyrics Become An Array …  
of Rhymes Exquisite When They Are Displayed …  
  
My Words Become Active Whenever They're … " Acted " ...
Or Simply Heard Via Spoken Word From Me … " Big Virge " …  
  
See ... Activation of Thought I Now Explore ...  
As A Way To KEEP Active And NOT GET Bored … !!!!!
  
As I Said Before I DO NOT Ignore … !!!
A NEED To Do MORE Than Exercise On Floors … !!!
  
I Do That TOO … !!!!!  
But Don't EVER ABUSE …   
The Tool That When USED …
  
Activates Tissues ...
NOT USED By … " Fools " … ?!?
  
Who DISMISS Thought … !!!
To IMPRESS These ****** … !?!
  
FLEXING Muscle And STRONG Skin Tones …  
So That They Can Couple … Activating Hormones … !!!!!
  
I'd Rather Be ... " Humble " ...
Than Activate TUSSLES That DON'T BREED Chuckles … !!!
When They OPEN Dark Tunnels Where Fellas Use KNUCKLES …
  
Activating TROUBLE Because They Got Rumbled … !!!
When Having … MORE THAN Cuddles … !!!

With Girls Whose Main Trait  …  
Is To ACTIVATE More Than Their PROSTATE … !!!!!  
  
See I Activate Levels DEEP Inside My Mental … !!!
That Takes Lead From The Pencils of ***** Lil' Devils … !!!!!!
  
Therefore I Stay STRONG And AVOID Problems … !!!
That Come From Loose Thongs And Violent Wrongs ... !!!  
  
I'd Rather Write Words And Poetic Verse …
That Act Like Prophylactics And Give Disease COLLAPSES … !!!  
  
Because My Wordplay … " Snatches " ... !!!
Whips And Gives Out Hangings  ... !!!  
  
To Cats Thinking They … MASSIVE … ?!?
When What They Are Is … TRAGIC … !!!!
  
TRAGIC … "Little Captives" …  
Using … FOOLISH Tactics …  
That Put Them On My Blacklist … !!!!!!
  
of Those Worthy of LASHES …
See Me I Prey Like … MANTIS …  
Or Like Man From … ATLANTIS … !!!!!!
  
I Pray Upon An AXIS … !!!
Symmetrical And Balanced … !!!!!!
  
UNABLE To Be ... Challenged ...  
By IGNORANCE That's Captive …  
In Minds Now LOST And SAVAGE ... !!!!!!
  
Long After I'm ... NONACTIVE …  
My Words Will Still Be ACTIVE … !!!!!!
  
That's Why I Write And Post Online … !!!
So That When I Have … Physically Died …  
  
These Words I Find Inside My Mind ….  
WILL Stay ALIVE … " IMMORTALISED " … !!!!!!

BEYOND My Life ….  
That's Where My Pride TRULY Resides ….
  
In A Place Where Thoughts …  
CREATE Wordplay Beyond The Wars We See Today … !!!!!!
  
I Hope One Day People Will Say …. ?!?

"That Big Virge Man, played an active hand,
in the betterment of, our race of humans,
and left us seeds, to activate dreams of finding peace,
and living for more than, fights on streets, and vanity !
That Man for sure, wrote poetry,
that's active now he's no longer around !"
  
But While i'm here My Mind Adheres …  
To Activating Verse That CLEARLY HURTS … !!!
  
Chickens And Jerks Whose Form of Work … ?!?
Activates NONSENSE Causing PROBLEMS ... !!!
  
I Have An Active Body And An ACTIVE Mind … !!!
So My Work's FAR FROM Shoddy Because It Feeds The Blind …  
With The Kind of Insights THAT ... DON'T Invite ... !!!!!

IGNORANCE and PRIDE To Be Aligned With A Positive Life …  
The Words I Rhyme Activate Like STARS Shine In The Night ... !!!
Because … From The Dark There MUST COME LIGHT … !!!!!
  
So As I Approach These Last Few Lines …
NO Time To Reproach or Criticise … !!!
  
Because These Words AREN'T … " Faddish " … !!!
And Won't Take ALL Your Bandwidth  … !!!!!
  
I Am A Wordsmith Whose Pen Writes Scripts …
of TRUE LYRICS … " PROACTIVE " … !!!!!
  
These Words Are NOT Just RANTINGS …  
They're DRIVEN And ... EXPANSIVE … !!!!!!!
  
And PROVE That Like My … " Writtens' "
When Big Virge Was Here … " LIVING " …  
  
My Brain, Body & Spirit ...
Were Attached To Being …  
  
….. " ACTIVE " …..
Not a bad idea to stay active, hence the poem ......
Kenna Marie Feb 2016
Astonished at the plethora of cars outside my casket, I try to get up. But, I'm held down by chains. It's so bright through the little cracks in The casket that I have to squint my eyes.
The sunRays ask me, "are you ready for this ride?"
I'm pinned down, hell bound. All these gifts decorated around me and on top of me signify that I'm decaying.
I am the epitome of the hearts grief. Since day one I was infected by your leave. Theres a honk, then A crash. Caused by the distraction of me being buried. Theres a hole in the window, theres a girl in the seat and there's a screech.
"Wait for me girl!" I scream. I scramble to get free. Get me out of here. Where's the rescue for her soul? The wreckage burdens me. As people flea my scene, I see backs turn from me.
Just a bit overheated, i awake from this peculiar dream. Also me in the parking lot, with the key, foot on brake, rumbled and shakes to start for a drive.
It then dawns on me; I'm going to my own funeral.
Travis Green Aug 2018
An immense circle of thoughts was clouding
my brain in this room of reconfigured dimensions,
the spinning ceiling fan whirling into a windmill,
the ******* floors breaking into a wave of sharpened
metaphors, the expressionless curtains filled with fear
and crashing scenery, a dark hollow surface converging
in a rhythm of insane beats, imprisoned noted drumming,
disentangled sentences, shattering subjects, compressed
conjunctions and compounds accelerating into an eternity
of uncolored existences, as I stare at the isolated sky,
swollen stars diverging in a broken pattern of faded worlds,
the breathless moon sunken in a domain of interchangeable
languages, meaningless mazes, chopped consonants,
crumbling dreams, everything shifting in a sea of diminishing
whirlpools, while I drifted into a realm of uncaged thoughts,
a crushing cycle of unbalanced worlds, dizzy and senseless
paragraphs bleeding into timeless realities.  My eyes are
plummeting and shackled in drumbeating rhetoric, lost logos,
swallowed pathos, enveloped ethos, rainless cheeks, cloaked chests,
handcuffed arms, square root hips disassembling into deferred
depictions, distilled dreams, shadowed feet hardly more than a
poetic sound, a sore scrawled letter stretched in ragged angles,
stinging, helpless horizons.  I gazed at the shattered glass on
the kitchen floor, how its cracking vibration rumbled inside
my veins, how its impossible syllables blazed my soul,
the burning air around my inner being suffocating in Saturn,
vanishing in Venus, exploding on Earth, every ****** debris
splitting in horrid labyrinths, a screaming depth hidden in
disguise.  I glanced around at the broken wall where
my drunken dad fists where imprinted, the mangled wood
hanging in drugged vowels, the rotten symmetry disappearing
in chalky chambers, roughly lined hues declining without a trace,
as I reflected on the series of events that transpired, the way I
could hear the slamming door raging inside my vessel,
enflamed flaming verbs hovering in high rhymes,
hardened adjectives, destroyed derivatives, disintegrating
equations, the way his bladed feet dragged across the floor,
every reverberating step drowning the sunken space between us,
unwritten surroundings trapped in the atmosphere, confined in a
cloud of inconsolable galaxies, the raging fire stained ***** bottle
wedged between his grubby hands, as I could smell the reeking
breath sifting out of his mouth onto my monotonous flesh,
the same ruthless flow traveling in stuttering nouns, drowning
my heart in Neptune, while I listened to his blazing bloodshot
words, You are nothing without me!  You are worthless!  
You are just a filthy *****!  I wish you would die!  The rising
diction clenched every part of my frame, the way I could breathe
in the asphalt in his tasteless lips, a dying aroma that made me feel
like I was a featureless street seeping into underground dungeons, undone, a destroyed beauty shotgunned.
Mitchell Duran Jun 2012
The night rested in a humid Spring night as the cable cars
And taxi cabs lazily made their way around the
Soft and silent streets of the city. Stray cats and dogs
Picked away at half-eaten lunch meat and
three day old bread as the moon slowly began to rise.
The restaurants that lined the alley ways and
Side streets were filled with the Saturday evening crowd. The
Clinking echoes of wine glasses and dinner plates spilled
Out onto the sidewalk and into the street. The passerby's would
Occasionally turn their heads to look inside, some envious that they
Were not smiling and drinking and eating that night. Across the
Street and throughout the town, lonely men drank from half empty
Beer mugs, wondering where their passion had gone.

On the corner of Barry and 3rd stood a man alone with
A suitcase in his hand. He wore tattered brown dress
Shoes - two years too old - a black neck tie with a half
Button-up T-shirt and a pair of dark brown slacks he had
Bought from Goodwill for $3. His free hand hung open,
Letting the night breeze snake around his fingers. There
Were the stars above him that shone down onto the street
And the sidewalk and a few spotted puddles that had
Built up from an earlier rain. On the corner of Barry and 3rd
There was only one thing to do with one's time, and that
Was to stand around and think of where to go to next.

Up on 17th, there was a bar the man had heard of
From a woman who had tried to pick him up at the bus
Station, some kind of ******* that was really only looking
For a couple of free drinks and a packet of cigarettes. The man
Thought of this place, and weighed back and forth if it would
Be advantageous to wander up there and see if he couldn't
Find someone to shack up with for the night.
He decided it would be.

As he passed the busy restaurants, listening to the insides
Of the building and its occupants churn like silverware
In a blender, he remembered he had placed a half-loaf
Of bread inside of his suitcase.
He stopped on a rough concrete stoop of a Catholic
Church, where above him, stood a large wooden cross.
Around the cross were plaster sculptures of baby angels and
Gargoyles and a snaking vine made of black stone that made
Its way around the cross, tying itself around the center
Where the horizontal met the vertical, and continued
To spin around and around until it reached the top.
At first, the man thought it was some
Kind of snake signifying Adam and Eve, which was all
He really knew about religion, the basic kid stories, but
When looking closer, realized that it was only an innocent
Plant seeking a spot of sun.

The man placed his suitcase on the 3rd step of 8, where he
Then sat on the 4th. He leaned his weathered, bent back against
The hard stone concrete and listened to the faint cracks
Of his spine inside his body. He realized that he hadn't sat d
Down and relaxed since he had gotten off the train. He threw
His head back in a exaggerated and child-like yawn, and felt the warm tears
Of bashful exhaustion fill the sockets of his heavy eyes. The night was
Warm and he unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt
To let the air blow over his sweat drenched chest.

"There are certain times to be alone in life," He mused
To himself, "And I do believe that I have
Found one of them."

In a room above him the window was wide open
And the curtains danced outside with the wind. A head
Poked out from the window sill and peered down to
Look at the man musing, but did not say anything. The man
knew nothing of the stranger's eyes above him and felt
No other presence around him, other than the passing taxi
Cabs and street walker's and - if you counted the one's inside
The church - the saints and the angel's and God that lived
In holy silence enshrined behind him.

"There are things in life that are never meant to be
Solved," he philosophized, "And maybe I am
One of those things. When I think of my life, my entire
Life here on Earth, I don't think I ever found
A straight line to follow that I was ever comfortable
With...not one straight line I could follow that would
Bring me true happiness or a sense of accomplishment.
Now, am I bad in feeling this way? Am I no good
For never feeling that the good ain't ever good enough?
I do my laundry like everybody else and I walk the
Street just the same, but, there is something else that
Smells and feels and can taste the eternity in all things
That makes me restless so I can't sleep sometimes, forces
Me to stare into black infinity with only a mind I feel
That I will never truly meet. There has got to be a word
For whatever feeling this is, but I can't seem to think of it now."

The head above that had poked out before ******
A dark object out the window. It wavered for a moment
In the still warm air of the night, then, whooshing and
Splashing down, a full bucket of water cascaded down
on the man's head and suitcase. The man sat frozen, unsure
Whether it was from the Heaven's itself and paused before
He began to swear and curse at the tenant above him.

"You rat **** eating vanilla ice cream eating convict!" he
Screamed up towards the apartment complex, "I'm going
To come back with a gallon of gasoline, 10,000 tooth-picks, and
Find out your favorite magazine subscription and bring 1,000
Those by, and burn this place down - gifts and all!"

His voice
Echoed in the street
And down the darkened alley-way,
Where the bums of the city
Slumbered, not hearing a sound
Of the rant the man in the now wet
Two year old dress shoes rambled
On with; for bums sleep with
Absolute peace with their lack of
Care or fear of time.

"At last," he muttered underneath his dripping hair,
"I am released unto the Earth for what I truly am: A hung
Sheet - fresh out of the washer - meant only to be
Basking in the moonlight so to be dried by
Morning for the house-guests in the evening."

The man snapped his fingers,
Clicked his tongue, and looked up,
Once more trying to spot the culprit, until
Another bucket of water came crashing
Down upon him.

"QUIET DOWN THERE,"
The voice from above hollered,
"THERE AIN'T A SINGLE WORD ANYONE
IN THIS BUILDING WANTS TO HEAR
RIGHT NOW! CHILDREN ARE SLEEPING AND
THE OLD ONE'S ARE WATCHING THIER PROGRAMS!"

The man ran his hands through his dripping wet hair
And flicked the droplets of water out onto the street. His
Suitcase, which sat to the right of him, was soaked as well and
The man worried about the single baguette he had stored
In there in case he had gotten hungry. He knew it was ruined
Now, but was happy that there was only an extra pair
Of 50 cent socks and an undershirt he had found underneath
A bridge on the way into the city. He cocked his head up to the open window.

"You speak for everyone here in this building?" He
Asked the black and blotchy figure above him.

"I speak for everyone that doesn't have the nerve or
The cajones or the energy to holler down at you at
This Un-Godly hour, if that's what your asking."

"They vote you into that position?" He asked, prodding them.

"No vote. I'm a volunteer," they defended.

"Ha. Always going to be some kind of
Volunteer when there's power involved."

"Isn't power, it's responsibility."

"Responsibility," the man repeated, chewing the
Word in his mouth, seeing it spelled out in his mind.
"Responsibility is quite a subjective thing: some people
Take a liking to it and never want to stop being responsible and
In charge, and some just don't want none of it and
Would rather lay back in the sun and act
Like their in charge, while whoever believes
Their power works under'em and for'em; which one are you?"

"Neither. I'm just here trying to ward off some
Rambling *** with what looks like nothing but a
Suitcase and some old clothes and shoes."

"Well," he said, "You must have some pretty good
Eye-sight in this setting dark, because that's
All I got at the moment."

"Where you hail from?" the voice asked.

"Originally I hail from here, but where I was
Before I hailed from as well. To tell you the truth, I don't
Truly know - that's a good question."

The man tilted his chin up slightly and
Rolled over his response. The question had
Dropped an icy fire into the pit of his stomach and filled it
With hundreds of gnawing, fluttering butterflies; he
Hadn't thought about home in a long time and
Had forgotten why he had even chose to show-up in the first place.

"I'm here for reasons I can't seem to remember at the moment,"
The man admitted to the voice above and to himself.

"Can't remember?" the voice laughed, "How
You gonna' forget why you came home?"

"Don't know," he said, shaking his head," Just
Can't seem to recollect it."

"Scary thing."

"Yes, indeed."

They both paused as a taxi cab passed slowly by. It stopped
And honked its horn trying to signal the man to see
If he needed a ride. The man waved his hand to send the
Cabby off and looked down at his wet clothes and suitcase. The
Chill of the night had gotten its way into his skin and
He noticed that his teeth were chattering and his feet were
Beginning to shake. He worried about getting sick because he
Wouldn't be able to buy any medicine if he did. He looked up
To see the figure still looking down at him in silence. Suddenly,
An object fell, back and forth in the air like a feather,
Down towards the man and onto the stoop where he stood.
It was a blanket and wrapped inside was a tattered pillow.

"Bring it back if you want," the voice called out to him, "Don't
Even care if you sleep on the stoop, but, it's a little wet, as you know."

"There a park around here?"

"Down two blocks and a left. You'll see it."

"Thanks for your kindness," he said looking up at the window.

"Thanks for your silence," the voice said stubbornly.

The man brushed off the remaining water on his clothes
And suitcase and tried to squeeze the water out his hair.
He picked up his suitcase and wrapped the blanket around
His body and fitted the pillow underneath his arm. He walked
Two blocks up from where the figure had told him and took a
Left, illuminated by the stark orange and white street lights. He looked
Around after he took the left and spotted a small children's park
With a few benches spotted along the sidewalk that snaked through it.
He picked a bench near a water fountain, unbuckled his belt and took
Off his wet pants and laid down, wrapping the thick wool blanket
Around his body. He placed his suitcase underneath the bench and
Positioned the pillow so it fitted gently under his head. After he
Closed his eyes and rested for five minutes, he reached down to
Touch his suitcase. He felt the cool, damp leather of it, and
Quickly wrapped himself back up into the blanket,
Eagerly awaiting for dawn to rise and bring warmth back to his body.

At dawn, the sun painted the man's body with dark yellow streaks
of sunlight, heating his body up so much that when he woke, his
Clothes were close to dry again. The small patch of grass and
Weeds underneath him rustled with the wind and the sounds
Of the street a few blocks away drifted into his ear. He stirred
Inside of his blanket but did not rise. The pillow had fallen
To the ground throughout the night, but the man was too tired
To reach for it and kept his head on the hard wooden surface of the bench.
While lying there, half awake, the man thought of the figure that
Had been speaking to him from their window the night before. He
Knew he must return the blanket and pillow, but he was unsure
Whether he should bring something else. He had no money -
No money to spare at least - so he chose to bring only the
The things that were leant to him back, hoping that would suffice.

He shifted his position on the bench and saw through a crack of
The bench, that there were children already playing on the playground
Behind him, their parents leaning over their porches watching them; they
Didn't even seem to notice or care about the man sleeping on the bench.
The man felt embarrassed about this and rolled over to avoid the
Gaze of the parents and any of the children that may have spotted him. He
Laid on his back, his head atop the worn but comfortable pillow, and
Gazed up into the blue sky that was clear save a few passing milky
White clouds, that hovered above him like colossal globs of marshmallows.
He hoped in his mind that he remembered where the house the was that
Had been kind enough to give him the blanket and pillow and he wished
That he had paid more attention to the street signs and physical objects
Surrounding the building. All the man could recall were the bright neon
Orange light posts, a long line of thinly pruned circular bushes, a few
Mailboxes that stood as if attention on the sidewalk of the street, and
Numerous houses that all looked the same when he passed them in the night.
He knew he needed to find the house but was too comfortable to rise and
Too scared of the failure of ever finding the house and the thought
Of carrying around the blanket and pillow made his face flush a deep red.

The man rose cooly, as if rising from a nap spent on a couch in his
Summer cottage that rested on the bank of some far off river somewhere.
He looked over to the children and the parents up on their porches, but
Still, none of them paid him any mind. This relieved him. He was allowed
To be a shadow and embraced the idea of being anonymous rather
Than feeling the helplessness one feels when no one sees you. He folded
The blanket neatly like his mother had taught him to do ever since
He was a little boy, and instinctively fluffed the ***** pillow, even though
It was far beyond repair already. The sun was just peaking over the tops of
The ramshackle apartment buildings and he noticed that he had been
Sleeping in what looked like a very poor part of town; in the night, it
Looked like every other park corner where the elderly would to
Think about their past and the children would play with their present.

"Night and day are two different worlds," the man muttered
To himself, "Some people belong in one and some
The other; I wonder...which one am I?"

He looked up towards the sun and squinted, feeling a
Small droplet of sweat make its way down his right cheek. He
Wiped it away with his fingertip and brought it to his mouth -
He was terribly thirsty and his stomach rumbled within him. He
Had noticed the night before on the way to the park, a sign
For a bakery, but was not sure whether it was open or not because
The night was too dark to reveal any signs of it. The man had 10 dollars to
His name and knew he could buy two loaves of bread for at least 50 cents
If he haggled with whoever was running the place. They would be sure
To see his condition and help him if he showed them a little of the money he had.
There was also a childish charm to the man that he would bring out whenever
He truly was in need - he never liked abusing this gift, if one could call it that -
But in times of desperation and starvation and dehydration, he was
Forced to use it and mustered as much courage up to do so.

He walked through the path that had brought him to the park and
Made a right down the street towards the bakery and possibly the
House where he had been given the blanket and pillow. There was
No one on the street save a few alley cats and dogs and all the window
Blinds were down to block out the intense shining sun rising in the sky. There
Was a light breeze passing through the trees that cooled the man off. He
Had begun to sweat from holding the pillow and blanket so close
To his body, and wished he could have the nerve just to throw it in a
Garbage can and make his way to the neighborhood where he had been told
About the bar, but his conscious weighed him down, so he carried on.

He walked a block down the street and found the bakery on the other side
Of the street. He crossed and saw there was an old woman inside.
He checked his pockets for any spare change and opened his wallet
To make sure the 10 dollars was still there. He needed water and something
To put in his belly and he whispered a prayer before he went inside of the bakery.
When he pushed the door to enter though, it wouldn't budge - it was locked. The
Woman behind the counter turned her head and looked at the man, who
shook her head and waved him off. The man knocked gently on the glass
Door, but the old woman just kept waving and shooing him off like an animal. The
Man checked the clock inside and saw that
Marshal Gebbie Jul 2012
Screaming rage, the old pachyderm charges hard
Scattering predators away from the ravaged corpse of her fallen friend

The carnivorous stork and vulture cloud simultaneously take startled flight & retreat raggedly to the nearest dead tree, there to turn and glare with accusing eyes and cawing clamour. The hyenas and jackals scatter from the stinking cavernous maw of abdomen and scramble for the cover of thorn bush perimeter. Their hideous cackle and yapping adding to the cocophany of the noisy horror in this small, dry and dusty African drama.

Wheeling about the old cow surveys the clearing and, satisfied she has seen the vile things off, turns back to her fallen friend, shuffling through the thick white dust, she stands close by protecting.

Unfurling her massive trunk, she gently wraps it's sensitive tip around the scarred tusk of her fallen companion...and standing there, In a long, long sentinel silence...she remembers.......

Standing flank to flank in waters
Cooling spray upon the hide,
Trunks entwined to rumbled chortle
Bull and cow and calf abide.
Striding through the Serengetti
Grasses tall and sweet and green,
Grazing in this luscious plenty
Happiness in joy unseen.


New born calf cavorts, unsteady
Laughing at her rubber legs,
Keep a watch for lion menace
Always lurking for the dregs.
Cow to cow companionship
Builds the basis of the herd,
One reliant on the other
Cuddly calf to bull absurd.


Sunset on the far horizon
Golden glow across the plain,
Trekking for the waterhole
Through acacia tree domain.
Zebra throng with wilderbeast,
Quail and guinea fowl
Run through grasses long and brown
But leopard on the prowl.


Fun time with marula berries
Dropping from the trees like rain,
Staggering drunk pachyderms
Fall about but feel no pain.
Violence in defensiveness
Circled by enormous rage
Calves protected safe within
Roaring lioness engaged.


Quiet of the evening air
A stillness in the herd
Affection of companionship
'Twixt leather hides doth gird.
Companions together
The wise and the sage,
Companions endureth
Through an elephant's old age.


Kilamanjaro crowned with snow
Though plains are cracked and dry,
Prolonged drought has taken toll
And many creatures die.
Trekking from dry waterhole
A million dusty miles
To find the next one caked with salt
Enough to make you cry.


And when the cloud of death descends
A pachyderm must cry
For the memory of companion
Will bring a sadness to the eye.
Remembering their sister ship
Remembering their pain
Remembering shared elephant-ness
Brings good recall again.


Reluctantly a parting made
And fond and distant memories burn,
The taste of Africa prevails
As  skulking, predators return.




Marshalg
22 July 2012

© 2012 Marshal Gebbie
AC Nov 2012
It's like that time the windows blew open,
And the gust carried snow in towards us,
Us huddled on the couch under that calico crocheted blanket,
And I looked at you, corners of my mouth pulled down,
And you,
You sighed, and shrugged,
Removed your arm from around my comfortable shoulders,
Struggled up and over to wrestle the pane
And lock the shutters,
And when you sat back down, you looked at me,
And all I had to do was smile.

It's like that time when we packed a picnic to the park,
And we only made it so far as the lake
Before our stomachs rumbled and your grumbling gave us an early lunch,
And then after, lay in the grass, pointing out
All the obscurities of our imaginations in the clouds.

It's like that time I came home,
So tired and worn out,
Hair askew with a smudge of dirt on my cheek,
And the lights were out, but you had lined the hall
To the bathroom with candles,
And as I made my way through their soft, whispering light
Towards the escaping tendrils of steam,
You jumped from the dark,
Stifling my shriek with a hug.

It's like that time I realized that I loved you,
It's like that time right now.
I walk a pace in tall covers, a distance set from other brothers, waiting for a herd to feed; I crush and blow away some seed.

The grasses burnt on prior prairie, warm yet cool for day is airy, far can see I from top hill; I stand in patience very still.

Copper ochre is my skin, the brothers and I are family men, on the native hills we live and finding those called kin, we hunt today the land we’re in.

Off in distant rumbled cloud, dark foreboding getting loud, the sound we seek from running crowd, ahead of storm front watching grasses plowed.

Stoic, I, my umber eyes as mist now falling from the skies, I stand here patient chest held high, shoulders square with chin to sky, my flowing hair in breeze divides.

Land it shakes I take to knee and feel the earth, the vibrating, the rumble sound is thundering, is louder still than weather’s thunder, light she fades from skies I’m under.

  Yansa nearing, wind has told me, I wait here at clearing with spear to console me but something awful lurks around for along with rumble comes alarming sound, a growling type from a hungry hound.

Bear my brother, hawk my guide, no tree for shelter or horse to ride, my hunt now over after solemn wait for Mother Earth has sealed my fate.

Two wounded wolves approaching wily, one it limps or seems to sway as smaller animals run away, their eyes beguiling on stormy day, I prepare for fight, no time to pray.

I seat my spear, it is useless, take out knife and axe I loosen, the pair they circle long and wide, and carefully I match their stride.

  Quiet now, prairie peaceful, time seems slower, I cannot see my people; the wolves at bay they snarl near, I stone my heart against all fear. Were they hunting Yansa, like me too, I just easier prey to pursue? My younger days would see wolf for dinner as I’ve grown older so too am thinner.

  What difference makes it slow or fast but when they pounced did run in tandem? In last second my actions random, I lose my hatchet in one’s side and dive while stabbing until he’s died. Face is ******, arm got chewed, and they tricked me with a method skewed, for what seemed wounded never was true, my back turned towards her, neck in view, she took aim and rent sinew.

  A ****** mess became a horror, I swung my blade and thought I caught her; she tore my hand off and mauled my face then left me dying in a grassy place. The warmth of day is leaving body, a hunt now do I thus embody, the rumbling ground again is moving and cool of night is somewhat soothing, my killer stalks the area-round but soon she’ll eat me where I’m found.

  The rain it cooled me seeing Sister Moon, Brother Sun was dipping with Great Father Sky as Mother Night came to watch me die, my life fulfilled so now I die, Great Wolf’s passion can’t deny; to all that knew me I say goodbye.

  He who fights wolves says,  -goodbye.
Rhyming narrative about a Neolithic Native American.
“I may be grown up but I’m only seventeen.”
The faded blue chairs were in rows, as could be expected. The building was old and the air was littered with dust; just like you would expect. The light shimmied through the draperies and tapestries and slithered across the floor in tiny slits that cut the room into pieces. The dark worn floors boasted years of scuffs and scratches. They were no longer mahogany for they were nearly black with age and dirt. The whole place was frozen in time. Even the air was reminiscent of years gone by. When you walked in you could expect to find memories nestled in corners or peeping out from one of the many books strewn around. The place breathed nostalgic fumes. Some might have called it “stale,” but many others would prefer to call it “alluring” or “curious.”

This was not her case. The door ****** the life out of the place as it slammed shut. The reverberations could be felt throughout the entire structure. Her anger fueled her along at a violent pace, sending chills up the drapes and swirling the dust into tornadoes of chaos. The floorboards rumbled and squealed in sheer terror under her feet. If you were here you would likely have tread softly and listened carefully just because you hoped the place was talking to you. But since this is her story and not yours, that is not the case.
She threw her body into the nearest chair and the force almost sent her backwards. The girl and the chair hung in time for a single moment, teetering on the edge of balance, but nothing happened. She kicked her feet up on to the chair in front of her out of utter disrespect.

Each breath that she blew carried venomous thought. Every air molecule expelled from her nose was laced with despise until it fell to the floor, devoid of life. You could feel the place shuddering with every breath. Or maybe she was shuddering. But it wasn’t important.
The girl let one lonesome anguished tear roll off her face, but since she was too strong for crying, she ****** her body out of the chair with every ounce of hatred she had inside. In one swift motion she swathed her face with her shirt to obscure and erase the tear. She stood there, filtering the air through her shirt, refusing to acknowledge everything the place had to offer. She dropped the weight of her head into her palms and bit her lip against the pain. She pulled her face back only to check the shirt. She knew it would be stained. She knew because every other time before it had been stained. She listened for a moment before she glided across the floor toward the nearest window.
When she finally came to a moment of rest, the place sighed in relief. The dust rested and the floorboards managed to quiet themselves. The drapes relaxed and everything paused again, settling back into a time of long ago. The place embraced her like the wind embraces a leaf. It helped her along gently as she was carried away.

Not wanting to be discovered, and not wanting to overstay her welcome, the girl carefully hid her soul behind the heaviest drape and emptily marched towards the door. She traced her finger along the scorch marks that marred the wood. The scars ran deep, evidencing a strong fire that had ravaged the place years before. The door oozed sympathy as the young girl shared her pain. Her heartbeat pounded out her sadness and resounded through the door and back to her. She clutched the **** in her hand and pushed it open. She slid through to the outside. She did not look over her shoulder. She did not carry a glimpse of hope within her. The flame in her heart was extinguished with the closing click of the door. She was outside. She watched as the place got smaller as she walked away.

His name was Devlin. “Dev” for short. It could’ve been “Devil.” It should have been “Devil.” He was the one who called the shots. This was his game; his rules. She was just a player who could be benched at any minute; suspended from the league in the blink of an eye. He knew the world. He had been learning it for years. As if the world was something that could be learned; that could be acquired. He missed the most important lesson for he never learned how to love. He had mastered affection and words spilled off his lips like honey. But love was not yet something he had come to possess.

Regardless of his material possessions, Dev knew he was missing something. He didn’t know what it was or how it could be acquired, or if it could be acquired. He only knew that the gaping black hole inside him was consuming him. There was no fulfilling this insatiable hunger. There seemed to be no solution. Only temporary fixes could easy the longing but with every dose the hole grew deeper.

           She too, knew that beneath his smile there was blackness. Not emptiness. Just blackness. There was no value, no gradation. No. There was nothing to hold on to, nothing to hope for. She would have enough black to cover the entire world if she had wanted to paint. But she was honestly looking to survive.


                Time had gone by, but only by the measure of light. Time had not elapsed to heal her wounds. She had covered miles on the feet of one thought. She had traversed only into one idea during her journey and yet she had already reached her destination. It was easy to fall to your subconscious when your body was tattered. When she stepped through the threshold she almost imagined the place. But she stopped herself because she didn’t want to take the chance of contaminating it.

                Her eyes were closing and the soft carpet looking appealing in all its graying and deterioration. The couch and bed looked inviting but that was suicide. She was fighting the urge. She had too. She had tried to purge her mind but one insignificant monstrous thought plagued her. “Don’t go to sleep until I get back.” Her eyes lingered closed for a moment. How beautiful and welcoming this blackness was. It was gentle and comforting. Her eyes jumped open. How long had they been closed? Surely no more than a few minutes. Fate laughed in her face once again. “I told you: Don’t get to sleep until I get back.”
                The first one was the most painful. Even though her eyes were blurred from pain she could still see the look in his eyes. She had to look. The simple thought of closing her eyes would earn her several more. She clutched the threadbare carpet with all the dignity she could muster and stood like a soldier before a firing squad. Every wince squeezed the tears in her eyes closer and closer to escape, but she held on through the miserable pain. It wasn’t even his hands that hurt anymore. No, it was the iron, or the bat, or even the brick that hurt. When it was his hands, he sympathized with the contortions of her body. He felt her pain. When it was some other object, there was distance between them. Six, five, four, three, two… She could time the blows. When he wasn’t so angry they came faster, just to put the girl in her place. When he was enraged, they came slower. Each hit was followed by an explanation or justification. “You have to learn the hard way.” or “How dare you get blood on your clothes?” The indignation in his voice made her sick. “Don’t look at me like that!” “I love you.” Over time she had learned to smile over time. To lessen the pain.

                …Her face was burning. Every fiber in her body wrenched with pain. Every breath brought tears to her eyes. The shaking was uncontrollable. She never should
have fallen asleep…

                You see on the inside he was just a child who never knew love. But that was her job. To love him. He was one of those “monsters,” or rather a vortex, something to be awed and feared. A display of powerful destruction. But that was the point. He was ******* up everything good while furthering his own self-destruction. He would eventually collapse in on himself. It was inevitable. It was not a matter of time. It was not some probability that fate would determine. It was not plausible to think, no matter what length of time you were thinking for, that time could, and would, heal all wounds. This was not something that would fade into the background and blend into a dull gray. This was not something that could be fixed by a miracle of God. There was no twelve step program with guaranteed results. The only thing that could happen was the elimination of time. If this happened, then there could be change.  


                She had figured it out some time ago. A long while back before she knew the place. The only answer was destruction. You might even call it ******. But since it involved no bloodshed or munitions or hatred, it seemed to be a good idea. Even the victim was ultimately willing to go through with it. The only factor stopping the girl was love. Her love for him. She did love him. She truly and justly loved him. She loved everything about him. She loved him for chaos and instability. The only solution was to destroy time. Without time, there is no way to measure. There is no structure. There are no rules. The only structure is what you make in your mind. That was the easiest way to escape, the easiest way to ignore the pain, to ignore the love.        


                  However much she thought about it, she never thought about it enough. The hours she spent on the floor in utter stillness were useless. When her breath was shallow enough, she nearly died. Her shirt was stained with blood. It was severed from her hip to her elbow. Her face was swollen purple and blue. Four of her ribs were shattered. Her left ankle was swollen. Her eyes were sealed shut by dried tears. Her lips were pale and chapped. She could not breathe out of her nose. It was filled with blood. Her pants were a rolled in a crumpled ****** mess several feet away from her. Her legs were patched with bruises. Her fingernails had blood under them.


This was love.


Eventually. Not relative to time. Not relative to the beating, but relative to her. She crawled over to her pants and began to restore her dignity until a foot crashed down upon her hand, jarring her body into a fetal position on the floor. She forced her eyes to stare at her hand turning from pink to white to purple. She hung her head in shame and hoped for mercy or forgiveness. The crushing weight of the foot began to ease the slightest bit. “You didn’t learn. You never do.” She stood perfectly still, waiting. The foot lifted. He pulled her to her feet and bestowed a kiss upon her forehead. “That’s why I am here: To teach you.” He took the crumpled pants from the floor and removed her bloodied shirt. Then with **** of his head he motioned to the floor. “You will learn the meaning of humble today.” She lay back down and tried to glean warmth from the carpet. She was cold. Desperately cold.
K Balachandran Jan 2014
1
*Gongs and drums sound rambunctious,
a wild rhythm tears the silence of the night,
a slow number first, then in quick time
racing fast,everything ends in a blast.
his self control lost, he dances like one possessed,
in the moon lit places and shadows alike.
This angst is not his alone, he feels,
as if mad at the way the world these days is.
Freedom of a special kind, it was, catharsis,
drums sounding mysterious, made life different.
                               2
Once when he and his girl were making love
deep in his veins drums rumbled,
and he couldn't but stop and listen,
she was curious,"What is this, what do you listen?"
smiling, he resumed his dance
thorough the valley and plains, like wind,
to the tune of temple drums,
his hair flying and sweat pouring  like rain,
she could catch the change of rhythm
intense love was there, in the depth of fury.

Then, they ended up panting,then lying quiet.
holding each other tight,she said;
"you are like one possessed, fantastic,"
but he had felt the presence of a third,
he felt in his bones,
a benign female presence, who is she?
                      3
The oracle holding a sword with a shining blade,
wearing a red silk turban and a white **** cloth, told:
"It's the possession of a woman, a wild spirit,
her songs and dance were snuffed out
at a young age, when it slowly emerged,
it happened at a time we don't know when,
a kindred spirit, your tumult suits her soul."
the oracle was in a trance when he opened his eyes,
"Not a curse, a blessing, symbiotic it is"
the oracle  threw a bit of holy ash on him and said:
"Well son, in you Devi, the mother goddess
is pleased, this spirit will survive,
her speakings will come out from you,
all will be just fine, being kind you received her,
so pleased and contented she is, wouldn't disturb"

They walked together, the woman without a body
to fulfill her dreams or sing her songs,
at times of loneliness the drums sound,
she comes in to his tumultuous soul, he makes her alight,
in their entwined destiney, he sings her songs, they dance.
Sean C Johnson Feb 2013
Salty air kisses my face in the darkness of the night
only the distant flashes of light
make the waves glow, the illumination of a calm moon nowhere in sight
the early autumn air rushes across my exposed skin
the lapping of the waves, mesmerizing pulls me in
warmth of a running engine purring under my feet
the cold metal roof becomes my seat
the black backdrop of the sky my ceiling
chilled hands feeling the light raindrops running over my palms
peaceful, unnervingly calm
as the storm rages on
every bolt of lightning unique and spontaneous
struggling to find something in my life that pertains to this
humbling feeling of isolation and solitude
i'd love to say i thought of you
as the low thunder rumbled seeming to run across the sea
to these very feet
but i'd be a liar and you'd feel significant
we were simply flashes of lightning, nothing different
blazing a night sky with our spectacular glow and intensity
flashes of memories
never striking in sync or together
i never understood the weather better
then how well i feel it at this moment
i was lightning in a bottle, you were never meant to hold it....
Mymai Yuan Sep 2010
I swirled my fingertips on the surface of the water and sent a message across with shiny, glossy ripples that grew slowly, and gracefully. He kneeled on the other side of the moonlit pond and watched as the ripples from my fingertips reached him. He cupped the ripples of the water into his palm and drank the cold water, sighing happily.
“What does it taste like?” I whispered hoarsely, as loud as I dared to be while knowing we would be reprimanded fiercely for sneaking out of the huts at this time of night.
“Love” he called back.
I burst out laughing in panting breaths and tried to stifle the noise with my fists. I heard him bellow out, and the echoes rang freely through the woods before he quickly shoved his face into the water and laughed in there, the bubbles of his laughter surfacing violently.
“You idiot” I whispered joyfully when he brought his head up from the water, his dark hair curled against his forehead, “I didn’t even write anything to do with love. I wrote how foolish of a boy you are.”
“And you still stick with me so that’s love isn’t it?” he teased me. His finger tips swirled in the water for a minute. “Your turn to taste, Masra”
I waited till the ripples hit the side of the pond and quickly dipped my tongue in and lapped the water. I pursed my lips, pretending to debate what his message was. The surface of the black water was littered with reflection of the stars. It was so beautiful that I momentarily forgot the little game we were playing and gasped, “Oh stars!”
He took a quick intake of breath and stared up at me with wide eyes. “Really?” he asked in an unbelieving tone.
“What do you mean?”
“Stars?” he asked again, sounding like a sweet little confused child.
“Yes!” I laughed. “Stars!” and I splashed the surface of the water to show him.
He shook his head. “I can’t believe you could read, I mean, taste that... That’s incredible…”
It took me a second to realize what he was talking about. I decided to play along anyways and whispered dramatically, “Yeah, but I didn’t know what you were trying to say”
“A million stones on fire with wishes
Yet the brightest star is not up there” he recited his favorite lines from an old love poem.
“You are disgustingly soppy” I got up from kneeling by the pond and treaded softly on the dry leaves so that they wouldn’t crackle so loud. Reaching him, I kneeled down beside him and ran my fingers through his curly wet locks. His dark eyelashes were still wet with water and the chestnut eyes gleamed brightly.
I curled into his lap comfortably like a cat and he rolled over with me lying on top, while his strong arms held me. I buried my face into the skin of his beautiful brown neck and inhaled the sweet, musky smell. Reab smoothed my hair before murmuring huskily, “Why do you always do that?”
“It smells like you, the old Reab smell. It makes me feel safe and warm and happy.”
“I love you.”
“Do you think we’ll always be happy like this?” I asked, speaking of my deepest fear.
“I will never stop loving you, if that’s what you mean. And if we are caught sneaking out, I’m pretty sure no one would be too surprised. They all know from the way I look at you I intend to marry you when Chief thinks you’re old enough and finally say okay.”
I laughed at the thought of Chief being able to give me away.
With my parents both gone since I was a baby, Chief had adopted me as his daughter and he loved me tremendously for all his lecturing ways. Reab laughed a little too but without any fear of Chief rejecting him. Chief loved Reab too and approved of us most of the time.
“Do you remember when he caught us making ‘sheep-eyes’ at each other as he put it and he was furious?” We chuckled at the memory of Chief turning storm on us, declaring we were too young.
“What would he say now?” he turned my face to face his and kissed me for a while, with the wind blowing the tendrils of my hair on his face. He smiled mid-way through our kiss, for the soft strands of my hair on his face always tickled him.
I didn’t want to continue with my question after that happy moment. But I had to; he was the only man who would tell me the truth. “Our tribe has enemies. We have many men, many strong men… but I know we are in a constant threat. I have seen the midnight meetings you men hold when you think we are asleep and more weapons that normal are being made nowadays.”
He looked at me with sad eyes; with so much love and desire burning in them that my own eyes began to swell up with tears. I fluttered my lids to get rid of the wetness but he reached over and caught a tear on his pinky and licked it. Then he licked all the tears off my face and I giggled as his tongue flicked over the tearstains on my cheeks.
“The tribe is in some danger. You and I are not. I will love you forever.” I shook my head and was about to interrupt with another fearful question when he continued, “You know what Chief always says. We don’t live just one life. I loved you since we were babies. You know what I think?”
“What?” I asked, his voice slightly soothing my fears.
“I think I’ve known you before. There’s no way you can know someone the way I know you in the short life time we’ve lived. This is not the first time we’ve met.”
“You’re not worried if a battle comes we won’t be together?”
“No.” he answered and kissed my forehead.
“Why?” I couldn’t get rid off the idea of such a terrible fate.
“I think…” he struggled to get the words out, “I think we’ll always be together somehow. Masra, I’m… I’m just not afraid”
We lay there for a while until I fell asleep in his arms. I was awoken a little later with him shaking me softly for us to sneak back into our own huts.
There was a little advantage in having both my parents gone. Lela, my cousin who shared the hut with me, stirred only a little as I crept back in.



“I’ve been hearing from your sister that lately you have been waking very late. I don’t approve of this laziness.” Chief said to me as I sat on the floor of his hut, admiring the new spear he had just made. I sharpened the stone a little for him and smiled up brightly. His face softened. Chief was not usually an easy person to get around, but he always said he loved me more than was good for me. “I saw Reab today. He didn’t look so alert and awake.”
My mind clicked into place as I realized Chief had his suspicions. “Reab?” I inquired with an innocent expression. “Is he ill?”
“He just looked tired.” Chief replied with raised eyebrows, his eyes were a little puzzled. I had fooled him for now.
I balanced the spear in my hand. “You hold a spear too well for a woman” he grunted. “Spending too much time with me, I suppose. You should spend more time with your sister Lela. It would have been different if your mother was still alive. She would’ve taught you some womanly manners.”
“I think I’m feminine enough.”
“Look at you, blundering around after the men of the village, killing creatures and planning your attack even better than my men.”
“I don’t plan Chief; it just comes to me”
“Making it even worst!” he cried with a hidden pride.
I burst out laughing and bade him good night. He ruffled my hair fondly. “You go to sleep now Masra. Get some good sleep. Tell Reab that too” his eyes sparkled wickedly. Perhaps I hadn’t fooled him after all.
“You tell Reab, won’t you? I won’t see him till tomorrow morning.” I replied demurely.



And here passed, long uneventful days with the occasional nights that Reab and I would sneak out of the huts to spend the cool nights together and forcing ourselves out of bed at the crack of dawn along with the villagers, exhausted but happy. I suspected Chief still had his own wary thoughts, but with a denial somewhere in his mind, he did not seek to expose the truth or confine stricter rules on me through Lela. The few months that went by, I watched as Reab grew from a boy to a man.
A man I loved more than life itself.
One night, as I was lying in his arms I poked a thumb against his forehead and breathed out happily before nestling into his chest.
“What?” he asked me, amused at my random, loving behavior.
“I like to check that you’re real.”
He had no words in reply to that but tightened his hold on me, and swiftly kissed my dark hair with a sudden passion. His fingers caressed my head, and he inhaled the flowery perfume from the brown strands clutched in his hand.
“I wish you a long and happy life.” I whispered softly, afraid of the feelings that were surging through me.
“With you.” he replied back.
“No. Not just with me… anywhere… as long as you’re happy.”
“So with you then…”
Some days after that night, when it was pouring so furiously everyone had retreated back into their huts to cozy up, gossip, and flirt while warming their hands on hot wooden mugs we snuck off and climbed a special tree.
It was special because it was a giant, and very old with gnarled branches and knobs that made it easy to grip on with our toes, but the trunk itself was as smooth as a baby’s skin. It overlooked most of the village and the canopy was so thick it protected us from the rain except for the small wet drops that would escape through.
The tree stood apart from the woods and was very difficult to get to. One had to climb several other trees to reach it, ducking in and out of the tangle of branches up in the canopy like a maze. Only Reab and I had spent enough time up there to discover the path in reaching it. We were yet to discover how to reach it without getting scratches and bleeding scabs all over our skin.
Every time the thunder roared deafeningly Reab would yell, “I love you!” and no one could hear but Reab, the heavens, our special little tree and I.
He was so beautiful; like a lithe dangerous animal and his muscles were graceful and strong as he climbed around on the branches. I wished for the rest of our days to be like this and I remembered the lines he had recited to me only a little while ago,
““A million stones on fire with wishes
Yet the brightest star is not up there”

*

A distant roar erupted. The stars had not granted my wish, they had granted my deepest fear. The sound of drums rumbled steadily over the noise of screaming villagers, over the noise of animal fear in those I loved and lived with.
It was the sign that our enemies were finally in sight. We had been waiting for there attack all year long.
Lela grabbed me by the arm. “The chief says all women must flee!” she gasped and choked. Her eyes were leaking with tears. I stubbornly shook away her hand and I could see the desperateness growing in her eyes.
“There is no time to cry Lela”, I tried saying confidently but my voice shook. “Where is Reab?”
Even in her hysterical state she did not want to answer the question I already knew the answer to. “Where is Reab?” I repeated. When she did not reply I narrowed my eyes.
In the face of danger I had never been woman-like and cowered.
Chief had raised me stare any wild beast straight into its cold, predatory eyes before slaying it. I was not unfamiliar to thrusting a jagged dagger into the heart of danger.
I would not leave a man I loved behind like the running footsteps of women carrying their babies, pushing old people along, and dragging wailing children were doing.
I would not leave and I would fight when I could.
Lela stared at me as if she’d just read my mind.  “You may not fight Masra!” she cried. I pushed her aside.
“Help the women evacuate! Grab a baby, help a village elderly; just do it Lela!” I yelled violently and ran through the women who were running towards the woods.
I shoved women aside to get to the battle. My long legs tangled with the other woman, and I fell on my knees. They were both bleeding badly when I got up. Running with my knees stinging, a huge man suddenly grabbed me and swung me to face him. For one moment, I thought he was Reab and I clutched onto him; then I saw it was Chief, and I clutched to him even tighter.
“Chief, please don’t make me go away! Please let me fight with you!” I was screeching and begging with no sanity left in me.
He smiled weakly, “I wanted you to come without little Lela, I knew you would be headed this way. I have not much time Masra, my men need me. I have something I want to give you to make sure you will be safe enough to last through this war if I die,” he spoke softly.
I shook my head and hugged him. “But- but you- you wont!”
Chief gave me a sad smile. “I don’t know that.”
His brown hands reached to his neck and tugged a simple black leather string free. He shoved it into my hands. “Remember this, Masra. Just say to it, ‘Jack, Jack, shine the light’ when you feel there is nobody left in the world for you. Be ready for what happens. Goodbye Masra…”
He touched my cheek and warmth spread though me, momentarily making me feel safe.
“Why Jack?” I asked wretchedly, in a detached curiosity and trying to prolong the moment that Chief would be safe.
Jack was a commoner’s name; no one in our tribe was called Jack. We all had strong, powerful names that spoke of destiny, truth and purity.
“Chief Traben!” a man cried from the noises of surging mob of warriors.
“Go, Masra, go!” Chief said hurriedly, and pushed me away before whipping out of sight.
Chief had been like my best friend, my big brother and … my father. I wanted to fight with him, for him. But I knew in doing that, I would go against his wishes, and that was the last thing I would ever want to do.
A sudden thought made me realize I did not have to fight. I just had to be there or I would **** somebody in my own village for leaving behind loved ones. I knotted the black leather string determinedly on my neck.
I ran to the bottom of a slippery tree and climbed up to the canopy and began to duck in and out, swinging between and onto branches in the maze-like chaos of sticks and concentrated leaves to get to the special tree Reab and I shared.
I hid among the thick tangle; so thick no arrows would be able to pierce me and no enemy would see me. Growling and cursing myself, I remembered I carried no weapons with me and hastily patted my clothing to check again.
Then I remembered it would be useless to have any weapons unless I intended to go down there, for the abundant tangle worked both ways. A spear thrown from where I was would only get stuck in the dense branches below.
I could see the battle though, and that was enough: for now. I searched vainly for Reab, scampering along the top, trying to find where Reab was. I was wild with fury for him for coming.
He was just a boy, newly turned a man. He could still run and hide without shame. When I had him back in my arms again, I was sure to hit him and berate him for choosing to fight for me instead of being safe for me.
It never occurred to me once that Reab might be dead.
It still didn’t occur to me when I saw his body lying on the dirt below, with a man from a village - someone I couldn’t recognize from this height- dragging him. I shouted out, careless of the arrows of enemies.
For the first time in my life, I was terrified of blood: the blood that was seeping out of the wound on his stomach. I didn’t think he was dead; I believed he was injured and I thought of all the herbal concoctions I knew that I could paste over the wound to clean and heal it.
It still didn’t occur to me Reab was dead when the man left him by the bottom of a tree to return and fight. The men in our village did not leave those who could be healed. They stayed and helped them heal to the best of their ability before hiding their healing bodies’ safe in a bush. They only left behind those they could do no more for.
I trembled at anger in the neglect one of our men villagers had shown Reab; the disrespect in it. I would **** him if he were not killing our enemy. Somehow, in the wild pulsing of my body, I found myself climbing down and creeping stealthily to where Reab was and pulling him to safety in a bush.
When he was safe in the bushes, I held him and whispered to him that I was here. I said hold on Reab and I would go and make sure he was safe. I was sobbing. I could not comprehend what was happening for my mind had gone numb and blank.
How could a man who I loved so much bleed so much? All I knew was Reab was not moving in my arms and he must be terribly hurt.
I pressed my fingers to the blood on his stomach. I knew no man could have survived such a wound and so much lo
Robert C Howard Jul 2015
Two billion years ago
the river we call Colorado
opened a **** in the Kaibab Plateau

sculpting sandstone, granite, and limestone spectra
on the rugged canyon walls -
reflecting the seering Arizona sun.

Millennial torrents scoured the surface.
Juniper and Aspen, torn from the expanding banks,
****** into the river's red-stained vortex.

All the while the restless Colorado,
obedient to gravity's law,
scoured its bed a mile below the rim.
The last dinosaur perished - choked by volcanic soot.

Pangaea rumbled, groaned and split
and an eye-blink ago our African parents
stood to take their first faltering steps.

Their progeny crossed the Bering bridge
roaming south to build stone shelters
tucked against these canyon walls.

Did the Havasupai huddle in fright
of the jagged firelight searing the skies -
pounding the air across the hollows?

And emerging at storm’s end
did they gaze at the rainbow mist
spread over the buttes and valleys?

After dusk, with fires withering to embers,
did they rest supine,
heads pillowed on their arms,
pondering the jewel case universe above?

*November, 2006
Included in Unity Tree, published by Create Space available from Amazon.com in both book and Kindle formats.

http://www.amazon.com/Unity-Tree-Robert-Charles-Howard/dp/1514894432/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid;=1447340098&sr;=8-1&keywords;=Unity+Tree
So gradual in those summers was the going
     of the age it seemed that the long days setting out
when the stars faded over the mountains were not
     leaving us even as the birds woke in full song and the dew
glittered in the webs it appeared then that the clear morning
     opening into the sky was something of ours
to have and keep and that the brightness we could not touch
     and the air we could not hold had come to be there all the time
for us and would never be gone and that the axle
     we did not hear was not turning when the ancient car
coughed in the roofer's barn and rolled out echoing
     first thing into the lane and the only tractor
in the village rumbled and went into its rusty
     mutterings before heading out of its lean-to
into the cow pats and the shadow of the lime tree
     we did not see that the swallows flashing and the sparks
of their cries were fast in the spokes of the hollow
     wheel that was turning and turning us taking us
all away as one with the tires of the baker's van
     where the wheels of bread were stacked like days in calendars
coming and going all at once we did not hear
     the rim of the hour in whatever we were saying
or touching all day we thought it was there and would stay
     it was only as the afternoon lengthened on its
dial and the shadows reached out farther and farther
     from everything that we began to listen for what
might be escaping us and we heard high voices ringing
     the village at sundown calling their animals home
and then the bats after dark and the silence on its road
Mitchell Duran Apr 2014
Carrie walked down to Fell street through the park. He leaned upon his faithful cane which was split, splintered, and water logged from being left out on the back porch in the rain where he sat every night before bed. His free arm swung by his side, his hand spread wide open, letting the sun warm his palm. His other arm was constricted with his muscles tight as his hand gripped the polished wooden ball handle. Carrie's skin seemed to envelop the ball there was so much of it. The cane and Carrie were one whenever they walked together.
He passed the Japanese Tea Gardens. He had been there many times. He remembered the strong taste of the green tea he had been served and how energized he felt after his third cup. He remembered the sturdy wooden table and chair he sat on while over looking the crystal clear koi ponds, the seaweed underneath the water reaching up to the sun for nutrients like the hands of the long dead. He remembered how the children had gathered near the water as mothers watched them feed the fish food they were not to be fed, anxiety cramping their smooth skin as they watched to make sure they didn't slip in. The waitresses were all so gentle, so quiet, caring for whatever Carrie had wanted. In that solitary moment, he had felt like a newly appointed king, the 5 acres of garden his domain.
The gates were closed for the day, with many frowning tourists sitting on the steps that lead inside. Carrie figured they had been confused by the times but yearned to tell them if they stood on the street, they could still see the ancient replicas the blood red pagodas, stone lanterns, bamboo stalks, and cherry blossom trees which were just beginning to bloom. There was so much one could see from the street. But, Carrie trudged past them, figuring they would not understand an old man trying to show them beauty from afar.
A long line of benches stood before Carrie after he passed the garden. He sat down next to a young, Chinese couple. They both held a map and were looking at it upside down and sideways. Carried smiled. They were speaking rapidly, laughing sporadically, turning the map around and around in a circle as if they were both at the helm of a sinking ship. He wondered what they were so confused about - had they never read a map before? But then, he realized, they were probably on vacation and in love, maybe even on their honeymoon. He laughed, thinking, They're confused about everything.
A few minutes passed and soon the young couple was gone. Carrie sat with the cane between his legs, both of his hands drooped over the handle. In front of him, like a painting, were London plane and Scotch elm trees lined up in symmetrical rows and the Rideout Fountain. Carrie could see the water was still except for when a light breeze brushed over the water or a child threw a hand full of coins in to make a wish. Their hair reflected the bright rays of the sun. The sky was empty, save a few scattered flying birds going to where Carrie knew not where.
He closed his eyes and listened only to the sounds around him: tires rolling along the smooth concrete road; people chattering behind and in front of him; a door closing; the rustling of leaves from a sharp gust of wind; a car horn; a sneeze; two lovers embracing, their kisses sounding like the steps of kitten paws in the sand. Carrie opened his eyes and cast his gaze aside to the left. There was another old man. His back was bent, his cane was worn, and his legs wobbled with every step, much like Carrie's. The man was alone and dressed in a heavy grey sweater, a pair of beige trousers, and simple brown shoes. Carrie wondered where this man was going and at such slow pace. Why was he alone? Who had he been with before? Where was he coming from?
Carrie then realized he was leaning so far forward from the bench, he almost fell off. He ****** his cane out, catching himself, and pushed himself back. He looked around to see if anyone had noticed his mistake. Twenty or so asian people were crowded like sardines inside of the bus stop terminal. They all looked to be avoiding the sun, uninterested in whatever Carrie looked to be doing. The 44 roared by, stopped in front of the crowd, where they all laughed, giggled, and preceded to jumble in. Carrie looked over his shoulder, sure someone was right there keen to make a comment, but there was no one. He sighed, relieved. Being old and falling down with no way to get yourself back up was one of Carrie's biggest fears. The other, of course, was spiders.
Once Carrie reorientated himself, he looked up to see where the other old man was. He was gone. Carrie stood up, his knees shaking slightly. He jammed his cane down to steady himself and took a step forward. His eyes strained from the sun, which was beating down on him now, hotter than it was before. He took a slow step forward, then another, and then another. Once he got in the rhythm, his mind didn't have to focus on it as much. He could let it wander to wherever it wanted to. Sometimes, he let it wander to death, sometimes to past lovers, and sometimes to his late wife, Patty, but never very long on her.
He stopped to catch his breath and wipe his brown. Next to him stood a dark lime green statue of a lion. It was miniature and sun stained. The teeth were dull and the eyes were blank. It was very beautiful and Henry realized he had never seen a lion in the wild, only at the zoo. He wondered if they were any different out in Africa or wherever they were the most and if they roared the same. The one's he had seen at the zoo were sluggish and lazy; almost depressed. He could see why, being cooped in there all day long with only your wife to talk to.
"That wouldn't be so bad," thought Carrie, "To be trapped in a cage with the one you love. That's marriage, isn't it? Isn't that love?"
A cough startled him out of his meandering, love provoked thought. Sitting on a bench across the street where the apple cider press statue stood, was the old man Carrie had seen before. He was hunched over, fishing something out of his bag. Carrie wavered back and forth, watching the old man. A noise rustled behind him and Carrie slowly turned his head to see what it was. Two children were running around the fountain, splashing water at one another.
"Nothing to speak of," grumbled Carrie, "Wasting water all the same."
Carrie turned back around and saw that the man had pulled out a shiny, red and green apple. The man bit into it slowly, taking his time as he broke the outer skin of the apple so the juices spurt into his mouth. Carrie's stomach rumbled when a hard gust of wind hit his back, forcing him to step forward. He put out his cane and felt the peg slide and grind over the rough concrete. A man behind him reached out to help, but Carrie waved him away, mumbling that he was fine and that he didn't need any help. The man on the bench hadn't paid him any notice. The apple in front of him was all he needed. Carrie walked to the other side of  apple cider statue opposite the man and sat down roughly, for the man looked up from his apple a little wide eyed and a little annoyed. Carrie smiled awkwardly at him, but it came out more like a frown. The man relaxed his face, slowly letting it become blank while a line of apple juice rolled down over his lip. He licked it up, coughed, and went back to studying the intricacies of the half-eaten apple.
The mans face, Carrie saw, was *** marked and dented, like a car that had just been through the worst of accidents. His eyes were barely visible behind what seemed like hundreds and hundreds of creases, wrinkles, chicken's feet. The man's bulbous nose was an obvious sign that he was or had been a serious drinker. It was swollen and red, drooping from the mans face like a glob of honey that just wouldn't fall. The lips were creases of an old pair of jeans that had been left out in the sun. Though Carrie couldn't see his hair because the man wore a large, dapper styled hat on his head, he wouldn't doubt there wasn't much of anything under there. The old man was anything but beautiful, but Carrie, who had been staring at the man out of the corners of his eyes while pretending to look at the apple cider statue, could not look away. He was utterly fascinated with how the man held himself. Why was he so ****** interested that apple? Had he never seen one before? Carrie then thought the man was homeless, so he must be crazy, but when he had walked over before, Carrie hadn't smelled the usual musty musk that homeless people give off. He had smelled like nothing, usually meaning he slept in a bed and showered regularly. Then, in the midst of Carrie staring at the man's unbelievably shiny brown loafer, he said something.
"What you looking at there?" asked the man. He was hiding his ragged face behind the apple. A few pieces fell to the ground below. Carrie could see the bite marks were mere nibbles, like a rabbit had been eating it.
"Hm...I...uh," stammered Carrie. He looked up into the sky, trying to spot a bird to hide where his gaze truly had been, then looked down at the ground. There was a tiny pebble that resembled a hermit crab. He focused on that until the man asked the same question again.
"Were you staring at me, my friend?"
My friend, Carrie thought, He thinks I'm his friend? How on Earth did we get to there? I barely know him. I'll say something. He paused. Well, say something!
"I was staring at your apple there," Carrie mumbled, "It's a very nice looking apple."
"It's very tasty," he nodded, looking back it, admiring the colors of the skin that had yet to be bitten in. "Would you like some?" He stretched the half-eaten apple out to Carrie.
"Oh," Carrie laughed, startled, "I'm fine. Quite full." He patted his stomach.
"Are you sure? It's almost dinner time."
Carrie looked the man up and down, then smiled, "I'm fine. I ate just earlier."
"Oh really, where did you eat?" The man inched forward on the bench and rested his eyes on Carrie, waiting for an answer. Carrie's lip quivered with the thought of having to come up with a quick lie. The man had placed the apple back in his bag and was completely focused on Carrie's lie.
"Well, you see, there's a great place up past Lincoln Way toward the beach. I go there all..."
"Lincoln Way!" exclaimed the man, "You can make it all the way up there!"
Carrie was flattered. He could walk far past Lincoln way and up any of the side streets, if he had the energy, but had never been congratulated for the fact. Carrie shifted back and forth in his seat, blushing for being thought of so highly.
"With this cane," Carrie said, tapping the ground with the end, "I can go almost anywhere."
"Wow. Where'd you get it?"
"My son gave it to me when I first started showing signs of getting old," said Carrie, "It was kind of like a joke at first, but then, I really needed to start using it, and I've been attached to it ever since."
"That's nice," the man nodded, "I bought mine for 50 cents down at Salvation Army. You know the one on 3rd?"
Carrie said that he did.
"Spent 50 cents on this thing four years ago and it has taken quite a beating, but still, it works and looks fine as you can see."
"Doesn't look so bad."
"Well thank you, I appreciate that."
The two of them paused, looked each other up and down, then found something other than themselves to look at. Carrie noticed the soft lines of the man in the statue twisting the cider press and how his muscles were as detailed as a real man's. He had never seen so much physicality in a statue before. It really looked like this man was pressing apples in front of his eyes. Carrie was at a loss at how one captured that feeling of true action in stillness. He looked up to where the statues face was and saw that the eyes were cast down to where the press was tightening. He thought maybe the man was thinking if he stared to where he was working, he would twist harder. The statues hair was soft and smooth in the sun. Carrie followed the statues legs down, past the flat stomach and taught ab muscles, to the feet which were pressed into a large stone so to get more leverage. The veins on the feet were almost pulsating with blood and strength. They seemed to rise and fall with what Carrie imagined would be the mans heartbeat, if he had one. He didn't quiet understand why the man was had to be naked, but figured it was for the sake of art. Carrie was not an artist, but with the free time that was allowed to him by growing old, he was starting to appreciate what he saw, feel it a little more often, then when he had no time at all when he was young and busy. He wasn't sure which he enjoyed better: being old and feeling more or being young and always with something to do.
The man had let his eyes wander from Carrie, to the small statue of a boy. His mouth was pressed up to the spicket where the apple juice was being pressed from above. He imagined the statue of the man above the boy was his father or at least he wished that it was. The boys skin was very smooth and reflected the sun softly up back into the mans face. He looked closer at the face of the boy and saw that it was a silent kind of contentment. The man took out the apple from his bag, took a bite, and offered it again to Carrie.
"Take a bite," he persisted, "Sitting in front of this statue, looking at this little boy drink up that apple juice has to be getting you thirsty."
"I'm really fine," said Carrie, smiling uneasily.
"Come on. You don't gotta' worry about me."
Carrie paused, really thought what he was so scared about, and then admitted that was only uncomfortable because of this stranger's hospitality. He hadn't obliged a kind gesture in a long time.
"Alright," he said, "I'll have a bite."
"There you go!" The man handed the apple over to Carrie.
He took a bite and let the cool juices jump into his mouth. A small dribble ran down his cheek, where he quickly wiped it away with his sleeve. He didn't want to look like a slob, much like the man had looked when he first began eating it. Carrie looked down at the apple, nodded, and handed it back to the man.
"It's," he started, still chewing, "Very good. Thank you...I'm sorry, I don't know your name."
"Symon," he said, taking a bite of the apple, which was almost gone, "Symon with a Y."
"Thank you Symon."
"You're welcome..." he paused, "I never did get yours."
"Oh," he laughed, "I'm sorry. I'm Carrie."
They both reached forward and shook hands. Carrie hadn't sat with another man and talked with them since he'd buried Patty. After that, it had grown hard to shake hands with anybody he knew. Maybe it's easier with him because he's a stranger? Carrie thought, Maybe I should meet more strangers? Probably go and get yourself killed. That's a funny thought. I never thought I'd go by getting murdered. I always figured I'd let time take me, rather than the hands of another. He doesn't look like a killer anyway. He's got to be older than me. He's definitely slower. Look at his hand shaking. Your hand doesn't shake. Does it? Carrie looked down at his right hand which was resting on the handle of his cane. Solid as a rock, Carrie mumbled to himself, As a rock.
"What was that?" Symon blurted, eyeing Carrie, "Where'd you go?"
"Just thinking."
"Bout' what?"
"Whether my hand was shaking or not."
"My hands shakes all the ****** time. It's like one of those kitchen timers or chattering teeth you twist, it goes for a while, and then eventually goes off, but me, never. No, never this hand never stops shaking. Got a ******* mind of its own."
Symon raised his right hand so Carrie could see. Sure enough, it was shaking like a leaf in a tree ready to fall off. The shake wasn't violent, but definitely noticeable next to a hand that was still. It was more a buzz than anything else. Carrie couldn't imagine Symon writing his name down and coming out eligible.
"How do you write your name? Does it get all messed up?" Symon looked at him, then looked away. Carrie froze, realizing he may have just asked a very touchy subject.
"Huh?" Symon asked, looking back. "I got something in my eye real quick. I didn't even hear what you said."
"Oh," Carrie stammered, "What I said was..." Symon cut him off.
"I'm just joshing yah!" Symon shouted, "Course I can write my name! Whenever I put pen or pencil to paper, the shake usually calms down. Don't know why, but it does. I never ask que
Ylzm Apr 2019
ordinary morning, late, bright and clear
weekend, no hurries, lets stay on in bed

in a flash, thunderous roar from above
mountainuous rock crashing, my mind saw

the skies echoed, rumbling in agony
rumbled and rumbled, on and on and on

strange sinister sound, trapped constant droning
UFO? baby superman landed?

rushed outside: no crash, just clouds in clear sky
rumble, rumble, rumble, man-made or what?

thundering, faint and far, near and muffled
none thunderous as the first rock that fell

then it rained: heavy; a soothing warm rush
droning masked, but strangeness etched, and lingered.
Wrenderlust Jan 2014
He asked if I'd stay,
and my silence trapped him
like a mosquito in amber.
The seconds rumbled past, unhurried glaciers,
two hurricanes, a drought, and a war came
and he was still rolling his joints,
tapping on shoulders, asking soldiers for a light.
When the sea rose and flooded the town,
he sat in his swollen armchair
exhaling smoke bubbles,
while parrotfish gnawed at the carpet, and later,
his eyes glazed with a tired sort of expectation
when the manatees swam past
in their solemn triumph over the suburbs,
as if any one of the lumbering sea cows
might come bearing my yes.
Jai Rho Jan 2014
When I got to the hospital, the nurses told me he was still recovering from surgery for some internal injuries and this and that, but I could go see him for a bit. So I went up to his room and realized that I didn't really know what he looked like, other than blood and bruises, but I could still tell it was him by the way the bandages were wrapped around his head. "Hey Chief," I said, "howya doin'?" This time I knew he was conscious but he didn't say anything. He just gave me this look like he was saying, "Who are you?" and "How do I get rid of you?" at the same time. So I replied, "I know your name is Mitchell, but I figured the only way you'd remember me is if I called you 'Chief,' like I did before." That got his attention and he threw me this sudden, glowering stare for what seemed like a real long time, like he was trying to make up his mind about something. I thought I had ****** him off with that "Chief" crack, but then he said real soft,  "My name's not Mitchell."

     That suprised me a bit, so all I could say was, "But that's who's room this is, according to the nurses."

     "Maybe so. But that's not my real name . . . It's just a name I made up."

     "What, you on the run or something?"
    
     "Something like that."

     "And you ain't a Marine?"

     "How'd you . . . ?" Another stare, and then, "Nope. Not now. I was though."

     "I don't get it."

     "Mitchell was a name I made up when I joined the Corps . . . "

     "So, why did you make up a name? . . . You got a record?"

     "Nothin' like that . . . My real name is Irniq . . . It's an old Inuit name. When I joined up, I thought I was puttin' those days behind me."

     "Inuit . . . What's that, a kind of Indian?"

     "It means, 'People' . . . but you prob'ly think of us as 'Eskimos.' We don't like that name, so we don't use it."

     He stopped looking in my direction and kinda tilted his head back and rolled his eyes back before closing them. Then he took a few real deep breaths, and said, "I grew up in a village that was mostly hunters and fishermen. It was fun, when I was little, kind of like goin' on an adventure all the time. But as I got older, I realized how dirt poor we were and how we seemed to catch less game every season. And then I learned that our tribe owned land that the oil companies wanted to drill, and that the oil money could end our need to hunt, and get us modern, comfortable lives, but the tribe kept clingin' to their old ways. My father said it was oil that wiped out the herring habitats, and caused the seal population to crash, and was keepin' the ice away. I didn't care and thought he was a fool fightin' a losin' battle. I thought I saw the future and that he was goin' down with the past. We had terrible fights and I believed that the man who had once been this mighty hero of mine had turned into a pathetic has-been, and I didn't want to get dragged down with him. I thought that by leavin', I could somehow be part of the future. I didn't have too many places to go, so I joined the Marines."

     "Then what are you doing here?"

     He dropped his head forward, opened his eyes, locked them right on to mine, and said, "I left the Corps a couple of months ago. When I joined up, my father told me he no longer had a son. I guess I didn't really hear those words until I went back home and he shut the door in my face. My mother came out and tried to welcome me home, and get me to stay, but I knew that my father had been right all along, and that it was me who was pathetic. So I got on a bus and went as far as I could until my money ran out, and here I am."

     "What do you mean, about your father being right?"

     He closed his eyes again, brought both hands up to the sides of his face, and said, "When I was in the Corps, I got sent to Iraq. I was pretty gung ** at first, and thought I was fightin' for freedom and the way of life that I wanted, but then it just seemed to get pointless. Day after day of cat-and-mouse with an enemy hidin' in plain sight and no real purpose other than bein' there and gettin' into firefights. Then one day I was on this mission clearin' some homes of insurgents. I was leadin' a squad goin' door-to-door and not havin' much trouble 'til we went to this one house and there's this woman screamin' and tryin' to get past us. A couple of my guys had to hold her down while the rest of my squad got her family to kneel down beside her. The woman kept on screamin' and we didn't have an interpreter, so I went up to her and tried to calm her down. I told her in as soothin' a voice I could that we weren't goin' to hurt anyone, we were just lookin' for bad guys, when I saw this blur out of the corner of my eye. The woman started screamin' louder, and I turned and yelled, 'Stop!!! Stop!!!' a couple of times, but it kept movin' fast and I just reacted . . . I didn't have any time to think . . . it just kept movin' . . . and I was yellin', 'Stop!!! Stop!!!' . . . but it wouldn't stop . . . it wouldn't stop . . . it just kept movin' . . . . . . and I reacted . . . I just reacted . . . . . . and then there was my muzzle flash and this red mist . . . . . . this red mist that just erupted . . . and kind of hung there . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and then the woman wasn't screamin' . . . and I wasn't yellin' . . . . . . . . . and there was just this little boy . . . . . . . . this little boy, lyin' on the ground . . . . . . with this mush where his face used to be . . . . . . . . . . . and it was quiet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . so quiet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . until I heard this sound like nothin' I ever heard before . . . this kind of moan . . . this deep, hollow, primeval moan that kind of rumbled at first . . . . . . . . and then it grew louder . . . and louder . . . and the pitch got higher and higher . . . . . . until it turned into this ferocious gut-wrenchin' shriek that filled my head and reached way down and ripped my insides out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and every day I try to put that boy back together in my mind . . . . . . I try to see his face . . . but I can't . . . . . . . . . . . . I can't see his face . . . . . . and I can't get that sound out of my head . . . . . . . . . . . . every single day . . . . . . . . . . . . and all I can see is my muzzle flash . . . and that mist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . that godawful red mist."
Tryst Jul 2014
Prologue

Once upon a time; when ocean
Travel was a novel notion,
Many feared the rocking motion
Of the ocean going ships;

But the worst sailing endeavor,
Even worse than stormy weather,
Was the unmistaken terror --
Pirate Peter and his whips ...


Introduction

Tales are wove from authors spinning
Yarns, their fingers deftly trimming
Words, until a new beginning
Sprawls across the open page;

So begins our humble telling,
On the street, an orphan's dwelling,
Where a young lad's feet are swelling,
Barely fifteen years of age.


A Humble Beginning

Peter shook and Peter shivered,
Weary limbs felt cold and withered,
Chilling winter winds delivered
Snow, fresh-fallen on the ground;

Huddled up, his clothes were sodden,
Tattered shoes were too well trodden,
Lost, alone, a misbegotten
Miscreant; half-froze, half-drowned.

As he lay there, slowly dying,
Given up all hope of trying,
Who should chance to walk on by him,
But a captain of the sea;

“What's this now!” the old tar spluttered,
“Up you get lad, you'll be shuttered
Some place dry tonight!”
he muttered,
“Take my hand and come with me!”

Peter felt himself man-handled,
Lifted up, and there he dangled,
Glancing upward, at his tangled
Grey and matted saviors beard;

“Thank you kindly, Sir!” he mumbled,
Took one step and quickly stumbled
Forward, landing in a jumbled
heap; “Lad its worse than I feared!”

Heaved upon the captain's shoulder,
Peter felt a might less colder;
As the sea dog walked, he rolled a
Cigarette with one free hand;

“Get some sleep son, soon the dawning
Of a bright and brand new morning,
Will come calling, and adorning
Over all this blessed land!”



A Merry Meeting

Peter woke from days of sleeping,
All around, he heard a creaking
Sound, as if the room was speaking,
Telling of its timber tales;

Up he stood and rubbed his bleary
Eyes, he still felt weak and weary,
Cabin walls looked drab and dreary,
Roughly hewn with rusty nails.

Suddenly, he felt a hunger,
Starting small, but growing stronger;
Feeling he could wait no longer,
Peter burst out through the door;

Racing headlong through the belly
Of the ship, his legs were jelly;
Once or twice poor Peter fell, he
Felt alone, lost and unsure.

Then he chanced upon the captain,
Dining with a merry chaplain,
Feasting on a pig with cracklin',
Sitting on an up-turned drum;

“Here's a fine lad in a hurry!
Settle down and save your worry,
There's no need to flurry scurry!
Come and have a taste of ***!”



The Daily Grind

Peter mopped and Peter scrubbed,
He got down on his knees and rubbed
The decks, and every day he loved
To feel and taste the ocean spray;

Rescued from a world of blindness
To his plight, he paid the kindness,
Working hard; where most would find this
Horrid, he embraced each day.

Such was life until one evening,
Waking from his fitful dreaming,
Peter heard an awful screaming,
And he watched as sailors ran;

From the deck, he saw the flying
Skull and Crossbones flag, implying
Pirates with no fear of dying;
Every one, a wanted man.


Battle At Sea

Cannons roared and cannons thundered,
Blunderbusses bussed and blundered,
Roiling masts were shot and sundered,
Splinters flew across the deck;

Rigging crashed and rigging crumbled,
Smashing down as cannons rumbled,
Falling masts and sails all tumbled,
Landing in a twisted wreck.

Swiftly came the pirate vessel,
Drawing close, to crash and nestle,
Broad-side on to form a trestle,
Over which the pirates ran;

Fearful of impending slaughter,
Sailors dived into the water,
Knowing they were never aught to
See their loved ones e'er again.

Peter rushed and Peter scurried,
Dodging blades that flashed and flurried,
Down beneath the decks he hurried,
Seeking for a place to hide;

In the hull, the darkness beckoned,
Peter locked the hatch, and reckoned
That might hold them for a second;
Finding crates, he hid inside.


His Master's Voice

Down below, young Peter waited,
Silently, his breath abated,
Hearing pirates jubilated,
As they plundered through the ship;

Soon he heard the latch locks broken,
Creaking as the hatch raised open,
Then a cold voice, harshly spoken,
And the lashing of a whip.

"Filthy ****-dogs, stop yer looting!
Stow the cheering and the whooping,
Look to all the sails a-drooping,
Fix the masts and man the oars!

On the morrow, we'll be sailing,
And I'm right anticipating,
That we'll get a strong wind trailing,
Speeding us to yonder shores!"



An Unexpected Find

Peter woke and Peter pondered,
How much time had passed, he wondered?
Cautiously, he rose and wandered
Silently from stern to prow;

In the quarters of the captain,
Peter found a pirate wrapped in
Silken sheets; a perfumed napkin
Draped across his furrowed brow.

Peter glanced around the room
And spied a hat with feathered plume
That lay beside a gold doubloon;
Time to make the pirates pay!

Peter stretched and Peter strained,
His fingers gripped the hat and claimed
Their prize, and next the coin was gained;
Gleefully he turned away.

Then a glinted gold reflection
Gleamed, attracting his attention;
Peter crawled for close inspection,
Wondering what he had found;

Two fine whips of equal measure,
Golden handled trinket treasure;
Peter felt a glowing pleasure
As he stole them from the ground.

Stealthily, he reached the deck, and
Found a crate on which to stand
And saw a sight that looked so grand,
How could fate have been so kind!

They were anchored by the moorings
Of the dock, where several mornings
Past, young Peter had been snoring,
Freezing off his poor behind!


Trouble In Town

Pirates robbed and pirates looted,
Pillaging, they laughed and hooted;
Plants were trampled, trees uprooted,
As they raced through city streets;

In the church, the bells were ringing,
Clangers clanging, peels were singing,
Warning of the pirates, bringing
Fear to folk, now white as sheets!

Peter tracked his pirate quarry,
Mind made up to make them sorry,
Chasing them beneath a starry
Ebon sky, he felt quite brave;

Suddenly, he heard a yelling
From behind, three pirates smelling
Like a brewers fare, no telling
How this trio might behave.

Drunkard Pirate:
"What’s this now, who’s that their lurking
In the shadows, be thee shirking
Looting tasks, why aren’t you working?"

Then he stopped and then he cried;

"Bless my soul, our captain joining
In the raiding, how exciting!
Begging pardon, Sir but finding
You at work is joy!"
he lied.

Peter grasped the situation,
Putting on an imitation,
With a rough edged inclination,
Like the one he’d heard before;

"Lazy dogs, now stop yer bleating
Otherwise you’ll get a beating,
Now you’d best get on retreating
Back to ship, we’re leaving shore!"


In his hat, he felt quite dashing,
Brandishing his whips, and lashing
At the three, and then just laughing
As he watched them run away;

Emboldened by his hero action,
Peter felt a strange attraction
To the power of the captain
That he had become this day.

Then his luck turned swiftly sour,
For upon that very hour,
Soldiers left a nearby tower,
Seeing him, they gave a squeal;

"Pirate ****, you will surrender,
Otherwise my blade will end yer
Evil life, now will you bend a
Knee and yield, or ******* steel?"
  

Peter tried to start explaining,
But the soldiers blows were raining
On his head, the blood was staining
On his clothes, the wounds did sting;

"Look at him, he must be wealthy,
What a hat! And look at this see?
Gold doubloon and golden whips! We
Bagged ourselves the pirate king!"



Trial In Absentia

Clerk of the Court:
Silence now! This court's in session,
Pirates must be taught a lesson,
But we may show some concession
For those with the sense to speak!

Let us hear the turncoats raving,
Of their captain misbehaving,
Then decide whose necks we're saving;
Otherwise, they're up the creek!


Pirate 1:
If it please your lords and ladies,
Captain Peter ate three babies!
Bit my dog and gave him rabies,
Hang him up and hang him high!


Pirate 2:
Here I swear before you gentry,
This whole case is elementary,
Don't give him no penitentiary,
Hang that captain out to dry!


The Honorable Judge:
It seems the evidence is clear,
Their testaments are most sincere,
No need to bring the captain here --
Evil men must pay their toll;

I find him guilty, captain Peter,
Scourge of seas and baby eater,
Hang the lying scoundrel cheater,
God have mercy on his soul.



At The Gallows

Clerk of the Court:
Peter, thou has been found guilty;
By the powers given to me,
I pronounce the sentence on thee,
Thou shalt hang this very day;

We allow you this concession,
Time to tell us your confession,
And denounce your ill profession;
Do you have last words to say?


Peter:
Upon my life, that thou contrives to take
Through ignorance, I swear before you all
That bearing no bad will to your mistake,
I'll hold you unaccounted when I fall;
If thou cares not to see the humble boy
Who slept upon the streets, who ate of rats,
Who froze in frigid snow as thee strode by,
And died inside, each time thee walked on passed;
Then who am I to think the less of thee?
For in thy eyes, I count not as a man,
So now I wonder what thee came to see?
Why should the end of me be worth a ****?
        A worthless life, yet still I did no wrong;
        Perchance in death, my tale is worth a song.


Dumb-struck faces squinting, staring,
Muttered murmurs, whispers sharing,
Shaking heads and nostrils flaring,
Then the townsfolk knew and gasped;

A drummer struck a solemn beat,
As Peter felt a ray of heat
From winter's sun upon his feet;
Peter smiled, and Peter passed.



Epilogue**

Late at night, when wind comes creeping
Through the streets, with children sleeping
In the gutters; Death comes reaping,
Searching for their blue-tinged lips;

In a flash of fearful thunder,
Lashing splits the night asunder;
Driving Death from easy plunder,
Ghostly Peter cracks his whips!

THE END
Alec Boardman Mar 2017
Dear Harry,

I see you're doing well these days.
One year later and I still watch as you grin and laugh with your friends.
Sometimes I just grin as well knowing the truth behind the plastic you call a smile.

You once told me that you feel like you don’t belong.
You get a burning in your chest thinking of how awful humanity is and how you wish you were a robot so your brain would match your body.
But when I told you from the anxious walls of my heart that I sort of feel the same but I'm not making a metaphor, I'm transgender
You said that I didn't feel it as intensely as you did so my identity wasn't that important.
I suppose I can tell you now that you became the reason why I agree with you about humanity.

Your face sickens me.
Sort of funny how everyone calls you Harry Potter because of a scar shaped like a lightning bolt on your cheek and it was a big joke and I always laughed because what a coincidence even though I never read the books or watched the movies and now because of you:
I never will want to.

I don’t know if you realise that you’ve shattered me.
Shattered me like the board you can cut in half thanks to years of karate and your hand crafted swords are part of the reason I never crossed you because if I just change myself hard enough maybe you would stop saying you could use them on me if I kept talking about how much I love everything if everything isn’t you.

Sometimes I would wonder if you could hear my knees fighting not to snap in half.
I would wonder if you knew that you are like a hurricane; strong and unpredictable.
And like a hurricane, you came storming and when your thunder rumbled and rain paraded all over me it left nothing untouched.
I could say you're a forest fire but that would make it hot and quick and emotionless.
No, you are a hurricane because hurricanes are wet and windy and raw and wild and it left me drowning.
Unlike a hurricane, your damage can not be fixed with teamwork and donations from those that feel sympathy.
The damage you’ve done is permanent and even with all the repairs I’ve made in the form of therapy sessions and promises that I shall overcome,
I.
I am still in ruins.

You are bitter but not sweet.
But for 17 torturous months I only saw it the other way around.  
Reaching out to try to catch onto something worth fighting for
But this isn’t worth fighting for

Because my hands hurt from writing I’m sorrys.
Because my brain hurts from pushing out reasons you’re not worth it.
Because my soul hurts from fighting the back of my mind that still loves you.
You have rendered me obsolete.
March 2016
Liz Apr 2014
Honeyed icing-sugar
sun melts the snow caps
on the mountains
hair and grates the tough
green, soft

In Caramel pastures,
In sunken hills,
Under the seaweed,
Cowslips grow,
With rubied spotted
Ladies crawling up blades,
And the bumbles rumbled
buzz, a continuous growl,
Sways the floating gold.

The dark spider darts
Spearing crumpled
Flies in its silken steel
Thread. Thread which sparkles
amid the Bronze knives 
which spear it too.
Abigail Bryant May 2012
We stalked the dusty terrain as the sun set to dusk
The air hung hot and heavy with much animal musk
We almost called it quits but we spotted the Ivory tusks

The setting sun shone upon turning them yellow gold
And the great beast who carried them was many a years old
And so they would be told
And so they would be told

With a charge we hasten down the hill.
Ropes flung but the beast still had will.
And I aimed my rifle to the climatic ****.

The shot rumbled across the twilight sky and the elephant had died.

The majestic body to the ground it rolled.
When they stole the Ivory tusks came over me a lonely cold.
And so they would be sold.
And so they would be sold.
Brian Payamps Oct 2014
They said be humble
Like if they came out of my struggle
Like if it was their stomach that rumbled
They said be humble.

They said don't forget where you came from
Like if that's not from where I'm trying to escape from
The deprivation of the ghetto that we were all raised on
They said don't forget where you came from

They always say but never do
Life story volume two.
Short and sweet
Poetic T Apr 2015
A shark did invite a fish to dinner, the fish
Said what is the menu. the fish thought
Hopefully not me. Never would I eat a friend
Who has been this loyal to me.

So they swam around the ocean to see what
They could see, a muscle or two would not
Go a miss. The shark said that is far to crunchy
This is not for me.

So time did pass and they came across a sqiud,
How bout this morsal, the shark replied have
You tried to get squid suckers out from one
Of my hudred of teeth. so with a sigh the
Fish moved on.

Tummy's rumbled and still no meal for these
Friends did they see. Then what happened
Next the poor fish did not see, for the shark
Shouted sushi and then in bits did the poor
Friend go down.

But the shark did not motion did not shed
A tear, as a shark is only your friend for as
Long as its not hungry and you will have
Nothing till it rumbles then you will fear.
av willis Mar 2013
In a land beyond the rainbow
Stands a dark decrepit wood
Where monkeys glide between the branches
And witches live, both bad and good

There within its tangled branches
Lies a path bedecked with gold
Leading brave souls who do not blanch
On to wonders yet untold

Near this path of yellow mortar
Stands an ancient half hewn tree
Missing wood, about a quarter
Standing **** for all to see

In this wood there stands a hatchet
Once beloved, now fraught with rage
Just another rusted gadget
Cast by in the wake of age

On a gnarled and twisted root
Centered in a mushroom ring
Stands ***** a metal figure
Frozen ever in mid-swing

There he stands through frozen winters
There he stands through summer's heat
There he stands through April showers
Standing ever on his feet

Once he glowed a gentle pewter
Once he moved with solemn grace
Lines of rust bedeck his figure
Streaking slowly down his face

Once he stood a man of flesh
A simple hewer of the wood
Who held a cabin near the creek
And loved a maiden fair and good

In the village near the forest
There he sought to win her hand
A debt of love he'd pay with interest
If beside his side she'd stand

In the woods he sought the bride price
Needed to start their new life
In the trees he found the journey
Soon to be defined by strife

By an elm his axehead sundered
Cleaving cruelly through his arm
Through the boughs his loud cry thundered
To the heavens in alarm

To the ground his lost arm plopped
Landing softly with a thump
To the town the woodsmen hopped
Grasping at the ****** stump

There he found the village tinker
And roused him roughly from his bed
Dragging him out to the workshop
Leaking out a wake of red

There he begged the wizened workman
'Make a new arm from your cans
For i marry in a fortnight
Let my bride take a whole man'

So the old man plied his trade
To make a limb of springs and gears
Twisting tendons in a braid
To move his fingers through the years

Now renewed to former vigor
The Woodsman went back to his trade
Returning to the morning's rigor
Back into the ancient glade

Little did the doughty hewer
Know his axe contained a curse
Stricken on unknowing users
Causing their limbs to disperse

By an oak he lost his left ear
By a beech he lost the right
Hazel took him down a peg
And by a yew he lost his sight

Through the week the tinker labored
On in a rush to replace
Just enough of the woodcutter
To accept his bride's embrace

On the day his nuptials dawned
The woodsman clanged into the square
Passing through the crowd with awe
On to meet his maiden fair

There she stood beneath a trellis
Sky blue ribbons through her braids
Oh, she was a sight to rellish
Worth the trial of the glades

There he stood forever altered
A shadow of the former man
In this form forever haltered
To this shell of springs and cans

The cutter broke into a dash
To wrap his woman in his arms
On the cobbles his feet clashed
Causing her no small alarm

From the altar his bride fled
With screams of terror in her wake
On the day  he should have wed
Became the day his heart did break

Suddenly devoid of purpose
To the copse the woodsman flees
Never ere' again to surface
From the shelter of the trees

Months went by the woodsman toiled
Day and night, no pause to sleep
Day and night his kettle boiled
Over with the urge to weep

Till the sound of April thunder
Rumbled in the cutters ears
Bringing rain that tore assunder
Dams he'd built around his tears

So between his swings he wept
Of loss and of abandoned trust
Trails of tears in his joints crept
And hardened slowly into rust

Now he stands in frozen duty
Saplings rising all around
Dreaming of an ancient beauty
Long surrendered to the ground

Till the day another maid
Returns to bathe his limbs in oil
On that day he'll leave the glade
Moving on to other toils

Then the rust begins to part
Then the magic starts to slake
Then the woodsman finds his heart
Then the Tin Man starts to wake
Olivia Kent Jan 2014
Initial day at uni.
Took a little stumble.
As down the road I rumbled.
World of study.
Well thought out.
Off my bike I tumbled.
Over the handlebars.
In front of the cars.
A not amusing somersault.
It really wasn’t funny.
My humerus, got broke
Not at all amusing,
Certainly no joke.
Not a funny bone to break.
University was no ball.

Off to uni.
Arm in cast.
In front of the others.
What a giggle.
Trainee nurse in pyjamas.
Battle of the one armed fly.
Impossibly undone!
By ladylivvi1

© 2014 ladylivvi1 (All rights reserved)
This is a true story!
It was my first day at university and subsequently I was unable to undo my trousers, so I coped with all I could manage, my P.J bottoms...talk about embarrassing... LOL x
Semerian Perez Aug 2012
Closing my eyes
I drift off to sleep
Restless
Unbridled thoughts
Cloud my mind

I walk among
Sakura trees
Thier bases glowing
With kanjis barriers
To ward off evil
But something is off.

The petals are wilted
The grass around is brown
Instead of green and alive

As I make my way among them
I hear the flutter of wings
Not to sure what to expect
I climb one of the trees

At the highest point
I see two figures
One white winged
The other black
They seem to be circling
Around something or someone

I climb down
Venturing forth
Cautiously
Not understanding why
Are they here for me?
Why in my safe haven?

The closer I got
The more I saw
Between the two
Layed a body
Hovering just above the ground
Raven black hair
Hung as a halo
Underneath her cold
Deathlike skin.

She layed there
In a soft white
Satin gown
As if in an eternal slumber.

The two fighters
Commensed the attack
On each other
As I watched
The body began to glow.
A bright white energy
Followed by a black energy

I realized then
They were fighting for her.
I came close to the body
As I looked at her face
I froze
My whole body went cold.

I was looking at myself
What *** going on?
As I looked at the two angels
My eyes widened in horror
What was so special about me?

I tried to wake myself up
I shook my body
As they fought
And the ground beneath me
Shook violently.

I screamed
As the swords clashed
I shielded my body
As the final few blows
Were delivered
As the ground rumbled

Opening my eyes
I look down
My body was still glowing
Only white
Accompanied by a red light
From the chest.

He picked up my body
And cradled it close
As he did
White wings formed
On the back
As she opened her eyes

She smiled at me
As she opened her wings
Embracing me
She whispered something in my ear.
I smiled..
Both took to the sky
As a sunbeam
Shined through the clouds
Showing them the way home.

I understood
Ive awakened
I spread my wings
And fly
Home
Where I belong.
rohith Jul 2010
At the patio i sat
gazing at the blazing blackness
of inevitable strokes of
a glorified paint brush!
Entangled by the utmost masochism
my muscles rustled with ignorance
as the sky rumbled like a **** ghost
trying to tune the infernal chaos
that got demoralized and dehumanized
in the silence of darkness
that devastated the darkness of silence!
Steams of intolerable poignancy
curled around
like ignited demons
trying to tantalize my fears!
Trying to materialize the scene
the storm flashed in rage
ravishing the darkness
dazzled the impatience of night
as it rained in my heart
whose fragrance
lured my innocence.
Poetic T Feb 2015
I was playing, jumping up and
Down, I was cartwheeling
Right side up
To
Upside down,
I heard a noise, I heard a grumble
Was it thunder
The sky Is blue??
Where did that noise come from
Was it you.
I walked along, and heard it again
I looked under my jumper
There it goes again.
Are you
Shouting,
Rumbling,
Talking
To me, what do want, speak up
"Gruummmbbblle"
"Raaaaarrrrrr"
I don't speak belly?
I do feel hungry though,
"Grumbleeeeee"
Is it that what you want,
Is that which you need.
"Ok"
Home we go, moving fast,
Still talking each louder than the last.
"I need you MUMMY"
"I need you DADDY"
My belly has been talking
Its telling me its hungry,
Like thunder a rumbling rolls
Around my empty tum,
"Goodness me"
"Goodness you"
I'll make you both a sandwich
Make both you happy.
"Thanks mummy"
"Tummy said thanks too"
Grumble went my tum
As both of us were filled with
Peanut,
Jelly,
Toast
It was good tasting,
And filled my taste buds as
Well as a friend that
Grumbled,
Rumbled,
Talked
Of his need to be filled up too.
"Each chew"
"Each swallow"
"Quieter than the last"
I had eaten my sandwich
Crusts and all. My belly vibrated, I think
It was a sleep, I felt much better now I had something
To eat. Empty plate that's good to see,
How are you both?
"Mummy we are very happy"
With a grin I rubbed my tummy,
"MMmm"
My belly just spoke
My belly has a need
"What is that little man"
Grinning ear to ear,
"CHOCLATE MUMMY"
Is that you talking or tummy rumbling again,
My belly just likes to be full for me to eat.
Another of my kids stories series
Shashank Virkud Dec 2012
We were both still quite sleepy.
She laid her head in my lap in
fetal position for most of the ride
and I nodded off as the thunder
rumbled, and rocked me to sleep,
my head lolling to one side.
It was miserable out.
The sky was a toxic, smoky gray,
swollen and bruised purple
like rotting flesh, and the rain,
so incessant, berated the windshield
of the cab the whole ride to the theater
and all the while after we had handed
a couple crumpled dollars to the driver
and gotten in the cue.

We had our backstage passes
tucked away into our coats,
we didn't want any of the
regulars to see. She huddled
closer to me to guard her
ashen lips from the needle ******
of the wind, that would bring a tear
to her eye when they scraped against
the tip of her nose. She was thinking,
as she fingered the strap of the shiny,
clean, new camera
she bought to photograph us doing
***** things, the lens
reflecting all of her good intentions,
warm feelings onto me.

As a vendor strode by I snagged
up two cups of coffee, and handed one to her
and then we sank back into the shivering,
shuddering mass. She took a few sips, as I drew
the flame to my cigarette, ducking behind her
and cupping the tip in order to get it lit,
I could see the steam dissipating into the cold,
wet air. She smiled with amusement and
after a few moments looked up and whispered to me
"I want him at his best. I hope he's super depressed."
I said
"Yeah",
as I exhaled the smoke and simultaneously, in one heave,
cleared my throat,
"I hope he ******* hates us."
Jolene D'Souza Oct 2019
There was once a hungry lonely lion
Who hadn’t any friends
It never stopped him from trying
But it was too late to make amends

He had eaten Mr. Zebra for dinner
And Sir Buffalo for the crunch
The animals thought him a sinner
When he ate Mrs. Kangaroo up for lunch

He didn’t get invited to Giraffe’s party
It quickly created a void
He heard it was chill and hearty
And they played a lot of Pink Floyd

The lonely lion sighed
His carnivorous desires left him bleak
As much as he really tried
New friends were impossible to seek

One fine day he was struck
By a lightning of epiphany
This idea could very well bring him luck
And end his spell of infamy

While on the toilet seat
He browsed through a magazine page
A new diet with no meat
Seemed to suddenly be all the rage

He grabbed a bowl of grass
And ignored his craving for gazelle
He’d decided to be a lion with class
As he excitedly snacked on lightly salted pretzels

For breakfast he had a juice
And Mrs. Parrot noticed it was kale
Soon the lonely lion declared a truce
And Mrs. Parrot squawked of his vegan tale

For lunch the lion ate cauliflower
And the animals gasped in shock
“Come animals, witness my vegan power!”
Roared the lion as he chewed on a grassy stalk

Soon the animals welcomed the lion
Except Mrs. Owl who was wise
There’s something about him I'm not buyin’
I just can’t seem to believe all his lies

When there was finally peace in the forest
The lion threw a grand feast
He called the best chefs and the florists
To give his new friends a treat

The spread was mighty splendid
All the dishes were vegan and gluten-free
And when the dinner had ended
The animals sipped on piping hot tea

“You’re generous and astounding!
Our herbivore brother and kind beast
This transformation has been confounding
But thank you for the wonderful feast!”  

The lion was now glowing with pride
In the animal kingdom he was admired
But something rumbled from deep inside
Something in just the way he was wired

His hunger which he ignored
Came bursting through the seams
The satisfied lion now got bored
With his desperate vegan diet dreams

He pounced on Mr. Rabbit
And gobbled him up pretty fast
Blame it on the bad habit
But his vegan diet did not last

He ate Mr. Deer and Mr. Moose
Yet his tummy growled for some more
He ate Mr. Hare and Mrs. Goose
Until nobody was left on the forest floor

The owl watched completely flustered
as her friends were brutally killed
Mr fox and his wife covered in mustard
gobbled by the lion who was weak willed

I apologize for my condition
My weakness is delicious meat
I need to tend to my nutrition
And thus I must simply eat

I truly am sorry said the lion Stud
As the night grew silently grim
But the chances of us being real buds
Are unfortunately pretty slim
Indie Rodriguez Oct 2012
1.  Earthquake!

I was sitting in Bromley, with proper afternoon tea
In my cozy breakfast nook
Until the floorboards clattered, and my fairy tale shattered
When the ground rumbled and shook.

2.  Deprivating Descent

The fragile floor crumbled beneath my quivering feet, and
The earth opened its gaping mouth wide to swallow me.
I opened mine to release a terrified scream,
Not managing to free even air.
My heart rose into my straining throat
Gagging the dooming descent.

Helpless bodies sense nothing-
Neither pitch black
Nor blinding light,
Neither dead cold
Nor Hell hot.

A paralyzing plummet:
Numbingly
Falling
Static.

3. Deathly Paralysis

Awake... I'm buried alive:
Eyes only perceiving a dingy gray.
Thrashing and wailing-futile.
Breath short-ever quickening.
Heart pounding-strobing flashes.
A shadowy hand reaches
Shaking my body to wake.
.
.
.
I frantically explode out from my grave.
Then freeze a moment in eerie silence:
.
.
.
Ash flutters all around like wintry snow
Settling gently on hallow ground below.

4. Reflections in the Mist

My attention-stolen: utterly enveloped
In a signt most forboding
A daunting dwelling sits silently-
Ominous in the dry mist of ashes.
At first glance, the giant house levitates-
Gray-As is above, so is below,
An island stuck in perpetual dusk,
Floating in a sea of utter nothingness,
A container for the empty,
A furnace of torment-
Spewing plumes of dun from its chimney.

5.Ascention to Hell

The door snaps shut behind me
With a sharp echoing CRACK,
My head snaps swiftly around
Over my tingling back.

My fumbling feet stumble as
Frantic fingers search for light.
Finally finding a switch...

With a frightening jolt, I feel myself rise.
I slowly grab the suspicious candlestick.
With nowhere else to run or turn back,
Regretably this is the path I must take.

6.  The Devil's Playground

My tour begins in a room of blood red-
A spindly figure writhes on the bed.
Sprawled out, wretching black bile over the side,
A mask of lust painted over her eyes.

At the foot of the bed on a cushiony stump,
With spillover flab sits a voluptuous lump.
Unflinching, slicing from her own fleshy pie,
Consuming the mess of her gluttenous stye.

A mini moaning figure limply crawls-its swollen belly, dragging
Puts a grotesque chunk to its  starving lips-hunger is always nagging
A faceless man in a suit of black steals-from its greedy little hands
Not just takes, he compulsivly demands.

A ripping roar fills the room-a wild creature crying in disgust,
And claws ferociously at the faceless man in the suit as she must.
Thirsty for blood of the **** of the earth,
The furious beast vengefully pounces...

Intercepted by the mans protector,
Bullets deployed by an unnamed soldier-
A star seared over the meat of his heart,
Which he pledged away with pride from the start.

Holding a mirror, a huge mass sits
Indifferently stitching its own ****** lips.
A slumbering giant-its power is great
Yet quietly accepting everyone's fate.

A vibrantly white glowing man enters:
Madness becomes reverance in an instant.
Using the soldier of pride as his teeth,
Hiding behind the man of endless greed,
Stepping over the fallen beast of wrath,
Feeding the gluttonous lump on his path,
Condemning lust with all types of love too,
Ordering the giant sloth: "Continue!"
Lifting his unblemished hand to my face,
I understand who owns this hellish place.

On his command, attention shifts to me.
A mob of tortured souls- one entity.
Sets of dark hollow eyes penetrate
Petrifying me where I stand-must...escape!

Aware of horrors' hot breath in my face,
I recognize my worst fears fruitioned.
Breaking their gaze, I leap for my freedom-
Window shattering, I feel every shard.

7. Reality Confusion**

Shadows of nightmares
Lingering in my mind's eye
Continue haunting.

— The End —