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Wade Redfearn Mar 2018
What is the Rust Belt?
Can we define it?
   - on a map, we mean -
Can we circle in black marker,
topographical green and brown, one mound,
from Canada on down to
Kentucky and say
well, there -
America’s sore fingers in old age
floating, separate, in the pond,
white and knobbed and wrapped around something
a lever, the haft of an oar,
the tuning dial to twist to Cavalcade,
the body of the eel which just keeps swimming away.

You said it in a message -
“Rust Belt” -
and a great blank region was filled
by old poets in corduroy
better than their surroundings
and if not better precisely
then at least when they drink
they drink in bars like smokestacks
with hubcaps on the walls, with weak plumbing,
listening to conversations, not having them.

Rust is something I know well:
I feel rust (but I don’t wear corduroy).
Rust like a signal ingredient
all through the cupboards.
Shot through, something you have too much of
and could never want to write about.
Rust in this message, too.
Richard Riddle Sep 2015
Indulge me for a few brief moments, if you will. While placing some old photos in an album, I realized that soon it will have been 25 years since the passing of my father. Had it not been for him, I wouldn't have been able to compose some of the stories that have appeared on HP. For that reason, I chose to re-post my piece, "Rust to Rust." For those that have taken the time to have previously read it, "thank you."  For any new members that I hope will read it, thank you, ahead of time.

Richard Riddle


At first glance, it's just a rust-covered pan, typical of what could be found in the trash, hiding behind an old abandoned building. But, its more than that.

This pan is more than a hundred years old. It belonged to my great-grandfather, to my grandfather, then my father. It's the pan my father used to find those small, glistening nuggets, taken from small streams in the mountains of Arizona and California, from which my mother's wedding rings were created.

I cannot  begin to imagine the events this pan had laid witness to, or how many stories lie beneath that blanket of red crust. Oh, the history lessons it could teach. Held by calloused hands, it tasted the water that held those particles of nature that men sought, and died for, in their search for wealth. It heard the cries, and caught the tears, of many who failed in their endeavors.

At one time I considered restoring it to it's earlier time, then realized I would be destroying a history book, and the protective blanket that preserves those untold stories, hopefully, for many more years to come. It will be passed to my grandchildren.

               copyright: richard riddle-February 16,2015
Thank you, Dad! A color photo of the "pan" can be seen on Facebook.
Spenser Bennett Jun 2016
The taste of rust hangs
Heavy in my mouth
A copper color stains
My crooked teeth

I am awake now
Unlike how I used to be
Though my eyes were open
I was surely dreaming

The taste of rust hangs
Tangy on your lips
Blue twinges decorate
Your iced expression

Bound with veins
Of hope and smoke
We lie side by endless side
Entwined lost to the madness

Now the taste of rust hangs
Growing older still
Let me restore the flame
To the fire in your soul
Odd thing rust
never sleeps
always creeps
sometimes sweeps
across the sky
Is it odd that rust
turns me on?
That I want to shoot
rust for you?
I do, I want to shoot the rust
I forgot my canon
its a bust
; )
Photography of rust I love-
Eridan Ampora Jul 2014
Sweet Wolf
Your art is grand
But your blood
Is far away
On the Hemospectrum chart
You a peasant
Me a half Royal
We don't mix
Indigo and Rust
You're a free wolf
I'm a high-blood
Go do your art
Make the world a better place
Wwolf and Me are friends but she's not close anymore... I see wwhy noww
Zeeb Jul 2015
Hotrod
Verse I

Wrenches clanging, knuckles banging
A drop of blood the young man spilt
A new part here, and old part… there
A hotrod had been built!
A patchwork, mechanical, quilt

Feelings of excitement not unlike those of Christmas mornings long past paid visit to the young man, his head under a raised hood, hands occupied, the job nearing completion.  Did building that Lionel train-set so long ago form some type of pattern in his brain, now being so pleasurably served?  The good feelings would dissipate though, as quickly as they came, as he cursed himself for stripping a bolt, or cursed someone else for selling him the wrong part, or the engineer whose design goals obviously did not consider “remove and replace”.  He cursed the “gorilla” that never heard of a torque-wrench, the glowing particle of **** that popped on to the top of his head as he welded, the metal chip he flushed from his eye, and even himself for the burn he received by impatiently touching something too soon after grinding.  He, and his type, cursed a lot, but mostly to their selves as they battled-on with things oily, hot, bolted, welded, and rusty – in cramped spaces. One day it was choice words for an “easy-out” that broke off next to a broken drill bit that had broken off in a broken bolt, that was being drilled for an easy out.    Despite the swearing, the good and special feelings, feelings known only to those with a true capacity for this type of passion, would always return, generally of a magnitude that exceeded the physical pain and mental frustration of the day, by a large margin.   Certifiably obsessive, the young man continued to toil dutifully, soulfully, occasionally gleefully, sometimes even expertly, in his most loved and familiar place, his sanctuary, laboratory… the family garage.

And tomorrow would be the day.
Fire extinguisher? “ Right there”
Battery? “Charged and connected”
Neutral?  “yes”
Brake?  “Set”
And with hard learned, hard earned expertise and confidence, in this special small place, a supremely happy and excited young man commanded his creation to life.

Threw  a toggle, pressed a switch
Woke up the neighbors with that *******

The heart of his machine was a stroked Chevy engine that everyone had just grown sick hearing about.  Even the local machine shop to which the boy nervously entrusted his most prized possession had had enough.  “Sir, I don’t want to seem disrespectful, but from what I’ve read in Hot Rod Magazine, you might be suggesting a clearance too tight for forged pistons…” then it would be something else the next day.   One must always speak politely to the machinist, and even though he always had, the usual allotment of contradictions and arguments afforded to each customer had long run out – and although the shop owner took a special liking to the boy because, as he liked to say, “he reminds me of me”, well, that man was done too.  But in the end, the mill was dead-on.  Of course from the start, the shop knew it would be; that’s almost always the case; it’s how they stay in business - simply doing good work.  Bad shops fall out quickly, but this place had the look of times gone by.  Good times.  Old porcelain signs, here and there were to be found, all original to the shop and revered by the older workers in honored nostalgia.  The younger workers get it too; they can tell from the men they respect and learn from, there is something special about this past.  One sign advertises Carter Carburetors and the artwork depicts “three deuces”, model 97’s, sitting proudly atop a flathead engine, all speeding along in a red, open roadster.  Its occupants a blond haired boy with slight freckles (driver), and a brunette girl passenger, white blouse slightly unbuttoned,  both in the wind-blown cool, their excited expressions proclaim… "we are free!" (and all you need is a Carter, or three).

The seasoned old engine block the boy entrusted to the shop cost him $120-even from the bone yard.  Not a bad deal for a good block that had never had its first 0.030” overbore.  In the shop, it was cleaned, checked for cracks, measured and re-measured, inspected and re-inspected.  It was shaped and cut in a special way that would allow the stroker crankshaft, that was to be the special part of this build, to have all the clearance it would need.  The engine block was fitted with temporary stress plates that mimic the presence of cylinder heads,  then the cylinders were bored to “first oversize”,  providing fresh metal for new piston rings to work against.  New bearings were installed everywhere bearings are required.  Parts were smoothed here and there.  Some surfaces were roughened just so, to allow new parts to “work-into each other” when things are finally brought together.  All of this was done with a level of precision and attention far, far greater than the old “4- bolt” had ever received at the factory on its way to a life of labor in the ¾ ton work truck from which it came.  They called this painstaking dedication to precision measurement and fit, to hitting all specifications “on the mark”, “blueprinting”, and it would continue throughout the entire build of this engine.  The boy stayed  worried the whole time, but the shop had done it a million times.

After machining, the block was filled with new and strong parts that cost the young man everything he had.   Parts selected with the greatest of effort, decision, and debate.  “ You can compromise on paint”,” live with some rust”, he would say,  “wait for good tires”, “but never scrimp on the engine”.  Right on.  You get one shot at getting that right, and this proclamation demonstrated wisdom but also provided ample excuse for the rough and unfinished look of the rest of his machine.  But it was just a look, his car was, in fact, “right”.   And its power plant?  Well the machine shop had talked their customer into letting them do the final engine assembly - even cut their price to do it.  They were looking out for the boy.  The mill in its final form was the proper balance of performance and durability, and with its camshaft so carefully selected, the engine's “personality” was perfectly matched to the work at hand.   It would produce adequate torque in the low RPM range to get whole rig moving quickly, yet deliver enough horsepower at red-line to pile on the MPH, fast.  No longer a polite-natured workhorse, this engine, this engine is impatient now.  High compression, a rapid, choppy idle - it seems to be biting at the bit – to be released.  On command, it gulps its mixture and screams angrily, and often those standing around have a reflexive jump - the louder, the better - the more angry, the better.  If it hurts your ears, that’s a good feeling.  If its bark startles, that’s a good startle.  A cacophony?  No, the “music” of controlled explosions, capable of thrusting everything and everyone attached, forward, impolitely, on a rapid run to “red-line”, and it keeps pulling hard and delivering power while spinning fast because it is breathing right and proper and producing the power that thrills, and the only reason to shift gears is to preserve connecting rods, eager as the engine may be to rev further!

This is the addictive sound and feel that has appealed to a certain type of person since engines replaced horses, and why?  A surrogate voice for those who are otherwise quiet?  A visceral celebration of accomplishment?    Who cares.  Shift once, then again - speed quickly makes its appearance.  It appears as a loud, rushing wind and a visually striking, unnatural view of the surrounding scenery.  At some point, in the sane, it triggers a natural response - better slow down.    


He uncorked the headers, bought gasoline, dropped her in gear, tore off to the scene
Camaros and Mustangs, an old ‘55
Obediently lined-up, to get skinned alive!


Verse II (1st person)

I drove past the banner that said “Welcome race fans” took a new route, behind the grandstands
And through my chipped window, I thought I could see
Some of the racers were laughing at me

I guess rust and primer are not to their taste
But I put my bucks mister in the right place

I chugged/popped past cars that dealers had sold
Swung into a spot, next to something old

Emerging with interest from under his hood
My neighbor said two words, he said, “sounds good”

The ’55 I parked next to was “classic rodding” in its outward appearance.  The much overused “primer paint job” channeled “Two Lane Blacktop”.  The hood and front fenders a fiberglass clamshell, pinned affair.  Dice hanging from the mirror paid homage to days its driver never knew, but wished he had.  He removed them before he drove, always.

If you know how to peel the onion, secrets are revealed.  Wilwood brake calipers can be a dead giveaway. Someone needs serious stopping power - maybe.  Generally, owners who have sprung the bucks for this type gear let the calipers show off in bright red, to make a statement, and sometimes, these days, it’s just a fashion statement.  Now, expensive calipers, as eye candy, are all the rage.  What is true, however, is very few guys spend big money on brakes only to render them inglorious and seemingly common with a shot of silver paint from a rattle can, and the owner of this ’55 had done just that. 

Two things seem to be at play here.  One, he needs those heavy brakes because he’s fast, and two, hiding them fits his style.   Really, the message to be found in the silver paint, so cleverly applied to make your eyes simply slide across on their way to more interesting things, was “sleeper”.   And sleeper really means, he’s one of those guys with a score to settle - with everyone perhaps.   The list of “real parts” grew, if you knew where to look.  Something I had defacto permission to do since my rod was undergoing a similar scrutiny.  
“Stroked?”, I asked.  That’s something you can’t see from the outside. “ No”, the racer replied.  
“Hundred shot?”  (If engines have their language, so do the people who love them).   Despite the owner’s great efforts to conceal braided fuel and nitrous lines, electrical solenoids and switches, I spied his system.  The chunks of aluminum posing as ordinary spacers under his two carburetors were anything but.   “No”, was his one-word reply to my 100- shot question.  I tried again; “Your nitrous system, how much are you spraying?”  “Two hundred fifty” in two stages, he said.  That’s more like it, I thought, and I then figured, he too had budgeted well for the machine shop – if not, he was gambling in a game that if lost, would fly parts in all directions.   Based on the overall vibe of the scene, and the clean work on display, I believed his build was up to the punishment he planned.   I knew exactly what this tight-lipped guy was about, seeing someone very familiar in him as it were, and that made the “sounds good” complement I received upon my arrival all the more valuable.

The voice on the loudspeaker tells us we’re up.

Pre-staged, staged, then given the green
The line becomes blurred between man and machine

Bones become linkage
Muscle, spring
Fear, excitement

Time distorts ….
Color disappears …
Vision narrows…
Noise ---  becomes music
Speed, satisfaction

End
Richard Riddle Feb 2015
At first glance, it's just a rust-covered pan, typical of what could be found in the trash, hiding behind an old abandoned building. But, its more than that.

This pan is more than a hundred years old. It belonged to my great-grandfather, to my grandfather, then my father. It's the pan that found those small, glistening nuggets, taken from small streams in the mountains of Arizona and California, from which my mother's wedding rings were created.

I cannot  begin to imagine the events this pan had laid witness to, or how many stories lie beneath that blanket of red crust. Oh, the history lessons it could teach. Held by calloused hands, it tasted the water that held those particles of nature that men sought, and died for, in their search for wealth. It heard the cries, and caught the tears, of many who failed in their endeavors.

At one time I considered restoring it to it's earlier time, then realized I would be destroying a history book, and the protective blanket that preserves those untold stories, hopefully, for many more years to come. It will be passed to my grandchildren.

               copyright: richard riddle-February 16,2015
Eridan Ampora Jul 2014
You're a Demon
Rust Red like the fires of hell
You're full of Pride and Greed
Yet we're friends
But still you're too Sinful
A short Devil with brown hair and lipstick
Devils and Royals don't mix
Violet doesn't go with Rust
This ones short, Kaitlyn's a Devvil!
Ken Young Jun 2014
(rust if you must)

I like the way you get me where I go
in any kind of weather , like snow.
i love the freedom i have when i ride
in the drivers seat of you inside.
I dig the tunes we play along our path
I cant afford a New you , i have done the math.
But I love you no matter what others may think
you've Never thrown me of a cliff
or left me at the brink, i think
I drive to and fro to get me where i go
and No better car i own , so now i Say it So...
Rust if you Must , for i don't care about your Looks,
i can study about your kinds repair, if i should read Those books
Rust If you Must , I will always Love you,
For to Me My Camry have you Always been True.  :D
                                                              Brain M.O.G.
just a silly thing i felt like "jotting " down
CK Baker Oct 2017
dust cloud heavy
in an apricot sky
cottonwood mucker
under ambrose pale
whippet and shepherd
mill at the earth patch
yellow birch hangs
over red bench park

combine shavings
in crack rust brown
scissors chips
fall to the back stop
whiskey jack looters
sing patented chords
siblings (and 2 wheel enthusiasts)
give thanks

joyous retrievers
master the criss cross
bare maples stand
at settlers way
barred owl and blue jay
whistle the fore-wind
ghosts
and goblins
pull at the seeds

wind gusts belt
over the west gulch
blood rush churns
in a chilling fall morn
hallowed grounds still
at the midday
quiet reflections
of the afghan
and hound

jumpers unite
at the oxbow
route runners bend
(on a sultry foray!)
meadows exposed
in the framework
ball park empty
with pennants past

barrel dirt favors
the brew house
crimson and copper
find bracken ridge gate
harvest hands savor
the honey and hops
blankets of color
for a winter's hatch

brush fire kept
under steady peruse
bark bites fly
and embers glow
pine cones drop
from timber tops
3 wick candles
set the dinner place

shiver and ******
at the piper's call
cob web dew
on shadowy gates
a chilled mist mellows
the season's return ~
poets and artists
and dreamers awake
Harry Kelly Jun 2018
We used to play cards on Tuesday nights
in the small office of a used car lot.
I would look at the old beaters as they came in.
Wonder what their stories were.
Who drove them.
Where they had travelled and what they had seen.
“All rust and dust” my friend used to say.
As they age their value goes down.
Which is what some folks think about people.
But really, the opposite is true.
My friend would ask
why I played cards
with those old geezers.
He didn’t get it.
Many people don’t.
I just told him I always win.
It was true.
Not in terms of money.
But in everything else I got from those guys.
Stories
Wisdom
Laughs.
One old guy used to cheat like a *******.
I let him get away with it.
I hope when I get old
somebody cuts me some slack.
Autumn moves fast through the tunnel of love
Push from the top; bottom falls from above
Dangling leaves are flexing about
Dreaming of hope is a nightmarish shout

Cackle of ghouls; a shivering spine
All that is due will be due in due time
Whispering wind softly kisses my cheek
Lifetime of searching; know not what I seek

Darkness emerges as light fades away
Tried to hold on knowing no one can stay
Feeling alive only once I am dead
Listen but don't hear a word that is said

Roar of a flame, the warmth of the light
Fireball streaks interrupting the night
From the ashes we rose and to dust we return
Heart made of ice will not sooth what’s been burned

Holding my breath and not rising for air
Promise to no one the nothing I share
Hugging and squeezing a cuddly toy
Faded reminder when I was a boy

Roar of a racing car traveling fast
Linear stories that live in the past
Afternoon stroll through the paths in the woods
Wasn't enough when it’s all that I could

Didn't regret not regretting a thing
Perfectly still while I sit on the swing
Lazy and careless; the problem I tackle
Chained here forever without any shackles

Future and past presently now amuck
Free man who's also imprisoned and stuck
Roaring, the waves speaking softly to me
Shouting a message using secrecy

Cackling rooster call to end the day
Adult you become but your parents can't stay
Ending's begun and beginning ends near
Enveloped in fog; then it all became clear

Through stutter and stammer, I clearly can speak
World’s strongest man; I am fearful and weak
Worldly observer, I travel through life
Don't leave my house; Live alone with no wife

Peacock with confidence strutting my stuff
Have had my fill but not yet had enough
Nothing I fear but much fear have for it
Blowing out candles that never were lit

Bellowing cheers of "hip-hip hooray!"
Round of applauds for those who've died today
Subtle of strikes from a blatant attack
Gift you are given; already took back

Slapped with audacity right in the face
Composed with the utmost politeness and grace
Without allergy present, my body reacts
Calmly I sit through a panic attack

Telling a lie until it becomes truth
Speaking with stature his words are uncouth
Deafening silence rang shots from the gun
Finished a race that has not yet begun

"Rule" one time "Golden", now covered in rust
Did what was needed but not what I must
You can be anything but yet nothing you are
Traveling often but didn't go far

Properly set for no expectations
Biased perception began at creation
Feet on the ground and head in the clouds
Displayed while I'm naked; exposed in my shroud
Written - April 6, 2017

All rights reserved.
Mike Essig Aug 2015
train to Chicago...*

See it from a train.
Should have called it
the Rust Apocalypse.
Endless piles of industrial
woolly mammoth skeletons
turned red by the rust
that never sleeps or blinks.
Miles and miles of factory,
mills, and foundry corpses.
The workers long scattered
to $10 per hour ***** jobs.
Businesses gone with the workers.
Globalization at its finest.
The end of the people's value.
Amerika crumbles of dry rot.
Enjoy your stuff, good citizen.
This will all come to you.
There is no immunity
to endless, mindless greed.

   ~mce
"This is the end. My only friend, the end..."
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2018
disclaimer: unedited rambling and overly long and frankly, Scarlet, don't give a **** anymore...

Thus spake and quested
another, younger poet to me,
a far better one than I,
but obligations thus provided,
are serious business,
to those who understand
poetic responsibilities, and
under his own Rules of Order,
an answer,
though long in coming, AR,
must be provided.

Well well well
all is not well,
the faucets offers choices....
chrome hot
chrome cold

there is no such thing as
lukewarm truth in
clear waters that
run run,
yet never
run stilled,
birthed at turned-on conception,
to drain death removal,
another daily poetic miracle,
unappreciated by most,
overly consumed by their
own passage on this Earth

peddler wayfarer,
passing through with truth
poem pots and rattling pans
(nowadays, mostly panned),
a historic factoid,
and not what Amazon delivers...
truth is a genetically modified
bitcoin currency, misunderstood,
prone to sometimes useful,
but never ever, to stick or stain,
for I got excuses and who gives a ****,
yesterday is forgotten instantly

The coldest truths,
the confirmation of same
by mirrored image text sent,
(immediacy a necessity,
for though poor, it is 'real')
the twitter that methodically
A-lists your major crimes
B-lists your petty,
hope-you-didn't miss my
exposé of latest misdemeanors

the hot truths,
only whispered,
merely mint hinted
in a hot cuppa,
the heat itself
a cover up,
for what you do not
wish me to plainly speak
or plainly sell,
is accursed truths,
won't sell, even if free

Can't write about moon and June,
alabaster is a fine word,
but white suits me fine,
don't know the diff
tween dragon flys and lullabies

The way I write is
just the way I think, believe,
from my eyes to paper
there is no misdirection,
just silent labor conception

Poor poor real truth
is out of favor these days,
because there is nothing
no one won't cease or hesitate
to expose himself,
flaunt the anguish,
copy other's jive,
but that is real,
but it is not truth

Had a bad day,
You need to know about it
Right away!

Though I meander and excuse,
there is one state of truth,
I need yet to annotate

Too oft when tapped turned on,
it is rusty water and rusted truths
expelled and this, my stuff, my days,
not in vogue, or a top seller

I love the color rust,
overused in my poems,
but compulsion is not a
conditional, but a must

This then is the form
they spill in these,
my final days here

You might think that rust implies
lack of use,
a non-caring
for his voice,
his well practiced instrument

Au contrarie, amigo!

My rust is from overuse,
my eyes don't see
what the popular want nor
could I provide it
even if
it was demanded,
which it is not....

Rusted but unvarnished,
undisguised by fancy words
or silent cries, what you read
is what you get
until I find
a more "authentic" voice,
one that satisfies the world
not just me...he sneers....

Feel for me in the summer breeze,
from whence my best stuff
has always been plucked
sent on its way, to you,
in self-same wind,
to kiss your cheeks,
slap you alert

I used to write
on both feet
upstanding,
then Hillel was asked for
the whole truth
while standing
on just one leg

His reply:
"Love they neighbor as you love thyself"

So I switched
and now compose,
in quiet ignorance,
a wrong footed poet,
left only with his what's left,
and to put his left foot truths
first, forward and foremost,
is what he got, and
what I got, you'll get....

But a cautionary note,
drinking riposte rustys,
bad for the body,
but kindly
for your mental
wealth,
if your have the
only other element
most needed,
in your pocket posses,

courage
Rambling, unedited, and yet fresh so off to the presses..and at 4:21am,
I frankly, Scarlet, don't give a **** anymore...
neko Jan 2014
i'm sick of being yelled at for the amount of (or lack of) food i eat. shut up and leave me alone.

and i'm sorry i got blood stains on your precious bathroom sink. maybe you can convince the guests it's only old rust.
maybe you can hide away your sick daughter. maybe you can convince them i'm only just a bit shy. maybe i'm old rust on the bathroom sink.
Nick Strong Nov 2013
Rust
Brown.
Cracked,
Chipped.
Burnt,
Orange.
Nothing
Is
Rust,
But­
Dust.

    ©  Nick Strong 2014
Ottar Mar 2013
You say, "Time erases all to dust,
                 Water turns all to rust."
"You are wrong" I say.
You say, "Time will one day dissipate
                   even the sun, bacteria in the
                  water turns all to rust."
"You are wrong today and always," I say.

You say, "What are you going on about?"
I notice your lip tremble as you weaken
with doubt.
"I am not going to riddle or ridicule you, "I say.
You say," Then what is your arguing about?"
"Water can rust only metal or wash away stuff,
there is no rust on plastic or glass or wood," I say.

You say, "Okay, you may have a point, but ...", you
pause in thought, then go on, " more than rust,
oxidization happens to all!"
"Generalizations are weak with holes," I say and then
"God will end it all when He calls all home."
I say as well.
You say nothing, thinking looking up at the sky.
"He is time, He is love, He is near more than above,
He cleanses with water and turns it into wine, He is
the Divine." I say.
You say," Fine, I know this too, but everything."
"In the beginning God,.." I say.

With that we say no more but run off to grab our hockey
sticks, "I'll be Parent, you'll be Orr," I say.
You say, "He shoots, he scores."
"Let's play some more," I say, "we will be called in for dinner soon,
we don't have much time left before the sun sets and leaves us in
shadow with the lights on the street."
You say, "We would play till dawn, if they let us."
"You are right as always, " I say to make sure I get in the last word.

©DWE032013
A conversation among two friends, long ago.
CK Baker Feb 2017
There’s a silverback haze
on the shallow face
of the Rockwell Ridge
folded brow
puzzled chin
and dark hollow eyes
keeping watch
over the lilies
and crane flies
and will of the wisp

Rust brown ravens
and fisher kings
delight
in the reeds off north bend
(chased by the terraced streams!)
youth blades engrain
on the favoured
and historic
Banka Memorial

Mustard
and pumpkin skies
are clipped
by a call from
the resident loon
the sounds of Buddha Bar
piercing the silence
and shaping the afternoon chord

It’s a time to make way (stream side)
seems the anuran are courting
Chris Thomas Nov 2017
Metallic heart,
Savor what you can
While you can
And rest where you lie

Rain.

Sanguine flesh,
I will pierce thee
To feverishly rip, and tear
At these rusted-over heartstrings

Rust.

Sluggish pulse,
Hand over calloused hand
Wipe the luster from her brow
And drown me in the clamor

Pain.

Dangerous dreams,
I smell the rain from years away
I recede, and believe
That time won't repair this erosion

Lust.

.
Silas T Williams Apr 2014
Brazen apple
left on the counter to rust,
thymos Apr 2016
and if rust
is not the template
of salvation
there could be no hope

and if rust
not template
of salvation
no hope

if rust
template
salvage
hope.
Nivey Jun 2015
Born into this carnival of rust
Fancying  for your touch
Fancying  for your love
All I see around is dancing to the rhythms of lust
Blown away by the winds of infernal heat
Colors bleed in the rain of angst
Desiring for your touch
Desiring for your love
Emptiness fills the vacuum created by life
When life was swept away by the waves of gust.
In the chaos, eying the gates of carnival of rust.
Drenched in the muddy slush of pain
Thirsting for your touch
Thirsting for your love
Caught up in the maze of a cruel game
At the end of which stands the gate.
Walls of vast abysmal expanse of mind, closing in
Encumbered by the dust of fears
vision blinded by the smog of illusions
ears assaulted by jarring sounds of confusion
Craving  for your touch
Craving for your love
Don’t turn away.
Lauren Batchelor Oct 2014
Devotion was  a moment
When I loved you for existing,
For breath and sleep and talk.

It exists, still.
Somewhere deep away from you,
Or it will revive and burn
Just watching you sit.
The New Kestrel Mar 2013
A new car.
A new necklace.
A new belt buckle.
All begin to rust.
When using them,
touching them,
the grime rubs off,
leaving spots on once
only lightly scarred skin.
What if the rust and grime
Soaks in?
running through one's
blood stream,
like an Olympic sprinter.
Flowing, casually,
Through limbs,
To the brain.
What if that
makes a difference?
I think  it makes
my writing pointless.
Leaves me with no inspiration.
Maybe, Maybe, Maybe.
That's what it means to be...
*RUSTY
Arjun Raj Jan 2016
The local, strides through the rotten rails,
Metal to metal, rust to rust
The boggy sways and along with it, the hangers who
Hang in there, not by choice but by the might
Of time, distance, and bills to pay
The feeling is mutual as we stand, sway
Push, pull, and grab on to anything just to balance
Yet the journey never ends
It only begins.
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
Thus spake and quested
another, younger poet to me,
a far better one than I,
but obligations thus provided,
are serious business,
to those who understand
poetic responsibilities, and
under his own Rules of Order,
an answer,
though long in coming, AR,
must be provided.*

Well well well
all is not well,
the faucets offers choices....
chrome hot
chrome cold

there is no such thing as
lukewarm truth in
clear waters that
run run,
yet never
run stilled,
birthed at turned-on conception,
to drain death removal,
another daily poetic miracle,
unappreciated by most,
overly consumed by their
own passage on this Earth

peddler wayfarer,
passing through with truth
poem pots and rattling pans
(nowadays, mostly panned),
a historic factoid,
and not what Amazon delivers...
truth is a genetically modified
bitcoin currency, misunderstood,
prone to sometimes useful,
but never ever, to stick or stain,
for I got excuses and who gives a ****,
yesterday is forgotten instantly

The coldest truths,
the confirmation of same
by mirrored image text sent,
(immediacy a necessity,
for though poor, it is 'real')
the twitter that methodically
A-lists your major crimes
B-lists your petty,
hope-you-didn't miss my
exposé of latest misdemeanors

the hot truths,
only whispered,
merely mint hinted
in a hot cuppa,
the heat itself
a cover up,
for what you do not
wish me to plainly speak
or plainly sell,
is accursed truths,
won't sell, even if free

Can't write about moon and June,
alabaster is a fine word,
but white suits me fine,
don't know the diff
tween dragon flys and lullabies

The way I write is
just the way I think, believe,
from my eyes to paper
there is no misdirection,
just silent labor conception

Poor poor real truth
is out of favor these days,
because there is nothing
no one won't cease or hesitate
to expose himself,
flaunt the anguish,
copy other's jive,
but that is real,
but it is not truth

Had a bad day,
You need to know about it
Right away!

Though I meander and excuse,
there is one state of truth,
I need yet to annotate

Too oft when tapped turned on,
it is rusty water and rusted truths
expelled and this, my stuff, my days,
not in vogue, or a top seller

I love the color rust,
overused in my poems,
but compulsion is not a
conditional, but a must

This then is the form
they spill in these,
my final days here

You might think that rust implies
lack of use,
a non-caring
for his voice,
his well practiced instrument

Au contrarie, amigo!

My rust is from overuse,
my eyes don't see
what the popular want nor
could I provide it
even if
it was demanded,
which it is not....

Rusted but unvarnished,
undisguised by fancy words
or silent cries, what you read
is what you get
until I find
a more "authentic" voice,
one that satisfies the world
not just me...he sneers....

Feel for me in the summer breeze,
from whence my best stuff
has always been plucked
sent on its way, to you,
in self-same wind,
to kiss your cheeks,
slap you alert

I used to write
on both feet
upstanding,
then Hillel was asked for
the whole truth
while standing
on just one leg

His reply:
"Love they neighbor as you love thyself"*

So I switched
and now compose,
in quiet ignorance,
a wrong footed poet,
left only with his what's left,
and to put his left foot truths
first, forward and foremost,
is what he got, and
what I got, you'll get....

But a cautionary note,
drinking riposte rustys,
bad for the body,
but kindly
for your mental
wealth,
if your have the
only other element
most needed,
in your pocket posses,

courage
Rambling, unedited, and yet fresh so off to the presses..and at 4:21am,
I frankly, Scarlet, don't give a **** anymore...
Hello World Oct 2015
I rub my fingers back and fourth,
brush the dust off of the books,
try to wash the stained pots and pans,
swing on a swing,
it creeks as if its in pain,
hopping off,
find a rusty nail,
through it into the sewer,
then it makes a sharp pling,
I try to scrub you off,
you create a deathly smell,
I throw the brush down,
scream, and attempt again,
I find an old chess,
but I can't open it,
the rust binds the lock together,
I get a new key from the locksmith,
its stuck inside the lock,
its completely broken inside,
a pile of rust in the corner,
inside a dump,
I feel like rust,
I just can't come off.
Simon Oct 2019
Stinging with rage! The skeleton would say. Not figuring out anything if never having layers is a good thing. Why must I have an upkeep in social deficiencies, if I can’t learn myself enough? The skeleton contemplated extensively. I’m too gray! Too…Tooooo… Poised! Being poised is a dampening effect. One revolutionizing logic without circumstance. Circumstance without valid reasons to erupt circumstantial balance. Deeming to involve constraints upon your own systems processes. Strife filling into those processes. Putting a bony skeletal hand to its bony chin. I’m a skeleton. I’m all strife! My bones don’t just sting. They rust! RUST!!! It said yelling with two skeletal arms moving clenching bony fists in the air. Try having rusted edges without completing desirable functions! Releasing edges without rust involved. I move one step, and SNAP! OOPS! Edges be screaming my velocities down the rut! Velocities pit my joints moving with other joints in an unbalanced poised expression. Poised is great. Having good flexible positions in the making. Except for the fact I sent the rusted edges. Which once again, is a catch of being too POISED! Maybe I should have asked for layers when wanting to become poised? But without favor. Favor of not having to worry about any deficiencies. Self deficiencies? It said opening it’s mouth wide. More like social deficiencies! I can’t go anywhere feeling my form is off completely! Skeletal arms in the air while staring up into the atmosphere. Mouth still open wide. What do I DOOOOO???!!! All the sudden, the skeletons stinging edges started to rust more. Huh?! Looking down at its skeletal body. Surprised and a little alarmed. The skeleton notices it wasn’t thinking. Since you sometimes don’t realize you just started thinking without one’s volition. The rusted edges were thinking. Or something sizzling with charisma? Charisma with claim, purpose, and factual statements. I don’t, UHHHHHHHH!!! Pausing deeply. Feeling something burn with rage! The stinging…! It’s getting more intense. I-I, I can’t stop myself from feeling it too much! It wants to envelope me. Wait? The skeleton stops. The stinging stopped all together. Not feeling the burning rage anymore. Whoa! Weird. W-what just happened? Sizzling effort of rust kept on thinking with sizzling charisma. OHHH! I get it now. The skeleton retracting its movements back to its original posture. I’m freaking out! Calling for what it seems to be. I’m detracting my own surface from its original desire. Bony hand against its chin. A claim without focus. The skeleton snaps it’s bony fingers. Feeling the sting rupture between rusted joints sizzling with claim, purpose, and factual statements. Away from the thinking. The skeleton seeing it’s joints become more flexible as two of it’s bony finger tips made contact with one another. Seeing is believing after all. It said smiling wide. Feeling the rusted edges absorb it’s smile into it’s thinking base. More stinging raised multiple alarms along the entire bone structure. The skeleton shook violently! Not feeling despair, concern or fear. But warmth. Warmth giving it an excitability it never sought out before. Probably because it never had to. Until now. I think my social deficiencies will start disappearing now. Feeling calmer. Along with my perfect poise that only existed in this bone structuring stage. I’m awaiting something newer. More affordable now that I’m beginning to understand.
How I would feel when moving without contempt for my own volatile commands. Making myself think being stuck in a rut for too long, was actually a good thing. How wrong was I.
MeanAileen Jul 2018
It must be so nice
to be cold as ice
and live with a heart of stone.
No need to think twice
in a fools paradise
when your head is so overblown.

Existing so high
you can touch the sky
from your pillar of ivory and gold.
Everyday you lie
just to pacify
an ego which can't be controlled.

You don't play fair
nor do you care
who's heart you might break next.
Another sordid affair
caught in your snare,
treating women like they are objects.

You made love a joke
with vows you broke,
that golden ring is sure to rust.
One day you'll choke
on fallacies you spoke,
then your empire to fall to dust.

And looking down on all
like you're 12 feet tall
does not make you the bigger man.
Laughing as they fall,
watching them crawl,
forgetting where your own life began.

Just keep living in excess,
desperate to impress,
surround yourself with cool ****.
Cause what you possess
when dead from stress
in purgatory, won't matter one bit.
Ya...
Do you think when we die
We turn to rust or to dust?
Made by machinery or by a Deity?
By labourers in a factory?
Or, lovers in a field?
Either way, we rust or turn to dust.
© JLB
Stephanie Irvin Sep 2013
I walked along the wire of Madison Ave
Wanting to be just like the movie
When I saw a girl reading poetry to a tin can
Strangers fed her one dollar bills
The ones with white sneakers just stared

I walked over puddles
Filled up with oily tears
Thinking of how I scream
So loud
And no one is ever around to hear it

This girl kept the rhythm
Skirting the cat calls and grime
I wanted to wrap around her
And grab hold of her mind
But I walked on
Too scared to hear the end

The rain doesn't stop
When we go inside
The rust just builds
On tin cans
And all of us search
For another tomorrow
unedited and unfinished
Liam C Calhoun Apr 2016
In admittance,
In ecstasy,
In guilt and in anxiety,
In the gutters of Yuexiu,
The plains of Tamaulipas,
My precious mountain top
Near Calgary,
Or this flat, honeycombed and
High above Kyoto neon,
I’ve finally lost;

I surrender.

I surrender to –

Wave a white flag in comfort,
In defeat, and a first, when I warm,
Come this newer blanket,
Whilst we dance,
Come a first smile, decades, and
Finally to fathom,
“Embrace,” eternity, this
Hold opposed pierced when –
Swords eventually rust,
But fields forever bloom.
A pleasure in never having to wander again?
Alyssa Underwood Mar 2016
I

He did not wear his scarlet coat,
  For blood and wine are red,
And blood and wine were on his hands
  When they found him with the dead,
The poor dead woman whom he loved,
  And murdered in her bed.

He walked amongst the Trial Men
  In a suit of shabby grey;
A cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and gay;
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every drifting cloud that went
  With sails of silver by.

I walked, with other souls in pain,
  Within another ring,
And was wondering if the man had done
  A great or little thing,
When a voice behind me whispered low,
  “That fellows got to swing.”

Dear Christ! the very prison walls
  Suddenly seemed to reel,
And the sky above my head became
  Like a casque of scorching steel;
And, though I was a soul in pain,
  My pain I could not feel.

I only knew what hunted thought
  Quickened his step, and why
He looked upon the garish day
  With such a wistful eye;
The man had killed the thing he loved
  And so he had to die.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
  By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!

Some **** their love when they are young,
  And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
  Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
  The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
  Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
  And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
  Yet each man does not die.

He does not die a death of shame
  On a day of dark disgrace,
Nor have a noose about his neck,
  Nor a cloth upon his face,
Nor drop feet foremost through the floor
  Into an empty place

He does not sit with silent men
  Who watch him night and day;
Who watch him when he tries to weep,
  And when he tries to pray;
Who watch him lest himself should rob
  The prison of its prey.

He does not wake at dawn to see
  Dread figures throng his room,
The shivering Chaplain robed in white,
  The Sheriff stern with gloom,
And the Governor all in shiny black,
  With the yellow face of Doom.

He does not rise in piteous haste
  To put on convict-clothes,
While some coarse-mouthed Doctor gloats, and notes
  Each new and nerve-twitched pose,
******* a watch whose little ticks
  Are like horrible hammer-blows.

He does not know that sickening thirst
  That sands one’s throat, before
The hangman with his gardener’s gloves
  Slips through the padded door,
And binds one with three leathern thongs,
  That the throat may thirst no more.

He does not bend his head to hear
  The Burial Office read,
Nor, while the terror of his soul
  Tells him he is not dead,
Cross his own coffin, as he moves
  Into the hideous shed.

He does not stare upon the air
  Through a little roof of glass;
He does not pray with lips of clay
  For his agony to pass;
Nor feel upon his shuddering cheek
  The kiss of Caiaphas.


II

Six weeks our guardsman walked the yard,
  In a suit of shabby grey:
His cricket cap was on his head,
  And his step seemed light and gay,
But I never saw a man who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw a man who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  Which prisoners call the sky,
And at every wandering cloud that trailed
  Its raveled fleeces by.

He did not wring his hands, as do
  Those witless men who dare
To try to rear the changeling Hope
  In the cave of black Despair:
He only looked upon the sun,
  And drank the morning air.

He did not wring his hands nor weep,
  Nor did he peek or pine,
But he drank the air as though it held
  Some healthful anodyne;
With open mouth he drank the sun
  As though it had been wine!

And I and all the souls in pain,
  Who tramped the other ring,
Forgot if we ourselves had done
  A great or little thing,
And watched with gaze of dull amaze
  The man who had to swing.

And strange it was to see him pass
  With a step so light and gay,
And strange it was to see him look
  So wistfully at the day,
And strange it was to think that he
  Had such a debt to pay.

For oak and elm have pleasant leaves
  That in the spring-time shoot:
But grim to see is the gallows-tree,
  With its adder-bitten root,
And, green or dry, a man must die
  Before it bears its fruit!

The loftiest place is that seat of grace
  For which all worldlings try:
But who would stand in hempen band
  Upon a scaffold high,
And through a murderer’s collar take
  His last look at the sky?

It is sweet to dance to violins
  When Love and Life are fair:
To dance to flutes, to dance to lutes
  Is delicate and rare:
But it is not sweet with nimble feet
  To dance upon the air!

So with curious eyes and sick surmise
  We watched him day by day,
And wondered if each one of us
  Would end the self-same way,
For none can tell to what red Hell
  His sightless soul may stray.

At last the dead man walked no more
  Amongst the Trial Men,
And I knew that he was standing up
  In the black dock’s dreadful pen,
And that never would I see his face
  In God’s sweet world again.

Like two doomed ships that pass in storm
  We had crossed each other’s way:
But we made no sign, we said no word,
  We had no word to say;
For we did not meet in the holy night,
  But in the shameful day.

A prison wall was round us both,
  Two outcast men were we:
The world had ****** us from its heart,
  And God from out His care:
And the iron gin that waits for Sin
  Had caught us in its snare.


III

In Debtors’ Yard the stones are hard,
  And the dripping wall is high,
So it was there he took the air
  Beneath the leaden sky,
And by each side a Warder walked,
  For fear the man might die.

Or else he sat with those who watched
  His anguish night and day;
Who watched him when he rose to weep,
  And when he crouched to pray;
Who watched him lest himself should rob
  Their scaffold of its prey.

The Governor was strong upon
  The Regulations Act:
The Doctor said that Death was but
  A scientific fact:
And twice a day the Chaplain called
  And left a little tract.

And twice a day he smoked his pipe,
  And drank his quart of beer:
His soul was resolute, and held
  No hiding-place for fear;
He often said that he was glad
  The hangman’s hands were near.

But why he said so strange a thing
  No Warder dared to ask:
For he to whom a watcher’s doom
  Is given as his task,
Must set a lock upon his lips,
  And make his face a mask.

Or else he might be moved, and try
  To comfort or console:
And what should Human Pity do
  Pent up in Murderers’ Hole?
What word of grace in such a place
  Could help a brother’s soul?

With slouch and swing around the ring
  We trod the Fool’s Parade!
We did not care: we knew we were
  The Devil’s Own Brigade:
And shaven head and feet of lead
  Make a merry masquerade.

We tore the tarry rope to shreds
  With blunt and bleeding nails;
We rubbed the doors, and scrubbed the floors,
  And cleaned the shining rails:
And, rank by rank, we soaped the plank,
  And clattered with the pails.

We sewed the sacks, we broke the stones,
  We turned the dusty drill:
We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns,
  And sweated on the mill:
But in the heart of every man
  Terror was lying still.

So still it lay that every day
  Crawled like a ****-clogged wave:
And we forgot the bitter lot
  That waits for fool and knave,
Till once, as we tramped in from work,
  We passed an open grave.

With yawning mouth the yellow hole
  Gaped for a living thing;
The very mud cried out for blood
  To the thirsty asphalte ring:
And we knew that ere one dawn grew fair
  Some prisoner had to swing.

Right in we went, with soul intent
  On Death and Dread and Doom:
The hangman, with his little bag,
  Went shuffling through the gloom
And each man trembled as he crept
  Into his numbered tomb.

That night the empty corridors
  Were full of forms of Fear,
And up and down the iron town
  Stole feet we could not hear,
And through the bars that hide the stars
  White faces seemed to peer.

He lay as one who lies and dreams
  In a pleasant meadow-land,
The watcher watched him as he slept,
  And could not understand
How one could sleep so sweet a sleep
  With a hangman close at hand?

But there is no sleep when men must weep
  Who never yet have wept:
So we—the fool, the fraud, the knave—
  That endless vigil kept,
And through each brain on hands of pain
  Another’s terror crept.

Alas! it is a fearful thing
  To feel another’s guilt!
For, right within, the sword of Sin
  Pierced to its poisoned hilt,
And as molten lead were the tears we shed
  For the blood we had not spilt.

The Warders with their shoes of felt
  Crept by each padlocked door,
And peeped and saw, with eyes of awe,
  Grey figures on the floor,
And wondered why men knelt to pray
  Who never prayed before.

All through the night we knelt and prayed,
  Mad mourners of a corpse!
The troubled plumes of midnight were
  The plumes upon a hearse:
And bitter wine upon a sponge
  Was the savior of Remorse.

The **** crew, the red **** crew,
  But never came the day:
And crooked shape of Terror crouched,
  In the corners where we lay:
And each evil sprite that walks by night
  Before us seemed to play.

They glided past, they glided fast,
  Like travelers through a mist:
They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
  Of delicate turn and twist,
And with formal pace and loathsome grace
  The phantoms kept their tryst.

With mop and mow, we saw them go,
  Slim shadows hand in hand:
About, about, in ghostly rout
  They trod a saraband:
And the ****** grotesques made arabesques,
  Like the wind upon the sand!

With the pirouettes of marionettes,
  They tripped on pointed tread:
But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
  As their grisly masque they led,
And loud they sang, and long they sang,
  For they sang to wake the dead.

“Oho!” they cried, “The world is wide,
  But fettered limbs go lame!
And once, or twice, to throw the dice
  Is a gentlemanly game,
But he does not win who plays with Sin
  In the secret House of Shame.”

No things of air these antics were
  That frolicked with such glee:
To men whose lives were held in gyves,
  And whose feet might not go free,
Ah! wounds of Christ! they were living things,
  Most terrible to see.

Around, around, they waltzed and wound;
  Some wheeled in smirking pairs:
With the mincing step of demirep
  Some sidled up the stairs:
And with subtle sneer, and fawning leer,
  Each helped us at our prayers.

The morning wind began to moan,
  But still the night went on:
Through its giant loom the web of gloom
  Crept till each thread was spun:
And, as we prayed, we grew afraid
  Of the Justice of the Sun.

The moaning wind went wandering round
  The weeping prison-wall:
Till like a wheel of turning-steel
  We felt the minutes crawl:
O moaning wind! what had we done
  To have such a seneschal?

At last I saw the shadowed bars
  Like a lattice wrought in lead,
Move right across the whitewashed wall
  That faced my three-plank bed,
And I knew that somewhere in the world
  God’s dreadful dawn was red.

At six o’clock we cleaned our cells,
  At seven all was still,
But the sough and swing of a mighty wing
  The prison seemed to fill,
For the Lord of Death with icy breath
  Had entered in to ****.

He did not pass in purple pomp,
  Nor ride a moon-white steed.
Three yards of cord and a sliding board
  Are all the gallows’ need:
So with rope of shame the Herald came
  To do the secret deed.

We were as men who through a fen
  Of filthy darkness *****:
We did not dare to breathe a prayer,
  Or give our anguish scope:
Something was dead in each of us,
  And what was dead was Hope.

For Man’s grim Justice goes its way,
  And will not swerve aside:
It slays the weak, it slays the strong,
  It has a deadly stride:
With iron heel it slays the strong,
  The monstrous parricide!

We waited for the stroke of eight:
  Each tongue was thick with thirst:
For the stroke of eight is the stroke of Fate
  That makes a man accursed,
And Fate will use a running noose
  For the best man and the worst.

We had no other thing to do,
  Save to wait for the sign to come:
So, like things of stone in a valley lone,
  Quiet we sat and dumb:
But each man’s heart beat thick and quick
  Like a madman on a drum!

With sudden shock the prison-clock
  Smote on the shivering air,
And from all the gaol rose up a wail
  Of impotent despair,
Like the sound that frightened marshes hear
  From a ***** in his lair.

And as one sees most fearful things
  In the crystal of a dream,
We saw the greasy hempen rope
  Hooked to the blackened beam,
And heard the prayer the hangman’s snare
  Strangled into a scream.

And all the woe that moved him so
  That he gave that bitter cry,
And the wild regrets, and the ****** sweats,
  None knew so well as I:
For he who lives more lives than one
  More deaths than one must die.


IV

There is no chapel on the day
  On which they hang a man:
The Chaplain’s heart is far too sick,
  Or his face is far too wan,
Or there is that written in his eyes
  Which none should look upon.

So they kept us close till nigh on noon,
  And then they rang the bell,
And the Warders with their jingling keys
  Opened each listening cell,
And down the iron stair we tramped,
  Each from his separate Hell.

Out into God’s sweet air we went,
  But not in wonted way,
For this man’s face was white with fear,
  And that man’s face was grey,
And I never saw sad men who looked
  So wistfully at the day.

I never saw sad men who looked
  With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
  We prisoners called the sky,
And at every careless cloud that passed
  In happy freedom by.

But there were those amongst us all
  Who walked with downcast head,
And knew that, had each got his due,
  They should have died instead:
He had but killed a thing that lived
  Whilst they had killed the dead.

For he who sins a second time
  Wakes a dead soul to pain,
And draws it from its spotted shroud,
  And makes it bleed again,
And makes it bleed great gouts of blood
  And makes it bleed in vain!

Like ape or clown, in monstrous garb
  With crooked arrows starred,
Silently we went round and round
  The slippery asphalte yard;
Silently we went round and round,
  And no man spoke a word.

Silently we went round and round,
  And through each hollow mind
The memory of dreadful things
  Rushed like a dreadful wind,
And Horror stalked before each man,
  And terror crept behind.

The Warders strutted up and down,
  And kept their herd of brutes,
Their uniforms were ***** and span,
  And they wore their Sunday suits,
But we knew the work they had been at
  By the quicklime on their boots.

For where a grave had opened wide,
  There was no grave at all:
Only a stretch of mud and sand
  By the hideous prison-wall,
And a little heap of burning lime,
  That the man should have his pall.

For he has a pall, this wretched man,
  Such as few men can claim:
Deep down below a prison-yard,
  Naked for greater shame,
He lies, with fetters on each foot,
  Wrapt in a sheet of flame!

And all the while the burning lime
  Eats flesh and bone away,
It eats the brittle bone by night,
  And the soft flesh by the day,
It eats the flesh and bones by turns,
  But it eats the heart alway.

For three long years they will not sow
  Or root or seedling there:
For three long years the unblessed spot
  Will sterile be and bare,
And look upon the wondering sky
  With unreproachful stare.

They think a murderer’s heart would taint
  Each simple seed they sow.
It is not true! God’s kindly earth
  Is kindlier than men know,
And the red rose would but blow more red,
  The white rose whiter blow.

Out of his mouth a red, red rose!
  Out of his heart a white!
For who can say by what strange way,
  Christ brings his will to light,
Since the barren staff the pilgrim bore
  Bloomed in the great Pope’s sight?

But neither milk-white rose nor red
  May bloom in prison air;
The shard, the pebble, and the flint,
  Are what they give us there:
For flowers have been known to heal
  A common man’s despair.

So never will wine-red rose or white,
  Petal by petal, fall
On that stretch of mud and sand that lies
  By the hideous prison-wall,
To tell the men who ***** the yard
  That God’s Son died for all.

Yet though the hideous prison-wall
  Still hems him round and round,
And a spirit man not walk by night
  That is with fetters bound,
And a spirit may not weep that lies
  In such unholy ground,

He is at peace—this wretched man—
  At peace, or will be soon:
There is no thing to make him mad,
  Nor does Terror walk at noon,
For the lampless Earth in which he lies
  Has neither Sun nor Moon.

They hanged him as a beast is hanged:
  They did not even toll
A reguiem that might have brought
  Rest to his startled soul,
But hurriedly they took him out,
  And hid him in a hole.

They stripped him of his canvas clothes,
  And gave him to the flies;
They mocked the swollen purple throat
  And the stark and staring eyes:
And with laughter loud they heaped the shroud
  In which their convict lies.

The Chaplain would not kneel to pray
  By his dishonored grave:
Nor mark it with that blessed Cross
  That Christ for sinners gave,
Because the man was one of those
  Whom Christ came down to save.

Yet all is well; he has but passed
  To Life’s appointed bourne:
And alien tears will fill for him
  Pity’s long-broken urn,
For his mourner will be outcast men,
  And outcasts always mourn.


V

I know not whether Laws be right,
  Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in gaol
  Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year,
  A year whose days are long.

But this I know, that every Law
  That men have made for Man,
Since first Man took his brother’s life,
  And the sad world began,
But straws the wheat and saves the chaff
  With a most evil fan.

This too I know—and wise it were
  If each could know the same—
That every prison that men build
  Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest Christ should see
  How men their brothers maim.

With bars they blur the gracious moon,
  And blind the goodly sun:
And they do well to hide their Hell,
  For in it things are done
That Son of God nor son of Man
  Ever should look upon!

The vilest deeds like poison weeds
  Bloom well in prison-air:
It is only what is good in Man
  That wastes and withers there:
Pale Anguish keeps the heavy gate,
  And the Warder is Despair

For they starve the little frightened child
  Till it weeps both night and day:
And they scourge the weak, and flog the fool,
  And gibe the old and grey,
And some grow mad, and all grow bad,
And none a word may say.

Each narrow cell in which we dwell
  Is foul and dark latrine,
And the fetid breath of living Death
  Chokes up each grated screen,
And all, but Lust, is turned to dust
  In Humanity’s machine.

The brackish water that we drink
  Creeps with a loathsome slime,
And the bitter bread they weigh in scales
  Is full of chalk and lime,
And Sleep will not lie down, but walks
  Wild-eyed and cries to Time.

But though lean Hunger and green Thirst
  Like asp with adder fight,
We have little care of prison fare,
  For what chills and kills outright
Is that every stone one lifts by day
  Becomes one’s heart by night.

With midnight always in one’s heart,
  And twilight in one’s cell,
We turn the crank, or tear the rope,
  Each in his separate Hell,
And the silence is more awful far
  Than the sound of a brazen bell.

And never a human voice comes near
  To speak a gentle word:
And the eye that watches through the door
  Is pitiless and hard:
And by all forgot, we rot and rot,
  With soul and body marred.

And thus we rust Life’s iron chain
  Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
  And some men make no moan:
But God’s eternal Laws are kind
  And break the heart of stone.

And every human heart that breaks,
  In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
  Its treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean *****’s house
  With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy day they whose hearts can break
  And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
  And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
  May Lord Christ enter in?

And he of the swollen purple throat.
  And the stark and staring eyes,
Waits for the holy hands that took
  The Thief to Paradise;
And a broken and a contrite heart
  The Lord will not despise.

The man in red who reads the Law
  Gave him three weeks of life,
Three little weeks in which to heal
  His soul of his soul’s strife,
And cleanse from every blot of blood
  The hand that held the knife.

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
  The hand that held the steel:
For only blood can wipe out blood,
  And only tears can heal:
And the crimson stain that was of Cain
  Became Christ’s snow-white seal.


VI

In Reading gaol by Reading town
  There is a pit of shame,
And in it lies a wretched man
  Eaten by teeth of flame,
In burning winding-sheet he lies,
  And his grave has got no name.

And there, till Christ call forth the dead,
  In silence let him lie:
No need to waste the foolish tear,
  Or heave the windy sigh:
The man had killed the thing he loved,
  And so he had to die.

And all men **** the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!
Nat Lipstadt Jul 2018
and

you think you are done with it.
but the notion potion returns with your stolen free will
taunting and tearing, sealing and then dissolving
the seals

no retirement in this world from where human means pliable
and pliable means capable of being twisted; nay, retwisted...

last we left you,
we were weeping on the concrete sidewalk of
Third Avenue, the police, giving you a move on command,
as Jean Valjean earworms one into the incapacity of movement  because of the audacity to request to bring him home

such is the sorrow of the lost child; it comes with irregularity
yet, never failing to return, the child lost, the residual, resides
within like a violin adagio reaching the punishing silence
after a crescendo that  pretense promised momentary relief

we struggle to keep any and all keepsakes,
polished and fed; rust and time, no polish in the five & time dime
that does a good enough job,
but you buy it anyway

well aware that fate will inevitably rob you, it’s so purposed

twist you, retest you and re-will you, to never forget until
you have no need for forgetting but the peace of
constant remembering when all on that day
molecules and nucleotides
collide in the atmosphere,
dog licking, cat weeping purrs, meaning hallelujah home

the endless sadness of the lost lad-ness, dimly grow the recollections of the first word, the first delight, the confidence complete
that your babe is non pareil; the violin sweeps you along and the genteel tide still too string strong to resist

the woman comes into the room;
the reddened eyes no hide
the weeping outside and in the centerpiece of a soul;
why she asks, not surprised for she’s seen it
too many **** poem-times:
my Adam, I answer;
suffices and wisely
leaves me to
compose and decompose simultaneously
weeping weeping forever weeping even when not

furious eddies rock smashing,
curious they splash me with taunts
"you want for naught!"

but naught is the only possess
that owing it makes one impoverished

perhaps he will email me, ewail me,
does he know I am at the
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem,
insert parchment prayers for his safety

oh my Absalom, oh my Adam, my favorite first born,
come sit next to me on the sidewalk so close to where you live,
comfort me as in the days of your youth,
now that we are both
so very much older

sleep well all you lads and children,
never mind these unstoppable tearings,
never mind the heaviness,
for it has passed
as the tears shed
enlighten my embodiment

7/16/18 prone and alone
for my kinship
Bilal Kaci Jan 2014
Rust covered the metal
like the print on a leopard

The city's filth gave it a gritty, sharp texture
******* me into a place I dare not venture

For the person you truly are, I will forever love you
but simply because you are human, I can’t help but hate you
© 2014 Bilal Kaci
mvvenkataraman Feb 2015
Don't lose your confidence
Never distrust Providence
Remove your ignorance
Accumulate tolerance

Patience is a must
Your mind, you dust
Body mustn't rust
Always be honest

Hopefully you live
In God, ever believe
The best, you give
Better to forgive

Choose the right path
To toil, take an oath
God and hope, trust both
Don't die like a brittle moth

God-faith helps thrive
As He makes us survive
Our belief, He does revive
He helps peace to be alive

Take efforts and await
After showing your might
Being happy is right
As joy, you can sight

True efforts never die
They appeal to the Sky
God keeps His eye
Upon those who try

Good luck my dear
Pursue without fear
If hard-work is here
No place for tear

mvvenkataraman
We must hope and live, The best to all, we must give, When we live with joy and mirth, We make Heaven out of this Earth.
Alysha Marie Oct 2011
there is blood and grime and rust already
in my backyard and on my hands.
the unlucky baby birds that fall down during june
into my over-chlorinated swimming pool
are ironic.
there are yellow flowers in my garden that i used to take pictures of
before i grew
bored.
and love became a hole
waiting to be filled.
and men
and life became predictable as windchimes.
and
i fell
into all the cracks.
Anon C Dec 2012
for so many years I thought the blood was rust
splattering the streets
obscured amongst the rubble
for so many years I thought the blood was rust
because the media told me so
Too much blood is being spilled. Too many believe the lies that it is for a greater cause.
M P Hill Dec 2011
At last our veins do interlace

Water pump beats and liquid rust thrusts,
Through your neck, face, and three freckles that
Spot your cheek

A kiss to your flush shoulders
A Slight gap to your mouth opens up
            
For once you let out air

And more air you've expelled -You breathe in pleasure
          
You breathe in more pleasure
        
Gargoyle temptress, does it excel all else?
Colm Mar 2017
I will let the enamel rust
If that's what it takes
To remove
The enamored me
Southboud... The rhythm... Help me continue to count our.

— The End —