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Luke Gagnon Dec 2013
I’ve whittled shelves into my body to try and bring an

order to things. All it did was make space.

So many shelves like staircases built in anger.

Winding forcefully

until they end right where I stand.


2. There are days I wash my face with vinegar

and soak my fists in horse *****. I use it to

conceal the musty smell of forgotten Bibles.


3. It’s while God is in my novels,

that I see my bedroom floor.

A junkyard of loose-leaf prayers,

my boots go out of their way to step on

dry crunchy ones.

I can hear the breaking, and it’s satisfying.

The acrid smell of fall

in my mouth,

I bite my lip just to feel the sting.


4. The phantom pain in my chest tastes like cotton

stuck to my teeth.


5. I am Leonid Rogozov in Antarctica, I’ve built my

staircase-shelves by cutting into myself,

only local-numbness needed.


6. No, my shelves are not staircases.

Shelves never extend forward. Just, upward.

A little too much like trees,

not permanent enough in the ground.


7. It all reduces to sawdust anyway, collected

on the bedroom floor.

I’ve been sweeping it up for 40 days now,

each day, a little more.

One day, the floor will be clean.


8. You say, “You are made of blessings.” I say, “No, I’m made of blood

and skeleton bones.”


9. I love You. You say you love me.

Some days, that’s enough.


10. Today, Just yellow-

brown pages and

nothing resembling gospels.


11. I wasn’t born, I just walked in

one quiet evening and started living


12. After every shelf I whittle I still ask,

What is numbered in my life?


13. Things will change, things will change.

Things will change.


14. I have layers and layers of papier-mâché skins you can thumb

through like pages.

You’ve peeled them away,

each becoming more raw and permanent.

The cleanliness worries me.


15. There are 17 different kinds of fractures:

non-displaced, complete, oblique, transverse, comminuted, greenstick,

simple, linear, incomplete, compound, compacted, avulsion,

compression, stress, impacted, displaced, spiral and fatigue.

Believing in You makes me tired.


16. ‘Post mortem nihil, ipsaque mors nihil’

Death built its own shelves

After My body was felled.


17. When it’s you resting on my tree-shelves,

I begin to see an end.

Books are the most efficient weapons in the world.
Irene X Chen May 2010
There’s a dark grotto
Under the sea
With shelves and shelves
Of bottles
Clear, glass bottles
All of my secrets

A carefully watched castle
The middle of a concentric series of impassable walls
Surrounded by a forest of kelp
With razor-sharp teeth
And then the narwhals
The narwhal guards
Armed to the teeth with halibut-slicing knives
Their three-meter horns
Gleaming in the moonlight
Guarding
All of my secrets

Skeletons, trespassers of yore,
Strewn about the seafloor
Bones picked clean
By the scavenging *****
No one can enter
No one can leave
The grotto with the shelves
Shelves and shelves of clear, glass bottles
All of my secrets

But as for the *****
For the first time in centuries
The sunlight warms the waters
Melts the kelp
Kisses the narwhals
Buries the bones and torments the scavengers
Clearing away the darkness
A nonstop route through the castle
Protecting
All of my secrets

The tendrils of photons creep along
Wary
Ready for a fight
The grotto growls menacingly
Unguarded
For the first time in centuries
But upon the first touch -
Light meets stone -
The sea shudders
Ecstasy
And in repayment for salvation
Out come the bottles
Floating to the surface
Bathing in the light
All of my secrets
Charlie Chirico May 2013
Home Depot: Aisle Four: Shelves & Brackets.

Screws should be in the toolbox at home.
Toolbox...yes, in the garage, next to the miter saw, and
my old skates, the four-wheeled skates, not the inline,
never in line because of a rebellious nature.
A leather jacket kind of resistance.
A motorbike brilliance.
Now riding lawnmower equipment.
Dad's don't walk, we're brazen.

The ancient toolbox next to
an ancient cardboard box.
Scribbled on the front, the marking of youth,
my name, my print. Such ugly handwriting.
For God's sake.

But as for keepsakes:
The only objects that hold more merit
have more and most accumulative dust.
Yearbooks, pictured peers, so many memories
and faces. So many faces in this book.

The trophies. Number three. MVP.
A wipe of the thumb revealed the number.
And the rhyme is new.
Wit came with later age, I suppose.

Sports in adolescence, the physicality, the egotism,
it clouds critical thinking, or maybe wry remarks, too.
"Gay" and "*******" become some of the favorites.
And now this leads to an obligatory pun.
Grass stained knees. Sacking. The loser is gay.

How paradoxical!

Other contents of the box are various marks.
Grades; graduations; girls.
Three G's that I've
always evaded because of laziness.
Because **** dignity, right?
At least at that age integrity is as foreign
as the idea of it even being instilled.

How can you know if you're being raised
in the wrong?

Well, you've come to the right place.

I'm sure two examples is sufficient.

It's usually the acquaintance my son
brings home that opens my refrigerator door
before saying hello.

Or sometimes it's his friend,
our neighbor's youngest son, who boasts about his parent's
material possessions, while his parents ask
my wife and I if he can stay at our home for the night,
as they argue in the dark because the electric bill
is overdue, and their credit is scored
by the proverbial scissors.  

Not ones used to cut red ribbons, but
the ones you're told not to run with.

"Of course he can. I'm sure they'll love a sleepover," I answer passively.

"Thanks, we owe you one," he responds abruptly before disconnecting.

I could have said that owing people one
got them into their predicament.
But, like they say in the Good Book,
(The book I've always let collect dust,
not to be confused with the dust
on the box in the garage.)
Love Thy Neighbor.

And sometimes you never know
when you'll need a cup of sugar.
Thankfully I know there is sugar in the cupboard.
Milk and eggs in the refrigerator.
But no shelves or brackets.

Aisle four, Home Depot, no help.
I figure any will do, and at home
I'm *******, I mean I have screws.
I'll ask my son to help me hang them,
somewhat for the company,
also because they're for his belongings.

The neighbor's son will talk about the
elaborate woodwork on the rare chestnut
shelves his dad owns.
Surely it's perception, something
mood lighting can fix,
which his parents are arguing over,
well the lack of  lighting,
seeing as how their mood is already set.

My boy and I will place his
trophies on the shelves,
as I tell my boy I was number three.
Once an MVP.
And the neighbor's son
will tell me
his father was
number four.
Bo Marie Nov 2017
I am the bookshelf, and she is the books.
So many interesting stories inside of her.
I watch you every single day, scoop up a new book,
and leave my shelves more empty than before.

As the books leave my shelves, I imagine all the places you take them.
Coffee shops, with comfy lounge chairs and the constant reassurance from the espresso beans.
Parks, with a nice breeze and picnic to compliment the sweet words that pour into your mind.
Home, where you gush about how wonderful your newest story is, and bring her safely to the solitude of your bedroom.

But I am the bookshelf, and I will provide a sturdy environment,
I am strong and I've held myself together for so long.
I listen, I watch, and I wait for you every single day,
and will continue to do so until my shelves can't bear it anymore.
love, your favorite bookshelf
JR Rhine Feb 2016
Mother pulled the beat to hell diluted blood red minivan containing my brother and I into the darkened parking lot. The car couldn't park fast enough as my brother and I tore the creaky side door open and leapt onto the awaiting pavement. We stepped from darkness into light as we hopped onto a curb to be greeted by the brilliance of neon lights erected atop a single story rectangular building squatting at the top of the rectangular lot like a full measure rest. Glass windows as whole walls teased the treasures that lay before my eyes window-shopping like madmen I felt the objects of my covetry leap from their white shelves into my sweaty youthful grasp. Mother breezed forward, stepping across the tier confidant and disengaged; the front door rang announcing our presence. Two bells sounded: ring ring. The Rhines were here. Like a pistol shot signifying the start of a race, my brother and I scampered and scattered and scuttled like wild animals, scouring the shelves that sat dispersed through the gleaming room consuming with our eyes words that told stories with pictures that danced and sang. Clusters of shelves huddled together under several flat signs hung by frail strings dangling from the ceiling displaying themes that told me where to avoid "Romance" and where to find my beloved "Science Fiction." I halted, realizing almost as if there were indentations within the itchy carpet that had alerted me to the place where I had cemented by ruddy feet countless times before. I took my roving eyes from the stalling ground to peer up into the shelves that loomed over me like giants, arching over my head like holy stones erected atop holy celebratory sites of yore. My fingers traced along the shelves trailing over the innumerate plastic spines that encased my bountiful riches; I mouthed the vibrant words imprinted like cattle on each of them and sang to myself stories that spawned off of each one before finding the paragon that most expertly weaved JR the Raconteur into its fabrications. I bore into its dazzling shell hungrily, gobbling up faces and places and names and dates I spun it over to its backside to read plots to read histories to read legacies to read memories I read and read and saw and saw my mind was never more alive with the astounding conception of limitless potentialities my night was just getting started and with my final selection--and mother's blessing--I would march home victoriously wielding my fortune, my medium for which the pictures in my mind would transpose and dance before me like luminous sprites on the brilliant splendor of a luminescent two dimensional stage that is the television screen. It was the weekend getaway I waited for with anticipation every Saturday; I was an unversed monk relishing in the ancient libraries of History.
To the video stores of yore.
1
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form’d from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their
parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

2
Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with
perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the
distillation, it is odorless,
It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and
vine,
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing
of blood and air through my lungs,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and
dark-color’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,

The sound of the belch’d words of my voice loos’d to the eddies of
the wind,
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields
and hill-sides,
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising
from bed and meeting the sun.

Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the
earth much?
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of
all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions
of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look
through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in
books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.

3
I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the
beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.

Out of the dimness opposite equals advance, always substance and
increase, always ***,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of
life.
To elaborate is no avail, learn’d and unlearn’d feel that it is so.

Sure as the most certain sure, plumb in the uprights, well
entretied, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not
my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they
discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every ***** and attribute of me, and of any man hearty
and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be
less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied - I see, dance, laugh, sing;
As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the
night, and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy
tread,
Leaving me baskets cover’d with white towels swelling the house with
their plenty,
Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my
eyes,
That they turn from gazing after and down the road,
And forthwith cipher and show me to a cent,
Exactly the value of one and exactly the value of two, and which is
ahead?

4
Trippers and askers surround me,
People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and
city I live in, or the nation,
The latest dates, discoveries, inventions, societies, authors old
and new,
My dinner, dress, associates, looks, compliments, dues,
The real or fancied indifference of some man or woman I love,
The sickness of one of my folks or of myself, or ill-doing or loss
or lack of money, or depressions or exaltations,
Battles, the horrors of fratricidal war, the fever of doubtful news,
the fitful events;
These come to me days and nights and go from me again,
But they are not the Me myself.

Apart from the pulling and hauling stands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is *****, or bends an arm on an impalpable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it.

Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with
linguists and contenders,
I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait.

5
I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to
you,
And you must not be abased to the other.

Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, not music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture, not
even the best,
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.

I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning,
How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn’d over
upon me,
And parted the shirt from my *****-bone, and plunged your tongue
to my bare-stript heart,
And reach’d till you felt my beard, and reach’d till you held my
feet.

Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass
all the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women
my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love,
And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,
And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap’d stones, elder, mullein and
poke-****.

6
A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? I do not know what it is any more
than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green
stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropt,
Bearing the owner’s name someway in the corners, that we may see
and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child, the produced babe of the
vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I
receive them the same.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

Tenderly will I use you curling grass,
It may be you transpire from the ******* of young men,
It may be if I had known them I would have loved them,
It may be you are from old people, or from offspring taken soon out
of their mothers’ laps,
And here you are the mothers’ laps.

This grass is very dark to be from the white heads of old mothers,
Darker than the colorless beards of old men,
Dark to come from under the faint red roofs of mouths.

O I perceive after all so many uttering tongues,
And I perceive they do not come from the roofs of mouths for
nothing.

I wish I could translate the hints about the dead young men and
women,
And the hints about old men and mothers, and the offspring taken
soon out of their laps.

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere,
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the
end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

7
Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know
it.

I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash’d babe, and
am not contain’d between my hat and boots,
And peruse manifold objects, no two alike and every one good,
The earth good and the stars good, and their adjuncts all good.

I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth,
I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and
fathomless as myself,
(They do not know how immortal, but I know.)

Every kind for itself and its own, for me mine male and female,
For me those that have been boys and that love women,
For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be slighted,
For me the sweet-heart and the old maid, for me mothers and the
mothers of mothers,
For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears,
For me children and the begetters of children.

Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded,
I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no,
And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be
shaken away.

8
The little one sleeps in its cradle,
I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies
with my hand.

The youngster and the red-faced girl turn aside up the bushy hill,
I peeringly view them from the top.

The suicide sprawls on the ****** floor of the bedroom,
I witness the corpse with its dabbled hair, I note where the pistol
has fallen.

The blab of the pave, tires of carts, sluff of boot-soles, talk of
the promenaders,
The heavy omnibus, the driver with his interrogating thumb, the
clank of the shod horses on the granite floor,
The snow-sleighs, clinking, shouted jokes, pelts of snow-*****,
The hurrahs for popular favorites, the fury of rous’d mobs,
The flap of the curtain’d litter, a sick man inside borne to the
hospital,
The meeting of enemies, the sudden oath, the blows and fall,
The excited crowd, the policeman with his star quickly working his
passage to the centre of the crowd,
The impassive stones that receive and return so many echoes,
What groans of over-fed or half-starv’d who fall sunstruck or in
fits,
What exclamations of women taken suddenly who hurry home and
give birth to babes,
What living and buried speech is always vibrating here, what howls
restrain’d by decorum,
Arrests of criminals, slights, adulterous offers made, acceptances,
rejections with convex lips,
I mind them or the show or resonance of them-I come and I depart.

9
The big doors of the country barn stand open and ready,
The dried grass of the harvest-time loads the slow-drawn wagon,
The clear light plays on the brown gray and green intertinged,
The armfuls are pack’d to the sagging mow.

I am there, I help, I came stretch’d atop of the load,
I felt its soft jolts, one leg reclined on the other,
I jump from the cross-beams and seize the clover and timothy,
And roll head over heels and tangle my hair full of wisps.

10
Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,
Wandering amazed at my own lightness and glee,
In the late afternoon choosing a safe spot to pass the night,
Kindling a fire and broiling the fresh-****’d game,
Falling asleep on the gather’d leaves with my dog and gun by my
side.

The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the sparkle
and scud,
My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously from
the deck.

The boatmen and clam-diggers arose early and stopt for me,
I tuck’d my trowser-ends in my boots and went and had a good time;
You should have been with us that day round the chowder-kettle.

I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far west,
the bride was a red girl,
Her father and his friends sat near cross-legged and dumbly smoking,
they had moccasins to their feet and large thick blankets
hanging from their shoulders,
On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly in skins, his
luxuriant beard and curls protected his neck, he held his bride
by the hand,
She had long eyelashes, her head was bare, her coarse straight locks
descended upon her voluptuous limbs and reach’d to her
feet.

The runaway slave came to my house and stopt outside,
I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile,
Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and
weak,
And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured him,
And brought water and fill’d a tub for his sweated body and bruis’d
feet,
And gave him a room that enter’d from my own, and gave him some
coarse clean clothes,
And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,
And remember putting piasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;
He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass’d north,
I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean’d in the corner.

11
Twenty-eight young men bathe by the shore,
Twenty-eight young men and all so friendly;
Twenty-eight years of womanly life and all so lonesome.

She owns the fine house by the rise of the bank,
She hides handsome and richly drest aft the blinds of the window.

Which of the young men does she like the best?
Ah the homeliest of them is beautiful to her.

Where are you off to, lady? for I see you,
You splash in the water there, yet stay stock still in your room.

Dancing and laughing along the beach came the twenty-ninth
bather,
The rest did not see her, but she saw them and loved them.

The beards of the young men glisten’d with wet, it ran from their
long hair,
Little streams pass’d all over their bodies.

An unseen hand also pass’d over their bodies,
It descended tremblingly from their temples and ribs.

The young men float on their backs, their white bellies bulge to the
sun, they do not ask who seizes fast to them,
They do not know who puffs and declines with pendant and bending
arch,
They do not think whom they ***** with spray.

12
The butcher-boy puts off his killing-clothes, or sharpens his knife
at the stall in the market,
I loiter enjoying his repartee and his shuffle and break-down.

Blacksmiths with grimed and hairy chests environ the anvil,
Each has his main-sledge, they are all out, there is a great heat in
the fire.

From the cinder-strew’d threshold I follow their movements,
The lithe sheer of their waists plays even with their massive arms,
Overhand the hammers swing, overhand so slow, overhand so sure,
They do not hasten, each man hits in his place.

13
The ***** holds firmly the reins of his four horses, the block swags
underneath on its tied-over chain,
The ***** that drives the long dray of the stone-yard, steady and
tall he stands pois’d on one leg on the string-piece,
His blue shirt exposes his ample neck and breast and loosens over
his hip-band,
His glance is calm and commanding, he tosses the slouch of his hat
away from his forehead,
The sun falls on his crispy hair and mustache, falls on the black of
his polish’d and perfect limbs.

I behold the picturesque giant and love him, and I do not stop
there,
I go with the team also.

In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as
forward sluing,
To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object missing,
Absorbing all to myself and for this song.

Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what
is that you express in your eyes?
It seems to me more than all the print I have read in my life.

My tread scares the wood-drake and wood-duck on my distant and
day-long ramble,
They rise together, they slowly circle around.

I believe in those wing’d purposes,
And acknowledge red, yellow, white, playing within me,
And consider green and violet and the tufted crown i
Mitchell Duran Nov 2013
It was 98'.
No, it was 99'.
That was the year.
Yeah, that was the year.

I had just landed abroad and knew no one.
Well, I was there with my girlfriend, Page.

I knew her.

We had to get out of the states.
There was nothing for us there.
We were drowning in that nothingness - that lacking future.

Cookie cutters everywhere.

Everything I saw was like an outline of something that had already happened.
I couldn't sleep.
I couldn't ****.
I could barely call my parents to let them know what I was doing.

Nothing really.

Floating downward like a leaf broken from its stem.
I was scared.
I'll admit it.
I was terrified of the next four years.
Twenty-five seemed so far away and so close, all at the same time.

We had a found an apartment to live in while in the U.S.
We were lucky because people we met later on said it was hell trying to find a place after arriving.
I was never too good at that stuff anyway.
I always felt like people were trying to cheat me or something.

It was small.
You would have said you loved it, but secretly hated it.
One could barely stand in the shower.
Want to spread your arms wide?

Forget about it.

There was a balcony though and you could watch the street traffic from above.
People look so small when your high up.
Down the street, there was a large theatre where they filmed movies.
I rarely saw them shooting, but I could tell it was a good place to.
It was beautiful at night when the lampposts would flicker on, orange spilling on the street.
Everything was damp in the Fall when we first arrived.

"What do you want to do today?" I asked her. She was laying face down on the bed.
Whenever she was hungover, she would do that.
All the covers and pillows over her face, blocking out the world and its light.
I did the same thing, so I couldn't really say much.
We were hungover a lot those first couple months.
Then came the jobs and everything changed...mostly.

She moaned something that I couldn't understand.
I was standing by the window, staring at the pigeons and crows perched on the roof across from us.
They had made a little nest under one of the shingles.
Clever little ******'s.

"Look at those things," I said.
The coffee I was drinking was bitter and made from crystals.
It gave me a headache, but it was cheap and we were broke.
I stepped back to get a better look at their nest and knocked an empty beer bottle around.

She moaned again and rose up from bed, kind of like a stretching kitten or a cat.
Her back was arched like a crescent moon and she stunk of ***** and Sprite.
The blankets were twisted and crumpled and she was tangled in them like a fly in a spiders web.
I went into the kitchen and poured out my coffee, thinking of what to do with the day.

"Breakfast?" she asked me from bed.
My back was to her, but I knew she wanted me to make it.
I put the electric stove on and opened the refrigerator.

"No eggs," I said back to her, "I'll be right back."

She moaned and slithered back into bed.
I threw my jacket and slippers on and made my way downstairs.

"Dobry den," I said to the cashier.
He was a tiny vietnamese man with a extremely high pitched voice.
I struggled to stifle a laugh every time I came in.

"Dobry den," he said back, sounding like air escaping from a balloon.

"Dear God," I thought, "How does his voice box do it?"

I went straight to the eggs, pretending to cough.
All around me were packaged sweets and rotten vegetables and fruit.
There were half loaves of brown, stale bread wrapped lazily in thin plastic.
Canned beans, noodle packets, and cardboard infused orange juice lined the shelves.
Where were the ******* eggs?
We needed milk too.
Trying to drink that crystalized coffee without it was torture.
I don't even know how I did it earlier.
"I must be getting used to the taste..." I thought.

I opened the single refrigerator they had in the place.
It was stocked with loosely packaged cheese, milk, beer, and soda.
There they were, those ******* eggs, right next to the yogurt.
I looked at the expiration date of a small carton of chocolate milk and winced.
"Someone could die here if they weren't careful," I whispered to myself.

"Everyding O.K.?" I heard the cashier squeak behind me.
I turned and nodded and showed him the eggs.
He was suspicious I was stealing something.
It was ironic.
I put the eggs on the counter and handed over what the cash register told me.

"There you go," I said and handed him the 58 crown in exact change.

"Děkuji," he peeped.

His voice sounded like a stuffed animal.
I nodded, smiled, and quickly got the hell out of there.

"You know the guy that works at the shop across the street?" I asked the body still in bed.
Well, she was up now, back up against the wall with her laptop on her lap.
"You mean the guy that has the voice of a little girl?"
"Exactly. I was just in there - getting these eggs - and I nearly laughed in his face."
"That's mean," she frowned, staring at her laptop.
Many of our conversations were with some kind of electronic device in between us.
We needed to work on that.
"I didn't laugh at him directly."
She smiled and nodded and moved down the bed a little more.
Only her head was resting on the pillow.
I cracked two eggs and let them sizzle there in the butter and the salt.

"So, what do you want to do today?" I asked Page, "It's not too cold out. We could go on a walk."
"Where?"
"I don't know. Over the bridge and maybe down by the water."
"It's going to be so cold," she shivered.
"I was just out there in slippers and a t-shirt and I was fine."
"That's because you're so big. I'm tiny. I don't get as much blood flow."

I flipped the two eggs and looked down at them.
Golden and burnt slightly around the edges.
******* perfect.
Now, just gotta wait a little on the other side and make sure to not let the yolk harden.
I hated that more than anything in the world.
Well, that and hearing **** poor excuses like it being too cold.
It was nice out.
She'd be fine.

"Come on," I sighed. I did that a lot. "It'll be fun."
She looked up at me from her computer with a dead look in her eye.
"What?" I asked her.
"You're such a...nerd," she said.
"No I'm not."
"You're so weird. Some of the things you say sometimes..."
"Like what?"
"Let's go on a walk."
She exaggerated the word walk.
I laughed and knew I was being a little too excited about a walk.
"Yeah. So? What are you doing? You're just laying there doing nothing."
"It's my day off," she scoffed, jokingly.

We were unemployed.
Everyday was a day off.
This was not something to bring up.
It was touchy subject.
One had to go about it...delicately.

"We need to find jobs," I stated, "And we can probably ask around or look for signs in windows."

"Oh JESUS," she gagged, coughing and diving back under the covers.

"I'm just thinking ahead so we can stay here. There's got to be something out there we can do."

"Like what?" she asked, her voice muffled by blankets.

"I don't know...something," I mumbled, trailing off as I flipped one of the eggs, "Perfect."

After breakfast, Page finally got out of bed and took a shower.
I tried to sneak in there with her, but, like I said before, one could barely fit themselves in there.
We compromised to have *** on the bed, though I did miss doing it in the shower.
As Page got dressed, I watched her slip those thin black stockings on, half reading a magazine.
I had gotten a subscription to The Review because I was trying to become a writer.
I thought, maybe if I read the stuff getting published - even the bad **** - it'll help.
Later, I realized, this was a terrible idea, but I enjoyed the magazine all the same.
Page finished getting dressed.
I jumped into whatever clothes were on the floor and didn't stink.
Then, we were out the door on Anna Letenske street, looking at the tram, downhill.


"I can see my breath," Page said, "It's cold..."

"Alright," I said as both of us ran across the street, "It's a little cold."

"But it's ok because I'm glad were out of the house."

"If we would have festered there any longer, we would have stayed in there all day."

"And missed this beautiful day," she said mocking me, putting both of her arms in the air.

The sky was gray and overcast and a single black crow flew over us, roof to roof.
No one was out, really.
It was Sunday and no one ever really came out on Sundays.
From the few czech friends I had, they explained to me this was the day to get drunk and cook.

"Far different then what people think in the States to do," I remember telling him.
"What do you do, my friend?" he had asked. He always called me my friend.
It was a nice thing to do since we had only known each other a couple weeks.
"Well," I explained to him, "Some people go to church to pray to God."
He laughed when I said this and said, "HA! God? How many people believe in God there?"
I had heard through the news and some Wikipedia research Prague was mostly atheist.
"A good amount, I'm pretty sure."
"That's silly," he scoffed, "Silly is word, right?"
"Yep. A word as any other."
"I like that word. What else do they do on Sunday?"
"A lot of people watch football. Not like soccer but with..."
"I know what you talk about," he said, cutting me off, "With the ball shaped like egg?"
I nodded, "Yes, the one with the egg shaped ball. It's popular in the Fall on Sundays."
"And what is Fall?" he asked.
You can see our relationship was really based on questions and answers.
He was a good guy, though I could never pronounce his name right.
There was a specific z in there somewhere where one had to dig their tongue under their teeth.
Lots of breath and vibration that Americans were never asked or trained to do.
Every czech I met said our language was a high contradiction.
Extremely complex in grammar and spelling, but spoken with such sloth.
I don't know if they used the word sloth.
I just like the word.

As we waited for the tram, I noticed the burnt orange and red blood leaves on the ground.
"Where had they come from?" I wondered. There were no trees on the street.
Must be from the park down the block, the one with the big church and the square.
There were lines of trees there used as leaning posts for the bums and junkies as they waited.
What they were waiting for, I never knew.
They just looked to be waiting for something.
I kicked a leaf into the street from the small island platform for the tram.
It swept up into the air a couple inches, and then instantly, was swept away by a passing car.
I watched as it wavered in the air, settling down the block in the middle of the road.

"Where's this trammm," Page complained.
Whenever it was cold out, her complaining level multiplied by a million.
"Should be coming soon. Check the schedule."
"Too cold," she said, "Need to keep my hands in my pockets."
I shook my head and looked at the schedule. It said it would be there at 11:35.
"11:35," I told her, still looking at the schedule. There was a strange cross over the day of Sunday.
"You mad?"
"No," I said turning to her, "I just want to have a nice day and its hard when you're upset."
"I'm not upset," she said, her teeth chattering behind her lips.
"Complaining I mean. We can go back home if it's really too cold. It's right there."
"No," she looked down, "Let's go out for a bit. I just don't know how long I'll last."
"Ok," I shrugged.
I looked up the street and saw our tram coming; number 11.
"There it is," I said.
"Thank God," Page exhaled, "I feel like I'm about to die."

Even the tram was sparse with people.
An empty handle of cheap liquor rattled in the back somewhere.
I heard it rock back and forth against the legs of a metal seat.
"Someone had a night last night," I thought, "Hope that's not mine."
We had gone to some dark bar with a lot of stairs going down - all I really recall.
Beer was so **** cheap there and there was always so much of it, one got very drunk easily.
I couldn't even really remember who we met or why we went there.
When everything's a blur in the morning you have two choices:
Feel guilty about how much you drank, lie around, and do nothing or,
Leave it be, try not to think about it, and try and find your passport and cell phone.

We made our transfer at the 22 and rode downhill.
Page looked like she was going to be sick.
Her sunglasses were solid black and I couldn't see her eyes, but her face was flushed and green.
"You alright?" I asked her.
"I'm fine," she said, "Just need to get off of this tram. Feel like I'm going to be sick."
"You look it."
"Really?" she asked.
"Yeah, a little bit."
"Let's get off at the park with the fountain. I don't want to puke here."
"Ok," I said, smiling, "We'll get off after this stop."

We sat down on one of the benches that circled around the fountain.
It was empty and Page was confused why.
"Maybe to save money?" I suggested.
"What? It's just water."
"Well, you gotta' pump the water up there and then filter it back out. Costs money."
"Costs crown," she corrected me.
"Same thing," I said, putting my arm around her, "There's no one here today."
"I know why," she stated, flatly.
"Why?"
"Because it's collllllllld and it's Sunday and only foreigner's would go out on a day like this."
I scanned the park and noticed that most of the faces there were probably not Czech.
"****," I muttered, "You may be right."
"I know I am," she said, wiggling her chin down into her jacket, "We're...crzzzy."
"We're what?" I asked. I couldn't hear her through her jacket.
She just shook her head back and forth and looked forward, not wanting to move from the warmth.
Dogs were scattered around the brown green grass with their owners.
Some were playing catch with sticks or *****, but others were just following behind their owner's.
I watched as one took a crap in the center of the walkway near the street.
Its owner was typing something on their phone, ignoring what was happening in front of him.
After the dog finished, the owner looked down at the crap, looked around, then slunk off.

"Did you see that?" I asked Page, pointing to where the owner had left the mess.
"Yeah," she nodded, "So gross. That would never fly in the states."
"You'd get shoulder tackled by some park security guard and thrown in jail."
"And be given a fat ticket," she said, coughing a little, "Let's get out of here."
"Yeah," I agreed, "And watch for any **** on the way out of here."

We made our way out of the park and down the street where the 22 continues on to the center.
"Let's not go into the center. Let's walk along the water's edge and maybe up to the bridge."
"Ok," I said, "That's a good idea." I didn't want to get stuck in that mass of tourists.
I could tell Page didn't either. I think she was afraid she might puke on a huddle of them.
We turned down a side street before the large grocery store and avoided a herd of people.
The cobble stones were wet and slick, glistening from a small sliver of sunlight through the clouds.
Page walked ahead.
Sometimes, when we walked downtown in the older parts of Prague, we would walk alone.
Not because we were fighting or anything like that; it was all very natural.
I would walk ahead because I saw something and she would either come with or not.
She would do the same and we both knew that we wouldn't go too far without the other.
I think we both knew that we would be back after seeing what we had wanted to see.
One could call it trust - one could call it a lot of things - but this was not really spoken about.
We knew we would be back after some time and had seen what we had wanted to.
Thinking about this, I watched her look up at the peeling paint of the old buildings.
Her thick black hair waved back and forth behind her plum colored pea coat.
Page would usually bring a camera and take pictures of these things, but she had forgotten it.
I wished she hadn't.
It was turning out to be such a beautiful day.

We made it to the Vlatva river and leaned over the railing, looking down at the water.
Floating there were empty beer bottles and plastic soda jugs.
The water was brown, murky, and looked like someone had dumped a large bag of dirt in there.
There was nothing very romantic about it, which one would think if you saw it in a picture.
"The water looks disgusting," Page said.
"That it does, but look at the bridge. It looks pretty good right
PoserPersona Aug 2018
During youth I was quite the collector
of ocean ******'s annealed sandcastles
Though the hosts inside could not be cheaper,
their fleshy coats were worth all the hassles

Content I was amassing worn seashells;
monthly did this fine collection accrue
Though furnished, barren felt those wooden shelves,
as even pearls are lesser than a jewel

Still, the sand was warm; the waves were soothful
and regardless of what hollowness struck,
the beach granted a chance to feel fruitful
so long as one had either skill or luck

Alone was I, but daresay not lonely,
but I was not merry until married.
avalon Aug 2017
one more time, she whispers,
she whispers violently, tremulously, like an addict whispers
to the fingernail marks in her skin, like persephone whispers to pomegranate seeds, like sin, and her whispers collect on dollar bills in the wind, and the money flies home but she's still sitting in that bin,

wondering if Hades ever regretted his win
Tom Leveille May 2014
i have racked my mind
trying to figure this whole thing out
the staying, the going
the threads we claim hold us here
& the people who've stopped to play a tune on them
i sometimes relate it
to waking up in waist deep snow
in our former selves
the us we wish we could give one another
the children we've sat on the shelves
trapped, like the looks
we leave behind in snow globes
i sometimes imagine ships
dragging the bottom to the sea of "me"
for sleep & pieces of my old self
to sell to the new one
like history doesn't repeat itself
it gets me wondering
if you too want an apology from the rain
or if you dream of burning family photo albums
and wearing the ashes like perfume
if you're anything like me
how i hope god chokes
on memories of me blowing out candles as a child
i know i shouldn't reference my reader  
but don't you know, the only difference
between alone & lonely is you?
that if my hands could talk
the only thing they'd be able to say
is "dear god we've missed you"
and how can you tell me it isn't love
when even the rain refuses to fall
in places where i've kissed you
i remember the day
you found my smile at a yard sale
it reminds me of how you'll leave
i wonder if when you go
you'll tell yourself
the person in the rear view mirror
is closer than they appear
tabitha Mar 2016
i will have it all some day,
as my "it all"  has nothing
to do with gilded halls &
shiny floors & iron doors
(anymore)
i am now concerned with
Better Things -- like
Love. and Order.

but oh, when i say i will have it,
& that i will have it all, i believe
myself!
more than i've believed
anything or anyone, ever at all.

when i say that; when i say
i  will  have it, &  that i will have it
all,    he   looks  at me  strange...
his eyes light up in bright green flames
like  a  pretty man  would
look  at a  silly,  deranged
little doll.  skeptical.  
annoyed.
as if the world has already graced
my porcelain skin with enough lace for it to be a sin
he has no idea what it's like  
to  be a  doll, at all; our pockets
are much too small and we are expected
to sit on shelves all day long .
he thinks that my all,
the "it all" of a doll,
is the "it all" of all....
a life of beauty and
wallpaper art,
of letting people dress you up
just to tear you apart.
he is.... jaded
by interrupted dreams,
and faded
by Jäger.
i have posed in his hands, to see his smile
i let him know
i want to know how he could move me
finesse me, brush my hair, confess to me.
not to then to lay me down, and forget me.
i am very familiar with the shelves of his soul.

he buttons his sleeves,
and goes on to his lunch affair;
his heart falls out when he jests/deflects.
he lets it lay there.

we are different kinds of hollow
Tommy Randell Apr 2017
I was going to start work on a poem last night
Focusing on a metaphor of migrating swans
Then, well, this film started
About Japanese Warriors and I watched
The first 5 minutes until I picked up
On a quote of Confucius' about
Not giving a sword to a man who can't dance
Which of course I had to look up because
I thought Tarantino had used it somewhere
Maybe in Pulp Fiction but that was a dead end
Then I was onto YouTube watching **** Bill
And the O-Ren Ishii animation sequence
With the insight, totally, why it was an animated sequence
Was because the fake blood budget alone
Would have run to 7 figures …
Looking up to the TV to catch a beheading sequence
Looking down to the Laptop to find Lucy Liu's
Best 10 Bad *** Film Moments!
Which led to the Elementary series and
Sherlock and Doctor Joan facing off with Bamboo Shina
Until despite my joy in the deep coincidences of things
My tired brain was overloaded with martial arts imagery
And to try and get back to the embryo poem idea
I typed migrating swans into google and just got
Lots of V shapes …

… I … paused … to … let … the … message … sink … in ...

At times like this I search for opposites
And thus set out on a random ramble through my shelves
Ashbury – Creeley – Schuyler and the like
For a sideways nudge to an image or a rhythm that inspired
Until my tired brain ran aground and I thought about my bed

My poem hanging and my intention in tatters
Sitting before a glass of Single malt and Tom Lehrer in my ears
I didn't write a single word but heard some lines from a man who wasn't there

          “this is the way it goes
           almost everywhere
           with everybody and everything
           as fiercely in the highlands,
           the black swan burns.”

Thank you Charles Bukowski, and goodnight.
Ian Cairns Feb 2014
For centuries philosophers have speculated the role sleep plays in society
But it was not until the 1950s that sleep woke up in academia
And today sleep studies show what dormant minds really look like
Information about our rest we've never seen before
However, I've always understood the importance of bedtime
You see my parents taught me that sleep and love are soul mates

My mom
She's the sleeper
She loves to sleep
She cuddles up on any piece of furniture in my house and snoozes for hours
Never views a sitcom past the first commercial break when she's tired
And she's okay with that
Dad never lets her drive on road trips when night falls
Preferring his sleeping beauty tucked safely in the passenger seat
Their hands meet as she lets the stars serenade her to slumber
While he anchors his left hand on the steering wheel
Thanking his lucky stars for his real life princess

My dad
He's the snorer
He loves to snore
He roars like a lion on his love seat and naps for hours
Never views a sitcom past the second commercial break when he's tired
And he's okay with that
Mom never lets him sleep alone too long though
Keeping his nose plugged strong enough to signal for bedtime
They both stand together as he lets her guide him to slumber
While she ushers her left hand around his back
Thanking her lucky stars for her own prince charming

Now my parents call me the dreamer
And I sure do love to dream
It seems my parents are textbook role models for me
Because when you live inside a fairytale for far too long
Your reality becomes an endless stream of fantasies
Your expectations are exceptionally out of context
Strictly written for poetic lines in picture books
Never meant to be held
Never meant to be felt
Only meant for spines stuck on rosewood shelves

My parents call me the dreamer
And boy I love to dream
I believe in creating the unthinkable
And when you live inside a fairytale for far too long
Nothing is fictional
You picture a life with storybook endings
Praying the author never runs out of ink
You crown each syllable the king of the moment
Treating each page like royalty
And I've always been okay with that

So when I asked my mom when she knew she fell in love
She spoke of an instant of unadulterated emotion
She said she knew instantly
She didn't need to sleep on it
When I asked my dad when he knew he fell in love
He just smiled back at me
He must have known instantly
He didn't even speak on it
So when I ask myself when I might fall in love
I can't help but smile
Think of fairytale titles
Mile wide love notes in all shapes and styles
And a moment where my reality sets my hopes on fire
And I won't need to dream about it anymore
Sally A Bayan Apr 2014
Finally,
experiencing the serenity
i've always hoped for earnestly
feeling that rush of air against  face
where eyes could roam in a vast space
the feel of wind to brush against skin
And the sight of trees to breathe in...

But, my feet brought me  here...
why in front of these  rows of stores?
never thought of stopping
to do some impulse shopping...
do i pamper myself with new stuff?
there's no need for a new scent,
with what i have, i am very much content.

There is no smile, no comfort,
seeing these attractions...
there are no reactions......
but, eyes are now seeking...
been unconsciously looking
for something that is unexplainable,
in denial, the mind is, it says: inconceivable...

There, among the shelves...
the search would shortly end...

An image of my face appeared on a mirror
passed by, then suddenly sprung out,
a swish of a shaped light
beside my own face
a passing thought of an image...
it made me smile,
the fog fading, the face, clearing a bit...

When it is within me, this presence,
everywhere, there springs exuberance
it is felt...needing space
not just a shadow, not just a trace...
to bring home, to be with ...
to end this seeking
to end this longing...

Too cumbersome, this weight..
too much to take for one.
there, among those shelves,
nothing could satisfy,
nothing could fill this empty space...
for some reason,  i feel, i know......
i must live on...i must move on
without this face, this presence,
this unattainable existence,
and yet, i must try,
i must still be able to smile....


Sally

Copyright 2014
Rosalia Rosario A. Bayan
(Might be too mushy for some, this poem.... I was frustratingly sad while finishing this poem.. then I heard a familiar song being played on the radio...)



      by Nat King Cole

smile though your heart is aching
smile even though it's breaking
when there are clouds in the sky
you'll get by
if you smile
through your fears and sorrow
smile and maybe tomorrow
you'll see the sun come shining through
For you
light up your face with gladness
hide every trace of sadness
although a tear
may be ever so near
that's the time you must keep on trying
smile, what's the use of crying
you'll find that love is still worthwhile
if you just smile...
~~~~~
that's the time you must keep on trying
smile, what's the use of crying
you'll find that love is still worthwhile
if you just smile....
Madisen Kuhn Sep 2013
Don’t forget to get away every once in awhile,
To lose yourself in a book
Or in the woods behind your home
Ride your bike into the sunset,
Sit on your front steps and count the cars passing by,
Lay on your roof and gaze up at the night sky,
Drive along backroads with the windows rolled down
Listening to nothing but the sound of rushing wind

I hope you take the time to be alone,
To sort through the cluttered shelves of your heart

I hope you take the time to be silent,
To close your eyes and just listen

I hope you take the time to be still,
To quiet your mind and experience the beauty
Of simply Being

In a world that tells us we should always be
Connected, on the go, and doing something worth sharing,
I hope you know it’s okay to
Disconnect, slow down, and keep some memories
Between you and the moment you shared it with.
ryn Feb 2015
When gentle breezes turn into gale,
     remember that you will prevail.

       You may tear at these pages daily,
in search of peace and tranquillity.
   Planting hope and scattering wishes,
    Spilling blood in smears and blemishes...
       Flying out of the dark on
     wings of birds.
       Bridging the rippling void through
           severed words.

                Seeking...
             Reaching...
               Imploring...
            Writing...


     Be not wary of eyes that speak.
  Be not afraid of mouths that leak.

Know that our scribbles are only
   sacred to us.
       Emotions and thoughts we
           bind and truss.

  What we put forth, we owe it to ourselves...
     Bits of us we've kept hidden in the
darkest rooms; atop the highest shelves.

You...
      are wielder of your mighty pen.
You...
      determine how far or long your
         words would span.

   Your words... They're precious gold.
Many or little; be them new or old.

So let drip your ink with little reservation...
  Let us grow from strength to strength
     as life teaches its lessons.

   Rise up and live on in these here pages,
     For here exist only
         freedom;
               not cages.
Dedicated to writers here who are always apprehensive about posting or think very little of their writes.

Know that your words are gold. And the rest of us as readers are lucky enough be granted access into your mind, heart and life.

Keep the faith. Keep writing. Keep posting...
.
Kate Deter Mar 2014
In the deep shade cast by a towering mountain
Lies a monstrous warehouse. And inside this warehouse
Is column after column after row after row after row
Of shelves, shelves, shelves, more shelves,
Fading off into the gloom of the farthest corners.
And on each of these shelves sit dolls—
Hundreds, thousands, millions—billions?
And each of these dolls is defected.
The reason for the defect is branded across the forehead,
Melted plastic forming the biting words:
Pathetic.
Weak.
Prideful.
Snappy.
Self-centered.
Egotisti­c.
Stupid.
Ignorant.
Useless.

And on and on and on these dolls sit,
Shelf after shelf, row after row, column after column.
The dolls gradually age—slowly, almost unnoticeably.
But they age. Each is an “improvement”
Of the one next to her.
The newer model would get though a bit more,
Last just a bit longer, but still fail at some point.
And so the brander draws near, and brands the skin,
Melting plastic to drip softly down as tears.
But the doll can’t cry.
She’s already been shut down and awaits
The day the space next to her will be filled.
Mike Bergeron Sep 2012
There was a house fire on my street last night …well… not exactly my street, but on a little, sketchy, dead-end strip of asphalt, sidewalks, weeds, and garbage that juts into my block two houses down. It was on that street. Rosewood Court, population: 12, adjusted population: 11, characterized by anonymity and boarded windows, peppered with the swift movements of fat street rats. I’ve never been that close to a real, high-energy, make-sure-to-spray-down-your-roof-with-a-hose-so-it-doesn’t-catch­ fire before. It was the least of my expectations for the evening, though I didn’t expect a crate of Peruvian bananas to fall off a cargo plane either, punching through the ceiling, littering the parking lot with damaged fruit and shingles, tearing paintings and shelves and studs from the third floor walls, and crashing into our kitchen, shattering dishes and cabinets and appliances. Since that never happened, and since neither the former nor the latter situation even crossed my mind, I’ll stick with “least of my expectations,” and bundle up with it inside that inadequate phrase whatever else may have happened that I wouldn’t have expected.



I had been reading in my living room, absently petting the long calico fur of my roommate’s cat Dory. She’s in heat, and does her best to make sure everyone knows it, parading around, *** in the air, an opera of low trilling and loud meows and deep purring. As a consequence of a steady tide of feline hormones, she’s been excessively good humored, showering me with affection, instead of her usual indifference, punctuated by occasional, self-serving shin rubs when she’s hungry. I saw the lights before I heard the trucks or the shouts of firemen or the panicked wail of sirens, spitting their warning into the night in A or A minor, but probably neither, I’m no musician. Besides, Congratulations was playing loud, flowing through the speakers in the corners of the room, connected to the record player via the receiver with the broken volume control, travelling as excited electrons down stretches of wire that are, realistically, too short, and always pull out. The song was filling the space between the speakers and the space between my ears with musings on Brian Eno, so the auditory signal that should have informed me of the trouble that was afoot was blocked out. I saw the lights, the alternating reds and whites that filled my living room, drawing shifting patterns on my walls, ceiling, floor, furniture, and shelves of books, dragging me towards the door leading outside, through the cluttered bike room, past the sleeping, black lump of oblivious fur that is usually my boisterous male kitten, and out into the bedlam I  had previously been ignorant to. I could see the smoke, it was white then gray then white, all the while lending an acrid taste to the air, but I couldn’t see where it was issuing from. The wind was blowing the smoke toward my apartment, away from Empire Mills. I tried to count the firetrucks, but there were so many. I counted six on Wilmarth Ave, one of which was the awkward-looking, heavy-duty special hazards truck. In my part of the city, the post-industrial third-wave ***** river valley, you never know if the grease fire that started with homefries in a frying pan in an old woman’s kitchen will escalate into a full-blown mill fire, the century-old wood floors so saturated with oil and kerosene and ****** and manufacturing chemicals and ghosts and god knows what other flammable **** that it lights up like a fifth of July leftover sparkler, burning and melting the hand of the community that fed it for so many decades, leaving scars that are displayed on the local news for a week and are forgotten in a few years’ time.



The night was windy, and the day had been dry, so precautions were abundant, and I counted two more trucks on Fones Ave. One had the biggest ladder I’ve ever seen. It was parked on the corner of Fones and Wilmarth, directly across from the entrance into the forgotten dead-end where the forgotten house was burning, and the ladder was lifting into the air. By now my two roommates had come outside too, to stand on our rickety, wooden staircase, and Jeff said he could see flames in the windows of one of the three abandoned houses on Rosewood, through the third floor holes where windows once were, where boards of plywood were deemed unnecessary.



“Ay! Daddy!”



My neighbor John called up to us. He serves as the eyes and ears and certainly the mouth of our block, always in everyone’s business, without being too intrusive, always aware of what’s going down and who’s involved. He proceeded to tell us the lowdown on the blaze as far as he knew it, that there were two more firetrucks and an ambulance down Rosewood, that the front and back doors to the house were blocked by something from inside, that those somethings were very heavy, that someone was screaming inside, that the fire was growing.



Val had gone inside to get his jacket, because despite the floodlights from the trucks imitating sunlight, the wind and the low temperature and the thought of a person burning alive made the night chilly. Val thought we should go around the block, to see if we could get a better view, to satisfy our congenital need to witness disaster, to see the passenger car flip over the Jersey barrier, to watch the videos of Jihadist beheadings, to stand in line to look at painted corpses in velvet, underlit parlors, and sit in silence while their family members cry. We walked down the stairs, into full floodlight, and there were first responders and police and fully equipped firefighters moving in all directions. We watched two firemen attempting to open an old, rusty fire hydrant, and it could’ve been inexperience, the stress of the situation, the condition of the hydrant, or just poor luck, but rather than opening as it was supposed to the hydrant burst open, sending the cap flying into the side of a firetruck, the water crashing into the younger of the two men’s face and torso, knocking him back on his ***. While he coughed out surprised air and water and a flood of expletives, his partner got the situation under control and got the hose attached. We turned and walked away from the fire, and as we approached the turn we’d take to cut through the rundown parking lot that would bring us to the other side of the block, two firemen hurried past, one leading the other, carrying between them a stretcher full of machines for monitoring and a shitload of wires and tubing. It was the stiff board-like kind, with handles on each end, the kind of stretcher you might expect to see circus clowns carry out, when it’s time to save their fallen, pie-faced cohort. I wondered why they were using this archaic form of patient transportation, and not one of the padded, electrical ones on wheels. We pushed past the crowd that had begun forming, walked past the Laundromat, the 7Eleven, the carwash, and took a left onto the street on the other side of the parking lot, parallel to Wilmarth. There were several older men standing on the sidewalk, facing the fire, hands either in pockets or bringing a cigarette to and from a frowning mouth. They were standing in the ideal place to witness the action, with an unobstructed view of the top two floors of the burning house, its upper windows glowing orange with internal light and vomiting putrid smoke.  We could taste the burning wires, the rugs, the insulation, the asbestos, the black mold, the trash, and the smell was so strong I had to cover my mouth with my shirt, though it provided little relief. We said hello, they grunted the same, and we all stood, watching, thinking about what we were seeing, not wanting to see what we were thinking.

Two firefighters were on the roof by this point, they were yelling to each other and to the others on the ground, but we couldn’t hear what they were saying because of the sirens from all the emergency vehicles that were arriving.  It seemed to me they sent every firetruck in the city, as well as more than a dozen police cars and a slew of ambulances, all of them arriving from every direction. I guess they expected the fire to get really out of hand, but we could already see the orange glow withdrawing into the dark of the house, steam and smoke rippling out of the stretched, wooden mouths of the rotted window frames. In a gruff, habitual smoker’s voice, we heard

                                      “Chopper called the fire depahtment

We was over at the vet’s home

                He says he saw flames in the windas

                                                                                                                                                We all thought he was shittin’ us

We couldn’t see nothin’.”

A man between fifty-five to sixty-five years old was speaking, no hair on his shiny, tanned head, old tattoos etched in bluish gray on his hands, arms, and neck, menthol smoke rising from between timeworn fingers. He brought the cigarette to his lips, drew a hearty chest full of smoke, and as he let it out he repeated

                                                “Yea, chopper called em’

Says he saw flames.”

The men on the roof were just silhouettes, backlit by the dazzling brightness of the lights on the other side.  The figure to the left of the roof pulled something large up into view, and we knew instantly by the cord pull and the sound that it was a chainsaw. He began cutting directly into the roof. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, wondered if he was scared of falling into the fire, assumed he probably was, but had at least done this before, tried to figure out if he was doing it to gain entry or release pressure or whatever. The man to the right was hacking away at the roof with an axe. It was surreal to watch, to see two men transformed from public servants into fingers of destruction, the pinkie and ring finger fighting the powerful thumb of the controlled chemical reaction eating the air below them, to watch the dark figures shrouded in ethereal light and smoke and sawdust and what must’ve been unbearable heat from below, to be viewing everything with my own home, my belongings, still visible, to know it could easily have gone up in flames as well.

I should’ve brought my jacket. I remember complaining about it, about how the wind was passing through my skin like a window screen, chilling my blood, in sharp contrast to the heat that was morphing and rippling the air above the house as it disappeared as smoke and gas up into the atmosphere from the inside out.

Ten minutes later, or maybe five, or maybe one, the men on the roof were still working diligently cutting and chopping, but we could no longer see any signs of flames, and there were figures moving around in the house, visible in the windows of the upper floors, despite the smoke. Figuring the action must be reaching its end, we decided to walk back to our apartment. We saw Ken’s brown pickup truck parked next to the Laundromat, unable to reach our parking lot due to all the emergency vehicles and people clogging our street. We came around the corner and saw the other two members of the Infamous Summers standing next to our building with the rest of the crowd that had gathered. Dosin told us the fire was out, and that they had pulled someone from inside the gutted house, but no ambulance had left yet, and his normally smiling face was flat and somber, and the beaten guitar case slung over his shoulder, and his messed up hair, and the red in his cheeks from the cold air, and the way he was moving rocks around with the toe of his shoe made him look like a lost child, chasing a dream far from home but finding a nightmare in its place, instead of the professional who never loses his cool or his direction.

The crowd all began talking at once, so I turned around, towards the dead end and the group of firefighters and EMTs that were emerging. Their faces were stoic, not a single expression on all but one of those faces, a young EMT, probably a Basic, or a Cardiac, or neither, but no older than twenty, who was silently weeping, the tears cutting tracks through the soot on his cheeks, his eyes empty of emotion, his lips drawn tight and still. Four of them were each holding a corner of the maroon stretcher that took two to carry when I first saw it, full of equipment. They did not rush, they did not appear to be tending to a person barely holding onto life, they were just carrying the weight. As they got close gasps and cries of horror or disgust or both issued from the crowd, some turned away, some expressions didn’t change, some eyes closed and others stayed fixed on what they came to see. One woman vomited, right there on the sidewalk, splashing the shoes of those near her with the partially digested remains of her EBT dinner. I felt my own stomach start to turn, but I didn’t look away. I couldn’t.

                                                                                It was like I was seven again,

                                in the alleyway running along the side of the junior high school I lived near and would eventually attend,

looking in silent horror at what three eighth graders from my neighborhood were doing.

It was about eight in the evening of a rainy,

late summer day,

and I was walking home with my older brother,

cutting through the alley like we always did.

The three older boys were standing over a small dog,

a terrier of some sort.

They had duct taped its mouth shut and its legs together,

but we could still hear its terrified whines through its clenched teeth.

One of the boys had cut off the dog’s tail.

He had it in one hand,

and was still holding the pocket knife in the other.

None of them were smiling,

or talking,

nor did they take notice of Andrew and I.

There was a garden bag standing up next to them that looked pretty full,

and there was a small pile of leaves on the ground next to it.

In slow motion I watched,

horrified,

as one of the boys,

Brian Jones-Hartlett,

picked up the shaking animal,

put it in the bag,

covered it with the leaves from the ground,

and with wide,

shining eyes,

set the bag

on fire

with a long-necked

candle

lighter.

It was too much for me then. I couldn’t control my nausea. I threw up and sat down while my head swam.

I couldn’t understand. I forgot my brother and the fact that he was older, that he should stop this,

Stop them,

There’s a dog in there,

You’re older, I’m sick,

Why can’t I stop them?

It was like
As the salamander was strolling through
the hot coals beside the wall, he noted it
was made of brick.  Going around the
edge of the wall, he realized that
salamanders do not fly, yet soon he was

coasting through the air, high above the
place where the birds were flying.  It was
through the clouds.

The amphibious pile of rags, he agreed,
belonged as a stack of books leaned on
shelves against the bricks.  The birds were
hoping feathers would protect the words
from the rain.  The salamander continued
his agreement; the virtual world of the
pages was another place he could breathe
in a medium not intended for general use.
carminayasmin Apr 2018
I listen to them as they mouth your name;
and I see
how deluded,
how hypnotic,
how enchanted and consumed
they talk of your ways and,
how the stars in their pupils beam with a radiance of such pure awe.
Your words hang loose off the tops of their tounges and their lips drool in your glaze.
Your lazy features,  your so electric but so infuriating charm -
sends them mindless, locks them in your illusion.


So it’s then

I try to burn every
sheet of paper which ink prints your presence,
inside these desperate  shelves which fold upon each heartstring.

My ears attempt to block it out.
Instead they replay every song
that has ever left your lips.
And my eyes deceive me as they scatter
a particle of you on every surface of life I encounter.

My mind echoes every laugh you created in my streams.

Then I paint every colour you ever erupted within me,
in thick black.

As they mouth your name,
every trace of you with anyone but me,
causes my hands to pull through my gut,
and hammer down any of these ******* deceptive daydreams
that you have me  trapped me in.

And then so easily, one by one,
debris of my heart crumble like rain
down your window,
down each vein.
1 March 17:03
look at them all
Nihl Jun 2013
CHAPTER II

At once I was spat out into a familiar space, although still swimming in darkness. As I slowly adjusted to the dark, I realized I was sitting in my room at home. I was surrounded by large, vacant, white walls and a sturdy black bedside table. Crested on top of the sturdy black table was the same familiar dodgy lamp that never seemed to work particularly well. My whole world was spinning as I sat up in my bed, scanning the room for outlines and shapes to ensure I was in fact back home. Back home and not caught in another hellish fantasy.
My bed linen had been kicked off my bed during what I imagined was another nightmarish spasm, leaving me drenched in cold sweat and shivering. I lifted my hand to my brow to quickly swipe away some of the salted perspiration that had gathered in the corner of my eye.
I spread my hands out beside me, feeling the bed beneath me to ground myself.
I wasn't in danger, I was safe, I had to keep telling myself that it was just a dream to try and stay sane.
-
I picked myself off the bed until I was standing upright in the center of the room, still surveying every nook and space, places where things could hide. Nothing, there was nothing in this room but me, standing in the room sweating and spinning around like a madman. I pulled on a shirt and went to the bathroom. White tiles, a shower, toilet and sink. Everything in there was normal and safe. I was relieved, switching on the light as I entered. I stood in front of the mirror gazing into my reflection, I was older and I wasn't surprised. The events of the nightmare had actually happened, not five minutes ago but six years ago. And ever since then, this nightmare had been somewhat of a regular occurrence. Recently however, it has been getting worse, more lucid, every time, closer.
-
My father did in fact vanish six years ago, police found me cowering in the cabin three days afterwards, bruised, cut up and mumbling, they only came looking because dad stopped turning up to work without warning. And after the events of that night I’d struggled somewhat to maintain a normal life, having my parents stripped from me at sixteen. Growing up in foster care was hard; my foster parents were kind enough. But the system moved me around a lot, making school very hard to commit to.
-
Looking in the mirror I saw myself staring back, eyes slightly reddened and itchy, and my skin dry and flaky. I turned a faucet and splashed my face with some cold water, ice cold from sitting in the taps in the dead of the night. The cool was extremely grounding, it felt sharp and real. The nightmare had faded to shadows of thought, I felt human again. Quickly drying my face with a clean hand towel and moving back to my room. The room didn't feel so sinister now, probably because I was getting so used to these nightmares. I climbed back into bed, glancing the time on my alarm clock before getting under the covers. 3:25 Am. I moaned at the image, 3:25 Am means four and half hours until I had to go to work. Another disrupted sleep meant another day at work where I was in a state zombification. I turned off the dodgy lamp, instantly flooding the room with darkness once more, Only, I don't remember turning the lamp on. ‘Don't be an idiot’, I thought, before rolling over and falling into a quick, shallow sleep.
-
The next morning I got up, showered, brushed my teeth as usual and caught the express bus to work. I stood in front of 'Bayside Books', my place of employment. I enjoyed it there; it wasn't too demanding and paid for my rent and whatever little I ate. It was a warm little shop that stood unique amongst its surroundings, tall concrete hives of advertising and production on every side. ‘Bayside Books’ was little mahogany box on the bottom floor of some non-descript scraper.
-
As I entered the bookstore the greeting bell chimed, filling the shop with simple song. Just as the bell stopped a rotund man with a sky blue button down shirt almost bursting at the seams, emerged from behind a bookshelf.
“Coulter!” he called cheerfully, “Coulter! You’re late buddy, miss the bus?”
He asked harmlessly, now standing before me with an armful of old books. Assorted popular horror books like ‘Dracula’, ‘Frankenstein’ among some more obscure works I’d never seen.
“I slept through my alarm, I’m sorry Mr. Dupas.” I replied.
-
Mr. Dupas was a large man, although not much taller than me, he was far wider.
Dark, greasy, curly hair seemingly glued onto the top of his round head. Protruding cheeks and a chin that was almost just a button perched in front of a larger chin. He maintained an interesting standard of hygiene, fresh pressed clothes on an almost un-showered man. Perhaps he was just an extremely perspiring person, but I didn't have the courage to ask any time soon.
-
I did sleep through my alarm that morning. I didn't exactly have a habit of getting into work late, but it seemed that with all the sleep I had been losing and the fact I hadn't been blessed with a full nights rest for two weeks now. It was really starting to catch up to me.
-
“Don’t worry about it, happens to the best of us” He smiled.
Mr. Dupas moved behind the shop counter just beside the doorway, piling the stack of books into a small, neat cardboard box on the counter. I could see clearly scrawled on its side in block letters, ‘TO CLIFFORD’. I removed my thick black coat and hung it behind the desk squeezing past Mr. Dupas as I did. Dupas grabbed his coffee mug and drew it to his lips as he moved towards the back of the shop, taking a large gulp of his almost noxiously caffeinated drink.
“Put away the new arrivals then clean the shelves and when you get a chance, go take that box to Clifford!” He called from behind several bookcases. “The invoice for the box is in the second drawer!” as he followed I could hear each stride in his voice.
-
I spent most of the morning stacking the newly arrived books onto the ‘New Release’ shelves. The same old crime stories, successful underdog sportspersons biography and feel goods. I finished putting them in their respective places before quickly dusting the shelves. At about noon I’d finished my jobs, grabbed the cardboard box from atop the counter and hurried out the door, letting Mr. Dupas know that I’d gone.
-
‘Clifford’s’ was only a short walk from ‘Bayside Books’ and it was a journey to and from the store I’d have to make at least twice in any normal week. Mr. Dupas and Mr. Clifford had a little partnership, Dupas would send the odd box of all the supernatural, paranormal, grim dark stories, biographies and spell books of such to Mr. Clifford, where Clifford would pay a paltry price for these books that had been left unsold and gathering dust at ‘Bayside Books’.
-
As I made my way down the street towards ‘Clifford’s, I spotted a few people watching a news report as it was broadcasted through the gaps between security bars, guarding the window of a small electronics store. The images displayed across the several monitors within were of soldier, armored vehicles and unruly citizens in some nondescript middle-eastern country. American flags burning in the middle of busy streets, and giant dolls with paper heads that from a distance, looked uncannily like our American president. The only difference being, that the life-size doll on the monitor seemed as if it was created by an angry eight-year-old student as some twisted school project.
-
I passed the electronic store a ways down the street until I arrived in front of the familiar poorly-lit arcade. Neatly nested at entrance to the arcade was the dark and foreboding storefront. A wood paneled exterior, crowned with five large dusty windows, inside each window stood displays of everything creepy you could imagine, voodoo dolls, satanic bibles, pendants, candles,  statues of vague deities, dried pelts and skulls, and indistinguishable skins and teeth. Not to mention the books, there were hundreds of books. Unlike at ‘Bayside, where our books were categorized and organized by alphabetically author. These books were stacked and scattered in no inherent order. Every now and then I'd spot a group of vampire stories in close proximity and then the order would be disturbed by the odd ‘Cooking: How to prepare human flesh. ‘ followed by the uncommon Serial killer biography. This store, this little jewel of the unnatural and the unfathomable, this was ‘Clifford’s’’
-
‘Clifford’s’ Collectibles; oddities and curiosities.’

N.H.
Anna Grace Mar 2019
I  used to put the feelings in jars,
wrapping them with corresponding ribbons depending on the day
and lining them oh so neatly onto the shelves that line my cortex and home.
Never to say I wasn’t organized in one way,
while others cracked and flew apart in every which direction
hubris was a cheerful  hand to hold as I glided in and swept up the mess,
loaning out jars and advice like cookies.
The back of the head always tells the truth,
I had always known that the shelves were uneven and cheap,
the jars themselves feeble in constitution just like their buyer
and the ribbons were only for display and the whole system functionally flawed.
She is gone;
when the earth became somehow heavier in the loss,
the shelves cracked and crumbled,
the shelves loosened and lay askew,
the shelves were never mine to assume.
The jars came down in a fury,
the force sending shards in every direction and into every part of my brain,
shrieking from the direct hit yet continuing to plead ignorance to the whole **** system.
She is gone;
feelings used to make sense but now nothing does,
nothing is how is feels
nothing is what I wanted to happen
and something is Here,
Something was always waiting,
Something has toppled my jars and shelves
and left me alone on this earth to clean it all up
while She has joined the Universe and now can only be reached
in pictures we took on better days
and the dreams that keep me awake.
Something has come,
Something may have gone,
but Something has also changed me.
Without the jars I feel more free,
without the jars I am open
maybe it was the jars all along
that have always made me feel broken.
i miss her deeply
Ariel Baptista May 2015
Museums as art
Art as museums
Sail the trail to my mausoleum
Psychopaths and physicists
Psychiatrists and philosophers
Philanthropists and pilots and painters


Declare now, that these are our days –
Our hours, and our days
These are our city, our hours
Our time, our days.


This is our world –
At 14:92 I landed here and claimed it
And searched it and found it wanting
Of civilization that I could so easily supply
By means of wounds and iron
And brawn and truth
(and just a tiny touch of influenza darling)
By means of our Lord,
Who grants us all that we desire
If only we **** enough of those he did not choose.
This is our world –
And we shall make it what we will
Make it in our own image
Teach it that innocence is not knowing the difference between right and wrong
Raise it to hate no one
But to love itself so deeply
That all other love seems hateful in comparison.
This is our child, love
Yours and mine.


Here the first shall be last
And the last shall be first
But once the first are last they shall be
Last
Last
      Last
And once the last are first
They shall make it so they can never be last again
This is our primitive accumulation
Of necessary materialism
Let’s cultivate matter
To make objects that we can place on shelves
And in cases –
These are our cases
And we love them as we love ourselves


Museums as mass graves
Mass graves as museums
Kiss me in my mausoleum
Priests and prisoners
Prostitutes and prophets
Pioneers and pilgrims and pagans


This is our time –
And we are dispensing it in spendthrift increments
Buying threadbare bandages for our cavernous canyons
Buying ample earplugs
To seal in the silence
So we can somewhat say
“look there is peace –
Look we have done it
In our time it is accomplished” – 


This is our peace –
And we know it by the signs
The lions and lambs lay quietly together
In our brass-barred zoos
For as long as shelves and cases
Are intact and the first are first
And the last are last
And the civilized are organized and holy
There is peace –
Oh, look
We made peace!

And as for Solomon and Socrates –
We take their words to weave through our new wisdom
And when we re-chart the constellations
We shall give them each a star
And salute them once a year
When they come around the universe
Oh, look
How wise we are!

Mass graves as art
Art as mass graves
There have been no better days
There has been no greater time
Politicians and pornographers
Professors and pirates
Psychologists and pastors and pianists


This is our time –
And we are doing with it the very best we know how
The last are toiling and trying
And the first are trying to think to try –
But there is a shortness in our hours
And a violence in our peace
There is inherent foolishness in our wisdom
And disease in our cities
And there is death upon our shelves and in our cases.

This is our world –
We crafted it and declared our truth to be true
We sculpted this, our colosseum
Please inscribe my mausoleum
With “we know not what we do”
Sister and I loved to play, to run and twirl and roll in grass all day. Momma gets mad when we go too far but our yard is massive we live on a farm! Running on rolling fields of prairie, singing and laughing and acting merry, shot right through the tree line that marks our abode, slid across the rocks on Old Joser Road, saw an old lady who walked with crumpled toes and spoke too and listened too a pack of crows, plucking weeds and picking a thorny flower she called out to us that fateful hour;

  “Oh my and how lovely, two twins so cute! I had thought no one lived so far out here, away from the town and its charming cheer? Why don’t you come over and meet my pet crows and I’ll show you two a trick that nobody knows!”

  I leaned down to consult with sister you see, she being younger she’s littler than me, I told her to stay close while we watched the show, then we’d be off and away we’d go;

  “Okay old lady my name is Tim and this here’s Tam and this place you’re in, is our family farm and that guy in the field, well that’s our Dad, and if you mess with us he gets real mad, so no funny business in this game and we’ll be nice to you just the same.”

  “Agreed indeed you little man and I can’t wait to see you in my pan!”

  Now I had to think on this real hard. Did that mean something about being able to see or was she talking about eating me? No matter, no problems and boy those crows, did they sure put on some funny shows and acted like they had lots of smarts and seemed just like pets and warmed our hearts;

  “Thanks old lady we gotta go we’re almost late for dinner you know?”

  She moved too fast and came right up and pulled out an odd-looking wooden cup;

“Wait there dearies, not so quick, about that dinner and my sweet shtick, you see you owe me a trick too, two coins I’m asking there of you, you bring them up to my cabin on that hill and I’ll teach you some magic and give you a thrill!”

  “Okay lady!”

  I agreed as we ran, if we don’t get home soon it’s gonna be my can! ‘Cause I know my pops he’ll beat my **** and I’ll be sent upstairs with nothing to eat, so I told little sister to move those feet!

caesura

  Whisk you down the road of boiled toad, and singeing hair, of whispered things and fires' flare, of evil looks from open books, pigeon’s toes and a chicken gizzard, while around your legs it crawls and creeps, my hungry lizard that never sleeps! You gawk! You stare! My wrinkly-face, the dank rank air in my dingy place, the dusty shelves a-lined in books and creepy crawlies in every nook, cobwebs and spiders at every corner, piggies run squealing while the chickens banterer, ravens caw at strange green light from lantern but back to all those shadow corners where little bad things spy and salivate, thinking on what they had last ate, and there you are shaking, nervous, trembling; a porky little piece of meat and something we all want to eat!

  “Oh don’t be scared my little one, I’m kidding, teasing, just having fun. Hand me the coins I asked for earlier, when we crossed paths along Old Joser, draw near to me, come here, come a bit closer!”

  Be careful will I not to bare my teeth, or lick my lips or stare too deep, for one is easy, two a dangerous feat and I so want to have my little porky piece of meat! I stood on a ladder with little Tam on my shoulder, so she could see the *** as it smoked and it smoldered, I directed little Tim over there to a seat and he saw me lick my lips as I thought about their meat.

  “Aha ha ha ha ha!”

  I laughed out loud as I cast in the dust and the billows changed color and kiddies made a fuss, but then the sparkly things popped and shimmered in their eyes, while both of them let out marvelous sighs, bewildered, bemused and tricked by my lie, I threw Tammy in to my cauldron to die!

  “Nooooooo!”

  Little Tim, little Tim did he let me in and punished will he be for that little sin, I whispered a spell and took up my broom and zapped a hole in the floor out in the room, where Tim was running and dropped him in a hole, down a tunnel he went that saved his soul, for out he shot back on Old Joser Road, no wiser no worse for the trick I showed!

Now listen up children or this is your lot,

For I’m out there always lurking with my ***,

I’m always hungry and so are my crows,

We’ll eat you up all the way to your toes,

“Jimson and sassafras, morning glory, woodrose seed,”

“A ***** of my finger, lock of my hair, a thimble and tweed,”

“Two coins, a cauldron, my cunning and your breed,”

“Whenever I’m hungry that’s all that I need!”
(Joser: Joe-Sir) rhymed with (Closer)
This is a retelling of the Sumerian story of Tim-Tam which is the origin of Hansel and Gretel. This entire piece came to me in a dream and I wrote it down in one sitting over ten minutes. Grimm's Fairy Tales are about warnings to small children...warnings that not ALL adults are good people and sometimes starving old people in the woods use trickery to eat kids. The phrase 'two twins' is a reference to the dual nature of myth as both actual events and cosmic. Gemini and the two earthly children.

Two coins to pay the boatman who takes your soul across the river Styx.
Terry O'Leary Jan 2014
as the PROPHETS of profits, WE lead and WE’re fair
while WE’re living the life of the poor BILLIONAIRE
– silver yachts, pearly castles, cash (plenty to spare) –
with the world on OUR backs... ah! the burdens WE bear!

being HAVES (not the have-nots) as nature decrees
means WE’re certainly the better (they’re vermin on ******).
if they pray for a lift in their dark fantasies,
WE just kick ’em downstairs, get ’em off of their knees.

yes, WE offer great jobs (much too busy OURSELVES!)
for maintaining the toilets, restacking the shelves,
and WE teach ’em to fear god and play with the elves,
thus dispelling ideas where the dark demon delves.

though they build mighty bridges, twin towers and more,
peddle pizzas and popcorn, sell guns door-to-door,
still they gotta have BOSSES to tell ’em the score
else WE’d never be needed, WE’d thrive nevermore.

when OUR profits are plunging, they do their part too
for they dine on the dole! yes, no hullabaloo!
soon OUR fortunes  redouble, rebound and accrue –
since WE fare well without ’em, WE bid ’em adieu.

’stead of wishing for welfare and standing in queues
or parading with pickets (look! holes in their shoes!),
they’d be better off scabbing to save union dues.
while WE whistle and warble, they’re singing the blues.

whether heroes or hoboes, like spiders and lice
they just crawl all around us in life’s paradise,
but WE’re patient, big hearted and oft sacrifice,
spewing charity, kindness (though each has its price).

if they’re beaten or punctured or suffer assault,
are unhealthy or crippled or walk with a halt,
or ******* or helpless, it’s all their own fault –
just like US they should worship the DOLLAR exalt’!

protesters and loud mouths, you’ll find ’em aplenty
some older, some younger, the worst not yet twenty.
they’re shameless and brazen (unwashed, soiled and scenty)
impugning the prestige of brave COGNOSCENTI.

if they’ve got clashing colors (or shades in between)
or opposing beliefs in the hidden unseen,
well, WE’ll always exploit it, deflecting their spleen,
for with god on each side, would WE dare intervene?

WE maintain many methods to keep ’em in chains –
daily rags and the tube spin OUR circus campaigns:
“to pretend you’ve a voice”, an announcement explains,
“you can vote and decide on which ONE of US reigns”.

OUR policemen protect US, they stay on the ball
(they arrest ’em, no questions per law’s protocol,
and then jam ’em in jail with their backs to the wall) –
if you’ve lucre for lawyers there’s justice for all.

down the ROYAL road of justice WE march all alone
– WE condemn their defiance, set ways to atone –
since WE’re sinless, unsullied, WE cast the first stone
(while WE cloak REGAL fetor with eau de cologne).

politicians, bald bankers, grand idols galore,
attend meetings, fete banquets in which they explore
how to rid US of rodents (the weak and the poor) –
well, just round up the riff-raff, dispatch ’em to war!

ah! OUR wars are, well, just...... just a thing of the past
........... and the present............... and future... WE sure make them last!
if they frown as they gaze (Armageddon!) aghast,
then WE smile back with pleasure, OUR treasures amassed.

useless ranting and raving (in rags, when they’re clad),
leads to losing their teeth (my! their gums are... egad!).
WE’re unselfish, indulgent, WE’d never be mad
if they drowned in the sounds of themselves feeling sad.

as the paupers are princes in midnight’s domain,
they have pipe dreams to lose, certainly nothing to gain
if they’re hoping OUR fortunes will wither and wane –
for “WE’re here by god’s will” as WE often explain.

yes, they wish to be US, with OUR wisdom and grace,
keeping up with ol’ CROESUS, maintaining the pace.  
but perverseness or rancor? they’ll see not a trace –
for WE hold ’em at bay with a fist in the face.

WE’re la CRÈME de la CRÈME, yes! the proud UPPER CRUST,
and OUR clothes are the finest, OUR hair never mussed –
WE imbue ’em with piety, duty and trust
and they’re fed bread and water (if feed ’em WE must).

but they’re thieving, aggrieved, want a piece of OUR PIE
and request WE endure ’em, see EYE to black eye.
since they live in OUR land where OUR strict rules apply,
they must feast on the crumbs that We cast to the sty.

though OUR largesse and bounty WE don’t mean to flaunt,
yet the pittance WE pay ’em they surely can vaunt –
salty peanuts and pretzels (what more could they want?)
thereby keeping their kiddies so healthily gaunt.

yes, there’s room for the rabble (the back of the bus)
’cause WE treat ’em like equals, so what’s all the fuss?
all can rise to the top (yes! it’s always been thus),
to the suites in OUR penthouse (to sweep up and dust).

while OUR CHILDREN have tutors, the finest of schools
(being bred for the forefront, THEY’re nobody’s fools),
their own school of hard knocks teaches: “follow the rules”,
building brawn ’stead of brains and broad backs strong as mules’.

and to keep ’em in line (to ensure WE prevail)
WE now monitor phone calls and read all their mail
(civil rights? what a notion! at best a detail!)
and if worse comes to worst...... well...... guantanamo jail!

WE’ve OUR quandaries and questions and headaches full blown
(like deciding design and decor of OUR throne...
whether diamonds or rubies... to gemstones WE’re prone) .
when WE deign to appease ’em, WE chuck ’em a bone.

now you know all OUR problems, OUR pains and travails
– like preparing foreclosures, evictions  and sales –
but WE’ve no need for worries or gnawed fingernails,
’cause WE’re sailing OUR yachts through tempestuous gales
(with them bailing OUR banks when OUR stock market fails)
sipping daiquiri sours, champagnes, ginger ales.
:-)
Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.
Austyn Taylor Jul 2014
Air
Bedrooms are intimate. Showing someone exactly where you breathe is special. To see it, they have to worship every breath that goes in and out, even if your exhale is poison.
The walls still smell like you
Last week, I pulled the sheets off the bed. I placed them in the burn pile.

I do not wish to see you.
This week, I painted everything a new color, a darker shade.
I pulled down the Christmas lights and let my stars burn out. I placed them in the burn pile.

I do not wish to see you.
I ripped stuffed animals off the shelves and letters off the dresser. Even the photo album went in the burn pile.
I do not wish to see you.
The flowers off the desk... They were dead anyway.
I do not wish to see you.
Everything in a bedroom is sacred. Not everyone belongs there; you sure didn't. You kissed everything with fiery lips and charcoal dust and I am still sweeping up. I continue to find your ashes in my bed.
I do not wish to see you.
You took everything. You took my air and gave me back poison. I couldn't tell the difference. But the worst thing you took from my room is me.
I do not wish to see you.
I do not wish to see you.
*I put you in the burn pile. I see you in the flames. I see you everywhere.
I start to tear at the drywall.
Personally love this one.
Francie Lynch Sep 2018
I've used them on my windows
To see the clear outside,
If I read the Op-eds,
I shudder, shuttered and hide.

I've spread them 'neath my plates and cups,
My shelves all neat and tidy;
But the headlines made it clear to me
My glass is more half empty.

They had a place in the litter box
For **** to scratch and squat;
I laid them round my garden plants,
They made fine insect traps.
Rolled and twirled they'd start a fire,
I could fold them into hats.
They cleaned the grease from BBQs,
And they're safe to pick up glass.
Crumple them for packaging,
They work as school book covers;
Add water and some flour,
To shape papier mache lovers.
Fold seeds in them to germinate,
Then use them for compost;
There's many ways to employ
Your Times and local Post.

But I won't subscribe to Dailies
For the felling of our trees;
And yet I miss my papers,
And the ways they worked for me.
But when enthroned,
You'll hear me grouse,
There's no **** paper in this ****-house.

My cell works well to scroll and swipe,
But it's only good for a virtual wipe.
howard brace Oct 2012
Stood rigidly to attention either side of the hearth, the two bronze fire-dogs had been struggling to maintain that British stiff upper lipidness, which up until earlier that evening had best befitted their station in life... indeed, for the last half hour at least had become brothers in arms to the dying embers filtering through the bars of the cast-iron grate, passing from the present here and now, having lost every thermal attribute necessary to sustain any further vestige of life... to the shortly forthcoming and being at oneness with the Universe... only to fall foul of the overflowing ash-pan below.  This premature cashing in of the coal fire's chips could only be attributed to the recent and prolonged thrashing from the Baronial poker... and a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the family retainer, whom it appeared, required spurring along in a like manner... and while unseen mechanisms were heard to be engaging, then resonating deep within the Hall... that unless summoned... and quickly, the housekeeper had little intention of making an appearance of her own choosing and re-stoke the Study fire while the BBC Home Service were airing 'Your 100 Best Tunes' on the wireless, leaving the heavily tarnished pendulum to continue measuring the hour.

     An indistinct mutter and snap of a closing door latch sounded in the immediate distance as the unhurried shuffle of domestic footsteps... not too dissimilar from those of Jacob Marley's spectral visitation to Scrooge... echoed ever closer along the ancient, oak panelled hallway without.  Their sudden cessation, allowing the housekeeper ingress to  the book lined Study, was by way of sporadic groans from unoiled hinges, door furniture that voiced the same overwhelming lack of attention as that of the fire-grate set in the wall opposite and presumably, from the same overwhelming lack of domestic servitude.
                                        
     "Had his Lordship rang...?" the Housekeeper wailed dolefully, giving her employer what might casually pass for a courteous bob... and in lieu no doubt, of Marley's rattling chains, padlocks and dusty ledgers... "and would there be anything further his Lordship required..." before she took her leave for the evening.  The notion of a sticky mint humbug warming the cockles of his ancient, aristocratic heart gave her pause for thought as she rummaged through her pinafore pockets, then thought better of it, after all, confectionary didn't grow on trees...  In bobbing a second time she noticed the malnourished, yet strangely twinkling coal-scuttle lounging over by the hearth, whose insubstantial contents had taken on an ethereal quality earlier that evening and had now transferred its undivided attention to the recently summoned Housekeeper, who was quite prepared to offer up a candle in supplication come next Evensong were she mistaken, but the coal-scuttle's twinkle bore every intimation of giving what appeared to be a very suggestive 'come-on' in return... and had been doing so since she first entered the room... 'and did she have any plans of her own that particular evening', the coal-scuttle twinkled suavely, 'perchance a leisurely stroll down by the old coal cellar steps...'  Now perhaps it was the lateness of the hour which had caused the Housekeeper's confusion that evening, or perhaps an over stretched imagination, brought on through domestic inactivity, but it wouldn't take a great deal to hazard that a lingering fondness for Gin and tonic played no small part towards her next curtsey, which she did, albeit unwittingly, in the unerring direction of the winking coal-scuttle.

     With the household keys as her badge-of-office, jangling defiantly from the chain around her waist, the housekeeper began inching back the same way she came, back towards the study door and freedom... and back into the welcoming arms of her 1/4 lb. bag of peppermint humbugs and the pint of best London Gin she'd had to relinquish prior to 'Songs of Praise...' and which was now to be found... should you happen to be an inquisitive fly on a particular piece of floral wallpaper... half-cut, locked arm in arm with the bottle of Indian tonic water and in the final, intoxicating throws of William Blake's, 'Jerusalem...' hic.

     "Ha-arrumph..." the elderly gentleman cleared his throat... "ah Gabby" he said, lowering his book and placing it face down upon the occasional table set beside him.  The flatulent groan of tired leather upholstery made itself heard above the steady monotony of the mantle-piece clock as he stood and chaffed his hands in the direction of the bereft fire, "Oh! I'm sorry your Lordship, then there was something...?" as she maintained her steady but relentless backwards retreat unabated, the double-barrelled bunch of keys taking up a strong rear-guard action and away from the well disposed coal scuttle... "and was his Lordship quite certain that he required the fire stoking at such a late hour..." she dared, "perhaps a nice warming glass of port and brandy instead" gesturing towards the salver, long since tarnished by the half hearted attentions of a proprietary metal polish... "and would he care for..." then thought better of offering to plump the chair cushions herself, having discovered Mort, the household mouser in the final stages of claiming them as his own, deftly rearranging the Victorian Plush with far more than any noble airs or graces.

     "Poor Mrs Alabaster, you will recall Sir, I'm sure..." a pained expression crossed the Housekeepers face as she collided with a corner of the Georgian writing bureau and bringing her to an abrupt halt... "her late Ladyships lady" she continued, indiscreetly rubbing her derriere, "whose services your Lordship dispensed with at the onset of last Winter, shortly after the funeral, God rest her late Ladyship... when you made her redundant... and how she's been unable to find a new situation ever since on account of her lumbago flaring up again, seeing as how it's been the coldest January in living memory", which in all likelihood meant since records began... "and SHE didn't have any coal either... or a roof over her head for all anyone cared... begging yer' pardon, yer' Lordship", letting her tongue slip as she attempted yet one more curtsey... "and it's wicked-cruel outside this time of year Sir, you wouldn't turn a dog out in it..." and how ordering the coal used to be Mrs Alabaster's responsibility...

     "Oh no, Sir", as she unsuccessfully stifled a hiccup...she would be only too delighted to rouse the Cook, especially after that dodgy piece of scrag-end they'd all had to suffer during Epiphany, but it was only last week that the Doctor had confined Cookie to bed with the croup... "as I'm sure your Lordship will recall..." as she attempted a double curtsey for effect, the despondent coal-scuttle now all but forgotten, "that below-stairs had been dining on pottage since a week Friday gone... and it tends to get a little moribund after almost a fortnight your Honour... and that Mrs Cotswold's rheumatism was still showing no signs of improvement either by the looks of things... and was having to visit the Chiropodist every fortnight for her bunions scraping... and how she's been advised to keep taking the embrocation as required".

     As a young woman, any disposition her grandmother may have had towards sobriety or moral virtue had quickly been prevailed upon by the former Master's son taking intimacy to the next level with the saucy Parlour Maid's good nature.   Shortly thereafter, having been obliged to marry the first available Gardener that came along, she was often heard to say "a bun in the oven's worth two in the bush" for it was with stories 'of such goings-on'  that made it abundantly clear to the Housekeeper, that it was far more than old age creeping up... and that if she didn't keep her wits wrapped tightly about her, as she threw a sideways glance at the winking philanderer... then who would.

     As for the Gardener, "well... he couldn't possibly manage the cellar steps at this late hour, yer' Lordship, wot' with the weather being the way it is right now Sir, seasonal... and him with his broken caliper... and bronchitis playing him up at every turn, even though his own ailing missus swore by a freshly grown rhubarb poultice first thing each morning", but oddly enough, "how it always seemed to work better if the young barmaid down in the village rubbed it on, especially around opening time..." even his brother, Mr Potts Senior, ever since their Dad passed away... "God rest his eternal soul", as she whirled, twice in as many seconds, a mystical finger in the air... had said how surprised he'd been to discover that it could be used as a ground mulch for seed-cucumbers... it was truly amazing how The Good Lord provided for the righteous... and even as she spoke, was working in mysterious ways, His Wonders to Behold... "Praised-Be-The-Lord".

     And how the entire household, with the possible exception of Mrs Alabaster, her late Ladyships lady, who doggedly refused to be evicted from her 'Grace n' Favour cottage...' the one with pretty red roses growing around the door, that despite a string of eviction notices from the apoplectic Estate manager... had noticed what a fine upstanding Gentleman his Lordship had steadfastly remained since her late Ladyships sudden demise... "God-rest-her-immortal-soul..." and may she allow herself to say, "how refreshing it was to have such a progressively minded and discerning employer such as his Lordship at the helm, one filled with patient understanding and commitment towards the entire household..." much like herself...

     Fearing an uncontrollable attack of the ague, which invariably took the form of a selfless and unstinting dereliction to duty and always flared up at the slightest suggestion of having to roll her sleeves up and do something... which incidentally, was the first mutual attraction by common consent to which her parents, some forty years earlier had discovered they both held in tandem... and "would his Lordship take exception..." feigning a sudden relapse as she gestured towards the nearest chair, were she to take the weight off her feet... she plonked herself solidly upon the Chippendale before his Lordship could decline... "perhaps a recuperative drop of brandy" she volunteered, "just for medicinal purposes", she swept her feet onto the footstool, then crossed them with a flourish that would have caused Cyrano de Bergerac to hang up his sword... "the good stuff, if his Lordship would be so kind, in the lead-crystal decanter... over in the corner by the potted plant", she caught sight of the adjacent cigarette box, also tarnished... "just to keep body and soul together, may it please 'Him upon High'..." and just long enough to brave the coal cellar steps and refill the amorous scuttle... "if only it were a little less chilly", she gave an affected cough... on account of her diphtheria acting up again, she felt sure that his Lordship understood...  Moving over to one of the book lined alcoves, the elderly Gentleman lifted several tomes from the shelves... 'My Life in Anthracite', an illustrated compendium' "to begin with, I think... followed by... hmm!" 'The History of Fossil-Fuels, a comprehensive study in twelve breath taking volumes' "and we'll take it from there" as he threw the first on the barely smouldering embers...

                                                      ­     ...   ...   ...**

a work in progress.                                                        ­                                                         1859
Colt Jul 2013
for Those who eat ramen by choice, or not.*

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

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

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

And those who search for revolution in a time when rebellion is conformity.
Listening to the  pounding sound of blog-protesters typing n o w.
who, in claiming to accept, don’t accept the unaccepting,
who got veggies tattooed on their sides while snapping bacon in their teeth,
who ironically infiltrated asylums and performed madness until the shocks came
and they were maddened, for good, eaten alive by volts resounding
ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.
Who sleep naked together to be together but end up being alone,
exchanges from lips that move in pretentious drone,
and the dog chases its tail, endlessly.
When the abnormal is normal and the whole structure is inverted and
heaven is here and flames under the soil are no longer hell burning for soles of the
Converse, Adidas, and Nike sneakers on the bicycle pedals of poets who ride at night,
listening to the sound of owls that question:
who?
whoo?
whooo?
cheryl love Jun 2015
As we go through our life,
we record events in our mind.
shelves labelled accordingly
slotted in our brain to find
the next time we care to recall.
There are shelves labelled
"not so good" and these are doubts
which cause anxiety to raise its ugly head.
Thoughts which we could well do without
Re-living events that we all somehow dread.
Then there are the spectacular shelves.
Shelves that bring tears of happiness and joy.
Celebrations of marriage, confetti and then
perhaps the birth of a little girl or a boy.
A son or daughter, a life long treasure.
Then there is things relating to this that
go on this shelf to later bring pleasure.
These shelves are the chapters in our head
Chapters that are worth having another look.
Whether they are good or bad, they are there
Each day has a part to play in your own book..
Christos Rigakos Oct 2012
seashells
line my bare shelves
barely--line my bare walls
collecting emptiness to fill
my house

(C)2000, Christos Rigakos
Cinquain
**** THEM,
they never knew what they had.
She was right before them,
Did nothing but adore them,
But they were all just bored men.
Bored of themselves,
So they put it on her.
Cleared all her shelves,
And left her heart bare.
While acting like they all truly cared.
But while she was drowning
They sat and they stared.
She said she believed them,
When they said they'd be paired.
Love's what she believed in,
But life isn't fair.
So **** them for deceiving,
This beautiful girl,
Who now just feels broken,
In a dark empty world.
Donna Aug 2018
With deckchairs under
our arms we walked towards the
beach to find a spot

Seaweed lie upon
pebbles colour of summer
leaves decorated

the sand ,the ocean
was dark blue with soft ripples
that gently waved to

me so I waved back!
Me my son daughter sister
and cousion ate chips

and a burger , we
filled our bellies full , lots of
people sunbathed on

this wonderful hot
day , the sun smile was so wide
Even the boats sailed

along contently
We chatted all day long and
laughed too , my son

and nephew went for
a swim or shall I say a
paddle , broken shells

cut there poor feet , but
they still smiled bravely as the
hero in them came

to live , lots of seats
lined up against a big wall
full of peoples names

All dedicated
to Angels who once walked this
land we all live in  

I burnt my lips and
today there so sore , even
eating is a pain

But I'm still happy
I'm as brown as a berry
Thanks to the warm sun

The sand so soft to
touch it fell through my fingers
back to its sand friends

Was a lovely day
and when I got home I told
dean I had missed him

So I gave him a
hug and we sat down and talked
about painting up

our living room , I'm
happy because we going
to wallpaper the

chimney breast to give
it a cozy feel , also
we may buy two or

three floating shelves , do
the clouds in sky hold up the
shelves , oh wow I think

there goner look so
nice , be a lovely place to
put a photo frame

of me dean and kids
O my heart is blooming I
hope it never stops
Yesterday I went beach we had a lovely day and Ime and dean are going to be painting our living room hopefully soon im  very excited about that **
Shane Leigh Jul 2017
An extremely intelligent man with hordes and hordes of books; books upon books upon shelves – oh, endless shelves. Whatever the matter of his genius abilities, he is rather, let's say, naive. He often spends nights alone in the comforts of his dark den with nothing but his prizes to keep him company. Oh Jonathan, you lonely man: what is to become of your vast capabilities?

Will you build planes like you had as a child and flaunt them to your parents? Will you remain alone in your den – a room full of endless, lonely, dark, and quiet company – surrounded by your hordes of books and shelves? Full, but empty, shelves … Each space occupied by a semblance of papers … and more books.
© Shane Leigh
madison curran Feb 2015
there's a house at the
corner of misery boulevard,
and heartbreak avenue,
that i call home.
& i can't count on my left hand
how many times,
those sand tinted rooms
with decaying light bulbs
have overheard
through paper walls,
the sound of that rose coloured capsule
embracing the floor,
only to find itself in pieces.
my mother always
hid that in a cage,
locked tight.
never did that stop my father
from finding the key,
she always slipped under the door mat.
like she wanted him to find it.
and you could hear it shatter,
into glass fragments,
that she was always left to clean up
by herself.
because he never stayed
to watch her pick up the pieces,
he didn't want to cut his life line
on her fragmented heart.
- or the time when my mother,
stained my ear drums,
and sold residence to a ghost
who now haunts the walls of my mind,
with words,
she'll claim her tongue never dismissed.
but ten years later,
and i still think i'm that painting,
in monochromatic shades,
that no one ever bothers
to glance at.
when they're gliding
down a vacant hallway.
more empty than the emotion
in this house.
but i still call it home,
because the walls have been
infected with sadness,
because there aren't enough vitamins,
to cure all this sickness,
released through
hatred hymns.
but those melancholy rhythms,
can't compete with the
floorboards that still sing me to sleep,
or the elation that fills
my lungs when i breathe,
because this house
still smells like mourning
the old flames,
from vanilla candle wicks
my ninth birthday knew so well.
& yes, there is no place
that sends fragile shivers
down my spine
when crossing the paths
of gloomy road,
and loathing crescent
but this is home,
this house is just like the cerulean tide,
because it always finds a way to
pull me back to shore.
& then i met you,
promenading down
hope street,
making empty prayers
to god
with a dry tongue and
waterlogged eyes.
another dawn spent
searching for the light -
in coffee shop windows
or even the stars.
something -
to guide me home.
and you taught me that
home isn't always a place,
you can find on a map.
sometimes,
it's two eyes and a heart beat.
it's love entangled words,
uttered through a pair of crimson lips.
& you showed me,
that ruby tinted vases,
look best when
they're not placed on shelves,
but rather granted as gifts,
sealed in envelopes,
with kisses painted
in scarlet lipstick.
& ghosts can be put to sleep,
by a lullaby,
you whispered in my ear
seven times a day.
i love you
has a ring to it,
but it's been six months and
that ghost sold his house,
to a boy who
told me i'm a composition
of colours.
that an artist painted me
in gold, because he sees it in
my eyes when i smile.
- i swear to god,
four walls and a front door,
build a house,
you'll always turn to
when the sky's crying, or when
you tear your jeans
on the wire fence
down the road.
and that boy
who is a composition of wonder,
possesses no door,
and the only window,
is the amber iris
that feels like the ocean
when he looks at me.
because,
he's just like the tide.
& i can still smell vanilla every time
i kiss him.
every single time.
T'was a night before Christmas, Not the one that we know
When the big guy came forth,From the land full of snow,
He'd been summoned down south, to a lawyers..no less
There were some concerns that he had to address.
First was the doll that was known just as Dinah,
It was looked at because it was all made in China
The paint would flake off, so it stayed on the shelves
It was obvious that it was not made by elves.
There were problems as well with the way that it looked,
From the make-up she wore, you would think that she hooked
The lawyers all said she should look more demure
And the manufacturers need to lose the fake fur.
To show off its privates, there wasn't the need
So it came off the shelves, and it was done with real speed.
The next toy examined was a gun that shot caps
But the chinese translation said it was used to shoot cats
PETA had phoned and was all up in arms
That Santa believed in "The right to bear arms"
"Santa", they said "you can't sell guns as toys"
"They're dangerous for all the girls and the boys"
But Santa just sat and he had nothing to say
Their arguements meant things would not go his way.
So he sat and he watched as each toy was brought out
Though deep down inside, he just wanted to shout
"What happened to Christmas, it's supposed to be fun"
"Where is the harm in a little toy gun?"
"Expenses kept rising and the costs all went nuts"
"I had to lay off the elves as one of the cuts"
"I outsourced to China, Taiwan and B.C."
"How would I know this would happen to me"
"Wal-mart's successful with importing from there"
"In fact, they all do it with nary a care"
"I can hire some back as consultants as such"
"But, with the cost of production, I can't pay them too much"
"You all once were children and you broke what I gave"
"Now production from China is the new fad and rave"
"The toys were more dangerous in years all gone by"
"There were parts you could swallow and choke on and die"
"The paint was lead based like the stuff you all fear"
"You all ate it as children and yet your're still here"
"Now come and tell Santa what this is really about"
"I've got contacts upstairs, you know Santa has clout"
"Did I miss you one chistmas, getting you G.I Joe?"
"I'm really confused and I really must know"
"There's no time to dawdle because Christmas comes soon"
"I now have to leave early so I get home by noon"
"I'm down to four reindeer from my original eight"
"And with half my contingent, I'm usually late"
"Now please tell me all, what it is that I missed"
"We just needed to see you to know you exist"
"As lawyers our spirit is little to none"
"And the whole Christmas season si no longer fun"
"They've banned the word Christmas in court and in Schools"
"In fact we all feel that we all look like fools"
"We used this sad tactic to get you down here"
"So you can do something great to bring back our cheer"
"Christmas once was a time for belonging"
"When carolers sang and went out all ding donging"
"It's now just a season for retail and sales"
"Where people just eat and they look like beached whales"
So Santa sat back and he thought  what to do
How could I make Christmas Special, can I make it brand new"
He then said "I've got it, I'll bring back the elves"
"I'll make stuff on consignment and I'll fill the shelves"
"I'll go out on tour signing books to mend fences
"All the money I make will help drop my expenses
"The toys will stay dangerous, that never will change"
"But, I'll make less noisy guns and I;ll reduce their range"
"I'll advertise Christmas....yes that's what I'll do"
"I'll do it up as a sequel....Call it Christmas Part Two"
And he rose from his chair and he said with a grin
"I'm off now to China to fire ten guys named Chin"
And those lawyers all heard as he flew away East,
"Who'd have thought three small presents would create such a beast?"
Stu Harley Sep 2014
what heart
contains several
cold dark and
empty shelves
without
any groceries
to place
apon them nor
food on the table
while
empty shelves of
the heart
still remain

— The End —