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somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
st64 Feb 2014
“I know you're tired but come, this is the way...

In your light, I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you,
but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.”*        ― Rumi


1.
“You and I have spoken all these words, but for the way we have to go, words are no preparation. I have one small drop of knowing in my soul.
Let it dissolve in your ocean.

A mountain keeps an echo deep inside. That's how I hold your voice.”
― Rumi


2.
“Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.
Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.”   ― Rumi


3.
“The way of love is not
a subtle argument.

The door there
is devastation.

Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?

They fall, and falling,
they're given wings.”                          ― Rumi


4.
“The morning wind spreads its fresh smell. We must get up and take that in, that wind that lets us live. Breathe before it's gone.

Sorrow prepares you for joy.
It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow.
Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their
place.”                                     ― Rumi


5.
“You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave till it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal.
Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”
― Rumi, The Essential Rumi


6.
“You think you are alive
because you breathe air?
Shame on you,
that you are alive in such a limited way.
Don't be without Love,
so you won't feel dead.
Die in Love
and stay alive forever.

I want to see you.
Know your voice.

Recognise you when you
first come 'round the corner.

Sense your scent when I come
into a room you've just left.

Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.

Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.

I want to know the joy
of how you whisper
“more”...                                                       ­     ― Rumi


7.
“When you go through a hard period,
When everything seems to oppose you,
... When you feel you cannot even bear one more minute,
NEVER GIVE UP!
Because it is the time and place that the course will divert!

The cure for pain is in the pain.
In Silence, there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.

The truth was a mirror in the hands of God. It fell, and broke into pieces. Everybody took a piece of it, and they looked at it and thought they had the truth.”                                       ― Rumi


8.
“Study me as much as you like, you will not know me, for I differ in a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see.

Moonlight floods the whole sky from horizon to horizon;
How much it can fill your room depends on its windows.”
― Rumi, The Essential Rumi


9.
“Keep walking, though there's no place to get to.
Don't try to see through the distances.
That's not for human beings. Move within,
But don't move the way fear makes you move.

If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?

Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.”   ― Rumi


10.
“Do you know what you are?
You are a manuscript oƒ a divine letter.
You are a mirror reflecting a noble face.
This universe is not outside of you.
Look inside yourself;
everything that you want,
you are already that.”
― Rumi, Hush, Don't Say Anything to God: Passionate Poems of Rumi



11.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing, there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.

What you seek, is seeking you.”                             ― Rumi


12.
“The lion is most handsome when looking for food.

Pain is a treasure, for it contains mercies.
Love comes with a knife, not some shy question, and not with fears for its reputation!

I am your moon and your moonlight too
I am your flower garden and your water too
I have come all this way, eager for you
Without shoes or shawl
I want you to laugh
To **** all your worries
To love you
To nourish you.”                                          ― Rumi


13.
“I was dead, then alive.
Weeping, then laughing.

The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.”                        ― Rumi


14.
“Suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy.

Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair.. come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.

But listen to me. For one moment - quit being sad. Hear blessings
dropping their blossoms
around you.

I closed my mouth and spoke to you in a hundred silent ways.”
― Rumi


15.
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don't go back to sleep!

These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.”
― Rumi, The Essential Rumi



16.
“Like a sculptor, if necessary,
carve a friend out of stone.
Realise that your inner sight is blind
and try to see a treasure in everyone.”                    ― Rumi


17.
“Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absent-minded. Someone sober will worry about things going badly. Let the lover be.

There are lovers content with longing.
I’m not one of them.”    ― Rumi, The Essential Rumi


18.
“There is a secret medicine given only to those who hurt so hard they can't hope.
The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.

You were born with potential.
You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness.
You were born with wings.
You are not meant for crawling, so don't.
You have wings.
Learn to use them and fly.”          ― Rumi


19.
“Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.

Inside you, there’s an artist you don’t know about… say yes quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe.”
― Rumi


20.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”     ― Rumi





"On a day
when the wind is perfect,
the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty.
Today is such a day.”
                                               ― Rumi






S T – 25 feb 14
Rumi - born to native Persian speaking parents in 1207.
Died 1273 AD.
Rumi (an evolutionary thinker) believed passionately in the use of music, poetry and dance as a path for reaching God.
Madisen Kuhn Jul 2018
why do i crumble
fall into pieces of
oats and sugar
something beautiful
in a white bowl, but
a mess on the floor
when i wake up
in an empty house
why do i wither like
brown leaves
under brand new and
borrowed boots atop
autumn sidewalks
when i’m alone,
i’m alone,
i’m alone
it is not enough
to eat breakfast
however small
to wash my hair with
coconut milk
to not step out into
the busy street;
i freeze before the ice
touches me
i do not allow
the chance to warm
my own hands
i lie down, on
***** sheets,
and wait for someone
anyone
anything
to awaken me
A Kallakuri Mar 2015
So he said to me one night
Submissive is not what's right
He said to me one day
You've to command and make your way
You cannot be quiet
You cant be a riot
You have to be you
And not let destroy'it

He calls me his friend
Say, when will this end?
He says he don't care
It goes beyond repair

He says I mean nothing
Without the slightest grieve
"You are my closest"
Oh, I wouldn't like to believe

But I've known better
And not made up a pile
Fed it to the skies
Never failed to smile

I've grown as a human
I've grown as a friend
He's been a pillar
The crave will never end

He's helped me in ways
Helped find my forte
He's helped me mature
Never enough to sway

But now that he's changed
I'm hit by numbing rain
Now that all's deranged
Major bouts will reign.
Made me good, and became bad.
A Thomas Hawkins Aug 2010
Is it wrong to want to see you
to know just where we stand
To take a walk along the beach
together hand in hand.

To talk about each other
and say just what we feel
about this and that and everything
just the thought seems so surreal

Is it possible to find someone
who's both a lover and a friend
As our boundaries of discussion
have no limits, have no end

And that for me, well its a first
to be so open, laid so bare
yet without slightest hesitation
we let ourselves be guided there

I cant help but think and wonder,
as I sit here on the sand
when we'll walk here together
you and I just hand in hand.
Follow me on Twitter @athomashawkins
http://twitter.com/athomashawkins
Jasmine Marie Aug 2012
Your caress is silky and creamy like butter
And my darling, I'm afraid that your lingering touch will give me diabetes
Your heart crumbles like flour when I press mine against it
And beads of sugar hang like dew upon your lashes

Maybe if I blended you up into cookie dough
And baked you at 350 for 15 minutes until you were golden brown
Then I wouldn't be afraid to stroke your resplendent face

Perhaps I wouldn't wince at the thought of pressing my ear against your chest
Just to hear your confectionary heart quiver
And there wouldn't be the slightest trepidation when I kissed your intoxicating tears

But I'm afraid that I'll leave you in for too long
And your saccharine core will harden and reek of soot
And with the slightest touch, you'll be reduced to ash
And your cremated remains will get frightened at the accusatory wail of the smoke detector
And they'll seek refuge in my oven's crevices
Never to be seen again
I felt a need to write again today and so, shazam, poetry.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
As a woman, and in the service of my Lord the Emperor Wu, my life is governed by his command. At twenty I was summoned to this life at court and have made of it what I can, within the limitations of the courtesan I am supposed to be, and the poet I have now become. Unlike my male counterparts, some of whom have lately found seclusion in the wilderness of rivers and mountains, I have only my personal court of three rooms and its tiny garden and ornamental pond. But I live close to the surrounding walls of the Zu-lin Gardens with its astronomical observatories and bold attempts at recreating illusions of celebrated locations in the Tai mountains. There, walking with my cat Xi-Lu in the afternoons, I imagine a solitary life, a life suffused with the emptiness I crave.
 
In the hot, dry summer days my maid Mei-Lim and I have sought a temporary retreat in the pine forests above Lingzhi. Carried in a litter up the mountain paths we are left in a commodious hut, its open walls making those simple pleasures of drinking, eating and sleeping more acute, intense. For a few precious days I rest and meditate, breathe the mountain air and the resinous scents of the trees. I escape the daily commerce of the court and belong to a world that for the rest of the year I have to imagine, the world of the recluse. To gain the status of the recluse, open to my male counterparts, is forbidden to women of the court. I am woman first, a poet and calligrapher second. My brother, should he so wish, could present a petition to revoke his position as a man of letters, an official commentator on the affairs of state. But he is not so inclined. He has already achieved notoriety and influence through his writing on the social conditions of town and city. He revels in a world of chatter, gossip and intrigue; he appears to fear the wilderness life.  
 
I must be thankful that my own life is maintained on the periphery. I am physically distant from the hub of daily ceremonial. I only participate at my Lord’s express command. I regularly feign illness and fatigue to avoid petty conflict and difficulty. Yet I receive commissions I cannot waver: to honour a departed official; to celebrate a son’s birth to the Second Wife; to fulfil in verse my Lord’s curious need to know about the intimate sorrows of his young concubines, their loneliness and heartache.
 
Occasionally a Rhapsody is requested for an important visitor. The Emperor Wu is proud to present as welcome gifts such poetic creations executed in fine calligraphy, and from a woman of his court. Surely a sign of enlightment and progress he boasts! Yet in these creations my observations are parochial: early morning frost on the cabbage leaves in my garden; the sound of geese on their late afternoon flight to Star Lake; the disposition of the heavens on an Autumn night. I live by the Tao of Lao-Tzu, perceiving the whole world from my doorstep.
 
But I long for the reclusive life, to leave this court for my family’s estate in the valley my peasant mother lived as a child. At fourteen she was chosen to sustain the Emperor’s annual wish for young girls to be groomed for concubinage. Like her daughter she is tall, though not as plain as I; she put her past behind her and conceded her adolescence to the training required by the court. At twenty she was recommended to my father, the court archivist, as second wife. When she first met this quiet, dedicated man on the day before her marriage she closed her eyes in blessing. My father taught her the arts of the library and schooled her well. From her I have received keen eyes of jade green and a prestigious memory, a memory developed she said from my father’s joy of reading to her in their private hours, and before she could read herself. Each morning he would examine her to discover what she had remembered of the text read the night before. When I was a little child she would quote to me the Confucian texts on which she had been ****** schooled, and she then would tell me of her childhood home. She primed my imagination and my poetic world with descriptions of a domestic rural life.
 
Sometimes in the arms of my Lord I have freely rhapsodized in chusi metre these delicate word paintings of my mother’s home. She would say ‘We will walk now to the ruined tower beside the lake. Listen to the carolling birds. As the sparse clouds move across the sky the warm sun strokes the winter grass. Across the deep lake the forests are empty. Now we are climbing the narrow steps to the platform from which you and I will look towards the sun setting in the west. See the shadows are lengthening and the air becomes colder. The blackbird’s solitary song heralds the evening.  Look, an owl glides silently beneath us.’
 
My Lord will then quote from Hsieh Ling-yun,.
 
‘I meet sky, unable to soar among clouds,
face a lake, call those depths beyond me.’
 
And I will match this quotation, as he will expect.
 
‘Too simple-minded to perfect Integrity,
and too feeble to plough fields in seclusion.’
 
He will then gaze into my eyes in wonder that this obscure poem rests in my memory and that I will decode the minimal grammar of these early characters with such poetry. His characters: Sky – Bird – Cloud – Lake – Depth. My characters: Fool – Truth – Child – Winter field – Isolation.
 
Our combined invention seems to take him out of his Emperor-self. He is for a while the poet-scholar-sage he imagines he would like to be, and I his foot-sore companion following his wilderness journey. And then we turn our attention to our bodies, and I surprise him with my admonitions to gentleness, to patience, to arousing my pleasure. After such poetry he is all pleasure, sensitive to the slightest touch, and I have my pleasure in knowing I can control this powerful man with words and the stroke of my fingertips rather than by delicate youthful beauty or the guile and perverse ingenuity of an ****** act. He is still learning to recognise the nature and particularness of my desires. I am not as his other women: who confuse pleasure with pain.
 
Thoughts of my mother. Without my dear father, dead ten years, she is a boat without a rudder sailing on a distant lake. She greets each day as a gift she must honour with good humour despite the pain of her limbs, the difficulty of walking, of sitting, of eating, even talking. Such is the hurt that governs her ageing. She has always understood that my position has forbidden marriage and children, though the latter might be a possibility I have not wished it and made it known to my Lord that it must not be. My mother remains in limbo, neither son or daughter seeking to further her lineage, she has returned to her sister’s home in the distant village of her birth, a thatched house of twenty rooms,
 
‘Elms and willows shading the eaves at the back,
and, in front,  peach and plum spread wide.
 
Villages lost across mist-haze distances,
Kitchen smoke drifting wide-open country,
 
Dogs bark deep among the back roads out here
And cockerels crow from mulberry treetops.
 
My esteemed colleague T’ao Ch’ien made this poetry. After a distinguished career in government service he returned to the life of a recluse-farmer on his family farm. Living alone in a three-roomed hut he lives out his life as a recluse and has endured considerable poverty. One poem I know tells of him begging for food. His world is fields-and-gardens in contrast to Hsieh Ling-yin who is rivers-and-mountains. Ch’ien’s commitment to the recluse life has brought forth words that confront death and the reality of human experience without delusion.
 
‘At home here in what lasts, I wait out life.’
 
Thus my mother waits out her life, frail, crumbling more with each turning year.
 
To live beyond the need to organise daily commitments due to others, to step out into my garden and only consider the dew glistening on the loropetalum. My mind is forever full of what is to be done, what must be completed, what has to be said to this visitor who will today come to my court at the Wu hour. Only at my desk does this incessant chattering in the mind cease, as I move my brush to shape a character, or as the needle enters the cloth, all is stilled, the world retreats; there is the inner silence I crave.
 
I long to see with my own eyes those scenes my mother painted for me with her words. I only know them in my mind’s eye having travelled so little these past fifteen years. I look out from this still dark room onto my small garden to see the morning gathering its light above the rooftops. My camellia bush is in flower though a thin frost covers the garden stones.
 
And so I must imagine how it might be, how I might live the recluse life. How much can I jettison? These fine clothes, this silken nightgown beneath the furs I wrap myself in against the early morning air. My maid is sleeping. Who will make my tea? Minister to me when I take to my bed? What would become of my cat, my books, the choice-haired brushes? Like T’ao Ch’ien could I leave the court wearing a single robe and with one bag over my shoulders? Could I walk for ten days into the mountains? I would disguise myself as a man perhaps. I am tall for a woman, and though my body flows in broad curves there are ways this might be assuaged, enough perhaps to survive unmolested on the road.
 
Such dreams! My Lord would see me returned within hours and send a servant to remain at my gate thereafter. I will compose a rhapsody about a concubine of standing, who has even occupied the purple chamber, but now seeks to relinquish her privileged life, who coverts the uncertainty of nature, who would endure pain and privation in a hut on some distant mountain, who will sleep on a mat on its earth floor. Perhaps this will excite my Lord, light a fire in his imagination. As though in preparation for this task I remove my furs, I loose the knot of my silk gown. Naked, I reach for an old under shift letting it fall around my still-slender body and imagine myself tying the lacings myself in the open air, imagine making my toilet alone as the sun appears from behind a distant mountain on a new day. My mind occupies itself with the tiny detail of living thus: bare feet on cold earth, a walk to nearby stream, the gathering of berries and mountain herbs, the making of fire, the washing of my few clothes, imagining. Imagining. To live alone will see every moment filled with the tasks of keeping alive. I will become in tune with my surroundings. I will take only what I need and rely on no one. Dreaming will end and reality will be the slug on my mat, the bone-chilling incessant mists of winter, the thorn in the foot, the wild winds of autumn. My hands will become stained and rough, my long limbs tanned and scratched, my delicate complexion freckled and wind-pocked, my hair tied roughly back. I will become an animal foraging on a dank hillside. Such thoughts fill me with deep longing and a ****** desire to be tzu-jan  - with what surrounds me, ablaze with ****** self.
 
It is not thought the custom of a woman to hold such desires. We are creatures of order and comfort. We do not live on the edge of things, but crave security and well-being. We learn to endure the privations of being at the behest of others. Husbands, children, lovers, our relatives take our bodies to them as places of comfort, rest and desire. We work at maintaining an ordered flow of existence. Whatever our station, mistress or servant we compliment, we keep things in order, whether that is the common hearth or the accounts of our husband’s court. Now my rhapsody begins:
 
A Rhapsody on a woman wishing to live as a recluse
 
As a lady of my Emperor’s court I am bound in service.
My court is not my own, I have the barest of means.
My rooms are full of gifts I am forced barter for bread.
Though the artefacts of my hands and mind
Are valued and widely renown,
Their commissioning is an expectation of my station,
With no direct reward attached.
To dress appropriately for my Lord’s convocations and assemblies
I am forced to negotiate with chamberlains and treasurers.
A bolt of silk, gold thread, the services of a needlewoman
Require formal entreaties and may lie dormant for weeks
Before acknowledgement and release.
 
I was chosen for my literary skills, my prestigious memory,
Not for my ****** beauty, though I have been called
‘Lady of the most gracious movement’ and
My speaking voice has clarity and is capable of many colours.
I sing, but plainly and without passion
Lest I interfere with the truth of music’s message.
 
Since I was a child in my father’s library
I have sought out the works of those whose words
Paint visions of a world that as a woman
I may never see, the world of the wilderness,
Of rivers and mountains,
Of fields and gardens.
Yet I am denied by my *** and my station
To experience passing amongst these wonders
Except as contrived imitations in the palace gardens.
 
Each day I struggle to tease from the small corner
Of my enclosed eye-space some enrichment
Some elemental thing to colour meaning:
To extend the bounds of my home
Across the walls of this palace
Into the world beyond.
 
I have let it be known that I welcome interviews
With officials from distant courts to hear of their journeying,
To gather word images if only at second-hand.
Only yesterday an emissary recounted
His travels to Stone Lake in the far South-West,
Beyond the gorges of the Yang-tze.
With his eyes I have seen the mountains of Suchan:
With his ears I have heard the oars crackling
Like shattering jade in the freezing water.
Images and sounds from a thousand miles
Of travel are extract from this man’s memory.
 
Such a sharing of experience leaves me
Excited but dismayed: that I shall never
Visit this vast expanse of water and hear
Its wild cranes sing from their floating nests
In the summer moonlight.
 
I seek to disappear into a distant landscape
Where the self and its constructions of the world may
Dissolve away until nothing remains but the no-mind.
My thoughts are full of the practicalities of journeying
Of an imagined location, that lonely place
Where I may be at one with myself.
Where I may delight in the everyday Way,
Myself among mist and vine, rock and cave.
Not this lady of many parts and purposes whose poems must
Speak of lives, sorrow and joy, pleasure and pain
Set amongst personal conflict and intrigue
That in containing these things, bring order to disorder;
Salve the conscience, bathe hurt, soothe sleight.
MalakF Jul 2018
I feel the need to apologise for the way that I am.
I have no control, as if I was a computer programme.
I’m sorry that the slightest thing can shift my mood,
I’m sorry I can be impulsive and have a bad attitude.

This inappropriate anger is not intentional
and I swear to god
I know it’s unacceptable.

My friendships are a rollercoaster,
it’s practically bipolar.
One second I’m all lovey dovey
and the other second it will be as if you were never my buddy.

This is who I am and I hate it.
I’m sorry I’m like this,
I’m sorry I see no bliss.
486

I was the slightest in the House—
I took the smallest Room—
At night, my little Lamp, and Book—
And one Geranium—

So stationed I could catch the Mint
That never ceased to fall—
And just my Basket—
Let me think—I’m sure—
That this was all—

I never spoke—unless addressed—
And then, ’twas brief and low—
I could not bear to live—aloud—
The Racket shamed me so—

And if it had not been so far—
And any one I knew
Were going—I had often thought
How noteless—I could die—
John Jan 2013
Back when I was about ten or eleven, the only friend I had was the most beautiful girl I knew. Her name was Jessica and her and I did everything together. In school we were inseparable, always chit-chatting before, during and after classes. So much so that teachers bestowed upon us the annoying, yet endearing, encompassing nickname of "Jackica" - a combination of our names; Jack and Jessica.
     I was so thankful for her companionship, and thinking back it might have been a pretty uneven relationship, emotionally. I was an overweight and awkward Harry Potter fanboy and she was a cute little auburn-haired thing who could've won any Miss America Junior competition in the world, as far as I was concerned. She had the most piercing powder blue eyes. The kind that made my skin tingle and mouth curl up into a stupid smile at any given moment. I felt like she saw me, like she really saw ME. Not the blubbery flesh that coated my muscle and bones but what I was made of, the real me. And I loved her for that.
     Along with Jessica's physical blessings, she was also given an insatiable appetite for adventure. She loved to go to the park at night,  after the gates were locked and when everything was drenched in darkness. We'd hop the five foot chain-link fence and roam around the grounds. We'd go the water at the edge of the park and sit on the rocks, look up at the stars and take turns telling stories to each other with intent to scare the **** out of the other one.
     One humid night in mid-June, Jessica told a story that succeeded in making my skin-crawl. She always told decent scary stories, she was gifted in the art of fabricating tales of fright right on the spot, but this story really got to my core for some reason. I just felt uneasy as the words spilled from her mouth to my ears and with each sentence my muscles tightened and strained just from the mere tone of her voice as she told the story. She sounded serious, and she rarely did, even when telling these stories, but with this particular one it sounded like she really believed what she was saying was cold, hard truth.
     What she said was that she heard a story that her older brother's girlfriend had told her. It was about a house on the outskirts of town, placed just a few hundred yards from the mouth of the woods that lined our little suburban utopia. She went on to say that in the house was nothing all that scary. She said it was an old house, a very old house, as it was a log cabin that was built in the 1700s, when the town was first being settled. Supposedly, everything in the house was just as it was back then, little kerosene lamps sitting on home-mad oak tables. The maple-wood floors would moan and creak at the slightest hint of any weight being put on them. And then she said that no one had lived in the house since the man who built it died, around 1785.
     Needless to say, Jessica wrapped up the story by proclaiming that we had to find the house. And we had to go inside and see for ourselves what was so creepy about it. Being the scared, chubby little wimp that I was, I immediately rejected the idea. There was no way I was going to try to find a place that would only succeed in making me **** my pants in front of a girl, especially the one whom I'd placed the delusional label of "future girlfriend" on.  But, as I subconsciously expected, Jessica talked me into it with just a few graceful words: "I'll kiss you if you come with me."
    
     The very next Saturday night, Jessica and I put on some dark jeans and t-shirts and took the bus all the way to the last stop, the edge of town. We hopped off and right in front of the stop the woods were already waiting, I took a deep breath as Jessica's eyes lit up. She took my hand and pulled me as she ran, me clumsily waddling along behind her all the way to a little dirt pathway that paved the only marked entrance we could see. She asked me if I was ready and I shrugged, saying something like "I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be." And so we started down the path. As the tall trees swayed in the wind, I dragged my feet with  Jessica always about five feet ahead of me, as eager as ever. We walked for probably ten or twenty minutes before the foot of the cabin was before us.
     At first sight, it was a very old structure. I'd never seen anything like it outside of paintings in my history textbook and this Abe Lincoln documentary I saw on PBS. I never knew houses like that stood the test of time. But there it was before me, two stories high with wooden shutters clad in severely chipped paint and a big oak door that looked stronger than any door I'd ever seen. Jessica took my hand again, smiled enchantingly and rushed me forward.
     Once at the door, I was speechless. It didn't look as old as the rest of the house and whoever made it obviously meant for it to last a very long time, taking extreme care in carving it out impeccably and sanding it until it shined with a professional touch. Without a word, Jessica rapped on the door. Three hard times, and when no one answered after thirty seconds, she rapped again, and again. She shrugged and turned to me, asked if we should just go in. I said no and she frowned.
     "There's no way we came this far just to go back home with nothing," and then she wrapped her hand around the rusted doorknob and turned.
     The door opened with no hesitation as she pushed it all the way in. She stepped inside, and I followed. The first thing I noticed inside the cabin was the creaking floors. They creaked louder and longer with each step, affirming that part of the story, making my blood run cold. We looked around, going from room to room with wide eyes. We were amazed that we made it, that we got inside and now we were actually investigating a place that no one else supposedly had gone before. Truth be told, though, it was nothing special. There wasn't much at all to see, save for a few tables, the creaking floors and some very old paintings on the wall. We were just leaving when we noticed something on a table nearest the big oak door. It was a metal box with a small lock fastened to the front of it.
     "We have to open it," Jessica proclaimed after a second of curious inspection.
     "There's no way were going to find the key," I told her.
     "So we'll break the lock, Jack. Duh," she replied in her sassiest tone.
     I just shook my head as she grabbed the box and began to furiously slam it in the wooden table. The sound echoed through the house, exacerbating it and making me shiver from head to toe.
     "I don't know if you should keep-" but my sentence was cut off my the lock flying off the box and clinking onto the floor below.
Jessica smiled again, very pleased with herself and looked to me.
     "Wonder what's inside...," She said, lifting the top half of the box open.
     After an initial and cough-inducing puff of thick dust subsided, the contents of the box were revealed. It was a letter, written on old-school parchment in heavy ink. In neatly laid Victorian script, the likes of which I had never seen so simultaneously neat and scattered, like it was written in a hurry or during a time of distress, was a love letter. Well, a kind of love letter. It was addressed to a woman named Tania and it was signed by a William. It told the story of how William had loved Tania since they were children, and Tania was now to be married to a Pastor named Hensley. William told Tania how he couldn't bear the thought of her ever being with anyone else and that the fact that she could never truly be his was killing him. Literally. He ended the note by confessing his plan to **** himself.
     I took a step back, but Jessica just stood at the table with her eyes glued to the crumbling parchment in her hands.
     "I'm leaving," I said after a few moments, mulling over the sorrow that this poor man must've felt. I headed out the door, Jessica following. The walk back through the woods to the bus stop I couldn't get this feeling of dread from subsiding. It seemed like I felt what William felt, but not in a sympathetic sort of way. It felt like I was William and the pain he felt was actually my pain. And then I noticed that, rolled up tightly in her fist, Jessica had taken the letter with her.
     "Why'd you take that," I said, sounding thoroughly upset. "That's not yours to take, go bring it back!"
     "No way. There was no way I was going there and coming back with nothing to show for it," she said, gripping the letter tightly, her knuckles almost whitening.
     I knew how stubborn Jessica could be and I knew whatever I said probably wouldn't even phase her in the slightest so I did what I did best and just shrugged it off. I found myself wishing I could shrug off the terrible feeling the letter put deep inside me just as easily as I could Jessica's stubbornness.

     Over time, Jessica and I lost touch, as kids of that age often do. I grew up, lost weight and opened up, making more friends and acquaintances, no longer hanging onto the thought of Jessica being my only love. I didn't talk to Jessica all that much. Just once in a while we'd meet up and have a chat over some coffee or pizza. We had both changed and morphed into young adults with different agendas and dreams and I had no problem with that. But on one such meeting, Jessica began to worry me. She said that every now and then she'd open her desk drawer and take the piece of parchment out and read it. Over and over again. And lately, she had been opening the drawer more and more, she said that she felt drawn to it. Like something about it made her feel this deep-seated dread that no horror movie or scary story had ever made her feel. She said that she felt like the letter was beginning to take a toll on her. And, by the look of her, it didn't seem like she was lying or kidding around like she always used to love to do. She had dark circles underneath her once striking eyes, which were now darker and had taken on an odd and ominous color. I was scared for her. And I told her so but she hugged me and assured me she was alright. I wanted to believe her, and I tried to, hugging her back and telling her I'd talk to her soon. But when she turned her back I knew something was very wrong.

     I'm writing this now because a few weeks ago Jessica's mom gave me a call. When her number came up on my cell phone, I think I knew, deep down, e actor why I was getting this call but I pushed the thought away and said hello. Jessica's mother called to tell me that a few days before Jessica had gone missing. The only indication to her whereabouts was a note she left with the words "cabin at the edge of town", and below that, instructions on how to get there. Her mother said she took the note and hopped in her car immediately, and made it to the cabin. She said she was breathless by the time she got to the cabin but forged on and barged inside and looked around. She said she found nothing and was about to leave when she noticed a small door behind the big oak door she had swung open to get inside. She opened the little door to find a stairwell. She climbed it, calling Jessica's name all the way, sobbing and wiping tears from her eyes. At the top of the stairs was the attic. And she said she almost died herself when she saw Jessica. She was hanging from a wooden rafter on the ceiling. And next to her was a severely decayed skeleton, dangling from a rope only a few inches away.
It's definitely more of a short story but I felt obligated to post it here for some reason.
Izzy Jul 2017
First Minutes
The discovery sinks in as we spring into action
Adrenaline kicks in, heart pounding, blood rushing.
My mind confusedly putting pieces together.
First Few Hours
Calls are made to paramedics and cops and investigators swarm our house.
Our car goes faster than what is safe as we follow the ambulance as it carried what we would later learn was only her body and a few dedicated paramedics.
A time of death is announced and more tearful calls are made, this time to family and later to friends.
We leave hours later surrounded by a mournful silence.
First Day
We sat on the on the couch in a shocked silence, which was only broken by my calls to her friends, the ringing of the house phone and doorbell.
First Week
The silence was deafening and I had to escape.
So I returned to school after making arrangements with my family for the cremation and shedding my own tears for the first time. I caught the last two classes of the day and began burying myself in my classwork after telling those who needed to know.
First Month
Our own questions were behind every turn as we handled finances, possessions, settling things and celebrating her short life.  
I began to tell more and more of my friends.
Second Month
The pain was still fresh and stinging,
My mother returned to work for the first time.
Third Month
I held back my tears in English.
The play we read reminding me of her and running lines with her the previous year.
Fourth Month
I let it get to me while locked in my room, wishing it was my boyfriend's arms around me instead of my paint-stained jacket as I painted the canvas as black as I was feeling.
Recording my tears for him and watching how he hid his own watery eyes the next day in class as I honored our promise.
Her birthday passed and my mother planted flowers.
Fifth Month
After an uneventful spring break, my dad began staying home from work, unable to handle the weight of his thoughts.
Sixth Month
School ended and summer began and for the first time in what was now fourteen years, I didn't have a sister. I was alone.
Seventh Month
Slowly but surely the pain faded, with the help of scattered therapists, counselors, and mountains of support from family and friends. Summer traditions continued but were never the same.
Eighth Month
The weight of her absence doesn’t rest on my shoulders as heavy anymore.
Ink stains me with her memory. The pain I felt, saw and personified over many pages as we still face it.
My father has returned to work as we each learn to deal with the missing piece of our family in our own ways.
Ninth Month
School begins.
It's my junior year and school is starting for the first time since 3rd grade without my sister. My mother would always take a "first-day" picture, the tradition faded when we attended different schools. Maybe it wasn't so annoying after all.
Tenth Month
It's October, my, our, favorite month. Lost memories run through my head along with missed opportunities. Did we even carve pumpkins last year? Last year we argued about passing out candy but both ended up falling asleep. When was the last time we went to the County Fair? The Mullet Festival? Missed opportunities for silly reasons.
Eleventh Month
The Holiday season is kicking off. Soon it will be Thanksgiving. Her absence is noticeable as I stand amongst my family and celebrate. The only ones who don't ignore it are the little ones, repeatedly asking where she is as the grownups look uncomfortable. I don't know what to tell them.
Twelveth Month
The Holidays are in full swing and I can't help but think of the last one we all spent together. She passed before Christmas. They aren't the same anymore.

One Year
Its hard to believe that a year has passed without her. Her room is the same as if shes just at school. We spent the anniversary doing things she enjoyed, like taking the family dog to the beach and sharing cotton candy.
We haven't moved on, not in the slightest. My mother still cries, I don't think she'll ever stop. But as the days pass I can see how it gets easier and easier for my family to be happy again.
nish Jul 2018
you make a wish
upon a star
but little do you know
another being, far away
is wishing on it too

perhaps there is
the slightest chance
both wish for one same thing
like ending hunger, poverty
lack of education
or economic stability

but each of us
will take the time
wishing for our own

all i know is human nature
differs prayer from a wish
when we pray, we ask that god
bless all that is amiss
but when we wish upon a star
all thought for others leave
we wish only for ourselves
its what we've come to be.
for wishes seem so magical
and give our childish hearts some hope.
PROLOGUE
I can’t believe I’m doing this. I should say something. No. This is the easiest way… the right way to say goodbye. Who am I kidding? This is definitely not the right way to say goodbye. I twist my key in the door; it’s always been a ****** to lock. After I manage it, I turn and set off down my street. The Parcel sitting in my crossed arms. I feel calm today. Unusually calm. I can’t figure out if it’s because it was my birthday yesterday and I am now 17, because it’s my favourite weather (sunny with a slight breeze) or because in 24 hours, I won’t be here to feel it anymore. I try to look confident as I walk into the post office. Non-suspicious. I don’t want the post-office lady thinking I look suicidal, breaking into my parcel, then calling the loony-bin and throwing me in there. “No-one cares enough to do that” I remind myself under my breath. I jump when the bell goes off as I open the door. ****. I forgot about that. Luckily, there is no-one at the counter to see my little moment that I am sure made me look more than on-edge, and I have to hit the bell twice before the short, wispy haired woman pops her head around the corner, followed by her unhealthily-large body. I place the parcel on the counter and tell her I need it delivered first class, so that it reaches where I need it to first thing tomorrow morning. I’ve only ever been in here once before; to post a letter to my brother’s primary school, pretending to be my Mum allowing him a day off school. I was full of excitement that day, making all of these plans in my head for what we would do on our ‘adventure day’. I can’t make any plans today. After the woman has taken my parcel, I turn and walk back out the door, taking note of the bell again. I realise that this may be one of the last noticeable sounds I hear.


LETTER 1
Ok, so you’ve seen the return name and address on this envelope, so you know who this is from and you are probably definitely wondering why I’ve sent you this… So before you read on, let me explain. I’m writing to you because we aren’t very close, and you can listen and understand what I have to say, without being objective to anything. You don’t know me very well, but I know you. I’ve watched you in class and seen how you are and the way you do things, and it inspires (sorry) inspired me. I don’t mean to be blunt, but everyone knows about what happened to you… well, yeah... But, I just want to ask, how did you deal with that? How did you manage to stay so strong even at the worst of times? I couldn’t, and my problems shouldn’t have even been in the same district of pain as yours. I wish I could have come to you earlier... I know you will be thinking that. ‘Why ask me this now that it’s too late?’ but I made my decision a long time ago and I just wanted you to know all of this, even now that you can’t answer me any of it. You see, things just got too much. And I know people say that all the time. But I really can’t handle being inside my head anymore. It’s hard to make sense of anything at all, everything is just so confusing. It’s like, I have the sense in my head that is telling me what is logical and right, but it is completely drowned out by all the other **** that tells me otherwise. And I can’t do it anymore. I’m so sick of being confused and miserable. I just want to die. And by the time you read this letter, I will have done.
The thought of suicide first entered my head about two years ago now. It was always more of a back-of-the-mind thought, never a solid plan; until a couple of months ago. That was when I decided it needed to be done. But timing was hard to plan. I knew that whenever I did it, it would rip my family apart, but I don’t want to talk about that too much in this letter. It’s not something I need to bore you with the details on. Basically, I’ve been procrastinating to try and make it easier on my family. Yes that’s naïve. I know. But not a lot of my thoughts are too rational at the moment. Ha. I guess since I decided, things have been a little easier in some ways… everyday things. The things I hate, I just keep thinking, another month and I’ll never have to face this again. I’ll be gone. But, it did make some things harder. My family trying to make plans with me for some point in the future, for example. I’ve just ended up with a huge reluctance to make any plans; to give anyone hope but it’s so hard and it’s breaking my heart to do that. I can’t bring myself to tell my little brother I won’t be able to make his football matches anymore, or see him start high school. It’s just that the idea of death is just so… relieving I guess. I’ll never have to experience confusion or hurt or misery again. But that comes at the price of giving up anything else. I decided it was worth that price a long time ago.
Sorry for going on about things that you probably don’t actually have any interest in. I don’t mean that in a malicious way, I just mean, genuinely, you don’t know me that well so why would you want to know the details behind my suicide? I just needed someone to tell the complete truth to, someone that it wasn’t going to hurt.
Anyway, I need you to do me a huge favour. In the package you found this letter, you’ll find 4 more, each in separate envelopes. They are named, addressed and stamped, and all I need you to do is post them for me. I’m sure you’ll be pretty confused to why I couldn’t have posted them myself, but the thing is, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. And I trust you. Which leads to my next point, I trust that you won’t read the letters, but I want to ask you not to, just in case.
Thanks for listening; I hope it doesn’t take too long for my spot to be replaced in class… That has to be a little morbid. Ha.


LETTER 2
Hey buddy. I know you’re gonna be really confused right about now… And probably pretty angry with me for leaving you. But it’s gonna be ok little man, I promise it is. Before I do any explaining, I need you to promise me you’ll look after Mum and Dad, at least for a while. Things are gonna be pretty tough for a bit, but you’re gonna be the little hero of the house and you need to keep joking and laughing just like you do now. Give Mum and Dad a reason to smile, ok? For me. I don’t want to ever find out that you’ve changed. Not in the slightest. You’ve always made me smile, even when I’ve been sad, and now you need to do the same for Mum and Dad.
So, I’ll try explaining. You see, as people get older, things get very stressful. And some people, like you, are little tanks and can work your way through those stresses. But I’m not one of those people. And I’m so sorry. I’ve just been really sad for quite a long time now, and I want you to always remember that I’ll be happier up in heaven. I know how selfish that is, leaving everyone just so I’m happy, but as you get older I’m sure you’ll start to understand. But please just remember that I haven’t disappeared, I’m just up in the clouds now, and I’m gonna be watching down on you and looking after you still. No-one is ever gonna mess with my brother and get away with it, ok?
Do you remember that time I picked you up from school and I wasn’t in my uniform so you knew I’d been skiving? And you could tell by my face that I’d been crying so you just hugged me and told me not to worry because you wouldn’t tell Mum and Dad I’d skipped school. And then we went for ice cream and I chased you round the park. I was thinking about that earlier today. You’ve always been able to make me laugh, and make things feel better. You’re such a strong little man, and I’ve never seen anything hurt you. So I hope you can stay strong for me now.
You’re my little hero, and I hope you can forgive me one day. I’m so sorry buddy.
I’ll always be here, and love you.
Your big sis x


LETTER 3
Hey Dad. I’m so sorry. So, so sorry. I know I’ve left you with probably the biggest job of them all. It’s gonna fall on you to look after everyone now and I know that’s going to make this even harder for you. I’ve always looked up to you y’know? Even with all the times you embarrassed, or to phrase it better, completely and totally humiliated me. Like when you first met my boyfriend and you practically interrogated him. Jesus, I was not impressed. But all in all, you’ve always been the more laid back parent; i.e. the one that let me have a little more to drink than I should have at 14. So than-you for having fun with me, and I’m sorry for throwing it back in your face like this.
You deserve an explanation. I can’t narrow it down to any specific events, but I really haven’t been happy Dad. I’ve tried so hard to ignore it, or to solve it. But the thing is, it’s been so confusing trying to figure out what was wrong with me… And so tiring. And I don’t want to do it anymore. I just want to rest and be at peace. You have no idea how hard it is to say goodbye, but I need to do it; for me. I’m so sorry for lying to you, and for acting like everything was ok. But I need you to not blame yourself in the slightest. You have made me so happy, so often. Our jokes and the times we have spent together mean so much to me… and you need to know that none of that was ever faked. I want you to remember me as the happy, lively daughter I was. Please. You have made things a lot easier for me and I just wish I could feel like that all the time. It’s when I’m alone that I can’t cope. I wish I could explain it to you better than that, but I can’t even get the thoughts straight in my head, never mind write them down. So I’m sorry for that, too.
I didn’t suffer any pain. You need to know that, too. It was about a month ago I decided to use pills. I did my research and completely knew what I was doing, and trust me, I was in no pain. I chose pills because it would leave me looking relatively normal, and I could do it at home, where I felt the safest. I don’t know who found me, but I want you to give them my greatest apologies. I can’t even imagine… I know these are not the things you want to be hearing, but they are things I need to tell you. I decided when I was gonna do it about 2 months ago. It was one night after I got home from school, before anyone was in. I thought about how easy it would be to just do it then and there, but Mums birthday was coming up, and mine was only 2 months away, so I decided to wait. I think it was in a vague attempt to make it easier on you guys, and to get my birthday out of the way first. At least I would be 17 then, and I suppose I thought a news story of a girl committing suicide at 16 sounded a little melodramatic, so I waited.
And I’m so glad I did. I’ve had the best times with you in these last couple of months. Mums birthday was fantastic; it was so nice having everyone together, but so hard to lie to you all. I’m so sorry. It was a struggle every day to keep going on, but I knew that I wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore if I could just make my ‘deadline’.
Not to put any more pressure on you, but please look after Mum. I’m freaking out about how she is going to deal with this. I can’t explain how horrible and hard this is to write. I feel so guilty. And I can’t deal with it. Just please make sure everyone is ok. I’m just going round in circles here. I know this is going to break your heart Dad, and I’m so, so sorry. I love you so much, and I hope you and Mum can carry on with your lives. Give the little one everything now, and make him the most spoilt, special little boy you can. (Joking, obviously). Ha.
Stay strong for me Daddy; I’ll see you again one day, I’ll always be your little girl x


LETTER 4
Mum. Mummy. I am so sorry I’ve done this to you. It’s heart-breaking writing this letter and this is so surreal knowing this is going to be sent to you. I’m racked with guilt for doing this to you. I love you Mummy, and I always will. You can’t let this ruin a single thing for you ok? You need to get on with your life, and enjoy it. Spoil the little one (as I’ve told Dad; that is a joke) but do make sure he’s as happy as possible.
We’ve always been close, and that’s why this has been so hard to do; to lie to you about. But I had made my decision a while ago; I didn’t want to be here anymore. And I didn’t want to have to deal with you trying to convince me otherwise. I just lost control. I couldn’t keep myself happy, and I relied on other people too much. It wasn’t fair. So I did what was best for me, and for everyone.
You gave me the best send off. My birthday. I was happy that night, for a while at least. And in that time, I almost reconsidered. Almost. But really, I had a great night. I wasn’t expecting anything special; I didn’t think I deserved anything, especially with what I was planning… What I was about to do to you all. But when I opened the door and walked in and you and Dad and the little one and my boyfriend, along with the rest of the family were there, it made me feel happy, and proud to have a family like you. (Speaking of my boyfriend, keep an eye out for him will you? You know how serious we were, and just keep him close by. I want you to all stay close now that I’m gone. You’ll all have your letter, with your little piece of me, and you’ll need each other’s support) Anyway, as I was saying… Acting like everything was gonna be ok that night was hard though. I wanted to tell you so badly that I wasn’t ok, that your baby girl was breaking on the inside. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I didn’t want help. I just wanted to be gone; at peace, finally. I’m sorry that this is the first you will hear of any of this. I can’t imagine how confused you are.
I have a couple of confessions to make before I go. Remember that time you got a call of school, double-checking a hospital appointment for the little one? And you argued with the school office lady for about half an hour, telling her he was definitely in school that day because I vouched for taking him to school that morning, and picking him up? Yeah, that’s not exactly what happened. Let’s just say, we needed a bit of brother-sister bonding, and I took him out for the day. I forced him into it and it was 100% completely my fault… and if I find out he gets in trouble for this, I will haunt you. Sorry. This isn’t the time for jokes.
I love you so much Mum. I’m trying to keep this letter a little more light-hearted, because if I don’t I’m going to break down, and I can’t risk changing my mind. Not when I’ve got this far and have everything planned out this well. This is happening. And I’ve known that it’s been inevitable for a while now. It has just been a case of timing. I hope I got that right.
Please don’t be too angry with me, or find it in your heart to forgive me one last time? I’m always going to be looking out for you, and everyone else of course, but you especially. You’ve been my guardian angel since the day I was born, and now it’s my turn to be yours. You’ve given me everything you possibly could, and you’ve been the best Mum anyone could be. Never take any blame for this. This is just an issue with me personally. And I’m sorry it has to affect you in the biggest way possible.
I will always love you and need you Mum. And I’ll always be your baby girl. X


LETTER 5
Now then you, this is going to be the hardest of all my letters to write. You’ve always made me happy you know? Not once that I’ve been with you have I wanted to do this, it’s just when I’m alone that it gets me. You have given me the most amazing relationship anyone could have asked for, and I know that I haven’t deserved it in the slightest. That’s made it harder I guess. Because as much as I love you, I know you could do so much better than me… ‘The ****** Up Girl’ as your ‘friends’ like to call me. Thank-you for not listening to them, even if what they were saying is true. You’ve always seen the true side of me, and you’ve known how much I’ve struggled getting by. But I still don’t think you would have ever expected this, and I’m truly sorry for that.
First of all, I want to tell you that, without you, this would have happened months ago. You are the main thing that has kept me going, so you should be so happy with yourself for that. I’ve been considering this for about 2 years now, and it’s just that recently, things have been tough with people at school starting to find out how depressed I am. The things people say are horrible. But I don’t want you to mention that to my family. I don
Becky Littmann Aug 2014
Have you ever seen the sun rise?
Witnessed with your own two eyes?
Watching exactly how it went?
Not through someone else's photo captured moment
You'll really enjoy it more if you view it live
& you'll appreciate just being alive

I've watched the sun rise countless mornings
It's like my own private showings
Each one completely different in every way
& the best way to start any day
They're bright & beautiful
Breatakingly blissful

You'll never feel the same once you've experienced it
& so many will never understand the feeling you get
It's hard to explain but I'll do my best
I'd imagine it's like fresh air deepily inhaled into your chest
Your lungs fill up with all the freshness
& you exhale all that causes you stress

Your worries all just disappear
Your mind is calm & clear
It's a feeling that just forever stays
Until your dying days
Joy & happiness is all you release
It is what brings you inner peace

All you care to do now is enjoy everything
No matter the troubles & obstacles life may bring
A happy soul is all you've got & need
Your heart has compassion & optimism is what you bleed
Sharing your smile with all you pass or whoever you meet
That is your favorite way to say hello & greet

All from experiencing a live sun rise happen
That all may seem impossible to imagine
All that out of just a sun rising?
When it happens to you, it IS quite surprising
Shocking at first, you just can't believe how you feel
& you wonder how can this even be real?

If you allow yourself to let go of your worries & any doubt
Then you make room to clearly feel what it's about
You're allowing yourself to be vulnerable
& that's when you become more relatable
Clearing your clouded mind of opinions from useless chatter
Let's you finally enjoy what most may think or say doesn't really matter

Those are the ones who don't pay a lot of attention
& are afraid to get lost in their imagination
Never will they set a foot out of their "safe" box & risk crossing that thin line
It's OK, it's their loss & that's just fine
They'll just never understand your constant positive attitude
& can't recall a time you were even the slightest bit rude

They will never know how to just live happily
Inside their soul will be dying slowly
Some won't see how beautiful a sun rise really is
It's something no one should ever miss
A sun rise & even a sun set
Are too amazing to just forget!!
Josiah Israel Aug 2018
I never sleep, and never will, I hold my breath, quiet, still.

The slightest sound puts me on edge, a snapping twig, a rustling hedge.

It matters not how far I go, how fast I run, how high, how low,

There’s a monster after me…


Huge and hungry, filled with hate, this creature would not hesitate, to slice me up, this is my fate, a pile of parts upon his plate… Yuck!

Fear is the price that I must pay,
For fear is what keeps him away, I tremble softly as I lay, or when I rise throughout the day, I’m terrified, I have to say…

My future frozen by my fear, yet, I know the monsters near!
And if I were to persevere, and let my terror disappear, the monster then  would find me here, and chop me up! That much is clear…

Though some would say that I’m a slave, deep... Alone within this cave,

How can they say that this is slavery, actively avoiding bravery? Don’t they know courage is savory, like some tasty monster gravy?!

And, you may say that I am blind, to think that fear is something kind, that fear keeps monsters far behind, well, it’s worked this far, so I don’t mind…
Fear doesn’t keep monsters away kids, it only keeps you locked up! I wrote this to address my own irrational fears. I think it’s silly that I think being afraid of something, somehow keeps it from happening. ;)
WA West Aug 2018
Airport

Covering my face with my hands, there is an incessant in-pouring of light. I feel like I am in a casket. My brain seems to be swelling, in tune with an invisible pendulum. Waves of nausea flood my body.  Small children thunder around in front of me, like hysterical nightmare projections.

I have never enjoyed being in Airports. They are morgues with an added buzz of visitors and commerce. The sterility of the interior design and the nervous excitability of the passengers sets me very quickly on edge. As a salesman for a major international e-commerce company, I am required to fly often.

To avoid excess stress and anxiety I prepare meticulously. Nothing must be left to chance. I am regimented and purposeful during my preparation. If the luggage allowance is 15kg, then I make sure that my suitcase is dead on that weight. I reweigh my suitcases on several sets of scales. Checking there is no error in their calibration.  I do not carry any prohibited travel items. I ring airline customer support several times to double-check. I rummage through my suitcase repeatedly. I allow no error to go unnoticed. I google articles about travel preparation, checklists, essential travel items and I read articles about anxiety related to fear of flying. Neither my emotional state nor practical matters are to take me by surprise. I am like a samurai undertaking pre-battle rituals.

Check-in is open. I funnel through to the check-in desk. There are several people before me; their movements generate a low pitch buzzing in my head. They are hyper-kinetic, speaking at unreasonably loud volumes in an indecipherable language. My arms vibrate down by my sides, my tongue thickens. I feel warmer and more vulnerable. I start to think about the first meal I’ll eat in Rekyjavik. I have panicked thoughts, recognition of myself in these thoughts is minimal. I swing around to check that nobody is standing directly behind me. The several people check in without issue. A man in all black clothing, I presume, a security guard intercepts me and asks me to go to desk 13. Although there is a sign hanging down from the ceiling with directions to check-in desks 10-15, I am unable to locate desk 13. I double back on myself, I ask the check-in assistant from desk 12 where desk 13 is. She says that it has been temporarily moved to the second floor of the terminal. Desk 13 on the second floor doesn't in the slightest resemble a check-in desk. A burly individual with an absence of ****** expressions or an officious manner mans an oak desk. There is no conveyor belt for the luggage, only a shopping trolley. ''Ermmm can I check in here?''. The man whom lacks an officious manner nods curtly without removing his eyes from the newspaper he is reading. "Documentation''. I hand him my documentation. ''Passport''. ''Going to Reykjavik?'' ''Erm yes''. ‘’Follow me’’.
The man, who lacks an officious manner, leads me a door behind the check-in desk that doesn’t in the slightest resemble a check-in desk. A young child with golden blonde hair in white robes pushes the shopping trolley behind me. We enter a room that is high like a cathedral and tiled in exquisite mosaic tiles; alternating gold and white into infinity. The ceiling is so high it seems to disappear off into a void. Sat down at a bog-standard mass manufactured desk in front of me, is a man who must be at least 13 feet tall, he has enormous ears like an elephant and is speaking in rounds of what sounds like the same phrase. I do not recognise the language. I am ceased from behind by the blonde child and the man who lacks an officious manner. The man with enormous ears like an elephant screams ‘’I hate Iceland’’, the blonde child laughs uncontrollably grabbing his stomach like he is holding his insides in. The ceiling begins to close in and a space opens in the floor. The man who lacks an officious manner says in a sinister tone says ‘’Do you think you would be forgiven”. I say ‘’I have got a ticket, I’m going to Iceland on business’’ I feel a prodding in my lower back and then darkness.
#shortstory #anxiety #Rekyjavik
Joyce Jan 2016
A life so fragile by touch.
A soul so addicted to love.
A mind that needs to unwind.
These eyes are staring blind.
Leaving the past behind.
Lock the pain away.
Trying to feel happy along the way.
Like an ocean deep within.
Feelings of loneliness and fear.
As you whisper in my ear.
Sweet comfort words I need.
To feel safe when my heart bleeds.
Love is such a powerful feeling.
A slightest touch feels so healing.
Lets take the day off and chill out, not stressing soaking up the lords blessings, let's go out tonight enjoy a nice meal unwrap ourselves expose our fun side peel the layers off, relax by a waterfront getting high off the emotions of us, watch fireworks toast a glass of strawberry and cream champagne to celebrate nothing bothering us

Just a night off lets communicate with our bodys flirting with the slightest touch temptation not asking for much, the night is still young so juvnille, let's make it worthwhile no dollar amount a value deal of us just enjoying us do wild stuff like we don't now how to behave ourselves, radiate is our smile viberations of our laughter makes the valley's of our heart shake, sweet lovers a savory taste

  Take the time to enjoy us we been working so much not taking breaks convicted to the grind like tired slaves, not tonight it's date night we haven't had this feeling for a while now, let's takeoff day cater to each other feed both of us grapes do you want to split a cheesesteak?, nothing much just you and us it's date night take the load off
Perched upon a corporate throne,

We march into the great unknown

As wasted words of gossip drone

And steel replaces brick and stone.
Soon you find yourself alone

In crowded streets with a global phone,

Doing a random strangers bidding.



A means to an end they say,

As poor men die while rich men play,

When honest work brings modest pay,

And doesn't last 'em through the day

Though profiteers in moral grey 

Flood the airwaves to in turn say,

"Our wealth simply paves  the way,

Tomorrow is your salvation day,

You want peace? Then war is only fitting."



Look and you will see

Money buys democracy,

The Citizens United, see?

If we knew the truth, would we agree?

Those answers are not  going to be

Yes or no but more likely

Maybe, perhaps, or possibly,

Because in reality,

Right and wrong are just kidding.



To those who fret the plagues we face,
Yet believe we can change this place,
Who stifle doubts about the Human Race,
And yearn to be together in this chase,
With subdued pride and envy, in every case,

Seeking common goals to found the base,

May we lay the evil plots to waste,

For evils clients who once stood are now sitting.



The time is now, make a stand
,
Pull our heads out of the sand

Call their bluff with a hidden hand

Of virtue they don’t quite understand,
Defy procedure’s they have planned
,
Unite across the lines that brand,

Refuse all prejudice, none may be accepted.



Some know for they already looked

And the flow of money keeps them booked,

Takes but once to have them hooked,

Setting the table with food uncooked

For others whose foundations shook

Are pitted against the small time crook

Hoping only that we be protected

.

Hark the sounds of rebellious cries

For those that call, they realize

All that lives sure enough dies
But when displeased we close our eyes

To the masters of disguise

Who think their profit justifies

The invisible hand growing in size

While their strings attached go uncorrected



They kept us quiet all the while

Waiting with numbers dialed

To put the innocent to trial

Lining up in single file

To be cast into the same old pile

None willing to lay down their tile,

Casting shadows upon their guile,

The double agent mercantile,

Lobbying candidates to endorse.



All I ask, is to what do we base belief?

Dying children get no relief

Oil poisons the coral reef

Prophecy of the fallen chief

Given a thought but a bit too brief
Together a tree, alone but a leaf
Although it is all who feel the grief

Of our actions consequential course



Corrupted elites discuss our goals

So we continue to dig our holes

To depths that darken souls

Rigging markets to decide our roles

Assumptions made so that greed controls

They draw their graphs till the pencil dulls

Then add a factor, see how that goes

Without even the slightest feeling of remorse



Growth is sacred, but is it moral?

Strengthen reason yet we quarrel

Over falsities of ***** oral

Arrangements like that of floral

Remedies but not doctoral

Blood of fallen lives pastoral

Remind that we’re all mortal

But all thereafter bear the force.



So please tell me at what cost?

In a moments past our objectives lost

Compassion was our hand now tossed

Lines we’ve drawn, lines we’ve crossed

How much dirt can be washed

From our conscience we exhaust

Before shattering glass of fate we sloshed?

Working from the scattered pieces back to the source



It is us who blindly lead the strut

We are the source and nothing but

Whose center point is one giant rut

Where false desires cracked and cut

And the selfish feed an endless gut,

When our culture begins to split and jut,

We might finally ask... It was all for what?
Inspired by the great Bob Dylan. I refer you to the song “It’s Alright Ma’”
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
I should not have blamed only my father, but,
he was the first to introduce me to
raw and stupid hatred.
he was really best at it: anything and everything made him
mad-things of the slightest consequence brought his hatred quickly
to the surface
and I seemed to be the main source of his
irritation.
I did not fear him
but his rages made me ill at heart
for he was most of my world then
and it was a world of horror but I should not have blamed only
my father
for when I left that... home... I found his counterparts
everywhere: my father was only a small part of the
whole, though he was the best at hatred
I was ever to meet.
but others were very good at it too: some of the
foremen, some of the street bums, some of the women
I was to live with,
most of the women, were gifted at
hating-blaming my voice, my actions, my presence
blaming me
for what they, in retrospect, had failed
at.
I was simply the target of their discontent
and in some real sense
they blamed me
for not being able to rouse them
out of a failed past; what they didn't consider was
that I had my troubles too-most of them caused by
simply living with them.

I am a dolt of a man, easily made happy or even
stupidly happy almost without cause
and left alone I am mostly content.

but I've lived so often and so long with this hatred
that
my only freedom, my only peace is when I am away from
them, when I am anywhere else, no matter where-
some fat old waitress bringing me a cup of coffee
is in comparison
like a fresh wild wind blowing.
Kendall Mallon Jul 2013
Book One


Prelude:

As Romans before them, they built the city upward—
layer ‘pon layer as the polar caps receded
layer by layer—preserving what they could, if someday
the waters may recede back into the former polar
ice caps; restoring the long inundated coastlines.


Home:

A man sat upon a tall pub stool stroking
his ginger beard while grasping a pint loosely
in his other hand. An elderly gent stood
next to him. The older gentleman noticed
that the ginger bearded man’s pint sat almost
quite near the bottom of its tulip glass.

A woman with eyes of amber and hair
as chestnut strolled through a vineyard amongst
the ripening grapes full of juice to soon
become wine. She clutched a notebook—behind (10)
thick black covers lay ideas and sketches
to bring the world to a more natural
state—balancing the wonders and the merits
of technology apace with the allure ‘n’
sanctity borne to the natural world.

When the ginger bearded man finished the
final drops of his stout, another appeared
heretofore him—courtesy owed to the elder
gentleman. “Notice dat ye got d’ mark
o’ a man accustom amid the seas,” (20)
he inferred; gesturing the black and blue
compass rose inscribed inside a ship’s wheel,
imbedded into the back of the ginger
bearded man’s weathered right hand.
                 “I have crewed
and skippered a many fine vessel, but I
am renouncing my life at sea—one final
voyage I have left inside of me:
one single terminal Irish-Atlantic
voyage t’ward home.” (30)
“Aye d’ sea can beh cold
‘nd harsh, but she enchants me heart. Ta where
are ye headed fer d’ place ye call home,
d’ere sonny boy?”
     “’tis not simply a where,
‘tis a who. Certain events have led me
to be separate from my wife. For five
eternal years I have been traveling—
waiting to be in her embrace. The force
of the Sea, she, is a cruel one. For (40)
it seams: at every tack or gybe the farther
off I am thrown from my homeward direction
to stranger and stranger lands… I have gone
to the graveyard of hell and the pearly gates
of (the so called) heaven; I have engaged
in foolhardy deals—made bets only a
gambling addict would place. All to just be
with Zara. I am homesick—Zara is my
home—it doesn’t matter where (physically)
we are located, my home is with Zara. I (50)
was advised to draw nigh the clove of Cork
and wait; wait for a man, but I was barely
given a clue as to who this man is,
only I must return him this:” the ginger
bearded man held out a dull silver pocket watch
with a frigate cut into the front cover
and two roses sharing a single stem
swirling upon themselves cut into
the back.
   “Can it be? ‘Tis meh watch dat meh (60)
fat’er gave t’ meh right before he died…
I lost it at sea many a year ago.
It left meh heartbroken—fer it was meh only
lasting mem’ry of him… Come to t’ink I
was told by a beggar in the street—I
do not remember how long ago—dat
I would happen across a man wit’ somet’ing
dear t’ meh, and I’d accomp’ny dis man
on a journey, and dis man would have upon
‘im d’ mark of a true sailor…” (70)
    “Dear elder man,
my name is Abraham; the mark you see
represents the control that I have on my
direction—thought it appears the Sea retains
some ascendancy… Yet now, it appears,
the Sea is upholding her bargain—though
a bit late... Do you, by chance, own a vessel
that can fair to Colorado?—all across
this mist’d island no skipper ‘ll uptake
my plea; they fear the sharp wrath of the Sea (80)
or (if they have no fear) simply claim my home
‘is not on their routes…’ i’tis a line I’ve
heard too often. I would’ve purchased a vessel,
but the Sea, she, has deprived me completely
of my identity and equity.”

Zara, with her rich chestnut hair sat upon
a fountain in a piazza—her half empty
heart longing to savor the hallow presence
of Abraham, and stroke his ginger beard…
Everyday she would look out at the sea (90)
whence he left…
     All encouraged her to: “forgo
further pursuit”; “he is likely deceased
by now”—his vessel (what left) scuttled amidst
the rocks of Cape Horn, yet Zara could feel
deep-seated inside her soul he is alive;
Alive (somewhere) fighting to return home.
Never would Zara leave; never would she
abandon post; she made that promise five
years ago as Abraham, ‘n’ his crew,
set out on their final voyage; and she (100)
would be ****** ere she broke her promise—a promise
of the heart—a promise of love. Abraham
said: “You are my lighthouse; your love, it, will guide
me home—keep me from danger—as long as you
remain my lighthouse, I’ll forever be
set to return home—return home to you.”

Out from Crosshaven did the old man take
steadfast Abraham en route to his home.
Grey Irish skies turned blue as they made their
way out on the Irish Sea, southwest, toward (110)
the southern end of the Appalachian Island.
The gentle biting spray of the waves breaking
over the bow and beam moistened the ginger
bearded face of Abraham; his tattooed
hands grasped the helm—his resolute stare kept him
and the old man acutely on course.
A shame,
it struck the old man, this would be the final
voyage of Abraham… he: the best crew
that the old man had ever came across; (120)
uncertain if simply the character
of Abraham or his pers’nal desire
to return home in the wake of five long
salty-cold years—a vassal to the Sea
and her changing whim. Never had the old
man seen his ship sail as fast as he did when
Abraham accorded its deck—each sail
set without flaw: easing and trimming sheets
fractions of an inch—purely to obtain
the slightest gain in speed; the display warmed (130)
the heart of the old man.
        And thus the elder
gent mused as he lightly puffed on his pipe
while sitting on the stern pulpit regarding
at Abraham’s passion to return home
(as he calls her):—maybe dis is d’ reason
d’ Sea has fought so hard, and lied, t’ keep
Abraham from returning home… Could not
bear t’ lose such fine a sailor from her
expanses—she is known t’ be quite a jealous (140)
mistress…
      But for all Abraham’s will and passion,
the old man insisted for the fellow
to rest; otherwise lack of sleep would cause
the REM fiddler to reap his debt—replace
clarity of mind with opacity.
Reluctantly stalwart Abraham gave
in and retire below deck—yet the old
man doubted the amount of rest that he
acquired in those moments out of his sight. (150)

For the days, then weeks, in the wake of their
departure from the port-island Crosshaven,
the seas were calm as open water can:
gentle azure rolling swells oscillated
and helped impel the vessel forward. The southern
craggy cape of the Appalachian
Island pierced the horizon. Like a threshold
it stood for Abraham—a major landmark;
the closest to home he had been in five
salty long years—his limbo was beginning                               (160)
to fade, his heart slowly—for the first time since
he left port in eastern Colorado—
started to feel replete again. The Great
Plains Sea—his final sea—he would not miss
the gleam of his lighthouse stalwart on shore.




Book Two

Oracle:**

Upon a beach, Abraham found himself alone—gasping
in gulps of moist air like that of a new born baby first (10)
experiencing the breathe of life; he felt as if he
would never become dry again… the salt burning his skin
as it crusted over when the water evap’rated
into the air; Abraham took the first night to rest, the
next day he set to make shelter and wait for a rescue
crew; out he stared at the crashing waves hoping for a plane
or faint form of a ship upon the horizon…days and
nights spun into an alternating display of day then
night: light then dark—light, dark, light, dark, grey, grey, grey…

Abraham (20)
gave up marking the days—realized the searches are done—
given up after looking in the wrong places (even
he did not know where he was…) the cold waves and currents took
him to a safe shore away from his ship and crew, in a
limp unconscious float…
From the trees, and what he could find on
the small  island, Abraham occupied himself with the
task of building a catamaran to rid himself of
the grey-waiting.
Out he cast his meager vessel into (30)
the battering surf; waves broke over his bows and centre
platform—each foot forward, the waves threatened to push him back
twofold… Abraham struck-beat the water with the oars he
fashioned; rising and falling with the energy of the
waves; Abraham stole brief looks back with hopes of a van’shing
shoreline—coast refused to vanish… his drenched arms grew tired;
yet he pushed on knowing he would soon be out passed the
breaking waves; then could relax and hoist sail; yet the waves grew
taller—broke with greater power… Abraham struck-beat the
water with his oars—anger welled—leading to splashes of (40)
ivory sea-froth instead of the desired progress
forward; eventually, his arms fell limp beyond the
force of will… waves tumbled him back to shore as he did the
first night upon the island…
Dejected Abraham lay
in the surf that night—the gentle ebb of the sea added
to insult, but hid the tears formed in the corner of his eyes—
salt water to salt water… the next day Abraham took
inventory of damage: the mast snapped in multiple
places, the rudders askew—the hulls and centre structure (50)
remained intact; the oars lost (or at least Abraham cared
not to search); over the next weeks he set to improve
the design and efficiency of his vessel—the first
had been hurried and that of a man desperate to leave;
the bare minimum that would suffice—he set to create
a vessel to ensure his departure from the des’late
accrue of sand and vegetation; Abraham laboured
to strengthen his body—pushing his arms further passed the
point his mind believed they could go—consuming the hearty,
protein-rich, mollusks, and small shellfish he could find inside (60)
tide pools or shallows—if lucky, larger fish that dared the
nearby reefs.
Patiently, Abraham observed the tides and
breaking water; he wanted to determine the correct
time to set off to ensure success—when the waves would not
toss him back to the beach; the day: a calm clear day—only
within few metres of soft beach did there exist any
breaking waves, and those that broke were barely a metre high;
loading provisions upon the vessel, Abraham bid
farewell to the island (out of wont for the sustenance (70)
it gave not for nostalgia) grasping his oars, he set forth
to find open sea—where the waves do not break and set you
gingerly on foreign shore(s); Abraham paddled passed the
first few breaking waves, his heart pounding with hope—he stifled
the thoughts (celebrate when the island is but a subtle
blue curve upon the horizon); as the island began
to shrink in his vision, the sky to his back grew darker…
the waves started to swell—moguls grew to hills—Abraham
stroked up and rode down; the cursèd Island refused to shrink…
if not begin to grow wider… stroke by stroke Abraham (80)
grew frustrated—stroke by stroke frustration advanced into
anger—stroke by stroke anger augmented into fiery
beating of the water!—Abraham struck and struck at the
Sea—eyes closed—white knuckles—trashing!—unsure which direction
he paddled…sky pitch-black, wind blowing on-shore Abraham
bellowed out to the Sea in inarticulate roars of:
hatefrustrationpitydesperationheartache!
Towards
Abraham’s in-linguistic roar, the sky let out a crack
of authority! a wave swept the flailing Abraham (90)
into the ocean—cool water only heated the rage
in Abraham’s mind—his half empty heart only wanted:
to sail home, become whole  again—sit under and olive
tree and stroke the chestnut hair of Zara as she drifted
off to sleep on his chest while he would whisper sweet verses
into her ear… Abraham’s rage, beyond reason, forgot
the boat and all clarity, he tried to swim away from
the cursèd island—scrambling up waves only to tumble
back with their breaking peaks—salt, the only taste in his mouth;
churning his stomach to *****; his kidney’s praying he (100)
would  not swallow anymore… his gasps stifled any curse
Abraham’s head wished to expel onto the Sea—yet she
swore she heard one final curse escape his lips! at that the
Sea tossed Abraham (head first) into his ghost-helmed vessel—
all went dark for hostile Abraham…

Contemplating back
at his rage—knowing the barbarian it makes of him,
Abraham peered into the band inscribed into his
ring-finger and saw the knot tying him to Zara—shame
at his arrogant-uncontrolled-fury sent Abraham (110)
into a meditative exile inside of his mind
(within the exile of the island…) in his mental
exile Abraham spun into deeper despair at his
two failures—even more at the prospect of failing the
vow he professed onto Zara: return home—home from this
final voyage, grow old with her on solid ground, never
to die apart and cause the pain of losing a loved one
without the closure of truly knowing the death is real,
to die by her side white, white with the purity of age…
Abraham’s destitution turned inward—his fury, the (120)
lack of control, the demon he becomes when rage surges
through his muscles; equiping him with untamed strength without
direction or self-possession—so much potential, yet
no productive way to use it… Abraham’s half-full-heart
burned, ached with passion and anguish—all desire
focused on home, his return, but the mind’s despondency
and insistent ‘what-ifs’ kept poor Abraham prostrate in
his mental cave—all his wishing for anger and vi’lence
to force his will, it did more to retain him upon the
cursèd island than bring his heart closer to fulfillment: (130)
his long awaited home…
Out of his mental exile did
Abraham’s irises dilate and contract with blinding
illumination—self-pity is not what make things happen—
it would only serve to anger Zara—nothing other
than I can be to blame for my continued absence; I
am stronger than that!—looking at the tattoo in his hand,
he remembered the reasons for the perennial brand—
the eight-spoke ship’s helm: the eight-fold-path—I must cut off my
desire for anger to be the solution and focus (140)
on the one path to Zara—the mind can push the body
further than the body believes is possible—the star:
the compass to guide me via celestial bodies
to where my heart can see the guiding beam of my lighthouse!
This is the Final Voyage epic thus far. I am converting Home into blank verse and it is taking longer than I thought to do; which is why that part is incomplete here. I also added line numbers. I changed The names as well.
howard brace Aug 2013
"A leisurely breakfast" their mother would admonish, "aids digestion and builds strong bones..." so what with the imposed inactivity every morning, boredom broken only by Sockeye the family Spaniel, whose want of table manners coincided very conveniently with mealtimes... as he paced restlessly under the table, slobbering indiscriminately in his daily scramble to devour every dangling morsel before supply and demand shut up shop for the night and went home, far tastier... he gobbled down the latest offering of egg white, than the remnants of his own dietary allowance, they just had to get the timing right that was all, or risk loosing a finger, or gaining one depending upon who was doing the dangling, or who was doing the gobbling... he gave an indignant sneeze, not so much a hint but more of a... 'what's with the pepper malarky...'  So that it was only with a good deal of snappy hand coordination, lengthy digestion and sturdy bone building that Rocky was finally able to extricate himself from the table and make the most of what little time remained until lunchtime, meagre time indeed for the Rocky's of this world to hang around with their dogs, leaving their little sisters to help mums do, whatever it was that girls usually did when they should have scooted out of the kitchen faster, when it would have been all so much simpler just to grab a handful of biscuits instead...  Meanwhile, laying in wait in the room above, flat out upon the bedroom counterpane, having recently had their insides stuffed to bursting with a full English breakfast's worth of beach and holiday apparal... and that was just the luggage.    

     The contents of which, up until a week last washday had been snoozing fitfully behind 'Do Not Disturb' signs, cautiously peeping out from the gloomier, more remote recesses of the bedroom dresser, or carefully concealed in cupboards and closets... and being in every other respect by no means readily accessible to public scrutiny of any kind... had been left to their own devices some twelve months earlier with a clear understanding to skip bath nights from that moment on and henceforth immerse themselves in the heady, camphorated pungency of mothball, vowing once and for all never to darken portmanteau lids again... but now, after many hours of arduous laundering and de-fumigation... were now being squeezed and unceremoniously shoe-horned into what had recently become nothing short of an overcrowded sanctuary for the dispossessed.  
              
     Meanwhile, all the luggage asked from life other than be detained under section four of the Mental Health Act, 1983 and be found cosy padded accommodation elsewhere... was to have their interiors vacated, their tranquility reinstated... and with a questionable wink from a dodgy Customs official, have their travel permits invalidated... irrevocably, for despite throwing a double six for a spot of well earned convalescence back on top of the wardrobe some twelve months ago, basking in the shade of a warm Summer Sun, striking up the occasional conversation with the floral decor, third bloom from the left currently answering to the name of Petunia, the still over extended luggage, seemingly with little hope of R & R this side of the letter Q, faced the perennial disquiet of vacational therapy, of being knelt on, sat and bounced upon and be specifically manhandled in ways that matching sets of co-ordinated luggage should not...
                                        
     Tina could be heard quite distinctly in the next street concerning her husbands lack of competence, whilst Red it appeared had become just as outspoken as his wife in that particular direction... as the local self appointed busybody, who lived well within earshot of the address in question would bear witness to as she put feverish pen to paper, writing to what had become a regular... and some would say hot bed of intrigue in the local tabloid concerning how vociferous the once tranquil neighbourhood had become of recent and how certain undesirable elements within the community were to be heard carrying on alarmingly at all hours, day and night... and as she diligently weighed her civic duty against simple household economics as to whether to send this latest block busting eye opener by first or second class post, their parents could now be heard broadcasting, if anything to a wider listening audience than the previous newsflash, some of the more sensational episodes of the previous twenty-four hours as to who was pulling whose suitcase zipper now... although in which direction it should be pulled, they both agreed, wasn't for public disclosure at that time... vowing to draw blood well before the day was out, as three lacerated fingers would later testify and that it was only because of the children that they were going at all... but God willing, they would be setting off very shortly with rosy smiles on their faces for the sole benefit of the neighbours, even if it killed them. 

     Spurred to fever pitch  by this latest 'stop-the-press' newsflash, the same public spirited busybody now threw herself wholeheartedly into further award winning journalism and for the second time that morning took to pen and paper, only now directed to the gossip column in the local Parish Gazette, followed by grievous lamentations of impending bloodshed to the incumbent Chief Constable as to how they'd all be murdered in their beds ere long before nightfall.

     By devouring his water bowl, thereby dispensing with the need for it to be washed and by its abrupt and mysterious absence, disposing of all further incriminating evidence as to where the abundant supply of liquid, now surging copiously across the kitchen floor had sprung from... the flash-flood was hastily making its own getaway beneath the kitchen units, leaving Sockeye to his own devices to carry the can on his own, ankle deep in what up until earlier that morning had been sloshing around quite contentedly in Eccup reservoir.

      Having inadvertently released the handbrake in a boyish gesture of bravado, thereby placing himself in sole charge of a runaway vehicle, Sockeye it appeared was not the only member of the Salmon family to have dropped himself right in it that day as Rocky, having unwittingly placed the following ten years pocket money well out of reach and back into the pockets of his parents dwindling resources, had to a far greater extent nominated himself for the same Earth moving experience as the one his mum would shortly be giving Sockeye...

      Having just been granted licence to do whatsoever it pleased, the vehicle began its leisurely rearwards perambulation down the long garden driveway and by way of small thanks for its new found independence took Rocky along for the ride where due to a certain lack of stature on Rocky's part, at no point had he ever been in the slightest position to influence the Holiday threatening train of events which now engulfed him, never thinking to reapply the handbrake... that would be too easy, he perched on the edge of the seat clutching the steering wheel and stretched out his sturdy little legs in an heroic, but futile attempt to reach the pedals as the family car, which up until any second now had been his fathers pride and joy, pitched backwards at what seemed to Rocky, breakneck speed and directly into a very severe and unforgiving brick wall.

     Almost missing this latest round of entertainment above that of her parents most recent exchange, River accompanied by Sockeye scampered outdoors and slap into what could only be described as the most fun she'd had all year as an unsuspecting "what was that noise" muscled its way through the open bedroom window and fell flat on its face in the garden below and which, if that morning to date was anything to go by, then the neighbourhood would soon be tuning in to the latest Salmon family's 'hot-off-the-press' breaking news bulletin.

     Opening her mouth River hesitated as she fine-tuned the speech centres of her young and delicate synapse into full vocal alignment, then adjusting shutter speed from f8 to automatic she closed her mouth... then opened it once again and informed her brother that if the tip of dads size 9 was an Olympic gold, then Rocky would be sure to take first in the 110 metre hurdling event with 'team GB...' and could she have his autograph... with those words of solid encouragement rattling around his ears like the last biscuit in an otherwise empty tin box, River went skipping back into the house to announce the latest newsflash of her parents next financial happening... which she felt certain would prompt further rounds of thought provoking front page journalism.

     A steady two hours drive away, over on the east coast, the inhabitants of a sleepy fishing community were gainfully employed, pretty much as any other, going about their daily business, one such denizen... a baby crustacean, currently marooned by the tide had taken up temporary accommodation in a beachfront rock-pool property of certain distinction, was as yet unaware of a completely different and obscure set of circumstances that would shortly be rearing his slobbering jowls and bring all four paws, the size of dinner plates, crashing down upon the unsuspecting seashore fauna... was determined while she waited to catch the next high tide home, that until such time that the right wave rolled along, would potter about in the little rock-pool, perhaps indulge herself in a leisurely bathe... and catch up on a spot of therapeutic knitting.

     So, placing the days events since breakfast into perspective...  [i]  the vehicle indemnity provider, henceforth to be named 'the party of the first part', who currently weren't cognisant of an impending claim to date, would shortly be laying eggs attempting to squirm out of all liability, due to  [ii]  the automobile, driven by a minor, fortunately for Salmon senior on private land and henceforth, the aforementioned to be called 'the third party, to the party of the second part...' which urgently needed rigorous cosmetic attention to the rear tail light cluster and surrounding bodywork so as to maintain a favourable resale mark-up price.  [iii]  Having been dragged kicking and screaming from the top of the wardrobe, the luggage had rapidly developed cold feet and cried sudden illness in the family, but were being taken to the Wake anyway.  [iv]  Wrapped around the hot water cylinder since the previous Summer, the various sundry items of holiday apparel stood united, resolute as a Union Picket line not be seen dead looking as though they'd never so much as seen the bottom of a flat-iron.  [v]  Both Red and his wife, Tina, despite wearing the same anaemic smile as the one show to the neighbours as they departed, travelling counter clockwise along the crescent so as not to unduly advertise their recent misadventure with the garage wall, were only going for the sake of the children, whilst  [vi]  River and her errant brother didn't want to go anyway dismayed at leaving the television set behind, were already missing their favourite programs, which only really left  [vii]  'mans-best-friend' who, when he wasn't actually hanging over the front seat giving dad big sloppy licks as though... 'are we nearly there yet' or perhaps... 'I need to stop and spend a penny... or you'll all know about it if you don't,' was more than content to be taking up the majority of the rear seating arrangements and with a delinquent wag of his tail, was deliriously happy to be wherever his family were.**

                                                        ­                             ...   ...   ...

a work in progress.                                                        ­                                                                 ­  1862
Michael W Noland Jul 2013
The wake of nevermore
To be forever and more
Flowering

Through the doors of metamorphosis

With whorish twists
To twine the submissive slits
Into bracelets bracing for a face lit
In joyous glee

Cheek to cheek!

The sheen of sheep
Greased and ready to eat

Oh Gristlesworth
Smiling from a bag

Bahhh!
Don't eat the tag
"You're cold."

  He said as he took her hands and he couldn't be more right and wrong at the same time. Her gaze simply fell to her feet as she let the silence envelop her. She felt cold, her soul quivering somewhere in the corner of her heart, obscuring its rhythmic beat and creating a swell of off tempo chaos in her veins. Her memory of his whispers were akin to the sudden rush of wind that hit her skin, wet with the storm of tears and caused chills to cascade their way across her body.
  
  But he was wrong, it wasn't she who was cold, it was him who was stealing everything that made her warm. Coaxing her with his silver tongue, murmuring the words he knows she wants to hear, testing his skill and bringing her to the edge of the flimsy fortress she calls defense, to where she's just barely out of his reach, a paper thin wall separating his will from hers, and he nearly giggles in delight when he causes her to tear it down herself, like a spider tearing down its own web.
  
  But of course that isn't enough, not when she's standing there, all walls down, vulnerable and tender, her heart so soft he could cut right through it with just his fingernails, and Hell be ****** itself if he wasn't the slightest bit temped to try because he knows how easily he can, like shoving a pin through a butterfly, simple and smooth, and it'd be so interesting to see her squirm. But instead he's interested in how far he can cause her to do it to herself.  
  
  All he has to do is let a few of his venomous words drip from his teeth, promising he isn't like everyone else (because he isn't of course, no one else would be this thrilled to watch her crumble so slowly ), that he understands, understands that she's so incredibly weak, and that her heart is so big it oozes to the surface of her skin for everyone to see, and it's so **** easy that she must be begging for it, and suddenly he's caught her and he loves it.
  
  She's hanging on every word as if he's holding happiness over her head, but this is boring him, he wants to see what makes her tick, how she is the way she is, so it's time to step up his game. He moves his hand from hers and slides it up her arm, resting ever so gently on her shoulder as his other hand moves to her waist, and as if to further prove his point about how she basically wears her heart as her skin it turns a rosy shade of pink, and sends its pulse so strongly he can feel it. He lets his breath ghost across her susceptible ears and pulls her against him as he gives his orders.

"Strip."
  
And she does.

First go the clothes, but her skin isn't what he's interested in, and he makes it very clear with the expecting look he gives her, so she goes again,tearing skin from muscle one piece as a time. He knows it must be painful, from the tears pouring from her eyes and how the exposed muscle throbs with its raw appearance, and yet the look of concentration on her face just pulls him in more, and yet it still just isn't enough, and finally that red disgusting throbbing ****** mess is pulled away to expose her shining ivory bones. He can't help but marvel in how gracefully they curve, the very core of her frame standing before him, she's completely bare with nothing left to expose, and that gorgeous  pearly figure before him is only more defined by the red  heart that's left behind those ribs, as it pulses and drips and beckons him with each flutter.
  
  It glistens like a slimy rotting apple, and it couldn't be anything more since it belongs to her. But you know what they say, fruit is always the sweetest just before it goes bad, and it's too tempting for him to not take a bite. And he couldn't help but marvel at how warm it was, or the sudden chills dancing down his spine.
Touch it: it won't shrink like an eyeball,
This egg-shaped bailiwick, clear as a tear.
Here's yesterday, last year ---
Palm-spear and lily distinct as flora in the vast
Windless threadwork of a tapestry.

Flick the glass with your fingernail:
It will ping like a Chinese chime in the slightest air stir
Though nobody in there looks up or bothers to answer.
The inhabitants are light as cork,
Every one of them permanently busy.

At their feet, the sea waves bow in single file.
Never trespassing in bad temper:
Stalling in midair,
Short-reined, pawing like paradeground horses.
Overhead, the clouds sit tasseled and fancy

As Victorian cushions. This family
Of valentine faces might please a collector:
They ring true, like good china.

Elsewhere the landscape is more frank.
The light falls without letup, blindingly.

A woman is dragging her shadow in a circle
About a bald hospital saucer.
It resembles the moon, or a sheet of blank paper
And appears to have suffered a sort of private blitzkrieg.
She lives quietly

With no attachments, like a foetus in a bottle,
The obsolete house, the sea, flattened to a picture
She has one too many dimensions to enter.
Grief and anger, exorcised,
Leave her alone now.

The future is a grey seagull
Tattling in its cat-voice of departure.
Age and terror, like nurses, attend her,
And a drowned man, complaining of the great cold,
Crawls up out of the sea.
Living is a cross
That any one of the rock-faces
Comprehends.


We are drawn
To many seas.
We drown wholesomely
In the failures of confrontation.
The rain
Drenching
Our doorsteps
Has nothing to do
With the simplest desires
And lacerations
We bring
To the smallest acts
Of living.


The child
On the broken catwalk
Hearing the sounds of our hunger
Without understanding
Throws echoes back
To the earliest abandonments
Of love.


Minor devastations preceding
Horror
Resonate the ineffable.
The mothers that wake
At the slightest sound
And the fathers that
Smoke all night
And the rest of us who are
Vigilantes from the demons
Of oppressed sleep
Find at dawn the clearest
Images of bewilderment.
Even the best things
Collapse beneath the weight
Of ignorance.


Living is a fire
That any one of the wave-lashes
Comprehends.
___
Source:
http://www.universeofpoetry.org/nigeria.shtml
If i told you i needed help
would you listen?
Or would your silence
Echo off the walls.
See my life is like a car,
Sometimes moving fast
And other times so **** slow.
If i told you i feel hurt inside
would you not just hear
but listen
to what i said
I need someone to care.
Im tired of trying to fight alone.
Im tired of trying to survive at a table for one.
If i told you
I cry all over my body
And each tear is a knife
And they are leaving scars on my flesh,
Would you cut me a bandage,
Sop up my blood,
Or leave me to bleed out.
If i told you
I was alone and my demons are taunting me
would you get me out
Or would you keep walking
or keep scrolling...
Im not begging for attention,
But one cannot be expected to be alone and silent like a life long detention.
If i told you
I was ready to confess everything
Come clean from my secrets,
Strip myself naked so you could see my imperfections
would you care even the slightest bit
Or are you so selfish
And so ignorant
To walk on
And leave this person to die.
If i told you i was ready to die
would you blame it in cliche,
Or believe it and save me from damnation

Its time to think.
It could be up to you
This isnt just my world,
Its yours, too
and dont you want to be
somebody
To someone?
I need you.
Because all of these "if i told you's
Are becoming
**im telling you
Help people. Dont leave them alone. Provide help. Depression is very real, and it is all around us. Repost if this means something to YOU
Scott M Reamer Apr 2013
Man life know just set eyes way like young world soul day hunger space mouth earth thoughts ignorance blind things mind knew final moment human creation kind creatures souls high forgotten dream love spoke self existence face holy deep bound think home void say surrender ear forever called held ephemeral red state end shall heed hope edge living waking fall sea wake garden need February thought past wanderer got men page colored tepid terrible **** proudly untitled features point painted faceless box forgot render wild spring splendor  handfuls looking half brain lost torn ancestral  unseen vision inner summer honor mister owned banner save today fear groans wasn't smoke  street fable strange year contrast black years  able pain body spoken word known motion  palpitate reeling nature culture disclaimers  cancer beg attentive frames ****** base profound double remember wholly finger death token  cries continue folk oh fishing form broken true  divides spread ah twas away breathe wait warning hallowed wish closer lens turn eye live  constant current author hung theory dangle  bramble chemical new force changes adderall  anymore giving beneath possess pardon commentaries eternity internal walk reason  long change does idea glimpse consciousness  wandering simply wonder physical dreams war  sleep told rest benign prior begging truth little  2012 born tale crow bowels allegory animal rule  exasperate making horse curse hands ones read  rearrange capture doing command fail awake  aperture seedlings shift steely sir nap spead ****** demons slits clever telling loud spits la-la-di-dah killing slip game reflected nameless ask  lovers rabid bear salivate plunder shameless  famously savior mint rides menthol bully fate traded melodies play misunderstand mammals gentle witless fine utterly savage silt tongue-less  dirt dilutes pure non-sensory taste briefly ravage dismember it''ll shedding ruined curtain  knots offers plot fulfills munificent two-act  relegates boxz bug altruistic wintergreen tossing  callously guise grovels one's singers treachery ashes mid-life mutter fashion parading  ambiguity separatist liars staple steeping neath  guidelines scoffing stitch moans civil wrote  Fictitious undoing fables table effigies serve  sonnets staged remark psalm swoll praise harken  beggar verse bread lines heavily electricity detection snow sack-happy preaching credit  spotted wicked best gravity gun campaign owe  barge choir revelry celebratory satiated sinking  headline pack hound persistently propaganda  gentlemen excluding diminished ******* run idles  occupied levies wolfishly honestly misinformation cuba vehemently dumb grace spectator erasing  toned sage crowded secrets inter-connectivity  loaned prayer hymns grave mistaken magnified  vandals selective jump leak escapes says minister  buckle mass honesty shut tar children's hats  monument doping long-lived electrical ladle  exaggerated cartoons address seconds cool cradle bleak yang's mind-framed hypnotic  walker caps folly treble claim streaks mixtures  swelled interstate elapse teasing spoon mobile  succulent witchcraft borderline fatal 99 temple stacks sups plastics creeps neurotic ills tossed  meek sipping old crack interlock wax alleyway  coughing blown freak clock birthdays societies  slow flashing viscous candy argument toothless  pills cerebral rapt wall bisect lives wheezing  photo kid starter foiled pair saturated self-castrating pre-packed naked uncertainly pill  used came chaos coated reprisal fells wrack  irreverent mirth sickly disinherited proudest  collate wheeze appearance palette disharmony  discontented bastardized emotive bio inhale diction beat spoiled reclamation loudest tempo  totally disembodied matte imperfect shells flat  struck sounding imparts flak origin severance remarked bone walls snared leaflets mocking  hot scripting adjective noun agape seemingly  resistant gawk calamity passage paintings wind  trashcans signings sits cheap makers poetry persist scrap slipping individual talk wonders  leaving questions fold actor fancy parchment  fates engenders flown jaws stripped longer music  sacrifice fakers book boldly frown sigh atop patient hang trade occupation blows spectacular  whispers worthy backward waving certainty danced suppose needn't ‘drawkcab’ second-guessing  boys forget marched motto heads tightly lies two-tone earthbound harp twice turns goodnight  lying ***** internally indiscriminate nickname  drunk convictions myth steep  in-consumption  fitting artist **** universal sick expressions bad  du spell melody big siphon proud learn sprawls song spastic something temperaments utter check  fissures stomp totality blend definitely thrall sing rug voice shade pestilence ties commiserate round devil steady brains emotional certain gate  suckling gates dearth decay weight bounce pound  carrier pangs glass startle contest earthen web  tug pressed air patience flush amassed guest gone apprehension staring empathize captain believe fading in-perceivable deathbed guarder makes surrounds scatter drooling ebb blink cob tome  venom near door lair derision draws host stairs scent parts curiosities spider webbing surprise wares tips stepping ascetics starkness realize picture surroundings dictations grand pillars  deaf limited comparisons greet visual residents  personal settings dismiss alien law stability common earthly shiftless places prelude  understanding mosaic keen trifling embodiments  geared inception whisper visible jowls kiss murky  puddle rank dawn dichotomy single faithful fraying pays tailor veil climb mores pence whim  breath wellspring samara god stony pear  shadows fruiting forebodes moonlit looming  shown passed bog gold wracked faint tongues  noble preachers mirror shifting layered depth  threads jungle narcissus bemused seamstress self-worshiping architect's wore slumber anomalous  opened barren seam lip caustic scene coupled brick gardener's clenches -with forms idle breed  embodied lore starving empathy design illusion  tree coat fabricate lucid mason scatter-all  narrative seeking imbued 16th shivering chemicals 17th 15thrisk improperly dare  deliberate plan purge try brought chapter speed  aide utmost spirit leading intervention felt  recall recent advent sincerity times diary  lackluster piously lasting happy holding hear  stem tasteless whimpers wet spine monstrosity  dripping causes position quite softly claws pallet  answer digging tearing beast satiating circle breaks skips redwoods beckoning rotted hushed  gray lapsing monoliths deities creborus  imbuement hand stroll paradigm rendered chorus shy whispering forest residual tension  surrenders tolerance lull anew sentenced  bearing tide birds dirge divergent rim joined  cogs wood hesitant mist emergent towering offer  awareness confinement inverted faultier stowed  plane sanctified blanketing trusting memory fossil flash twists laden self-indulgent fleeting invitation agony grip shore impetus lingering  crows promise gift union swallowing endless floor supposed ecstasy sensory intent  psychotropic cradling placement interned  jagged connectivity exchange congenial begun  summons singular spiral assumes ambient reciprocates re-entry fruition reached aggregate lifetime limbs birthed instinct  frightening tarry proper entire light  boundaries innocence pursuit ago discover left  youth's unknowing sacred time place meager  simple fact cast ceaseless wide-eyed literal  apparent coincidence create boldness morphed  crooked kempt mere stumble buried shutter fairy  pivotal definitive months worth shear ambition sound required journeyed self-reflections title  facets vague restless intimation gut wanderer's  leap motivate path account boy soon bears faith  question tripped reasons uproot awaited confronted days step heal provocations wisps crushing transcend chronicles instance  directness raw drove occurrence objective-less  real enters slightest confident nondescript  typify  foreshortened interment paradox bitter heart  devoid jeopardy angry sensation confidential guilty arrogance mercy compliance reprieve  vincent deadening factual sign emotion awe  inhibition shackled butterflies absence actual sciences acknowledgement violent stagnant  spiritual American doors roots lack matted fore  gestures society cause streams intensity hair impossible discord lonely hearts resounding  jest  what's flavored pains closed toxic contented  happenstance scientific knowledge yeah  wizardry shaking stifled withdrawn bloom  jitter dreads settle asocial hulton make  predisposed figurative reflections demeanors  wondered affect hulton's projected sense  morning industry arrays ghosts feeling  certainly endomorphic where's partially wrath  passer mornings jovial unease advertized asking  trash onward wished tempers media mentality connect pasts sharp-toothed scramble great colours trial test salvation continually lent  degree secretly subjection social waned  disconnected colors grimly intellectual civilization cash trading baffling particular  digest myths monumental ending seasons winter  repetition introducing agent everlasting  shoulders delivered honestly-- possession funny  continence history unsightly function suffering propulsion profession divulge familiar tugs era  importance capability perpetuation spite inventory words entirety leveling fray insight  date record continues writer getting evermore fellow tongue possessions identical proof accuracy education similar sack admittance  favor unravel conveyance guilt gives beginnings  predicting audacity definition bobby heady eaters frameless learned release stone grandeur sang  speak molds sleeps split built seats people folded  sheer pour evoked playhouse liquid boring  tellers frayed stark walked reality pleas doth  preformed shows beak pride squawks opinions  greatest bold stunning sightings he'd loudly slain  sunk watch legend precipice theater deeper compound commentator civility justly silly sin  reverent seen prophetic moral confounds notion  lacking explain attempt prolific viral estrange proclivity scorn hide blur pious strung eden's  horror cut skin arch cruel twig mother vile  pass lend woods peach shrunken trail man's canopy worn 434 eat warm limb familiar father delete.

You are what your reading lady. Now would you hold this gun?
PrttyBrd May 2010
Stepping out
On stepping stones
Cracked and ready to crumble
The slightest pressure or lightest weight
Bring the depths instantly closer
Plummeting to the unknown
Facing the unwanted
The sunny sky turns tunnel
Turns pinhead, turns black
Vertigo, no sign to guide
Nothing to lean on
No way to track the bubbles
As the drowning ensues
Searing pain, like lightening
Blinds or enlightens
A flash of what's to come
For an instant there is tomorrow
In that instant hope renews
A hint of up or down
A choice of direction
A path to glory
A way of life
And the sun will never be lost again
52310
- From Sunset to Sunrise
Joseph Perales Sep 2010
I wish, for the slightest second,
that I might stop swinging
between running away from her
and, with finger tips, clinging

I feel my grasp slip slowly
I wish I had a better hold of her
I’ve been calling for hours now
but I can’t seem to get ahold of her

I want to tell her that I love her
despite my every transgression
that she should take precedence
and be my only obsession

all I want is to stop this rain,
I want our storm to see a calm,
to feel her voice in my ears
and hear her hand in my palm

I wish, for the slightest second,
I could show her the forever
that I had always planned
with us hand and hand together
jennifer wayland May 2014
step number one: read the book wintergirls.
tuck away every detail like you're cramming for a test.
dog-ear the pages and carry it with you like a travel guide.
decide that with your fingers and toes always icy cold for as long as you can remember,
you were destined to be a wintergirl.
reread it periodically, for inspirational purposes.

step two: download the myfitnesspal app.
use it to track every calorie you put into your body.
memorize that an oreo has seventy calories, an apple has one hundred, a cup of hot chocolate has eighty,
a bagel has two hundred seventy (a number that terrifies you),
and on and on and on.
let numbers float behind your eyes just before you go to bed,
and let them stay there as you throw off the covers to do guilty pushups and situps in your room
for twenty minutes (burning one hundred and twenty calories).
ignore the warnings shouted at you in red text
when you eat less than twelve hundred calories per day.
look at the projections it gives you for five weeks from now
with weights that seem both too small and too large at the same time.
when your net for the day hits the negatives after weeks of trying,
feel the slightest pang of satisfaction.

step three: find your "thinspiration".
make a tumblr just to look at pictures of jutting-out spines and thigh gaps and ribs.
hold your phone up next to your reflection in the mirror
and pick out everywhere your body differs from hers.
when the girls on the fitness blogs start looking too heavy for your goal,
find the eating-disorder blogs.
obsess over their bodies almost as much as you obsess over yours,
but not quite as much.

step four: begin losing weight.
imagine yourself floating away, feather-light.
imagine yourself becoming skin and bones.
imagine this as you drag your heavy body from class to class,
as your muscles waste from malnutrition.
imagine this as you have to clean your hairbrush out
three times while you work tangles from your hair.
imagine this as you snap at anyone and everyone,
as you spend hours locked in your room.

step five: become a poet and write about yourself.
romanticize your own demons, just by calling them demons.
use as many metaphors as you can,
to avoid the harsh language of the truth.
and especially avoid writing about the crippling guilt
that hits you when you eat too much,
you're fat you're worthless you'll never be anything,
and hits you when you don't eat enough,
what's wrong with you how did you let it get to this point
voices in your head never abating.
avoid writing about your lack of motivation and constant exhaustion and always,
always, use words that imply mystery.
describe your mind as foggy, call your body diminishing.
never say it how it is, because you could convince yourself to quit.
never say that it's torture and you're in pain
and you just wish you were eight again, never considering this path.
never say that you need help but you don't want help.

if you have the urge to say these things,
say only that this disorder is not one you would willingly give up,
because you finally have something to control.
because it is the truth,
but it is also the romanticized truth.
trigger warning, obviously. this just came out of nowhere the other day. apologies for how harsh/offensive it may be.
Life's a Beach Jan 2015
Your laugh was a cloud
Loud
Enveloping
Mist which covered me without the
slightest resistance
insistence
I needed assistance to breathe

Your laugh shows I'm useful
shows there's a need
For us
as I feed on the delicious awkwardness we
shared
Caught unawares by being liked

It's a shame your laugh
was the cloud which hid
a trucks headlights

crash
shared
spent

Your laugh a narcotic cloud I refuse to repent
old poem completely mixed up and switched
You live in a world of all black and white.
Not the slightest glint of pigment, not the smallest touch of gray, not an inkling or a semblance of happiness or hope.
You blend in well with the world of black and white, of dullness and lethargy, knowing nothing other than lack of color and eternal melancholy.
Stephen E Yocum Oct 2013
By Stephen E. Yocum

In 1974, from out of Kabul,
The bouncing open back of
An old flat bed truck,
Eating dust and Diesel fumes,
Two alone we journeyed.

A round the world exploration
Of adventure and discovery.
Of lands and cultures,
people never before encountered.
Naive Ecotourists, before there
Was such a thing, called by a silly name.

The land there about, dry and dusty,
Sparse vegetations, Inhospitable to all,
Featureless and drab beyond comprehension.
Harsh lands breed harsh unforgiving people,
Matching their dire extreme surroundings.
This being one of those places.

I was on an adventure,
More so than she with me,
A rocky marriage at best,
Stressed further by months of travel.
I seeking the raw, the real,
She wanting first class comforts,
Like the “Good Life as seen on TV”.
A rough open flatbed truck, eating dust,
Not even close to fitting that description.

We were going to a small distant town,
Where I might see a game as old,
As that culture, of those Afghan plains,
A game, no truly more of a passion,
A long held national obsession,
Not so much played,
As combated, a war on horseback,
Brutal, ****** and thrilling.

Under noonday sun, yet chill of weather,
An hour out, four mounted horsemen
Appeared over a low hillock horizon,
Their horses in gallop, snorting, prancing,
High stepping, bounding, on a mission,
Kicking up a cloud of yellow/red dust,
The riders making straight for us.

These were the days before the AK-47,
Before the Russian invasion of ‘97.
The tribal Afghan men back then toted old,
Long Barreled, flint lock looking weapons
Often adorned with ribbon or paint,
Looking at first glance merely ornamental,
Not quite dismissing their lethal intent.

I had seen a sheep shot by one of
These old rifles, the entry spot was
The size of an American Half Dollar,
The exit hole the size of a tennis ball exploded.

As they approached, at my direction,
She withdrew further back towards the
Cab of the truck, beside a wooden crate.
I still sat, legs dangling over the tailgate,
One hand holding onto the wood slatted
Vertical, side rail of the bed.
The other hand on the hilt of my 8 inch Buck Knife.
That given the impending situation, would have
Done me as much good as my ******* into the face,
Of a very strong hurricane wind,
Doing me and us more harm than good.
All the while, still watching the horsemen,
As they rapidly approached ever closer.

Ignoring our dust, they reined in less than
Fifteen feet from our rear bumper,
(If there had indeed been a bumper.)
Horses wild eyes rolling, saliva snorting
From their mouths and nostrils,
Lather of sweat coating sleek bodies.
Looking more akin to fierce Dragons than Equines.

Their dusty riders looked like mounted warriors,
Escaped from out of a Hollywood movie,
Full bearded, hard men, with Scars on their faces,
Their serious dust laden red eyes burning like fire.
Jaws firm set, faces otherwise devoid of expression.
Dressed in traditional head to toe garb,
A style unchanged in hundreds of years,
Large curved Knives in wide leather belts,
Two, sporting hefty British holstered revolvers.
All four with long rifles in one hand,
Horse reins in the other.

Just like that, there we all were face to face,
I could not avoid their eyes, locking mine on
The bigger man near the center,
Hiding as best I could, my concern, no my fear,
With a neutral expression, neither smile nor sneer,
That might give me away. Yet the hair on the back
Of my neck did tingle, throat too dry and constricted
To speak should it even be required.  

The bigger man into whose eyes I stared,
As if I had issued some challenged invitation,
With but a single practiced move of his,
Right arm and hand,
(Horse reins held in the other),
Quickly shouldered his menacing weapon,
And sighted down its long barrel, right at my head.

Perhaps it was only a few seconds,
Yet it seemed an eternity,
That gun’s bore looked immense,
Like the gapping open mouth,
Of some great ballistic cannon.
For a moment I ceased breathing.
It felt as if my heart stopped beating.
I could not but sit there waiting,
There was no escaping.

That throw back to a fiftieth century man,
Held the power, of Life or sudden death,
In his hand, my life on the tip of his trigger finger,
He and I both instantly understood this.

It was clear in that one moment,
That to him, this was nothing new,
Or even of the slightest importance.
A thing to which he was plainly indifferent.

Down that bore, was a place in which lurked,
A lethal bullet with my name written upon it,
I felt trapped, like screaming, but remained silent,
Eyes open, and then why I will never know,
Still looking at him I narrowed my eyes and smiled.

As perhaps a reply on the man’s harsh face,
There appeared an ever so slightest grin.
Then he hefted his weapon back down under,
His arm and silently smiled and laughed,
In my direction.

I could not help but notice that one of his
Upper front teeth was of bright gold, while the
One next to the gold, was completely missing.

He nodded just once his head, to me a message,
All said with no words actually spoken,
“Today traveler,
I could have killed you,
Taken your woman.
Out here no one would know,
No one would have cared,
Not even the truck driver.
You are in my homeland,
I control it and you,
Today I choose not to **** you,
Tomorrow I might feel different.”

Then he and his unsmiling companions,
****** their straining unyielding horses,
to their left, galloping away in an obscuring
cloud, of yellow and reddish dust billowing.

While adrenaline turned my arms and
Legs to jelly, and shortly thereafter,
My stomach to sudden fits of
Wrenching regurgitation.

When in a few years I first heard,
That the Russians had invaded
That harsh unforgiving land,
I told a friend,
“Those fool Russians,
Have grabbed a fearsome,
Tiger by the tail, and that beast
Might just devourer them,
And not the other way around.”
It came to pass, I was not far off,
In my knowledgeable easy prediction.

The lesson I learned that day?
No matter who you think you are,
Or where you might come from,
What Nations impressive seal,
That your Passport reveals,
When you travel far and wide,
Trespass in another man’s back yard,
You best beware, of all the possibilities.

Upon our return trip the next day,
We took a bus of public conveyance,
Imagining perhaps there would be,
More safety in a convergence of numbers.

Footnote:

Over the centuries many invaders
Have attempted to subdue the wild
Land of the Afghans’ and nearly all failed.
A land and a people offering absolutely,
No forgiveness, not even to themselves.

Rudyard Kipling wrote of the British Empires brief
Excursions into that land, offering some sage advice;
“When you’re wounded and left on the Afghanistan’s
Plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to
Your God like a soldier.”

All present and would be conquers take note,
This remains Wise advice.  No one truly conquers there,
They just visit and bleed and then eventually go away,
Tails tucked between their knees. If indeed they still
Have one.
I have not collected many regrets, however as too that
Day in 1974, on the back of that battered old truck on
The plains of Afghanistan, I have one.
Minutes before those four threatening Horsemen
Appeared, I had capped and return my Nikon F camera
to its dust and water proof cover, when the incident
occurred, that bag and my camera were at the time,
snugly strapped to my back.
Annick Gray Jan 2016
Pin me up with your ***** mind
accuse me of the worst of crimes
confess to me your deepest sins
snowflakes on bare skin
something like the slightest touch
isn’t even that much.

Hold me down with your ***** mind
be sure to fake the signs
grab my hand and we’ll run
close our eyes to see the sun
something like the slightest touch
it might just be enough.

I’m a figment of your mind,
constantly set free at night.

Show me off in your ***** mind
I know you’re one of a kind
take me away from here
quiet all of my fears
something like the slightest touch
will it ever be enough?

Hold me up in your ***** mind
you’re a diamond in the rough to find
I don’t know what you’ve got in store,
hopefully I’ll find more.
Something like the slightest touch,
it’s finally enough.

I’m a figment of your mind,
constantly set free at night.
A song I wrote.
Kendall Mallon Feb 2013
A man sat upon a pub stool stroking his
ginger beard while grasping a pint with his
other hand; an elderly gent sat down next to
him; this older man saw the ginger bearded
fellow’s pint was quite ne’r the bottom

A woman with eyes of amber and hair like
chestnut strolled through a vineyard amongst
the ripening grapes full of juice soon to become
wine she clutched a notebook—behind black
covers lay ideas and sketches on how to bring
the world to a more natural state; balancing
the wonders and benefits of technology with
the beauty and sanctity of the natural world

When the ginger bearded man finished
the last bit of his pint another appeared
before him—courtesy of the old man,
“Notice you got the mark of a man accustom
to the seas,” said the old man gesturing to
the black and blue compass rose inscribed
in a ship’s helm, imbedded into the back
of the ginger bearded man’s right hand.

“I have crewed and skippered a many fine
vessel, but I am giving up the sea. I have
one last voyage left in me—to my home.”

“Aye the sea can be cold and harsh,
but she captures me heart. To where
are ye headed for home, there son?”

“’tis not a where, ‘tis a who. Sets of events
have lead to separate from me my wife. I
have been traveling for  five years waiting
to be in her embrace. The force of the sea,
she, is a cruel one for at every tack, or gybe
I am thrown off my course to stranger and
stranger lands… I have gone to the rotunda
of hell and the gates of the so called heaven.
I have struck deals, and  made bets only a
gambling addict would accept. All to just be
with her. I am homesick—she is my home; it
doesn’t matter where—physically—we are
my home is with her. I was told to come to the
clove of Cork and wait, wait for a man, but I
was not told anything about this man only that
I must return him this,” the ginger bearded man
held out a silver pocket watch with a frigate
engraved on the front and two roses sharing a
stem swirling on the back upon themselves.

“Can it be? ‘tis my watch t’at me fat’er gave
me before he died… I lost t’is at sea many a
year ago; it left me heartbroken. For ‘twas me
only lasting memory of him… Come to t’ink
I was told by a beggar in the streets, I do not
remember how long ago, but it has been many
a years, t’at I would meet a man with something
very dear to me, and I would take this man on
a journey, and this man would have the mark
of a sailor. What is ye name? Can it be…?”

“My name is Lysseus dear old man—it seems
the Sea is holding up her bargain—though a
little late... do you have a ship that can fair to
Rome? All across this land, none a skipper will
uptake my plea; they fear the wrath of the sea.
If they have no fear, they claim my home ‘is not
on their routes…’ ‘tis a line I’ve heard too often;
I would purchase a boat, but the sea, she, has
robbed me identity and equity; I’m at her mercy.”

Penny with her rich chestnut hair sat on a fountain
in a piazza—her half empty heart longing to feel
the presence of the Lysseus and stroke his ginger
beard… everyday she would look out at the sea;
where she saw him leave port—five long years ago…

All said she should give up; that he
was dead by now—his ship (what
was left) was found amidst the rocks
of Cape Horn, but she knew there was
hope, she should feel deep inside her
soul he is alive somewhere fighting to
return home. Never would she leave;
never would she abandon her post.
She made that promise five years ago
as he set out on his ‘last’ sail off shore.
And she would be ****** before she
broke her promise—a promise of the
heart; a promise of love. He said, “You
are my lighthouse; your love will guide
me home—keep me from danger. As
long as you remain my lighthouse I will
forever be able to return home—to you.”

Off from Crosshaven the old man took
steadfast Lysseus en route to his home.
Grey Irish skies turned blue as they made
their way out on the Celtic Sea, southeast,
to the Straight of Gibraltar; gentle cold
spray moistened his ginger beard, his
tattooed hands grasped the helm—his
resolute stare kept the two on course.

It was a shame to the old man that this
would be Lysseus’ final voyage—he was
the best crew the man had known; he
was  not sure if it was just the character
of the  fellow or his personal desire to
return  home after five long, salty-cold,
years being a slave to the sea and her
changing whim—never had he seen his
ship sail as fast as he did when Lysseus
was his crew—each sail trimmed perfectly,
easing  the sheets fractions of an inch to
gain just the slightest gain in speed; the
sight warmed the heart of the old man.

The old man mused: maybe this is the
reason the sea has fought so hard and
lied to keep Lysseus from returning
home… she could not bear to lose such
fine a sailor from her expanses—she
is known to be a jealous mistress…

The old man, as he smoked his pipe, sat on
the back pulpit staring at Lysseus’ passion
to return home, as he calls her. But for all
his will and passion the, old man had to
insist for the fellow to rest; otherwise he
would go mad without sleep; reluctantly he
would retire below deck, but the old man
doubted the amount of rest he actually
acquired in those moments out of his sight.

The seas were calm as open water can be,
rolling swells rocked and pushed the vessel
forward. The Straight of Gibraltar opened
up on the horizon like a threshold—a major
land mark for the Lysseus; he was closer to
home than he had been in five long, salty,
years. His limbo was starting to fade, his
heart slowly—for the first time since he left
port—was beginning to feel whole again.
The Mediterranean Sea—his final sea—he
would not miss the gleam of his lighthouse…

The closer they sailed to Rome, he could sense a
change in the water, a change in the weather; clouds
grew darker and bellowed like gluttonous bulbs. As
he feared, the Sea was breaking her promise—she
was not done with him yet. She could not let him
return home—the jealous temptress who has ruined
many a fine men—the least honest of all the elements.

“I see she ain’t done wit’ ye yet,” said
the old man. Surveying the dark, grey,
clouded noon-day sky from the bow pulpit.

“Nothing will keep me from reaching home; even if I
have to swim the final nautical miles. I will not let the
Sea break her deal; I will make her keep at least one of
her deals. My love is stronger than her forces. That I
know for certain. That I know beyond doubt.” Such
cried Lysseus out to the darkening sea and old man.

As if on cue—waiting for Lysseus to finish
his soliloquy—the clouds let out a deafening
cacophony of thunder cracks rolling through
the heavens towards their vessel. Lighting
grounded on the horizon around them creating
a cage of light and electricity. The gentle rolling
swells grew in stature with every cracking
second. The bow smacked and dove into on
coming waves; drenching both Lysseus and
the old man; with each flood of water over
the deck. The swells grew to such heights the
horizon transformed into dark clouds and
white peaked waves merging with the sky.

A wave crashed over the windward side of
the ship, the force of it cracked the base at
which the compass stood fastened to the deck
of the cockpit a larger wave hit abeam further
loosening the compass from its purchase; with
the angle of the ship and the rise and fall in the
waves it was all Lysseus could to do hold on
and watch the Sea slowly take the ship’s
navigation instrument into Her dark cold depths…

“Oh why do you curse me you foul tempest?
Cannot you see all I desire is to return to my
home!? I have done all you asked; I have
played all your games and won! now it is my
turn now—time for you to play by my rules!”
Lysseuc beckoned the old man to seek refuge
below deck—he would sail them through the
storm, and assured him the ship would reach
port afloat; for, “I can feel my lighthouse in
the distance; do you hear me Sea? You can
take away our mariner’s compass, but you
cannot take away the compass in my heart;
and the light of my home on shore. Five long
years ago she made a promise to me to be
my lighthouse—to guide me home no matter
what—regardless what you do, Sea, you can
never break her promise—only your, promises.”

As a lighthouse she stood through the weather
of the night—risking pneumonia, for Penny’s
heart told her she could never abandon her
promise as the waters fell flat and the sun peaked
through the storm clouds, a silhouette stretched
in the sunrise light, pointing to her feet. Upon the
bow Lysseus stood, his eyes fixed at the dock
where his lighthouse stood, fixed. Upon the dock
he jumped into the warm, loving, arms of his
home both of their hearts became whole again.
In my head, this is the beginning of a longer epic, which I still have yet to write. Would any of you who read this like to have more to the story; or do you like it as it is?
Mike Hauser Aug 2015
I want a beard like Chris's beard
But I can't even grow hair on my chest
This may sound strange if not a bit weird
That I have a Chris beard full on man crush

I swear I'm not gay, why I'm even straighter than straight
You can call my house and ask my wife
She'll tell you I'm out back juggling chainsaws all day
And other manly things I do with my life

But with hair on my face there's not the slightest trace
Not a follicle will you even find
But with Chris's beard I think that it's clear
That sucker could grow over night

So yes, I want a beard like Chris's beard
And that is the straight up fact Jack
Cause with a beard like Chris's manly beard
I wouldn't have to put up with anyone's crap
Check out the photo on Chris's site...cool beard! Have I mentioned that already?

— The End —