Art Flores Feb 2015
If these walls could speak,
They'd tell you all about Art;
Whispers from spray cans.*

- (A.F)
For the ones that
find beauty in graffiti.

Copyright © 2015 Art Flores.
All Rights Reserved.
Let me move slowly through the street,
  Filled with an ever-shifting train,
Amid the sound of steps that beat
  The murmuring walks like autumn rain.

How fast the flitting figures come!
  The mild, the fierce, the stony face;
Some bright with thoughtless smiles, and some
  Where secret tears have left their trace.

They pass--to toil, to strife, to rest;
  To halls in which the feast is spread;
To chambers where the funeral guest
  In silence sits beside the dead.

And some to happy homes repair,
  Where children, pressing cheek to cheek,
With mute caresses shall declare
  The tenderness they cannot speak.

And some, who walk in calmness here,
  Shall shudder as they reach the door
Where one who made their dwelling dear,
  Its flower, its light, is seen no more.

Youth, with pale cheek and slender frame,
  And dreams of greatness in thine eye!
Goest thou to build an early name,
  Or early in the task to die?

Keen son of trade, with eager brow!
  Who is now fluttering in thy snare?
Thy golden fortunes, tower they now,
  Or melt the glittering spires in air?

Who of this crowd to-night shall tread
  The dance till daylight gleam again?
Who sorrow o'er the untimely dead?
  Who writhe in throes of mortal pain?

Some, famine-struck, shall think how long
  The cold dark hours, how slow the light,
And some, who flaunt amid the throng,
  Shall hide in dens of shame to-night.

Each, where his tasks or pleasures call,
  They pass, and heed each other not.
There is who heeds, who holds them all,
  In his large love and boundless thought.

These struggling tides of life that seem
  In wayward, aimless course to tend,
Are eddies of the mighty stream
  That rolls to its appointed end.
Nothing Much Jan 2015
There is a street lamp at the end of my driveway
A luminescent lollipop
Flooding the cement with a pool of yellow light

But I'm still afraid to go out after dark
To trod through the grass or dance across concrete
And make it past that street lamp

They are on every street corner in my neighborhood
Crafting a world in which darkness does not exist
But I'm not afraid of the night; I'm afraid of being seen
Not super proud of this one.
Nanna Harrow Jul 2014
While I love the communicable energy
Given from sanguine, upbeat music,
Sometimes the hum of the street
The rushing, dashing, of careening motors
And the leading blissfulness
Is true serenity, just enough.
antony glaser May 2012
Progress is wasted here
the high street draped in uniform glass fronts
why shouldn't we play our bugle
to rebuke this shard ?
yet in a corner there's still a market street
refusing the final nail,
there's a shoe, bakery, cycle and jewellery shop,
in our hearts we will
wear  pride to headline the clarion call
and shed anger at being accused of,
carrying congress with the past
at our coffee stall.
School is over.  It is too hot
to walk at ease.  At ease
in light frocks they walk the streets
to while the time away.
They have grown tall.  They hold
pink flames in their right hands.
In white from head to foot,
with sidelong, idle look—
in yellow, floating stuff,
black sash and stockings—
touching their avid mouths
with pink sugar on a stick—
like a carnation each holds in her hand—
they mount the lonely street.
THE PAWN-SHOP man knows hunger,
And how far hunger has eaten the heart
Of one who comes with an old keepsake.
Here are wedding rings and baby bracelets,
Scarf pins and shoe buckles, jeweled garters,
Old-fashioned knives with inlaid handles,
Watches of old gold and silver,
Old coins worn with finger-marks.
They tell stories.
Josie Patterson Feb 2015
I’ve been conditioned
like freshly washed hair
for years
do not offend
unless the end of the sentence is “im sorry”
let the shoes and boots and heels of many make indents on you
like blueprints of demurity swaddled in insecurity
kept alive by the blurry ideas i once held about femininity
because i couldn't be a girl if the words that flew from my chords
were anything but rosy
ring around the Josie, pockets full of suppose he was to compliment your tits
when walking down a thorough-fair
busy people back and forth and grandmas with wrinkled sweaters
thank you
muttered from chapped lips and an even more chapped psyche
why must i keep my wits about to not risk making him angry
that was not complimentary but i am fearful he might spit my words back onto me
in the form of fists and slurs and honestly
im tired
of being the sidewalk beneath the feet of creeps
i am the sky and the trees and the moon
but i do not speak with the wisdom of travelling seeds
i speak with the warmth and subtlty of freshly microwaved milk
like soft silk i wish i could tatter
i wish venom soaked words could be spit in response to your “compliments”
but i would rather let you diminish me for the few moments it takes to objectify me
than to risk angering your inner beast and suffering the consequences of meninism or masculinism
whatever the word is this week
i will not be another number
ink soaked paper red with the monthly bloodshed of the sisters
every second is another unspeakable act
i see women
with tongues as round and large as planets
and tonsils the size of solar systems
birthing new galaxies in the words they speak
and shooting comets like fiery balls of comebacks
when that slack-jawed fool sat and wished and drooled
into his monthly issue of mens rights magazine
she tore down the even minuscule belief he could have had that he had the right to comment on her body
in three seconds his pride, and entitlement
shifted into shame
and embarrassment
and i envy these women
because the only time i can take back my power
is when i am standing in front of a room
speaking rhymes and metaphors preaching independence and strength
to a group of people who now think i am a hero
i am not a hero
i put my shoes on one foot at a time
and i still manage to forget a couple days of birth control here and there
and i cant stand up for myself
in the moments after an attack i retreat into my latte and pray today will not be the day the male dominated society takes my power away
because i am small
and though i am growing every day
i still can only pray
that one way or another
i will be able to be as strong a woman as my sisters
my mother
and take back my power
and speak not with the beauty of a flower
but with the sharpness of a bumblebees sting
and one more thing
your compliments
are not complimentary
Rachel Lacroix Oct 2012
Sweetest girl ya ever knew
Fuck me over, and your face will meet my shoe
Eyes blue and bloodshot, I see right through your lies
And as I sit here, I realize I have no reason to worry about you
You aint even worth this piece of gum I'm chewing, I'm pretending it's you
But you lost your flavor days ago
I'm saying goodbye; look behind and admire
You think you're fresh to death kid, but the truth is you've expired
Try and find better than me, good luck, cause all you'll find are nasty hoes
All ya care about is drinking brews and hanging with ya bros
Talk your shit, call me crazy, haha oh baby, like I didn't already know
Appears to me you are pathetically slow
Get with the program
Lemme draw you a diagram, make you a pie chart
That'll show you how many shits I give - zip- less than a fart
You think I'm upset? Crying in the dark?
Then ya fuckin dumb, I'm a sharp bitch, bite like a shark
And maybe I sound cliche when I say I got bigger fish to fry
But I'm not fussing about it.
I'll put the bait on my hook and watch the big fish fly.
Steven Hutchison Apr 2013
I locked eyes with the street last night
and it dared me to turn away
turn from the injustice
inequalities
ignorance
move on to some romantic scene
that lives outside the grey

I wrapped its cold wet skin
around my neck and began to shiver
as the rocks began to scrape
scratch
slither in my veins
as one hundred unknown faces
paddled their way down river

I tasted grief and empathy
and the mix was all too vile
more bitter than any sympathy
symbiotic
synergy
gears were painting machinery
cranking out disquiet and bile

It was then I found its corner
and the music it seemed to breathe
and despite my hesitation
hysteria
hellish intent on fiction
The asphalt smile began to grow
and pave my mind at ease
Twenty two years had passed  by

She blinked, and a lifetime had passed

She started this job as a lark

She never thought it would last

Two husbands and rehab were part of this bar

The husbands...her clients all knew

But the rehab, was hers...and hers all alone

Only one in her family knew

She'd been tending bar here for 3 presidents plus

Two popes, two husbands....one queen

There were things in this bar that were secreted away

There were things just not meant to be seen

Say, 4 fights a week for 22 years

That's four thousand six hundred fights

That's more violent acts than one person should see

That's  a lot of just mind numbing sights

As a tender of bar, she was part doctor as well

Serving drinks, and giving advice

She was hit on as well, and most she turned down

But some, they succeeded....some twice

They would come with their problems

spill their guts to this girl

Who they'd probably just met that night

They would tell her their problems and drink a few ales

When they  left, they would be feeling all right

But, Mary...poor Mary would harbour their pain

She'd help them, but could not let things go

They'd cheer up with her talking and 1 or 2 beers

But she hurt, and would leave feeling low

There was always a someone on the tales other end

Who was home, maybe beaten or mad

But, Mary....she talked to the one who'd come out

And she always left feeling quite sad

The stories they told her, she never asked them to tell

But they came and they opened on up

And she as their hostess just listened and served

Whle they sat there, getting full in their cups

She married two men that she met in the bar

Both left wives, and poor Mary was blind

They both charmed this girl, till she was way too far gone

And she learned that love..yes, was blind

She had a young niece, that her sister had left

She was going to school here in town

If there was one person alive who could bring Mary up

Her niece Amber was the proverbial clown

After marrying twice and divorcing just once

Mary vowed not to do it again

But, she was hit on each night

in this bar Down the lane,

by a considerable number of men

Her first husband...a lout, for better want of a term

Was a drunkard, and jealous most days

But she fell for him hard, for his sad tale of woe

And her marriage lasted 91 days

He would come in each night after finishing work

And would berate her for flirting for tips

After leaving the bar, he would beat her at home

Hitting low, just above Mary's hips

Her boss saw her marks whens she was filling the fridge

He kept quiet, but he told her to call

A friend that he had, who would help Mary out

He knew her marks were not from a fall

Before Mary phoned she had incredible news

Her husband had been in a crash

Her problems were over and her bruises would heal

And it all happened ...poof...in a flash

During this time her sister ran off

Leaving Amber for Mary to raise

Though she hated her sister for leaving

Dear Amber she loved, and she helped Mary get through the days

But eight years along, with no outlet in sight

Hearing tales and of other folks pain

Mary reached out and she found comfort in

A needle and a rock of cocaine

for three years she spiked, shooting up every day

spending money she stole from the till

And during this time, she got married again

He seduced her when she had no self will

He knew of her problem and joined in all the same

Just a leech come along for the ride

He would help keep her secret, never telling her boss

Never letting them know she was fried.

Poor Amber found out, she walked in one June day

there was Mary with her coke and her spoon

When she looked at young Amber, she knew she must quit

And she knew that she must do it soon

Pure heartbreak she saw in that little girls eyes

She could see how she thought she would lose

Her Aunt like her mother, gone from her life

Mary knew she would now have to choose

Rehab was chosen, and her husband he left

He found out that this train had now stopped

his free ride was over, his meal ticket gone

You could say that his bubble had popped

Two years clean celebrated, at the bar with the kid

Mary got some good news from her boss

He was retiring to Texas and was selling the bar

And he would sell it to her at a loss

She was now the proud owner of a bar all her own

Three doors down from Giannis on Hope

She would run it precisely, the way she'd been taught

She would run the bar clean, free from dope

She would meet some great people,

Some nights in for a drink

And others that she wished would just leave

She would listen to stories, some good some not quite so much

And others just to  hard to believe

She would make friends with some people  And others she'd ban,

making sure that they left with a start

She'd befriend Harry Cooper, the World War two vet

Who would imprint his soul on her heart

And Amber...yes Amber would come down to spend time

She was fine and was going to school

She was a classical junkie in the dark of her room

And I tell you this girl was just cool

Mary brought Amber up with morals and faith

She would come when her Aunt made the call

She would rather hang out at the bar every night

Than to go with her friends to the mall

Mary made peace with the demons she had

She could leave the folks tales and go home

But, now she had Amber and a reason to live

And she would not have to do it alone

the bar's past Giannias, three doors  down to the right

It's not large but she makes  it make do

There's some music out back from a bluesman as well

Come on down and be one of the few

Be a regular there, join up with the crowd

It's not big but the beer's always cold

You don't have to stay long, but you'll come back again

For it's special....or so I've been told

Tell Mary I sent you, you'll get a free drink

And a free ear to hear of your tale

But, leave your ciggies outside for you can't smoke in here

You can do it outside by the pail.
daniel f Aug 2013
On those drawn out summer evenings, all manner of characters would fill the coffee shops and spill outside. An interesting cross section of society would be provided for anyone willing to sit and watch, for an hour or two atleast. This particular evening will always stand out for me as representative of those carefree folly filled evenings. I was sat alone, with a copy of the evening news and an espresso across the street from a boisterous coffee shop which remained opened deep into the evening, long after others were closed. I often sat and watched people in those early few months, Id decided against socialising with colleagues. I would go to great lengths to prearranged fictitious plans and engagements in order so that I could sit alone each evening, pleasing myself. It's always far easier to enjoy food alone, without any distractions. After considering my options I settled for a steak, and a glass of wine. The waiter seemingly unconcerned failed to take note as I gave my order, with a shrug of his head he returned to the kitchen inside to place the order. The cafe I watched was perched almost perfectly across the street from the train station. As commuters and young couples in love poured out of the station, and onto the bright expanse which was the street before them. The popularity of this particular cafe is hard to convey correctly, it's frantic nature remained even on the bleakest of midwinter evenings. Now though months of bread and water were long gone, as seasonal waiters hurried arms filled will all manner of snacks and drinks.  All manner of agricultural workers would congregate in early march, eager to snap up work in the best hotels and cafes thus ensuring a healthy wage and generous tips. The waiters from the mountains always stood out. It was as if they retained the innocence of there previous surroundings, smiling all coy when taking orders from female customers. They retained the physical attributes of the mountains which they had left, towering above others and maintaining a mystique which often meant they would return in November with wives and child aswell.




By now it was half past eight atleast, and I had finished my steak and wine. The traffic was in the process of slowing down, although it was not uncommon here for traffic jams to form at any hour of the evening. Car horns echoed and ricocheted off old architecture which gave an impression of immense movement all around.  The owner was a beast of a man standing six foot high atleast, with a beard which gave away his rugged beginnings. It was impossible to estimate his origin correctly, Id always imagined he was from somewhere in Northern Europe although by now I had learnt that assumptions were the preserve of fools. He could most often be found pacing up and down the pavement adjacent to his cafe, smoking his camel blue cigarettes and staring deep into the night sky. As if preoccupied with some great moral dilemma this could go on for hours of end, without him breathing a word to anyone.  Under a great mane of curly brown hair, lay the most enthralling blue eyes imaginable. They had a softness which would not seem out of place upon the face of some Parisian muse. Although I must confess when first confronted with this gentleman an his almost childlike appearance, I was adamant I had him figured. He seemed the kind of man who blundered through life, although successful still seemed to be scraping an unenviable existence for himself.

By now I had stuck around long enough to get some feel for the pitter patter of life in just such a place. The transient nature of the customers ensured a bravado unseen in any old small town watering hole, women driven wild by spontaneous desire stared sultry at the mysterious visitors.
A crew of sailors who had no doubt been granted shore leave, and were soaking up the atmosphere just across the road from me. They could have been from any South American nation, or Spain. It really was impossible to tell from my distance, a few had clearly cultivated moustaches whilst at sea. It was common for sea faring people's to grow facial hair in such a manner. Almost as if by magic, a story told by someone without a beard holds subtle undertones of irrelevance. I had learned this over the many months I had spent smoking and talking to locals, and travellers alike. I must confess I had fallen hook line and sinker, I was currently locked in the process of cursing my genetics and dreaming of a more rugged appeal.

By now the black coffees had petered out, and had been replaced by glasses and in some cases bottles of what I can only assume was Spanish red wine. The noise had steadily increased as the drinks flowed, and the crowd of sailors had gradually grown more and more boisterous in there escapades . A few feet away the manager stared intently at the revellers, as if the warn them without words of being too careless in a foreign city. The ever present owner done very little to deter the actions of the pack, who's numbers by now had been swelled from another dozen or so sailors who happened to be walking in the right direction.  The sailors leered shamelessly at the local women, whilst the more forward of them made there own advances. Still the manager stood smoking and staring as if to catch the sight of one of them. Now to the wary eyes of a man returned from a long voyage this would seem like a place, where desire became a priority above all else. This would be an entirely accurate assumption although, if the surface was scratched significantly an underbelly of immorality could be found. For the sailors though, whom were just passing through unlikely to ever return this mattered very little. There only concern was draining themselves on some unsuspecting women, or if so required a prostitute.

It's hard to say exactly how the altercation was initiated, although I suspect the cat calls of a few sailors had pushed one local over the edge. Whilst the promise of conflict ensured a crowd would gather the bar owner remained just away from the ruckus as if picking his moment. The sailors numbered in 20 or so, and fuelled by red wine and continental beer seemed more than willing to put up a fight. A waiter who had tried to act as mediator between the parties had given up, and left for the roadside and had lit up a cigarette. For a few minutes atleast it looked as though the scuffle would be forgotten and laughed about over eggs at breakfast. There was a barrage of shouting and pulling as the locals slowly lost their temper. By now many people had stopped to stare at the spectacle, this is where I must confess things got really strange. As I have previously stated I have no real idea what brought all of this on, that is to say I have no idea what set the process in motion. It was a well known fact that in times of violence the locals would protect each other with a ferocity and loyalty which could see the most able bodied men come unstuck. I had ordered myself a cream cake, and was skimming through the news from London when I heard a blood chilling yell. I spied the previously placid manager leaving the door which lead to his apartment above the cafe. With the confidence of a man without obligation he sauntered toward the group of sailors. I did not see the knife, I must confess I assumed this old man would take quite a beating at the hands of these sailors. Oh I was wrong, a young sailor fell to the ground silent, as his green shirt went claret with blood. In disbelief his comrades stood around, unsure exactly what to do. The crowd assembled gasped as if to share collective disbelief, the manager had managed to slip off somewhere without provoking any attention. Over the next twenty five minutes an ambulance arrived although I feel even the paramedics knew that this was more an exercise in keeping up appearances than saving any lives. They surely knew that there was very little they could do for this poor boy away from home. Police officers milled around, It was safe to say the bar owner would never be brought to anything like justice for this although, the general consensus was that anyone who got stabbed more than likely deserved it in someway or another. As for the manager  he had long been bundled into the back of some old pre war car and taken far beyond the cries and disdain of world weary sailors. No doubt to reappear a week or so later.
my ipad was running out of battery so I had to wrap it up
(Yes I am acutely aware of how terrible that makes me sound)
In these rapid, restless shadows,
  Once I walked at eventide,
When a gentle, silent maiden,
  Walked in beauty at my side.
She alone there walked beside me
All in beauty, like a bride.

Pallidly the moon was shining
  On the dewy meadows nigh;
On the silvery, silent rivers,
  On the mountains far and high,—
On the ocean’s star-lit waters,
  Where the winds a-weary die.

Slowly, silently we wandered
  From the open cottage door,
Underneath the elm’s long branches
  To the pavement bending o’er;
Underneath the mossy willow
  And the dying sycamore.

With the myriad stars in beauty
  All bedight, the heavens were seen,
Radiant hopes were bright around me,
  Like the light of stars serene;
Like the mellow midnight splendor
  Of the Night’s irradiate queen.

Audibly the elm-leaves whispered
  Peaceful, pleasant melodies,
Like the distant murmured music
  Of unquiet, lovely seas;
While the winds were hushed in slumber
  In the fragrant flowers and trees.

Wondrous and unwonted beauty
  Still adorning all did seem,
While I told my love in fables
  ’Neath the willows by the stream;
Would the heart have kept unspoken
  Love that was its rarest dream!

Instantly away we wandered
  In the shadowy twilight tide,
She, the silent, scornful maiden,
  Walking calmly at my side,
With a step serene and stately,
  All in beauty, all in pride.

Vacantly I walked beside her.
  On the earth mine eyes were cast;
Swift and keen there came unto me
  Bitter memories of the past—
On me, like the rain in Autumn
  On the dead leaves, cold and fast.

Underneath the elms we parted,
  By the lowly cottage door;
One brief word alone was uttered—
  Never on our lips before;
And away I walked forlornly,
Broken-hearted evermore.

Slowly, silently I loitered,
  Homeward, in the night, alone;
Sudden anguish bound my spirit,
  That my youth had never known;
Wild unrest, like that which cometh
  When the Night’s first dream hath flown.

Now, to me the elm-leaves whisper
  Mad, discordant melodies,
And keen melodies like shadows
  Haunt the moaning willow trees,
And the sycamores with laughter
  Mock me in the nightly breeze.

Sad and pale the Autumn moonlight
  Through the sighing foliage streams;
And each morning, midnight shadow,
  Shadow of my sorrow seems;
Strive, O heart, forget thine idol!
  And, O soul, forget thy dreams!
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