Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
I wake up in cold sweats
Screaming your name
I messed up I know.
I miss you though
I got to the point of no return
I open my eyes with tears streaming down my face.
I wipe them away because I don't deserve to be in this place
You don't deserve this pain, I do.
I felt like I was helping and doing things right
I couldn't have been more wrong
Instead I lost sight of everything that you needed
I lost my light
And now I feel the consequences in the latest hour.
The taste in my mouth is always sour.
Cné Aug 2017
The weary mind in turmoil writhes
and slumber will not come.
The moonlight seeps
like latticed withered vines.
I listen to my heartbeat,
in the silence like a drum,
And through my shuttered eyes....
see strange designs.
The night will not take me prisoner,
and bind me to restful sleep.
No dreams, or any respite,
no way, my soul to keep.
Groaning as I turn myself
to rest beleaguered pain,
I stretch to ease
my tortured back and sigh.
Then I fluff my pillow
to deactivate my speeding brain...
Rolling in the covers,
as my body sweats and strains,
seeking to lose myself,
discarding all, my pains

But my eyes are wide...
and still the question..."Why?"
Brains on hyperdrive
Fingertip upon the glass,
   Astounded,
Breathless.
   Cracking the most painful smile..

Lift my head to gaze upon...
   the fallen.

Fly back,
   eyes dart around the room,

Unravel the sheets,
   Unravel my body,
   Stare up,
   Gaze. weep.
fall through the floor.

hanging by my hands.
   fire everywhere,
Cries in every direction.

A tug at my feet,
   A cold, blood-torn face says to me,
   "Go back."

All goes black.

Anger floods my veins,
I scream...
Blood pours from my fist

at the bar,
   watch her dance,
She doesn't see me,
   because I'm not there...

her smile is the most painful knife in my side,
Because it's not mine.

A sharp pain across my face
   Get it together man,

Black again, for just a moment...
   eyes, slowly open.
laying in my bed.

It's 8pm.
   guess I'll just sleep...

again,
to float through the silence.


~Robert van Lingen
Sebastian Macias Jul 2018
Funny some days
When things won't go your way
And you see them nice cars
People enjoying their ice cream
Idiots smiling, arms full of insecurities

And you're in a boxing ring
With one woman eating at your soul
The mother of your child,
Bending your legs into halves
The one who brought you,
Screaming in the corner,
Loser! Shmuck! Mistake!
Circling, are challenged hyenas from work
Poking into you
Like an animal in a cage

And as your ******* sweats
Walking towards your train
You think to yourself,
They won't even see it coming
When you gotta wake up one day,

Tear everything to ****.
Eat everything in your path.
laura May 2018
expecting the ride of a lifetime
hype guy with the pimped out kith jeans
and the shoes that cost god knows what
but he pulls me off of him so he can
carefully unlace them, while i get drier
than a desert waiting for him

like, ***?
show up in sweats and a hoodie so i can
steal it next time, man
when suddenly you’re not so into fashion anymore
Kara Jean Dec 2016
What the **** am I doing with my life
There is no gain
Would you like a large fry with that pain
Thanks, come again
She seems miserable and glowing
Contoured on smile
Forcing her to be happy
Counter tops seem befitting tonight
God, I lost my light
Life seems to ***** you *****
Bare and thin, it's always in
**** will **** you dry
Leaving you asking why
She sweats smudged transgressions
He pushes deeper in
His ****** tension draws her sin
She never was meant to win
Francie Lynch Nov 2018
Have you met the Who-Gee Boo-Gee Man?
He scammed fig leafs in the garden,
And **** cloth in Ottoman.

     outside-in, inside-out; upside-down, right-side up

The Who-gee Boo-gee Man can cuss.
He offers snake oil, spins a tale,
So you feel smart, healthy and hale.

     from top to bottom, bottom to top

The Who-gee Boo-gee Man can't stop.
He swrawls with a Sharpie pen.

     right is left, left is wrong

That's the Who-Gee Boo-Gee song.

Consultation for now is free,
No hidden added extra fees:
You buy two, you get three.

     north to south, east to west

The Who-Gee Boo-Gee Man won't rest.

I've heard his feet are cloven;
The eyes are yellow, lips look swollen;
He has *******, wears silk- woven.
He sweats like water to the lowest level;
He's quicker than the slyest devil,
Selling ****, but we hear heaven;
Doing so twenty-four seven.

He photo-shops secret desires,
Twists truth-tellers into liars;
Artful, wily, scheming, subtle,
The Who-Gee Boo-Gee's a hungry jackal.

     today is the day, yesterday's late,
     tomorrow's a place that just won't wait


I met up with the Who-Gee Boo-Gee Man,
Peddling apples from my jardain.
Nicole Alyssia Oct 2015
My breath is but a whimper
A faint hollow sound-
Inspiration, passion
Where are you hiding?

October is the cruelest month
For nostalgia creeps at every corner
Following, lurking
Seeping through my unconscious

You creep into my nightmares
I just can't seem to escape
Anxiety, cold sweats
If I didn't like it id be lying.

For months, I've felt dead
I hate you, yet I crave you
You set my pulse on fire
Yet I'm the last to admit I want this.
JayceeJellies Dec 2014
It's been a day or maybe a few,
That I haven't heard from you.
It's not exactly depressing yet,
But I know I'll cry soon, and get-
Cold sweats.

It's not like you'd care,
You don't give a ****.
I'm just sort of there,
To you, I'm throwing a fit.

And you say I have no right to.
Well what did you expect me to do-
When you're telling people such hyperbole?
Your mispresentations have flustered me.

I've never met someone so treacherous.
I trusted you and you put on a display,
Which I must say was completely impetuous.
Where did you come up with such nonsense?

I guess I never meant anything to you,
I feel like I was just a fill in for others.
Others whom you actually befriended,
Or maybe they're just like me.

Discovering that you're really a bully.
An emotionally abusive person.
touka Dec 2017
a mother cooing in tune with her son
elbows rested on the finished mahogany of his crib
as the fever broke through his onesie
like my night sweats
Sebastian Macias Jun 2017
It hits you like a swing of a bat
Like your first kiss
The recurring dream, night sweats
You're walking down the road
Smiling because you just got paid
Or laid or new jeans, new book so on
Happiness is what you feel, you think
It's actually a dormant mind
Free from the anxiety and impatience
That a conscious mind fights everyday
It's closed eyes, it's bed time stories
You don't feel it when your young
The older we get, further into the cave
We came from the waters
To dry land seeking food
But all we found was the poison
Of working, insanity with love,
Long minds, shorts perception
And this, this morning ritual to keep
So bathe together, drink whiskey
Stare deeply into another mind
Because baby when this is over
They don't serve pain there
Becca Lansman Sep 2018
You walked into the butcher shop
eyes of blue determination
asked me to hand you the cow heart.
Still beating, i let it slip into you hot palm
letting the blood trickle down our arms as our fingers featherd each others wrists.
You took the corpse and slipped it deep into your jean pocket like a secret love affair.


You asked me if i wanted to go swimming sometime. It was not a question.
I cordially accept your wet invitation.

We splashed in the melted blue like children yet unbroken by the cruelties of living.

We ate each other.
Starving
you told me i was the first meal you had in months
and i, so innocently believed you.

The next day you invited me over for dinner. It was not a question.
Full on **** i accepted

Hot
you opened the kitchen door quickly and whispered down my spine,
my body like lava erupting before we made it to the first course.

On the dinner table lay the butchered
heart.
Still beating you asked me to take the first bite,
and i, brimming with your desire- did

I swallowed it like a rock.
pulsating through my core, shaking my small frame.

You kissed my stomach.

The next day i awoke in cold sweats.
Feverish
Vomiting up my stomach lining chunky and undigested.

I left you three messages.

Sick. White. Quaking.
I waited.

Disintegrating into myself. The flesh melting off my body like a landslide.
A hurricane in slow motion.

I waited.

you skinned me like a thanksgiving turkey
left me on your kitchen table to be picked at by the angry flies.
A slow meticulous death.

You said “look into my eyes.”
And i was so lost in the blue i allowed you to take the knife right to the place where the world begins.

I was so in love with an idea.

I ate your heart without question not understanding that you cannot consume someone into loving you.

What goes in must come out.

Now, what is left of our **** lines the bathroom sink.

A bath of blood and bile
I obsessively pick though trying to discern where I went wrong.
Elizabeth Mar 3
I’ve strained from my path
A long time ago,
If only I could break free
From this filthy world.
My soul is searching
For a glimpse of light,
In this dark night
If only stars would shine bright.
I wish to sail far away
To a peaceful place,
Where my mind won’t rage,
I’m sick of being in this cage.
I’m tired of plastered smiles,
And white lies,
I’m tired of fake love,
And dark skies.
Of expectations,
And regrets,
Of weeping,
And sweats.
I just want to fly free,
With no worries,
Finally leaving behind,
All of my furies.
Chris Slade Dec 2018
(A Tribute to Ted Slade - poet, 1937-2004)

This new friendship. This journey on which we were just setting out.

How will we work it now you've...well...gone?

It was going so well. That's the way I saw it anyhow.

It had only been a year - we two - back in each other's circle...

Same planet - different orbit. Though I'll never know now what your thoughts might have been..



This 52 year gap in our 'acquaintance', for that's all you'd ever say it was
,
it closed at dad's (your Uncle Bud's) funeral - as he leapt 'on-flame' to the ether.

He didn't half want to go..."Why don't they just let me slip away?"
And then it was you I wanted to know amongst those finger buffet scoffers.

Those ribboned aces never knew that Bud just kick-started their Lancasters and 'Spits' at Leconfield and Liberia.



Bud's morphine muted passing proved positive, and thankfully at last - 

(he might remember now) - he helped kick-start too this belated kinship between us.

Jack would have been pleased about that...(Bud too I know)

"a good trade" he'd have called it. "I'm knackered anyway".

I was always curious about our respective dads - they only ever sent Christmas cards...no letters. No love.



Bud gave me a book  before he swapped "heaven's hopper" for the "take & bake".

"Eer-yar" he wheezed...this is more up your street than mine..."

"Yer what?..."Poetry?...No... I can't make head nor tail of it. Like Shakespeare...Where's me glasses?"

and, with that ,the "Last Arm Pointing" welded that closing gap between us tight shut.

I read 'Mystery Tour' to Bud...about Jack's 'motorised passing' and he cried. So, it was up his street. after all.



Your words filled me in on distant memories...made solid.
Missing chunks I'd seen but never written down
.
Of Withernsea and its winter isolation

of Jack, his life - and how it intertwined with yours.

I've not found too much yet about Phyllis. Is there a darker story there? Who'll tell me now?



Your final work, tireless as ever, from your New Malden 'crow's nest'...

was steering your second collection to print...and then...

Your literally-literal Mugs and Sweats - flying off the shelves of a California warehouse.

Disabled? Pah!  Why should they ever know the what & why behind the who and when?

Your 'disability'...would only 'publicly' let you down if your trike sustained a puncture in Richmond Park.



"Hi Cuz...Where do I go to get mugs and sweat shirts printed?"

And then, whilst I was looking through directories & old invoices,

you whizzed across the earth on the wings of your laser guided mouse.

By the time I'd got the phone numbers of long distance, half remembered contacts -

you had designs submitted, distribution and royalty deals sorted and were planning the next big thing.



Your freehold on the planet was the web...your very own super-short cut.

Who needs invalid cars when you can 'fly digital'?

You were a lover of the dub-dub-dub which loved you back in floods.

Now, even when your body has deserted you - it still throws us pages and pages - of you - and about you.

The Noddy Holders and Wes the Western Gun-slinger, pale by comparison, they'd envy your PR knack.



Instead of trying to phone, (these heavenly BT - or is it ET-connections often end in wrong numbers)...

and, because a lot of the time talking took it out of you, I'll keep writing like I did before.

Replies would be good. But I often used to write out of turn anyway.

So yes, things could get a bit one sided...forgive me if I 'go on', and... you don't!

But I'll keep writing to [email protected] and read the answers in your books and old e-mails of the family's past.



Cheers Ted...Lots of love Chris (Cuz) Slade.
Ted Slade was a published poet with (for a sufferer of severe kyphoscoliosis) a stellar career. Only started school at age 12... Qualified for Uni at 16. A metalurgist at Filingdales after graduation (so, a real 'propellor head')... He switched to Head of Marketing for the Portuguese Tourist Authority (as you do)...An Atheist and Communist, his last job before dedicating to poetry was as PC Network specialist at Kingston University...On retirement he turned his attention full time to Poetry and founded www.poetrykit.org We lost touch big-time and only met again in our 60s (mental) and found we had so much in common... except I was and never will be a propellor head!
AD Mullin Oct 2014
The first time I truly stepped into the mystic
For a suspended period
Those close to me watched with amused
Concern

Later on I would find out that this place was called hypo-mania
A lower energy level than mania
Recognized by the p-doc's as a creative place
But also a place of warning

Cause what comes next?
Mania
For me it was spiritual; I was playing in the aether
I was living the Tao; I instinctively called it Source

I was studying to be a scientist at the time
So this didn't make a lot of sense
The data didn't support the hypothesis
Had I just eaten one to many mushrooms as a teenager?

I already had a psychiatrist
I was being treated for ADHD
He had prescribed something called Concerta
An amphetamine; a ******-stimulant

At many points along the journey
I cursed the day I ever heard of psychiatry
I'm sure that the neuro-chemical pathways opened up by Concerta
Had something to do with my awakening

Those first days near Source made me realize I needed some guidelines
Mine were informed by my indigenous heritage
Only take what you need (i.e. sip, don't gulp from the River Tao)
Find your foundation: my rock was integrity, eventually leading to authenticity

Even with these guidelines, I couldn't maintain the healthy place they were calling hypo-mania
I had too much toxicity in the relationships around me
I couldn't fully elucidate what I was seeing and feeling
And my 7 kettles were on a full rolling boil

I was draining myself
I drove myself into madness
I was trying to sip from source and live my truth
But I wasn't honouring the nature of the Tao

It was Helter Skelter:
'So you go back to the top of the slide
And you turn and you go for a ride
And I get to the bottom and I see you again'

Over the next 3 years
I would lay down what I now think of as my
4 pillars; four hospitalizations
Well over one hundred days in the Cuckoo's Nest

The first hospitalization I went happily
I was going to teach and inspire the sickies
It's hard to get healthy in a place of illness, though
I came out still a little hypo-manic but went into a deep, dark depression
After finding out what those around me really thought

The second hospitalization, I went against my will
The doctor's were inconsistent, I found flaws in their logic
They looked at me like I was a flaw
They tried to prescribe health at me; I told them to *******

At that point I was not happy with the Canadian health care system
Health, first and foremost, was a public good
This ******* the individual's rights
I wasn't a danger to myself or others but I was a risk so there goes 70 days of my life

I was fortunate to have the support of some important people
They made sure my finances, among other things, were maintained as I tried to make it back to the ordinary
After my second hospitalization I really began to delve into the idea of holistic healthcare

It was after my second hospitalization that I made my first Hero's Journey
I was playing the role of a white blood cell for Gaia
I had my first three sweats within a month of each other
I met many shaman and I'm pretty sure I began my own residency

I put 10,000 km on my trusty steed
Chasing windmills
Sancho Panza by my side
< --- -- - Vancouver, NYC, Los Angeles, 'da bridge - -- --- >

My third hospitalization was the third act of this Hero's Journey
I was pushing it, reckless; I stopped taking my prescribed medicine
I ended up in the City of Angels of all places
Straight outta Compton!

My fourth hospitalization (and final pillar) was last summer
This time I ended up in Billings, Montana
The American model places the onus of health on the individual
I could have stepped out of that hospital at any point but I now had the wisdom to know what I did and did not need

Even though I speak of four pillars
There is always a fifth element
Her; the one
She woke me up to my soul's purpose

We met shortly before my fourth hospitalization
(You've got to use the fourth, Aaron)
She was a stranger in many ways
Still is but why does she feel so familiar?

She walked me through Dante's Inferno
She had spent time in her own non-ordinary reality
She left behind a map and published it
Through her bravery, I was able to find my way out of the inferno

And through her bravery, I was able to publish my map
http://www.bipolarorwakingup.com/
Sebastian Macias Dec 2017
It hits you like a swing of a bat
Like your first kiss
The recurring dream, night sweats
You're walking down the road
Smile because you just got paid
Or laid or new jeans, new book so on
Happiness is what you feel, you think
It's actually
Emeka Mokeme Jul 2018
Return to the ancient path,
the roadmap of greatness,
the elders call must be obeyed,
thoughts of the ancestors is enough,
everything is hidden within it.
It is the beginning of healing
for all of us and our land.
With your ears to the ground,
listen to the secrets offered.
The lone voice heard has a
message for you.
To obey the call means life.
Oh! you children that heard it,
carry it like a fire within you.
Let it burn into your bones.
For your strength lies in it
and can't be taken away.
Your destiny is already shaped
by your culture mixed with their sweat.
The blood of your forefathers
was shed to earn you a place thus far.
Put your ears on the ground to listen
to what they have to say.
Tilt your head and look up for
the sky bear witness to this truth.
The air still sings their music,
even the waters also whispers their songs
for they drank from the same well as you.
The ancient trees in the arena
where they lean their back
stained by their sweats still stands.
The flute and the talking drums
are still calling out their names in
the dark under the moonlight amidst
the people with the elders,
the elements and the stars bearing witness.
My people return to the ancient path  
and save yourselves from thunderstorms.
©2018,Emeka Mokeme. All Rights Reserved.
Alyssa Underwood Mar 2016
I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


V

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


VI

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

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

And all men **** the thing they love,
  By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
  Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
  The brave man with a sword!
BrooklynMae Dec 2018
Don' t lean back
The room is gonna tip again

I'm O.K.
Or at least I keep tellin him that

As the ice melts in my glass
The warmth in my stomach grows

The phone rings
I've sent one too many texts tonight
But one call can't do any harm
Besides, I miss him

The cup in my hand
Sweats with each sip

I only think about finishing the bottle

Which
Now that I think about it
Is probably the wrong answer
Next page