whatisthisplanet Feb 2017
For you
I will be the housewife
and obey
and put on my stained apron
with my weathered cracking hands
and cook
your meals hot

For you
I will be the mother
and tell our terrible blessings
of the perfect man
I met
and how he
fixed me

For you
I will be the good daughter
and force a fake smile
when your mother tells you
that you could do better

For you
I will be the friend
and be your punching bag
in your drunken state
and forgive you
when you come too

For you
I will be the love of your life
and be with you
in all your hardships
and puffy eyes
that even I can’t understand
English Jam May 8
Drink to the woman who cared for others
Drink to the man who let her die in the gutter
Drink to those who think they have eternal youth
Drink to those who learn but don’t recognise truth
Drink to those who descend to the feet of Malkuth
Drink to those whose only wish is to hang from the roof
Drink to the liars whose only lie was that they were fine
Drink to the colours that dared to be vibrant and different from mine
Drink to the comedian whose pain is well nourished
Drink to the lover whose bruises have all flourished
Drink to the girl who doesn’t know what to believe
Drink to the guy who always feels like he has to leave
Drink to those who killed themselves to start anew
Drink to the crowd of many that thinks it’s a crowd of few
Drink to those who clean the world without a thank you
Drink to those discovering a new kind of blue
Drink to those who stand for themselves without any legs
Drink to the rich man who still stops and begs
Drink to those who worship God through death
Drink to those who don’t know they’re taking their final breath
Drink to the children who found guns way too early
Drink to the boy who was told he’s too girly
Drink to the saviour who taught peace and love
Drink to those who lived hatred to get above
Drink to the shadows who stayed carefully hidden
Drink to the people of whom the shadows were forbidden
Drink to those who dream of what came before and after
Drink to the virgins who were hurt by everyone’s laughter
Drink to the non-virgins who were put into shame
Drink to the celebrities who forgot their own name
Drink to the singer who doesn’t know what the words mean
Drink to the speaker who tells stories of things he hasn’t seen
Drink to the prisoner who builds and makes
Drink to the police officer who kills and takes
Drink to the majesties whose requests are over the top
Drink to the awkward kids who don’t know when to stop
Drink to the side of history that was never told
Drink to the heroes who eventually grew old
Drink to those who bury themselves in mountains of cocaine
Drink in the words of the liar who says it’s OK
Drink to the daydreamers lost in a drowse
Drink to the shimmering girl in a torn blouse
Drink to the society that discriminates anyone in its excess
Drink to the forgotten parade of losers, addicts and rejects
Drink to whoever sees love in the dark chapters of our books
Drink to those who are and aren’t obsessed with their looks
Drink to the new generation that abandoned its old pastiche
Drink to all who have and haven’t found their niche
Drink to the beach who had fresh scars each day
And drink to the ocean that washed the scars away

Drink, drink, drink, upon high
Raise your glass, raise your glass high

Ahem, copyright. And yeah, don't drink unless it's to one of these. It's a bit long-winded but i think that's all right. I hope so, anyway
I don't have a soul

I have a
physique, structure, body
that tells a lifetime of stories
using emotions as my accessories
rising above my circumstances
growing through adversities
understanding my diversities

..I am a soul.
Leon Zebrick Jul 2015
Verse I

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

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

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

Threw  a toggle, pressed a switch
Woke up the neighbors with that son of a bitch

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

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

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

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

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

Verse II (1st person)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bones become linkage
Muscle, spring
Fear, excitement

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

the root of all that breathes
is where we bond
she tells me that in essence i am her
that she is life
and all she shields
in all its forms are her
that nothing disappears
that death is her as she is them
the lights collapsed
that are yet shine no more
those begotten in the blazing birth from blackness
of the universe
and in my core i call a soul
i hear
i believed your greatest mistake was this
—you picked a wilting rose
something that would never last,
something that was destined to, one day, fade away
but i was wrong

i see it in your familiar eyes,
a gaze that holds history
you are a lover that loves all things

you love when something tells a story,
something that will last in the pages of your book
like a beautiful, forgotten memory

i see now why you loved me

i am the wilting rose you kept  in the pages of your book,
like a secret held safe in the seal of your lips,
you carried me in your heart despite the thorns i came with

i thought no love would ever find me but there you were.
I never thought that I would see the day.
Just as I got good at fighting.
That I would have to put my hands down.
I would have to sit down.
Because I am now grown up.
But maybe now I am good at a different type of fighting.
One that does not require me to stand.
But tells me to understand.
Because it is that time of fight.
Just because I put my hands down.
Does not mean I don't have to put my foot down.
It is better than putting my foot in my mouth
I don't like the taste of it.
At first I thought,
I believed -
Poetry is effortlessly flawless;
Happy and perfect;
Verses and rhymes;
Beautiful and sublime -
I mean
I am rhyming right now,
Aren't I?
I thought reading poetry could make you walk on sunshine.

I was so far from the truth.

I mean poetry is all that,
But it's not just that,
It can't be.
True poetry tells the story of a poet -
His happiness,
Her pain.
You can tell when he's drunk in love,
And when she's drugged up on hate.
True poetry makes your heart skip;
One beat;
Two beats;
Three beats;
It can turn the sweetest thing sour.

True poetry can make you glad when you're sad,
But it can also make you sad when you're glad.
You can relate to it;
You understand the poet;
He reminds you that the world isn't filled with dark days,
She teaches you that sometimes everyone will desert you.
He found someone to take his pain away,
But she was unlucky and life gave her limes.

I know you know that true poetry speaks the truth,
Because only the truth can truly speak to you.
No matter what facade you keep up,
True poetry will seek out the real you.
And that is who I write for.
Thank you for reading
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~An old bear, rams his ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~wheelchair into
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~the door, now peeling ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~with hope
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~the doors corner, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~buckles.

"Let me get a running start"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~he tugs back his chair

"Let me get a running start"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ One weak rotation

"a running start"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~then another

"Oh, lord help me"
"Oh, lord help me"
"They won't even reason with me"

"Reason with me"
"Patty Can you come get me?"

"Kill me, lord"
"It's a matter of life or death"
"They won't help me"
"Lord help me"
"I won't"
"I won't"
"I won't"
"I won't"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The door clicks.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A slow hum sounds as ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~two EMT's roll a ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~contented thin elder past ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~us
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~she glazes her eyes ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~along the yellow ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~wallpaper that coats the ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~long hallway
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~of Saint Joseph's, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Secure
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~De­mentia Ward.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I, The Gatekeeper
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~blockade the exit
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~while the hum of ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~electricity
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~keeps us, secure.

"What the hell are you doin'?"
"There's a fire!"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I assure the bear there is ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~no fire.

"There will be!"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I place my hand on the ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~bears back, to assure ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~him
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~there­ will be a fire.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I promise,
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~that when the fire comes
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I will not stand in his way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~That for now, at least
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~we can have no fire.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~His back receives my ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~hand
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~as I thank him, for not ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~leaving.

"Thank me for saving lives."

"I'm so..."
"I'm Through..."
"washed up"
"washed up"
"washed up"
"I'm washed up"
"washed out"
"I'm washed out lord"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The EMT's return, and ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~open the door.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I again, block the exit.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I assure him, I am sorry

"they think this is a game"
"oh lord help me please"
"let there be a fire"
"push and help me out"
"he turned it off"
"he turned it off"
"I turned it on and he turned it off"
"should i try to turn it back on?"
"or will he punish me"
"and bring me back to my room"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~He reaches for the fire ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~alarm
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I let him ponder, then ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~touch his hand

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I assure the bear, I do not ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~punish.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~a­nd watch a man, whom ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~earlier I caught weeping
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~invite the bear to come to ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~his room
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~and take his medicine.

"why do you do this to me?"
"I just wanna go home"
"and see my family"

"a cult"
"I belong to a cult"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The man, whom earlier ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~wept
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~poin­ts down the ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~wallpaper, to a phone
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~with which, the bear may ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~call his family.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Then the man, whom ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~earlier wept
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~leaves the bear and I, to ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~content another thin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~elder.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~th­e bear, struggles ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~toward the phone

"Let me get a running start"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~one weak rotation

"Let me get a running start"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~then another

"A running start"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I bring him, down the ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~wallpaper
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~­~and watch a woman, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~whom I earlier caught ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~smoking

"thank you"
"thank you"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~keep the phone, secure.

"You know, you're a miserable bitch!"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Woman, whom I ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~earlier caught smoking
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~forks her tongue.

"miserable bitch "
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This poked, the bear.

"I own this place!"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Catalyst to the elephant ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~of the zoo.

"Do you know who I am?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~His living wife, Patty
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~spent sixty years, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~abused.

"miserable bitch"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~As the woman, whom I ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~had not yet caught ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~smoking,

"you bitch"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~tells the story,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Patty visited Saint ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Joseph's, Secure
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Dementia Ward.

"you bring me home now, you bitch"
"you bitch"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~­~~Patty was always ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~listening

"T H I S".
"I S  M Y".
"V A C A T I O N,  N O W".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~God too, was always ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~listening
"T H I S,  W I L L  B E  Y O U R".
"H O M E".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Patty was free now
"Y O U,  W I L L  N E V E R".
"G O  B A C K".
"T O  T H A T,  P L A C E".
"W H I C H  Y O U".
"C A L L,  H O M E".

"T H I S  I S  H O M E".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~and for the first time in ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~sixty years
"T H I S  I S  Y O U R  H O M E".

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Patty spoke,
"G O D  H E A R D  Y O U".
Patty is still alive and well
Patty is retired and has more children then toes.
I can tell you one thing Patty doesn't have.

to answer her phone, for the bear.
Next page