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THE morn of life is past,
And ev'ning comes at last;
It brings me a dream of a once happy day,
Of merry forms I've seen
Upon the village green,
Sporting with my old dog Tray.
Chorus: Old dog Tray's ever faithful; Grief cannot drive him away; He's gentle, he is kind, I'll never, never find A better friend than old dog Tray.

The forms I called my own
Have vanish'd one by one,
The lov'd ones, the dear ones have all pass'd away;
Their happy smiles have flown,
Their gentle voices gone,
I've nothing left but old dog Tray.
Chorus.

When thoughts recall the past,
His eyes are on me cast,
I know that he feels what my breaking heart would say;
Although he cannot speak,
I'll vainly, vainly seek
A better friend than old dog Tray.
Chorus.
Hannah Apr 2017
Entry ~
*I'm lost in my head, staring at an ash tray in the middle of the coffee table. It amazes me how a simple object can hold so many memories. I've had that ash tray for so many years. It's moved with me from 5 different houses in the last 10 years. It holds a piece of my soul locked up between its clear glass walls. I can't even remember where I got it, but I remember it wasn't always an ash tray. I used it to hold random little trinkets, like necklaces and earrings that didn't have a match. That was when I was about 13, before I really even took up smoking. By the time I was 17 it was used for cigarettes. I remember opening my bedroom window, climbing out to the flat roof of the sun porch, lighting up my camel cigarette, and staring up at the stars. I would sit there for an hour after my last drag, my glass ash tray sitting on the open windowsill, contemplating my existence in the hundreds of galaxies swirling above my head. I remember thinking they were close enough to know they exist, but far enough away for you to doubt it. By the time I was 19, I was no longer using that ash tray for cigarettes, but for joints and spliffs. It sat on the corner of my mahogany dresser, right next to my incense and antique lamp. It sat there for about a year. Until I left it behind to drive across the country. That was just a few months ago. I'm 20 now, and have just returned from my journey. I've come home to the same house I lived in before, to my glass ash tray sitting in the middle of the coffee table. I can only imagine what it saw from its resting spot. I'm glad it sat there, collecting memories like settling dust. It makes me feel like I never left at all. Like a piece of me remained here with the people I love. They just didn't know it. I think when I leave for good, I'll leave it behind once again. It'll be like leaving a piece of my soul with them, to leave my mark on their existence. They may not realize it at first, but at some point they'll look down at that ash tray, and think of it's origins. When they do I'll cross their life for just a brief moment. They may not even know it was my ash tray, but it won't matter. They don't need to know it was mine for our paths to intersect. The past is a witness, and I can live with that.
I've been messing around with prose lately. It's a nice change of pace.
**
Alyssa Underwood May 2018
"The Struggle for Love"
"The Longing for Home"
So desperate to prove
That our hearts aren't alone

While death looms wherewith
To make dust of our flesh
We seek in a myth
Our souls to enmesh

With a hero of hope
A rescuing source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Which might silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

But it's not our mere lack
Which causes most dread
It's the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination

We just want our own way
And to write our own story
So we plunge on astray
To seek our own glory

To play artist or muse
Or idol or chief
Any self-styled ruse
To assuage us of grief

Any measure to show
A lasting signif'cance
So that someone would know
Our unique magnif'cence

For our beauty's been marred
And we crave a redemption
Of souls twisted and scarred
By fulfillment's exemption

But, alas, we will find
That search hard as we may
There's not one of our kind
Who can carry the tray

Upon which the weight
Of our souls has been laid
For who can e'er tolerate
Its gross debts unpaid?

Such suff'cating mass
Of defects and ills
Pressed 'gainst delicate glass
Of egos and wills

Still more ghastly to bear
Is devotion unbound
For with millstone to wear
Its master is drowned

'Neath a sea of foul yeast
And becomes the enslaved
To a hungering beast
To a worship depraved

For the heart is a tiger
And must have its fill
So it raises a man higher
With a kiss before the ****

Not intentionally, of course,
Does it slaughter its idol
But of hurricane force
Is this longing so vital

And as pedestal turns
So quickly to altar
Our wounded pride burns
When our gods and alms falter

And the fire of its rage
Turns upon its obsession
Tiger breaks out of cage
To reclaim self-possession

It bites and it tears
What it once so adored
And pride no longer cares
If it kills its false lord

But upon such demise
The soul screams in terror
For it's broken its prize
And can't take back its error

It begs and it pleads
To restore what's been lost
But at end knows it needs
To consider the cost

Of the damage untold
It has left in the wake
For hearts can't be controlled
With a gush or a shake

No, men's hearts are like bombs
Which so easily explode
Once the pin is removed
All past wrongs will re-load

So the prey becomes hunter
When the tiger attacks
For he does not want her
To see what he lacks

As he, too, had put
Her up in wrong place
But now steps his foot
Upon her shamed face

To now pulverize
As his own heart's been crushed
To blind out her eyes
And to see her lips hushed

For with words idly spoken
She'd stabbed at his soul
And had left his pride broken
By her judgments so cold

She had not meant to harm
Knew not e'en that he heard
But one cannot disarm
A thought put to word

Worse than not knowing this
She no longer knew him
And her once imagined bliss
Proved a nullified whim

Oh, what games and delusions
We play and we build
Upon empty illusions
And dreams unfulfilled

Yet strangely it's when
Our worst fears come true
We can finally transcend
All those old tales we grew

Out of ego and void
Out of sorrow and pain
When our nerves felt annoyed
And our hearts felt too vain

'Cause when ego is puffed
It is primed, too, to pop
And with pinprick is snuffed
Like a pest-blighted crop

So imagine much more
When a venom's injected
Right into its core
And its heart is rejected

But can you also not see
How it needs such a burst
To begin to get free
From its self-absorbed curse?

Except now feels the matter
Of our soul's isolation
Fiercer still with the shatter
Of our pet consolation

So we wait and we wonder
If we've missed the true meaning
Of the frightening thunder
In our heart's constant screaming

Whether homesick or lost
Whether lonely or grieved
Locked in bleak Winter's frost
We find little reprieve

Yet we know we've been made
For the glory of Spring
Some card's still to be played
Some grand song still to sing

Inexpressible yearning
For some secret we know
But can't speak for the burning
Repercussions of woe

Not some mere melancholy
Nor nostalgic forlorn
Not the musings of folly
But a sense that we're torn

From primordial root
And from headwaters fresh
Yet much deeper to boot
From our spiritual breath

'Tis an ache not for wares,
Appreciation or fame
But a fight just for air
Against strangling shame

For we're naked, we know
And with all we devise
Our most flawed parts still show
To a pure set of eyes

Like we're walking around
With no covering intact
But thin hospital gown
With wide split up the back

So we hide our true face
Aim to be what we're not
Work our blots to erase
Lest our schemes should be caught

Be 't by friend or by foe
We dare not risk the pain
Of humiliation's blow
On top of our stain

But instead of relief
Anguish grows louder till
This life's loneliest grief
Paralyzes the will

And last hope all but dies
On doubt's bed of despair
While embittered heart cries
That its lot's too unfair

Yet on outside we play
Through our unconscious mind
Man's collective charade
That everything's fine

Like some pact we'd all sworn
To uphold and obey
To protect from the scorn
Of society's sway

If we run with the flow
'Stead of strive 'gainst the tide
We might make enough show
To salvage our pride

We forget that conceit
Is what caused all the mess
Through a serpent's deceit
And a couple's wrong guess

'Twas they first tasted shame
And then hid in a garden
Sewing fig leaves as claim
To secure their own pardon

Yet in horror they knew
They had squandered the Prize
And must flee from the view
Of a pure set of eyes

Now same state of awry
Runs through each of their seed
Inborn and borne by
Like the thorniest ****

Whose nettles pierce deep
And infect every part
While roots tangle and sweep
Through the mind and the heart

It mocks what we've lost
Torments every dim hope
To constrict and accost
Like a noose-tightening rope

Still, hope won't be decayed
Smold'ring fires yet burn
Sparking hints that we're made
For bright Eden's return

This redemption we crave
Is no phantom's false plea
But as crestfallen wave
Hides itself in the sea

It's been veiled in plain sight
Big as all of our stories
Deep as mankind's full plight
And as high as its glories

Cloaked in every ambition
That we have to get in
To some exclusive coalition
For its favors to win

Lurks a bleeding predilection
Frustrated from birth
A desire for election
To bestow on us worth

Lured by scent of a promise
To be chosen and known
Like the warmth of a mom's kiss
Given only to her own

We search tree after tree
For sweet intimacy's nectar
From a fruit that will be
Our secret connecter

To hope's nourishing breast
To life's honey from comb
To an undying rest
To a straight way toward home

One to wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of a garden again
Cast from pure tree of life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

All our conflicts, comp'tition,
Confusion and blame
Find first cause in perdition
That's invaded our frame

Like the foulest disease
The most cankerous rot
Grown by monstrous degrees
Hatched by Lucifer's plot

This story's no ****'s attack
Nor archaic folklore
But the earth-shattering fact
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

And it's not our mere lack
which causes most dread
But the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For it's rank ins'bordination


And yet...


This is also the story
Of how those same eyes
The Possessor of Glory
Looked with love and heart cries

On the crown of creation
His reflection of Self
Made His own treasured nation
The heirs of His wealth

Now broken and lost
All banished from Garden
And He knew the full cost
To grant them His pardon

Had known long before
He had e'er even made
That first man of yore
Yet handcrafts anyway

For His love is so strong
And He wanted to share
His intimacy with a throng
His own children to bear

So with souls in convulsion
From their rebellious misdeed
Just before their expulsion
He promised a Seed

One untainted from sin
Who could take its great boulder
And the weight of His kin
Upon His own shoulder

A Hero of hope
A rescuing Source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Who would silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

For those eyes are His own
And He'd pay the full fee
By His body alone
To set our hearts free

He's hope's nourishing breast
He's life's honey from comb
He's our undying rest
He's our straight way toward home

He will wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of the Garden again
Cast from pure Tree of Life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

But 'twas on another tree
That sweet intimacy's nectar
Was secured tight when He
Became sacred Connector

And the thorns of our curse
Were pressed onto His head
With not one there to nurse
As the Son of Man bled

Then the wrath for our sin
Was absorbed as He cried
And the foul curse was broken
When the Son of God died

But death couldn't keep Him long
Nor His glory dispose
And we found our lost song
When the King of kings rose!

The debt had been paid
He had finished the work
The tide 'gainst us was swayed
We weren't left in our lurk

And we've only to now
Just repent and believe
To open and allow
Our hearts to receive

Our Divine Fountainhead
Our covering complete
To sup from His bread
And to sit at His feet

To worship the One
For Whom we were made
By Whom we've been won
Whom forever we've craved

The One Who can bear
Our hearts' full devotion
The One Who won't tear
At our souls' raw emotion

The One Who will be
Sweet eternity's song
Who with lasting decree
Will...right...every...wrong
~~~

First two lines taken from Timothy Keller sermon titles;
also inspired by his other sermons:
"The Breastplate of Righteousness"
"Blessed Self-Forgetfulness"
"The Sandals of Peace"
"The Wounded Spirit"

~~~

for more on this:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2179517/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/

~~~
Alyssa Underwood Apr 2017
"The Struggle for Love"
"The Longing for Home"
So desperate to prove
That our hearts aren't alone

While death looms wherewith
To make dust of our flesh
We seek in a myth
Our souls to enmesh

With a hero of hope
A rescuing source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Which might silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

But it's not our mere lack
Which causes most dread
It's the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination

We just want our own way
And to write our own story
So we plunge on astray
To seek our own glory

To play artist or muse
Or idol or chief
Any self-styled ruse
To assuage us of grief

Any measure to show
A lasting signif'cance
So that someone would know
Our unique magnif'cence

For our beauty's been marred
And we crave a redemption
Of souls twisted and scarred
By fulfillment's exemption

But, alas, we will find
That search hard as we may
There's not one of our kind
Who can carry the tray

Upon which the weight
Of our souls has been laid
For who can e'er tolerate
Its gross debts unpaid?

Such suff'cating mass
Of defects and ills
Pressed 'gainst delicate glass
Of egos and wills

Still more ghastly to bear
Is devotion unbound
For with millstone to wear
Its master is drowned

'Neath a sea of foul yeast
And becomes the enslaved
To a hungering beast
To a worship depraved

For the heart is a tiger
And must have its fill
So it raises a man higher
With a kiss before the ****

Not intentionally, of course,
Does it slaughter its idol
But of hurricane force
Is this longing so vital

And as pedestal turns
So quickly to altar
Our wounded pride burns
When our gods and alms falter

And the fire of its rage
Turns upon its obsession
Tiger breaks out of cage
To reclaim self-possession

It bites and it tears
What it once so adored
And pride no longer cares
If it kills its false lord

But upon such demise
The soul screams in terror
For it's broken its prize
And can't take back its error

It begs and it pleads
To restore what's been lost
But at end knows it needs
To consider the cost

Of the damage untold
It has left in the wake
For hearts can't be controlled
With a gush or a shake

No, men's hearts are like bombs
Which so easily explode
Once the pin is removed
All past wrongs will re-load

So the prey becomes hunter
When the tiger attacks
For he does not want her
To see what he lacks

As he, too, had put
Her up in wrong place
But now steps his foot
Upon her shamed face

To now pulverize
As his own heart's been crushed
To blind out her eyes
And to see her lips hushed

For with words idly spoken
She'd stabbed at his soul
And had left his pride broken
By her judgments so cold

She had not meant to harm
Knew not e'en that he heard
But one cannot disarm
A thought put to word

Worse than not knowing this
She no longer knew him
And her once imagined bliss
Proved a nullified whim

Oh, what games and delusions
We play and we build
Upon empty illusions
And dreams unfulfilled

Yet strangely it's when
Our worst fears come true
We can finally transcend
All those old tales we grew

Out of ego and void
Out of sorrow and pain
When our nerves felt annoyed
And our hearts felt too vain

'Cause when ego is puffed
It is primed, too, to pop
And with pinprick is snuffed
Like a pest-blighted crop

So imagine much more
When a venom's injected
Right into its core
And its heart is rejected

But can you also not see
How it needs such a burst
To begin to get free
From its self-absorbed curse?

Except now feels the matter
Of our soul's isolation
Fiercer still with the shatter
Of our pet consolation

So we wait and we wonder
If we've missed the true meaning
Of the frightening thunder
In our heart's constant screaming

Whether homesick or lost
Whether lonely or grieved
Locked in bleak Winter's frost
We find little reprieve

Yet we know we've been made
For the glory of Spring
Some card's still to be played
Some grand song still to sing

Inexpressible yearning
For some secret we know
But can't speak for the burning
Repercussions of woe

Not some mere melancholy
Nor nostalgic forlorn
Not the musings of folly
But a sense that we're torn

From primordial root
And from headwaters fresh
Yet much deeper to boot
From our spiritual breath

'Tis an ache not for wares,
Appreciation or fame
But a fight just for air
Against strangling shame

For we're naked, we know
And with all we devise
Our most flawed parts still show
To a pure set of eyes

Like we're walking around
With no covering intact
But thin hospital gown
With wide split up the back

So we hide our true face
Aim to be what we're not
Work our blots to erase
Lest our schemes should be caught

Be 't by friend or by foe
We dare not risk the pain
Of humiliation's blow
On top of our stain

But instead of relief
Anguish grows louder till
This life's loneliest grief
Paralyzes the will

And last hope all but dies
On doubt's bed of despair
While embittered heart cries
That its lot's too unfair

Yet on outside we play
Through our unconscious mind
Man's collective charade
That everything's fine

Like some pact we'd all sworn
To uphold and obey
To protect from the scorn
Of society's sway

If we run with the flow
'Stead of strive 'gainst the tide
We might make enough show
To salvage our pride

We forget that conceit
Is what caused all the mess
Through a serpent's deceit
And a couple's wrong guess

'Twas they first tasted shame
And then hid in a garden
Sewing fig leaves as claim
To secure their own pardon

Yet in horror they knew
They had squandered the Prize
And must flee from the view
Of a pure set of eyes

Now same state of awry
Runs through each of their seed
Inborn and borne by
Like the thorniest ****

Whose nettles pierce deep
And infect every part
While roots tangle and sweep
Through the mind and the heart

It mocks what we've lost
Torments every dim hope
To constrict and accost
Like a noose-tightening rope

Still, hope won't be decayed
Smold'ring fires yet burn
Sparking hints that we're made
For bright Eden's return

This redemption we crave
Is no phantom's false plea
But as crestfallen wave
Hides itself in the sea

It's been veiled in plain sight
Big as all of our stories
Deep as mankind's full plight
And as high as its glories

Cloaked in every ambition
That we have to get in
To some exclusive coalition
For its favors to win

Lurks a bleeding predilection
Frustrated from birth
A desire for election
To bestow on us worth

Lured by scent of a promise
To be chosen and known
Like the warmth of a mom's kiss
Given only to her own

We search tree after tree
For sweet intimacy's nectar
From a fruit that will be
Our secret connecter

To hope's nourishing breast
To life's honey from comb
To an undying rest
To a straight way toward home

One to wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of a garden again
Cast from pure tree of life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

All our conflicts, comp'tition,
Confusion and blame
Find first cause in perdition
That's invaded our frame

Like the foulest disease
The most cankerous rot
Grown by monstrous degrees
Hatched by Lucifer's plot

This story's no ****'s attack
Nor archaic folklore
But the earth-shattering fact
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

And it's not our mere lack
which causes most dread
But the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination


And yet...


This is also the story
Of how those same eyes
The Possessor of Glory
Looked with love and heart cries

On the crown of creation
His reflection of Self
Made His own treasured nation
The heirs of His wealth

Now broken and lost
All banished from Garden
And He knew the full cost
To grant them His pardon

Had known long before
He had e'er even made
That first man of yore
Yet handcrafts anyway

For His love is so strong
And He wanted to share
His intimacy with a throng
His own children to bear

So with souls in convulsion
From their rebellious misdeed
Just before their expulsion
He promised a Seed

One untainted from sin
Who could take its great boulder
And the weight of His kin
Upon His own shoulder

A Hero of hope
A rescuing Source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Who would silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

For those eyes are His own
And He'd pay the full fee
By His body alone
To set our hearts free

He's hope's nourishing breast
He's life's honey from comb
He's our undying rest
He's our straight way toward home

He will wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of the Garden again
Cast from pure Tree of Life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

But 'twas on another tree
That sweet intimacy's nectar
Was secured tight when He
Became sacred Connector

And the thorns of our curse
Were pressed onto His head
With not one there to nurse
As the Son of Man bled

Then the wrath for our sin
Was absorbed as He cried
And the foul curse was broken
When the Son of God died

But death couldn't keep Him long
Nor His glory dispose
And we found our lost song
When the King of kings rose!

The debt had been paid
He had finished the work
The tide 'gainst us was swayed
We weren't left in our lurk

And we've only to now
Just repent and believe
To open and allow
Our hearts to receive

Our Divine Fountainhead
Our covering complete
To sup from His bread
And to sit at His feet

To worship the One
For Whom we were made
By Whom we've been won
Whom forever we've craved

The One Who can bear
Our hearts' full devotion
The One Who won't tear
At our souls' raw emotion

The One Who will be
Sweet eternity's song
Who with lasting decree
Will...right...every...wrong
~~~

First two lines taken from Timothy Keller sermon titles;
also inspired by his other sermons:
"The Breastplate of Righteousness"
"Blessed Self-Forgetfulness"
"The Sandals of Peace"
"The Wounded Spirit"


~~~

The Gospel of Jesus Christ:

"...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."
~ Romans 3:23

"...people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..."
~ Hebrews 9:27

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord."
~ Romans 6:23

"'Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake:
some to everlasting life,
others to shame and everlasting contempt.'"
~ Daniel 12:2

"For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil."
~ Ecclesiastes 12:14

"This will take place on the day
when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ..."
~ Romans 2:16

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him
to whom we must give account."
~ Hebrews 4:13

"Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins."
~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

"...it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue
to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'"
~ Galatians 3:10b

"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles
at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."
~ James 2:10

"All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
~ Isaiah 64:6

"...sin entered the world through one man,
and death through sin, and in this way
death came to all people, because all sinned..."
~ Romans 5:12

"As it is written:
'There is no one righteous, not even one;
     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.'...
Therefore no one will be
declared righteous in God’s sight
by the works of the law;
rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin."
~ Romans 3:10-12,20

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
~ Romans 5:8

"This is how God showed His love among us:
He sent His one and only Son into the world
that we might live through Him.
This is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
~ 1 John 4:10

"But God raised Him from the dead,
freeing Him from the agony of death,
because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him...
He was not abandoned to the realm of the dead,
nor did His body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life..."
~ Acts 2:24,31b-32a

"...He raised Christ from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,
and every name that is invoked,
not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
And God placed all things under His feet
and appointed Him to be head over everything
for the church, which is His body,
the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way."
~ Ephesians 1:20b-23

"For there is one God
and one mediator between God and mankind,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people..."
~ 1 Timothy 2:5-6a

"...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures...
He was buried...He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures..."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

"...God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:19a

"'Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that
through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin,
a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.'"
~ Acts 13:38-39

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through Him all things were made; without Him
nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life,
and that life was the light of all mankind...
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth...
For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ...
'...the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'"
~ John 1:1-4,14,17,29b

"The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For in Him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
And He is the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross."
~ Colossians 1:15-20

"'For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'"
~ Luke 19:10

"...He appeared so that He might take away our sins.
And in Him is no sin."
~ 1 John 3:5

"...Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
~ 1 Peter 1:19b

"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,
through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith.
He did this to demonstrate His righteousness,
because in His forbearance He had left
the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time,
so as to be just and the one who justifies
those who have faith in Jesus."
~ Romans 3:25-26

"In Him we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace..."
~ Ephesians 1:7

"For the life...is in the blood,
and I have given it to you to make atonement...
it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life."
~ Leviticus 17:11

"...and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness...
Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many..."
~ Hebrews 9:22b,28a

"'All the prophets testify about Him
that everyone who believes in Him
receives forgiveness of sins through His name.'"
~ Acts 10:43

"For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy."
~ Hebrews 10:14

"'He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in His mouth.'...
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness..."
~ 1 Peter 2:22,24a

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,
to bring you to God."
~ 1 Peter 3:18a

"Jesus answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'"
~ Luke 5:31-32

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
~ 1 John 1:8-9

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

"...For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."
~ 1 Corinthians 5:7b

"Surely He took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered Him punished by God,
    stricken by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
    and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
    the iniquity of us all."
~ Isaiah 53:4-6

"And He died for all, that those who live
should no longer live for themselves but for Him
who died for them and was raised again."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:15

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him
is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned
already because they have not believed in the name of God’s
one and only Son... Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,
for God’s wrath remains on them."
~ John 3:16-18,36

"God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
Whoever has the Son has life;
whoever does not have the Son of God
does not have life."
~ 1 John 5:11b-12

"He was delivered over to death for our sins
and was raised to life for our justification."
~ Romans 4:25

"...just as Christ was raised from the dead
through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
~ Romans 6:4b

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade..."
~ 1 Peter 1:3-4a

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation:
The old has gone, the new has come!"
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

"...to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God— children born
not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
but born of God."
~ John 1:12-13

"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you,
no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'...
'Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God
unless they are born of water and the Spirit.'"
~ John 3:3,5

"...born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God."
~ 1 Peter 1:23

"...birth through the word of truth..."
~ James 1:18

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,
and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
~ Romans 10:17

"...to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies
the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness."
~ Romans 4:5

"...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ—
the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."
~ Philippians 3:9

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ
to all who believe."
~ Romans 3:22a

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under
heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
~ Acts 4:12

"Since we have now been justified by His blood,
how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through
the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through His life!"
~ Romans 5:9-10

"For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith—and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."
~ Ephesians 2:8-9

~~~
for a fuller list of verses:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2179517/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/
Alyssa Underwood Apr 2016
"The Struggle for Love"
"The Longing for Home"
So desperate to prove
That our hearts aren't alone

While death looms wherewith
To make dust of our flesh
We seek in a myth
Our souls to enmesh

With a hero of hope
A rescuing source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Which might silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

But it's not our mere lack
Which causes most dread
It's the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination

We just want our own way
And to write our own story
So we plunge on astray
To seek our own glory

To play artist or muse
Or idol or chief
Any self-styled ruse
To assuage us of grief

Any measure to show
A lasting signif'cance
So that someone would know
Our unique magnif'cence

For our beauty's been marred
And we crave a redemption
Of souls twisted and scarred
By fulfillment's exemption

But, alas, we will find
That search hard as we may
There's not one of our kind
Who can carry the tray

Upon which the weight
Of our souls has been laid
For who can e'er tolerate
Its gross debts unpaid?

Such suff'cating mass
Of defects and ills
Pressed 'gainst delicate glass
Of egos and wills

Still more ghastly to bear
Is devotion unbound
For with millstone to wear
Its master is drowned

'Neath a sea of foul yeast
And becomes the enslaved
To a hungering beast
To a worship depraved

For the heart is a tiger
And must have its fill
So it raises a man higher
With a kiss before the ****

Not intentionally, of course,
Does it slaughter its idol
But of hurricane force
Is this longing so vital

And as pedestal turns
So quickly to altar
Our wounded pride burns
When our gods and alms falter

And the fire of its rage
Turns upon its obsession
Tiger breaks out of cage
To reclaim self-possession

It bites and it tears
What it once so adored
And pride no longer cares
If it kills its false lord

But upon such demise
The soul screams in terror
For it's broken its prize
And can't take back its error

It begs and it pleads
To restore what's been lost
But at end knows it needs
To consider the cost

Of the damage untold
It has left in the wake
For hearts can't be controlled
With a gush or a shake

No, men's hearts are like bombs
Which so easily explode
Once the pin is removed
All past wrongs will re-load

So the prey becomes hunter
When the tiger attacks
For he does not want her
To see what he lacks

As he, too, had put
Her up in wrong place
But now steps his foot
Upon her shamed face

To now pulverize
As his own heart's been crushed
To blind out her eyes
And to see her lips hushed

For with words idly spoken
She'd stabbed at his soul
And had left his pride broken
By her judgments so cold

She had not meant to harm
Knew not e'en that he heard
But one cannot disarm
A thought put to word

Worse than not knowing this
She no longer knew him
And her once imagined bliss
Proved a nullified whim

Oh, what games and delusions
We play and we build
Upon empty illusions
And dreams unfulfilled

Yet strangely it's when
Our worst fears come true
We can finally transcend
All those old tales we grew

Out of ego and void
Out of sorrow and pain
When our nerves felt annoyed
And our hearts felt too vain

'Cause when ego is puffed
It is primed, too, to pop
And with pinprick is snuffed
Like a pest-blighted crop

So imagine much more
When a venom's injected
Right into its core
And its heart is rejected

But can you also not see
How it needs such a burst
To begin to get free
From its self-absorbed curse?

Except now feels the matter
Of our soul's isolation
Fiercer still with the shatter
Of our pet consolation

So we wait and we wonder
If we've missed the true meaning
Of the frightening thunder
In our heart's constant screaming

Whether homesick or lost
Whether lonely or grieved
Locked in bleak Winter's frost
We find little reprieve

Yet we know we've been made
For the glory of Spring
Some card's still to be played
Some grand song still to sing

Inexpressible yearning
For some secret we know
But can't speak for the burning
Repercussions of woe

Not some mere melancholy
Nor nostalgic forlorn
Not the musings of folly
But a sense that we're torn

From primordial root
And from headwaters fresh
Yet much deeper to boot
From our spiritual breath

'Tis an ache not for wares,
Appreciation or fame
But a fight just for air
Against strangling shame

For we're naked, we know
And with all we devise
Our most flawed parts still show
To a pure set of eyes

Like we're walking around
With no covering intact
But thin hospital gown
With wide split up the back

So we hide our true face
Aim to be what we're not
Work our blots to erase
Lest our schemes should be caught

Be 't by friend or by foe
We dare not risk the pain
Of humiliation's blow
On top of our stain

But instead of relief
Anguish grows louder till
This life's loneliest grief
Paralyzes the will

And last hope all but dies
On doubt's bed of despair
While embittered heart cries
That its lot's too unfair

Yet on outside we play
Through our unconscious mind
Man's collective charade
That everything's fine

Like some pact we'd all sworn
To uphold and obey
To protect from the scorn
Of society's sway

If we run with the flow
'Stead of strive 'gainst the tide
We might make enough show
To salvage our pride

We forget that conceit
Is what caused all the mess
Through a serpent's deceit
And a couple's wrong guess

'Twas they first tasted shame
And then hid in a garden
Sewing fig leaves as claim
To secure their own pardon

Yet in horror they knew
They had squandered the Prize
And must flee from the view
Of a pure set of eyes

Now same state of awry
Runs through each of their seed
Inborn and borne by
Like the thorniest ****

Whose nettles pierce deep
And infect every part
While roots tangle and sweep
Through the mind and the heart

It mocks what we've lost
Torments every dim hope
To constrict and accost
Like a noose-tightening rope

Still, hope won't be decayed
Smold'ring fires yet burn
Sparking hints that we're made
For bright Eden's return

This redemption we crave
Is no phantom's false plea
But as crestfallen wave
Hides itself in the sea

It's been veiled in plain sight
Big as all of our stories
Deep as mankind's full plight
And as high as its glories

Cloaked in every ambition
That we have to get in
To some exclusive coalition
For its favors to win

Lurks a bleeding predilection
Frustrated from birth
A desire for election
To bestow on us worth

Lured by scent of a promise
To be chosen and known
Like the warmth of a mom's kiss
Given only to her own

We search tree after tree
For sweet intimacy's nectar
From a fruit that will be
Our secret connecter

To hope's nourishing breast
To life's honey from comb
To an undying rest
To a straight way toward home

One to wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of a garden again
Cast from pure tree of life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

All our conflicts, comp'tition,
Confusion and blame
Find first cause in perdition
That's invaded our frame

Like the foulest disease
The most cankerous rot
Grown by monstrous degrees
Hatched by Lucifer's plot

This story's no ****'s attack
Nor archaic folklore
But the earth-shattering fact
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

And it's not our mere lack
which causes most dread
But the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For it's rank ins'bordination


And yet...


This is also the story
Of how those same eyes
The Possessor of Glory
Looked with love and heart cries

On the crown of creation
His reflection of Self
Made His own treasured nation
The heirs of His wealth

Now broken and lost
All banished from Garden
And He knew the full cost
To grant them His pardon

Had known long before
He had e'er even made
That first man of yore
Yet handcrafts anyway

For His love is so strong
And He wanted to share
His intimacy with a throng
His own children to bear

So with souls in convulsion
From their rebellious misdeed
Just before their expulsion
He promised a Seed

One untainted from sin
Who could take its great boulder
And the weight of His kin
Upon His own shoulder

A Hero of hope
A rescuing Source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Who would silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

For those eyes are His own
And He'd pay the full fee
By His body alone
To set our hearts free

He's hope's nourishing breast
He's life's honey from comb
He's our undying rest
He's our straight way toward home

He will wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of the Garden again
Cast from pure Tree of Life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

But 'twas on another tree
That sweet intimacy's nectar
Was secured tight when He
Became sacred Connector

And the thorns of our curse
Were pressed onto His head
With not one there to nurse
As the Son of Man bled

Then the wrath for our sin
Was absorbed as He cried
And the foul curse was broken
When the Son of God died

But death couldn't keep Him long
Nor His glory dispose
And we found our lost song
When the King of kings rose!

The debt had been paid
He had finished the work
The tide 'gainst us was swayed
We weren't left in our lurk

And we've only to now
Just repent and believe
To open and allow
Our hearts to receive

Our Divine Fountainhead
Our covering complete
To sup from His bread
And to sit at His feet

To worship the One
For Whom we were made
By Whom we've been won
Whom forever we've craved

The One Who can bear
Our hearts' full devotion
The One Who won't tear
At our souls' raw emotion

The One Who will be
Sweet eternity's song
Who with lasting decree
Will...right...every...wrong
~~~

First two lines taken from Timothy Keller sermon titles;
also inspired by his other sermons:
"The Breastplate of Righteousness"
"Blessed Self-Forgetfulness"
"The Sandals of Peace"
"The Wounded Spirit"


~~~

The Gospel of Jesus Christ:

"...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."
~ Romans 3:23

"...people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..."
~ Hebrews 9:27

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord."
~ Romans 6:23

"'Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake:
some to everlasting life,
others to shame and everlasting contempt.'"
~ Daniel 12:2

"For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil."
~ Ecclesiastes 12:14

"This will take place on the day
when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ..."
~ Romans 2:16

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him
to whom we must give account."
~ Hebrews 4:13

"Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins."
~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

"...it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue
to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'"
~ Galatians 3:10b

"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles
at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."
~ James 2:10

"All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
~ Isaiah 64:6

"...sin entered the world through one man,
and death through sin, and in this way
death came to all people, because all sinned..."
~ Romans 5:12

"As it is written:
'There is no one righteous, not even one;
     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.'...
Therefore no one will be
declared righteous in God’s sight
by the works of the law;
rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin."
~ Romans 3:10-12,20

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
~ Romans 5:8

"This is how God showed His love among us:
He sent His one and only Son into the world
that we might live through Him.
This is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
~ 1 John 4:10

"But God raised Him from the dead,
freeing Him from the agony of death,
because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him...
He was not abandoned to the realm of the dead,
nor did His body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life..."
~ Acts 2:24,31b-32a

"...He raised Christ from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,
and every name that is invoked,
not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
And God placed all things under His feet
and appointed Him to be head over everything
for the church, which is His body,
the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way."
~ Ephesians 1:20b-23

"For there is one God
and one mediator between God and mankind,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people..."
~ 1 Timothy 2:5-6a

"...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures...
He was buried...He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures..."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

"...God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:19a

"'Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that
through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin,
a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.'"
~ Acts 13:38-39

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through Him all things were made; without Him
nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life,
and that life was the light of all mankind...
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth...
For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ...
'...the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'"
~ John 1:1-4,14,17,29b

"The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For in Him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
And He is the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross."
~ Colossians 1:15-20

"'For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'"
~ Luke 19:10

"...He appeared so that He might take away our sins.
And in Him is no sin."
~ 1 John 3:5

"...Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
~ 1 Peter 1:19b

"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,
through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith.
He did this to demonstrate His righteousness,
because in His forbearance He had left
the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time,
so as to be just and the one who justifies
those who have faith in Jesus."
~ Romans 3:25-26

"In Him we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace..."
~ Ephesians 1:7

"For the life...is in the blood,
and I have given it to you to make atonement...
it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life."
~ Leviticus 17:11

"...and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness...
Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many..."
~ Hebrews 9:22b,28a

"'All the prophets testify about Him
that everyone who believes in Him
receives forgiveness of sins through His name.'"
~ Acts 10:43

"For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy."
~ Hebrews 10:14

"'He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in His mouth.'...
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness..."
~ 1 Peter 2:22,24a

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,
to bring you to God."
~ 1 Peter 3:18a

"Jesus answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'"
~ Luke 5:31-32

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
~ 1 John 1:8-9

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

"...For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."
~ 1 Corinthians 5:7b

"Surely He took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered Him punished by God,
    stricken by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
    and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
    the iniquity of us all."
~ Isaiah 53:4-6

"And He died for all, that those who live
should no longer live for themselves but for Him
who died for them and was raised again."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:15

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him
is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned
already because they have not believed in the name of God’s
one and only Son... Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,
for God’s wrath remains on them."
~ John 3:16-18,36

"God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
Whoever has the Son has life;
whoever does not have the Son of God
does not have life."
~ 1 John 5:11b-12

"He was delivered over to death for our sins
and was raised to life for our justification."
~ Romans 4:25

"...just as Christ was raised from the dead
through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
~ Romans 6:4b

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade..."
~ 1 Peter 1:3-4a

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation:
The old has gone, the new has come!"
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

"...to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God— children born
not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
but born of God."
~ John 1:12-13

"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you,
no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'...
'Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God
unless they are born of water and the Spirit.'"
~ John 3:3,5

"...born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God."
~ 1 Peter 1:23

"...birth through the word of truth..."
~ James 1:18

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,
and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
~ Romans 10:17

"...to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies
the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness."
~ Romans 4:5

"...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ—
the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."
~ Philippians 3:9

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ
to all who believe."
~ Romans 3:22a

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under
heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
~ Acts 4:12

"Since we have now been justified by His blood,
how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through
the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through His life!"
~ Romans 5:9-10

"For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith—and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."
~ Ephesians 2:8-9

for a fuller list of verses:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2179517/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/
Alyssa Underwood Nov 2015
"The Struggle for Love"
"The Longing for Home"
So desperate to prove
That our hearts aren't alone

While death looms wherewith
To make dust of our flesh
We seek in a myth
Our souls to enmesh

With a hero of hope
A rescuing source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Which might silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

But it's not our mere lack
Which causes most dread
It's the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination

We just want our own way
And to write our own story
So we plunge on astray
To seek our own glory

To play artist or muse
Or idol or chief
Any self-styled ruse
To assuage us of grief

Any measure to show
A lasting signif'cance
So that someone would know
Our unique magnif'cence

For our beauty's been marred
And we crave a redemption
Of souls twisted and scarred
By fulfillment's exemption

But, alas, we will find
That search hard as we may
There's not one of our kind
Who can carry the tray

Upon which the weight
Of our souls has been laid
For who can e'er tolerate
Its gross debts unpaid?

Such suff'cating mass
Of defects and ills
Pressed 'gainst delicate glass
Of egos and wills

Still more ghastly to bear
Is devotion unbound
For with millstone to wear
Its master is drowned

'Neath a sea of foul yeast
And becomes the enslaved
To a hungering beast
To a worship depraved

For the heart is a tiger
And must have its fill
So it raises a man higher
With a kiss before the ****

Not intentionally, of course,
Does it slaughter its idol
But of hurricane force
Is this longing so vital

And as pedestal turns
So quickly to altar
Our wounded pride burns
When our gods and alms falter

And the fire of its rage
Turns upon its obsession
Tiger breaks out of cage
To reclaim self-possession

It bites and it tears
What it once so adored
And pride no longer cares
If it kills its false lord

But upon such demise
The soul screams in terror
For it's broken its prize
And can't take back its error

It begs and it pleads
To restore what's been lost
But at end knows it needs
To consider the cost

Of the damage untold
It has left in the wake
For hearts can't be controlled
With a gush or a shake

No, men's hearts are like bombs
Which so easily explode
Once the pin is removed
All past wrongs will re-load

So the prey becomes hunter
When the tiger attacks
For he does not want her
To see what he lacks

As he, too, had put
Her up in wrong place
But now steps his foot
Upon her shamed face

To now pulverize
As his own heart's been crushed
To blind out her eyes
And to see her lips hushed

For with words idly spoken
She'd stabbed at his soul
And had left his pride broken
By her judgments so cold

She had not meant to harm
Knew not e'en that he heard
But one cannot disarm
A thought put to word

Worse than not knowing this
She no longer knew him
And her once imagined bliss
Proved a nullified whim

Oh, what games and delusions
We play and we build
Upon empty illusions
And dreams unfulfilled

Yet strangely it's when
Our worst fears come true
We can finally transcend
All those old tales we grew

Out of ego and void
Out of sorrow and pain
When our nerves felt annoyed
And our hearts felt too vain

'Cause when ego is puffed
It is primed, too, to pop
And with pinprick is snuffed
Like a pest-blighted crop

So imagine much more
When a venom's injected
Right into its core
And its heart is rejected

But can you also not see
How it needs such a burst
To begin to get free
From its self-absorbed curse?

Except now feels the matter
Of our soul's isolation
Fiercer still with the shatter
Of our pet consolation

So we wait and we wonder
If we've missed the true meaning
Of the frightening thunder
In our heart's constant screaming

Whether homesick or lost
Whether lonely or grieved
Locked in bleak Winter's frost
We find little reprieve

Yet we know we've been made
For the glory of Spring
Some card's still to be played
Some grand song still to sing

Inexpressible yearning
For some secret we know
But can't speak for the burning
Repercussions of woe

Not some mere melancholy
Nor nostalgic forlorn
Not the musings of folly
But a sense that we're torn

From primordial root
And from headwaters fresh
Yet much deeper to boot
From our spiritual breath

'Tis an ache not for wares,
Appreciation or fame
But a fight just for air
Against strangling shame

For we're naked, we know
And with all we devise
Our most flawed parts still show
To a pure set of eyes

Like we're walking around
With no covering intact
But thin hospital gown
With wide split up the back

So we hide our true face
Aim to be what we're not
Work our blots to erase
Lest our schemes should be caught

Be 't by friend or by foe
We dare not risk the pain
Of humiliation's blow
On top of our stain

But instead of relief
Anguish grows louder till
This life's loneliest grief
Paralyzes the will

And last hope all but dies
On doubt's bed of despair
While embittered heart cries
That its lot's too unfair

Yet on outside we play
Through our unconscious mind
Man's collective charade
That everything's fine

Like some pact we'd all sworn
To uphold and obey
To protect from the scorn
Of society's sway

If we run with the flow
'Stead of strive 'gainst the tide
We might make enough show
To salvage our pride

We forget that conceit
Is what caused all the mess
Through a serpent's deceit
And a couple's wrong guess

'Twas they first tasted shame
And then hid in a garden
Sewing fig leaves as claim
To secure their own pardon

Yet in horror they knew
They had squandered the Prize
And must flee from the view
Of a pure set of eyes

Now same state of awry
Runs through each of their seed
Inborn and borne by
Like the thorniest ****

Whose nettles pierce deep
And infect every part
While roots tangle and sweep
Through the mind and the heart

It mocks what we've lost
Torments every dim hope
To constrict and accost
Like a noose-tightening rope

Still, hope won't be decayed
Smold'ring fires yet burn
Sparking hints that we're made
For bright Eden's return

This redemption we crave
Is no phantom's false plea
But as crestfallen wave
Hides itself in the sea

It's been veiled in plain sight
Big as all of our stories
Deep as mankind's full plight
And as high as its glories

Cloaked in every ambition
That we have to get in
To some exclusive coalition
For its favors to win

Lurks a bleeding predilection
Frustrated from birth
A desire for election
To bestow on us worth

Lured by scent of a promise
To be chosen and known
Like the warmth of a mom's kiss
Given only to her own

We search tree after tree
For sweet intimacy's nectar
From a fruit that will be
Our secret connecter

To hope's nourishing breast
To life's honey from comb
To an undying rest
To a straight way toward home

One to wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of a garden again
Cast from pure tree of life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

All our conflicts, comp'tition,
Confusion and blame
Find first cause in perdition
That's invaded our frame

Like the foulest disease
The most cankerous rot
Grown by monstrous degrees
Hatched by Lucifer's plot

This story's no ****'s attack
Nor archaic folklore
But the earth-shattering fact
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

And it's not our mere lack
which causes most dread
But the earth-shattering fact
That our spirits are dead

Cut off from their Source
In a black alienation
Humanity's curse
For its rank ins'bordination


And yet...


This is also the story
Of how those same eyes
The Possessor of Glory
Looked with love and heart cries

On the crown of creation
His reflection of Self
Made His own treasured nation
The heirs of His wealth

Now broken and lost
All banished from Garden
And He knew the full cost
To grant them His pardon

Had known long before
He had e'er even made
That first man of yore
Yet handcrafts anyway

For His love is so strong
And He wanted to share
His intimacy with a throng
His own children to bear

So with souls in convulsion
From their rebellious misdeed
Just before their expulsion
He promised a Seed

One untainted from sin
Who could take its great boulder
And the weight of His kin
Upon His own shoulder

A Hero of hope
A rescuing Source
To widen our scope
And give pith to our course

An unshakable tie
An attachment at core
Who would silence the cry
That our hearts are at war

With a pure set of eyes
Full of fire and proficient
To dispel all the lies
That our souls aren't deficient

For those eyes are His own
And He'd pay the full fee
By His body alone
To set our hearts free

He's hope's nourishing breast
He's life's honey from comb
He's our undying rest
He's our straight way toward home

He will wipe away tears
And allay deepest doubt
Which proceeds from worst fears
Of our being locked out

Of the Garden again
Cast from pure Tree of Life
Dim remembrance of when
Mankind first entered strife

But 'twas on another tree
That sweet intimacy's nectar
Was secured tight when He
Became sacred Connector

And the thorns of our curse
Were pressed onto His head
With not one there to nurse
As the Son of Man bled

Then the wrath for our sin
Was absorbed as He cried
And the foul curse was broken
When the Son of God died

But death couldn't keep Him long
Nor His glory dispose
And we found our lost song
When the King of kings rose!

The debt had been paid
He had finished the work
The tide 'gainst us was swayed
We weren't left in our lurk

And we've only to now
Just repent and believe
To open and allow
Our hearts to receive

Our Divine Fountainhead
Our covering complete
To sup from His bread
And to sit at His feet

To worship the One
For Whom we were made
By Whom we've been won
Whom forever we've craved

The One Who can bear
Our hearts' full devotion
The One Who won't tear
At our souls' raw emotion

The One Who will be
Sweet eternity's song
Who with lasting decree
Will...right...every...wrong
~~~

First two lines taken from Timothy Keller sermon titles;
also inspired by his other sermons:
"The Breastplate of Righteousness"
"Blessed Self-Forgetfulness"
"The Sandals of Peace"
"The Wounded Spirit"


~~~

The Gospel of Jesus Christ:

"...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."
~ Romans 3:23

"...people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..."
~ Hebrews 9:27

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
in Christ Jesus our Lord."
~ Romans 6:23

"'Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake:
some to everlasting life,
others to shame and everlasting contempt.'"
~ Daniel 12:2

"For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil."
~ Ecclesiastes 12:14

"This will take place on the day
when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ..."
~ Romans 2:16

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.
Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him
to whom we must give account."
~ Hebrews 4:13

"Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins."
~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

"...it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who does not continue
to do everything written in the Book of the Law.'"
~ Galatians 3:10b

"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles
at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."
~ James 2:10

"All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
~ Isaiah 64:6

"...sin entered the world through one man,
and death through sin, and in this way
death came to all people, because all sinned..."
~ Romans 5:12

"As it is written:
'There is no one righteous, not even one;
     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.'...
Therefore no one will be
declared righteous in God’s sight
by the works of the law;
rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin."
~ Romans 3:10-12,20

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
~ Romans 5:8

"This is how God showed His love among us:
He sent His one and only Son into the world
that we might live through Him.
This is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son
as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
~ 1 John 4:10

"But God raised Him from the dead,
freeing Him from the agony of death,
because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him...
He was not abandoned to the realm of the dead,
nor did His body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life..."
~ Acts 2:24,31b-32a

"...He raised Christ from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,
and every name that is invoked,
not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
And God placed all things under His feet
and appointed Him to be head over everything
for the church, which is His body,
the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way."
~ Ephesians 1:20b-23

"For there is one God
and one mediator between God and mankind,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all people..."
~ 1 Timothy 2:5-6a

"...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures...
He was buried...He was raised on the third day
according to the Scriptures..."
~ 1 Corinthians 15:3b-4

"...God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ,
not counting people’s sins against them."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:19a

"'Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that
through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.
Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin,
a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.'"
~ Acts 13:38-39

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through Him all things were made; without Him
nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life,
and that life was the light of all mankind...
The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth...
For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ...
'...the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'"
~ John 1:1-4,14,17,29b

"The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For in Him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
And He is the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross."
~ Colossians 1:15-20

"'For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'"
~ Luke 19:10

"...He appeared so that He might take away our sins.
And in Him is no sin."
~ 1 John 3:5

"...Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
~ 1 Peter 1:19b

"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,
through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith.
He did this to demonstrate His righteousness,
because in His forbearance He had left
the sins committed beforehand unpunished—
He did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time,
so as to be just and the one who justifies
those who have faith in Jesus."
~ Romans 3:25-26

"In Him we have redemption through His blood,
the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace..."
~ Ephesians 1:7

"For the life...is in the blood,
and I have given it to you to make atonement...
it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life."
~ Leviticus 17:11

"...and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness...
Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many..."
~ Hebrews 9:22b,28a

"'All the prophets testify about Him
that everyone who believes in Him
receives forgiveness of sins through His name.'"
~ Acts 10:43

"For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy."
~ Hebrews 10:14

"'He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in His mouth.'...
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness..."
~ 1 Peter 2:22,24a

"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous,
to bring you to God."
~ 1 Peter 3:18a

"Jesus answered them, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.'"
~ Luke 5:31-32

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness."
~ 1 John 1:8-9

"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us,
so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

"...For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."
~ 1 Corinthians 5:7b

"Surely He took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered Him punished by God,
    stricken by Him, and afflicted.
But He was pierced for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
    and by His wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on Him
    the iniquity of us all."
~ Isaiah 53:4-6

"And He died for all, that those who live
should no longer live for themselves but for Him
who died for them and was raised again."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:15

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him
is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned
already because they have not believed in the name of God’s
one and only Son... Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,
but whoever rejects the Son will not see life,
for God’s wrath remains on them."
~ John 3:16-18,36

"God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
Whoever has the Son has life;
whoever does not have the Son of God
does not have life."
~ 1 John 5:11b-12

"He was delivered over to death for our sins
and was raised to life for our justification."
~ Romans 4:25

"...just as Christ was raised from the dead
through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
~ Romans 6:4b

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade..."
~ 1 Peter 1:3-4a

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation:
The old has gone, the new has come!"
~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

"...to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God— children born
not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
but born of God."
~ John 1:12-13

"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you,
no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'...
'Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God
unless they are born of water and the Spirit.'"
~ John 3:3,5

"...born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God."
~ 1 Peter 1:23

"...birth through the word of truth..."
~ James 1:18

"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,
and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
~ Romans 10:17

"...to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies
the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness."
~ Romans 4:5

"...not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law,
but that which is through faith in Christ—
the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith."
~ Philippians 3:9

"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ
to all who believe."
~ Romans 3:22a

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under
heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved."
~ Acts 4:12

"Since we have now been justified by His blood,
how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through
the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled,
shall we be saved through His life!"
~ Romans 5:9-10

"For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith—and this is not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast."
~ Ephesians 2:8-9

for a fuller list of verses:
https://hellopoetry.com/poem/2179517/the-gospel-of-jesus-christ/
Mitchell Duran Sep 2013
The retainer where she was put
Was made of concrete. My father told me they had
Dug the grave first, then poured the concrete in, waited for
It to dry and harden, then hammered in six
Circular spikes in the four corners, two on either side
Of the middle. They lifted the concrete cast out with a crane.
My dad was going to be charged 300 dollars a day for the rental,
But because of the circumstances, Home Depot let us have it for free.

-

Where was she?
Where had she gone?
Would I see her face again?
Would she want me to
Meet her on the other side of the river?

-

I answered my cell phone.

"Make sure to bring flower's."
She had been crying. Her voice wavered the way sun light
Does on moving water.

"Make sure to bring flowers," she repeated, "And
That you wear what your father and I bought you."

I nodded my head with the receiver pressed up against my ear.
We both let out a sigh. My mom hung up. I put my phone in my back pocket.

-

Lately, I had been seeing a shrink about repetition. He liked to use the word cycle.

"Everything is repeated," I would tell him.

"Life is a cycle," he'd disagree so to get me talking.

"Can cycles be identical?"

"Technically not. Some cycles are extremely similar, but no two cycles are
Completely the same. Are two people's lives ever exactly the same?"

"I wouldn't know. I don't know that many people. Maybe."

"You know lots of people, Camden. You have told me about many of your friends."

"Are we talking about the seasons?" I asked, changing the subject, "Like fall, winter, spring, summer? We are born, we live, we die, and we are born again?"

"That's a very natural way of looking at it."

"I know it is." I inhaled deeply, swallowing air and wondered what time it was.

"If you are so sure, why look for validation from me?" He liked this one, I could
tell. I imagined him shopping for clothes and then exploding in aisle 16 because of a sale on jeans.

"The word cycle is used by people too afraid to use the word repetition. Everything is
Repeated for the next generation, the next group, the next of the next of the next. We shift things
Around, give things to one another to shift life to make it look different, but, things remain the same. Everything contains the primal function we were all doing and living from the very beginning, only now, there is more of a separation. Music is still music, words are still words, paintings are still paintings, love is still love, death is still death, only done differently and more intensely."

"We are talking about man furthering technology because we, as people and creatures, are
Statistically more prone to flee than fight?"

"Why do you think it has caught on so quick?" I touched both
Corners of my lips with my tongue and suddenly realized I hadn't eaten breakfast.

"It is a theory," the psych nodded, "A theory with, I am sure, many
Palpable facts you could make a very nice report with to prove...something." He
Was at a lost for words and I felt guilty that my mom was paying him $75 an hour.

"We are very split. There are too many of us. Too many hands spinning the china."

"Who is we Harry?" The psych hadn't looked up from his pen and pad of paper, until now. I could
Tell he was annoyed with me either because he was making no progress or because the session
Had just begun and I was already digging into him.

"Culture. The government. You, me, my dad, my mom, the taco bell cashier, the geniuses at Apple computers, a paper weight, my dead sister. We're all apart of these shifts, all putting in a certain amount of energy and lies to keep the protection of the projection going. The question I keep asking myself is: do I want to use my strengths to be apart of this cycle or not?"

His eyes flared open for a moment like he'd swallowed a firefly, not at the question I had posed for myself, but from what I would soon see was from the mention of my sister. He had something.

"I was notified by your mother that you may not want to talk about your recently deceased sister. Is It O.K. if I ask you some questions about her?"

I was leaning forward on the couch with my hands clasped in between my legs. The psych had looked up at me now. He was sweating at the top of his thin hairline. Observing that I was staring at his building perspiration, he, trying to be nonchalant, took out a thin, white napkin from his grey shirt pocket and dabbed the top of his head. The napkin looked like cheap toilet paper. I'd have offered him some water, but I had no water to give and I didn't know where the sink and cups were to give him any. I figured he did - it was his office - so I asked him for some. He pointed me in the direction of the bathroom. I got up and found a stack of paper cups. I poured myself a cup and went back to the couch, but instead of leaning forward, I sat back, relaxed, and let the expensive leather couch take the weight I had been carrying away.

"So," the psych maintained cooly, "Would it be alright if we were able to discuss your sister?"

I lifted the paper cup over my head and the psych's eyes, after I poured the water over my hair, my face, and clothes, was a mixture of what my mom's eyes looked at the funeral, defeated, confused, and with a loss of faith and hope. My father's eyes had only held hate, anger and the need to lash out at someone, but the only someone that would have fit the bill would have been God.

"Sure," I answered, "Let's talk about my sister."

-

I finished drying myself in the car. The psych had let me keep the towel.
I leaned out the window to look at myself in the side mirror. I looked fine.
Presentable. Accountable. Like I had been through something where I had
Faced my soul. Like I had used and abused my emotions. There was comb in my glove compartment, so I took it out and rushed it through my damp hair. Slicked back. The sun
Was out, no clouds, burning up the inside of my car. That taste that comes after
Finishing something that's supposed to do you good didn't come. I was left with an unsure hand.
Putting my keys in the ignition, I turned them, and felt the engine rumble in front of my legs.
The sun sat in the sky like a lazy hand and I had nowhere else to go but home.

-

"Let's go to the river today," my dad said over coffee and two over easy eggs on top
Of burnt wheat toast. "I'll drive and you and your sister can sit in the back and sing."

I looked over at Ally. She was gazing into her fruit bowl she had prepared for
herself because dad didn't understand the concept or how to make it. The lamp light above us
reflected in the smooth apricot yogurt and the flecks of granola scattered on top
looked like beige, jagged rocks. My dad's offer hung in the air and neither
of us bit the lure. I had just woken up and was unable to speak clearly, a decent
excuse. Ally was simply choosing to ignore him.

"What you think there Ally?" I asked her. I sipped my coffee. It needed more cream. I got
U, got it and brought the carton to the table.

"We can take the truck down there and load the back with the fishing poles and tackle
And inner tubes. We haven't...done that...in a long time," he said, chewing his food as he spoke.

Ally poked her fruit bowl with her spoon, silent.

"What you think, Cam?" My dad was desperate. He knew I'd say yes.

"Sure. I've got no plans this weekend."

"No schoolwork?"

"It can wait till Sunday. Only math and some reading."

"Ally, what do you think?" my dad asked, leaning over to her. I could see he was
Trying to be as courteous and gentle with her as he knew how to. I felt bad for him.

"Sure," she muttered, "That sounds like fun." I could barely hear her, but somehow,
I could tell she sounded happy.

"Perfect," my dad smiled, "We'll pack the car up Friday,
Drive up Saturday morning early, camp one night, then get back Sunday afternoon." He
Took a long sip of his coffee and swished it around in his mouth, then dug
His fork into the dry toast and ran his small steak knife over the eggs. A silent pop came from
The egg and the light orange yolk spilled out. "Perfect," he repeated, "Just great."

Ally poked a grape from her fruit bowl and dipped it into the yogurt.
I took another sip of my coffee and looked up into the fan, spinning above us.
We were going to the river.

-

"Your sister turns five today," my mom told me, "And that means
I want you to be on your best behavior."

I nodded, unsure what the point of a birthday was. I had had one before, or at
least I thought I did, and all I remembered was that I got presents and the colorful balloons
and the cake we all ate with fire kind of floating and burning above it. Somewhere
in that moment I remember thinking that the cake was going to catch on fire, then they, everyone,
some that I knew and some people I had never seen before, yelled and shouted to
blow the fire out, so I quickly did, but not because it was for a wish, which I later found out it was supposed to be for, but because I truly thought the cake was going to catch fire and they wanted me to take care of it. At that point, I was unsure what it meant to be alive or why to celebrate it all.

"This is her day, Camden," my father told me, "So I want you to be happy for your sister."

"I am," I said. I was wearing my favorite white and blue striped t-shirt and
New shoes that my mom had bought me for the party.

"Sometimes you have to think of other people," my mother continued, "And today is one
of those days. I don't want any crying because you didn't get any presents or that none of your
friends are at the party. There are going to be a lot of Ally's friends there, but not many
of your's...do you understand?"

"Yes, Mom."

"Do you understand, Cam?" My father repeated. His skin was the color of a burnt
pancake and he smelt like stale sugar and sun tan lotion. He was in front of me and was
holding a thin magazine with a man in a boat holding up a fish on a line on the cover.  

"Yes, Dad," I said again. I was hungry. I wanted mac n' cheese, my favorite food.

I had been on the floor, laying on my stomach watching Ren and Stimpy. They were standing in front of the television and I remember trying to wish them out of the way. Behind them were two, large bay windows where three palm trees stood in a row like tropical soldiers. I could see there was no wind because the three of them stood still, as if posing for someone. Their leaves were bright green, a mixture of the neon green Jello I used to love to eat and the orange Jolly Rancher my dad would always have in a tiny tray in the middle of the dining table. My mother hated having them there because it always tempted Ally and I, but he never moved it until he moved out.

"Do you like your show?" my mom asked, turning to see what I was watching.

I nodded, absently. Ren was licking Stimpy's eye because he was complaining about having
an eyelash in there. Stimpy was completely still and smiling like he does - dumb and content.

"Interesting..." my mother trailed off. She walked to the kitchen behind the couch and
Opened up the pantry for something. "You hungry, Camden?"

"I'm starving," my dad said, "Let me go check on Ally in the bedroom. She should be up
from her nap."

I got up from my stomach and sat back on my legs, "Do we have mac n' cheese?" I asked.

"Let me check."

She reached up for the cabinet over the stove where I could never reach and
Opened it. I rose slightly up from where I was sitting to see if I could see the glorious dark blue and orange package, but wasn't able to see over couch. I hovered there, still like a humming bird.

"You're in luck," I heard her say, "We've got one box left."

"Yay!" I screamed and got up, running into the kitchen.

"But," she smiled, stopping me, "You'll have to share it with your sister."

"No! I don't want to! I always have to share."

"What did we just talk about Camden?" she said, lightly stamping her foot.

I tried to remember, but couldn't. I shrugged.

"You need to learn to share, Camden. You also need to listen better when your father and I are talking to you. You and your sister are going to know each other a very long time and I want you to learn how to share now, so you two can be happy in the future."

"The future," I asked, "What's that?"

She paused, then said, "It's a time," she paused again, "Ahead of us."

"Do we know where it is?"

"Not exactly," she sighed.

"What's it look like?"

"No one really knows. People can only imagine it."

"Is it very far away?"

She opened the top of the blue and orange mac n' cheese box and poured the dry macaroni into a large silver ***, lifted the faucet, and let it run inside for five or seven seconds. She placed the *** on an unlit burner and turned to look at me. Her eyes looked far away and right there with me.  

"Closer then you think," she said and turned the burner on.

-

I turned into the taco bell parking lot. There was something I was trying to remember that was in my trunk, but I couldn't recall the picture. A haze blew over the windshield that was a mix of heat and wind; I wished to be somewhere else, someone else, someplace else, but, there I was, sitting there underneath the sun, like everyone else. If I was able, I would have unlocked the door to my car and opened the door and walked out - but - there was something else lingering underneath my fingernails, something I couldn't name.

"Two tacos," I said into my hand, "And a water."

"Pull to the window," the voice buzzed over the muffled speaker.

"Yes," I said through my split fingers.

In front of me, over a patch of clean cut green grass and a yellow, red, and orange Taco Bell signature sign, was a fresh gas station with a willow tree *** near the front entrance. He had a sign that hung around his neck that read Juice Please - Very Thirsty. How I knew this was because I had seen it every time I had been asked to fill up my dad's car every other Sunday. I had never given the tree a dollar, yet, I felt that I owed him something. I tried to pull up to the window, but my clutch was grinding and a cloud slunk overhead. I was tired and only wanted to eat.

"That'll be a two twenty-five," the voice said through the thick, clear glass.

"Yes," I said to myself, digging into my wallet for three dollars.

I ****** the three onto the thick plastic platform. A quick sweeping plastic brush pushed the bills toward the asker, and the bills were gone. I had no food. I had nothing. My money was gone and all I had was a gurgling car in front of me and an empty front seat beside me. A pair of clouds waded by my front shield window. A shadow drew itself out in front of me like a **** model. A beep. Sudden and behind me. There was sound. I looked over my shoulder and a black  2013 Cadillac was sitting there, windshield tinted grey, the driver a shadow. I was unsure what to do...so I pulled forward six inches, hoping the offer would be enough. I wasn't in the best neighborhood.

The window to the left of me slid open. An arm erupted forward with a plastic bag,
"75 cents is your change."

The hand dropped three quarters next to the plastic bag. I grabbed the bag with the two tacos and three quarters and quickly wound up my window. The face in front of me was a dangerous blur: smiling, frowning, not caring either way what happened to me next. The hands had gobbled up the three dollars and I was happy to see it go. Who needed money? I tossed the plastic bag onto the passenger seat and sped off two blocks for my grandma's house. Salvation. The holy land. A place with free hot sauce and two dog's that were stolen without paper's. Eden.

-

"What are you learning right now?" I asked Ally.

She hesitated, then said, "Something to do with science." She paused," Lot's to do with rock's."

"Rocks?" I stammered, not remembering a time when I learned about rocks in school, "What kind of rocks?"

"I don't know," she grinned, looking up at me, "All kinds."

I laughed and kicked a stone into the river. The sun was out and reflected on the water like an unpolished diamond. We had grown up a quarter mile away, but still, it felt foreign to us.

"I like it. There's some things you could see that you would never think to read about it in books."

I had read plenty off books. Most, I took little from, but Ally, I could see, had taken plenty.

"What are you doing in school?" Ally asked me.

"What do you mean?" I
'Today, The Jay...'*

I open my eyes to see its a new day.
Today, What's the day?
Is it Saturday or Sunday?
The only thing of which I'm certain
Is that its not a weekday.

So, What can I do today?
Without delay,
The first thing I do is get my tray
Light a blunt to take the pain away.
Inhale and exhale,
Through the passageways.
Chill. . . Then, light another, just because its today.
I'm still in bed, but it's already a good day.

I push the sheets and pillows out the way
Then I get up to empty last night's fluids away.
Then to the kitchen, wondering what I can eat today
What can I do, to keep the hunger at bay?
Maybe some rice and filet?
A little something to kickstart the day.

While the food preps, I go back to my tray.
I smile and giggle as I sculpt my one true love, the Jay
With me at any time, anywhere, in any form, on any day.
Even though I'm already high; 'Hooray'.
I still want another hit of the Jay

The Jay,
Hits, Without delay.
Stays,
When everyone goes away.
Fades,
All the pain away.

My worries, It allays.
My happiness, it brings to the fray.
Keeps my mind, from going astray.
Literally, takes my breath away.

Causes, no form of decay
Keeps me, from getting 'ire'
Doesn't negotiate, doesn't parlay.
Just good vibes, all the way.

The love of the Jay;
Isn't just a single foray.
Its a constant exchange,
Everyday.

It's a feeling, that once attained,
Nothing, will ever take its place.
And there goes the tale of my day,
Spent with my true love, the Jay.
Shobhit Apr 2018
Surrender if you can't do
or
render if you want to
there is no place
for a defeatist, a flaccid mace.

Cry if you feel so
or
try if you can take the blow
no one remembers the grey
the ashes are forgotten in the tray...

Lie if you feel insecure
or
die in the quest to procure
the wind gratifies the soul
who walks against it with a hunger for galore

Defy if you can't take the heat
else
Comply if you expected the beat
don't sulk and forfeit the game
stand steady and take all the blame

Unite if you dare to share
else
Divide if you can't be fair
The trophies just shine for a while
Later, they gather dust in the exile

Believe if it invades your sleep
else
Relieve if it's beyond your keep
Don't make promises, you cannot tend
Don't demean the hopes, you cannot transcend

Walk the road for the sake of the journey
And
Talk if your words quench their yearnings
There is no pride in yelling the sermons to the mass
the words will finally bounce back and hit you at last....
Terry Collett Jun 2016
I take her Ladyship's tray
up to her with her breakfast
as Gripe told me to.

I try and balanced the tray
without spilling tea
from the teapot, or sliding
the small jug of milk
over everything.

I knock on her door
with my fist,
balancing the tray
against ***,
and on hand.

No answer; the old mare's
still asleep; I tap louder.

I hear movement,
and a voice says,
come in, sleepily.

I open the door handle,
and lift the tray off
my ***, and carry it
into the bedroom,
and she's lying there
on her pillows,
and her hair in a mess.

I close the door
with my backside,
and stand there
gazing at her.

Ah Polly, breakfast,
thank you.

She sits up,
and stares at me.

I place the tray down
carefully on the small
breakfast table,
and wheel it over her legs,
and stand back,
hands by my sides.

Master George maybe
coming home in a few weeks,
she says,
looking straight at me,
her eyes peering at me,
studying me.  

O that's good,
your Ladyship,
I am glad to hear that,
I say and smile
a small smile.

It is good news;
I thought he would be
in the hospital for longer,
and I was afraid
he may not be home
for months on end.

I say nothing;
I see him in my mind
shafting me in his bed
that last time before
he went back to the Front;
his moustache against
my cheek,
his how'syourfather
entering me.

He will still need care,
and we will employ a nurse
to be here until he is well,
she says,
breaking into my memories.

Yes that would be good, Madam,
I say.

He seems very focused on you,
her Ladyship says,
he seems to call your name
frequently and no one
at the hospital knew
whose name it was,
and what relationship
she was to him.

I blush a little; he's
very kind and thoughtful,
I say,
pushing from my mind
him kissing my neck
and shoulder in his passion.

If your being here helps
his recovery that will be good,
her Ladyship says quietly,
eyeing me with her eyes.

You may go now,
she says.

I curtsy,
and leave the room,
and close the door,
wanting George inside me
all the more.
A HOUSE MAID AND THE LADY OF THE  HOUSE IN 1916
Forty Days

A Season of Grief, a Season of Rejoicing

November 9-December 20, 2014

For Barbara Beach Alter 
It is Christmas morning in Saco, Maine, where today Bett, Aaron, Emily, Thomasin and our beloved cousin Marie find ourselves gathered to celebrate our first Christmas without dadima (our name for Barbara Beach Alter).  Brother Tom writes that already in India he and Carol with Jamie, Meha and Cayden (the only of her seven greatgrandchildren Barry never held) have celebrated.  Today Marty and Lincoln join us in Maine.

This gathering of documents—notes, drafts of memorial services, poems, homilies—is my christmas present to each of you.  It is a record, certainly subjective, of grief and rejoicing.

John Copley Alter
1:14 a.m.
Saco, Maine 
November 9

Loved ones,
Barbara Beach Alter died peacefully at 2:55 Sunday morning (today).  Bett and I had the good fortune to be there for the final beating of her good strong heart.  She murmured charcoal.  The nurse who was bathing her afterwards noted how few wrinkles there were, and it is true.
For those of you nearby you may if you want visit Mom in her room at hospice this morning (until noon).  Visit? Darshan? Paying respects?
Bett and I plan to be there around 11:00.
Much love to all. A blessed occasion.
John


November 10

Matthew 5:13-19
Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

yesterday in the early hours my mother died her saltiness
restored all that had through the months of her old
age and convalescence obscured the lens of her life cleaned
away so that for us now more and more clearly
as we hear about her through the memory and love
of so many people her good works shine forth in
their glory but it is to the days of her
convalescence the days of her dementia I would turn our
minds those of us who spent time with her at
Wingate long-term care facility remember that Barbara Beach Alter became
at times fierce in her commanding us that ‘not one
letter, not one stroke of a letter’ of the commandments
should be altered do you remember that those of you
and us who were given the work and gift of
spending time with Barry in those days in that condition

remember for instance how fussy she became about the sequence
of food on her tray how impatient with us for
our trespasses and violations how adamant that we look forward
for instance and not back at her how she would
say stop holding my hand and saying you love me
you have work to do o she was almost impossible
and certainly incoherent and demented in her obsession with law
and procedure fussy impatient imperious I do not forget being
scolded reamed out put in my place for having somehow
failed to do what the ‘law and the prophets’ demand

Barbara beach alter in the days before hospice in the
nursing home and hospital and even if we are honest
in the final years of her life found herself caught
up in the rigidity of her anxious desire to be
faithful to the laws and commandments of her life and
that made her at times extremely demanding to be with

amen and the epistemological confusion of course the clash between
her reality and ours it was all an ordeal for
her and for those of us who kept her company

and yet and yet through it all and now as
that ordeal for her is no longer paramount as she
dances in heaven all the wrinkles and discomfort of her
life removed and forgiven Barbara Beach Alter kept the faith
living in the midst such that those who cared for
her most intimately the strangers all professed your mother blessed
us


Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.



So, brother and sister, here are my thoughts about the memorial service(s).
Let’s find a time when we three can be present; that’s the most important thing.  My life is currently the least constrained by agenda and schedule.  And then the grandchildren, recognizing that Jamie may not be able to come.  So, our work is to find our when our kids are able to come. Bett and I are exploring that with our three, each of whom has some constraint: Emily, the cost; Thomasin, the piebaking demands, Aaron school.  But we are flexible.

Much love.

John



Walking in my mother’s wake today some trees
a gentle breeze some dogs a little boy
the neighborhood and I took joy from interaction

we are at best a fraction in love’s
calculation after all heaven I realize is not
above or below cannot be taught comes naturally

as death does walking in my mother’s wake
I found new allies learned yet again not
to take myself too seriously to be caught

off guard as a matter of principle and
not to insist that I understand but live
in the midst of forgiveness


in my mother’s wake I am reading these books for
some way to continue to knock on her door Wendell
Berry he can tell me some things and William Blake
he can take me closer and I remember she described
me once as an unused Jewish liberal so I am
reading about protestant liberalism but ham that I am also
reading Carl Hiassen’s Bad Monkey and Quo Vadimus that my
daughter left behind and mythologically Reflections from yale divinity school
no fooling Denise Levertov David Sobel Galway Kinnell’s translation of
Rilke some wake

November 11

Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus said, "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

this morning in the wee hours my mother died one
of the wise bridesmaids whose lamp to the end was
full she carried always the flask of oil that is
joy that is the love of the kingdom of heaven
and of the bridegroom a flask always replenished by prayer
by devotion by a humble courageous living in the midst

she expected every day the bridegroom to come in other
words and she was also one who would never refuse
to share even the last drop with somebody in need

and at the end it is so clear the door
into the banquet hall was not closed to her as
it is not closed to any one of us foolishness
is to believe otherwise to believe that the bridegroom will
not come today in the early morning in the wee
hours that is when he comes in the midst of
other plans is when he comes even when we are
doing what we assume to be good work when we
are doing what gives us pleasure our duty joy comes
then unsummoned unpredictable random even according to all our best
laid plans my mother loved so many things her pleasure
included dancing late in her life terminally unsteady she invented
what we loved to urge her to do namely the
sitting jig and we grew up with images of her
Isadora Duncan dancing with white scarves in an enchanted forest

Barbara Beach Alter aka Barry aka dadima bari nani aunt
and daughter wife missionary is now I know dancing a
rollicking boisterous jig on the shores of a lake that
is as her grandson once confided to her god in
liquid form spilly Beach of course also dyslexic executive function
compromised she was but one who loved to be always
in the midst surrounded by loved ones some of them
absolute strangers she shared her oil because for her it
came welling up from an inexhaustible source a deep eternal
well of such illumination and laughter such giddy divine chuckles

for her there was to be no exclusion she would
not find the awful idea of being one of the
foolish applicable to anybody but happily she welcomed into her
midst so many it is hard to imagine how many

so there she is now a bridesmaid dancing for joy
in such elegant clothing with such perpetual brightness

amen hallelujah rejoice


sometimes I think she pulled us all out of the
magic hat sometimes I think she knit us all into
one of her theologically impossible sweaters and then with a
wink she passes through the eye of the needle and
is gone and we are left to play in her
honor endless hands of solitaire sometimes I think we are
no more than the hermeneutics of her life the epistemology
artless she was not her heart like one of those
magical meals for her then a doxology praise then praise
she knows salvation

what is a life’s work it is like a landscape
dotted with oases and gardens for the thirsty and the
lost it is like scraping through dry barren ground and
finding there suddenly not only the theology of paradise but
such seeds your hands ache to begin the planting what
is a life’s work what has been shut for too
long opens what has been shut for too long opens

a life’s work renews itself then with death the kernel
of hope that dies in springtime sprouting is what a
life’s work becomes

November 12

John 21:15-17
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.

I know my mother very much enjoyed having breakfast with
god and that the meals of her nursing home drove
her nearly crazy and that when at last she found
hospice o she again could imagine the feast of heaven
at which Jesus breaks bread with us and speaks with
such clarity do you love me more than these I
know it was questions as simple and overwhelming as this
that dominated her final days do you love me love
being  one of the last five words she attempted to
speak do you love me she wrestled in her last
months with epistemology and psychology and theology and all had
to do with whether she could answer unequivocally you know
that I love you and that she could say of
her life that she had broken bread with god we
all remember in her life those moments when there was
a great gladness an innocent acceptance of what lay immediately
in her presence now those months in the nursing home
tormented her in precisely this fashion that it was hard
to accept to be in the midst of such mediocrity
and woe to be innocent and accepting but now praise
god there she is a happy guest at the great
feast and we left behind bereft can acknowledge that she
loved god in her own fashion as best she possibly
could and do you remember being with her there in
hospital or nursing home and she commanding us to move
beyond holding her hand and saying we loved her and
to feed the sheep to do that work which will
make of this earth this here and now an outstation
of heaven Barbara Beach Alter loved god in her own
fashion as best she possibly could we remember that and
that memory is today like a great network a web
of love and inspiration o we would gladly one more
time hold her hand and say I love you but
we know also clearly I think today what the work
is to love our neighbor as ourselves to work for
peace and justice I think of my sister with her
colleagues in WEIGO and how her sisters have understood her
grief  let us break our fast together then glad for
the worldwide web that in these days is reading the
gospel of the life of Barbara Beach Alter praise god


feed
tend
feed
in exchange for his three denials Peter is given three imperative verbs
feed
tend
feed
this is the commission Jesus after breakfast on the shore of the sea of Galilee gives to Peter
twice he says feed
in the commonwealth of Massachusetts 700,000 people are hungry
1 in 6 americans are hungry
living in uncertainty about their daily bread
more than 18,000,000 in Africa
842,000,000 around the world go to bed hungry


Marty and Tom
The thinking about the memorial service is taking this slow and cautious turn, namely that we have three services (at least), one in Sudbury, one in New Haven (allowing Stan and Chuck and others to come) at First Presbyterian (with Blair Moffett we hope), and of course one in India.
The date frame appears to be somewhere between December 17 and 20, unless you have other thoughts.
The actual cremation happens tomorrow.  Lincoln, Bett, Alexis and I will attend, and then of course there is In the Midst on Friday.
Love you more than tongue can tell.
John


the thing with a life well lived is that many
people have partaken the way let’s say a river moves
down through any number of different lives all the time
sedulously seeking the shortest path to the sea to steal
a line from somebody or other meandering a watershed within
which so many of us find a way to live
our own lives nourished and for each of us the
river distinct and different white water the slow fertile meander
the delta and we say to each other this is
the composite river


sometimes I feel like a sleepwalker trying to run a
marathon sometimes I feel like a speedbump in a blizzard

an arrow in a wind tunnel sometimes I feel like

a hazard sign in an old age home sometimes I
feel like a tyrannosaurus rex trying to ride a tricycle

and sometimes those are the good days when identity is
strong like an icicle in a heat wave is strong

I try to read wisdom literature at happy hour scotch
and Solomon can’t go wrong I think and sometimes I

feel like crying

November 13

four days ago we were left alone there with your
body after your breathing ceased and the proud stubborn beating
of your heart and in those four days beloved mother
so much I would love to say to you and
share the antics of the squirrel late leaves on the
neighborhood trees music Orion the network the atlas of love
your life has left behind and all the words we
are the gospel of today and I would sit with
you there then in silence as I sit now four
days later vigilant insomniac aware that the kingdom of heaven
is not more complicated than singing than love than dancing

we are all dancing the dance lord siva teaches and
the s
Grahame Jun 2014
THE BANSHEE*

Late at night, whilst lying in bed,
two sisters hear a sound of dread.
Mixed in with the beating hail,
is the dreaded Banshee’s wail.

The storm is directly overhead,
and the thunder so loud, no word is said
Because the sisters cannot hear
anything spoken, even shouted in ear.

However, over the storm’s great row,
they hear the Banshee even now,
Howling around the chimney top,
Oh, will that screaming never stop?

Fiona and Caitlín look at each other,
with fingers in ears, the noise to smother.
The Banshee, a dire harbinger of death,
is wailing louder with every breath.

Who will die in that house tonight?
It really doesn’t seem to be right.
Only the two girls live there now,
for either to die would be a blow.

Eventually, after a couple of hours,
the storm decreases to merely showers.
Quieter now calls the Banshee,
it seems to pleading, “Please help me!”

Fiona and Caitlín become afraid.
Why is the Banshee begging for aid?
It only cries, a death to foretell,
is it predicting its own death as well?

Finally the storm blows out,
and Fiona and Caitlín think about
The Banshee, is it still around?
Then they hear a moaning sound.

It abates, then rises again,
like some creature suffering pain.
The two sisters decide they should
try to help if they could.

With dawn’s approach it is getting light,
and so the sisters think they might
Go outside and try to see
if they can find the groaning Banshee.

The sisters live on a little croft,
in a cottage that’s got a goodly loft
With a sloping ceiling overhead,
in which they’d placed a double bed.

A few outbuildings dotted around,
a meagre crop grows in the ground.
A pig, some sheep and one milk-cow.
that has sustained them both ere now.

A donkey, more a pet than use,
and fattening for Christmas, one grey goose.
A flock of hens and one old duck,
the sisters haven’t had much luck.

The cottage, a mere but-and-ben,
the but, a parlour, the ben, a kitchen.
This hovel is heated by one hearth,
and chinks in the walls are stopped with earth.

The roof is only thatched with turf,
there’s a constant background noise of surf,
And though their homestead looks forlorn,
they have lived there since they were born.

The croft is quite close to the sea,
and seaweed, obtainable for free,
Is often collected by the sisters,
carried in buckets which gives them blisters.

They use it to fertilise their crop,
and work all day until ready to drop.
Their father had been lost at sea,
their mother, heartbroken, soon after died she.

The sisters dress and go outside,
to find the Banshee where’er it may hide.
They can no longer hear its moan,
and wonder if by now it’s flown.

They slowly walk around to try,
the importunate Banshee to spy.
It isn’t now on the roof at all,
it is lying huddled by the wall.

No longer seeming a creature of dread,
only a shivering person, nearly dead.
The sisters kneel down by her side,
they cannot just let her there bide.

“What can we to to help?” asks Fi.
“Nothing, please just let me die.”
“Not an option,” then declares Cait,
“I’ll fetch a blanket, you two wait.”

The Banshee turns her face away,
“I thought to be gone ere break of day.
I was flying across your croft
when the lightning struck down from aloft.”

“I’ve never been hit like that before,
I couldn’t then fly any more.
I tumbled down from out of the sky
in terrible pain. I thought I’d die.”

“And in my agony I screamed out,
not knowing you would hear me shout.
I am not here, your deaths to foretell,
I would for you that fear dispel.”

Then Caitlín does soon return,
Fiona says, “Our help she’d spurn.”
“Oh no she shan't,” Caitlín said,
“we’ll just to carry her to bed.”

To the girls the Banshee appears light,
extremely pale, albino white.
She hardly seems to have any weight,
and looks as though she rarely ate.

On her shoulders two white wings,
tiny little vestigial things.
Her only clothes, a vestment white,
ripped to shreds by the storm in the night.

Cait carefully lays the blanket down flat,
and they place the Banshee onto that.
Then lifting the blanket between them both,
they carry her in, though the Banshee’s loath.

They go into the but, through the ben,
noticing as they do so, when
The Banshee is shaken around,
she bites her lip hard to prevent any sound.

They lay the Banshee down on their settle,
realising she is full of mettle.
She obviously is still in great pain,
though will not show it, that is plain.

Fiona back into the kitchen goes,
intending to heat up some brose.
Caitlín with the Banshee does stay,
determined to help as best she may.

Beneath the Banshee’s head she lays
a pillow then to the Banshee says,
“You should get out of your wet clothes,
you could catch you death from wearing those.”

Caitlín realised as soon as she spoke,
to the Banshee that would be no joke.
“I’m sorry if I’ve offended you,
that’s the last thing I would want to do.”

“It is just that when *we
were wet,
these words from our mother we would get.”
The Banshee replies, “I don’t mind,
I know you’re trying to be kind.”

“And there’s something you should know,
no-one’s seen my body ere now.
However, although shy I may be,
I will try to let you undress me.”

Fiona at that moment comes in,
carrying on a tray of tin,
A bowl of brose with slices of bread,
then seeming surprised, to her sister said,

“Haven’t you yet the wight undressed
and warmed her up to help her rest?
If she stays in that dress, cold and wet,
she might catch her death from cold, yet!”

The Banshee and Caitlín glance at each other,
and then both snirt, which they try to smother
By each pretending to need to cough
while Fiona snaps, “Let’s get them off.”

Fiona places the tray on a table,
then kindly says, “I think I’ll be able,
If you sit up, to remove your gown,”
then worries, hearing the Banshee groan.

“I’m sorry, I am still in pain,
it came on when I moved again
As the result of having to cough.
Please do your best to get my robe off.”

Caitlín sits by the Banshee’s side,
and across her back her arm does slide.
She helps the Banshee to sit up straight,
who winces and then smiles at Cait.

Fiona manages to ease the robe down
to the Banshee’s waist then gives a frown.
“No wonder so much pain you’ve had,
the lightning seems to have burnt you bad.”

The Banshee’s skin is bleeding and raw,
the robe stuck in places making it sore.
Caitlín asks, “Why didn’t you say?
You don’t need to suffer this way.”

The Banshee begs, “Please don’t be mad,
until now my life’s been bad.
You’re the first mortals I have known,
until now I’ve been alone.”

Overcome with emotion, she cries,
the tears, in rivulets, fall from her eyes.
Caitlín hugs her close to her breast,
saying, “Soon you will be able to rest.”

“Fi, get some scissors and cut her robe free,
then bring some Aloe Vera to me.
I’ll use the sap to coat each wound,
and with strips of cloth they can be bound.”

So Fiona with scissors cuts the cloth,
while the Banshee closes her eyes, both
To avoid watching the scissors being used,
and not see the cloth to her body fused.

After cutting through as much cloth as she may,
Fiona picks the pieces away.
And then Caitlín does tenderly use,
to soothe the wounds, Aloe juice.

Fiona cuts the Banshee’s dress
into strips, which, more or less,
Provide enough cloth, the wounds to cover,
which they hope will soon heal over.

Fiona then goes to the bedroom to get,
to cover the Banshee, a dry blanket.
Caitlín stays sitting with her on the settle,
hoping the Banshee’ll soon be in fine fettle.

The blanket warms her up a treat,
then the sisters help the Banshee to eat.
Caitlín supports the Banshee’s head,
while Fiona feeds her brose and bread.

They leave her sleeping on the settee,
and go to the kitchen to brew some tea,
Then sitting down, they discuss what to do,
it’s new to them, they haven’t a clue.

Cait says, “I thought her a creature of myth,
a fable, though mentioned long sith.”
Fiona remarks, “And I thought as well,
she only appeared, a death to foretell.”

“This, she has said, is not why she’s here,
and also her life’s bad, so I fear
If we don’t help her to try to mend,
she might think her own life to end.”

At that the sisters feel so sad,
how can the Banshee’s life be so bad?
Since she’s a poor creature in so much need,
they’ll try to help and not ask for meed.

Into the parlour they quietly peep,
the Banshee still seems to be asleep.
So Fiona and Caitlín each start on a chore,
Fi feeds the hens, Cait goes to the shore.

On the beach Cait harvests seaweed,
collecting only as much as they need,
Then carries it back to the croft, up the lane,
trying to ignore, caused by blisters, the pain.

Cait leaves the buckets and enters the ben,
and sees the Banshee is awake, then
She goes to her and sitting down,
asks, “Why’ve you always been on your own?”

The Banshee replies, “That’s just how it is.
There’s never been a time ywis,
That I’ve ever met another like me.
Mayhap I’m the only one to be.”

At that the Banshee seems so sad,
and continues, “And what else is bad
Is that I feel Death draw near
to mortals. That’s the time I fear.”

“I cannot stop that ‘sergeant fell,’
however, I feel his pull too well.
I feel so sad at what he does,
and try to help by being close.”

“That is why when he is present,
I always try not to be absent.
I give warning as best I might,
by screaming loudly in the night.”

“People hear me and suppose,
I am there, a life to foreclose.
Then I feel the awful hate,
which from the mortals does emanate.”

Caitlín then goes back outside,
leaving the Banshee safe inside.
Fiona and Cait continue the work
that they must do and should not shirk.

Fiona finally milks the cow,
and hoping the Banshee’s feeling less low,
Pours some warm milk into a cup,
and carries it in for the Banshee to sup.

The Banshee wakes as Fiona comes in,
Fi says to her, giving a grin,
“I can’t believe you’re really here,
I must say, you are quite a dear!”

The Banshee gratefully takes the cup,
and with Fi’s help drinks the milk up.
Then back down on the couch she does lie,
and Fiona, embarrassed, again sees her cry.

Fiona sits down by her side,
while the Banshee tries, her face to hide.
Fiona, silent, her hand does hold,
noticing it’s very cold.

She strokes the Banshee’s silvery hair,
and waits for the tears to disappear.
The Banshee, eventually, does her eyes dry,
and then gives out a heartfelt sigh.

“I am so happy here with you,
without you I’d not know what to do.
Please forgive my moody tears,
I haven’t cried like this for years.”

“The first time was when I experienced Death.
I was drawn to a blasted heath,
Where a woman had a babe, stillborn,
and was gazing at it so forlorn.”

“She’d been constuprated in a wood,
by a man who’d left as soon as he could.
She was overcome with shame,
she hadn’t even known his name.”

“The babe was born before its time,
the ground was cold and hard with rime.
The woman did not even have
a ***** to dig the baby’s grave.”

“She opened the clothes across her chest,
and wrapped it tightly to her breast,
Then untied the cincture from her waist,
moving slowly not in haste.”

“When, going to a nearby tree,
not knowing I was there to see,
Around a branch she did it thread,
and hanged herself. She soon was dead.”

“Death knew what there would occur,
and therefore, to lay claim to her,
Had gone to the heath to watch her die,
and I’d been drawn, by Death, nearby.”

“I could feel the woman’s pain.
It came in waves again and again.
I didn’t know what it did mean,
and in my anguish I did keen.”

“My voice grew louder, I did scream,
Death looked at me and it did seem
At that moment, in pity, said,
‘She really is now better off dead.’”

They then hear the back door open
as Caitlín enters into the ben.
She shuts it close and locks it tight,
as she comes inside for the night.

“The animals are safely put away,
and now it’s time to hit the hay.
I’ll make supper and a *** of tea,
then it’s off to bed for me.”

Fiona says, “I’ll give you a hand.”
Then slowly stretches and up does stand.
She goes with Cait to make the tea,
leaving behind the poor Banshee.

Fiona tells Cait of the Banshee’s plight,
though they cannot think how to make it right.
They place three bowls and cups on a tray,
and back to the parlour make their way.

The Banshee sits up, with her feet on the ground,
it seems as though some strength she’s found.
She takes a bowl and says, “I suppose
it’s another delicious helping of brose.”

She beams at the sisters, who feel a glow
deep inside them slowly grow.
They realise that perhaps this is how
the Banshee is able, her feelings to show.

The Banshee asks, “Will it be all right
if I go outside for a stroll tonight?
I’ll only take a turn round the croft,
I will not try to fly aloft.”

“I am a denizen of the night,
which is why I thought I might
Have a walk by the light of the moon.
I promise I will be back soon.”
  
Round the Banshee’s waist Cait ties some rope
so that the blanket will not ope,
Then walks with her across the floor,
to help her get to the back door.
  
Caitlín unlocks it and opens it out,
though, for the Banshee, has some doubt.
Suppose the effort is too great?
She can only watch and wait.

Meanwhile Fi does the washing up,
and then she shouts, “I’m going up
To make our bed, don’t be late!”
Caitlín replies, “All right, don’t wait.”

Fiona goes to the top of the stair,
she makes up the bed then brushes her hair.
She quickly undresses and gets into bed,
and on the pillow rests her head.

Caitlín’s still standing at the door,
she’s not anxious any more.
The Banshee seems to be doing fine,
walking slowly in the bright moonshine.

As she walks she seems to get stronger,
so Caitlín, waiting for her for longer
Than she’d thought that she might do,
steps outside to have a walk too.

She takes the Banshee by the hand,
For a time they slowly walk round and
Then the Banshee asks to stop,
to rest before she’s likely to drop.

Still on her feet the Banshee sways,
and seems to be in a sort of daze.
So Caitlín holds her in her arms tight,
and thus they stand in the bright moonlight.

Hugging the Banshee close to her breast,
she’s aware of her nearness to their guest.
Caitlín feels her heart start to pound,
and in some confusion stands stilly and stound.

Then she pulls herself together,
at the same time wondering whether
She has experienced her first love,
or if this feeling false will prove.

So fragile and helpless the Banshee appears,
Caitlín can’t help but be moved to tears.
She lifts her up, and carries her inside,
and places her onto the sofa to bide.

Caitlín then stumbles up the stairs,
Fiona is shocked to see her in tears,
And asks her if she is all right,
and if anything’s happened out there in the night.

Caitlín, crying, lies down on the bed,
then Fiona, on her *****, pillows Caits head.
She gently wipes Caitlín’s tears away,
and waits to hear what she might say.

Caitlín then cuddles up to Fi,
saying, “Thank you for looking after me.
Really, I am quite all right,
nothing bad happened out there in the night.”

“It’s just that the Banshee is still frail,
she appeared to be getting a little more hale,
And then she seemed to become weak again,
so I carried her in, on the sofa she’s lain.”

Cait then stands and doffs her dress,
and gets into bed, still feeling a mess.
Fiona holds Cait as to sleep they go,
and they stay like that the whole night through.

Fiona and Caitlín wake up together,
and happily smile at one another.
It’s the start of a brand new day
which they’ll face together, come what may.

Fiona dresses and downstairs goes she,
into the kitchen to make some tea.
Caitlín shortly comes down too,
entering the parlour, the Banshee to view.

The Banshee wakes as Caitlín goes in,
still looking pale and painfully thin.
Caitlín sits on the sofa with care,
saying, “Last night you gave me quite a scare.”

“You seemed to get stronger in the moonlight,
so I thought everything was going all right.
Then I feared that you might fall down,
and so I carried you back here on my own.”

The Banshee responded, “I’m ever so sorry.
I didn’t mean to cause you worry.
I also felt I was getting str
Lyn-Purcell Aug 2018
~ ⚘ ⚪ ⚘ ~
But I am relieved.
Not being confined in bright velvets
of the West, or shimmering silks of
the East. Each hand-stitched with
animals and flowers, crystals and
furs, with gold and silver to
parade around in Court.

~ ⚘ ⚪ ⚘ ~
I find far more splendour in a simple
iris-purple kimono-robe, lightweight,
silk-satin and printed with lilies with
a pink silk trim. It strokes my ankles,
and the sleeves, they billow; the sash
firmly fastened around my waist.

~ ⚘ ⚪ ⚘ ~
My handmaid, Ilazi, presents a gilded
bowl with the purest form of fruits -
the ones that were rain-washed. I have
a variety to choose from - strawberries,
blueberries, peaches, green, red and
black grapes which I pick and nibble
on. Hmm, a succulent balance of
sweetness and ****.

~ ⚘ ⚪ ⚘ ~
And then my senior handmaid, Anihana,
arrives with a tray in hand, clearly made
from stainless steel with rose-gold accents.
'Sweet Queen,' says she. At the wave of my
hand, the music stops. 'Forgive me for
keeping you waiting. I know how particular
you are with your pearls so I narrowed
them to your favourite three choices.'

~ ⚘ ⚪ ⚘ ~
'Thank you,' I say and as I lean up, she
presents three cream-hued scrolls.
'Lists,' says she, 'of all the ship's
inventory. Would you like to
inspect them, my lady?'
'I will after some tea, Ainhana,
thank you.'

~ ⚘ ⚪ ⚘ ~
Anihana nods and moves by my side
as my eyes fall on the tray's contents.
A small silver five-minute sand-timer,
a glass teapot with bamboo handle,
an infuser and steel lid half filled
with hot water; steam dancing
out of the spout. Then, a lovely
glass teacup, one of the most
beautiful I've seen yet.
~ ⚘ ⚪ ⚘ ~
Part three of my Jasmine Pearl freeverse!
Lyn ***
Yarinya!
Born into a life which gave you little or no choices.
Your basket of options had only oranges for sale and a tray to balance on your head.
Yarinya!
Your small feet tread the path baked hot by the mean African sun.
Yarinya!
Working to cater for the adult mouths of those who forged you.
Yarinya!
Life has so much to offer you but how your arms are deprived their right to reaching out
because they  support the tray on your head.

Yarinya!
The rags you wear shall not mark you out for shame.
Yarinya!
Your kind have shaped the world for the better.
Yarinya!
I heard about another of your kind who once sold bread on the streets of Lagos.
They say she unconsciously walked into a picture
and for her, that was the beginning of a new story.
Yarinya!
The tray on your head shall not suppress the intellect hidden in your head.

Yarinya!
Until I find you, hold on to that tray and sell the best oranges you can find.
Until I find you, bear the blisters on your feet for lack of shoes.
Until I find you, keep your story alive on your lips.
When I find you, we'll sell your story, "Yarinya Mai Talle."
And the world will know that her children
deserve much more than just clean water and UNICEF endorsements
or a tray of hawker's items and a society dead to its conscience.

Yarinya!
Where ever you are,
On the streets of Italy or under the bridge in Lagos,
Under the "dogon yaro" tree in Kano or in your father's house in Brazil
Until I find you,
God keep you from those seeking to marry you at five
so they can wife you at eight.

*Yarinya-means "young female"

#DiariesOfAnAfricanChild #ChildMarriage #ModernSlavery #ChildProstitution #AwakenYourConscience #IfIWereYourChild #PhotosByOlumideOresugun #Liferadio101 #Energie
Claire Howes Apr 2014
Every day is the same; they wake up in the same bed, at the same ungodly hour, to the same monotonous ringing from the alarm clock.

They grumble their ‘good morning’s; whether they believe it is or not, rolling out of opposite sides of the duvet.

They dance around each other in the bathroom, the heat of the shower creating a fog through which neither of them can see; causing him to stub his toe on the toilet or the counter, and steaming up the mirror so she can’t apply her make-up.

They continue their ritual into the kitchen; flicking on the kettle, popping in the bread, pouring the orange juice; stirring the tea, catching the toast and spreading the butter and jam. Crunching and slurping together at the table, mumbling about what their days have in store; tapping texts on their phones, crinkling newspaper in their hands.

They peck each other a kiss goodbye and mutter a ‘see you later’ before going their separate ways.

But then Monday comes...

Mondays are different.

He knows she doesn’t like Monday mornings. It’s the very beginning of a new, long, tiring week. She never looks forward to Mondays.

So he changes that.

He sets the alarm on his watch a little earlier than other days; shutting it off before it can wake her.

He slips silently out of bed and tiptoes quietly into the bathroom to shower; leaving her smiley faces and love messages on the steamy mirrors.

He creates her favourite tea and makes her toast with raspberry jam; just the way she likes it. Picking a flower from the garden; whichever one looks the happiest and brightest, he places it all on a tray and pads back up to the bedroom to wake her.

She no longer sets her alarm on Mondays. She knows he’ll not let her oversleep.

He places the flower in her hair and drops delicate kisses; full of his love and affection for her, to the corner of her mouth, until she stirs gently.

She smiles on Monday mornings.

They eat breakfast in bed, covering the sheets in crumbs and giggling contentedly as the cat licks them up.

She hums in the bathroom while he clears away crockery, and always re-emerges with the flower tucked behind her ear.

It remains there ‘til night fall.

They never once look at their phones or the paper, far too focused on each other to pay anything else mind.

Their kiss as they part reminds them of their love for each other and of the good things in life; like strolls along the shore, strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, smiling sunflowers that open to a beautiful summer’s day, and of course, Monday mornings.
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
Let's not make this long speech
    my best moment to reach
    Casablanca-*******
Day in and Craker Jack out what!!
Please the kiss needs to be longer__

The piano plays incredibly stronger
So short the "Cheez Wiz" visit

Oh! My the lovely edible dish
The long wish
too long its been
way too longare we short on

The strawberry short cake
Please make no mistake
   ******* Barrel crackers
I am Jamming sweet grape jam
Orange marmalade home run slam
New Orleans  Southern hospitality
Don't rain on my parade

    Robin-Tweet
C-R-A-c-k-E-Rs
Cozy-Real
A++ Collection can't be beat
King Eternity the Queen *******
Cheese deck what a home wreck
Green Guacamole animal
 crackers green Scrooge

"Long story Witchcraft"
The spell his magic fingers
French Tickler ******* winner
Those finger foods gift matcher
She sees little red riding hood
Getting the right Judge Judy
homemade Country fudge

VIP ******* may I RIP cracked
the code computer hacker
Afterthought but don't
come towards me she's bulletproof
It's today coffee dark swirls
Proud Mary got cracked mug
I only have eyes for
      Sunny

The Leap jump for all
Easter bunny
Long appetizers in her tray
The longer the wait like the
Meisers
The same star how I
met all the losers

Moms *******
Saltine stuffing
I am longing for English crackers
Like a ritual, out of time lips chuckle
Sweet Berry cheeks and lovely dimples
This life will burn and crumble

Over crumbled crackers?

Dog wear collars of polka dots
Vacation spot Meditterian crockpots
by the sea
Sea salt sprinkling saltine
over the shoulder, good luck
Feeling love sick her revolver
crackers to meet her four leaf clover

This is not only__New York City
  "Apricot" cracked wheat dot dot
What white as a sheet
Longshot transformation
To the Stepford wifes
Robot desperately seeking crackers
The best honey milk

 bedroom eyes like
Star shape crackers
the ship watch your salty lip
The shepherd's pies short skirts
Vampires blood jelly
Be Jolly Santa's baby *******
wicked plot "Santa Claus"
*** of gold belly at a glance

Cheesecake Factory
Trampling over crackers
What a time for a boycott
What fine attribute of
girl scouts
Getting blondie
brownie points

Someone passed her
screen test mirror mirror
cracked the glass shot
Astronaut gravity goes insanty
The third eye three reasons

"Soap Opera Diamonds"
three times got cracked
*** matters lips sensually
Madonna Vogue
The oyster's long love rumors
She just loves her jelly roll and
Mr. Graham crackers

Just appreciate those cracked
wheat ladies
Sesame melba toast short top
of the crack
Whats the matter?
With your daughter
He longs for her divine crackers
That's another short chapter

They crack up those actors
The writer needed to
find more movie extras
Groucho mark with
joke of crackers
The jackpot was hard to hit
Everyone was better to
crack the safe long neck
My lady Giraffe*

The true lover's knot
Your poem is worth the shot
Astronaut I brought you
The perfect flight the men
with the mustache
The salt and pepper shaker
Elvis the King is shaking
Long shot ******* butter fingers
Happy Holiday to all
This is a long shot to wherever you want to go but I cracked the safe what crackers can actually do it is a long shot we arent through
mollie Nov 2018
when my father smoked,
i was a child.
terrified by every inhale.
the thought of his tar riddened lungs was unbearable.
but he was a lost cause,
long lost to the tar stained tobacco on a stick.
I would clutch my teddy in the back seat of the car,
fearful that my lungs may ingest such vile and villainous fumes.

when I smoked I was a teen,
dragging on the stick I once feared so much.
inhaling and exhaling as if my life depended on it.
I recalled the fear of a child's eyes, myself.
so afraid of death and toxicity
but now, seventeen,
I had long forgotten my childhood wish to stay alive,
to grow up
because I had.
and while doing so had learned that life is bleak.
my tar stained lungs don't horrify me like my father's did,
they push me further,
smoking faster and harder until I may become a small pile of grey and cremated ash kept carefully within a decorated vase upon a mantle piece,
an ash tray of sorts.
High on'a farm,
make a needle biscuits
water-up sits creek
jostle potatoes,
pan-*** boiling
-with carrot cake.

Purple sky,
tractor runnin'
time of day,
sun low.

E'er body say,

"Why dou'a on'a farm?"

entered-dat du da future;
not Ford'ed fields.
Face it dou'a future,

"Dat future know it's place."

Sweet devils singin' to me,
sweetened tongue a' beautiful place. . .

"E'erthing set in place, ***** wit I say,
-dinner on-ma tray."

Terry Collett Jan 2016
Lady Elmore sniffs
as Polly enters her room
with a tray with teapot
and cup and saucer
and sugar bowl
and a jug with milk
and curtsies awkwardly
her black and white uniform
neat and tidy
she notes sitting up in bed
and staring,

Polly holds the tray
getting heavy
looks at Lady Elmore
through tired lids
stands still after her curtsy,

place it here Polly
the lady says
pointing to her lap
in the bed
her hair in a mess
grey strands breaking out
lips pinkish
eyes stark and black
or dark blue,

Polly puts down the tray
with careful art
makes sure it is safe
stands back
stares
waits hands in front
of her stomach joined,

Lady Elmore sighs
looks at the tray
is there breakfast?

Polly says yes Madam
Susie is bringing it up soon
(if the silly mare
hasn't dropped it),

the teapot is heavy
the lady says
can you pour for me?

Polly moves forward
and carefully pours tea
into the cup until
near the rim and adds milk
then stands back and waits
and watches as the lady
places two lumps of sugar
into the tea and stirs,

you may go now Polly
make sure the Simmons girl
is not too long
with the breakfast
Lady Elmore says stiffly
as if words were made
from bricks or stones
to be spat out,

Polly nods and says
yes Madam I will
and goes off and out
and closes the door
with a slight click
and leans against it
and sighs wondering
where Susie had gone
hoping to God
she wouldn't be long.
A MAID IN 1916 BRINGING BREAKFAST TO A LADY IN BED.
Dr zik Mar 2015
Birds ate there all eatables
flapping their wings as a dance
trimming  and preen of the wings
jump here there, losing no chance

black, blue, brown their cute colours
short, long, slim, heavy, lightweight
wings and flight memorable
all in hurry to have fate

chirp in low high sound, fresh mood
they were neat, beautiful smart
search everywhere want of food
giving an end, at the start

each one looking for some good
bit sip enough to quench thirst
no one waiting, for its turn
a cute gay bird, find it first

while the lyrics touch my soul
chirp, chirp, chirp  was  their tweet, song
making a norm; fresh my mood
melodious their sweet song

ripe fruit there serve passer-by
there were trees to grant a shade
there was rule 'No Restriction'
beauty of leaves not yet fade

pan was waiting to serve them
one sharp sip hurry to fly
child fell down while knocked at rock
help! Help! Shoutinnocent cry

sound dangerous, **** of earth
crackling, falling, housing, wall
help, no rescue love or hate
site was changed in front of all

no charm, fame, concert at all
there was no work, club or shop
speech for help was useless try
any search team, rescue flop

winking eyes now teary one
no-one could found there a bun
there no signs of living one
no care there, no deal, no done

birds ate there all  eatables
flapping their wings as a dance
trimming and preen of the wings
jump here there, losing no chance

chirp, chirp sad song low high sound
they were neat, beautiful smart
search everywhere want of food
giving an end, at the star

each one looking for some good
bit sip enough, quench the thirst
no one waiting, for its turn
cute bird could not find it first

while the lyrics, touch my soul
chirp, chirp, chirp was their sad song
making a norm, my sad mood
melodious, fair sad song

no fruit there for passer-by
no trees there to grant a shade
they were buried, there, somewhere
no green leaves at risk of fade

all the owners slept and pressed
sound dangerous lifeless rock
ruined everywhere tragic song
mud, stone, sand, all-cause of shock

no help, care there, love or hate
there was silence as no play
no pan waiting there at all
birds could find a broken tray

you reveal it then I know
my pangs are more than a sea
there is link between the two
soul and body, You and me
Dr. Zik's poetry
History (Muzzafarabad):
The city was near the epicenter of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.6. The earthquake destroyed 50% of the buildings in the city (including most of the official buildings) and is estimated to have killed up to 80,000 people in the Pakistani-controlled areas of Kashmir. As of 8 October 2005 the Pakistani government's official death toll was 87,350. Some estimates put the death toll over 100,000
Lyn-Purcell Sep 2018
EᔕᔕᕼI ᑕOᑎT.
~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
'Oh Ainhara, you always seem to know what to
do...'
Esshi chuckles. "Thank you very much.
Have you done the Queen Mother's flower
arrangements?"
"Yes, all of them have been watered and
now they are being placed around the palace."
Esshi nods. "Good. Thank you very much.
Carry on then."

~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
The florist smiles and leaves as Esshi places
the vase down on a clean counter as well as
the inkpot and quill while staring at the
paper.
'What should I say...?' she wonders as
she hears the meat sizzle. Bale is washing
the carrots and potatoes and chopping
them into medium-sized chunks.
Esshi blinks and smiles. 'Got it!'
Folding a paper in half she writes on
the paper, using her best calligraphy.

~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
When she's done, she places the quill
in the inkpot and gently blows the paper.
'Perfect!' Esshi beams. "Bael? Where do
you keep the serving trolleys?"
"In the back!" he says as he pours in
the ingredients into the paella pan
and mixes gently.

~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
Esshi goes to the back room and sees
a rose-silver serving tray with wheels
which she rolls out, placing the
bouquet and note on it while waiting
for Bael and his team to finish cooking.
Bael smiles that proud smile before pouring
some soup into a bowl and placing it on the
serving tray.
"Thank you, Bael."
"Not a problem. Do give our Queen my
regards." he faces his working staff.
"If they're done, bring them over!"

~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
Almost instantly, the chefs bring small plates
of their Queen's favourite treats and top it
off, a fresh brew of Jasmine Pearls.
"Thank you all so much." Esshi says gratefully.
"It's our pleasure." A chefs says as Bael
claps.
"Well done, everyone. Now we best get on the
Queen Mother's meals. Go started! I will see
Lady Esshi out."
Esshi covers the food as Bael opens the door
for her to leave. She is stunned to see Ainhara
there.

~ ⚪♫⚪ ~
"Oh my, Bael!" Ainhara smiles at him. "You
certainly worked hard."
"The life of a Chef." he beams. "When you're
done, do come by again. I'll have some meals
waiting for you!" he winks at them and
returns to the kitchen.
"The shipments?" Esshi asks.
"All are being presented, documented and
stored away by the Queen Mother." Ainhara
says. When she sees the flowers, she smiles
and the words on Esshi's note makes her
smile even more.
"Let's make way." Ainhara says as Esshi pushes
the tray behind her, making their way
for the young Queen's chamber.
Surprise!
Part 5! Enjoy!
Lyn ***
One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound
except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember
whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve
nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky
that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in
the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays
resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

It was on the afternoon of the Christmas Eve, and I was in Mrs. Prothero's garden, waiting for cats, with her
son Jim. It was snowing. It was always snowing at Christmas. December, in my memory, is white as Lapland,
though there were no reindeers. But there were cats. Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we
waited to snowball the cats. Sleek and long as jaguars and horrible-whiskered, spitting and snarling, they
would slink and sidle over the white back-garden walls, and the lynx-eyed hunters, Jim and I, fur-capped and
moccasined trappers from Hudson Bay, off Mumbles Road, would hurl our deadly snowballs at the green of their
eyes. The wise cats never appeared.

We were so still, Eskimo-footed arctic marksmen in the muffling silence of the eternal snows - eternal, ever
since Wednesday - that we never heard Mrs. Prothero's first cry from her igloo at the bottom of the garden. Or,
if we heard it at all, it was, to us, like the far-off challenge of our enemy and prey, the neighbor's polar
cat. But soon the voice grew louder.
"Fire!" cried Mrs. Prothero, and she beat the dinner-gong.

And we ran down the garden, with the snowballs in our arms, toward the house; and smoke, indeed, was pouring
out of the dining-room, and the gong was bombilating, and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin like a town crier
in Pompeii. This was better than all the cats in Wales standing on the wall in a row. We bounded into the
house, laden with snowballs, and stopped at the open door of the smoke-filled room.

Something was burning all right; perhaps it was Mr. Prothero, who always slept there after midday dinner with a
newspaper over his face. But he was standing in the middle of the room, saying, "A fine Christmas!" and
smacking at the smoke with a slipper.

"Call the fire brigade," cried Mrs. Prothero as she beat the gong.
"There won't be there," said Mr. Prothero, "it's Christmas."
There was no fire to be seen, only clouds of smoke and Mr. Prothero standing in the middle of them, waving his
slipper as though he were conducting.
"Do something," he said. And we threw all our snowballs into the smoke - I think we missed Mr. Prothero - and
ran out of the house to the telephone box.
"Let's call the police as well," Jim said. "And the ambulance." "And Ernie Jenkins, he likes fires."

But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose
into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier
Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt,
Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would
say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets,
standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, "Would you like anything to read?"

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel
petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt
like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the
English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the
daft and happy hills *******, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I
made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."

"But that was not the same snow," I say. "Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it
came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow
grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and
settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards."

"Were there postmen then, too?"
"With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried noses, on spread, frozen feet they crunched up to the doors and
mittened on them manfully. But all that the children could hear was a ringing of bells."
"You mean that the postman went rat-a-tat-tat and the doors rang?"
"I mean that the bells the children could hear were inside them."
"I only hear thunder sometimes, never bells."
"There were church bells, too."
"Inside them?"
"No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks. And they rang their tidings
over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea. It
seemed that all the churches boomed for joy under my window; and the weathercocks crew for Christmas, on our
fence."

"Get back to the postmen"
"They were just ordinary postmen, found of walking and dogs and Christmas and the snow. They knocked on the
doors with blue knuckles ...."
"Ours has got a black knocker...."
"And then they stood on the white Welcome mat in the little, drifted porches and huffed and puffed, making
ghosts with their breath, and jogged from foot to foot like small boys wanting to go out."
"And then the presents?"
"And then the Presents, after the Christmas box. And the cold postman, with a rose on his button-nose, tingled
down the tea-tray-slithered run of the chilly glinting hill. He went in his ice-bound boots like a man on
fishmonger's slabs.
"He wagged his bag like a frozen camel's ****, dizzily turned the corner on one foot, and, by God, he was
gone."

"Get back to the Presents."
"There were the Useful Presents: engulfing mufflers of the old coach days, and mittens made for giant sloths;
zebra scarfs of a substance like silky gum that could be tug-o'-warred down to the galoshes; blinding tam-o'-
shanters like patchwork tea cozies and bunny-suited busbies and balaclavas for victims of head-shrinking
tribes; from aunts who always wore wool next to the skin there were mustached and rasping vests that made you
wonder why the aunts had any skin left at all; and once I had a little crocheted nose bag from an aunt now,
alas, no longer whinnying with us. And pictureless books in which small boys, though warned with quotations not
to, would skate on Farmer Giles' pond and did and drowned; and books that told me everything about the wasp,
except why."

"Go on the Useless Presents."
"Bags of moist and many-colored jelly babies and a folded flag and a false nose and a tram-conductor's cap and
a machine that punched tickets and rang a bell; never a catapult; once, by mistake that no one could explain, a
little hatchet; and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that
an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow; and a painting book in which I could make the grass, the
trees, the sea and the animals any colour I pleased, and still the dazzling sky-blue sheep are grazing in the
red field under the rainbow-billed and pea-green birds. Hardboileds, toffee, fudge and allsorts, crunches,
cracknels, humbugs, glaciers, marzipan, and butterwelsh for the Welsh. And troops of bright tin soldiers who,
if they could not fight, could always run. And Snakes-and-Families and Happy Ladders. And Easy Hobbi-Games for
Little Engineers, complete with instructions. Oh, easy for Leonardo! And a whistle to make the dogs bark to
wake up the old man next door to make him beat on the wall with his stick to shake our picture off the wall.
And a packet of cigarettes: you put one in your mouth and you stood at the corner of the street and you waited
for hours, in vain, for an old lady to scold you for smoking a cigarette, and then with a smirk you ate it. And
then it was breakfast under the balloons."

"Were there Uncles like in our house?"
"There are always Uncles at Christmas. The same Uncles. And on Christmas morning, with dog-disturbing whistle
and sugar ****, I would scour the swatched town for the news of the little world, and find always a dead bird
by the Post Office or by the white deserted swings; perhaps a robin, all but one of his fires out. Men and
women wading or scooping back from chapel, with taproom noses and wind-bussed cheeks, all albinos, huddles
their stiff black jarring feathers against the irreligious snow. Mistletoe hung from the gas brackets in all
the front parlors; there was sherry and walnuts and bottled beer and crackers by the dessertspoons; and cats in
their fur-abouts watched the fires; and the high-heaped fire spat, all ready for the chestnuts and the mulling
pokers. Some few large men sat in the front parlors, without their collars, Uncles almost certainly, trying
their new cigars, holding them out judiciously at arms' length, returning them to their mouths, coughing, then
holding them out again as though waiting for the explosion; and some few small aunts, not wanted in the
kitchen, nor anywhere else for that matter, sat on the very edge of their chairs, poised and brittle, afraid to
break, like faded cups and saucers."

Not many those mornings trod the piling streets: an old man always, fawn-bowlered, yellow-gloved and, at this
time of year, with spats of snow, would take his constitutional to the white bowling green and back, as he
would take it wet or fire on Christmas Day or Doomsday; sometimes two hale young men, with big pipes blazing,
no overcoats and wind blown scarfs, would trudge, unspeaking, down to the forlorn sea, to work up an appetite,
to blow away the fumes, who knows, to walk into the waves until nothing of them was left but the two furling
smoke clouds of their inextinguishable briars. Then I would be slap-dashing home, the gravy smell of the
dinners of others, the bird smell, the brandy, the pudding and mince, coiling up to my nostrils, when out of a
snow-clogged side lane would come a boy the spit of myself, with a pink-tipped cigarette and the violet past of
a black eye, cocky as a bullfinch, leering all to himself.

I hated him on sight and sound, and would be about to put my dog whistle to my lips and blow him off the face
of Christmas when suddenly he, with a violet wink, put his whistle to his lips and blew so stridently, so high,
so exquisitely loud, that gobbling faces, their cheeks bulged with goose, would press against their tinsled
windows, the whole length of the white echoing street. For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after
dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch
chains, groaned a little and slept. Mothers, aunts and sisters scuttled to and fro, bearing tureens. Auntie
Bessie, who had already been frightened, twice, by a clock-work mouse, whimpered at the sideboard and had some
elderberry wine. The dog was sick. Auntie Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Auntie Hannah, who liked port,
stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush. I would blow up balloons to
see how big they would blow up to; and, when they burst, which they all did, the Uncles jumped and rumbled. In
the rich and heavy afternoon, the Uncles breathing like dolphins and the snow descending, I would sit among
festoons and Chinese lanterns and nibble dates and try to make a model man-o'-war, following the Instructions
for Little Engineers, and produce what might be mistaken for a sea-going tramcar.

Or I would go out, my bright new boots squeaking, into the white world, on to the seaward hill, to call on Jim
and Dan and Jack and to pad through the still streets, leaving huge footprints on the hidden pavements.
"I bet people will think there's been hippos."
"What would you do if you saw a hippo coming down our street?"
"I'd go like this, bang! I'd throw him over the railings and roll him down the hill and then I'd tickle him
under the ear and he'd wag his tail."
"What would you do if you saw two hippos?"

Iron-flanked and bellowing he-hippos clanked and battered through the scudding snow toward us as we passed Mr.
Daniel's house.
"Let's post Mr. Daniel a snow-ball through his letter box."
"Let's write things in the snow."
"Let's write, 'Mr. Daniel looks like a spaniel' all over his lawn."
Or we walked on the white shore. "Can the fishes see it's snowing?"

The silent one-clouded heavens drifted on to the sea. Now we were snow-blind travelers lost on the north hills,
and vast dewlapped dogs, with flasks round their necks, ambled and shambled up to us, baying "Excelsior." We
returned home through the poor streets where only a few children fumbled with bare red fingers in the wheel-
rutted snow and cat-called after us, their voices fading away, as we trudged uphill, into the cries of the dock
birds and the hooting of ships out in the whirling bay. And then, at tea the recovered Uncles would be jolly;
and the ice cake loomed in the center of the table like a marble grave. Auntie Hannah laced her tea with ***,
because it was only once a year.

Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like
owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the
stairs and the gas meter ticked. And I remember that we went singing carols once, when there wasn't the shaving
of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we
stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand
in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant
and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house. "What shall we give them?
Hark the Herald?"
"No," Jack said, "Good King Wencelas. I'll count three." One, two three, and we began to sing, our voices high
and seemingly distant in the snow-felted darkness round the house that was occupied by nobody we knew. We stood
close together, near the dark door. Good King Wencelas looked out On the Feast of Stephen ... And then a small,
dry voice, like the voice of someone who has not spoken for a long time, joined our singing: a small, dry,
eggshell voice from the other side of the door: a small dry voice through the keyhole. And when we stopped
running we were outside our house; the front room was lovely; balloons floated under the hot-water-bottle-
gulping gas; everything was good again and shone over the town.
"Perhaps it was a ghost," Jim said.
"Perhaps it was trolls," Dan said, who was always reading.
"Let's go in and see if there's any jelly left," Jack said. And we did that.

Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang "Cherry Ripe," and another
uncle sang "Drake's Drum." It was very warm in the little house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip
wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a
Bird's Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed. Looking through my bedroom window, out
into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other
houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas
down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.
Lyn-Purcell Jul 2018
Air is perfume-light
Elbows sank in my pillow
I wake from slumber

Chamber door opens
Handmaiden brings good tidings
from outer Kingdoms

Holds a silver tray
With scones, jam and honey for
some chamomile tea

Steaming hot china
which I blow and gently sip
I hum in delight

Come, some scrambled eggs
With toast and ice-cold fresh fruits
Lemon slice in tea

The handmaiden speaks
As she opens the curtains
The sun shines brightly

Many ships have docked
My kingdom grows in strength
and in its beauty

Another handmaid
Holding a tray of pure gold
I see its contents

White and gold letters
Written by your regal hands
Kingdoms near and wide

Handmaids open them
So many sweet messages
Blessings and congrats

While sipping my tea
I ask for my page and quill
Write with golden ink
THANK YOU GUYS FOR 140 followers,
my fellow Kings and Queens of HP!
And thank you for all your sweet messages- for wishing me well on completing my film course! I had such a good week and not only did it do wonders on my overall confidence, it helped me with my writing also!
Welcome and thank you for helping my Kingdom grow here! ^-^
Sending love and blessings to you all!
Love you guys!
Yours sincerely,
Queen Lyn of Aurelinaea.
Xoxoxo
Akemi Nov 2018
Blanket city run along soaked in rain. Idiot Boy wastes his time visiting a passing crush at the other end of town. Slips between two houses and a metal sheet, communal refrigerator in the middle of the road filed with half-empty soy bottles.

Dead bell stop, mocking red blink of the operator. Father arrives, a mess of wiry muscles and hair.

“Hey. Is Coffin Cat here?”

“Who?” Father squints at Idiot Boy’s cap. Idiot Boy avoids eye contact.

“Um.”

Recessed in the blackness behind Father, a Figure says, “You looking for Coffin Cat?”

Idiot Boy nods.

The Recessed Figure turns. “I’ll go get her.”

Father returns to his parched body on the couch, content.

Indistinguishable forms move back and forth in the kitchen to the right. They stop their pacing and glance at Idiot Boy as he passes. Idiot Boy avoids eye contact and slips into the left-bound arterial vessel.

“So this is the heart chamber I’ve been living in,” Coffin Cat says as Idiot Boy enters her room. There is music gear. “It’s pretty comfy.”

“Oh, sick mic,” Idiot Boy says, pointing at the mic behind Coffin Cat’s head.

“I feel like a ghost,” Coffin Cat replies, falling on her bed.

Idiot Boy settles next to her. Animal distance. Intensely aware of his rain-soaked right shoe. “Same.”

Nothing comes out right, intersubjectivity a false God to mediate the impossible kernel of being, nobody can find nor express. Idiot Boy searches for connection. He glances around the heart chamber, at the music gear, but nothing grips. Four pears sit on a table by the window, their skins garish green in the harsh grey light.

Coffin Cat moves from the bed to the floor. She opens a virtual aquarium on her computer; fish eat pellets dropped from the sky to **** out coins to buy more fish to **** out coins to buy more fish. Capitalist investment and accumulation. Every few minutes a rocket-spewing robot teleports into the aquarium to attack the fish. Ruthless competition in the global marketplace.

“No! Why would you swim there, you ******* fish?” Coffin Cat yells as one if her fish is eaten by the nomadic war machine. “So dumb. ****. Why did it eat my fish?”

A knock at the door. The Recessed Figure from earlier enters the room. “Hey, mind if I join?” Their arms dangle like fine threads of hair.

“I like your music gear,” Idiot Boy says, pointing at nothing in particular.

“Idiot Boy also makes music,” Coffin Cat adds from the floor.

The Recessed Figure does not respond. They are enthralled by their phone, streak of dead pixels along a digital chessboard, minute reflection of their own gaunt face in the glass. After an extended period, they decide to move none of their pieces. A gaping coffee grinder rises out of the rubble at their feet. They begin filling it with tobacco from broken cigarettes.

“I’m surprised you’re still playing this,” Idiot Boy says to Coffin Cat. “I swear this is one of those games designed to ruin your life. Get addicted, stop going to work, become a hikik weaboo.”

“Already there, man,” Coffin Cat laughs. “Nah, this is my new job. I’m going to be a professional gamer.”

“Stream only PopCap games.”

Another knock at the door. Tired squander in an endless pacing of flesh. Strawman enters and nods at the Recessed Figure. “Hey bro.”

“Good to see you, man.” The Recessed Figure plugs the coffee grinder into the wall. “You got any ciggys?”

Idiot Boy points under the table and says “Ahh” with his mouth.

The Recessed Figure empties it into the coffee grinder. The device whirs into motion, creating a centrifugal blur, a mechanical and headless hypnotic repeat.

Idiot Boy and Coffin Cat look for horror movies to watch. The Recessed Figure empties the contents of the coffee grinder onto a metal tray. Strawman repacks it into a ****. White smoke fills the empty column, moves in slow motion like an oceanic rip a mile off coast, surface seething with quiet, impenetrable violence.

Idiot Boy refuses the first round. It’s never done him any good. Face turned to smoke and the wretched weight of a tongue that refuses to speak. Headless carry-on as time ticks through the clock face.

The door bursts open. Everybody turns as Manic Refusal or the Loud Person saunters in.

“I can’t believe it. I can’t ******* believe it. They’re selling me off!” the Loud Person says in exasperation. “First time back in New Zealand in five years and they do this to me!”

“What? What’s happened?” Strawman asks.

“Some rich ****** in Australia has bought me as his wife. I knew it, I knew if I came back, my parents wouldn’t let me leave again. Whole ******* thing arranged!” the Loud Person laughs bitterly, before hitting the ****.

“Oomph, that’s rough,” Coffin Cat quips from the side.

“No, you don’t even understand. This is the first time back, the first time back in five years, and I’m being sold to off some rich ****** who owns all the banks in Australia.”

“But like, who is this guy?” Strawman asks, pointing.

“And he’s been reading all my profiles. He has access to all my information. I don’t even have control over my Facebook profile. Grand Larson’s logged in as me, posting for me,” the Loud Person continues. “I met him once in Australia, clubbing, and now he’s tracked and bought me.”

“That’s creepy as ****,” Idiot Boy says.

“So he’s not a complete stranger?” Strawman asks.

“I can’t believe it. I can’t ******* believe it. First time back in five years and I’m being sold off!”

Idiot Boy decides one hit from the **** wouldn’t be so bad. He packs the cone with chop, lights and inhales. Smoke rushes through the glass channel, a swirl of white ether, more than he’d expected. He quickly passes the **** to Coffin Cat, before collapsing onto the bed, eyes closed. A suffocating sensation fills his body. He sinks into the chasm of himself, further and further into an impossible, infinite depth.

“Still working at . . . ?”

“Yeah, yeah. Management. Hospital. You?”

“Like, property. Motions.”

“Subcontracting? Intonements?”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Mmm.”

Idiot Boy doesn’t know what’s going on. He feels sick and tries to get Coffin Cat’s attention, but cannot move his body.

“Come on. Sell me drugs, Strawman.”

“Nah. I don’t deal drugs. I don’t deal drugs.”

A strange silence stretches like an artificial dusk, a liminal duration, the hollow click of a tape set back into place in reverse. The Recessed Figure coughs and the Loud Person whirs back into motion.

“I can’t believe it. I can’t ******* believe it. They’re selling me off! First time back in New Zealand in five years and they do this to me!”

The Recessed Figure makes a noncommittal noise.

“I knew it, I knew if I came back, my parents wouldn’t let me leave again. Whole ******* thing arranged!”

Coffin Cat laughs quietly.

“No, you don’t even understand. This is the first time back, the first time back in five years, and I’m being sold off to some rich ****** who owns all the banks in Australia.”

“How about this fella? He doing okay?” Strawman asks, pointing. Everyone turns to Idiot Boy and laughs affectionately.

“Still working at . . . ?”

“Yeah, yeah. Management. Hospital. You?”

“Like, property. Motions.”

“Subcontracting? Intonements?”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Mmm.”

“Sell me drugs, Strawman.”

“Nah. I don’t deal drugs. I don’t deal drugs.”

Idiot Boy slowly opens his eyes and stares out the window. The same grey light as before. He moves his arm further towards Coffin Cat, but is still too weak to get her attention. The same strange silence stretches. The Recessed Figure coughs and the Loud Person whirs back into motion.

“I can’t believe it. I can’t ******* believe it. . . .”

As the conversation repeats over and again, Idiot Boy begins to think he has become psychotic, or perhaps entered into a psychotic space. He thinks of computer algorithms, input-output, loops without variables, endless regurgitations of the same result. Human machines trapped in their own stupid loop. Drug-****** neuronal networks incapable of making new connections, forever traversing old ones. Short-term memory loss, every repeat a new conversation of what has already been. The same grey light painted upon four pears by the window.

He’s not sure if Coffin Cat’s laugh is getting weaker with each repeat.

Signal-response. The exterior world oversaturated with variables: roadways, rivers, forests, wildlife — an ever changing scene to respond to — the illusion of depth. Automatic response mechanisms reorient to new stimuli. The soul rises like surfactant, objectified fractal diffusion. A becoming without end.

But within the border of this interior world, the light stays grey. No input, no change; the same dead repeat, over and over, until sundown triggers a hunger response. Lined all along the street, a black box ceremony of repeating machines, trapped in their idiot cults, walls of clay and blood.

Idiot Boy finally gets Coffin Cat’s attention. She helps him through the house’s arteries to reach rain and wet stone, overcast skies. As he shakes in shock, Coffin Cat mumbles, “It’s cold.”

Idiot Boy sits silent on the ride home. Travels through himself. Tunnel through the body or Mariana Trench. Loses his footing before a traumatic void. Leaves the car and pukes.
J-J Johnson Mar 2015
"No! No! This cannot be happening"
The words stumbled out as I tried hard to keep the sogged eye from draining
My vision became blurrer
And blurrer as I turned and run out of the house
Grabbing my stiletto as I did
Under the pear tree in the garden I stopped
And allowed the now heavy eyes
To drain the burning water
They flow on like pain from broken heart
Bitter and hurt
Bitter from the disappointment and forlon
From a mixture of shock, disbelief and loss
Served in a glass of betrayal and a tray of painful regret
I raise the dagger in a drunken cognition
For my sob now has become the cry of a damage soul
A disfigured spirit
I can barely hear them from without in the midst of the caos
Those little voices in my heard
Screaming out at me
Hitting ******* the walls of my mind
Pushing my conciense
"Do it!" one says
"It wouldn't solve the problem" the other retorts
"But it will end it!"
"Leaving bigger problems"
The blood in my head boils
The heat rising in exponents
The tension now causes my whole body to trob
To ache
My mind cannot hold it any longer
The quicker the better
I opened my mouth to say my final words
But all the came out
Was a scream.
Ryan Bowdish Sep 2013
School was always humuorous to a degree in my opinion because of the underlying idea
that the more damaged you were, the cooler you were in the eyes of the rest of the school.
I have heard numerous conversations that began with something along the lines of, "Oh, you
think YOU got it bad, well my dad blah blah and my best friend blah blah and my life is hell."

I decided to get a little personal and share with you guys something I have never actually
told anyone in entirety yet. I am pretty sure the whole story is still only here in my brain.
I will, out of respect for these people, change their names.

It's October 31, 2012. It's about noon, and all of us sixteen to twenty-two year olds are just waking up.
Brianne woke up probably a few hours ago already to tend to her son, Aaron. He is adorable, one
and a half, blond hair, blue eyes. I have been living here for nearly two months. I am supporting her,
Aaron, and myself with food stamps. I get two hundred dollars a month to basically smoke **** and drink
on the government's budget. Trust me, I'm not proud of it either, and if I could I would pay it back.
Since Brianne is a single mother and an adopted child, she has a single-digit monthly rent (I was *******
baffled to hear this) and receives support from her foster parents. Basically, if I want to stay here forever
with absolutely no consequences save to miss out on a life of my own, I can.

Brandon is putting on clown make-up so he can troll the streets as a juggalo. I find this amusing as I always
liked to mess around with ICP fans, but he's a really cool kid so I let it go and I even help him perfect it.
I notice he has a bottle of Stolichnaya in his backpack and it's practically full. That, to me, is temptation.
I ask if he would mind me taking a few drinks here and there from the bottle and he says it's fine, so I proceed
to get a nice one p.m. buzz. It was always my favorite drunk, very light, and airy, almost like you're still asleep.
Something bogs you down, but it doesn't bother you, somehow it makes you lighter.

For the rest of the day, we hook up with a few friends, go out and trick or treat in the pouring rain, get soaked
and wait for two hours under an overpass while Brianne goes and gets her car. From there, we proceed home.

At this point, everyone is over at Breanne's and we're all making dinner and drinking beer and having a good time
(Aaron is with the grandparents tonight). I guess I started getting angry about the recent events (for about a month,
everyone in our group with the exception of Brandon have been slowly losing items...but they're obviously being stolen.
At a point, a few of us did some research and determined the only person who could possibly have stolen
a good deal of these things has to be Brandon) and I decided I was tired of sitting on the news waiting for no one to make
a move after a solid two weeks of being certain that we had our guy. So I called him out... and proceeded
to begin burning bridges slowly and very surely for the next few days. I am pretty sure a fight would have broken out
if Bri hadn't taken me into her room to relax. When I finally do, it turns out I woke up the upstairs neighbor,
her baby, and everyone in the house has left save for my friend Jeff and his girlfriend Marissa. This concludes night one.

I later learned that Brandon was not actually the person who was stealing from us (unless of course
he just happened to not get caught when we found out who had done most of it) and I feel bad for bringing the whole
thing up because I would have liked to stay in touch with him. We got along swimmingly and he actually did have
a lot of interesting things to talk about. Smart, nice, hilarious... Well, maybe he'll turn up one day.

The next morning, I woke up to find the house empty save for Jeff and Marissa in the next room, but where I am,
it simply appears empty. I don't know what happened but I intuit that I have been sleeping all night without
my girlfriend. This upsets me and I begin to weep like a confused child, which is exactly what you do when you're
helpless and too drunk in the brain to figure out how to pull yourself out of a helpless situation (trust me,
I own the handbook). Marissa walks in and begins to explain to me that I had scared her too much and she slept
on the couch and that she had left to go pick up her son. So I realize I need to calm down, but I can feel
Jeff is not happy with me in the slightest, considering he will not come and talk to me (this is extremely painful
because he is probably one of the best friends I have ever had, with a mind that vastly exceeds that of everyone
I have met save one other, and he's a different story). They leave and I decide to stay in the house all day.

This is a very bad idea. I stay home, watch re-runs of a show I have seen billions of times, and considering
that Brandon and I are no longer on good terms, like a complete *******, I drink the rest of his *****.

In walks Bri, it's around 7. She's not happy. She proceeds to tell me that the night before I asked out a friend of mine
and she said yes. And I was a bit shocked because I couldn't remember it at first. Then it all hit me.

A few days before, Aaron called me "dad." Now remember, this is not my child. I am dark, dark, dark, and she had this kid
about two years after we had any past relationship. I am extremely worried in my mind and I realize I am headed toward nothing.
That I am stagnant and can not even afford to go back to school. This scares me, so I drunkenly asked out Tanya.

Tanya...we had been friends for about five years, and I had tried to get with her so many **** times... she was like
one of those girls you see and you're instantly reminded of an anime character. Tall, thin, beautiful hips, perfect
proportions, lovely hair, eyes, voice, and a personality I can liken to a Disney princess/black metal lumberjack.
The kind of girl who has a tough exterior, but inside, she just wants someone to tell her everything is going to be ok.

After about two hours of pleading with Bri to let me stay, I finally send Tanya a message, and we hang out for the next
two days, whence I whisper in her ear that everything is going to be okay and we proceed to have quite passionate ***
for those nights, where I discovered the secret to making a woman ****** with my tongue (tip: if the underside of your
tongue isn't completely torn apart, you're doing something wrong). But alas, I could not stay.

This is the part I dreaded, because I know I have to go back to Jeff's house and ask him if I can stay there for a while.
And I got the answer I expected.

The words he used...

"I'm *******...extremely ******* at you, and disappointed." It was like a father saying it to you. And him and I
have a very interesting friendship built on such an extreme understanding that I knew exactly how badly I had been spiraling.
I began to leave and he gave me a slice of pizza, with that slight smile that told me "just go find yourself, we'll be fine."

I hobbled off into the night drunk, with one piece of pizza and all my food at Bri's, which could have lasted me another few days,
easing the transition into homeless. And it could have prevented a horrible occurance that took place the following afternoon. I
was crying, because I knew I was dying, but I didn't want to ask either of my parents for help, because this was the first time
I was out on my own and I was far too proud to give up and let the world make me its victim. So I walked...

Sixteen ******* miles...

To the next town. Took me all night because I was dodging traffic, easing into trees, avoiding on and off ramps, trying to stay
away from any police that may exist on the road. When I finally arrived in the next town (where I knew I may have one contact)
I decided to sleep until the morning came so I could have the energy to find my next venture.

It was five thirty am. I had 3 hours until sun-up, I had just walked enough to be burning, and there was plenty of whiskey in my veins.
I had left my sleeping bag with Tanya hours earlier, wishing in the park that I had not been so naiive as to think I would be allowed
back in the house. So I pulled out a pile of ***** clothes and put them over me like blankets, in some random corner of the local
park, under some bushes, hidden from cold and sight, with great hope...

Fifteen minutes pass. My eyes shoot open. I am freezing. The sweat has dried and frozen to my body. This is hell.

I grab my things and with the worst effort I can ever remember myself mustering, I drag myself to the toilet.
When I open it, the first thing I check for is cleanliness. It's spotless. I am so relieved. I sit in the corner of the room,
which my knees to my chest, head in my hands, wrapped in a leather jacket I had gotten from Jeff (ha, he really is my
guardian angel, though he would laugh to hear it).

I catch winks, occasionally looking up to check if the sun is rising. When it finally is, I get up, change my clothes (I had
ONE clean set of clothing and it had been rotting with the rest in the backpack) and immediately head to a thrift store where
a family friend is working.

On my way there, I notice in a little parking lot near the store a sight I had never actually come across but I always thought
would be the most amazing luck, and it was timed in such a spot in my life that it was the ultimate miracle...and a curse in
disguise.

In front of my eyes (this miracle appeared in my path as I was walking looking down, so it startled me) was the worst possible thing
for me: A half finished fifth of Smirnoff, and a half smoked pack of Marlboro 100 Reds. I open the pack and sure enough, the celophane
protected every cigarette inside from any water damage. I am ecstatic. This is not only amazing, but highly unlikely.

So I down the bottle in one go and take the rest of the smokes with me.

When I arrive at the thrift shop, it turns out I am there on a day when my potential savior is not working, so I get her number from the clerk
and head over to a payphone and realize... I have no money. So I decide to go on a quest for dropped pocket change.

Before I even leave the parking lot, I see a young man, no older than 23, sitting on a nice red classic-style Corvette and he's
reading William S. Burroughs. So naturally, I decide to strike up a conversation with the young man. Turns out he's the nicest guy
and his name is Jordan. So him and I got together and decided to go out for a game of disc golf (some may not know what this is;
Imagine frisbee but with a golf theme, so you need to get from a tee pad into a basket. Really fun, centering, and extremely popular
with potheads, Californians, beer-drinkers, and hippies) and before we go, he asks if I would like to snag a few beers first.

I tell him a piece of my story and he can tell I am down on my luck and broke so he decides to help me out. He buys us both some beer
and we proceed to disk.

Turns out he's an ex-****** and has been through quite a bit of hell himself, so we find that we're in a good position to help each
other make some better decisions in life. After the game, we go over to a payphone and he gives me money to call my friend.

Buzz (this the only name I am not changing because her name is ******* badass) answers the phone and unfortunately informs me that
though she would take me in any day of the year, she just moved in to a house with one older lady she takes care of, and its a single
bedroom apartment, so there is just no way it can work.

So I go back to his car and tell him the news, and he says he thinks he may be able to put me up for a few days until I can sort
everything out. We go back out to the store and grab ourselves a fifth of *****.

We end up in the park playing music, talking, performing standup for one another, and I begin to realize I am drinking too fast,
so I try to ease back a little. He was playing a version of a Radiohead song I had never heard before

"Everyone this way. Okay, get your hands against the wall. Spread your legs. Don't move."
The doors clanking, some ******* won't shut up in the next cell over.
More slamming of doors, someone rubbing my body all over trying to find my knives, no doubt.
And my AK 47 I conceal, and my ****, and my ... oh ****, I really did have **** on me.

"Move forward. Turn around. Alright, go to bed."

----------------------------------------------------------­---------------------

"Get up. Come on, slowly... There you go. There's a few more coming in so we got to get you to another cell."

Clank, clank...

"Pick a bed."

----------------------------------------------------------­---------------------

Something is wrong. This bed is not covered. There is no comfort. It's just a mat. And I have no pillow. This is not a house
of any sort, my bag isnt what I am sleeping on. Something is very wrong here.

I am in jail. Oh of course.

I know the answer before I hear it, but I ask anyway: "What are my charges, ma'am?"

"Drunk in public."

-------------------------------------------------------­------------------------

I'm about thirty miles or so North of inner Seattle. Not a bad place to be. I'm working for a Safeway. It's somewhere around
the first of June. I receive word that Bri has been on ******. And I may have left at a crucial time in her life thinking
only of myself, but I needed to go somewhere I could be productive. Yet my decision left her in a position where she turned
to hard drugs...

I can't help but feel I am to blame. I am listening to the dull, stupid words of my ex boss, Rod, who is telling me
that even though I may feel like I need to help her, there is nothing I can do for her, so I should bury myself in my work
instead. He tells me this in about six hundred different ways before I leave the room after twenty minutes. Well great.
I may have no focus here at work today, but at least I killed almost a half hour of the day just listening to someone
*******.

I am at a loss of what to do here, but I eventually get a hold of her, and after a long time not talking, we come to
somewhat of a closure, and she is beginning to sober up herself. I realize we were both in incredibly hard times, and I still
wish with all my heart there could have been some way I could have helped her raise that boy and stayed and been her
love, and at the same time, still go to college, and progress and get a good job...but I was in a small Northern California
town. There was nothing left, all the old shops were out of business. It was time for me to move on then, and we have
all seen better days for it. She looks incredible these days by the way. She lost an insane amount of weight, and I know
a lot of it had to do with the drugs, but if she truly is sober like she says she is, she'll be getting much better.

A few weeks ago 3 people I used to know and hang out with died in the span of a week. It was a terrible tragedy, and I have been
thinking back on all the names of people I used to love very, very much before they got lost in some way.

There's Lorne Holly, who killed himself after a few weeks of detoxing from crank.

Layla Harmon, who died in a car crash, blunt head trauma, with a drunk driver (I have a tattoo for this, I will never drive drunk).

Heavy Eagle, who killed himself after years of drug problems.

Chaz Lipman, who died in a car crash as well.

Ren Rain, who I am still not sure about...

And of course, Tray Beraldi, who was my closest friend's cousin... I wish I were there to mourne with him...

Last night I got a text from my best friend, who said he couldn't sleep and he barely eats anything anymore, and he feels like his throat
is going to explode, and he cant swallow and his neck is killing him constantly. He has been this way for a year, and he is talking constantly
about getting a gun and blowing his head off. And no one believes him because he constantly talks about it because he is in so much pain.
No doctor can diagnose him so far, he has no idea what's wrong with him, he's been tested all over the place, he has no hope, he's barely
cligning and he doesn't know how much longer he can hold on.

All I really want to say is

Lord? What I have done? I don't pray, I never pray, I don't even know who I would pray to. But WHAT ELSE DO I HAVE TO DO?!

I bring myself across hell and I pull myself from the worst depression I h
This is autobiographical...so be prepared for somewhat of a story.
Mateuš Conrad Nov 2018
.akin to a reply within the respect of Olivia Gatwood... these are not war chants... these are not war invitations... what deserves the hostile, is what bears an answer... these statements? they're only preliminaries; apparently two freedoms of the same argument, have the right / are expected to coexist: mind you, thinking, is the antithetic argument supporting talking... oh ****... right... i "sound" condescending... the clicking sound of my keyboard is condescending... at what point... did you arrive at the paradox... of hearing, before seeing? airplanes... i see, prior to the dragging "echo"... who said what who said who said what? i didn't say anything... i typed... keeping in line with: freedom of speech... what an exhausting right... esp. in a time when speaking is equated to thinking, and "speaking" is relegated to the opportunism, of writing being equated to "thinking"... talking... simply a tabloid freedom for the populace... i said ****... if this is not in the comment section... who said what who said who, who said when? when? maybe i delayed posting this... having thought it... a thinking, liberated from the cognitive schematic of a moral ought... a cognitive schematic to parody the enshrined freedom of speech, deviating from being forced to ask the moral ought? what is freedom of speech, by comparison? you are given the sort of freedom that implores you to speak... you are actually being given enforced rights to be compelled to speak... but not to think... to speak... at the exact same time... you didn't equate thinking with speaking... oh... right... this, "freedom"... was exacted when... quiet a large number of people were still deemed illiterate... and they were illiterate... but i'm literate... so... why would i need a freedom of speech... when, by writing, i have the higher right / freedom, to think?!

reworking a vindaloo recipe...
what sort of madman...
writes a recipe,
that includes 40 grams of
dried chillies?
i weighed them...
around 30 came in at 30 grams...
i had to revise...
the recipe...
a hopscotch chilli...
two fresh red chillies,
8 dried chillies,
and some Kashmir chilly
powder (much milder,
slightly sweet,
than usual)...
    it's a ******* meal...
it's not a competition as to
who can east the most spicy meal...
you play that **** while drinking
*****, not eating dinner!
mind you... vindaloo?
the most specifically scented
curry in the world...
you lift the lid off the...
baking tray? cooking utensil?
you're immediately hit by
a whiff of... sour spiciness...
can't describe it...
it feels like lime chilli...
hot & sour...
counter to the Chinese
sweet & salty...
   **** me...
     Indian cuisine...
                 it's like...
         what pepper,
salt and horseradish did to
European cuisine...
thank you England...
well... since i'm doing all
the cooking around this house...
i guess... a woman can just
sit pretty, and pretend to be
an ornament of the mantlepiece,
playing candy-crush saga...
works fine for me...
i wouldn't trust a woman
in the kitchen to begin with...
she might under-cook
the potatoes,
over-cook the pasta,
and over-salt a sauce...
so... yeah...
  women are not welcome
in the kitchen.

but, hell, they can bake, women can
do one thing right in the kitchen:
they can bake...
i hate baking, because it involves
waiting... i hate waiting...
a woman in a kitchen has
perfected the role of baking,
but that's about it...
figure this one out...
all this anti-white male rhetoric...
where are you going to
get your rhetoric...
when we die off, died out,
become the prime suspect
of the dodo project?!
    who's going to replace us...
and make the same argumentative
reprisals of your little,
tirade, symptom of
being borne by a real daddy,
and not a *****-bank
donation?!
   mother daughter relationships
must, really really work out
so well..
mind you, mind me...
i really need to ***...

when cooking, i hate waiting...
i don't like making
something, and then guessing /
waiting for the end results...
i want the whole fling...
the whole translation
of organic chemistry into
a heston blumenthal kitchen...
  i want...
the many aspect of transfiguration,
cooking no less an art,
but more a science...

women can bake,
they can also walk around pregnant...
can they cook?
you really want women
to return to the kitchen?!
seriously?!
under-cooked potatoes,
overcooked pasta,
following a vindaloo
recipe word for word?
you sure?
    in the army...
women didn't cook...
the men cooked for the men...
sure... a feminine role...
but...
   and this this is a pretty big but...

makes no fighter on an ill
stuffed gut...
           men cooking for men...
while the girls play the role
of the trophy mantlepiece...
"jogging" along to flirting
with candy-crush saga...

please, please... come into the kitchen
when you feel like
baking a banana bonanza...
otherwise... *******!
Racquel Davis Jul 2014
When I look over at the nightstand
The little green sketchbook
I bought just before kissing Florida good riddance,
Reminds me ‘your desires are important’,
Because YOU are important

Flowers I brought home from work sweat on the table
The wedding was another blur
The event hall is always the same,
Pretentiously lavish
But the flowers, I thought
Deserved a second chance

On the bed lays delicately
A small blanket Sophie knitted me when I was five
She tells me, “Your comfort is important”
Because YOU are important

The round terracotta tea tray I had to buy
Sits, assembled with other superficial nothings
Displayed within its orbit
But a cup of tea every night,
Calls back my heritage

My niece smiles at me
From the heart shaped picture frame
She gifted me for Christmas
I smile as I pick her up from the table,
‘Your happiness’, I say to her, ‘is important’
Because YOU are important

©Copyright 2014 Written and Edited by Racquel Davis
A reflection on one's environment, a personal space, a room, office, and all the things that make it home.
Mitchell Duran Dec 2012
She stood up against the wooden bar lit by a stale football field that shined florescent green and highlighted polyester blue like a muse of Van Gogh or Galileo. Her hair ran down the nape of her neck like a ****** waterfall and the light of the bar highlighted her sphinx like eyes as she turned and caught his eye. He stood at a small table away from the main bar with a couple of friends who were telling stories of their old college days and he, half-listening, quickly looked away, faking to scratch his eye, for he knew he had been caught looking at the back of her and she, with her women's intuition of being observed and knowing this, kept looking and he knowing the only way not to show he had been caught was to look away quickly and very obviously; like a bad actor caught dumb and silent, clueless of their next line. They blushed and shared the heat of embarrassment in their cheeks with the sounds of worn dollar bills slapping hard against the smooth wood of the bar, the bar man eyeing it angrily as cigarette smoke surrounded them and slowly drifted up like a lost soul toward the ceiling and the piano man, eyes tight shut played for everyone there when no-one cared to listen, all underneath the dim light of the bar as they strained to look away from one another, trying to find something they could put their focus upon, but, at the same time, wanting very much to look back and have their eyes meet by mistake all over again.

He focused on the design of the bathroom placards that were in the right corner of the tiny bar where you had to turn sideways and touch shoulder's with every soul inside just to get a drink. He feigned interest in the bronze design of the men's bathroom: a tiny boy looking down at his pecker as he ****** a 1/2 inch thick stream into what the man gathered to be a sunflower ***. The boy was thrusting his hips forward, both of his hands on his side, and he showed no smile, no grin of satisfaction or victory, just a stark, blank face, as if he were thinking "I am peeing in this ***. That is all." The women's bathroom sign was of a young girl with the same kind of *** the boy had been ******* in, but it was missing the sunflower and was replaced by the *** of the girl. She stared up into the sky and into the ceiling lights and was dramatically reaching for a butterfly or bird - he couldn't make out which - something with wings and made him think of a basic metaphor that this poor little girl just wants to get off the *** and be free like the birds and butterflies and clouds in the wide blue sky.

She focused on the man's shoes. She looked at the black shine and the pristine black shoe laces, all looking like everything had just been purchased that day. "There is not a single scuff on them and the way this man cuffs his pants only a single turn," she thought to herself, "Tells me he has something of a style on him". Not so run of the mill. Something special. Something of interest.* But then, she was annoyed by the cuff of the pants because she remembered that was what all the schoolboys in her prep school would do when the day was rainy or the boys rode their bikes home from school or they were nerds. The memory immediately turned her off of the man all together, but luckily, she put her gaze back on the jet-black, seemingly un-touched leather that told her success, class, and security.

The man heard a loud Cheer's!" from his table, abruptly bringing him out of his distraction. He was forced to turn and as he did, he made sure not to look up. He kept his eyes on the table and looked for the half-full beer with the worn Budweiser coaster underneath it. He could see from the his top periphery that she was still facing him but she was looking down at something toward the floor. He fumbled with his large hands for his glass and panned his eyes up slightly. The woman, seeing the movement at the table, looked up. She stared back to where she had first caught him looking at her and waited. The man felt her looking at him and in the same instant, saw the faded Budweiser coaster and reached for his beer. He picked the glass up and as the second Cheer! was yelled, he clashed his glass against all the others, all the while keeping his head not toward his friend's faces, but turned in the direction of the bar toward the girl. He smiled at her as he lowered his glass, not taking a drink. His friend slapped him on the back and told him," You gotta' drink after the cheers or its bad luck," and so he did, still staring dumbly at her as he did. She nodded at him with a self-conscious and embarrassed grin, raised her nearly gone low-ball glass of gin and tonic and tipped it toward him and turned around to face the bar.

"I"ll stand here and wait for him to come up to me," she thought, "And if he doesn't the man is a coward and a louse and not worth my time. I have looked twice now and there is some rule in some magazine that I read somewhere, that if you look twice at a man that it is sign, not a coincidence. No, it has a purpose and though I barely know what reason I want this man to look at me other then to get a drink out of him and maybe some conversation, I am certain I have looked twice, maybe even three times. Yes. I have looked at him and I have made my interest known and now I must wait for him to either come or stay with his drunken friends. They look like frat boys cheering like that. They look like drunken, silly frat boys that wouldn't know the first thing about chivalry. Hell, they probably couldn't even spell the ****** word." She laughed under her breath and smiled maliciously to herself and caught her own reflection in the mirror and, for an moment, wanted to quickly look away. Her face did not frighten her, for she was a beautiful woman, not her skin, which was milky white with the faintest and gentlest dash of rouge on each cheek, nor her chocolate colored curls that bounded like boulder's down a hillside. She turned away from a look upon her eye she had not seen or had recognized in a very long time. Her eyes were frightened.

"Frightened?" she wondered.

The man put his beer glass on the table on top of the coaster. The foam rested at the bottom of the cup like the thin layer of ice that blows over a frozen lake, barely there at all passing with the wind. He stared at her back and liked how she leaned on her right hip and put the toe of her left high-heel to the ground, rocking the nose of the shoe back and forth like she was thinking about something playfully frivolous. Behind him, the noise of his friends became a hollow echo, drowned out by the draw of this woman. She swung her left heel back and forth like a pendulum trying to hypnotize him. Someone touched his shoulder but he shrugged the hand away as in this echo chamber he could only hear the music change tracks on the juke box. The song had changed to an old Ottis Redding song and there was nothing else in the world that he wanted to listen to in that moment. As he watched her, leaning into the bar seemingly all alone, no boyfriend or girlfriend in sight, he saw her raise her glass to the barman and knew she had something by the gentle nod of the back of her head. He then saw her point with her left finger and tap the rim of the glass. Her drink was empty. She wanted another drink. He would buy her another drink.

"There is nothing in this world that a man is more responsible for than getting a woman like this a drink," he nodded, thinking to himself and trying to pick up his courage,"One that plays with my heart like a kitten would a spool of yarn, and yet also like a vulture who would peck out the eyes of a dead man in the desert. This is nothing more then that obligation. A rule passed down from man to man, from age to age, where chivalry was not for the base reason to lay with the woman, but to honor them, praise them lightly as the rain from a heavy mist and show them to the pedestal every woman, whether they wish to admit it or not, do wish for, sincerely do at least once in there life." He readjusted his belt and realigned his shirt that had gotten crooked after the celebratory cheer and thought some more,"I'm not going to do that here, this pedestal stuff. This is more like a step toward that pedestal. Yes. A step toward the shrine she wants to trust she deserves and will one day end up on. And this shrine is all cast and painted in the blurry french film noir of dream, is it not? Aren't dreams the only thing we hope to one day come true? How often - when and if they do come true - they can sometimes disappoint and eventually turn sour like a bad orange. I hope she is drinking and that wasn't just a tonic water. If this woman doesn't drink I don't think any of this will be worth anything at all."

She stood there serene and angelic, the hand that held her drink now resting on the base of the bar. Behind the man, he heard the chatter of his friends and the drone of football scores and player updates coming from the ten or more televisions that hung from the ceiling. Someone reached out to touch his shoulder but missed him as he left the table. His name then echoed behind him but soon the sound evaporated as dew does that rests on blades of grass in a summer morning to a summer afternoon. There was only her and her smell that had drifted to his table and shrouded him with the scent of white chocolate and smoke and her delicate, porcelain hand that had held up the drink shyly but not weakly, in passing demand without that demanding quality drunk people can get like at bars sometimes. He approached her, hovered behind her, but she did not turn, and then came up to the bar to lean into. He did not turn to look at her, though he wanted to very badly, but looked down at her low-ball glass with two half-melted ice cubes and a used lime. The smell of gin came from the glass and the man smiled to himself and put his hand up to signal the bartender.

"If this man orders his drink first and walks back to that table with all of his drunken friends, I am giving up men all together," the woman thought to herself," * Tonight and forever! If he can put his hand up and not even turn to look at me, as I was doing, I thought, to be very flirtatious but gentle, then I see no reason at all to keep going with men. They are barbarians that only want to eat, drink, sleep, and fornicate with women that are easy and provide no real challenge at all in their life. If he wants it easy, he can have it as easy as he wants, but not with me. No sir. Not with me ever. Not with me for a night, an hour, a minute, or even a second."

The bartender, a stout slightly overweight man that was a little over forty with streaks of grey in his thin, short-cut hair, looking very much like he should be home reading with a nice cup of tea by his side rather than in the bar serving drinks to stranger's, approached the man and asked him what he would like.

"Two gin and tonics please," the man said, "With a slice of lime and four ice-cubes in each."

"And what kind of gin, sir?"

The man turned to the woman, "What label do you drink?" he asked.

"Pardon me?" she stuttered startled, her eyebrows raised.

"Your drinking gin, aren't you?" He nodded his head toward the woman's empty glass. The tiny lines of transparent lime skin floated on top of the water that had gathered from the melting ice-cubes.

"Yes, I am. I was just about to order."

"I'll get this round and you'll get the next one."

"Any gin is fine."

The man turned to the bartender," Tanqueray, please bartender."

He nodded and went to make the drinks.

"Your very perceptive," the woman said as she turned to face him.

"I try."

"I saw you from across the bar, but was afraid to walk up to your table for fear of getting ambushed by all of your friends. Those are your friends, right?"

"Yes," he nodded as he looked over his shoulder at them, "Old college friends all with old stories of college that, truthfully, bring me little or no joy to even hear."

"Then why come at all?" she asked, "You seem smart enough to know that if you meet up with old anything, you'll be hearing about the old times all night."

"I was forced to come."

"Someone getting divorced?"

"No," he laughed, "The opposite. Married."

"Well, I hope it's not you or this would look very bad if your fiance walked in."

"And why's that?"

She clicked her tongue and turned to look at the shelves stocked with every kind of liquor. The bottles reflected the soft orange glow of the lights that circled the bar and the colors of the television screens. The man continued to look at the woman who had turned her back on him and caught their reflection in a bottle of Jack Daniel's. He waited for a response, but she stood there silent, knowing she was playing with him. Behind him, his friends were growing louder and a tray of shots had found its way to their table. The waitress who had brought the drinks, polite and with a smile, asked them to try and keep it down. They shouted "YES'S and screamed "YEAH'S" with moronic smiles on their faces, their heads nodding up and down like a dog playing fetch. The waitress giggled a thank and walked away shaking her head with disgust when she was out of sight.

"Well," she said,"You did just order two gin and tonics and I think if your fiance walked in with you chatting with me with the same drink in both of our hands, I think she would be a little upset. I know I would be."

"Perhaps we could act like we are old grammar school friends and just happened to run into one another?"

"Well, that would be a lie."

"Yes, that would be a lie."

"Which would mean we were hiding something from said wife."

"And what would that be?"

"That you approached me after I looked at you, perhaps the look from me wasn't flirtatious, maybe I thought you looked familiar, like I had seen you somewhere, and you came up to me and ordered me a drink and started a conversation with me, much like we are doing right now."

"What's wrong with conversation?" The bartender approached them and placed the two drinks in front of the man. The man took out his wallet without losing his gaze on the woman, took out a twenty and slid it toward the bartender. The bartender took the twenty, paused for a moment to see if the man wanted any change, but left when he saw he didn't want any by not moving.

"Conversation can lead to very dangerous things," the woman said playfully and wise.

"Your here by yourself and your not stupid; someone is going to come up to talk to you."

"And your that somebody?"

"I'm sure I'm not the first one tonight."

"Your sweet."

"I try," he said as he slid the drink over to here,"Your drink."

"What should we drink too?" She asked and raised her glass, the light above them reflecting in the ice-cubes and thick glass of the high-ball.

"Conversation," he said proudly and with a smile, "And the danger that it brings."

They clinked their glasses together, their eyes never leaving one another, and they both took a long drink.

"I'm not here with anybody and I'm not expecting anybody tonight either," the woman said.

"What's your name?"

"Why?"

"I want to be able to tell my friends I met a very interesting woman, but they won't believe me if I don't give them a name."

"I'm standing right here, silly. Go and tell them you met the most interesting woman in your entire life, look over at me when they ask you what my name is, then point over to me and I'll wave."

"You'll be here?"

"I'll be here."

"Promise?"

"Go, go, go," she repeated, pushing him back toward his table, "You bought me a drink, didn't you? The least I can do is wave to your drunken college friends."

The man walked back to his table, glancing quickly over his shoulder, trying to hide it, before he reached the table. He arrived to all of them drunk, beer spilt on the table and an ashtray full of punched out cigarettes and ground up cigars. Every one of them were rocking back and forth with each other, their arms sloppily hung around their neighbor's shoulders, their eyes blood shot with their mouth half-cracked open barely breathing in the smoky, beer smelling air. The man struggled to wedge his way into the circle, and when he did, he tried to get the groups attention by screaming an
Ricki Sep 2018
Does she sit on our bench?
Steal ketchup from your tray as you take her fries?
Does she make your eyes as ***** and moronically wide as they were when they met mine?
Do you play her our song?
Does she lay on your lap and hum along as you strum?
Does she laugh like I do, in the middle of a kiss for no apparent reason, except because she's having fun?
Does she taste like I do?
Like our packs of mints and spearmint gum?
Do you talk to her like you talked to me?
Recite lines from cheesy romantic comedy?
Do you roll around with her behind velvet curtains?
Does she look at you as if she's certain that...

She loves you?

Does she love you?
Do you love her too?
Do you love her like the way I loved you?
Did you love me too?

Did I sit on her bench?
Steal looks from your eyes as you took my fries?
Did you play me her song?
Did I steal her kisses, her laughter, her fun?
Did I taste like her gum?
Steal her cheesy lines?
Roll around with her man behind those curtains?
Did you ever feel as certain that...

You loved me?

Did you love me?

I loved you.

Does she sit on our bench?
I hope to God u never see this.
guy scutellaro Aug 2018
She has make up on and her face looks pretty. Kathleen blows out the match and looks up.

"Hello Kate," Jack says and sits down.

"My name isn't Kate. It's Kathleen." The bourbon makes Kathleen feel confident. "Hello, Dell," She says mockingly. "You know Sue worships your ***. She just loves to call you, Dell. She thinks Dell is such a **** name." Kathleen takes a last drag on her cigarette and rubs it out in the ash tray. What should I call you?"

"How about, Darling?"

She looks up from the whiskey glass she is fondling in her slim hands. "Hello, Jack, Darling." Her soft, deep voice whispers accenting his name and the word, Darlin.

Kathleen crosses her legs and the black dress rides up to the middle of her thigh.

Jack glances at the milky white flesh between the blue ***** hose and the hem of her dress. She is drunk, but Dell does not care. He leans forward. "Do you wanna dance?"

"But no one else is dancing."

"Well, we could go to the beach and walk along the sand."

"It's 20 degrees out there." She takes the the glass and swallows the last of the whiskey. "We'll freeze."

"I'll keep you warm."

In the other room the kitchen door swings open as Paul Keater and Bob O'Malley come rushing out, talking, laughing and rubbing their noses.

"Come let's dance." says Kathleen.

Jack stands up and takes her hand. She rises and as he draws her close her ******* flatten out against his chest. Jack feels her heart thumping.

Across the smoke filled crowded room, the bride is cutting the wedding cake. "That's a beautiful wedding gown." Kathleen tells Jack as he moves her around the ***** floor in and out of the circles of light cast by the overhead lamps. " Theresa looks beautiful."

"So do you." Jack holds her tighter.

"Do you really think so?" Kathleen is flattered. She is perpetually surprised if some one thinks she is pretty.

"I do," He says with sincerity.

She rests her head on Delleto's shoulder. The man with the bruised face disturbs Kathleen.

Most men like to talk about themselves. They have a need to tell what they own or what they can do well. They need to impress and when Kathleen is with one of her men he genuinely awes her.

Lifting her head off of his shoulder, "Does your face hurt?"

"Only when I laugh or cry," he says as he moves Kathleen in and out of the circles of light.

"Jack Delleto has anyone ever told you, your a strange man?"

"Just my mother."

"Did you win?"

"What does it matter? Sometimes tryin is more important. Not giving up. "

"you lost."

"Yeah."

" Kate, what's important to you?"

Kathleen raises her head off of his shoulder to look up at him. "I don't want to depend on welfare and other people and I want to send my son to college. But most of all I want a home." She rests her cheek against his. I lived in foster homes all my life and I always knew one day I'd have to leave.

"Do you know the difference between a house and a home."

Jack thinks for a moment, "No, I' don't."

And her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear.

"LOVE."

The song comes to an end. Kathleen takes a cigarette from the pack on the table and puts it to her lips.

Jack strikes a match and the light flickers in her eyes. "Maybe, sometimes you'll tell me about your home."

"Do you want me too?" She leans forward and puts the cigarette to the flame.

"Yeah." Jack shakes out the match.

(to be continued)
Robert G Page Dec 2011
by
rgpage

naked  this night on soft satin sheets
his arm ‘round her shoulders, his lover’s head rests
her hair fills his nostrils with a scented bouquet
as fingers explore love’s affectionate quest.

tenderly lips touch in a loving lead
legs interlocking add to the play.
arms then wrap tightly pulling each other in
their hearts beating faster to join in the fray.

her ******* he kisses a sensuous gift,
she feels his love grow with each loving turn.
the curve of her back feels his fondling stroke
to capture this feeling forever they yearn.

his senses now heightened, his love at the ready
to soon to the feast, the more he will miss.
he must gain control and reign himself steady
for her love, her beauty, and her freely offered bliss.

their heart guided souls in lustful play
to their senses’ delivered a bountiful tray.
their love and youth play this night away,
‘til the dawn’s early light  brings in a new day.

their lips now swollen, bruised, and red
hearts full of love, love’s watershed.
the fast night’s hours have swept past their bed
‘til night ties are severed with the sun in their stead.

as that night flew by so have the years,
his only love has since passed away.
he turns out the light perched next to the chair,
and off  to bed slowly ending his day.

their children all gone one by one they’ve all grown,
occasionally stopping by w/ little time to spare.
w/ families and jobs and homes of their own
making the time to show that they care.

even though she’s gone he’s still not alone
he talks to her daily when he is at rest.
even though she’s gone good memories he keeps
God holds the others, and he kept the best…
Ashley Singh Jul 2016
Ever since I was young,
I wanted to grow up to be a cigarette
Because it was the only thing my father could never let go of.
Something he could always show off.
And Be proud of.

Ever since I was young
I wanted to grow up to be a cigarette
But I was nothing more than just your ash tray
How you would dump me on the floor
You swore I was nothing important to you ...

Wait...
Wait now, ash
Sit back
Relax
Don't forget to breathe, if the smoke doesn't get to you first
And picture yourself sitting on the side of the street again
That day
You fell on your knees
And realized there was no one there to help you get back up.
With tears in your eyes, you saw a cloud of smoke arrive but it floated right passed you.
This desparate want that I had was just a feud
But phew!
I knew it was something I would eventually get through.
I guess, after all, you just really really wanted to be the cancer to my cigarette.
Kelly Apr 2016
The dinner tray
that you spray painted gold,
behind the sink, where you set it to lay,
represents nothing more than friendship gone cold.

Once an ugly brown,
now pretty on the outside--
but we chipped it away, wore it all down;
found the ugly you tried desperately to hide.

Messy, lying, manipulative
your grand façade faded quick,
it was rather short-lived:
your combative nature did just the trick.

Friendship's about giving and taking.
We too late heard the tray's silent warning
about the one who spawned its making.
It dawned on us suddenly, like sun in the morning:

trays are meant to maximize gain
you took too much, gave too little;
over and over, a song's sad refrain.

You've now lost your chance to meet us in the middle.
She is on the street in her little kiosk ,
at the break of the dawn ,
When many are still on a lucid dream.

Selling the most delicious of grapes
Sourced straight from the vineyards

Assembling  the previous  day's discards all in a tray
Discards For humans it maybe ,
But
for her birds its a treat to relish .
Swooping
down  for it ,day after day..

Mostly bought by the morning walkers ,
Many in numbers are they
old patrons , as they say.

Every day she sells her wares
Holding the loveliest of smile
That I have seen in years,
All Knowing , the pain that  she hides behind .

Never misses a day nor business,
And back home she is before sundown.

Only to return the following day,
With a new stock ,at the break of the dawn.
Have been seeing this woman, fruit seller for a few years now.
She has had a difficult life. Her husband committed suicide for being indebted, not able to repay, son going wayward.
Yet she holds on to her grit and has been able to piece  her life together and  her Family.
Never lost her determination .
So, a little tribute to her .
samasati Sep 2012
whenever I feel the tremble start to ooze its way
from my compact mind to the tips of my fingers,
I immediately anticipate the fate
that I have always been able to foresee
whenever that familiar first jolt of an anxiety attack sails its way,
like a vessel in a storm
throughout my entire body

heart pounds an intolerable caution
lungs wheeze frigid determination with a rough friction
that lightly scrapes my core with a ticklish flutter
shoulders lift up into a hunch; absolutely automatic
the top tray of teeth lock clenched into the bottom tray’s hold
a fleet of air hisses in and out of two nostrils like a monk’s meditation
capacious eyes flicker from
the lid to the lash to the iris to the pupil to see everything

everyone is staring
everything is too intimidating to look at for longer than two seconds
then, the tunnel
the clearest, acute vision waters into a soft edged frame,
into a pixel mud of a picture, into a black peripheral,
black corners rounding in – a narrow and petty circle
I use it and follow it to wherever my
deepened impulse decides to take me

silently contemplating,
silently speculating,
silently examining
the fears I let my feeble self
get swallowed up in.
Rhiannon Aug 2016
He just sits there day after day,
A pensive expression and an ash tray.
His car of blue now smells of smoke,
His lungs are black and coughs are chokes.

He just sits there day after day,
A pensive expression and an ash tray.
Has no family so he works all the time,
And he always looks knackered but he says he's fine.

He just sits there day after day,
A pensive expression and an ash tray.
He finally got a promotion for working so hard,
Too bad it was made up of cigarettes and cards.

He just sits there day after day,
A pensive expression and an ash tray.
As he takes his final puff and teeth decay,
He just sits there day after day.

— The End —