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Alex McQuate May 2018
Great tragedy suffered,
Impossible circumstances conquered,
The warrior walks upon the field flanked path.

The wanderer's armor tells a tale,
Battle scarred and partially rent asunder,
A face of stoicism that hides the haggardness underneath,
Peeking out beneath the mask of a hardened soldier.

The clouds clap ahead, preceded by flashes of light brightly illuminating the world,
Accompanied shortly after by the rainfall.

A trickle becomes a downpour,
The battered individual trudging along as the road becomes a bog of mud and slop,
The message firmly planted within their mind.

Coming upon the dark outline of the castle ahead the warrior picks up pace,
Reflecting upon what would happen to those that the Warrior helped.

The pace is now fueled by a different kind of urgency.

The rain is cold upon the face's of those that it falls on,
The torn edges of metal digging in at places,
Some already wounded and tender,
As the final hilltop between them is crested.

The gates are closed,
And this loyal soldier is for the moment shut out,
A fist is raised,
The declaration of allegiance given,
An angry detailing of the warriors achievements and adventures shouted,
And a challenge of one's path,
Building in anger and fury as the dam finally breaks and gushes forth,
Threatening to shatter the gate and doors to splinters and twisted metal.

A long ago promised gift to be rewarded,
For all the things endured,
Things that could be considered so cruel,
The storm picks up in force until it's akin to that of a hurricane,
As if brought forth by the warrior's grief and pain finally being released,
For the first and only time.

These things ringing out dispite the storms roaring wind,
Gathering force,
Perhaps in affirmation of the warriors words.

After a pause the gate begins to lift,
It's metal screeching,
The doors groaning as they begin to swing outward, and the embattered soldier is bathed in light,
Taking the weight from the warrior's shoulders,
As the threshold is finally crossed.
sometimes my feet feel so heavy
I want to give up,
then someone walks from behind
and I realize I am not walking this path alone.
somehow, I feel a little bit lighter and filled with purpose
in my step, and I catch up to the next guy and help him
get up and walk the path together.
"Spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it."
Nathan Jun 2016
I am a man
Who screams by night
And smiles by day.
I look at myself, I don't see me anymore
Just a shell from before, empty and haggard.
My eyes have lost their shine.
The path ahead forgotten
Trudging through mud, looking to the sky.
Now I know for certain, soon I will die.
Not from coincidence or neglect;
From these hands of mine.
O fast day that trembles at the sight of Moon -
when will your warm arms bend again
the night's thick armor
that shades the world of joyous muse?
 
It is most facetious in its illusion,
that renegade of pale indifference,
when daylight dwindles and leaves more to imagine
than can be seen with naked eye.
 
Beneath the gaze of Her taunting face,
people do not walk as done in light -
suddenly, trudging and stumbling are hip style.
Faces covered in guilt, remorse, fatigue -
all the things Sun can wash away with a simple,
lucid grin.
 
If brightest bright were set ablaze amidst the night,
would people be plucked from this false sanctuary
which darkness so convincingly provides?
Then many a Lost could be freed;
if only to see clearly through effervescent
haze.
 
O blessed Sun!
With your arousal, Truth and Freedom will also renew -
until again that blank stare casts its malevolent glow on
Delusion.
prose from a street-lit bench.
1020

Trudging to Eden, looking backward,
I met Somebody’s little Boy
Asked him his name—He lisped me “Trotwood”—
Lady, did He belong to thee?

Would it comfort—to know I met him—
And that He didn’t look afraid?
I couldn’t weep—for so many smiling
New Acquaintance—this Baby made—
kairos Aug 2015
i trudge through the night
the darkness behind me
i trudge for the unknown

why do i live?

i carry on
with no shelter on my back
trudging,
through the black cave

i can't go on
the fatigue,
oh,
the fatigue

defeated
by my desires

i can't go on
i'm so tired

tired of having this battle,
tired of trudging on.

why can't i take a break?
no time for me to breathe?
the walls are closing in.

claustrophobia kicks in.

i trudge on,
because i can,
but i have no purpose.

i trudge on for the day
i serve my purpose.
George Arkley Feb 2013
The rain never stops these days.
It just drills into my skull
And chills my sun kissed skin,
Tapping On my shoulder begging me to remember,
But I can't. So I keep trudging along,

The further I mumble through the rain; the louder it gets,
The drumming. The flooding. The screaming.
I smack my hands against my ears,
As an attempt to block it.
But I can't. So I keep trudging along,

Rivers leak from my eyes,
Falling down my cheeks and shattering on the Tarmac,
I taste blood. My hearts bleeding again,
I try to heal it.
But I can't. So I keep trudging along,

Fragments of my heart explode,
Ripping me apart and turning the rain water red,
I used to like water. Not now.
Now it reminds me of him...
But I can't remember him. So I keep trudging along
Coral Estelle Dec 2012
I’m working to unwrap you slowly
To form you up like a theory
To create a habitat for you in my head
My steps grow wider when I see you at the end
Lying, lounging, an old lion
Afternoon sun low and tired
Rays and shadows streak the road like enveloping arms
As I grow closer, you project even further away
I just long to reach you
Rest my head against your ***** and
Sleep against your softness like a pile of feathers
To rest at last.

But at times I think I’ll never reach you,
As I approach you reflect even further away
I wonder that this road is endless, thinning into the distance
The black wires radiate into the air above me
Mutating my simple DNA into something else entirely
A sole purpose survivor, a solider
The cause is more desperate now
They’re buzzing to each other above my head, talking about me
Their scrutiny banging between my ears
The dust becomes a new layer of me, with incredible thirst
Just fields of dehydrated dandelions, just nothing

They soak up the liquid from everything
With their chemical and electrical waves
The fields are screeching as they shrivel up, like dying children
Now it’s all yellow, beige, and far away
It’s all so tiny against the horizon,
For all I know, your silhouette has become a statue by now
Just this long stripe of dirt I treat like a passageway
Just a ladder to a final place of rest
I’m desperate for a stop in my trudging motion
But I know I can’t lie down in this unworthy sand.
Ma Cherie Oct 2016
The house is quiet, only my whisper is heard...

oh, I guess I'm such a nerd,
are you hanging on my every word?

OK good, come on, let's go,

Shadows drifting, so discreet,
fowl breath, a cut out sheet,
  hard to move these trembling feet
a waiting guest, for me to greet?
not a trick, I hope a treat!?!

Perhaps the reaper comes this way
he knows of this, a game I play?
waking Crowley, where he lay,

I grab ahold the banister,
and step around the stair valute,
the air grows dark and thick again,
as everything is put in mute,
until a bell, I pause to think,
perhaps a playing flute?

Prolly not & that's real cute,
or maybe
inquiries of  candied loot?

True that,

I wait to hear again, a ding,
the joy of laughter it will bring,
the songs again my heart will sing,

I grip the rail, I'm petrified
a ghostly ghoul,
me, has spied
I move away,
from where I hide,

Shhhhhh be quiet,

My legs are heavy,
I slowly stepped,
you escorted,
up I crept
tears I wish,
that I had wept,
I move my hand,
away are swept,
no way for me to leave, get out,
they'd never hear me scream & shout
trudging on with wary doubt,
I bite my lip,
I moan & pout,
in every step, as I grow brave,
climbing up, a darkened grave,
with every step, my soul to save,

Very dramatic poet,
emmmm thanks, read on,

I reach the top in my suspense,
ahead I say, in my defense,
sorry if you're feeling tense,

It's alright,

I open up the door ahead,
filling me & you with dread,
dragging knuckles, telluric bed,
I look, in horror, shrilling,
....shrieking
a glowing face, chilling,
peeking, must be the one,
that I,
... am seeking!

I chuckle at the sounds of creaking,
bones & boards beneath my feet
they tell,
so sneaking up?
say
you lived in hell?
so I give up
hey, where's the bell?

Oh hear it is, that's just swell,
I know right?
Thanks for finding it though,

Look out!?!

Jumping out, you give a start,
I feel it pump inside my heart,
looks as if I need black art,

Yikes!!!

Your not afraid?
you silly girl, let me give
another whirl
a bony hand, sweeps & swirls
tattered sheets they creep & twirl

You do your best
to discourage guests
I'm prepared for any scary test
Yes I'm different from the rest,
& by the way,
you mustn't know that I am blessed
I'm not leaving, you may have guessed

Some pumpkins happy
some are scary
the children here,
they shan't be wary
I am not, no I am nary
this may be a fateful twist
but by the gods I have been kissed
sorry but your aim, it missed

I know that I look a witch
as I move my nose & give a twitch
but my dear, I pulled a switch

I raise my hands, I curse your words
as spirits cry, my voice, is heard
I bind you here, your soul I gird,
I cast a spell, hogtie your feet
take a bite, it's really sweet
yes my dear please have a treat
do you mind, if I have a seat?

I call my spoon, my kettle stirring,
as he speaks,
the words are spurring,
I laugh aloud, as kitty's purring,
supernatural events, occurring,
as caldrons bubble, broomsticks fly,
& Frankenstein went walking by,
his Mummy gives a wistful sigh,

Your look of shock, a priceless one,
like someone just removed the sun,
I dare not say, a silly pun?

No it's very good,
Oh hey thanks friend,

As breaking glass of aged pane's
& your attempts to stop me,
all in vain,

In  rattlin' of my heavy chains
relieving bones,
from what they weigh
as my skeleton comes out to play
protecting children as you prey,
wave a wand, a hand & down I slay,

Too much?

No, go on...

The werewolf howling at the moon
growling baying, softly croons,
a clown I think might be a goon,
the wicked hour coming soon,
cackling witches laugh &  snicker
spirits run & candles flicker
demons plot, giggle...
... snicker,
rubbing hands,
they fight & bicker,

Hehehe...

I must admit their kinda spooky
Some are cute and kinda kooky,
To me look like a bunch of groupies,

Ha ha, good one poet!
Oh, well thanks!

I give my stick another flick,
I guess I gotta few more tricks!?
as fires dance in flaming licks,

Ewwww, I like it...

Halloween no time for fools,
the banshee comes with gaurding ghoul,
we're taking him to scaring school

Oh very cool,
yeah I made some room,

You can ride with banshee there,
the one with all the crazy hair,
you'll be alright just don't stare,
It's not as if I just don't care,

Huh!?! Great,

The unwanted speaks,

Well my dear, I'd say we're even
but temporary guess I'm leavin'
and your magic I might believin
pretty good, you think you won
congrats again, it's been real fun
a spell like yours can be undone

Hmmmm,

Oh I see, you think my best?
wait a sec, I'll get undressed
something here I must confess

Most these monsters are my friends
on whom my back I can depend
do your thing, with time you spend

That's okay, you go ahead
I don't wanna end up dead
and now I see, an empty bed
& your face is just filled with dread
boy you're really turning red
must be all the ink I bled

Careful now,
is this just a story?
filled with rhymes,
& kinda gory,
finding out is mandatory,



Now I jump out,
- I just say BOO
I guess, you see-
the tricks on you!

Happy Halloween!

Great ending,

Awww thanks for the love,
yeah sure do love this time of year,
lotsa fun, this one,

Enjoy a candy,
& thanks for coming!

Cherie Nolan © 2016
Halloween, ooooo...
Spooky fun!?! Does it make any sense!
Oh I love monsters Inc, must be I remembered!
Nathan Pival May 2016
Life is a trudging beast that isn't going to stop
For you or for anyone
It will go on and on
As the world turns
With or without you
So it's best to move on when you can
In the hopes that maybe you can catch up
And start living again
Dan Kastner Nov 2012
My mind is constantly occupied by the demons of my past and the omens of my future.
Waging an impossible war, causing sickness, and torturing my conscience without remorse.
I can hear the screaming of the casualties as I take one more sip, hit, or push.
Begging for me to stop, but at the same time thanking me for the temporary numbness

I can feel my heart exploding in my chest,
as if it were trying to free itself from the slavery it is experiencing.
Beat after beat it continues to grow weary and unsympathetic,
Trudging through the chemicals and unrelentless lovers.
all the while receiving no attention or appreciation.

I can feel my soul, beautiful and full of life.
As old as they come, with more stories than I would probably care to hear.
Wise and wounded, healed and broken again.
Becoming tougher and more layered
much like the act of crafting an authentic samurai sword.
Swift and elegant. Waiting to escape this imperfect body
only to move onto another puppet of which it will guide and personalize.

The beauty of these three broken and bruised vigilantes working in total harmony is the most beautiful and awe-inspiring thing I have ever come to know.
I am greatful until the end, whenever that may be.
I will enjoy the life that they have given me,
and I will spread that energy to those in need of it.
As ***** and tired as they may be,
it is more than most will ever have the opportunity to experience
Amanda Victoria Jun 2013
Jagged edges , sharp turns
and screeching halts.
what a build up.
impatient for the explosion,
yet trudging on.
waiting.
hoping for that silver lining,
a moment to breathe
gone too soon
heaving, grasping, panting.
more turns, and sharper edges.
like a lead foot on an open road
faster, faster
too fast
losing control
trying to find something to hold on to.
someone.
but nothing,
no one.
you scream
louder, harder
tears pouring.
hands clenched
heart pounding.
there's no stopping.
you let it take over.
faster, faster.
you can see it.
too fast.
the end of the..
Patrice Jones Jan 2014
Light cresting the horizon, she reveals herself to me.
Her brilliant beauty shining, enlightening me is the Sun.
Leaving me blind eyes for it's long since I've seen the light.
As my sight returns, I see a smile upon her glowing face.
Happiness and warmth shines through, but also sadness.
Such a cavernous sorrow only matched by mine.

She speaks to me of a wish to be with the Moon once more.
Like when the land was warm and both did linger in the sky.
A brisk winter wind now engulfs the Sun.
Yet still she shines beautiful life, given to all that behold her.
I have felt her kind light on me, and I have come to cherish the feel.
Memories of my unending midnight that left me cold and bleak, evaporated;
replaced with joy, for returned have the young embers of feelings.

With the presence of the Sun I have been brought back to life.
And I wish to covet her, like the day does the light.
I whisper a wish, a pining desire to share that heavenly grace with the Sun.
But I may only behold her poetic wonder with my eyes I fear.
Far to deep is her flame, which I still yearn after.
Trudging forth is a feeling of looming disaster,
for her thirst is of the Moon's accompaniment alone.

Who am I to stand between the Sun and Moon? Gods in the sky.
For I do not reside above the clouds; I am but a mere observer far below.
Enchanted by the mellow glide through the heavens that they shared.
The Moon should feel her kind sunshine upon his face again.
He knows little of the night that I have hid in for ages repeated,
for he is not charged to linger in darkness for all eternity, like I.

A reluctance I feel to accept the truth, but I may not escape it.
Though, should my heart be tamed? Which is so full of longing.
Ages have passed since my bones have felt this empowering warmth.
I find my mind imagining, dreaming, wandering;
into a place it's far too long since felt any comfort in.
Only to be brought back to the present by the warmth of her smile,
a glance from her beautiful piercing eyes, to hark of her divine laughter.
Remembering that happiness is felt in the presence of a flower,
yet to pluck it for ones self, would begin an end to its beauty.

Whatever may be the desire of the Sun, I share for her too.
For she has shown me life like I've forgotten was possible.
A gift of the like that I could never return with all of my days.
A lost soul in lingering affection of a star, to be looked upon as a fool.
Though a fool for attempting, rather a fool for abstaining.
So return to the dark I will, awaiting in hope for my day to come.
The day that the Sun should like to illuminate me again, and fill my soul with warmth.
Yet I am terrified that day will never arrive for me,
for I've known not but this tragic desolation that has consumed my heart.
Until I met the Sun.
David Hall Mar 2015
If I a wayward traveler
were to rest my weary bones,
I fear I’d quickly find my name
in a garden full of stones.

So I continue trudging onward,
without regard for my direction.
Eyes forever pointed downward
by the fear of my detection.

Carrying the bags of follow travelers
despite their ever growing weight.
My steps harried ever onward
by the fear I might be late.

I can’t see my destination
but I have faith to keep me strong.
I can’t let my pace be slowed
by the fear that I am wrong.

I can’t say I quite recall
even the way this journey started
but I must have held some purpose
on that day I first departed.

So I continue trudging onward
without regard for my confusion.
This journey is about so much more
than my self-involved delusions.

If I a wayward traveler
were to rest my weary bones,
I fear I’d quickly find my name
in a garden full of stones.
Terry Collett Apr 2015
Here Kid take this what is it? whats it look like? its a prayer book thing yes so take it and hide it under your jumper why? just hide the **** thing so Benedict hides the  black book with red ends under his jumper and follows Anne into the grounds out of the French windows Anne crutches herself across the grass and makes towards the round white table and chairs and plonks herself down in a chair tossing her crutches aside Benedict sits down in the next chair looking back towards the nursing home do you think we were seen? seen doing what Kid? walking across the grass no doubt liberating Sister Dumb-arses prayer book no Anne says Benedict turns around and stares at her dont keep looking around Kid or the penguins will guess youve been up to no good me been up to no good it was your idea to take the prayer book but youve got it Kid not me but you said take it and you did well done Kid Anne says smiling she rubs her leg stump and pulls the blue skirt down further what do we do now? Benedict asks looking at Anne tempted to turn around and look behind him sit tight Kid sit tight but I cant hide the book under my jumper all day he says pass it under the table to me so he passes the prayerbook to Anne under the white table and she opens it in her lap he looks at her his stomach tightening guess whose it is? Anne asks he shrugs dont know its only Sister Bridgets how do you know? has it got her name in it? no they dont own personal property its just that it has this prayer card in it with an image of St Bridget on one side and a prayer on the other and on the top shes scrawled Sr Bridget in her bird-**** hand writing God shell go ape he says looking round at the nursing home what do we do? shush Kid what do want them to know weve got it? he stares at the building imagines the nun galloping across the lawn towards them her black robes billowing behind her like Batman turn round Kid youll look suspicious he looks round and stares at her sitting in the chair as if butter wouldnt melt in her mouth on a hot day where are you going to put it? he asks out of the sight of their eyes she says where though? she pulls up her blue skirt and tucks the black prayer book in her navy blue underwear and pulls down the skirt and brushes out the any signs you cant keep it there he says why not my knickers she says are they going to search me there? she says now just go get my wheelchair and  we can go visit the sea out the back gate he sighs and wanders back towards the home trudging across the lawn leaving Anne sitting in the chair like some royal queen on her throne she lifts up her skirt and adjusts the book more securely just as well I wore the passion killers Mum bought me she says to herself and lets down the skirt again and sits staring towards the home as she sits a few of the kids come out and make their way to the swings and slide they know her and avoid her like a plague a nun comes out too Anne stares at her its Sister Lucy a young one green as grass more ****** that the Blessed ****** herself Anne says under breath the nun walks towards Anne her hands inside her black habit how are we today Anne? the nun asks smiling my ****** leg aches Anne says o dear the nun says looking at Annes leg visible under the table have you seen Sister Paul about some pain killers? no not yet Anne says anyway its not this leg its the one not there my stump leg o I see Sister Luke says staring at the unseen stump beneath the blue skirt I could pray for your leg if you would like me to the nun says might help Anne says putting on her pious pose its hurts so much I feel like crying she allows tears to dribble out of her eyes(shes an expert of conjuring tears out of her eyes) o my dear child the nun says coming around the table and placing a hand around Annes shoulders Ill ask Sister Paul about some tablets the nun says thank you Anne whimpers feeling the prayer book move slightly as she moves in the chair she tries to adjust it with her hand to a more secure position Benedict comes across the lawn pushing the wheelchair he sees the nun and his eyes enlarge and he senses danger have they suspected Anne already about the missing prayer book? he wheels the chair behind Anne the nun looks at him arent you a good boy she says yes hes my best friend Anne says smiling through the glassy eyes the nun smiles well I best get back Ill see Sister Paul about those pills the nun says and walks off towards the home that was close Benedict say she didnt mention the prayer book Anne says she just came about me and the ****** leg and offering prayers o I see he says gazing at the stump area thinking about the stump of her leg hes seen many times are you going gawk at my stump all day or are you going to help get in the ****** wheelchair? o right yes he says and helps her get from the chair and into the wheelchair holding it steady at the back make sure the prayer book doesnt slip out of my knickers Kid she says as she rises from the chair and plonks into the wheelchair she moves the book to a more comfortable position and pulls her skirt down pass her knee just as they were about to move away Sister Bridget comes across the lawn towards them like a rhino on heat hang on Kid here comes the penguin wait wait the nun says raising a hand Benedict pauses pushing the wheelchair and stares at the approaching nun keep cool Kid Anne says under her breath act innocent as the Pope at a nudist colony Benedict feels himself perspire the nun stands in front of Anne in the wheelchair a prayer book has gone missing the nun says gazing at Anne has it? Anne says in an innocent tone yes it was taken from the Common Room shall we help look for it? Anne asks have you seen it? the nun asks no not that I know of whats it look like? Anne asks as if butter wouldnt melt a prayer book is what it looks like the nun says eyeing Anne with her suspicious eyes black cover with red ends no cant say I have Anne says Benedict looks away at the trees behind of them at the avenue between them and you Benedict have you seen it? the nun asks staring at him her eyes over him like maggots he shudders no sister not seen it at all he hates lying to  a nun he feels as if she looks into his soul and at the minor sins lurking there like naughty children then the nun looks down in Annes lap gazes at the outline of the leg stump not hiding it are we? the nun says hiding what? Anne says my stump? no I tried hiding it but its always there each morning I wake up the nun screws up her eyes and peers at them both no I mean the book where is it? no idea Anne says Benedict looks down at Annes lap where have you hidden it? the nun says havent seen it Anne says one of the children says she saw you take it the nun says me? Anne says you cant take the word of child I believe what the child tells me Benedict looks at the outline of the leg stump the child says you have it about your person she saw you from the upper bedroom window the nun says sternly must be mistaken must have seen me rub my stump they always watch me rubbing it so nosey the nun sighs and gazes at Annes lap and at the stumps outline show me your leg stump? the nun says hands on her hips Anne pulls up her skirt to reveal the stump Benedict looks too wondering if the book outline could be seen under the knickers the nun looks away where have you put it? put what? the book the prayer book the nun says I havent seen it Anne says as innocent as she can muster innocence lies will get you to Hell the nun says and walks off across the grass like a bad tempered bear what now? Benedict says Anne takes the book out of her knickers and hands it to him warm and scented what do I do with it? he asks shove it on that other chair under the table and were off to the beach so he puts the book under the table and pushes Anne off in the chair off out of reach.
A BOY AND GIRL IN  A NURSING HOME IN 1959 SUSSEX.
For James Weldon Johnson**


the clock fast approaching
an appointed midnight click
it was time to punch in
for my avocational shift

we sauntered up creaky steps
of the old weathered rectory
its planks loose, its bricks chipped,
the gabled roof still leaking

a CDC on the outer verge
leaning over a bankrupt precipice
catastrophic failure predicted
from chronic cash flow distresses

we’ve  been on the ropes
since doors swung open
to fulfill a sacred mission,
25 years in the hood
keepin the devil in remission

a young ED with firebrand cred
emerged from a cubicle partition
his erudition and abundant zeal
would save many from perdition

he commenced his brief
in the entrance hall
laid out maps of the Silk City
articulating a canvasse plan
bereft of fear and blithe pity

he stood ***** announcing
the surety of his calling
handsome face and balding spire
lent a stern presence of authority

The PIT a Point In Time
Homeless Census annual review,
to root out and count the heads
of the lost and out of view

from Bed Stuy to Boston
Baltimore and DC
San Antone, Windy City Frisco
vols be countin to see

what happening with
America’s homeless folks
who, what, how they got there;
what can we do to help them
besides a hot, a cot and a prayer

last week in January  
in cities all over the nation
missioners fan out  to uncover
the most lowly of station

we’ll discover and recover
lost lambs and prodigal sons
we’ll find street walk daughters
falling through cracks
and criminals on the run

some junkies and crack pied pipers
be yodelling sickness, death and fear
mental illness, castaway children
may licit sorrowful tears

like gnats strained
through the gaping
holes in failing
social safety nets
this night is about
good shepherds
gone forth with no regrets

this mission
is most important
to our agency as well

each head you count
every calf you cull
the coffers of the
agency will grow

program grants are tied
to an index of misery
our streets give ample evidence
of an abundant presence in this city

no poverty pimps
work harder to improve
the blighted human condition
the quality of our work
speaks for itself
its no liberal sedition

we got a dog in the fight
that's undoubtedly true
tending to add an urgency
to the critical work we do

our shelter, food pantry
and job training programs
keep jumpers off the ledge
we attempt to arrest fallers
its the agency’s solemn pledge

for what profit a man
if he inherits the earth
and finds only strife
and devastation?;
community development
our diligent charge
workin hard to build
a better nation

so as your
caravansaries
cross the city’s
food deserts

to search the oases
of supermercados
surreal revelations
may manifest a few
midnight bizarros

E 18th St bonito bodegas
where long shot scratch offs
and stale coconut macaroons
staples of community sustainability
the hoped for lift from poverty soon

busy parsing the three squares
bagged in paper thin brown balsa
cool ranch dorito, a teriyaki slim jim
frothy Colt quart to chase
the winkin sip of dog hair gin

that's where this
story begins...

yes beloved
the road is wide
the gate is narrow
for the many prodigals
off the path living
a life of shadows

they're out there
trudging
making a way
through the  gloom
hoping to be given
one more day

sojourning on
trying to get back
to the ***** of love
searching for the room
lit with light from above

take courage beloved
know that Jesus walks
the streets with you tonight

he’ll be your
present helper
as you mine
the dank waste
of the desolate
factory shells
the post industrial
monuments to the
expended labor of
six dead generations
now squatter
encampments
for urban nomads
moving through
the sarcophagi of
a nations
wasted labor

remember
afterall, we are
all fallen people
hurtling downward
into torn safety nets
slipping into the
tattered threads of
a handy hangman's
noose

who among us
has not fallen
through yesterdays
best expired dream?
waking to find yourself
in a midnight
nightmare scream

we'll catch them
round em up
as their falling
to build em up
lost sheep knows the
voice of the masters calling

Jesus will
walk before you
as you enter the
closed parks
were swings
of life fly
high and low
merry go rounds
zip by like a terrible
carousel that won't stop
to let you go

and may the
Good Deliverer
guard you as
you descend
into the screaming
rooms of
condemned
crack dens

here the fallen
angel finds comfort
in the resounding
chorus of misery
woefully regretted

Lucifer eloquently
hums beguiling
holy smoke tunes
to his doleful
acolytes sadly
lamenting
bluesy
blue
blues

you are the
Good Shepherds
leading the lost
back through
the gate

tell the beloved prodigal
children that the good
news of salvation
patiently awaits

we lucked out
its warm tonight
for the past few years
its snowed

heres a clipboard
filled with questions to ask
a box of supplies for lost sheep
and a yellow plastic poncho
so the cops know
you're one of God's own


Mary Lou Williams
Black Christ of the Andes
Praise the Lord

Paterson
1/30/13
jbm
Part 2 of extended poem Silk City PIT.  PIT is an acronym for Point In Time.  PIT is an annual census American cities conduct to count the homeless population.  The Silk City is a nickname for Paterson NJ.  An ED is an acronym for Executive Director.  A CDC is an acronym for Community Development Corporation, a non-profit agency that provides development services to urban communities.  James Weldon Johnson is an African American poet.  This piece is written in a style and manner of God's Trombones.
Cassian Apr 2018
Just for a moment
I was a time traveler
Nicotine, coffee beans
Trudging through the Ardennes
Running down some cobblestone road
I still don’t know where it goes
Just for a moment
I was a woman
A slightly distorted version of myself
Strong cheekbones petite nose
What are those?
Just for a moment
Seventy-three years ago
A machine gun in my hand
Making my last stand
Just for a moment
I was truly myself  
Something I’ve never felt
My soul is crying out
Tom Spencer Jul 2015
I had not been born yet.
Still, I can see you at your labor -
alone, scouring the meadows
for the stones -
lifting their gray shoulders
from the moist earth -
pulling them from the
green grasp of briars,
goldenrod, and
Queen Anne’s Lace.

The smell of the earth
must have filled you with
your own childhood memories -
of plowing fields
and cold mornings
trudging across barn yards
mud thick on your boots -
promising yourself
that someday you would leave
and never return.

I can hear the pick axe -
the sharp strikes
against the stones,
and the dull thud
when the earth
swallowed the blade -
and the deep exhalations
when the stones tumbled into
the old wheelbarrow – new then -
that now leans rusting
against my garden shed.

Some of the stones were so large -
far too large for one man –
how did you move them?
I look at the old photographs
and you seem so young –
so much younger
than I am today - and so thin –
staring off-frame beyond the camera.
What were you looking for
in those fields?

I can see you sorting the stones,
stacking them -
building and unbuilding
and rebuilding the walls
and  terraces
until the walls were true
and the terraces level
and planted with dogwood,
birches, soft grass for bare feet,
and bordered with roses.

Did you know
that you were building my castle?
That the highest terrace
would be my tower and keep?
I remember calling out to my
knights, my legionnaires,
and tribesmen –
rallying them in defense
of the citadel –  ready for
the coming siege.

I also remember looking out
across that verdant kingdom
for the last time -
no longer a king or a boy –
and miles away, across the river
to the west, I imagined
the new home that awaited us.
I couldn’t know
how far away it would be
or what it meant to leave.

This morning,
as I looked out across
the garden that I have built,
I felt the weightlessness of time
and its gravity
settling me into place.
For a brief moment I had
the sensation that I was standing
on the shoulders of
gathered stones.

(for my father, Guy Spencer.)
Tom Spencer © 2015
Lawrence Hall May 2017
Liturgy in Time of War

I will go to the altar of God
To God who gives joy to my youth

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

The dawn (evening) is coming, another hot, filthy, wet dawn (evening).  Let us arise, soaked in sweat, exhausted, to speak with sour, saliva-caked mouths, to meet the deaths of this day (night).

GREETING

In the name of Peace in Our Time,
For the Hearts and Minds of The People,
For the Land of the Big PX
For round eye and white (black) (brown) thigh,
I greet you, brothers.

PENITENTIAL RITE

All:

I confess to almighty God
And to you my brothers
That I have sinned through my fault
In my thoughts and in my words
In what I have done
And in what I have failed to do,
And I ask Blessed Mary…

But how can I ask Her anything now?

My brothers,
Pray for me to…

But how?
Priest: (But there is no priest)

KYRIE

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, Lord, have mercy on us now

Have mercy, Lord, on a generation
That sits smugly in college lecture halls
And protests endlessly in coffee shops
The war they hear, see, on T.V., for free
Justice and peace by the semester hour
Like, y’know, peace, love, Amerika sux
Play the guitar, ****, apply to law school

Have mercy on us
Who crouch behind sand bags
And clean our weapons
And protest nothing
And **** in the heat
And die in the hear
And throw ham and lima beans away

GLORIA

Glory to God in the highest
how many bodies yesterday?
And peace to His people on earth
Vietnamese? Or us?
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father
ham and lima beans?
We worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory
Doc, I can’t go home to my wife with this clap
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father
cigarette, canteen cup of instant coffee
Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
******* magazine
Have mercy on us
relief behind the sand bags
You are seated at the right hand of the Father
i rot
Receive our prayer
i want to be clean and dry
For You alone are the Holy One
clean and dry.  just once.
You alone are the Lord
why do they chew that?
You alone are the most high
you mean the betel nut?
Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father
incoming!
Amen


PRAYER

A

Father, you make this day holy.
Let us be thankful for
The many little joys of
This day, for life, for
The chance to worship
You.  In the end, bring
Us to you, so that we
May be cleansed of mud
And sweat and filth and
Guilt, and live with you
In peace forever.

B

Father, just get me through
Another day of this mess.

LITURGY OF THE WORD –

FIRST READING

From the Intensive Care Unit, NSA DaNang

A twilight world
Of neither peace nor battle
And of both

A man world
Embracing life and the grim death
Both

Peering into infected wounds
Night building shiver
Down from the black sky flares float

Broken bodies from the war somewhere
Eyes of a shattered nineteen-year-old Marine
Staring at the door to Yokosuka

PSALM

A Song of Descents

I cast down my eyes
Into the mud
Into the blood
It seems cleaner than death and drugs and casual ***
Drink Coca-Cola

I turned my eyes away from you, O Lord
And made this
Build this
Came to this
Samantha and Darren on Bewitched

Have mercy on…but how can we ask?  How dare we ask?

SECOND READING

Old Man, Viet Nam

Old man, a dog is barking at your heels
Old man, with the tired, weathered face
Are you afraid to turn around and deal
This dog a kick, to put him in his place?

Or is it, old man, that you’re just too tired?
Just too tired to turn and show anger
Just too tired to have your temper fired
Beaten by years of contempt and danger

Where are you going, trudging so slowly?
What are you thinking, behind those tired eyes?

Probably not about ham and lima beans

GOSPEL

In the Cold White Mist

After an all-night run on the river
Our boats arrive in the village at dawn
Dawn is never cold along that rive
Along that steaming, green, hell-hot river
But the mist is cold, the grey-green dawn mist
And after the engines are cut – stillness
Foul brown water laps at the mudding bank
Sloshing softly with fertile, smelly death

In the cold white mist

The boats are secured, and watches posted
We step off the boats and onto wet land
And follow the track into the deep mist
It becomes the street of a little town
A dairy lane along which cows slopped home
And where dogs and chickens and children
      played
Bounded by carefully swept little yards
And little wooden houses with tin roofs

In the cold white mist

But some of the houses are burnt.  The smoke
Still hangs heavily in the whitening mist
The lane is littered with debris.  A lump
Resolves itself into a torn, dead child
Across a smaller lump, a smaller child
Their pup has been flung against the fence, its
Guts early morning breakfast for the morning
      flies
We smoke cigarettes against the death-smells

In the cold white mist

Beneath a farm tractor rots a dead man.
When they – they – had come at sunset
He had hidden there.  And they shot him there
A man with bare feet and work-calloused
      hands
His hair is black; his teeth need cleaning
They shot him beneath the village tractor
His blackening blood clots into the mud
And our lungs choke in the white mist of death

In the cold white mist

White mist.  The path disappears into it
Smoky skeletons of little houses
In which there will be no tea this morning
No breakfasts of hot tea and steaming rice
No old widows to smile in betel-nut
No children to mock-march alongside us
Pointing at our ******* boots, and laughing
At us, for wearing shoes in the summer

In the cold white mist

They are dead and rotting in the white mist
On the edge of the jungle on the edge
Of the world, here along the Vam Co Tay
And the people pour out of their houses
To greet us on the fine summer morning
A corpse across a doorway, another
******-doubled across a window sill
Still another strewn down the garden path

In the cold white mist

The other patrol doubles back to us
And they tell us that the Ruff-Puff outpost
Must have been overrun the night before
He had heard their radioed pleas, and had
Run the river at night to get to them
And the ARVNs had fled through the village
And the VC had stormed in behind them
And it was knife-and-gun-club night in town

In the cold white mist

A little girl is the lone survivor
She looks may six.  Cute, except for the
Bubbling, *******, bayoneted chest wound
We patch her, and tube her, and use suction
Sort of like fixing a bicycle tire
And in the wet, gasping heat take her back
With us downriver, where a charity
Hospital leaves her on the steps to die

In the cold white mist

It will be our turn again tomorrow
Not a one of us died today.  Today.
But a village is gone, burnt and rotting,
Soon to disappear into the jungle
Along the green Cambodian border
Up some obscure river.  Up there.  Somewhere.
A few hundred people.  Their ancestors’ graves
Will fade with them untended, forgotten

In the cold white mist

Radio Hanoi might blame it on us.
But maybe not.  We made our report and
Nobody really noticed; no one cared
The talk is of the VC battalion
And where it has gone, and where it might go –
Maybe into death under an air strike
“And you guys better get in some sack time,”
Says the C.O. as he turns to his maps.

In the cold white mist

HOMILY

I’m scared, and I want to go home.  I don’t care any more about justice or fighting Communism or winning the hearts and minds of the people.  I can’t think about all that right now, because I’m scared, and I want to go home.
I don’t care about truth or loyalty or bravery or honor.  If Miss March were here she wouldn’t get cold, but she sure would get sunburnt.  And in a few days her skin would start rotting.  Then nobody would want to see her in the **** anymore.  
I’m scared, and I want to go home.
Up the Vam Co Tay, everyone is scared, everyone is tired, everyone is sick, everyone could die: sailor, soldier, officer, priest, farmer, fisherman.  Everyone rots in the wet heat.  The skin bubbles and flakes and peels, and is pink again, to bubble and flake and peel again.  
I’m scared, and I want to go home.
I’m Doc.  I’m a scared, stupid kid with an aid bag and a few months’ training.  But I’m Doc.  I’ve got to fake it.  I’ve got to be cool and calm because this other kid with his guts hanging out will probably make it if I don’t ***** up and if the dust-off from Saigon can get out here now.
I have an old dog at home, and my folks write and tell me she sleeps outside my window at night, waiting for me to come home.  Someday we’re going to run and play in the woods and fields again.  She’ll bark and run wide circles, and dare me to catch her.  I will laugh under the autumn leaves.  But now my nights are glaring darkness, fits of sweat-soaked half-sleep, then sirens and falling glares and falling mortars, and then the Godawful racket of all our engines of destruction.  There isn’t any use in all this.
I’m scared, and I want to go home.

And I don’t want any ham and lima beans.

CREED

We believe in the Land of the Big PX
In presidents in suits, and generals,
In makers of economic strategies
We believe in flak jackets and .45s and peace

We believe in swing ships and dust-offs, yes
In the dark, green omnipresent Huey
Eternally begotten of technology
Blades to rotor, windscreen to machine guns
Made, not begotten, one in being with us
Through it all things are transported to us
For us men and our hunger and our hope
It comes down from the skies
By the high power of technology
It was born of the long assembly line

For whose sake are we crucified today?
Who suffers, and who dies and is baggied?
And on the third will arrive back home
To be neatly packaged in stainless steel

But not in ham and lima beans

LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST

Preparation of the Gifts

Celebrant:

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
Through your goodness we have this cheap Algerian wine to offer,
Fruit of the vine and work of human hands.
It will become anaesthesia for our souls.

People:

Blessed be…we just don’t know

Celebrant:

Pray, brothers, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father, to somebody.  Maybe.

People:

May the Lord, or the baggies, accept the sacrifice we offer with
our own burnt hands
For the praise and glory of…of what?
For our good, and the good of all His Church.

PRAYER OVER THE GITS

Little green cans, and I don’t care
Little green cans, and I don’t care
Little green cans, and I don’t care
Air cover’s gone away.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

Preface for the Monsoon Season:

Father, all-powerful
And ever-living God,
We do well always and everywhere
To give You thanks
Through Jesus God our Lord
Even with diarrhea
thanks
When the mail doesn’t come
thanks
When we rot
thanks
When the heat ***** at our brains
thanks
When the mud ***** at our boots
thanks
When the horror ***** at our souls
thanks
We’re alive
thanks

SANCTUS

Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might
The bunkers are full of blood and death.
Hosanna in the mud.  Blessed is he who comes with the mail.  Hosanna in the mud.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

The Kien Tuong Province Canon:

A sailor is silhouetted against the dawn
Along a steamy river
Mostly helmet and flak jacket
Above dark plastic gunwales

The sailor has lost his New Testament
But there’s a ******* around somewhere
Naked, willing women –
Miss March wants to be an actress

He also carries an old plastic Rosary
To touch occasionally
While whispering a hurried Hail Mary
He hopes She understands

Those who in bell-bottoms and head-bands
Fight Fascism
In Sociology 201
Will never forgive him

A sailor is silhouetted against the dawn
This day he is to be elevated
His body broken and his blood shed
For you and for all men

OUR FATHER

Our Father, who art in Heaven
this ain’t it
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
this ain’t it
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day…
not ham and lima beans
And forgive us our trespasses
as we shoot them that trespass against us
And lead us not into ambush
But deliver us from evil

SIGN OF PEACE

Peace on you.

AGNUS DEI

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy….

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: grant us peace.

Priest:

(But there is no priest)

People:  

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you,
But only say the word and I shall be killed.

COMMUNION ANTIPHON

They ate, and were not satisfied
They killed, and were not without fear.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Lord,
If we do not get out of this
Make some sense of it to those who remain
May we go home.  Home.  Or if not,
Take us unto you, in mercy.
Home.  Where you reign, for you are Lord
Forever and ever.  Amen

BLESSING

May you walk on grass that does not explode
May you sleep without rot
Without fear
May you never see or smell ham and lima beans again.
May you live
May you play with puppies
May you find forgetfulness
May you find peace
In the Name of Him who took your death for you

DISMISSAL

This is to certify that____is Honorably Discharged from the____on theday of____.  This certificate is awarded as a testimonial of Honest and Faithful Service.

CLOSING HYMN

Old men, smoking in the sunshine
Exiled outside the doors of life
Old uniforms, old pajamas
The chrome of wheelchairs, shiny, bright

Inside, polished wooden handrails
Line the hot, polished passages
Something to cling to on the way
To the lab, to x-ray, to death

And more old men, shuffling along
In a querulous route-step march
From Normandy, from The Cho-sen,
From the Vam Co Tay, from the deserts,
Past the A.I.D.S. ward and the union signs
On waxed floors to eternity

Portions previous published:

“Closing Hymn” is from “Outpatient Surgery – Veterans’ Hospital,” Juried Award, Houston Poetry Fest 1993

“In the Cold White Mist” is a Juried Award, Houston Poetry Fest 1991

“Old Man, Viet-Nam,” was published in Pulse, Lamar University, 1982
Terry O'Leary Dec 2015
1.        Eugene And the Pumpkin Pie

Wee Eugene's but a lonely boy
(arrayed in cap and corduroy),
has Jungle Jim (a ragged toy)
and fancied Friends his only joy.

Well, Jim appears from time to time
behind a pane of pantomime,
a charmed mirage, or dream sublime
inside a Cuckoo's nursery rhyme.

Still Eugene always finds a way
(while riding on his magic Sleigh)
to meet with Jim somewhere halfway
between the Moon and Yesterday.

When Jim brought Eu to Timbuktu
to kiss the Queen (a Kangaroo)
and tweak her tail (bright shiny blue),
Eu sneezed instead “achoo, achoo”.  

The baby Roo, surprised, awoke
and thought 'twas but a funny joke
beholding Eugene cough and choke...
well, sounding like old Froggy's croak.

Said Jim to Roo "Eu has a cold,
we mustn't laugh, we mustn't scold
instead we'll let the tale unfold
and frolic in the marigold".

With runny eyes and mighty sniffle
Eu could hardly get a whiffle,
climbed a hill to reach the cliffle ,
searched the sea for ship or skiffle.

Behind the breeze, some sloops were seen,
a grand delight that pleased Eugene,
and Jim, and Roo, and yes, the Queen;
they then set sail for Halloween.

Above the sea, below the sky
they saw a skinny Scarecrow fly -
within its beak (one couldn't deny),
surprise, surprise, a Pumpkin Pie!

The Scarecrow wore a veil and shawl
so really couldn't see at all
and swooped too near the sunny ball,
got grilled and let the pastry fall,

which bounced upon the waves below,
then slid beneath the undertow.
"Why did it fall, where did it go?"
cried Eugene with a gasp of woe.

Roo wondered would it reappear
(for where it went was certainly queer),
but where it went became quite clear
to Eu and Jim while standing near

the Queen who, hungry, hopped awhile
observing Crunch the Crocodile
come floating down the river Nil
with belly full and toothy smile.

2.        Eugene and the Wolverine

Within the sandbox played Eugene,
as well, his little friend named Dean,
a simple-minded Wolverine.

But yesterday was Halloween
when they collected sweets unseen,
all stuffed inside a sad Sardine.

And making sure their hands were clean,
they shared a snack - a tangerine,
a cantaloupe and big fat bean.

But they forgot the Sandbox Queen
whose hungry name was sweet Pauline -
with no invite she felt so mean
and woke the naughty Sand Machine.

Sand trickled in their fine cuisine
which scratched their gums and set the scene
to brush their teeth and in between.

Poor Dean was sad he hadn’t seen
the sandy specks with sparkly sheen,
all hidden like a submarine.

Eu sold his cookie magazine
And bought a brand new limousine
To flee the naughty Sand Machine.

Next time their food they’ll try to screen
from something hard and unforeseen
while tapping on a tambourine
to sooth the hungry Sandbox Queen
and trick the naughty Sand Machine.


3.        Eugene and Antoine

Eugene awoke and looked upon
his Mirror in the morning Dawn.
He saw himself and stopped to yawn
then saw instead his friend Antoine.

Well Antoine said ‘come in, come on
I’ll whisk you with this Magic Wand
then we can journey to the Pond
and sail astride the Silver Swan’.

And once inside the Looking Glass
amazing conquests came to pass
before the midday hourglass
released its sands upon the grass.

Well, first they sought and found the Pond
and hypnotized the Silver Swan
to sail them to the edge beyond,
to Charles, the Froggy Vagabond.

Well Charles was said to be ‘a King’
(whose Crown was hanging from a String)
while hopping with a golden Ring
just waiting for a Kiss in Spring.

Now Antoine said he’d kiss ‘the King’,
(or better said, ‘the Froggy Thing’)
but Eu refused to do such thing
unless the Frog removed the Ring.

The Ring transfixed poor Froggy’s Nose
instead of round his tiny Toes
to keep away the Midnight Crows
(as far as anybody knows).

When Froggy’s Nose was finally free
there was a sudden kissing spree
with Ant and Eu (and Swan made three)
to fix old Froggy’s Destiny.

The Rest is rather imprecise.
As to the trio’s Sacrifice,
the facts alone should now suffice -
the Pond and Froggy turned to ice!

And Swan became a Toucan Bird,
the strangest thing I ever heard,
instead of chirp she only purred
and even then she sometimes slurred.

Though Charles the Frog was mighty cold,
upon the Pond he stiffly strolled
behind the The Ring that slowly rolled
in search of one more nose to hold.

Well, Eu watched Antoine set the Pace
when beating Toucan in the Race
to seek and find a warmer Space
in front of Mother’s Fireplace.

So Antoine waved his charmed Baton
and whisked Eu back to Mum’s Salon -
But looking back, Eu’s friend was yon
behind the silvered Amazon.


4.            Eugene and the Milky Way

Eugene stayed in to play today
inside his secret hideaway;
he laughed and ate a Milky Way
with little fear of tooth decay.

But Dean, his friend, was far away
just driving in a Chevrolet
and didn't wish to disobey
so hurried home with no delay.

What took so long, I couldn't say
but Dean came late, in disarray -
he'd lost, alas, the Milky Way
that he had hidden Yesterday.

When asked, Eugene led Dean astray
about the missing Milky Way,
blamed Pauline in her negligee
who'd fed her little Popinjay.

Then Dean said sadly, in dismay,
"It was a gift for your birthday".
Well Eu felt bad, no longer gay
and offered Dean ice cream frappé.

Soon afterwards they romped in hay
beside the forest near the bay;
but when the sky turned somewhat gray
they flew back home to hide away.

At home, with all his toys at play,
Eugene confessed to Dean, to say
"Dear Dean, look here, I can't betray,
I ate the sweet, it made my day."

Said Dean, "I knew it anyway,
I saw the traces straightaway,
your chocolate lips, the giveaway;
but we're best friends, so that's OK."


5.         Eugene and the Gold Doubloon

Eugene took his nap at noon
and dreamt about Loraine the Loon
reclining in the long Lagoon
adorned in birdie pantaloons.

Then Eu suggested to the Loon
“Let’s pay a visit to the Dune
we’ll search and seek and very soon
we’ll find a shiny Gold Doubloon.”

But naughty Sand Machine typhoons
arrived and whisked them to the Moon
and left the playmate pals marooned
where gold of pirate ships was strewn.

Pale moonbeams played a mystic tune,
and touching on a magic rune,
Wee Eu, he found a pink harpoon
and in his hand a Gold Doubloon.

Instead of sitting on cocoons,
Loraine, she hatched the Gold Doubloon
when suddenly popped a blue Balloon
revealing Royce the red Raccoon.

Well Eu, awaking from his swoon,
was sad he’d lost the Gold Doubloon.
Instead he found a Macaroon
and munched and munched all afternoon.


6.        Eugene and the Dragonfly

When Eugene climbed a mountain high
and wandered down a dale nearby,
he came upon Doug Dragonfly
asleep beside a Tiger’s eye.

Soon Eu was thinking “Now’s the time
to take a rest from my long climb
and waken Doug to tell him I’m
about to pick a bunch of thyme”.

But Doug was quite a grumpy guy
when woken from his dream whereby
he’s dancing with a Butterfly
in magic realms that mystify.

So Doug complained “My dream's now gone
of dancing to the carillon
with Butterflies upon the lawn,
which won’t come back until I yawn.”

Then Eugene said “Well I know what!
A mug of tea and hazelnuts
served with a chocolate Buttercup
will surely help to cheer you up!”

Thereafter, picking tufts of thyme,
they heard the distant bluebells chime
and watched the Fairies pantomime
and dance till Eugene’s suppertime.


7.        Eugene and the Eskimo

Not so very long ago,
a bit before the morning’s glow,
Wee Eugene met an Eskimo
while trudging through the windblown snow.

Bedecked in boots and winter fur,
the Eskimo said “I’m Jack Spur.
Or call me Jack if you prefer,
it might be somewhat easier.”

Soon Jack was passing by to say
“Well could you help me find my way
back through the door to Yesterday,
to where I left my silver Sleigh?”

So Eugene said “I’ll come along,
but listen, hear the breakfast gong,
my Mama’s made the porridge strong
and chocolate milk, if I’m not wrong.”

So, filled with porridge to the brim
and feeling vigor, full of vim,
Wee Eu called Jack and said to him
“Well now we’ll travel on a whim.”

While seeking Yesterday and more
they searched an unseen corridor.
Somewhere behind the mirrored door
was Yesterday, the day before!

Without a fear they slid within,
with Jackie playing violin.
And Moon above was seen to grin
’cause Jackie’s tune was kind of thin.

Though searching long to find the Sleigh
they heard instead an echo stray
quite sounding like the Donkey’s bray,
the Donkey’s bray of Yesterday.

The Donkey’d left to find some food -
well, something fresh and not yet chewed
by Fran the Cow that always mooed
(and sometimes burped when she was rude).

The Sleigh was at the Donkey’s back
and nowhere’s near the railway track,
so Jack took Eugene piggyback,
just stopping once to eat a snack.

The Donkey heard the munch of chips
and wondered if his hungry lips
would ever taste some bacon strips
before the midnight Moon Eclipse.

Well Fran and Donkey, unforeseen,
found Jack at lunch with Wee Eugene
and shared a mighty fine cuisine,
provided by the Sandbox Queen.

Well ,Franny chewed her little cud
and Donkey ate a shiny spud,
and Jacky said “Now we must scud
before the coming springtime flood".

So Jack jumped back upon his Sleigh,
the Donkey droned a farewell bray,
(and Franny burped, need I to say?)
while Eu returned from Yesterday,
surprised to hear his Mother say
“Well, now it’s time for you to play!”


8.        Eugene and the Christmas Tree

Eugene awoke on Christmas morn
to find the Christmas Tree'd been shorn
and presents strewn around, forlorn,
midst bows and tinselled paper torn.

So blowing on his little Horn,
Eu called Eunice, the Unicorn.
The duo flew away airborne
(straped to Eu's side his Sword, a Thorn).

Escaping back to Yesterday,
in search of thyme and Santa's Sleigh,
Eu sought to brave the grinchy Fay,
reclaim the joy of Christmas Day .

Then Eunice and the Reindeer Corps
chased fey Fay to a sandy Shore
where Santa banned forevermore
the Fay to mop and scrub the floor.

Then Santa iced the windowpane
(thus waking Eu from dreams again),
left gifts arrayed, and candy cane,
beneath a Tree with candled mane.
Tyler A Sullivan Feb 2018
TURN OF THE SEASON

For Friends and Family


Then be not coy, but use your time;
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
                                          -Robert Herrick

Intoxicated nights of orange halogen lights-
Illuminating through misty blown water.
As the April breeze ruffles the newly sprung leaves upon the trees,
Men pour malted liquor inside clandestine cellars of tuxedo staff and obsequious waitresses

Echoes of an engine shuffles on down the alley,
Startled it hides in the cornered places.
Men enclosed in smoke talk of days of old-
And better times,
And many men before and after grasp the image of their obscured faces.

Woman go about chatting of useless things and waste the night away.
Men sit about playing games of little meaning and waste the night away.
Both will head to familiar places at mornings first rays
And April effortlessly falls into May

And many men before and after grasp the image of their obscured faces
Slowly trudging through the paces
Slowly they tighten their laces

And set out for another monotony dipped day

Planting their ears to the ground listening
And many things they'll hear and say
With many hindsight memories in their mind glistening
And their lovers will whisper are you listening
And they'll say "yes yes my dear have no fear I am here"

And many men before and after grasp the image of their obscured faces
And they'll make many a plan and in cases
And step over cracks in fear of dark places


The clink of a glass carries on down the hall
The bartender while wiping the counter yells
"Last call"
And they'll retort "for what reason"
And he "none at all"
Then the bar goes the way of the shopping mall
And summer slips effortlessly into fall

What reasons can they make when the night is through
When it's time to wake what will they do

As the days retreat with their hairline
And each mirror more distortive than the last
They'll retreat further, further into their mind
And what will they find
With their sanity fleeting fast
A desperate thought floating in the breeze
A candle to thaw the freeze


Intoxicated nights of solemn solitude
Tucked in the back thoughts of a lonely suburb
Trying arduously to abandon actuality
But failing and jumping the curb

And many men before and after grasp the image of their obscured faces
"Sorry love they're not home I'm afraid"
"They've gone to the races"
Each two lovers in two different places

Rest assured rest assured they'll return
They'll unconsciously sell their freedom
Rest assured rest assured they'll return
At this moment they are Carpe Diem

Rest assured rest assured
They'll be plenty of time
To fumble with furniture
Plenty of time
To spend with her
Plenty of time to waste
Plenty of love to give
Now's to go slow not make haste
Now's to go slow and live


And they'll remember childhood
As a warm August kiss
And where their feet stood
And what they missed
And when the leaves
Upon the trees
Fall down down down
To rise to their knees
They'll remember who they are
And who they use to be


So, before you grow old
And wilt away
And the December cold
Melts the summer’s day
Enjoy what you have
For what you have is to enjoy
For what you haven't
Are merely foolish toys

This summer began as the last one did
And will end when Autumn bids
With the sun and stars above for you to see
Run around like children in the heat of lunacy
...


Though I've fasted and wept,
Wept and prayed
And stayed stoic long
Through passing day
And bards’ men song
I can never,
Never truly say
I have achieved arête

No, I'm not the son of Xanthippus
Who instigated the apogee of Athens
The past beacons of Atticus
Dims my own ember passions

Though I've loved and lost
Loved and lusted
Won a few
Others busted
Though I've seen the world at the needle point,
With all the sordid souls suffering
I've lived like Cummings
The farthest extent of emotions
I've kept a drug induced devotion
But never could I stop from wondering
Never could cease sundering

I've seen the valleys of my life
Where the flowers are disseminated like t.v. static
And the only sound a high tinnitus pitch
They've said go, Go I don't love you anymore
Not pretty enough to be a poem
Not intelligent enough to be of any use

Though I've smiled and agreed
Agreed and died
Through all this hell
I have tried
...



They're troubled tonight
Their restless gaze fails to penetrate the maw of a darkened window-

To have
To have not

To operate in the probity of normality
To practice trembling sobriety
To lose an arm for the ones you love
To have in heart the morning dove,

Assures that come evening tide
Through shroud and delusion
Secrets the world shall confide
And lift your illusion
...

The very next morning
Or so it would seem
Awoke the old men
Rendering a dream

Patiently focusing
For a clearer account
The words from the past
They seemed to mount
And as they pressed closer
Not to be deterred
It crested their mind
And then they heard

"Soured metal, rotted walls
Darkness hangs from hall to hall
Broken bonds burning ambitions
A feeling half held until fruition

Life a moment
A last choking breath
Happiness a second
Before eternal death

We exist only
In the time between
A hint of joy
Goes often unseen

Until again
The crest breaks
And life slips by
But leaves no wake

Such was the tale
Of the great eluder
A hidden knife
A dark intruder

A ****** thorn
Upon the rose
A heap of sand
At the toes

Left undone
The last request
Above the head
The water crest"

Intolerable mornings of required communion
Accompanied with formulated phrases
Men limp from church
Their mind wondering
Far from there
To their childhood breakfast table
Breathing the memory becomes stable
They hold on to it as long as they are able
Plates of porcelain
Decorate the wall
Floral patterns swirling to the center
Across the room mother enters
The image wavers and ripples like water disturbed by a pebble
"Honey set the table
Get the biscuits, gravy, ladle."
Set the trays down equal from the middle, a cup to the left, forks and knifes to the right-
Get those filthy boon dockers off my floor and out of sight
Go get your brother without causing a fight
BREAKFAST TIME
Rise and shine on the biscuit line
BREAKFAST TIME
The sun is up and shining
The coffee is on and the bacon frying"

The memory dissipated into a fleecy cloud.
It hangs heavy on their heads.
Remnants of yesterday remembered in indignation
When slipping off to bed.

I'm in the December of my days
And stuck fast in my stubborn ways
If only I could grasp youth for longer
If only my frail body were stronger

If only I were confronted again with every last myriad encounter where I chose reticence
Opposed to openness
My martial mind refuses any peacefulness
Perhaps the reason of my restlessness
...

Shaking off the foreboding dream
A distant luminary seemed to gleam
An old man frail but proud
He spoke a poetic oration aloud

"My head is swollen, my mind it wanders
My tongue is twisted stumbling it stutters
My thoughts are lost in the colliding clutter
My meaning is lost under soft mutters

My smile shields my solemnness
My eyes reveal my weariness
I am a man of little happiness
But refuse to possess helplessness

I am as I decree
An old man wrapped in misery
But not one broken to submission
Just one in a transition

I have tasted the bitters of love
Witnessed the horrors of death
I have choked my linen dove
To its final breath

No, I am not a careless senior
Full of content
Shriveled in demeanor
Mind absent

I'm dying not dead
No resolving to expiration
Living instead
No meeting expectation
No bowing my head

In credence I say
I'm living for today

No consideration for tomorrow
No more drowning in sorrow"

...


The day was overcast
Fitting the mood
Black suits stood in formation
While the lucky ones heaved their load.

"He was not an exceptional man

Not one of great worth
No wife, no kids, no friends.

To an outside eye it would seem as a waste
And maybe it was
But that's the nature of things to end abruptly
On a minor note"
Written by
Tyler A. Sullivan
Robert Kite Jun 2014
Be oh so careful
My child
Lest you fall into
This same trench filled to the top
With depression
With self-hate
With abhorrence for the world

It never ends
Oh it never ends
It never ends

You think you can crawl out
You have already filled your head
With far too great an illusion
Of hope
There's no climbing out
The top has a glass cover
We're in Hell's prison
And God knows we'll never escape
It's walls

When you first fall through
Deep down into these depths
You don't know where to go
Everything is wrong
You can't say no
You can't just sing a sad song
But with time you figure out which trench
Is just right
But no one ever really picks right
We always pick what cuts the deepest

Words are powerful
And being able
To wield words is no different
Than a sword or a gun or any other weapon
Words will always be used as weapons
Because words is the name
Of one of the oldest places
In this sordid depression in this planet

The sound of
Words
Fades away
So soon
But the remnants
Cut like daggers
Straight down to the heart
From the mouth of those
Who let hate spill from their lips
Like venom from a viper's fangs

A venom so thick
And so abundant
Makes a pool we cannot swim out of
Trapping us like quicksand
Assimilating us into itself
So far in that we cannot remember ourselves
But only the intoxicated remnants of which remain

Our body's and our mind's
No longer our own
But belonging to the void
That this hopeless pointless life has become

Inside the void you only fall
Forever wondering when you'll meet the bottom
With quite the impression
You'll leave in the ground
Your body won't be altogether
But then again you mind wasn't in one piece either
Broken down along with your spirit
From all the pain you long endured

With no body to tether you to the ground
You go to see you can fly
You can
So you aim for the sky
But the glass atop the trench
Still holds you in your place
Always reminding you that
You did not die completely
Because at your time of demise
Part of you was already dead
ryn Aug 2014
Hold my hand
And lead me through
Traverse this land
Together we two.

Over unknown terrains
Under weeping skies
Through unforgiving plains
Through pain and lies.

Between grieving mountains
And screaming valleys
Feeding fevered delusions
Fraught with delays and tarries.

Beyond the hills and knolls
Hopeful of salvation
Surviving pits and falls
Not knowing the destination.

My hand still in yours
An arduous odyssey
Must stay the course
Must complete this journey.

Bright skies up ahead
Or so they promise
Soon shall pass they said
Soon will come release.

Still in this; still walking
Not soon expecting the end
Still in this; still trudging
Round this obscured treacherous bend.

Doubtful mad endeavour
I dragged you with me
When this finally is over
We'll look back and see.

Glad that we were together
Glad that together we came
Never cease from being near
Keep holding my hand, just the same.
spysgrandson Jun 2013
“Beautifully Oppressive”

she called my work
“beautifully oppressive”  
did she mean like the stifling pall
of equatorial heat?  
what lines had I writ
to elicit such truthful and prodigious
adverbs and adjectives?  
I can not recall being more flattered  
or believing more that it mattered  
what one said of my
delirious desultory delusions,
my petty pecking indulgences…
I believe I was recalling a dream  
that spoke of elusive, fickle salvation,  
the perennial  curse of the chosen ******,
and their haunting hunger for implacable peace  
when I evoked that response from her  
“beautifully oppressive” to feel such a fate?  
the promise of heaven for those trudging through hell?  
what other beautiful oppressive story could I tell?
I wrote a poem about a dream and victoria from Hello Poetry called it "Beautifully oppressive"--I felt the comment was high praise given that I generally only shoot for "mildly depressing"
The Serpent squeezes the mundane egg, for a moment in time,
…to begin the ages, turn the wheel, and so begin the rhyme,

The circus has commenced, a dancing, swirling motion,
…a pit of ghastly horrors, seen as a vast deep ocean,
…or celestial or cosmic, as some would have the notion.

Some of them were large, although some were also small,
…and grotesquely figured or disfigured, a scary monster’s ball,
…and trudging, stampeding, stomping or slithering down the hall.

There they danced, sang or prattled, where giants fought and where they battled, …thunder unto heroes rattled, with awful screams so frightening, and terrifying lightning!

Scaly, hairy or feathered, wet and fiery or weathered,
…conjoined, twisted or tethered, slithery writhing together,

Kingu and his wife, some say it was t’was his mother,
…his plan was war and strife, pitting brother against brother,

A ******* existence and so morally depraved,
…a state of sickly persistence, they found themselves enslaved.

Then abounding voice of heaven, that divided night by day,
…brought forth a princely king of Luke; the warrior Marduk.

Fourteen engaged in combat, the one against thirteen,
…and thus aligned with the ecliptic, at night they can be seen,  

Sloshing in the Apsu, beaten with the club,
…slain and torn to pieces, cutting channels of their blood,

A north wind sent them to their places, fixed on Tiamat’s wheel,
…and the starry constellations, did Marduk bring to heel.
The Sumerian story of creation is the source of St. John's Apocalypse and it is the story of the Dragon Tiamat and her unholy son, Kingu, who go to war with the earth and are defeated by the son of god, the son of the Sun itself(Marduk). "Marduk," means, "High Prince," but signifies west, shining and high as-in the heavens. West was used as a moniker or symbol for the sun since it rested each day in it's kingdom in the west.

The, "one against thirteen," means the Sun versus the twelve signs of the Zodiac and space itself or the Dragon. It is an ancient term.
717

The Beggar Lad—dies early—
It’s Somewhat in the Cold—
And Somewhat in the Trudging feet—
And haply, in the World—

The Cruel—smiling—bowing World—
That took its Cambric Way—
Nor heard the timid cry for “Bread”—
“Sweet Lady—Charity”—

Among Redeemed Children
If Trudging feet may stand
The Barefoot time forgotten—so—
The Sleet—the bitter Wind—

The Childish Hands that teased for Pence
Lifted adoring—them—
To Him whom never Ragged—Coat
Did supplicate in vain—
Anand Apr 2014
To excel is like climbing a mighty mound
So dreary it seems trudging the desolated road,
But I've grown too weary doing inconsequential things.
Lazy to walk, craving for a comfy abode.

Though it's only disinterest that crosses my way
Like a torrent of the mountain creek,
Drowning me in trifling thoughts,
making my journey all the more bleak.

Hope I could find a tree along,
Bloomed with evergreen pomes
Of passion and perseverance.
I'd love to nibble at them for sure,
And regain my lost endurance.

I know I could transcend my limits
And ascend this arduous rock,
If only I took the first step
And started to walk.
i go through this daily plot
waking, working, trudging
first world ease, office walls
wheeled chairs

afternoon run
tupperware lunch
dinner the night before

home again, dinner
dishes again,
play again,
daughter picks up
new phrases, new looks
vegetable strainer toy
"umbrella," she says

i see those eyes, my wife's
and i wonder

what is this place?
these walls, these roads,
those sitka pines and shrinking
glaciers?

how 'm i supposed to be a father
with all these things stretching out
vaster than reason, than comprehension

those talking heads, ranting this or that
liberty's *****, freedom's snatched,
the world warms, the world cools

Filipinos scream in the face  of angry
winds, the prim cut weatherman wildly
gestures at a colorful map, powerful
he says, historic
he says

more dripping mouthes,
government want guns now,
more money to ****** our phones
to send unmanned drones

our president's muhammad,
or jesus, or kenyan, or raciest
a genius or incompetent
everyone knows

just back home
a tiny algae grows and foams
thrashing in the autumn water
brown oxygen choking life
never found on our shores before
kills fish,

i imagine so much more

i hold my daughter in my lap
reading mother goose,
run my hand through her
thin smooth hair,
sometimes afraid
of what she'll see and hear
with her mother's eyes
and her father's ears
Ralph E Peck Dec 2011
Efforts run a trickling stream and Good Intentions leap a head, Dedication fights the hardy fight
Lackadaisical rides the flow.  Respite comes up fare, Desire strives ever forward, only few will
Make the race, but Doing lags behind.  Effort holds up, slowing a tiny bit the end not yet in sight
Good Intentions has already died, Dedication surges toward the finish.

The finish line is not so far, Lacky fell off quick, Respite finds one or two, Desire is crawling, Effort
Is right behind, Dedication takes the easy way out.  Doing is plodding, trudging up the hill, but, picks
Up Desire before it falls...Effort is gone, some laugh, laugh at the race, but winning is None the Less
with Doing and Desire right along.
Children, I come back today
To tell you a story of the long dark way
That I had to climb, that I had to know
In order that the race might live and grow.
Look at my face -- dark as the night --  
Yet shining like the sun with love's true light.
I am the dark girl who crossed the red sea
Carrying in my body the seed of the free.
I am the woman who worked in the field
Bringing the cotton and the corn to yield.
I am the one who labored as a slave,
Beaten and mistreated for the work that I gave --  
Children sold away from me, I'm husband sold, too.
No safety , no love, no respect was I due.

Three hundred years in the deepest South:
But God put a song and a prayer in my mouth .
God put a dream like steel in my soul.
Now, through my children, I'm reaching the goal.

Now, through my children, young and free,
I realized the blessing deed to me.
I couldn't read then. I couldn't write.
I had nothing, back there in the night.
Sometimes, the valley was filled with tears,
But I kept trudging on through the lonely years.
Sometimes, the road was hot with the sun,
But I had to keep on till my work was done:
I had to keep on! No stopping for me --  
I was the seed of the coming Free.
I nourished the dream that nothing could smother
Deep in my breast -- the ***** mother.
I had only hope then , but now through you,
Dark ones of today, my dreams must come true:
All you dark children in the world out there,
Remember my sweat, my pain, my despair.
Remember my years, heavy with sorrow --  
And make of those years a torch for tomorrow.
Make of my pass a road to the light
Out of the darkness, the ignorance, the night.
Lift high my banner out of the dust.
Stand like free men supporting my trust.
Believe in the right, let none push you back.
Remember the whip and the slaver's track.
Remember how the strong in struggle and strife
Still bar you the way, and deny you life --  
But march ever forward, breaking down bars.
Look ever upward at the sun and the stars.
Oh, my dark children, may my dreams and my prayers
Impel you forever up the great stairs --  
For I will be with you till no white brother
Dares keep down the children of the ***** Mother.
Leah Hervoly Dec 2012
The day I knew you died
was the day my brother called
and the day the cat left a half-eaten mouse on the front porch.
Its tail was still there,
and a little bit of pink intestine,
like an exclamation mark.
I swore silently.
Trudging toward the back field that evening,
(the mosquitoes were a *****),
I found you in the creek,
half submerged with your *** in the air.
You were covered in dirt and blood.
I put my hands on my hips and swore again.
I could see even from where I was standing
that your windshield was smashed all to hell
and your right front tire was punctured.
I would never ride with you again,
never share those starry skies
as we passed bloated raccoons
and greasy ditches.
Anger lurked behind my eyes.
Your killer was lying a few feet away,
Three broken legs
and a shattered back,
with glassy eyes that stared blankly up at the sky.
In a few days I would have its antlers above the mantelpiece.
But meanwhile
I looked at my brother,
who was standing there sheepishly,
two unbroken hands shoved in his deep denim pockets,
and told him he was paying for the tow.
Jake Espinoza Dec 2012
Nights pass and I pick away at my skin.
Supine in this hallowed hollow of unwashed bedsheets and detritus
Spending my time, the most precious currency to date, trudging through virtual stacks of head shots of those I've known or half-known.
A healthy reminder that you are alone.
You are behind.
You ****** up early, kid.
You are behind in some sense, even if half the acquaintances pleasant or otherwise in your class are working jobs not much better than yours.
What I really hate is seeing joy.
Seeing these people and their ****** happiness, it's great.
    Really strengthens the misanthropic beast I've been feeding all week
    And it feels good, anger
Especially when the only other things I'm used to feeling are
    worried or
    bored
So its nice to indulge, I guess
I don't have to look for something to fuel my complaints, my bitter unwarranted jealousy –
    that's an annoying component –
    the awareness –
    this would all be much more enjoyable if I didn't notice these things about myself
but noticing is a habit I've nourished
    for years far exceeding
    the time spent with a cigarette between my fingers
I'd like to revise this eventually, but I'm sure it won't happen for a while. So, enjoy.
Lyra Brown Jul 2013
i was leaning against the wall
waiting to use the washroom
and then i looked up
and you were standing there
and a flood of joy came rushing through
the tiny cracks of my open heart,
for you were the only person i wanted to see
and the last person i thought i would ever see
in that place in that moment at that time
and i couldn’t stop hugging you
because i could see in your eyes
that you loved me, too.
Love is something that cannot be expressed simply by saying the words
"i love you" - it is in actions, often quiet ones,
that guide us toward some kind of intangible light
that we don’t know a name for other than some kind
of God. You have that effect on me, and it is a gift
to simply be in your presence. I can confidently say
that you have changed my life, and can honestly say
that you have also saved it.
I watch you
give and give and give and never run out
of love.
You make me want to grow out of my cocoon
and into
the beautiful butterfly of a woman
that you truly, beautifully, absolutely
are.
You said that i am a special girl
and i like to think that that is because
i have been touched by you.
L B Dec 2016
Is it my priestly duty
to be denied?
love—time and all else, at all cost!
while he went home alone to watch a movie?

Another victim  
sacrificed
having squandered all my pieces in his game?
Trudging home
along the river
slow, in snow
I parse my losses

At the outskirts of a homeless camp
I pause below a viaduct
hauling passion by a leash
warming hands
avoiding hovel-eyes
Flames flicker on our faces
receiving absolution over embers
of a burning embrace

There trace
in glowing holocaust of skids
in human bleatings and crumblings
our smoke rises— pure   obscure
Appease with *****-blur
the icy, stinging God of winter stars...

G’nights inaudible as blessing

Am I derelict enough to be worthy?
Fallen far enough?
from the porches of prosperity?
to escape it all?
That wedding white
the newborn’s head
that numbing denial of decay?

Am I depraved enough to make it?
to the pages of your tragedy— minus poetry?

But the angel said
“The poetry’s more!”

Than leaving me—beyond you

...in the shambles of my words
Lorna Lornelia Sep 2016
Imagine waking up on a filthy, uneven floor -
light coming solely through the flimsy wooden wall.

Imagine trudging through the mud barefoot -
mud merged with remnants of God knows who.

Imagine breathing in thick layers of sooty dust -
the colors sullen, lifeless and dull.

Imagine smelling the scent of faeces and decay,
of diseases and of death every single day.

Imagine your belly gurgling with hunger and distraught,
sniffing glue - the only way to delude.

Imagine walking on rickety bridges -
a step amiss and drown you will in these murky watery ditches.

Imagine wearing the same old rags - all tattered and torn,
being beaten and battered, no rights of which to call your own.

Imagine having silly daydreams of going to school
but there's not a penny to spare - not even for a worn-out book.

But alas, imagine no more for such children exist,
with ghosts clouding their starry dreams
And death hanging heavy upon their tiny, little feet.

— The End —