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Long Poems
Long poem by Christine Phillips | Details |

Souls On Fire

We have been observing the expanse of the parched land for many years, a land that stood the test of time and captivated by myriad dreams unfolding through the footsteps of the ages thus penetrating our lives. We gazed at the vast mountains and high lands with its luscious vegetation stretching thousands of miles from across them, Autumn on one side, Summer on the other, and Spring reluctantly emerging from a gruesome Winter that paralyzed the inhabitance of nature, stripping it from its wholesome prominence while it convalesce from the battered and bruised earth. 

We languished at the sudden disappearance of the water valley and the vast landscape around it. As far as our mind could reach, and as far as our feet could travel we trod upon the visible land within our reach. Land that has never been inhabited stared at us; land that has never been farmed is waiting to be ploughed. I could hear my great, great, grandfather and my grandfather before him shouting at the boys to get out of bed, harnessed the horses and start plowing the land again. 

We reminisce over acres of lands that our ancestors have fought for, land that spilled blood and claim the lives of innocent souls and fearless warriors, land that expands from ten generation, stood before us bare and empty, weeping for the souls who have fought furiously to preserve them. 

This land that has fed us for more than a hundred years lay waste before our naked eyes, the land that God gave us to feed the next generation has been sold out to strangers. The land is infested with dilapidated old building and at the whistle of the wind they are destined to collapse. They spread out all around the city and is inhabited by ruthless strangers and priced high despite their aging structure.

We lament the days spent on this land but foresee hope for the future. We searched for the farms, but they have disappeared, we look for the streams but they have dried up. Our bodies are polluted with toxic substance from contaminated food washing up on our shores from the other side of the globe, food unfit for human consumption have replaced the natural food on our grandfather's farm.

Oh great God that watches from every corner of the earth, extend your mercies and cause the land to flourish once more. You have given us land so that we can eat; you have given us land so that we can have enough in time of drought. You hold the universe securely in the palm of your hand and expand it so that it can reach everyone. The land is precious in your hand, no one can bargain for it and no price can be paid for it. 

When everything is stripped away, and the money diminishes, when our strength fails the land is here to stay. This is the land that will feed the younger generation; this is the land that will produce our crops. Powerful God, proliferate the land once again, mend the broken edges, and rescue your children who have been doped with hatred, intoxicated with bitterness and sedated with evil desires. Empower them and eradicate the poisonous substance from their perishing souls.

We gazed at the vastness penetrating the earth, and see land waiting to be occupied exposed to brutality, exasperate with atrocities and evil works. Great big God, save your children from the open gutters and trenches that awaits them, save the mothers, their suckling and toddlers who have been ravished from their homes and recruited into ruthless activities to torment and demoralize innocent people’s minds. Save them from the snares that await them, the tribulations surrounding their homes and the pestilence that seeks after their souls. 

We traveled the entire land, and hear you calling out the young men to till the ground. We can hear you beckoning the young men to throw down their weapons, clean up the garbage and farm on their grandfather’s land. They can hear you but they are too fragile to comply; they have weakened themselves with substances that make them vulnerable and unreliable. Emerge you powerless youth, transpire from your defenseless state, purge your body with clean drinking water and start cultivating the land again.
 
What else do we have but the land that you have given us? No one can take it away from us because it belongs to you. Strengthen the young men to till the land again and plant on fruitful ground. Bless the earth, and endorse it with your favor, thank you for this journey you are a mighty savior.
                                                                              
                                                                       ©2014 Christine Phillips



Long poem by George Zamalea | Details |

WHILE REMEMBERING

Brazil

As I drove through the heavy snow of Manquiville,
Deep in silence back to Grandfather's house, all frightened faces
Full of solemnly dreams, I remember the smell of the sea.
	The unseen Grandpa's hands, pulling and pulling
	The full net of fishes.

I remember my Grandpa at this moment haltered
His muscles so tight that I was able to see the thin 
Veins become heavier, healthier, richer,
While his sternly eyes ahead like two brighter poisonous souls,
	Waiting and waiting and waiting, whatever the reason
	He had in mind.

I remember just to follow him where the wide sea even powerful
As he was growing now calmed through the tide waves falling
	Behind his horizon. I love see him like this,
	Where the dreadly underworld as unique as mercy
	Could not control him.

	I'm driving slowly now, and I can see the road,
	The sea behind, the trees old and shadowless,
	The town of Manquiville quieted, deathless, soundless,
	All gone and dumb, behind the weaken sun.

I remember I looked down satisfied in the way it is going,
	Who guarded the visitor’s hope, who greeted
	The intruder who more than 25 years was gone!

	What a delightful remembrance to see the dangerous
Floor through my mind beginning to murmur thousand
	Of happy slaves soon or later be caught!
	How close we are listening by the jealous Visitor,
	Always in circle, still far away from the smell
		Of the fisherman!

But there was no one. All empty and in white,
	Cobwebs everywhere, the insects had come and gone,
	Birds' nests are there, a snake emerged and hissing away,
	All seem that they don't care who I am and why
	I came back. It has been so long since the Fisherman is dead!

I remember the sea...that day, I think,
	Oh, how wonderful is the sea lyre that you are dreaming 
	To hold underneath the stormy afternoon.
	I remember the sea...the sea! Seeing the sky-blue crown
Give to my Grandpa and Me, almost tremble, the unknown pray
	Of God, which carrying golden fishes, your treasure wall,
	Deep, enormous, cold and deathly, we are still afraid of you!

	I stop my fancy car, all around is the designed 
	Of muddy roses, birds and horses, wild squirrels,
	Like a feast of yellow swamp, and I stand there,
	Dressed by tie and fancy suit, a lawyer,
	A sucked soul, coming to see his Grandfather deepened
	In the muddy ground, filled with nasty fishes.

I remember so suddenly, the nets of that day
	Became tensed, like our hearts and our eyes,
	Which it was unable to handle by myself.
	There! There! I cried all along inside the small boat
And here and there is when my Old Man becomes only one
	Where body, soul, mind, wisdom, and energy --
	Become one forcer to kill
	And as he was pulling and pulling. His old arms,
	Still strong like two brawny-whited iron pistons,
	Pulling and pulling, and the fishes as ghastly eye,
Jumping and jumping, coolly frightened, exposing themselves Completely under the half-light of the moonlight!

	Now I cannot move. Why I am here? Why did I come?
	With love, with pain, with doubt,
	All I cannot say, behind the muse I have,
	How I can explain myself the beauties of my Grandpa?


But I remember that day. Oh, what a shining light!
	What moonlight! 
	I was there, with the oak wood, deathless,
	Like tiny hands, but the spirit of some old Song,
	Helping my Grandpa.
	I remember I was wondering if those fishes have any souls.
	To live, listening the other side of my head,
	Where my Grandpa told you're not born being a Fisherman
	But as a blending poet as myself.

I remember I caught his mouth full of smile, with a promise
	To die anywhere except here in the sea.
I bend my knees, with his nostrils stealing
Of his arms, pulling and pulling like a long sound
Of violin which I never knew why he had told that.

	And I remember, you could not play with the sea
Or the hungry fishes, now handsome and wilder,
To survive like me, to become a stranger
	In the middle of the sea.

	Now here, I am growing smaller
My smile fading, no reason to be here, who before the infant
Archer who crying freedom, ready to a man,
	I bring shame to the place of Fisherman;
	I smiled sadly, looked ahead, with wishes to kiss
	The Old Man's face drawing by the ocean air
	And let that old hands of fisherman carried my hair
To my blending soul,
	And tell him I made a city boy under the sunlight,
	But never as a dream piercing through the dimly sea.
 


Long poem by William J. Jr. Atfield | Details |

The unborn dreams of a fertilization 1942A long journey A long lived nightmare Part 1

The unborn dreams of a fertilization  – 1942
A long journey  – A long lived  nightmare

The journey begins without knowledge, just passion.
Life emerges, fights against the prodding at childhood.
The nightmare begins with a stabbing at their creation,
by father, by mothers encouragement, to remove any traces
of their knowledge less innocence, their youthful passion.
Weapons of choice, – to destroy – ( depending ) a blue pill,
a steal coat hanger searching out the embryo that lays
in the semi darkness of its haunted , molested cave,
where its subconscious essence, its protective shell
has been tainted by experiencing constant intrusions
from an unwanted, swollen cylinder, of flesh and blood.
This life, red flowing through blue tubed has to negotiate
this tunnel of darkness, shades of black, clouds that shroud,
in hopes of sliding through this miracle mile, on its way
to feel, to see, to touch, to know the light of day
after a long, nine month troubled stay
in this place of unwanted, unwelcomed occupancy - GO AWAY.

A child’s nightmare, becomes the unwanted dreams of the man.
And now that a new kind of light surrounds this old soul,
the child begins to know another kind of nightmare – Fate.
As the child’s mind walks among the haunted trees,
– through the ghostly forests of life’s experiences -
nightmares, dreams, thoughts, questions abound.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as a fall, from seven feet -at two years of age – into the light,
straight down, head first, striking my head on the cement floor.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as my Grandfather, finds me drowning at the bottom of our well,
at two years of age, he pulls the baby from where he fell.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as my Grandmother, blood poison did know,
observed a red line from my belly down to my big toe.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge,
once again, this life saved so that it could grow
even as allergy to penicillin could not kill, and so,

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as death was averted, once again, by hospital staff and doctor,
the journey goes on, the Grim Reaper cannot, yet, close the door.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge,
at fourteen, brother uncle, “ boy you are hot ” he said
as we lay side by side, under his fifty five Ford, head to head.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as he tells me to take my temperature – 106 – you are dead ?,
why are you still hear, with us instead.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as I – in my nineteenth year – roll over, twice, my fifty three
Mercury two door hard top that we left up against a tree.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as seven boys unhurt and me going out the door,
my feet on the door, pushes me back in as it rolls once more.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
and who knows ?, which side one will end up on
as we all survived, unscathed, my Poor Mercury, gone !

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
and it is nineteen sixty nine, twenty seven light years
have slipped by in the blink of an eye, filled with tears.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
and wonder ?, what coloured the this life’s forces,
what is behind the curtains ?, that direct my courses.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as a diesel engine comes out of the wilderness,
striking, destroying in early morning’s darkness.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as my sixty seven Mercury Comet convertible was killed,
leaving me to live on and my life, with adventures, to be filled

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as the 3rd month, the 13th day, of 1973 did show.
For the powers that be, Fate ?, Karma ?, did not let me go.

Fate ?, Karma ?, life seems to, always be on the edge
as the fetus, the baby, the young man, now thirty one
finds that his journey upon this plane is not yet done.


Long poem by Therese Bacha | Details |

Nature In Our Garden

                        

Today opening my door to descent the steps to visit my garden
makes my dreams come true, my green garden enlightens 
my heart most of the time i spend it there, whispering with 
my roses, watching the very old green trees, watering the 
green grass, i love it. 

Suddenly my heart starts beating just found an envelope with 
white roses sleeping at my doorsteps, anxious to discover the 
sender, with a huge smile my surprise, it was from my darling, 
he wrote:

You are the woman of my dreams, I am taking the liberty to 
announce, you are my reason to live, if you are not in my life 
I will not tolerate my existence one moment longer, I need to 
become stronger to carry you towards our love nest share our 
hot body, love the love that will slowly put off that burning fire 
between us under our green trees very soon.
                                 
Lay your roses down, free your hand to hold mine, together, 
we will walk towards our green garden and dream of that day 
when our eyes will meet to become bride and bridegroom 
surrounded by the green trees everywhere, friends clapping 
so hard for us to engage with that beautiful touch of our lips, 
a sign you belong to me forever. 

Will you marry me my woman with green eyes? Oh! yes yes 
I screamed not realizing he is not here but a letter in my 
hand, the invitation for my own wedding, how blessed we are.
                               
The weather was happy the full moon lighted up the outside 
view to watch my roses blossom and maybe tomorrow we will 
walk together not only to get married we will upgrade our 
thoughts to the highest peak,we will reach our goals by living 
as one, we will enjoy whenever we can and endure when we must, 
we will not anticipate trouble or unhappiness about what may 
or may not happen, but we will walk towards our green garden, 
soon as husband and wife. 

We will not allow any obstacle stop us from becoming what 
needed to be successful, in love always, my heart was 
instantly beating towards positive thoughts a husband to love 
to sleep with, to cook, to wash, to wake up in the morning have 
our cup of coffee in the fresh air, i will stand by my man, 
no matter what.
                                   
A beautiful marriage in my green garden, all surrounded by huge 
green trees ancient as this house belonged to my grandfather
and I inherited it.
I felt like getting married with all those greeneries surrounding 
our guests i will place 100 white chairs on each side on the green
grass, and the aisle in the middle with green ribbons on the chairs,
at the end will be the priest standing behind a white table on it 
a beautiful green table cloth the chalice and cross next to the bible  
between white roses and greeneries. 

I need to sleep to wake up early run to my garden and prepare
the roses to share and whisper to me how beautiful they will 
become on that unforgettable day, the green grass will emerge 
to beautify their existence for our guests, the huge green trees 
will wave endlessly with the wind, a flow of some breeze.

We will be married as soon as he walks through my door,maybe today, tomorrow or after tomorrow.
Now we became a family with my green garden it will live to shine and
share the amazing wedding of two lovers married at last with the green 
beauty of our garden.

At that moment my thoughts tried to trick me in a discrete 
conversation saying, how do you know you will be happy? 
can you guarantee that happiness will exist? those were my 
repulsive thoughts, disregarding them, i shook my head
with sophistication a vigorous reply we will become
Thee couple in love forever. 

Our unique marriage in our Green Garden Of Eden was televised that day
a huge surprise to us and our guests by a close friend as a wedding gift. 



Therese Bacha                                                                 
 20/5/2013
              Contest for PD. Nature.. Win N0. 8


Long poem by Maurice Rigoler | Details |

His Nameless Horse


	I
The last horse my grandfather had
he shot one spring morning behind 
the shed in which his nameless horse

had lived in for many years. It was 
April and chilly, with peach trees in bloom.
It was an old horse, its backbone

sagging like the roof of an old farmhouse,
and it still wore its matted coat
of winter hair, its mane coarse

like a spray of dried weeds, its hoofs
ringed with tufts of knotted hair,
bits of caked earth and dung.

Its tail fell listless from its roughened
rump like a cluster of bailing twine
that hung from a ceiling hook.

	II
It was the last morning of its life.
My grandfather entered the shed
and led the old horse to the back pen.

I followed behind as I hsd so many
times. But that morning the old horse
walked with a limp – an infected knee.
Behind the shed a group of men
stood pressed against each other 
with faces drawn like mourners.

	III
Then I saw it, the familiar rifle
leaning against the weathered shingles,
the small red box of bullets next

to the butt. And I knew. I knew what
the old horse did not. In dread I ran
back into the small shed. I pressed

my hands hard over my ears, and I
waited. Waited for the shot that
would bring the old horse down,

the old horse I had befriended,
talked to morning after morning,
had fed pieces of carrot and

apple to; the gentle old horse whose
mane and tail I had often brushed,
the nameless horse I had brought

fresh well water to on hot afternoons,
and fresh shavings I spread over 
its stable floor. And I waited. And I knew

what the old horse did not. And when
the shot rang out, my knees buckled
and I jerked as if the bullet had entered me.

I fell to the ground and groaned
and cried, and I kept my hands hard
against my ears, shaking my head

as if to dislodge the sound that filled 
my head and amplified. And I heard
the old horse let out a sharp cry

and felt its hard fall rise through
my knees, as it collaped on itself, 
its knees buckling under dead weight.

	IV
What hurt most that morning was 
my grandfather’s casual treachery –
not so much as a pat on the old horse’s

shoulder, not a word of farewell, no outward 
sense of loss or sadness, no tears. Only 
a cold guiltless betrayal, it seemed to me.

	V
And they roped the dead horse
to the tractor, the small hole in its
forehead still leaking blood like

a liquid red ribbon. They dragged 
its body to a secluded corner of the field
grown thick with greening yarrow

and new shoots of goldenrods, 
the men following behind, silent 
and solemn, to where the earth 

had already been gutted open, waiting 
like a gaping mouth to swallow 
the horse’s carcass: a large meal 

that would take years for the soil 
to digest, leaving only a small depression
and a stench of rotting flesh

escaping slowly through a growth
of prickly blackberry, purple vetch 
and swarms of buzzing insects.

	VI
The men stood silent and watched
the dead horse dragged and fitted
into the open grave. 

Then, to my surprise, my grandfather 
removed his hat and stared pensively 
at the nameless creature he had killed,

the horse he had known for most 
of his old age, the horse that had
served him selflessly. He stood there

wiping his eyes with the back of 
his hand, saying nothing, looking
at the dead horse, and walked away.

Certain men then took up shovels 
and began to fill the hole, the others
following my grandfather to the house, 

talking in whispers, as if they had 
witnessed the burial of one of their own, 
one they would never see again.

And for as many springs as they might
live, they would talk about the old man’s 
horse, the horse without a name, 

the harmless creature they had come
to watch die on a chilly April morning 
when peach trees were in bloom.







Long poem by Faleeha Hassan | Details |

Black Iraqi Woman

Black Iraqi Woman
Written by Faleeha Hassan
Translated from the Arabic by William Hutchins
Shortly before my father died, he whispered to me longingly: “Daughter, treasure this, because it authenticates your heritage to our kinsfolk!” When I accepted this object, I discovered it was a stone with inscriptions I did not understand and delicate, mysterious lines.  He continued, “It is a keepsake from our great-great grandfather and can ultimately be traced back to Bilal, the Holy Prophet’s first muezzin, and his father, who was the king of Ethiopia.” I accepted this small heirloom, which I carried everywhere with me in my handbag. The person who shared my life under the title of “husband,” however, threw it down the drain at our house, thinking–as he told me–that it was a fetish. From then till now I have endured successive exiles. So I wrote this poem to explain the secret of my skin color–given that I am a native of al-Najaf, Iraq–spiritually, mournfully, and poetically!
My father said: “You were born quite unexpectedly,
Remote from Aksum, like a beauty spot for al-Najaf-’the Virgin’s Cheek.’
Your one obsession has been writing, but
The sea will run dry before you arrive at the meaning of meaning.”
He affirmed: “During a pressing famine,
I devoted myself to watching over every breath you took.
I would thrust my hand through the film of hope
To caress your spirit with bread.
You would burp, and
I would delightedly endure my hunger and fall asleep.
I could only find the strength to fib to your face and say I was happy.
I would feel devastated when you fidgeted,
Because you would always head toward me,
And I felt helpless.”
Aksum! They say you’re far away!
“No, it’s closer to you than your exile.”
“And now?”
“Don’t talk about ‘now’ while we’re living it.”
“The future depresses me. How can I proceed?”
How can the ear be deaf to the wailing from the streets?
Aksum, you have colored my skin. Al-Najaf has freshened my spirit.
She knows and does the opposite.
She knows that I inter only dirt above me, and
That I deny everything except spelling out words:
M: Mother, who went walking down the alley of no return.
F: Father, who hastened after her.
B: Brother, who never earned that title.
S: Sister who buttoned her breast to a loving tear, no matter how fake.
………………….There’s no one I care about!
The trees tremble some times, and we don’t ask why.
My life surrounds me the way prison walls surround suspects;
I am the victim of a building erected by a frightened man.
With its talons time scratches its tales on me,
And I transform them into a silent song
Or, occasionally, a psalm of sobs.
Father, do you believe that–the roots have been torn asunder?
Fantasies began to carry me from al-Najaf to Afyon
And from Afyon to nonexistence,
Yellow teeth stretching all the way.
“History’s not anything you’ve made,”
One American neighbor tells another.
He’s surprised to see me.
“Who are you?” he asks when he doesn’t believe his eyes.
Would he understand the truth of my origin if I told him I was born in al-Najaf
Or that Aksum has veiled my face?
I have walked and walked and walked.
I’m exhausted, Father.
Is your child mine?
Show yourself and return me to the purity of your loins.
Allow me to occupy the seventh vertebra of fantasy!
Don’t eject me into a time I don’t fit.
I need you.
I ask you:
Has my Lord forbidden me to be happy?
Am I forbidden to preserve
What I have left
And sit some warm evening
Averting my ear from a voice that doesn’t interest me?
Answer me, Father!
Or change the face of our garden
So it changes….to what they believe!


Long poem by Timothy Jacks | Details |

My Grandfathers Dying Wish

See problems they no worry Timothy
He was raised by his Great Grandmother
One day she taught him
Miho you can make life beautiful or ugly
Work hard, find a woman who has a strong back
Beauty fades it doesn’t last long
Now let me tell you 
A woman with a strong back may not be your perfect companion
Times are changing, I think Faith is more important these days
I say okay Grandma, can I have the horachata now that you made me
No hush up! You can have it when I’m finished talking
Timothy come your poor Grandfather wanted you to have this
It is his Journal and I have never read out of it
She hands it to me
I am struck by it’s cover, it is brown and plain
Yet it spoke to me by it’s elegant style
These words were printed on the cover “Blanco Vendetta”
I was drawn and pulled in untill I was covered by the spell
The first page I open too it says “My first Mil Besos”
The Temptess that blew my heart away
I turn to page 33
It says “The story of an Apache Warrior”
There are no rules to an Apache Warrior when it comes to fighting
He says if you are my enemy I don’t care how but I’m gonna kill you
Page 41 is like a fist full of words thrown across the page
Barrio boxing, The protection of the Shield of Faith
Brokenhearted for my careless speech has left her heartbroken
Strengthened by Love “Amor”
Nourished by the sunshine in her hand
There is healing in its beams
Blessed by her presence Del Dios I am Greatful
I’m like Grandpa what did you say wrong
Then these words come to me
Give her your full attention when she speaks to you
Because the Heart of the Wise studies how to answer
So I close it and my finger brushes a bookmark
It’s the Last page
It says To: “Timothy my son who is as mighty as an army”
I Thank you for the Greatest Gift
For the Greatest Gifts are as small as your small hand that touched me
I plant these seeds and they will take root and grow because you are good ground
Timothy let me say That without you I would of never found my Faith in GOD
Listen for it is your Grandfather who is dead and speechless
Timothy you see the good in everything
And I know you will understand my words clearly
If a man gives you his word
Promise me not to plan your future on it
And if you give your word my son
Do everything in your Power to fulfill it
AND NEVER Promise more than you can deliver 
For it is better to put out more than you promised
Everyman is considered unwise when he appears foolish
I wish I could give you some insight about women
But your Great Grandmother may help you better than I can
But never timothy, Never be quick to fall in Love 
Or give your heart to a woman
Listen carefully to her words when she speaks to you
Cherish Her give her your full undue attention 
Because the Heart of the Wise studies how to answer
Love your neighbors as yourself
And do not strive against another man
If he has done nothing wrong to offend you
AS much as it is possible live peacefully with all men
And it is okay for you to speak these things with your Great Grandmother
She is a very wise and God-fearing woman
Amor take the greatest care of her, I Love you Son
Timothy when the time comes to avenge my death
Hit harder then you ever have before
But not in a Duel son, not like an open Vendetta
Marry his daughter Maria
The one who is pretty and Two years younger than you
Oh! He will suffer greatly!
And it will kill him to know that I chose this way to repay him
And remember son to be ready to fight any man at the drop of a hat


Long poem by Spenser Jones | Details |

A PART OF SOMETHING

God created hands for building things. Sometimes before you build something, you must first destroy something else.

Wildfires are never supposed to be put out. Their sole purpose is to burn the entire forest to the ground, transform living things to fertilizer, making room and preparing the soil for new growth.
It is almost paradoxical, 
that there must be death before birth

My hands have stared the grim reaper’s reflection inside the pool of my best friends blood. An old student I used to tutor told me that I am the best brother she could have asked for
She said she will always love me
This was after I burned every bridge that traversed the gaps between us
Stared at her from across her desk
Told her that she will never be my sister. That our bloodlines will never match.
Our gene pools are just strangers that made the same wrong turn.
I spent so much time trying to find my way back that I never realized I was home in being lost I found something comfortable, without expectations. I only corrected myself after she spoke,
because I heard something familiar in her voice.
She sounded like family.

I have the scarred and wrinkled hands of a senior citizen
I’m only 22 years old
I once got my palm read
This gypsy woman told me that my lifeline should have been cut short when I hit 17.
That was a year ago.
What do gypsies know anyway
I have defied the odds my entire life.
Been broke down and built back up too many times to count
My fingernails chewed raw to the cuticle out of anxiety
I enjoy the taste of my own pain
Sometimes I use my own hands to destroy myself just to see who my real friends are who will build me back up when I can’t do it alone

My hands have a desire to learn how to cook, but I’m not that great.
So when I am alone,
I tend to be hungry, not just for food though.
I starve for someone to talk to
It never satiates, because it’s not you.
I know what it tastes like to completely give myself to someone.
My biggest fear is being abandoned.
When I look into your eyes, I am not afraid.
I need to cook you up a feast of myself, then feed it to you every day for the rest of our lives
Please tell me what I really taste like,
Be honest.

Years after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother moved into my aunt’s house.
Since I was 5, every time I speak to her she asks me:
“Spenser, did you thank God for waking you up today?”
I think to myself, I never did tell my eyes to open themselves. It just happened.
So I don’t know how to respond to her correctly.
I tell her that I love her, that I am writing a lot.
She tells me that she puts her hands together for me every night
Prays that I will get the job I want
I guess some prayers do get answered.
Sometimes two hands in the right position, matched with a conversation with God,
Can change things.
I even accidentally call that place home sometimes.

My dream is that my hands evolve into wolves, become part of a pack and work together with other hands to make a difference
Some days they will be the alpha male.
Full of confidence, at the head of the pack
Other days I need someone to show me the right way to go
Because if I’ve learned anything
It’s that I am not always right
I can not always be in control of everything
The only thing I have ever really wanted is to know
That my hands were truly
A part of something.


Long poem by William J. Jr. Atfield | Details |

How many more times at deaths door Part 1

How many more times
at deaths door ???

From the abortionist hook, I did escape.
Escape from, seems to have become my fate.

Death, around my body fell.
Grandfather, pulled me from the well.

Fell through the basement, trap door.
Straight down to the basement floor.

Landing on my two year old head.
Still around – alive – not brain dead ?

Shot at – not blind – hit in the chin,
older than two – mind you – at the coal bin.
That is the way - thus far – my life has bin.

Got blood poison, from big toe to thigh,
up into belly – Thanks Grandmother – for a keen eye,
otherwise I might be up there with the stars in the sky.

Became allergic – in the hospital – to penicillin.
Jesus !, god, where could my life be headin ?
After all, all this by the year I am ten.

At fourteen, I hit a hundred and six,
my brother / uncle “ you should be dead”, what a fix !,
as I lay under his Ford, nineteen fifty six

Twenty, and rolled my car over twice.
Not one of six, hurt, how so very nice.
Is arm wrestling the Grim Reaper, my vice ?

Hit by a train at the age of twenty seven.
Totaled my new convertible, yet, have I touched heaven ?

Becoming conscious, showed a picture of my car and the train
that wiped out my Comet and into space shook up my brain.

A nurse told me, after she showed me, “ I was lucky to be alive. ”
I did not believe it, could not see it, did not understand her jive.

Thirty years of age and into a black tunnel,
minutes later, the light begins to funnel
out into a bright, mystic light,
light that has come from this flight
of a soul – gone – no longer before my sight,
that which seemed so very right,

until we rolled over twice in a canoe.
Lost my companion, my friend to the raging river !

Who could have foreseen ?, who knew ?,
that his sole, his sprit, in fear would quiver ?,

I would shiver, but survive and he could never
leave this plane, be stuck here forever and ever,

never to be seen in this life – alive again
leaving me to question, why did I remain ?

Which, in the end, became so very wrong
and now has become part of this sad song.

The tale, the journey, the essence of this story.
All, comes with hope, but without any glory,

some of, filled with fears, some of, full of tears,
some, no more than many, many wasted years.

Some – cup filled to the brim- with life,
Some – the cup emptied – by the hand of strife.

At fifty four, downed by an aneurysm rupture in my brain.
Rupturing once was not enough, the doctor ruptured it again,
yet, here I stand, – what does fate have in store ? – I still remain
among the living and the dead, but never seem to be giving
to either the half dead, or dead, the half living, or living.
As for the thoughts of, “ why am I still around ?
and not six feet under, part of the ground ”,
still amazes me, after all these years, yet many more stories,
than those mentioned above, where I should be sorry
for all the foolish, stupid, insane, dangerous things I ‘ve done.
A sleep, drunk, stoned hundreds of miles behind the wheel
and yet here I am, not a scratch, and have yet to run
out of luck - bad or good – makes me wonder, what is the deal ?

Personal rhymes to deep. / Nowhere man still asleep.
From his uncertain hand. /  Within his nowhere land.


Long poem by Roy Jerden | Details |

Willow: A Fable

Timmy Tom Tuck was a young fellow with charm
who one summer stayed at his grandfather's farm.
He loved to eat ice cream and Grandma's baked goods
but his favorite thing was to play in the woods

He so loved the willow oak tree near the spring
to lie flat on his back and hear the birds sing.
The bunnies and ducklings would come to his call
as Timmy Tom Tuck was best friends with them all.

One day young Timmy was watching a cloud.
All at once his name was called plainly out loud!
He looked all around but naught did he see
till a tiny creature stepped out of the tree.

"Willow is my name", softly sang out the sprite.
Her skin was quite crinkled, her hair purest white.
"I am your friend, so you have nothing to dread.
This tree is my home. I'm a dryad.", she said.

"A dryad dwells deep in the heart of her oak
and she speaks through its roots to all the plant folk,
to mosses and mushrooms, the ferns in the fen,
pink lady slippers, and the grass in the glen.

For all things are akin, all substance is one,
the earth and the stars, the moon and the sun,
the grass and the trees, the air high above,
the birds and the bees, the ones that we love."

From that time on they were never apart,
and Timmy loved Willow with all of his heart.
All day they would play in the rocks and the streams
and at night sweet Willow would dance in his dreams.

Dryads live long but young summers do fly.
Soon Timmy and Willow spoke words of goodbye.
He promised he'd surely come see her next year.
Sadly smiled Willow; her eyes glistened with tears.

But Timmy came not in that year nor the next
as summers were filled with exciting prospects:
soccer and baseball and Boy Scout Jamborees.
Those days with Willow turned to faint memories.

But at last one summer he went back to the farm
and contritely thought of his vow in alarm.
He gave hugs all around, and once he was free,
with his heart in his throat, ran down to the tree.

The oak was all withered, no leaves anywhere.
"Oh Willow! Oh Willow!", he cried in despair.
"Oh Willow! Oh Willow! Oh where can you be?"
then embraced with both arms the willow oak tree.

Deep from the tree there came a tremulous sigh.
"Oh Timmy, dear Timmy, my end is now nigh.
I've lived and seen wonders in these many years,
but now I must go; you must not shed any tears.

For all things are akin, all substance is one,
the earth and the stars, the moon and the sun,
the grass and the trees, the air high above,
the birds and the bees, the ones that we love.

I'll kiss your sweet cheek with every small breeze.
I'll cool your hot brow with the shade of the trees.
In dewdrops I'll wash your bright face with the dew,
and in dreams my soul will be always with you."

With those words, kind Willow then faded away.
Near her Timmy stayed till the end of the day.
That evening quite late he was able to sleep,
then dreamed such a dream, and the dreaming was deep.

The forest was big and the forest was bright.
Sweet sunshine shone through it in golden daylight.
Then all the wood fairies came out at twilight,
and fair Willow danced in the silver moonlight.

"Spend time with those you love."

July 8, 2014
The Sweetest Touches of Verse Contest
Roy Jerden


Long Poems