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Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Dante's Hell translation CANTO X

Now is going on through a secret way
Between the martyrdoms and the ground wall,
My master, and I behind him to stay.

“Oh highest virtue, who me gently haul
In wicked rounds”, I started, “If you please,
Speak to me, and to my requests befall. 

The persons  who are in graves abductees
Might perhaps be seen? Because opened are
All covers, and too nobody guards these”

And he to me: “All will be closed by far
When from Iosafat they will come back
With their bodies which just there up left were.

The graveyard on this side happens to stack
Epicurus and followers them all,
Who make souls of dead corps follow the track.

But to the question you put with your call
An answer will be given in time short,
And also to untold  wish you enthrall. 

And I: “Good  duke, I just do not comport
To hide my heart if not to speak at less,
As you have always tried to me exhort”.

“Oh Tuscan going in the fire stress
Alive speaking in such an honest way,
Please stay more in this site and don’t egress.

Your way of speaking is a clear display
Of your indeed noble  homeland birth place,
To which I was nagging perhaps it may”.

Suddenly this loud sound came out to face
From one of the graves; so I went then close,
Fearing, to duke my guide a little space.

And he: “What are you doing? Don’t oppose! 
Now you see Farinata who stood up:
From the waist up you can see he arose”.

Yet I had turned my face his sight to clasp
And he with waist and forehead then stood
Looking as had hell in great spite to grasp.

And the lively hands of duke promptly could
Push me between the graves then towards  him,
Telling: “Your words be well weighed should”.

After I reached of his grave the rim
He looked at me, and then, scornful just a bit,
He asked: “Which is your original limb?”.

Since I was akin to his will admit,
I did not hide it, opening at all;
So he then scowled up the eyebrows well split; 

Then told: “Were fierce rivals, as I recall,
To me and parents and my partners too,
So that twice I could dispel them and maul.”

“If they were expelled, they came back, is true”,
I answered him, “And both the times indeed;
But yours this art were not able to view”

Then rose uncovered to my sight concede 
A shadow, along this, up to chin:
I think to rise on knees  it could succeed. 

It looked then me around as it had been
Anxious to see if any else was there;
And then after the suspect became thin,

Weeping told: “If you now in this despair
Prison are moving thanks to your brain height,
Where is my son? why with you doesn’t fare?”

And I to him: “Lone I don’t reach this site:
The one who waits me there, and is my guide
Maybe your Guido did not like his sleight”.

His words and the way too with which he cried
Already to know his name could allow ;
Thus my answer was so quickly implied.

Immediately pricked up he screamed: “How?”
You told:”he did not”? Does he not live yet?
Does not then lance his eyes the sweet light now?”.

When he realized that he did not met
Any word responding to his reply,
Supine fell and to show he did not let.

But the other noble, the reason why
I stopped there before, did not change face,
Neither moved his neck, nor bent his side by;

And replied keeping the previous trace,
“If they have that art”, told, ”so poorly got,
It gives me sorrow more than this bed place.

But less than fifty times of light will spot
The woman’s face which always commands here,
That you will know that art how weighs a lot.

And if your return to sweet world is clear,
Tell me: why that people is godless so
Against my guys in all laws to appear?”

So I to him: “The torment and ruin flow
Which the Arbia river colored red,
This speech in our temple makes then so low”.

After he sighing had shaken his head,
“I was not alone”, told, “And nor for sure
With no reason I moved with others then.

But I was alone, when hard to insure
For each one the city of  Florence save,
Who just defended it with open cure”.

“I pray, hoping your seed rests in this grave”,
I begged him, “You should now untie the knot
Which until now has knotted my speech wave.

It looks like you see, if rightly I caught,
In advance what in the future will be,
While in the present to see you cannot” 

“Like that one who has wicked light, we see
Future events”, he told, “which are still far;
This much our high lord to shine is yet free.

When things are closer or happen, vain are
Our arguments; and if no one gives news,
To know your human status is not our. 

So you can realize how we must lose
Any understanding from that point on
Which of the future the door must then close”.

Then, as by a sense of be faulty won,
Told: “Now to that fallen soul you shall tell
That his son away from life has not gone;

And if, before, I was not to retell,
Let him know I did it because I thought
In the wrong way, you after have cleared well”.

And my master already for me sought;
So that I begged the spirit onwards more
To tell me who to stay with him was brought.

Told me: “Here with more than thousand lay sore:
The second Federico is now here
And the Cardinal; others I ignore”.

Then he hid himself; and I walked near
The ancient poet, back thinking in the while
To those words which hostile might me appear.

He started to walk; and then moving so,
He told me: “Why are you so harshly lost?”.
And I satisfied his question aglow.

“Your mind has to remind at any cost
What heard against you, that wise could say;
“And now look here”, and up his finger tossed:

“When you shall be in front of the sweet ray
Of woman whose nice eye can just all trace,
From her you shall know of your life the way”.

He then after moved toward left his pace:
We left the wall and went the middle through
Making a path cutting a valley place,

Which up to there his disgusting stench spew.
 


Long poem by Joe Flach | Details |

Straight to Hell - A Short Story

I was a seventeen year old senior in a coed, catholic high school.  Our gym classes however were still all boys and all girls.  My senior year we had gym every other day and music every other day in the same time slot.  The music classes, therefore, were also all boys or all girls.

She was a twenty-eight year old nun in her first teaching assignment.  She was in way over her head.  She was about five-foot-four and weighed practically nothing.  The nuns in our school no longer wore habits and I remember thinking it was a good thing because she would probably fly away like Sally Fields.  If you don’t know what I mean by that then you are too young to be reading my story.

The music class was a mad house.  She could not control a room of twenty some boys bound and determined to make her life hell.  I mean, music class?  Really?

We never did the homework assigned; never answered her questions seriously; never believed her threats at discipline; wouldn’t accept the demerits she tried to hand out; and basically goofed off for the hour that was supposed to be dedicated to learning about music.

For some reason, she seemed too proud or too green or too determined to go to the principal or another teacher for help; and, sensing that, we knew we could get away with our childish behavior and so we did.

One day, a handful of us “got in trouble” and she said she wanted to talk to us after class.  I was the only one that actually stayed.  She tried to lecture me on my bad behavior but I guess my smirk was evidence it was not sinking in.  Then, she started to cry, and for the first time I saw her as a person.

“What am I doing,” she cried.  "I can’t do this.  I am trying; I am really trying, but I am not cut out for this.  Why are you boys so mean and hateful?”

I stood up in front of her not knowing what to do or what to say.  I felt like a real jerk.  I was a real jerk.

Tears poured down her face, which I finally recognized as being a pretty face.  She bowed her head and just sobbed.  In my awkward seventeen year old manner, I slowly opened my arms and allowed her to lean into me.  And I hugged her while she wept.
   
At seventeen, I was no ladies’ man, and this crying nun was the first woman I had ever held so close to me.  I could feel her breasts pressed against me; the heat emitting from her body; and, the delicate nature of her womanly form in my arms.  I knew then that I was destined to go straight to hell for the thoughts that were going through my head and the feelings I felt between my legs.

She pulled away and whispered, “I am so sorry, I should not have done that.  You may go.”

I simply said, “You know, you are doing fine, you just have a class of a bunch of butt holes”, and walked out of the room.  It was that night that she started coming to see me in my dreams.  To hell I go, for sure.

I wish I could tell you I had the moxie and the influence to whip that class into shape, but I did not.  The mad house continued with one less student joining in the fun.  I tried my best to behave, answer her questions, pay attention and feign interest in the topic of the day – but I was just one in a sea of monsters.  I stayed after class and after school a few times to talk with her, ask her how she was doing, and see if I could help in any way.  She was actually starting to get the hang of things and was able to focus on the few classes that were willing to learn.

At the end of the school year, I was one of the few students who had not enrolled in a college for the coming year.  Because I was one of the better students, it caused a little bit of a fuss and a number of teachers talked to me about the huge mistake I was making taking some time off before going to college.  It seems they were all convinced that if I did not start into college in the fall, I was doomed to never go to college.  I challenged them by saying what they were really worried about was their statistics of percentage of students who went on to further their education.

During the last day of classes, the music teacher asked me to stay after class.  It appears, it was her turn to try to talk some sense into me.

“So, I hear you are not going to college,” she said.

“No, I’m going to college … some day, just not this fall.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know yet.  Take some time off.  Work.  Nothing.  I don’t know.  Why is it so important to everyone?  When the time is right, I’ll go to college.”

“They just care about you.”

“Bull loney,” I said, only it was another word.

She smiled at me.  I had been dreaming about her now for six months.  I changed the topic.

“Have you ever kissed a boy?”

She laughed, “You know, I grew up the same as every girl in this high school.  I did have boyfriends.”

“Yeah, but have you ever kissed a boy,” I challenged.

“No.  Not the way you mean.”

“Do you ever wonder what it would be like?”

“No.  Never,” she lied.

“If I told you I will register for college if you kiss me, will you?”

“No.  I believe you when you say you just need some time off.  I think that is a good idea.”

Then she walked up close to me and stopped a heartbeat away.  Suddenly, she reached down between my legs, grabbed the crouch of my pants and said, “Just don’t let this thing get you in trouble.”

She abruptly turned and walked out of the classroom while I tried to catch my breath.

During the graduation ceremony I saw her sitting with the other teachers and shared a private smile with her while walking back to my seat after being handed my diploma.  I would never see her again … outside of my dreams.

I often think about my high school music teacher and my ticket straight to hell.  Unfortunately, I never heeded her advice.  That body part of mine she grabbed ahold of for a fleeting second those many years ago, has gotten me in trouble time and time again.


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Divine Comedy translation CANTO XII

Was the place where we climbing down the bank
Then arrived, alpine and, for what was there
Such as, that any eyesight would be shrank.

Similar to landslide that in side bare
Before Trento the Adige just smote,
Or for shake or as missing supports were,

That from mountain top, where had to demote,
To end plain are so steep the rocks indeed, 
That no path to any up could denote:

Likewise down that ravine one must proceed;
And on the rim of the broken abyss
Lied along of Crete the infamous weed

Who was conceived in the cow false amiss;
And when he saw us, then  himself he bit,
The way of guy on whom anger insists.

My sage toward him shouted: “Maybe it 
You think that Atene’s duke is now here,
Who up in world to death you could commit?

Go away, beast, since this is not a mere
Learner from your sister already trained
But he is to see your pains as appear”.

As a bull which sudden becomes unchained
When it already received the deathblow,
And to move is not able, but jumps strained,

Likewise the Minotaur acted then so;
And that sage then shouted: “Through passage run:
While it is furious, better you go”.

So we our path then down rapid begun
Through those heavy stones, often not stable
Under my feet, by the new weight just won.

I was thoughtful, and he: “You are able
To think about this ravine, under guard
Of that bestial wrath I could disable.

The time, you now must know at this regard,
I came down here into the lowest hell.
This fallen rock had not yet crashed down hard.

But slightly before, if I recall well,
That came over the one who the huge prey
To Dis withdrew from the supernal shell,

Everywhere the high valley foul and grey
Trembled so that the universe  I thought 
Felt love, for which somebody trusts a way

Of world repeatedly to chaos brought;
And at that time this very ancient rock
Then here and elsewhere to revolve just ought. 

But address eyes down valley, we now dock
At the blood bank in which is boiling now
Who other people with wildness could sock”.

Oh blind greed and too crazy anger bow,
Which indeed spurs us on in our life short,
And in eternal so bad to endow! 

I saw a wide trench in bow self-contort,
As the one which is all the plane around,
According to what had told my escort;

And between foot of  bank and it, compound
In group centaurs run, well armored with darts,
As used to do in world hunting and hound.

Seeing us climbing down, everyone departs,
And three of them then moved just toward us
With bows and arrows as their ready parts;

And one shouted from far: “At what distress
Along this coast now getting down are you?
Tell us right now; else my bow  arrows shoots”

My master told: “the answer shall in short
Be given by us to Chiron forth on:
Bad was your will always prone to distort”

Then touched me, and told: Nexus is that one,
Who for the handsome Deianira died,
And by himself , the self-revenge was done.

And the one halfway, gazing his breast wide,
Is the great Chiron, who Achilles fed;
The other is Pholus, who rage complied.

Thousands and thousands at trench are there spread,
Darting any soul which tries to come out
From blood much more than their sin mislead”

We went closer to those lean beasts to scout;
Chiron took a dart, and then with the nock
Pushed back his beard to jaw ready to clout.

After he had uncovered his mouth block,
Told then to his mates: “Are you aware
That the guy back moves what he has to knock?

This way do not act feet of  the deads bare”.
And my good duke, who just was at his breast,
Where the two natures are well joined and share,

Answered: “He is living, and is so pressed
That I have this valley dark him to show;
Not for delight, but for need is this quest.

Somebody from alleluia moved although
And then committed me to this task new:
He is not a thief, nor to steal I go. 

But for that virtue for which I move through
My passage now on such a savage way,
Give us one of yours, to be a guide true, 

And where is ford be able to display, 
And also carry this one on his back,
Since he isn’t a spirit that fly may”.

Chiron then turned on his head the right whack,
And told Nexus: “Come back and guide them so,
And make move aside other groups’ attack”-

Now with the trusty escort we could go
Along the border of the boiling red,
Where the boiled were shouting their pain to show.

I saw people close to the edge of dread;
And great centaur told: “These evil tyrants are
Who bloodily acted and wildness shed.

Here are just cried the grim sins by desper;
Here is Alexander and Dionisio grim
Who gave Sicily years of pains with scar. 

And that brow with black hair on him,
Is Azzolino, and the other who has fair hair,
Is Opizzo from Este, who looks so dim

Was killed by his stepson in world up there”.
Then I revolved toward poet, and he told:
“This one as first from now, me second bear”.

Just beyond on the centaur had to hold
Above some people who up to his throat
Looked as from that boiling tried to unfold.

He showed us a spirit well alone to float,
Telling: “That one in God’s lap had to cut
The heart dripping on Thames you can yet note”.

After that I saw people who out of river uncut
Kept their heads and their breasts at all;
Ad of these I recognized more than somewhat.

So more and more the depth became so small
Of that blood, and griddled also the feet,
Until the ditch our pace could not appall.

“As you can see here in a way concrete
The boiling stream becoming less and less”
Told the centaur, “I whish for you be neat

That the other part gives more and more stress
Toward the bottom, till is reached a state
Where tyranny is stricken in excess.

Divine justice can here sting and abate
That Attila who was on earth a scourge,
Pirro and Sesto; for eternal fate

Tears sucks, in boiling river to submerge,
Rinier from Corneto, and Rinier mad,
Who wherever wars always made emerge”.

Then turned his way and passed the river sad.


Long poem by Terry O'Leary | Details |

the PLAGUE

as the PROPHETS of profits, WE lead and WE’re fair
while WE’re living the life of the poor BILLIONAIRE
– silver yachts, pearly castles, cash (plenty to spare) –
with the world on OUR backs... ah! the burdens WE bear!

being HAVES (not the have-nots) as nature decrees
means WE’re certainly the better (they’re vermin on sleaze).
if they pray for a lift in their dark fantasies,
WE just kick ’em downstairs, get ’em off of their knees.

yes, WE offer great jobs (much too busy OURSELVES!)
for maintaining the toilets, restacking the shelves,
and WE teach ’em to fear god and play with the elves,
thus dispelling ideas where the dark demon delves.

though they build mighty bridges, twin towers and more,
peddle pizzas and popcorn, sell guns door-to-door,
still they gotta have BOSSES to tell ’em the score
else WE’d never be needed, WE’d thrive nevermore.

when OUR profits are plunging, they do their part too
for they dine on the dole! yes, no hullabaloo!
soon OUR fortunes  redouble, rebound and accrue –
since WE fare well without ’em, WE bid ’em adieu.

’stead of wishing for welfare and standing in queues
or parading with pickets (look! holes in their shoes!),
they’d be better off scabbing to save union dues
... while WE whistle and warble, they’re singing the blues.

whether heros or hoboes, like spiders and lice
they just crawl all around us in life’s paradise,
but WE’re patient, big hearted and oft sacrifice,
spewing charity, kindness (though each has its price).

if they’re beaten or punctured or suffer assault,
are unhealthy or crippled or walk with a halt,
or retarded or helpless, it’s all their own fault – 
just like US they should worship the DOLLAR exalt!

protesters and loud mouths, you’ll find ’em aplenty
some older, some younger, the worst not yet twenty.
they’re shameless and brazen (unwashed, soiled and scenty)
impugning the prestige of brave COGNOSCENTI.

if they’ve got clashing colors  (or shades in between)
or opposing beliefs in the hidden unseen, 
well, WE’ll always exploit it, deflecting their spleen,
for with god on each side, would WE dare intervene?

WE promote many methods to keep ’em in chains –
daily rags and the tube spin OUR circus campaigns
“to pretend you’ve a voice”, an announcement explains,
“you can vote and decide on which ONE of US reigns”.

OUR policemen protect US, they stay on the ball
(they arrest ’em, no questions per law’s protocol,
and then jam ’em in jail with their backs to the wall) –
if you’ve lucre for lawyers there’s justice for all.

down the ROYAL road of justice WE march all alone 
– WE condemn their defiance, set ways to atone –
since WE’re sinless, unsullied, WE cast the first stone
(while WE cloak REGAL fetor with eau de cologne).

politicians, bald bankers, grand idols galore,
attend meetings, fete banquets in which they explore
how to rid US of rodents (the weak and the poor) –
well, just round up the riff-raff, dispatch ’em to war!

ah! OUR wars are.... well, just...... just a thing of the past
........... and the present............... and future... WE sure make them last!
if they frown as they gaze (armageddon!) aghast,
then WE smile back with pleasure, OUR treasures amassed.

useless ranting and raving (in rags, when they’re clad),
leads to losing their teeth (my! their gums are... egad!).
WE’re unselfish, indulgent, WE’d never be mad
if they drowned in the sounds of themselves feeling sad.

as the paupers are princes in midnight’s domain,
they have pipe dreams to lose, certainly nothing to gain
if they’re hoping OUR fortunes will wither and wane –
for “WE’re here by god’s will” as WE often explain.

yes, they wish to be US, with OUR wisdom and grace,
keeping up with ol’ CROESUS, maintaining the pace.   
but perverseness or rancor? they’ll see not a trace –
for WE hold ’em at bay with a fist in the face.

WE’re la CRÈME de la CRÈME, yes! the proud UPPER CRUST,
and OUR clothes are the finest, OUR hair never mussed –
WE imbue ’em with piety, duty and trust 
and they’re fed bread and water (if feed ’em WE must).

but they’re thieving, aggrieved, want a piece of OUR PIE
and request WE endure ’em, see EYE to black eye.
since they live in OUR land where OUR strict rules apply,
they must feast on the crumbs that may fall from the sky.

though OUR largesse and bounty WE don’t mean to flaunt,
yet the pittance WE pay ’em they surely can vaunt –
salty peanuts and pretzels (what more could they want?)
thereby keeping their kiddies so healthily gaunt.

yes, there’s room for the rabble (the back of the bus)
’cause WE treat ’em like equals, so what’s all the fuss?
all can rise to the top (yes! it’s always been thus),
to the suites in OUR penthouse (to sweep up and dust).

while OUR CHILDREN have tutors, the finest of schools
(being bred for the forefront, THEY’re nobody’s fools),
the ol’ school of hard knocks teaches: “follow the rules”,
building brawn ’stead of brains and broad backs strong as mules’.

and to keep ’em in line (to ensure WE prevail)
WE now monitor phone calls and read all their mail
(civil rights? what a notion! at best a detail!)
and if worse comes to worst...... well...... guantanamo jail!

WE’ve OUR quandaries and questions and headaches full blown
(like deciding design and decor of OUR thrones...
whether diamonds or rubies... to ivory WE’re prone) –
when WE deign to appease ’em, WE chuck ’em some bones.

now you know all OUR problems, OUR pains and travails,
– like preparing foreclosures, evictions  and sales –
but WE’ve no need for worries or gnawed fingernails,
’cause WE’re sailing OUR yachts through tempestuous gales
(with them bailing OUR banks when OUR stock market fails)
sipping daiquiri sours, champagne, ginger ales...


Long poem by Vic Pister | Details |

When I Die

When my life has finally left me and my last breath has been shed
And the silver cord is broken and my bodies firmly dead
I shall hover near the body, download the scenes of this past life 
Noting all minutest details rolling backwards past my eyes

I’ll store these scenes ‘til later when I can take the time to learn 
What the lessons have to teach me and help me to discern
How I treated other people, made them happy, made them sad
Examine all my actions, both the good and the bad

Three days later I’ll lose interest as my focus moves away
From the world that I just left behind, there is no need to stay
For a lifetime in the life of man to God is just a day
And my soul as God on the wheel of life must move along its way

I’ll take the download with me as I move into first heaven
It’s the first stage in the afterlife, in number there are seven
Here I’ll see and feel the good things that to others I have brought
And revel in the feelings of the kindness that I wrought

I will store these in my seed atom so in future lives I’ll know
They’re the things that I must multiply for my souls’ conscience to grow
For the conscience is the souls’ voice that guides you day by day
That still small voice that warns you in what you do and say

When that’s done my view will shift then to the things that I did bad
To the hurt I did to people that left them feeling sad
I will feel their pain intensely, ten times worse when in this field
For I’ll be purely spirit now with no flesh for a shield

These painful lessons will imprint upon my seed atom as well
In some religions we are told our soul’s in everlasting hell
In the stages of the afterlife, this is your punishment in heaven
This is the third and the most painful of the total seven

The Grim Reaper now has visited with his scythe so I will know
Through natures Law of Consequence I will reap what I did sow
He has shown me all my misdeeds and caused me many tears
And this purgatorial experience may last for twenty years

When my suffering soul recovers and the pain has died away
And I’ve incorporated the lessons to never act this way
In future lives I’ll be a better man from these lessons I have learned
One step closer to perfection that my growing soul has earned

Now I can sleep, Oh peaceful sleep, a state of heavenly rest
I’ll dream the dreams I love in life, of things I love the best
All desires that my soul has yearned, not a thing I can’t create
In the Great Silence of the spirit world to help me concentrate

The colors are much brighter, the scent of flowers more sublime
The senses are much sharper, there is no sense of time
I will see all other people as pure souls just like me
And I’ll know we’re all evolving to the bliss of eternity

I will hear the mystic music of the planets as they pass
Like a thousand singing angels, heavenly peace has come at last
Every planet sings its own song, we’ve grown deaf to this below
But in this super consciousness we’re in the eternal flow

I’ll be with my friends and family and others whom I love
The ones who left before me and currently live above
There they wait with arms wide open and rejoice when I arrive
In the fourth stage where I now live, it’s utter joy to be alive

I’ve incorporated my lessons, I now recall my goal
And my mind begins to focus on further growth of my soul
I must make further preparations and my vision starts to clear
I feel I must keep moving forward for all my works done here

I now have gone through five and six, there is just one more 
In years it’s been from birth to birth one hundred forty four
The time has come to move along and leave this place called heaven
Prepare for life in the physical world, I move to number seven

My soul has gathered the material, I now know what I must do
To make some more improvements in the places I need to
I must take another body, I must live another life
To grow and liquidate more karma though it means more pain and strife

I build an archetype of the body that in future I will form
When embodiment is offered, and I can be reborn
I will see the opportunities and be able to discern
The ideal embodiment for me when the right egg meets the sperm

I will hover near the fetus, influencing where I can
And I’ll have the power to make it be a woman or a man
I will help to build the body to suit the lessons I must learn
To overcome more issues so more advancement I can earn

When baby takes its first breath and my soul is taken in
With the imprint of my seed atoms that it has brought within
Now the babys’ atoms resonate to my seeds vibration rate
Making it the perfect body for my soul to habituate

The new body will be my new home, I will live a life anew
Gain experience, learn more lessons, through the things that I will do
I’ll apply the added knowledge that I learned in this past life
More evolved than in the last one, and cause me less pain and strife

This will happen just as often as required by the soul
As it pushes ever onward, pushing ever t’ward its goal
Of complete re-integration back from whence it came
To the universal soul of life no matter what its name

Nature is not personal, it does not seek revenge
If we mess it up we have the chance to do it all again
We arrived here by this process, nothing’s changed it’s still the same
But our souls have evolved immensely since we stepped into the game

We started out as fallen angels with no experience on this plane
We’ve grown to this by coming back again and again
Though we cannot remember for each conscious mind has died
The feelings in the soul remained in our subconscious mind

And so this is the story of the cycle of the soul
As it struggles through evolution on its way toward the goal
It’s this way for all unfailing, from natures law there’s no relief
All living things go through it, no matter their belief


Long poem by Neldy Jolo | Details |

THE CRAFT CAN CAPTURE IT

Oh well I got an angry email to begin my day
Because of my last post on the Jabidah thing yesterday
Galit sa akin but greeted me with Assalamu alaykum.
And kung personal Moro friends ko naman ito 
They know I don't criticize Moro leaders
I always leave that to them to criticize their leaders
According to my friends baka nasa gubyerno or something
Next time I'll write na lang about the sea and the palm trees and the beaches 

Pray and pray nalang para walang provocation
ako nga ang daming nag-message sa akin nagalit sa issue ng Sabah standoff
Ikaw pa kaya na wala namanng masama na sinabi dun
Alam mo ‘buti na lang you verbalized that kasi iniisip ko rin ‘yun
I know you have reasons and you know better kaya; I just read your posts
I don’t have to go against parties kasi both have rights
And the issue must be solved

Wala, kasi sa akin kundi independence lamang ang kailangan
May ganyan din kasing realities? 
Minsan you are being asked or expected to take sides
Yes, my side is peace – with peace is independence
Yes, I heard that sa dating Jabidah Massacre celebration
Somebody said that, “Walang kapayapaan kasi walang kalayaan”
And that is very universal, kapatid.

Moro or non-Moro and writing should always geared towards humanity
That’s why for me it “anti-humanity” if you will not listen 
Or suppress when somebody will talk about freedom.
That’s the problem with Filipinos, they don't listen.
Kasi the leaders may sarili ring interests.

How do you see being Filipino?
Ako, it's a cage, Filipino nationalism 
Agenda ng mga oligarchs and landowners 
Filipino nationalism is violence against Muslims and lumads
Kasi ‘pag ako ang tatanunginmo I will never say I am Filipino
Because Tausug it’s not a name but an identity...
I understand but kaunti na lang kayo

Ako sasabihin ko na I am a Filipino but I have reservations
When I was a teenager hindi ako tumatayo ‘pag Lupang Hinirang
ngayon tumatayo na kasi napapaaway ang mga kasama ko sa sinehan
Yes and identity should be critically assessed and examined.
Kaya if they say Filipino ang mga Tausug masakit sa aking loob
But not all, kapatid. try mo pumunta sa Manila
Yung mga Moro na malalapit sa mga institusyon ng Pilipinas
Bakit iba ang Moro at ibang ang Tausug
kaya sila naging Moro at masaya na tawaging Moro 

May identity na naiiba sa Filipino
Pinag-aaralan ko rin yan and ino-observe ‘yung pag-yield sa 'Filipino'
‘Will give Filipinos a disservice
Because it is tantamount to be an accomplice to a corrupt system
And this system is the one that oppresses Muslims
At alam natin ang Tausug di lamang taga-Sulu
Pati Bisayan, Tausug din

As much as possible I am trying to make my writings 'away' 
Away from Filipino nationalism
That's the right way for me and my writing
I will ask first, “How it is to be human?” 
At super last na ang, “How to be a Filipino” 
And the Bangsamoro struggle is the greatest critique to the violence
And failures of Filipino nationalism

Ang problema kasi kaya di successful ang Bangsamoro struggle
Dahil nagdadala sila ng pangalan na di naman originally sa kanila
How come ang pangalan ko ay Abdul sa rights
Gagamitn ko ang Juan para sa aking bayan?
Kaya war of ideas ito and alam mo naman sa akin, ‘pag ideas 
And perspectives walang kompromiso and peace talks 

I do not compromise my language, my craft and myself, my writing
Filipino is an imagined nation, as well as Bangsamoro
Bakit di natin magamit ang orignal nation natin 
Na based sa Sulu archipelago and Mindanao
Yes, actually diyan ako papunta - papunta

Bakit hindi i-Bangsamoro-ized ang buong Filipinas?
It doesn’t mean na i-convert ang Pilipinas 
But the spirit, the struggle it should mean something to Filipinos
It should kasi ang dami na nagbuwis ng buhay
Kaya ko pa na tanggapin kung Maharlika

‘Yan ang gusto kong ma-achieve: Filipinos should listen to Moros
Siyempre marami pang madidiscover along the way
Indeed. Ikaw ba ‘pag sasabahin ko na ‘Tausug’ ano ang maiisip mo?
Tausug is Moro and Moro for me is something that predates 'Filipino'
But now, I would like to know the concept of “Lupah Sug”
I want to know it, I think there are more and beyond Moro on it

Before ‘Moro’ was named to Mindanao and Sulu people
It was first name to Aceh people, Melaka, Brunei and then Manila
Sulu and Mindanao were the last places to have been called the name ‘Moro’
Sulu archipelago was united under the name Sulu archipelago 
The name of people is Tausug. 
Tausug is composed of different ethnics:
Arab, Banjar, Dampuan, Buranun etcetera.
The concept of Sulu as part of dar al islam 
Is already a nation and state 
Where the government is the people and itself headed by sultan or raja

Yes, and I would like to feel this from the ordinary Tausugs when I get there
I would like to experience this from ordinary Tausug and on from place itself.
In the hinterland of Jolo, their laws still on the ground not of Philippine law

I believe in narratives
I want to hear and feel this from the place and from the people.
And then capture it; I have these thoughts 
That Lupah Sug has something that the Moro concept does not have
And it’s a bit metaphysical but sige lang.

I know my craft can capture it.
I think there is a language that can capture it 
And specific craft that can carry its soul
Not fictionalize but put it in a form like a novel or a narrative
Which have their own logic and truths as crafts.






This poem is made after the conversation and sharing with Filipino writer Rogelio Braga who also serves as the editor of the poem. He is currently in Mindanao, travelling and writing; he will then proceed to Sulu Archipelago soon. 2:28PM, 19 March 2013, Facebook Chat across Sulu Sea!


Long poem by Richard Lamoureux | Details |

Watch

You might wonder what happens during the course of the day with a profiler. I'm known as the watcher. Little insignificant things can make the difference in cracking a case. A subtle glance, a dilated pupil the tightening of a jaw. Let me take you back to yesterday so you will understand.

"Rick I need you to come in here." "Alright captain, what do you have for me?" "We have an Arson on our hands, Rodrigues is interviewing the family now." "What do we know about them captain?" "Husband and wife are separated, the daughter was living with the mom in the family home. Nothing left of the home, burnt to the ground." "Do we know where the fire started?" "Yes it looks like it started in the girls bedroom. Enough talking Rick lets pay attention to what's going on."

Captain Branson is an impatient man, he thinks this watcher stuff is a pile of bullshit. He's all about old fashioned police work. Still here I am detective first class with a pile of successes under my belt. So the upper brass have thrust me upon him.  He tolerates me, in private he tells his buddy's I'm a lucky sh*t and one day my luck is going to run out. 

I looked through the one way glass into the interrogation room. The dad was sitting furthest away. He is dressed impeccably dark blue suit, white shirt and a red tie with matching handkerchief. He also sports a hundred dollar haircut and speaks with controlled precision. While he speaks he looks at Rodriguez with a certain disdain. His arms are folded and he keep looking down at his watch.

The daughter is a contrast in opposites, unkept purple hair and wearing a black loose fitting dress. There are scratches on her arm that she is picking at. Several piercings adorn her lips nose and eyebrows. On her shoulder there is a broken heart tattoo that says Daddy's Girl. 

The wife is a thirty something beauty with long blond hair. She is casual yet elegant, a natural look that has taken hours to achieve. She is on the opposite side of the table from her husband and somehow it does not seem far enough. As her husband speaks her left eye has a subtle twitch. 

Rodriguez fidgets with the earbud as he asks the dad if he wants something to drink. The dad snaps back " let's just get this over with I have to get back to work." Rodriguez just smiles and asks the wife and daughter if he can get anything for them. The daughter continues to pick at her arm. The wife politely says "no thank you." "Well then we can get started." Rodriguez gets up opens the door and a large matronly officer enters. Rodriguez asks the daughter and mom to accompany her. The daugter rises and walks with a slow detached gait, her mom follows with a practiced elegance.

Rodriguez looks at the man and says, "let's start with what we know, we know the fire wasn't accidental. There was an accelerant used in your daugters room." The dad looked Rodriguez in the eye and said "so why are you talking to me? I don't even live there anymore." Rodriguez asks the dad where he was between nine and eleven that morning. The man quickly responds that he was working at the office with his assistant. Rodriguez asks if anyone else may have seen him that morning. He says not that he's aware of.  Talking through the earbud I ask Rodriguez to end his questioning for now.

Captain Branson says, "we checked the Navigation on his BMW, it shows his vehicle didn't leave the parking lot till three this afternoon. Personally my money is on the crazy daughter, I checked and she started a fire a few years ago behind their neighbors shed."  "Ok captain we'll start with her next. I'll be back in a minute I need a cup of coffee." I leave the room just as the dad leaves the interrogation room. Rodriguez motions for him to sit down. As he sits he crosses his legs and I notice he is wearing a new pair of shoes and there is a small white stain on his cuff.  Once again I notice him looking at his watch. I walk by him to the coffee machine  without him even giving me a glance.

Back in the interrogation room Rodriguez is sitting with the girl, she has yet to make eye contact with him. I tell Rodriguez to start the interview. He does the usual attempt at rapport building but it garnishes no warm and fuzzies. Enough of that he asks her where she was this morning. She says she was out behind the bleachers at school. He asks if anyone can verify her being there. She says no, she was by her self. He asks about the fire behind the neighbors shed. She says "it looks like you have already made up your mind. Why don't you just lock me up?" This is the first time she looks him in the eye.  Rodriguez says he just wants to get to the truth. "The truth? No one cares about the truth, why would I burn down my own room?" She looks defiant and hurt, the look of someone who has been accused of many things. I tell Rodrigues enough for now. The captain says "what? Is that it?"  "Relax Captain she's not your girl. Rodriguez bring the wife in."

The wife looks a lot more relaxed without the husband in the room. She sits back easily in the chair with her legs crossed gracefully at the ankles. She pulls out a lighter and cigarette and asks if it is okay if she smokes. Rodriguez apologizes and says there is no smoking on the premises.  She says "that's okay I'm trying to quit." She tells him she started again after the separation. Rodriguez asks her who she thinks started the fire. She says she has no idea but she can't imagine who would want to burn down their home. She loses her composure for a moment and starts to cry. She looks up at him with her big blue eyes filled with tears. Rodriguez passes her a tissue and asks if she is okay to continue. She says sure she just needs a moment to compose herself. He asks her to tell him about her husband.


Long poem by Desheya Swaby | Details |

Part 1: Confusion of the muse

The large, bright Winter moon shone it's heavenly light over and out amongst the snow-covered city. The city was large, the city was noisy. It was midnight and the bustling still urged on. People ached for a screaming, gangs clutched for their money, the elderly walked the icy sidewalks alone and or in couples; such a beautiful sight it was. At the very top of the Empire State building, a young-looking woman with ivory, glowing skin slumped her spine up against one of the boxed structures set over, preferably the corners. Her eyes glimmered with a soft red shine in them, her gaze was holding and even dangerous but yet a calmness instilled in her body, instilled in her soul. She was confused, she was.. What was the emotion long forgotten? She pushed her head up against the upper part of the ventilator before closing her eyes lazily, then did she turn her head, watching the moon pester her with it's large size. She rolled her head a moment. "Why do these feelings still exist? Why does unhappiness set the mood? The consecrated belief of this form was for the lovely destiny of being what I am now.." Her long, wavy hair danced with the cold breeze that swept in her direction. She found herself entranced in the lustrous sphere, floating there in the confines of the atramentous skies, dotted with sparkling partners.
As she sighed, her breath came in a swirl of thick fog. She felt no cold, she felt no warmth. She just felt sick.

Suddenly, as if everything stopped in the undeniable present of the moment, the sound of civilization cut off completely. Not a honk was heard, not a gunshot was sounded, not even the wind that whispered to her so dreamily could tell her secrets now. There was a presence. A strong presence, and a voice; a deep, rough voice;
"Child, have you not learned? Have you no shame? Have you no comprehension to the reasons of your being?"
It was a male's voice and it was most familiar out of a lot of voices, she heard it so much that sometimes, she thought herself to lose even her own infernal sanity. If she lost that, all hope was lost for her soul to linger somewhere as it did now. The woman turned around, folding her arms over her breasts as she did so, her eyes set upon a large silhouette that hid within the shadow of one of the large ventilators behind her. The male stepped out from the shadow, staring over her with spine-shattering, shimmering crimson irises. He stood six foot nothing and had long white hair just as she possessed. His jaws were squared out and his chest was large. "I have but more shame than you may know, but, in general, do you know too much.." She frowned. The man smirked only slightly to where it wouldn't even be considered a half smile or any in relation. "You're unhappy. You're dissatisfied. When clearly, you are to be neither. You have been a Devil of Dis for some time now and I think, perhaps, it's time for you to control it."

It was only their voices and behind their voices and words were soft echos. As every city commotion went on down below, as the lights flashed and cars crashed, nothing seemed like reality to her anymore, not even in her moments of thoughts. She was always being watched, no matter what. She couldn't feel shame. She never had that chance. She never had that chance to suffer the right way and die the right way as well. A faded memory of her Mother transitioned into her thoughts. She turned around, her back facing him now. She kept her arms crossed. She said nothing.

He walked up behind her before placing a single, large, talon-tipped hand upon her right shoulder, gripping firmly. His palm was warm. She didn't look up. "You fight with yourself.. Often and you know it all too well, girl." She could feel the gaze of his aura-seething eyes pierce into the back of her head. She parted her pale lips to speak; "I've got to find myself, I suppose. But, underestimate me not. It's harder than I've realized." Her back pushed up against his muscle-bound chest absentmindedly as she leaned into the fiery warmth of his massive form. The pit of her stomach felt as though it would close in on itself at any moment just not too long ago and now, it felt the growing ball of fire that set ablaze to her chest and overwhelming her beating heart. Hot breath caressed her slim jawline as she soon snapped from her flow of thoughts. She closed her eyes, nudging her body into his suddenly when she found herself facing him unexpectedly. Did she move here on her own?.. She let her head rest against his chest, his large hands running over her curved sides and behind, brushing his fingertips along her lower back with almost fervent passion before she tilted her head up, meeting up with his sharp structured face and the demand in his eyes, feeling the same breath brush over her face. The female fiend leaned up, placing her hands upon his broad shoulders and just as she tilted her head, brushing her lips over his own once. He disappeared.

In the same moment, her body posed in the same form just as if he was still there before she stepped back, her large, black wings folding up against her form. His voice rang through the air or her own air even before it entered into her subconscious, acting as such; "Act on your own, for I will be watching you..." And as his words faded into the soft echoes of tomorrow, the shuttering noises of New York followed in from soft to normal volume once again. She stared into the velvet skies, spying a single star that remained larger than the rest of it's comrades. She sighed softly, contemplating this.


Long poem by Brian Johnston | Details |

So Many Questions

(A both serious and fanciful encounter with God)          

1. There are so many questions that I have for God, 
Oh my love, don't you feel the same way? 
While it's true that we may just have met in this poem
You must know that I care what you say.
Like who made the Creator and then who made Him? 
To infinity this clearly goes.
But a 'whole universe' that 'exists on its own? '
It's orgasmic! And that curls my toes.

It seems possible God could create this strange thing
Which some atheists call 'the big bang, '
Which puts God the creator at source once again
'Self-creation' becomes boomerang.
In the end science usually makes simple right
And in this case that doesn't seem odd
For it's clear that although God explains 'the big bang, '
'The big bang' just can't explain God. 


2. Now some people think that for the Church to survive
That the Bible must 'un-airant' be
Though that leaves many liberals gasping for air
And I certainly mean to include me.
Didn't Christ turn established Church square on its head
And accuse experts of speaking trash
Their self-aggrandizements the flailings of the dead, 
Their pronouncements the value of ash? 

So where in the Bible does it claim to be true
That each man's take on it is Gospel? 
The foolishness of this thought clearly would make the
Deity of mere men possible.	
And Christ spoke in parables, while I am on it, 
While they may contain truth, are they true? 
Shifting sand's the ground literalists stand on, 
I don't want God's Church built there, do you? 
 

3. I suspect overall that our God is too small
Modeled after folks tied down with chain, 
A God that's too small is really no God at all
And our saying we know Him just vain. 
Today's Kingdom of Grace has become one of fear
As we try to trap God with His Word, 
Surely our doing battle with Father or Son	
Trying to save ourselves is absurd.

So what does it mean to believe in Christ Jesus? 
And how can I be cleansed in Christ's flame
I think it is clear you should be different from Satan
And he certainly knows Jesus' name.
In fact one could divine Satan knows Christ is real
A fact Satan will take to his grave.
But Satan's not willing to walk in Christ's footsteps
And that's whom God chooses to save.
 

4. Surely there's nothing wrong with our questioning God
For God commands us, 'Forbid them not, '	
'Suffer the little children to come unto me	.'
Does that sound like God's wrath is our lot? 
It is true of course, we know that God gets angry
But His essence still always is Grace.
It is not who you are, it is just what you do
That can make Him get into your face.

With Karen Armstrong now alive on the scene
It is clear that God's heart is still showing
When she says 'Doubt is not the opposite of faith...
Certainty is! ' A huge debt to God I am owing.
For certainty is certainly not my standard
And sometimes that does give me pause.
But the Grace that I feel in God's presence
Is what brings me to peace with His laws.


5. So now that we've managed to clear up some big stuff
Let's tackle some things that are fuzzy
Like Jesus would frequently call God his 'father'
But God could not have a thing, does He? 
I'm sure that some ladies will not be too happy
To hear that God's not one of their clan
Remember the Bible says God's church is His bride, 
Not much room there for doubt He's a man.

Women
'But if that's really true He's not me, more like you, 
No way could that ever be called fair.
Thanks a lot! Doesn't seem much like heaven to me
Woman still dragged around by their hair.	'
Men
'Hold on now, wait a bit: Please! let's not have a fit
Seems like men have a right to feel blue! 
Even though we are all getting married to God
Recall men are to be His bride too! ' 


6. If science and traditional faith disagree
Then it's clear that there is something wrong
One could ignore it but both come from God
So take care if the science is strong.	
Intelligent scholars of Biblical truth say 
Creation is six thousand years past
But science proves this wrong over 4 billion years
In one universally huge blast.

The Bible was written two thousand years ago
For folks who knew little of science.
When you speak to a child, you know he's not adult, 
And you use what we call common sense, 
Not hard to accept that the Bible is dated, 
Don't stew over it for heaven's sake.
This isn't a sign that our God would mislead us, 
He who died for you is not a fake.


7. And now for an odd bit, just where does Science fit
With God's gift of Grace for the many? 
'Seek, you shall find, knock and it be opened to you: '
As good a definition as any.
'Every good and perfect gift comes from the father.'
I am grateful to God for His Word.
And you devil's children who call God's gift evil, 
For repentance I offer a bird.

Our God's revelation to man is ongoing, 
With faithfulness through all the ages
The only requirement of mankind it would seem
Is willingness to turn the pages.
Not just pages of Bible but pages of stars
Which are surely God's heart written large.
Let us follow Him to where new worlds conquer fear 
And our service to LOVE so discharge.

Brian Johnston
December 17-19,2013

Poet's Notes:
Whew! This poem is another one of those 'where did that come from' poems. I want to let go of it, YET IT KEEPS  ON GROWING LIKE THE 'THE BLOB! '

So don't be surprised if I offer new stanzas.
Think I feel something else clearly perking.
I'm taking requests to so if you have a pet peeve 
Just forward on to me, don't be shirking.

Love in advance, 
Brian

PS: Thank you God


Long poem by Stacey Brown | Details |

Wonderful Women


Mary was a virgin girl:
With big dreams and aspirations!
An angel came to visit her:
With honor and salutations!
Troubled by his sayings:
She did not know what to think!
The angel said to Mary:
My dear, no need to shrink!

Mary you are favored,
Blessed among all women!
Ye shall bring forth a child:
A Son whom God is given!
You shall call his name JESUS!
To his kingdom there’s no end!
He will reign forever:
And from heaven he will descend!

Mary said to the angel,
How shall this come to be?
I have not known a man,
And with that he did agree!
With God’s nothing impossible,
So Mary did reply:
Behold I am God’s servant,
And his will I won’t deny!

To be so compliant;
Is just amazing in itself!
The disgrace of an unwed mother:
Could knock Mary off the shelf!
Her fiancé’ may leave her;
And her family may disown!
But Mary did not worry:
About who may cast a stone!

Seeing that she was chosen:
One might think her life was smooth.
But oh’ the lovely Mary:
Needed God to gently soothe!
From the birth of our Lord Jesus:
To the time he was crucified:
Her journey was very bumpy:
And many tears she softly cried!

Starting with a quest:
From Nazareth to Bethlehem!
A summons to pay taxes,
They set out, both of them! (Joseph and Mary)
Now Mary was great with child,
And her time would soon arrive.
With no place to deliver,
They would both have to contrive!

In a barn full of animals,
Hay, dung and fears!
Mary will now give birth,
In blood, sweat and tears!
Meanwhile, in a pasture,
Where some shepherds work a field!
Angel’s came a calling,
And our Savior is revealed!

Glory to God in the highest:
Angel’s sang, when baby breathed:
On earth, is peace, goodwill towards men!
The shepherds now perceived!
The angel’s ascend to heaven,
Yonder the shepherds go:
In her heart Mary pondered:
Of the things which God did show!

Just try to imagine:
Laying your baby in a trough?
And then fearing for his life,
While the king prowls and scoffs!
Well that is just what Mary did:
In that time and place:
When they had to run:
For baby Jesus, King Herod chased!

A king to rule over him:
He would not accept!
He killed every baby child:
As their mother’s wept!
I just cannot fathom:
What Mary must have felt.
Joy for her baby:
Yet, with grief she must have dealt!

Traveling home from Jerusalem:
After feast and celebration!
Mary lost her precious boy:
She could not find his location!
When he was discovered,
Frantic she did ask:
Son why did you leave us?
In sorrow we did bask

Every mother has known:
The fear of losing a child!
Mary was no different:
For three days her fear compiled!
I am sure there was weeping:
Praying with despair!
While Joseph tried to calm her:
With love and tender care!

She couldn’t apprehend:
What his life would turn out to be.
But, Mary as his mother:
Felt free to go and see!
She followed with his brothers:
And listen to him speak!
He spoke about family:
His family, he did critique!

Sisters and brothers:
And mothers we also see!
Are not bound together:
By a family tree!
From our Father in heaven;
Families are made!
Now, did Mary understand?
The price she had paid!

Mary’s little boy,
Was no longer her own!
He belongs to the people:
And as kin he is known!
Gripping at her heart strings:
Affliction had to arise:
As a mother of a son,
That might feel like my demise!

News of his capture:
Must have brought a scare!
How did Mary deal?
Did she run straight there?
When Jesus was beaten:
Did she watch all alone?
How did she refrain?
As he was whipped to the bone!

A crown of thorns:
They pressed upon his head!
He was dripping in blood:
His flesh was bright red!
Nails were deeply driven:
Through his hands and feet!
Crying out he said:
My God, why so discrete?

She stood by the cross:
And watch her baby die!
She pondered in her heart:
For the reason why!
Is it worth it?
Did Mary dare to ask?
For the love of God:
She must complete her task!

Yet, it pleased the Father:
For him to suffer!
To give his life:
For another!
To shed his blood:
Would only prove our WONDER!
JESUS gave it all:
Our sins to cover!

As my heart is wrenching:
I can’t help but wonder!
Did Mary even hear?
Those sounds of thunder!
The earth was shaking:
The rocks did rent!
The veil was torn:
And Mercy was sent!

With a broken heart:
Tear filled eyes!
Could Mary see?
Where his love lies!
Her baby boy:
Who brought some travail!
In the end:
Did definitely prevail!

Mary was chosen:
And highly favored!
And for our God,
 She willingly labored!
She had troubles:
Plus sorrow and grief:
Yet, she pondered God’s word:
This fought off the thief!

The wonder of this woman:
Is most definitely overt!
And your wonder is also:
So please let me assert!
Jesus arose:
Three short days later!
Redemption came:
And so did your favor!

God loves his creation:
A plan he has made!
He is not partial:
Nor, will he invade!
He leaves it to us:
To trust in his name:
So just like Mary:
Let his will take aim!

Now, ponder his word:
For it is real clear!
In Jesus we’re blessed:
Favored and dear!
We also have purpose:
Just like the Virgin Mary!
It is to share Jesus:
WONDERFUL WOMEN; don’t tarry!

No one can go to the Father:
Except through the Son!
And God uses his children:
To get the job done:
So if you refuse,
To share his love!
The world won’t know:
This Rock from above!

He is personal:
Yet, he is for all!
Proclaim his love:
It’s your curtain call!
Go into all the world:
And share his good news!
Mary’s child has risen:
It’s your turn to choose!

Stacey Brown
12-10-13


Long Poems