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Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Divine Comedy translation Hell Canto XIV

Because the charity of my native place
Obliged me, the broken branches I the picked up
Them giving back him, who was to debase.

Then we finally reached where had to leap
From the second turn to third, and just where
Horrible art of justice you can seep.

To best describe new things I saw then there,
I tell that now we arrived at a site
Which any plant destroys and impair.

The painful wood is like a garland tight
Around it, like is the sad moat to it;
Here we stopped step after step nearby quite.

The space was of sand arid and thick split
Not quite so different shape from the one
Which was by Cato’s foot canceled to grit.

O God’s vengeance, how  much you ought to stun
And frighten whoever is reading now
What to my eyes then manifest was done!

Of naked souls I saw many flocks to bow
And all together wretchedly to cry,
As they were subject to a wicked law.

Some people of them supine to ground lie,
Some other sitting down fully curled up,
And other walked around with no why.

People who wandered was a larger group,
And the less ones lying to the torment,
But expressing their grief with louder weep.

Over the sandy soil, with slow descent,
Were pouring  of fire very large flaps,
As snow on mountains with no wind extent.

Like Alexander in hot lands perhaps
Of India over his army saw
Flames solid down to ground  to collapse,

So he designed pawing the soil to draw
With his arrays, so that the vapor hot 
Faster lapsed if let alone to withdraw:

So fell there the eternal fire spot;
Making sand to ignite, like the tinder
Under fire, to double the ache shot.

With no rest were waved around to hinder
The miserable hands, just side by side
To send away from self the hot cinder.

I started: “Master, who are winner wide
In all things, except with the demons tough
Who our entrance at the door before tied,

Who is that big who is careless enough
Toward fire and spiteful and grim lies,
So it look like on him fire to snuff?”

And just that one, as had way to comprise
That I was asking my duke about him,
Shouted: ”Like when alive, as dead my guise.

If Jupiter ha to remove his smith’s vim 
From which he took the lightning acute
That my last day me stroke with will grim;

Or if  is tiring others to pursuit
At Mongibello where is the smithy black,
Calling “Good Vulcan,help me, and be cute!”,

As he made at Phlegraean battle attack,
And he darted me with his strength at all: 
He couldn’t have his happy revenge back”

Then my duke shouted with his voice so tall
So tall, that never so strongly I heard:
“O Capaneus, since is not yet small

Your arrogance, you more with pain are spurred:
No torment, except your angry wrath bad,
Would certainly be to your rage concurred”.

Then turned to me, and better aspect had,
Telling: “He was one of  the seven kings
Who Thebes besieged; had and still to add

Contempt has to God, no regard brings;
But, as I told him, his despites are then
At his breast very appropriate things.

Now follow me, and careful not, again,
You put your feet in this hot and  scorched  sand;
But always keep your feet in wood as den”  

In silence passed over to reach the land
Out of the wood where is a tiny flow,
Whose reddish color  my mind still disband.

As from the Bulicame the waters go
Which women sinners then among them share,
Likely that runlet through the sand went low.

Its bottom and too both its steep banks pair
Were of stones, and the edges on the sides;
So I realized that the pass was there.

“With anything else I have shown besides,
After we entered the main door just through
Whose trespassing ever nobody chides,

You did not notice using your eyes too
Overt as it is this present river,
Which turns off all little flames not few”

Of these words my guide had been the giver;
So I begged him the dinner had to feed
After the wish he brought in me with shiver.

“In the sea midst is a place of misdeed”,
Then told me him , “which has the name of Crete,
Whose kingdom under was chaste world indeed.

There is a mount which was of pride replete
For woods and water, which Ida had as name;
Now is a desert as thing to deplete. 

Rea then chose it as cradle to acclaim
Of hers son, and she at best him to hide,
When he cried, she sound shouting overcame.

A grand old man stands up the mount inside,
Holding shoulders at Damietta town
And looks at Rome as in a mirror side.

His head of pure gold is done and crown,
Of pure silver his breast and limbs are done,
Then of copper is made to the fork down;

The part below is built of iron dun;
Except the right foot which of faience is;
And on that foot more stands, the other shun.

Each part, except the golden one, rift has
As a disruption which drips just tears’ flow
Which, gathered, drilling in that cavern does. 

Their course in this valley deep falls and throw;
Acheron, Stix and Phlegethon they form;
Then through this narrow penstock down they go,

At last, there where more drop cannot perform,
Produce Cocito, and how is that pond
You can’t see here, but you shall see as norm”.

 And I: “If this stream has to correspond
To a source like that in our world up there,
Why too in this fount we it see beyond?”.

And he: “This site is round, you are aware;
Although you already walked that much,
Even moving left, getting down to fare,

You did not yet complete the circle such;
So that, if it looks strange to you this thing,
Your face should not wonder and touch”.

And I again: “Master, where is the spring
Of Phlegeton and Lete? Of one are still,
Of other you tell it’s of this rain fling” 

“With all these questions, I admire your will,
He answered, “but the boiling water red
Should have just solved a question you made still.

Lete you shall see, not in this hole of dread,
Where souls go to wash out their pain indeed
When their sin repented  has then been shed”

Then he told: “It’s time, to move now we need
From the wood, so follow and come me back:
Road is done by borders, which let accede,

And on them hot vapor will of course lack”   


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Dante's Divine Comedy III Canto translation

“Through me you enter the city of woe
Trough me you enter the eternal pain
Through me you go to people lost below.

Justice inspired my highest factor reign;
I was created by act of divine,
Supreme wisdom and the first love as main.

Of all created things the first is mine
Unless eternal, and I eternal last.
Who enters here must any hope resign”.

These words in color of obscure contrast
I written saw on top of a big door;
So I: “Master, their meanings me harass”

And he to me, as guy with a shrewd  core
“Here you must abandon any bad mind;
Of any cowardice must die the bore.

We reached the place I told you, so remind,
Where you shall see the people full of pain
Who good of intellect have lost behind”.

And when his hand on mine put to remain
With happy face, giving consolation,
Told me deep secrets in a fashion plain.

There sighing, tears, cries of desperation
Were filling all the air empty of light,
So I had to cry with desolation.

Strange sounds, screeches with horrible insight,
Painfulness words, furious rage tones,
High and hoarse voices, and sounds to incite

Were doing much noise, which there high intones
Throughout that turbid air for endless time,
As when swirl wind moves sand and little stones.

And since I had so wrong my own head prime,
I told: “Master, what is the noise I hear?
Which is the people here bummed in such grime?”.

And he to me: “This forlorn way of here
Assume the dreary souls of those men past 
Who with no blot or laud a life had mere.

Among that evil choir are badly classed
Of angels who neither became barely rebels
Nor faithful to God, with selfishness vast.

Heaven to shun less beauty them dispels,
Nor can welcome them the deepest hell,
Since for no sinner are of glory wells”.

And I: “Master, what is  so hardly fell 
To make indeed them strongly to complain?”.
He answered: “Few words to you I will spell.

For these of death the prospect is in vain,
And their blind living is so badly low,
So that of any doom have envious brain. 

Of their renown worldwide there is no show;
Compassion and true justice them despise:
Don’t care for them, look simply and go low”.

And I, looking, saw a flag of big size
Which run whirling around at such a speed,
That looked to me to stop unworthy guise;

And back was followed by a crowd indeed
Of people, which I would never believe
That so far a large amount was death’s deed.

After who he was I reached to conceive
I saw and knew the shadow of the one
Who mean refused his great role to receive.

At once my understanding was thus done
That it was the sect of those captives here,
Not pleasing God and his enemies none.

These evil-born who had never life clear,
Had naked bodies and strongly harassed too
By blowflies and wasps which were flying near.

So doing blood was streaming their cheeks through,
Which, mixed with tears, fell to ground at their feet
Where it was picked up by pesky worms not few.

And since I looked back for a view complete,
I saw people nearby a large stream;
So I told: ”Master, you now me repeat

So that I know who are and for what theme
They have to look ready forthwith to pass,
As I descry in this light lack extreme”

And he to me: “Clear will be things at last
When our steps walking we shall bring to rest 
At the sad bank of Acheronte vast”.

With shameful eyes low looking at my chest,
Because I feared by speaking to bore him,
Silent to the river I was at best.

And came us towards of a  boat aboard
An old man, white for his ancient hair,
Shouting: “ Woe unto you, oh souls abhorred!

You have no hope to see the heaven air
I come to bring you to the other bank
In the eternal dark, warm and cold scare.

And you right there, of living souls your rank,
Divide your path from these ones who are dead”.
But when he saw I was not moving flank,

Told me: “Different ways, and ports instead
You have to reach, not here, to freely pass
A lighter vessel conveniently will lead”.

My guide to him: “Charon, don’t you harass:
So is the will up there where is the sway
To reach the will, and put no more contrasts”

After the fleecy chicks calm had to stay
To the old pilot of the livid slew,
Who flames round his eyes had to display.

But those souls, which were weary and naked too,
Forthwith turned pale and started to chatter 
When heard the meaning of words so askew.

Blasphemed God and their relatives latter,
The human beings, where, when and the seed
Of their seed pearl and of newborn scatter.

They then all joined and came compelled to cede, 
Bitterly weeping, at the wicked bank
Deserved by any man of God’s fear freed.

Charon demon, has ember’s eyes with swank,
Moving to them, is now collecting all;
With paddle beats whoever sits or sank.

As leaves which faded drop down during fall
One after the other, until the bough
Sees all his spoils fallen to ground to stall

So the wrong seeds that Adam could endow
Themselves throw from beach one by one,
His nod follow as a bird to call now.

So they above the obscure wave just run,
And before they the other bank descend
Another new swarm on this side is done.

“My dear son”, then told me the master friend,
“The wretches ones who die in God’s disgrace
From any country here come to their end;

The river crossing are ready to face,
Because divine justice now them spurs
So that their fear deep desire must displace.

Here no a good spirit ever occurs;
So, then if Charon is to complain with you,
You ought to catch well what his speech incurs”.

And when he ceased, the land obscure to view
Trembled so loud, that owing to my freight
My mind of lather still perceives the dew.

The tearful ground created a wind rate,
Which suddenly flashed a vermilion light
Winning my senses knocking down my state;

And I fell down as man who sleeps at night.


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 Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Dante's Divine Comedy translation CANTO IX

That color vileness painted on my face
When coming back my duke to me I saw 
His new squeezing inside much more took place.

He heedful stopped as man hearing to draw;
Because his eye could not reach much far more
Through the black air and too for the fog flaw.

“At end we have to win this battle bore”,
Started him, ”Unless…. Someone offered aid.
Oh how late is other reaching this shore!”.

I saw clearly well how he had to fade
His speech at start when he reminded then on,
Telling different words respect he made;

But not less frightening gave his speech gone,  
Because I bethought the truncated say
Probably the worst unwilled sentence con.

“In this hard bottom of the mournful tray
Never is who descends from the first grade,
Which only for his pain no hope must pay?”.

I asked this question; and he “I’m afraid
It’s quite rare”, responded, “That among us
Be somebody who my same journey made.

It’s true that here I had one time to pass,
Conspired by that Eritòn cruel indeed 
Who retrieved the spirits to their corpus.

It was recent that my flesh was naked freed,
When she allowed me enter through that wall
A Giuda’s circle’s soul to keep had need.

That’s the lowest and darkest place of all,
And the furthest one from the turning sky;
I know well the path; thus do not appall.

This swamp whose stench around is very high
Encircles the mournful town all around
Where to go without wrath now we can’t try”

And told me more, but memory I confound;
Because my eye attracted full my mind
Toward the tower burning top then bound,

Where toward one point were fastly aligned
Three hellish furies fully with blood stained,
Who had members and acts female defined,

And with greenest hydras looked like were chained;
Small snakes and sidewinders they had as hair,
So that their fierce temples were hard constrained.

And he, who well recognized their despair
Of the eternal weeping the wild queen,
“Look”, he told me, ”The wild Erinni scare.

This is Megera whose song is grim obscene;
Aletto is the one crying on the  right hand;
Tesifon is in the middle”; and hushed serene.

With nails each one hers breast there wildly panned;
They stroke themselves by hands emitting cries,
So high that alarmed I held the poet grand.

“Medusa will make him of stone in guise”,
All of them were telling while looking down;
“Teseo’s assault we did not yet chastise”.

“Turn back your face and cover it facedown;
Because if Gorgon shows and then you see,
You could never go back to upper town”.

So spoke my master; and exactly he
Turned me back, and did not hold my hands,
Before that with his hands I covered me.

Oh you who have a mind which understands, 
Admire the doctrine which is hidden here 
Under the veiling of strange verses stands.

And was just coming up with waves’ smear
A din of noisy sound, so full of scare 
That both sides were then trembling as for fear,

Not so different from strongly blowing air
Vehemently coming from opposite heats,
Which hits the wood and no defense aware

Breaks the branches, strongly strikes and out beats;
Full of powder goes on and full of pride,
Wild animals and shepherds to flee hits.

 He moved to me and told: ”Your sight now guide
Up there toward that very old dirt grime 
And look closely where that smoke is more wide.”

As frogs which seeing forward on time
The adverse snake in water away flee
Until each one is hidden in the slime,

 I saw more than thousand souls very stray
To escape from one front to them whose pace
Was moving on the Stix in dry foot way.

He removed that sticky air from his face,
Roughly moving oft ahead his left hand;
And only looked jaded of that disgrace.

I perceived that from heavens he was planned,
And I turned to the master; and he made sign
To keep me quiet and bow to his command. 

Oh how much to disdain looked to incline!
He reached the door and with a little rod
Opened it, which made no flak to resign.

“Oh by heavens expelled, folks dirty sod”
He started on the horrendous threshold then,
“From where does come this hubris of your squad?

Why do you kick against that will, you men,
To which nobody can cut off the end,
And many times hurted you in this fen?

What does it profit against fate contend?
Your Cerberus, if you remember, still
Now has goiter and chin to amend”

He then moved his pace toward the road ill,
And didn’t speak to us, as to appear
A man who aims to perform a strict will

More urgent than the one of people here;
And then we moved on feet above that ground,
Safer after the saint words and no fear.

We entered there freely and with no bound;
And I, having desire of looking more
The condition that fort tightens around,

As I was in, my eye turned to explore:
And I see everywhere a country wide,
Full of pain and of vicious torment sore.

As at Arli, where Rhone stagnant is tied,
As at Pola, to the Carnaro close
Which Italy ends and wets its coast side,

The graves make ragged all the site at most
So there in everywhere and part just made,
Except a bitter way was shown by those;

Because between the graves high flames stayed,
So that they were in full completely lit,
That fused iron would not require more grade.

Were all open the covers of any pit, 
And so much mournful laments then came out,
That plain was dreary people to emit.

And I: “Master, of people tell me about
Who, buried in those arks now we there see,
With mournful sighing we can hear to shout?

And he: “Here the heresy-arks must be
With followers, of any sect, and much
More than you think in tombs are with no plea.

Similar is buried with being such,
And their penalties are hot more or less”
And when he turned right to go in touch,

We passed through the borders of that sad mess.


Long poem by Trisha Sugarek | Details |

The Ash Can

The Ash Can  ©

I got the call on Sunday night.  I was traveling on business.  When I looked at the caller ID
 I wondered why my husband’s boss would be calling me.  I was unprepared for what
 he told me and my legs turned to water when he said that my husband was dead. 
 ‘A heart attack?  An accident?’ I asked.  ‘No’, he said, ‘John committed suicide.  
 They found him in your garage this morning.’  I heard someone screaming and 
wished that they would stop so I could hear the rest.  His voice was very far away
 and the woman just kept screaming.  ‘Shut up! Shut up!’  I need to hear.  I clapped my
 hand over my mouth when I suddenly realized it was me who was screaming.
 I don’t remember hanging up or getting on the plane. (beat)  Yes, John and I were having
 problems and we had been separated for about three months but nothing was official. 

 After thirty years of marriage I never believed that we couldn’t weather this and share 
the rest of our lives together.  This was just a phase he was going through…some sort 
of mid-life crisis.  This had to be some horrible mistake, a case of mistaken identity.  
My John would never do this, leave me like this.  (beat)  

I stumbled into our home around nine the next morning.  The house looked like a woman
 hadn’t lived there for months. Dirty dishes in the sink, groceries half put away, empty 
beer cans and a full ashtray by John’s chair.  Seeking comfort I walked over to his chair. 
 Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a reflection in the mirror over the
 fireplace.  Some wild looking woman with mascara smudges under her eyes and smeared
 lipstick looked out at me. I walked closer to inspect this stranger in my house.  
She looked old and used up.  Who was she?  What had life dealt her to look so worn out? 
Oh, God, it was me.  Staring out with those eyes bleeding hot, raw pain.  (beat)  I curled
 up in John’s chair and closed my eyes.  Was this all I had left of my husband?  This slightly shabby piece of furniture that still smelled of him?  How could I tell our children?  Could I bear to go into the garage?  What would I find? 
 I knew that they had taken his body away but what had they left there for me to see?  
Maybe something there would prove that this was truly a mistake.    I rose to my feet and 
walked into the kitchen and through the laundry room to the garage door. (beat)

I slowly opened it and was knocked back by the remaining stink of gas fumes.   
John’s car sat in its parking spot, the garden hose hanging from the back window like 
some obscene snake.  I gagged and pressed the button to open the garage door.  
The passenger side window was open so I could look inside without having to touch the car.  And what I saw on the seat told it all.  There was John’s cell phone, an empty bottle of Vodka and a bottle of Excedrin.  (beat)  And something else…a second cell phone…what in the world? I was only allowed five seconds of blissful denial before it all came crashing down on me.  The second phone…the secret phone that men who cheat keep to talk to their lovers.  All those protestations he offered during the time that we were apart.  ‘No, there was no one else’, ‘I just need to find myself’, ‘I don’t want a divorce’, ‘I just need some time’. ‘I love you; I’m just not in love with you.’  Lies, all lies!  How could I have been so stupid?  Then I notice a crumpled manila envelope on the floor of the car.  Anger driven, I opened the door and picked up the envelope and the two cell phones and went back into the house.  Sitting in John’s chair once again, I smoothed out the envelope and read what was written there.  
‘Ricky, tell Sherry I love her. Tell Sherry I can’t live without her.  Tell Sherry not to cry
 for me. Sherry, I’ll love you forever. I’m sorry.....John-Boy.’  Who the hell was Sherry? 
 Did my husband of three decades kill himself over some tramp?  Some other woman 
whom he barely knew?  I picked up the second cell phone and scanned the history of calls.
  Where was area code 864? As I set the phone down my eye caught the partial title of 
a book lying on the rug under the table.  Picking it up, I read: ‘How To Keep A Long 
Distance Relationship Exciting and New.’  I opened it to the first few pages and found an
 inscription,  ‘To my tiny dancer, until we meet again.  Love forever, your John-Boy.’
My God, John, how could you?  How could you do this to us?  I yelled as I threw the 
book across the room; will this hellish nightmare never end? (beat)  I picked up the
 cell phone and scrolled down the history; Sherry Hoffman, Sherry Hoffman, Sherry Hoffman, Sherry Hoffman.  No other woman, huh, John? South Carolina…hence the long distance relationship…you’re such a fool, I told myself. There was voice mail saved and I listened to the most current ones.  Those messages told a story of a married woman who had a son and a new grandchild. 

Another sad, pedestrian story of a restless woman trapped in a loveless marriage but
 unwilling to leave.  The daughter-in-law apparently would not let Sherry see the child. 
 It seemed that John, in a misplaced attempt to help, called Sherry’s son to insist that
 he let Sherry see her grand-baby. 
 Only to succeed in blowing up that family.   The final message was not so sweet and 
sexy from his lover. Sherry had dumped my husband. (beat)  I didn’t know whether 
to laugh or cry.  I seemed to be trapped in a crazed, unbelievable soap opera.  But what 
is it that they say about truth being stranger than fiction?  I sighed.  John had always
 wanted to rescue anyone in trouble…even when they didn’t ask for help.   He had crossed
the line calling that woman’s son.  Oh, John, what were you thinking?,  I asked the empty
 room. Didn’t you know?  You were her dirty little secret.... (more)

(from my book, Monologues 4 Women) 





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 cassie hellberg | Details |

over and over agin

sometimes i talk to myself, 
my mind is racing,
i dont know what to do...
so hard to explain.
depression isn't a stage
or a faze some kids go through
it shatters you...
i saw it all. 
she cried silent in her bed,
blood stains covered her favorite jeans,
her every shirt,
long sleeve ofcourse...
she suffered through it all with few people to call friend
and more to call enemy
even more to say where quite dissappointed....
FAT
her first name in school,
not started by a bully
or a mean rival,
but by her sister, 
and it echoed through her soul,
repeating in her mind... over and over again,
like the ripples of still water
when a pebble is dropped
flash frozen in time
repeating,
over and over again...
It was the first name they gave her,
millions where created over the years,
some unique
some repeating again, just as the first had..
gothic they called her,
emo, fat, ugly....worse things.
but in her mind, things where worse.
everything was repeating,
over and over again,
finally she believed it. 
she asked for help, from everyone
tried to explain to parents she wasnt well,
got called a psycho for asking to see a theripist,
not from a teacher,
not from a class mate,
but from her own father, who wouldn't, couldn't,
believe there could possibly be a thing wrong....
finally, crying, she confessed her bloody secret to a teacher.
rather then giving her time,
she is sent back to class crying her eyes out, as if she wherent going through enough...
she is sent to the principals office a few minutes later, after breaking down in class...
the princlipal says she needs help,
sends her and her dad for a risk evaluation,
her dads crying as she shows him her cuts...
they walk into a hospital room, 
it smells of chemicals and hand sanitizer,
the lady at the desk gives her a smile.
then she goes into a room with a lady,
her cheeks are sunken in and shes wearing way too much makeup,
the girl is gaging on her perfume,
and she looks really intimidating....
her dark brown hair looks dead and flat
even though its a bit wavy, 
and she wears somewhat of a mocking frown.
asks her all these questions,
is mommy beating her?
no
is daddy raping her?
no
is she doing drugs?
not alot
is anyone beating her?
pass...
did anyone molest her? 
pass....
oxcarbezapine, trazadone, citalipran, clinazapam, colonipan,
valium, lithium, more.......
and thats what they gave her,
more... 
some numbed the pain
some brought it out
tearing through her organs,
she became an addict by the time she was fourteen....
over dose after over dose
some for pleasure
some for pain,
gashes on her legs getting deeper,
this time she didnt tell a soul,
not even those she had come to call friends....
wakeup she screamed in her head over and over again
as she dropped weight like it was nothing....
you cant controll it she argued as things became worse. 
at age fourteen she attempted suicide,
she didnt quite succeed.
the medication took away her aappitite....
she liked it
she hated her body
hated herself
felt out of controll
found a new way to cope
as she shoved tooth brush after toothbrush down her throat
to keep her body from nuitrients...
as she whent weeks and weeks spitting food into napkins and making excuses 
I ate at my friends house....
spoken as a whisper
heard like a sentance
echoing in her mind over and over again,
along with that word, all the words,
FAT!!!!!!
ugy, anoying, stupid, fake, worthless, nothing...
one bite she would say
rocking back and forth
craving nothing but food
her body racked with hunger pain
one bite and there she was again
FAT!
over and over and over again
back to a toothbrush
this time she sees blood
she saw her ribs
she saw her bones,
it wasnt good enough,
she almost died, again....
choking on this deep dissappointment in herself,
gaging on everything they where pushing down her throat, 
their words, and their insults, their criticism.... their drugs
all shoved down her throat like candy
and just as she was was trained to do she swallowed despite the bad taste
or the hurt
or the fact that at the rate she was going she would be dead soon...
and you know why? 
because daddy yelled 
and couldnt accept what was happening
not because he wanted to hurt her
but because it hurt him,
and she let him believe,
because she could take the hurt if it meant he didnt have too.
because mommy didnt want to sit in her room all day
smoking weed
doing nothing,
practically having us raise ourselves,
she didnt mean to take anger, or frustration or hurt out on her daughter
she suffered everyday in her solitary confinement,
and from a young age she accepted her bedroom was the cage
 her mother had created for herself.
because sister didnt want to effect her the way she did
she was just frustrated
fed up with the way things where
scared, she needed someone to take her cruelty
and to help heal her pain...
because people in school
who where so cruel
had to have learned from somewhere
and she wasnt going to play into their games,
and they knew she was an easy target
because she would never attack someone so weak
and she accepted her suffering was a sacrafice
to help all these people....
to help her dad,
her mom,
her sister,
every person who was beaten abused or hurt
 and felt so weak at home they wanted to feel strong in the one safe place they had.
because depite the fact she had died inside,
and almost passed away on the out,
it was a saccrafice she was willing to make
so that no one else would have to feel that kind of pain,
and they all inflicted it and broke her down'untill there was nothing left but a shell
of somthing that could have been
and never had the chance
and why? 
because she would take it and wouldnt strike back,
because sometimes "just taking it"
isnt so much about the weakness not to do anything
but about the strangth not to hurt others the way they hurt you...


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 Reshad Yahyaie | Details |

2 humans 2 hearts And 1 love

Once there was a girl with a tough personality. She was considered to be a friendly and talkative. She was extremely tough regardless of love and crashes. She had wishes and dreams but was never sure when it’s gone come true. She was hard working always to satisfy her family and be a great daughter. She was tough about love but at the same time she knew a special and incomparable person will come to her life, who will be very different than others. When and where she will meet him, she never thought about it because she believed that we shouldn’t look for love, the reason was that love comes itself. However let’s see how and where she finds that special person. 
One night after working so hard of her project she was bored.
“Oh God I am so bored let’s see if my friends are online I will talk to them but at the same time gone download a song” she got online but unfortunately non of her friends were online so she thought to herself why don’t I make a new friend she requested a random boy who she never knew before.  After a week passed and that boy accepted her request but they never got the chance to talk to each other.
“Oh this boy looks so cute but why can’t I talk to him” although she wasn’t trusting any boys but her heart would tell her that this boy seems to be a good boy. So she used to leave an offline massages for him in order to contact each other and be friends. One day they both were online so their conversation started.
Boy…Hi
Girl…Hi 
Boy… how are u and how did u added me
Girl… I’m fine thanks well I was bored last week so I randomly added u.
They started questioning each other and she asked him have you got a brother or a sister he answered I have 5 sister but no bro. She reply but I have 2 sis and no brother. The time of Salah came and she had to pray and she asked if she can leave the conversation and pray but he was surprised that she prays. After she did her prayers she asked him why were you surprised when I said its time for me to pray? He reply afghans who live in foreigner most of them are not religious. 
Weeks passed and one day she was so excited.
Girl… You know what
Boy…what
Girl… I have a new baby sister
Boy… congratulations 
They kept contacting each other even though he had exams on that time but he would still take out some time for her. At the same time he would study for exams. 

Few month later they became best friends and one day he told her that he like her but she didn’t understand what does he mean by like. She called her best friend and told her he told her that he likes her but she doesn’t know why he said this because he loves her or just a simple like. 
Hey dude … he told me he likes me but I don’t know what he means by that.
My Friend…  ha ha stupid liking is the first step of love I think he loves u.
She also liked him but she needed time to know him more. He was so innocent and respectful boy she had ever meet. They became so closer and their friendship turned to love after a passing of time. She didn’t know much about his family and background but however she loved him and thought he is a right person for her life partner. 
For every relationship to became stronger and trust worthy it needs time. Relationships are like building a house. Some relationship ends fast because it was build quick and the foundation was not strong enough but some relationships last forever the reason is that the foundation which that relationship was build was strong. The foundation of every relationship is trust, promises, honesty, truthfulness, modesty, respect and most important thing is a true love. Be the kind of person you would like to be with. Some people come into our lives, make footprints on our hearts and we are never the same. People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.    
She always wanted someone who is respectful and modest towards girls. Someone who is honest but she never saw any boy with those qualities in him, she only saw those qualities in him.  Even though she faced so much hardships, impenetrability and tests in life however she knew that when Allah tests you, it is never to destroy you, it’s to teach us something in life that we do not know. When he removes something in your possession it is only to empty your hands, for an even greater gift. She learned so much from those test and tried hard to become better Muslim. 
 Now they know each other and they love each other a lot.  She has a full trust on him more than herself. Even though they sometimes have argument for some Issues but their love is strong enough and they are a smart people to find the solutions. No matter what we face and how we act towards it but it shouldn’t affect a person’s trust and love in relationship because it’s so hard to make one and takes a second to destroy it. This was a good story. It’s sad that it takes a long time for people to understand values and life. We as people are so consumed with our own lifestyles and duties we have made for ourselves. 
I miss him more then he could ever know, I often ask Allah why did he have to go? I fell in love and he means so much to me, if he could look into my heart then he could see. I found something so special and it is for real, being without my love is so hard to deal. I'll be here waiting until I can be with you again, because not only are you the love of my life you are also my friend.
I just want to tell you,
I think of you every moment of the day.
And how much I love you,
Words could never even say....

I just want to tell you,
I love you with all my heart.
I wish for us to be together,
Never shall we be apart.


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

My Daughter The Need A walk from the dark side, into the darkness

My Daughter

My beautiful Daughter, walks life’s paths alone,
She does so, by design – not of hers – on her own.
She travels heavily !, from place to empty space,
from space to vacant place – in what kind of race?
A race towards where ?, towards what I do not know,
for, to me – an  age and place beyond – she does not show
where it is, - where she wants her future  to go
if ?, going anywhere – accomplishing - is a guiding
force in her life, seeking out, chasing after lightening.

There are times, when I hear, in my words
the sounds of need, – empty in their experience –
looking for some of what has been offered.
What has been offered, I see, it is not meant for me.

The Need

I keep being dragged back into this nightmare,
a nightmare ?, so I am lead to believe, could it be ?
Within the stories, the tone, I hear, I perceive it to be
but have to wonder ?, is it ?, really but a dream
that can find no reality on this plane , never comes true,
therefore it truly is !, becomes the nightmare.
In the words that tell, I see, I hear, I feel
the sword that plunges deep, with which to defend,
to destroy the foe – the lover – a man not to know
yet not forgotten, not left alone, not let go of.
He - the nightmare – is always there, he doesn’t care,
he is a rotting residue in, a part of life’s moments.
He is your nightmare, in your dreams, in every waking hour!
These sad eyes see, these sensitive ears, in pain, hear the pain,
this old heart feels, but this useless blade, – a knife that hides
within my, closed mouth – seems not able to cut away at the ties
that bind you to life’s strife – to the nightmare.
Could it be unfulfilled desires ?, unrealized dreams ?

What has taken forty nine life times to create,
might be attributed to nature, nurturing or fate,
but may not be digested, accepted, understood or dissipated.
Regardless of the words, the meaning, what else can be stated ?
I know that in forty nine hour days, my thoughts my feeling
will never find a way to reach out and touch a solid ceiling
and so, in my many words, in my actions, I pray
that it all can be set aside, and all can be put away.

A walk from the dark side, into the darkness.

Little, to nothing could this impotent old man / dad offer
his Child, his oldest Daughter, in so much need.
Nothing could he bestow upon his Child, or his lover,
with her insecurities, doubts, his insatiable greed,
and so, escape not, she walks along with his need
as it has been something he has decreed.
Oh !, how remiss to leave them on their own, to agree
to their coarse, a course that could take them on
to complete the journey they started, then gone.

Time, enough !, distance is past 
Time to stop !, turn around at last
and face what the outcome will be.
Open eyes, a new beginning to see.
May I leave sun set’s path, face the sun rise
coming through that black velvet screen before me
with it’s spattered, day-glow dots, all aglow
opening inner sanctum doors, allowing me to know.

Thoughts for me, alternative for them flash before my mind.
What will they do ?, am I being so unkind ?
Will one, the other or both be bussed back to Ontario ?
As I walk back to the room, I ponder the scenario ? 
Will we ( all three ) carry on with our little adventure
into the canyons and gorges, the city of all nights lights
– the city where angels never sleeps – I cannot be sure ?,
sure if they will end their – for my attention – fights.
Will we see the city ?, where one man built his fantasy,
walk among dreams brought to life, a fun reality 
of cartoon characters, animated for the child in us
or in the end, to Ontario on a Greyhound bus ?
Will we see stars ?, stars on a walk, in the city of angels
At this juncture, what will be the story one tells ?
Will the Golden Gate carry us ?, will we ride the hills ?,
on their steel rails, tell tales of all our thrills ? 
Will we end these moments in gods country ?, 
the city of the British, the salmon run, a hollow tree,
mountains, bays, bears, a Princess, poetess gone to ash,
her rhyme, this forth cousin of mine, they did stash,
hidden from obvious view, in the woods of Stanley park,
where few knew, and for a hundred years, lay in the dark.
Many know not where Native, folk lore doth reside ?
In her books, hand in hand and side by side,
along with as many nationalities as there are nations.
In this place, women brought to life her creations.

Before I leave this bleak walk, in the arms of this black night,
My thoughts are, hope that all will come out all right,
when one of those day glow dots, in that black velvet sky,
all a glow, took off, streaked south, caught my eye
as it crossed the heavens, fast as the speed of light,
in the pattern of a Zed, then disappeared from sight.

( Strange !!!, this speck of star light, it’s unusual flight
as it star-ts out from nothing, speeds south on a 
horizontal plane, pauses a split second, reverses direction,
drops down vertically, on an angle northward, towards a point
where it started out, again paused for a split second, then, 
on a horizontal plan, zipped south before disappearing into star,
in the starry back drop from whence it took life, for a moment. )

This story, – twenty five years old – in rhyme, comes to life,
for a brief moment, from a memories hoard, rife
with so many stories hidden from sight 
coming from rhyme - into light.

B. J.“A ” 2
May 30th 2002


Long Poems