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abortion absence
abuse addiction
adventure africa
age allah
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america analogy
angel anger
angst animal
anniversary anti bullying
anxiety appreciation
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baseball basketball
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bible bio
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brother bullying
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cheer up chicago
child child abuse
childhood children
chocolate christian
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class clothes
color columbus day
community computer
confidence conflict
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cousin cowboy
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culture cute love
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death death of a friend
december dedication
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dream drink
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education emo
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endurance engagement
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eve evil
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farewell farm
fashion father
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fathers day fear
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film fire
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fish fishing
flower flying
food football
for children for her
for him for kids
forgiveness freedom
french friend
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fun funeral
funny funny love
future games
garden gender
giggle girl
girlfriend giving
god golf
good friday good morning
good night goodbye
gospel gothic
graduate graduation
grandchild granddaughter
grandfather grandmother
grandparents grandson
grave green
grief growing up
growth guitar
hair halloween
happiness happy
happy birthday hate
health heart
heartbreak heartbroken
heaven hello
hero high school
hilarious hindi
hip hop history
hockey holiday
holocaust home
homework hope
horror horse
house how i feel
howl humanity
humor humorous
hurt husband
hyperbole i am
i love you i miss you
identity image
imagery imagination
immigration independence day
innocence insect
inspiration inspirational
integrity international
internet introspection
ireland irony
islamic january
jealousy jesus
jewish jobs
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judgement july
june kid
kindergarten kiss
language leadership
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light little sister
london loneliness
lonely longing
loss lost
lost love love
love hurts lust
lyric magic
malayalam marathi
march marriage
math may
me meaningful
memorial day memory
men mental illness
mentor metaphor
middle school military
miracle mirror
miss you missing
missing you mom
money moon
morning mother
mother daughter mother son
mothers day motivation
mountains moving on
mum murder
muse music
my child my children
mystery myth
mythology name
native american natural disasters
nature new year
new years day new york
nice niece
night nonsense
nostalgia november
nursery rhyme obituary
ocean october
old onomatopoeia
pain paradise
parents paris
parody pashto
passion patriotic
peace people
perspective pets
philosophy places
planet poems
poetess poetry
poets political
pollution poverty
power prayer
prejudice preschool
presidents day pride
princess prison
proposal psychological
purple quinceanera
race racism
rain rainbow
rainforest rap
raven recovery from
red relationship
religion religious
remember remembrance day
repetition retirement
riddle rights
river romance
romantic rose
roses are red rude
sad sad love
satire scary
school science
science fiction sea
seasons self
senses sensual
september sexy
sick silence
silly silver
simile simple
sin sister
sky slam
slavery sleep
smart smile
snow soccer
social society
softball soldier
solitude sometimes
son song
sorrow sorry
soulmate sound
space spanish
spiritual spoken word
sports spring
star stars
storm strength
stress student
success suicide
summer sun
sunset sunshine
surreal sweet
symbolism sympathy
tamil teacher
teachers day technology
teen teenage
thank you thanks
thanksgiving thanksgiving day
tiger time
today together
travel tree
tribute true love
trust truth
universe uplifting
urban urdu
usa vacation
valentines day vanity
veterans day violence
visionary vogon
voice volleyball
voyage war
water weather
wedding wife
wind wine
winter wisdom
woman women
word play words
work world
world war i world war ii
write writing
yellow youth

Long Sad Poems

Long Sad Poems. Below are the most popular long Sad by PoetrySoup Members. You can search for long Sad poems by poem length and keyword.

See also: Famous Long Poems

Long Poems
Long poem by Greg Barden | Details |

Adieu - Part 1

Do you remember?
We lay in the moonlight, exhausted and content,
Moments from perfection, skin glistening with moisture,
Salty and sweet from love - love so amazing
That it stunned us every time ...
Always better than before, and always perfect.
Even from the very first, always different and new,
Yet always the same - perfect and lost and ONE.
Feeling so entwined that we forgot
Where you ended and I began.
So incredibly mingled and joined and blended

And mixed and combined, that for an incredible moment,
A moment that always seemed to stretch to infinitude,
For that eternal moment we were no longer "we" ...
Our spirits were so completely interlaced,
That we almost felt ... alone. Lonely. As us.
But then always, somehow, enough of the world
Would slow down and let our breath
And minds catch up to our souls,
And we knew it was that amazing "we"
That had brought us here a thousand times before,
Focused to a point of energy so perfect

And loving and all-encompassing -
A kinetic rush that felt like being caught in
The thunderous curl of an ocean wave,
A wave that crashed us to shore and slowly
Rolled us over and over in the fading wash,
That ever more gently pulled us back
From the shore of ecstasy and joy,
With it's energy flowing out to the calm,
And the gentle swells reminding us
That "we" were you and I once more,
Wasted and wet and wonderfully blissful.

Do you remember? Do you?
That sexy song from Quincy's Jook Joint
Played on endless repeat, so perfectly matching 
The mood and the moonlight and the glow
Of your perfect, porcelain skin.
That amazing soft blue, moonlit skin
That I could not keep from touching,
Brushing the tips of my fingers so gently
That you almost didn't know they were there ...
So softly that they were like a dance of the breeze,
And the energy between the tips of my fingers

And the electric surface of your skin,
Would give you little shivers of pleasure.
Those spots that only I knew, but knew so well ...
The soft indent behind your knee,
The palm of your hand, the underside
Of your gently outstretched arm,
The small of your back where the dimples are,
The space from inside your ankle to your arch,
(Oh, how I delighted in your feet,
Those adorable little feet),

The delicate slope at the nape of your neck,
Those amazing lines on your lower-to-mid torso,
That drew routes from your sides to your sublime,
The gentle, curved pocket
Inside your upper thigh, and the luscious,
Creamy places they all led to.
Just the tips of my fingers like warm rain,
And your skin reacting like the drops splattering -
Little quivers of dermal arousal
That would make your breath catch in your throat,

Then release in a sigh that slayed me,
Sword-through-heart, and quietly sent me
Out of my conscious mind, urging me to repeat
The exploration of your skin, and seek out
Those silky, sultry spots once more,
But this time with the warm brush of my mouth.
Ubiquitous and thorough, everywhere ...
Slowly, softly, with the tip of my tongue
To sweeten the journey, but hungrily, too,
Like my lips had never tasted sugar,

Yet now they knew honey, nectarous and syrupy-sweet.
I'd alter between that tender touch of electricity,
(Like your skin was truly a porcelain shell,
So thin that the slightest pressure
Might crumble it's surface),
And the gentle but keen press
Of unsated hunger, adoring every inch - 
Tasting the salty sweet of you.
Like butterflies alight, your shudders
Would quicken, and your sighs would increase

In their intensity, my mind and body losing their grip
On the discipline that I employed to tease you
The way you desired ... with my hands, touch,
Mouth, breath, tongue, kiss.
Then the quest to lose ourselves
In each other would start all over again, and again,
It would be pure, and again, it would take us
To "that place", the place of endless time
And bliss and passion, swimming up each other
Like rivers, and washing back to the sea of reality.

Do you remember? Tell me you do ...
It was one of those perfect moments,
And you lay in the moonlight, looking at me
Like I was everything ... like your hunger
And longings and dreams and joy and contentment
And triumphs and pleasures and hopes
Were all complete, fulfilled, sated ... by ME.
Like I was the ONE, the only ..
Like I was the rest of your life,

And your eternity to come.
The tiny spot of moonlight glinting in your eye,
Focused on me, searching my form
And back to lock eyes ... and that smile ...
Oh, that little smile that told me everything
I ever needed to know,
That was more moonlight and starlight
And sunshine, than the heavenly objects themselves ...
That smile that wrapped my heart in it's iron grasp

The very first time I saw you,
And still has not left me to this day.
Though it's visage has been gone from me
For years, I still feel it's warmth on my skin,
I still shine it into my dark soul
When it seems the black there will never be gone.
Just the MEMORY of that smile saves my
Worthless soul from the nightmares that
Losing you has wrought the ebb of my dreams.

Do you remember? I know you do ...
You were lying there, adoring ME, (wow),
As I was adoring you,
And we both smiled at each other,
That knowing smile that proved we had just
Visited again that place so many never will,
And were now basking in the serenity
That only such a night, and such an experience,
And such music, and such love,
Could create for two people.
And as I smiled with immense joy ...

As I smiled with love and fullness ...
As I smiled with complete contentment ...
As I smiled at my soul mate ...
Tears began to stream down my face ...
And a certainty I had never before known in my life,
Struck me with the weight
Of it's horrid truth - reached deep into my being,
Warm from love, and ripped my heart into shreds.
I know not where it came from or why,
But it was the deepest truth I had ever
Experienced, and it was too much for me to bear.

(continued)

Copyright © Greg Barden | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Teppo Gren | Details |

BIO T J GREN part 04 03 Loving her was another

July 1975, Mount Druitt, Sydney, Australia

Everything in my life seemed to be in place now and going beautifully. The most important part which had been missing in my life, love, had now been fulfilled. It seemed incredible that only three weeks had passed since I had met Johanna. Those three weeks had been the most wonderful time of my life. And what was even better, was that even more wonderful togetherness was still to come. I was feeling excit-ed and ecstatic. We were still in the beginning stages of our relationship and I could hardly wait how our love would grow into a deeper, more meaningful and intimate togetherness. 

But after three weeks of dating Johanna something seemed to go wrong at a time when she had just moved into her own rental apartment in Burwood. I always took her home after folk dancing practice on Wednesdays, but this time she said that she didn’t need a lift. I was surprised and even more so I was disappointed. After we finished practice there was a white Holden station wagon with black curtains covering the side windows waiting for her. She got in the car and the car took off. I did not see who was driving it.

It was a clear message, but I didn’t realize it fully until the next day. I felt uneasy throughout the night, and the same uneasiness continued and increased during the day at work. At lunchtime I left the build-ing site at Parramatta and drove to Burwood to see Johanna to confront her as to what was going on and why I felt so ill at ease. I went to the door of Johanna’s apartment and knocked on the door but there was no reply. I knew that Johanna didn’t have a job, so I thought she must just be out somewhere. I thought I would wait around near Burwood and come back to try again in a little while. I went to a café for a drink. It was my lunchtime but I didn’t order anything to eat as the uneasy feeling I had was get-ting worse and took away my appetite. After a while I wondered back to Johanna’s apartment building outside of which I parked my car again. That’s when I saw the white Holden station wagon with the black curtains covering the side windows. Now I got really worried. I went up to Johanna’s apartment and knocked on the door. Again there was no reply, but I thought I heard a noise from inside indicating that she was there. I kept on knocking and finally Johanna came to open the door. She was wearing a robe although it was already past midday.

I told Johanna the reason I had come to see her. That I was feeling uneasy about her leaving like that the previous evening and that I needed to understand what was going on. Johanna said that I came at a bad time. At the same time I heard a sound of movement in the bedroom and it all became clear to me. I had caught Johanna at a bad time because she was having sex with another guy. I was devastated. She ex-plained that the previous night had been a direct message from her to indicate what was happening. We didn’t continue the discussion any further and she said it would be best for me to leave. I was happy to do so. I had to get out of there. I had made a fool of myself. I felt so stupid. I was being courteous with her not making sexual advances. Now I realized how stupid I was. That’s what she had wanted and ex-pected.

Many different feelings were going through my head as I got back to work. I was disappointed. I felt stupid. I felt betrayed. I felt anger. I felt anger towards Johanna for doing this to me, for not saying what she wanted from me. I felt anger at myself for being so stupid, naïve and inexperienced. I felt dis-traught for losing the feeling of love which I had for so long sought. I felt pain for having my dreams shattered.

Back at the building site I was stripping the formwork from a meter high concrete wall. The vertical tim-ber supports were slightly longer than a meter and went over the formwork plywood. Instead of using the crowbar as it was supposed to be used, I used it like a baseball bat with all my force to bang the sup-port timbers with the end of the crowbar to send them flying. I was angry. I was in pain. Letting out steam physically gave only slight relief. I felt the pain of love: I was burnt and hurt. I had started to learn about love from Johanna but being the fool I was, I was expecting happiness ever after between us: blissfulness and togetherness. But it was all a lie. My heart was not strong enough to take a lot of pain and thus it was left wounded and scarred. Fittingly, in 1975 the Nazareth hit “Love hurts” was released and played on the radio expressing the emotions I felt on this July day.

"love hurts, love scars, 
love wounds, and mars,
any heart, not tough,
or strong, enough
to take a lot of pain,
take a lot of pain
love is like a cloud
Holds a lot of rain
love hurts, ooh ooh love hurts

I'm young, I know,
but even so
I know a thing, or two
I learned, from you
I really learned a lot,
really learned a lot
love is like a flame
it burns you when it's hot
Love hurts, ooh ooh love hurts

some fools think of happiness
blissfulness, togetherness
some fools fool themselves I guess
they're not foolin' me

I know it isn't true, 
I know it isn't true
love is just a lie, 
made to make you blue
love hurts, ooh,ooh love hurts
ooh,ooh love hurts

I know it isn't true, 
I know it isn't true
love is just a lie, 
made to make you blue
love hurts, ooh ooh love hurts
ooh ooh love hurts
ooh ooh..."

That wonderful feeling of falling in love had now been shattered and turned into shear misery. Same as two years ago when Kimberley had rejected with her lovely letter, I did not want my mother, or anyone else for that matter, to see the pain was I was feeling. I kept the pain within me and I didn’t want any-one to know: I did not cry. But deep within me I was screaming from pain. My heart was crying: it was crying profusely. For three weeks I had been happy. Now all I had left was the heartache and pain.

Copyright © Teppo Gren | Year Posted 2016

Long poem by Mary Oliver Rotman | Details |

Randomlings 1-34


Randomling 1:  Matthew Macfadyen

I believe I'm in love with Matthew Macfadyen
He inspires in me a terribly bad yen
But as poetry goes
His name 'spires woes
Cause nothing rhymes with "Macfadyen”.


Randomling 2: Birthday Wishes
  
For my birthday, I would like a man.
I wonder---can you get one from a can?
Or maybe from a catalog?
Maybe I'll just get a dog.

Randomling 3: Yet Another Cat Poem

Cats:
toddlers in fur
senior citizens with retractable claws
lions in their own minds
lunch in the minds of dogs.

Randomling 4:  Desert Woes

A sage river in a field of sand:
         so flows hope in a barren land;
                   the crippled heart in prosthetic steel,
                             hacked and scarred, a vulture’s meal.

Randomling 5:  Dark Poetry

Follow poetry to its source;
There find heartbreak and remorse.
Follow poetry to the bitter end,
And there find death, its bosom friend.

Randomling 6: Ode to Bananas

Bananas
an underappreciated fruit
sentenced to banananality
because yellow is their long suit.


Randomling 7: Untitled  

Sorry,
this heart is closed to deposits.
There's no more room for pain.

Randomling 8: Untitled

My heart is sealed in a cold steel vault,
and I’ve lost the combination.

Randomling 9: Joyce Kilmer 2015

I think that I shall never see
A man as useful as a tree.
One has uses by the score;
The other one is apt to snore.

Randomling 10:  Bedtime Prayers

Now I lay me down to sleep,
A leaden heart is mine to keep.
If I should die before I wake--
Now there’s an offer I’d gladly take.   

Randomling 11:  The Devil Wind

Tornadoes
Fury with a smoky tail
Eddies of destruction
Deceitful beauty, enchanting danger
Death sporting a makeover
____________________________________________________________________________________
DON'T READ #12 IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR ME TALK TO MY SON ABOUT CERTAIN ASPECTS OF THE BIRDS AND BEES_________________________ 



Randomling 12:  A Boy's Best Friend

Your penis—it is not a toy
I told my little son.
O yes it is, he parried me
It's quite my favorite one.

Randomling 13:  Fault Lines

I have a bathroom mirror
that's grown faulty over time.
My reflection is no longer true;
it's developed little lines!

Randomling 14:  Shakespeare 101		

“To be or not to be. That is the question.”
--What question?
THE question!
--Whaddya mean, THE question?
Never mind.																		

Randomling 15: Christmas?

Peace on earth to men of good credit
Who give the gift of corporate profit
in the holy name of commercialism.

Randomling 16:  Musical Believer

Though my conscience sleeps,
wrapped in the Valium of
agnosticism, it awakens to 
the music of Mozart--
once more knowing God
by the sound of His voice.

Randomling 17: Vacuum

I didn't write a poem when you died.
The words would not come.
Perhaps I felt too deeply,
perhaps not enough;
or
maybe I died too.   10/06/01

Randomling 18: Insanity

Insanity is underrated
Its drawbacks,much overstated.
How else to do what you darn well please
And accomplish it with so much ease?

Randomling 19: Dog Day Afternoon

WATER! BALL! CHASE!
salt, waves, undertow
I don't know what's going
on here, but I'm HAPPY!

Randomling 20: Opposites Attract

i am matter---love, antimatter
never to meet save to explode
i am space, love is time
parallel dimensions never to meet

Randomling 21: Puppy Love

I ride a leaky newspaper raft
Adrift on the linoleum
Anxiously awaiting an
An attack of smelly
squirming happiness
covered in fuzz:
Puppy love.

Randomling 22: Newton's Poultice

Apple falls from tree
Newton (ouch!) takes notice
Comes up with law of gravity
while wearing a poultice
on the solstice

Randomling 23: Ticking

And the clock on the wall kept on ticking
while my life fell apart all around me.
Sweet memories faded to shadow
as my heart fell to pieces inside me.
And the clock on the wall kept on ticking
Relentlessly ticking, ticking
While my life fell apart all around me.

Randomling 24: Untitled

eternity
a mosaic assembled from
shimmering, glimmering
tiles of delight and
black-glazed stones of despair
interlocking snowflakes
in seamless beauty

Randomling 25: Seasonal Lament
Daylight shrinks end at both end as summer falls into the arm of winter. arm
Randomling 26: Untitled
I didn't want to love you.
Randomling 27: Pills Depression is days and nights curled fetal-like in a dark room, no interest in the world outside, idly wondering if there are enough pills in the bottle to kill you, then thinking it's not worth the effort to find out because you're dead inside already. Randomling 28: Guilt By Association Fresh morning light frames the cat, surrounded by piles of dirt and deceased plants, looking innocent. Randomling 29: Bell the Cat How do you give a cat a bath? Maybe you can do the math. All I know is she stinks to high heaven. And of us there are only seven. How many humans to bathe a cat? Definitely more than where we're at! Randomling 30: Muse
I want to write a poem using the word gossamer. “Gossamer.”
Randomling 31: Ripples
Canoes rock gently under the waxing moon. Black water ripples, painting a beautiful scene under the scented pines.
Randomling 32: Sunshine Waterfall I cleanse my face in a sunshine waterfall, luxuriate in a sunshine shower. Waterfall flow and warm me; sprinkle lemon drops through my hair. Randomling 33: Salon Treatment Hurricanes scour everything they touch, then rinse and blow dry. Randomling 34: My Window Blue sky pokes its face through the canopy of trees. Heat wave is over!

Copyright © Mary Oliver Rotman | Year Posted 2015

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...

Copyright © cassie hellberg | Year Posted 2013

Long poem by Doug Vinson | Details |

One Thing That Love Is

Everything here is true
Just as stated
because it's already happened
or - it has yet to occur - 
but it's very soon to occur
and I have such strong feeling
that the future will be as I see it
as you read this
that in the end I will be proven right.
You are that occurrence
you are happening
and I think you will understand.

Love is a dog
on a chain
in a muddy yard
on a cold day
in a silent town
where the land slopes
down to a river.

It's the end of autumn
or the beginning of winter
and the silence is tidal
total
and you know that things are not right
under the sky of hard iron
between all the old buildings
of red faded brick
that were made when labor and materials were cheap.

Big old buildings all squares and rectangles
former warehouses
tenements that saw many families
hotels of a prior age
offices where she used to work
where he ran the elevator
where they came and went
but now nobody is walking
no vehicles move on the streets
it was just me.

And the dog.

There is more about the place
it could have been in a movie
with the camera panning around
capturing aspects of vertigo and dread
a province of scary infirmity
that makes you think
you are dreaming
because you've had dreams before
and you've seen horror movies before
but you know there's no such escape
not a dream not a movie
and the dog is real.
Lonely. Thirsty. Hungry. Cold.

It wasn't always that way
not the dog
not the town.
Long ago the Continental Army
was headquartered here
in the American Revolution
and the city thrived
into the future
lots of transportation
and manufacturing
through the 1800s
but then river traffic fell to almost nothing
railroads and trucks took over
companies and people moved south and overseas
and the town grew quiet.

Now it's the cold season
the silence of an endless cold season
almost monochromatic under that iron sky
all black and white or in-between
except for the fading red 
of the bricks in those big old buildings.

This is where the owners
love the dog part of the time.

This is where a pigeon steps 
on a little discarded plastic ring 
from a jug of milk
and the ring stands up
above the ground
where a cold wind blows torn candy wrappers around your feet
near the chain link fences
the dirty concrete with moss growing in the cracks
where branches show against the sky
from dark tree trunks
by the wrought metal fence
that has caught a plastic bag
that was blown by the wind.

The silence.

You feel the lack
the absence of bird calls
coming down in rivulets and chips of silver
showing they are alive.
It's not to be this day
the silence holds sway
life seems more of an echo.
Any faint smile
of the sun
shows false in the shadows.

The dog didn't make a sound either.

I'm tempted to end right here
but no
we haven't really gotten to the love part yet.
Sure - maybe they loved the dog some
maybe the owner was sick or old
or just couldn't care for it much anymore
or they had grown up and moved away
while the dog remained.

Long ago there was the Telephone Company of New York
and through buyouts, governmentally enforced divestitures, and mergers 
it later became Metropolitan Telephone and Telegraph Company
then American Bell Telephone Company
New York Telephone
NYNEX
Bell Atlantic
and now we know it as Verizon.

The dog was real.

The town is Newburgh, New York, USA
and it does slope down to a river
the Hudson River
and the old buildings
latent
waiting
bear witness.

I was there in the late 1990s
when it was called NYNEX and then Bell Atlantic.
The old telephone building still had the places
where the switchboard operators 
would sit with earphones on
listening to call requests, or
they manually plugged in wires
to connect incoming calls
with house telephones
in the local exchange.
A light would glow
on the bottom row
of their array
and they'd connect a wire
from the plug-in hole by the light
to number 0313 for example
if that was the number in the exchange
that the caller wanted.

The materials were beautiful
all the hardwoods
fiber, metal and cloth
high-quality stuff
that hadn't been used since 
the late 1960s.
The lattices were still there
the wire pairs
for each number
ten thousand at a time
i.e. 0000 to 9999
those wire pairs
had their brackets
from where they went all the way to people's houses
the hard wired connection.

You're with me now
there's nobody else
nobody from the telephone company
and I have the door code for the electronic lock.

We exit the building
and the dog is looking at us
from the lonely cold muddy yard 
behind the next old rectangle of faded red bricks
there is something there
not much
not real hope
but dark eyes upon us
some wonder some... something...
no sound.

The dog never makes a sound.
You see one of the shames of my life.

I go over to my truck and drive away.

It wasn't that the dog just couldn't make a sound.
It didn't quickly raise its head
it didn't jump up or
come toward me 
as far as the chain would let it
or at least tilt its head
questioningly
as if I might present some hope.

There is love
but it was so far away from that dog
that all was silent
the most terrible silence.

So now I'm a 57 year old man
sitting here crying because I could have gotten that dog a good home
or I could have called somebody who would do that
you should see me crying
or I could have just called somebody
or I could have gotten that dog something good to eat
and some water
oh dog I'm sorry
I could have knocked on the door 
and asked about the dog
and offered to help
you should see me crying I'm a mess
I could have gone over
and hugged the dog
and said oh dog
it's okay
you're a good dog

Copyright © Doug Vinson | Year Posted 2016

Long poem by James Inman | Details |

Last Call


We sat at the end of the bar in a seedy place on Seventh street.
Nursing our drinks, we both had a bit too much that night.
My Whiskey Sour, you could tell everything about me by my drink,
always a Whiskey Sour, no mystery here, was still about half full.
Her's, this time a Strawberry Daiquiri, she drained with ease.  
"Set her up another Bar Keep," I sad to the burly tattooed man behind the counter.
She quickly responded with slightly slurred speech, "No, make it a Frozen Margarita!"  
She had been mixing her drinks all night.  The bar man grabbed her glass and placed
it in a small sink full of sudsy water.  "I told you, two drinks ago, last call, now dude drink up
so I can get out of here.  For Christ sake its 2:38,  I should have left 30 minutes ago."
The bar's last patrons had indeed left much earlier leaving only the two of us.
I touched Sarah's, or was it Sandy's, hand.  What difference does it make?  
She looked at me trying to focus her eyes, her expression bland.  Eyes roaming 
unabashedly from face to groan and back again.  She sighed heavily and turned 
back to the bar tender and pleaded for one more drink.  "Anything she said,"
trying to steel herself for the inevitable culmination of our evening, 
as if one more drink would make a difference.  The only response she got was
a short firm, "No!"  Grinding my teeth, I threw two twenties on the bar and grabbed her, not so gently, by the arm.  She half slid, half fell off of the bar stool she was sitting on.  "Lets go I said," leaving my half empty glass on the bar.  She stumbled across the floor towards the door leaning heavily against me.  She was tall and beautiful in a slightly used sort of way.  Not young but not old enough for wrinkles, just a few laugh lines around her eyes and forehead.  As we reached the door I thought I heard her mumble something about getting this over.  I didn't care.  I knew she should have been going home with someone a lot better then me.  

As we stepped into the damp, cool morning breeze, head free of the stagnate dead air of the bar, my senses cleared slightly.  Still, when I heard the sound of the vibration in my pocket it took a moment to register what was happening.  Stephanie(?), giggling beside me pressed herself against my pocket letting out a low, playful, "MMmmmm," making it impossible for me to get to my phone.  I pushed her away and she giggled some more as I fumbled for it.  Pressing the button on the screen my ex-girlfriends disheveled face appeared.  She had been texting me all evening, most of which I ignored.  Why I answered her call this time I don't know.  Deep purple and black bruises ran the length of the right side of her face and she seemed to have a chunk of hair missing from a red spot on her temple.  She halfheartedly tried to cover it with a wispy lock she pulled down over it.  "What?" I said gruffly.  The phone was set to speaker.  Tears running down her face, she said, "I love you."  My response was quick and indifferent, "Yeah, tell it to someone who cares.  Like maybe your new boyfriend."  

She dumped me for a new guy weeks before but kept calling me and telling me how much she still loved me.  She said she wouldn't have thrown me out if I had shown some feelings toward her.  She said he was sensitive and emotional and cried in her arms.  Yeah, he cried all right just before he beat the hell out of her.  I should have known when she started coming home with the bruises on her body.  He was careful at first not to hit her in the face.  I looked up and reflectively glanced down the street.  You couldn't see her apartment from where I stood but it was just a block down the road off Seventh on Stanton Ave.  I came home early one afternoon and found them there.  She was lying on the floor with blood trickling from her lip.  He was standing naked over her, hands curled in fists.
I lost it.  I beat him until you couldn't recognize his pretty little face, all the time hearing her screaming stop and trying to push me away.  When I finally stopped he was lying motionless on the floor and she was hitting me on my arm yelling foul expletives at me.  I looked into her eyes and realized I felt nothing for her at that moment.  I remember saying just before I left, "Baby, you've just missed your last call to wake up."  I never went back.  I understand he spent several days in the hospital.

Looking at her on that small screen with tears in her eyes and scared, sad look on her face I wanted to feel something for her.  I didn't.  We had a good thing and she threw it away for some psycho.  Now she'll just have to live with her decision.  As I looked at her pleading face I heard a angry voice in the back ground, "Who are you talking to!"  She glanced in the direction of the voice and turned back to me.  I watched as her helpless look became determined and she leaned over and picked up something from the table beside her bed.  Her sweet, tear filled blue eyes looked directly at me as she raised her hand.  "I love you," she said.  In an instant, before my inebriated mind could fathom what happened, I heard a loud bang reverberate down the street from the direction of her apartment and there before my eyes I saw her head explode like the pumpkins we used to throw from the roof tops after Halloween.  Beside me, Sherry (shit, it started with an S), who ever, let out a gasp.  A moment passed and I grabbed her by the hand.  We started off in the direction of my dumpy apartment.  I couldn't help but to think at that moment, that's the last call she'll ever make.


10/13/15

Triple Prompt- Hear the Calling: 3rd Place

11/12/15

Copyright © James Inman | Year Posted 2015

Long poem by Greg Barden | Details |

The Beautiful White

** This was GOING to be my entry in the "If I Was an Elephant" poetry contest a couple of weeks ago, but I never got it finished in time. I liked where it was taking me, though, so I finished it anyway. I hope you enjoy it - it is in two parts as the word count was over the limit. **

THE BEAUTIFUL WHITE  (Part One)


My eyes gleam with precocity, rare,
The brightness of a Human spirit,
But unobscured by ego and vanity,
Without the need to hold or own,
Or sift in the mud of expectations.
We are so different, You and I,
So contrary in act and actuality.
Busy are You, like flightless bees,

Balanced on two limbs, so the
Other two can spin and pick and
Wave your Shouting Sticks and blades.
Oh, how You ignore the slow, steady
Rhythm of the flattened plains ...
The heartbeat of the braised bush
Pumps at You like parched blood,
But You do not stop to swim in it.

To let it wash over You like the rain
That sweeps down from Kilimanjaro.
Oh, it is just as cleansing and calm,
The hot, dry, prickly green sweetness,
It fills the senses and the gut alike,
And it is Us as the plains are Us ...
As the mighty mountains are Us ...
As the lakes and rivers and the

Vastness they flow to are ever Us ...
As the shining night and moon,
As the Sun and its day are Us.
In your rush to acquire and control,
You wade right through its beauty,
Yet not a thought do You give to its
Perfection and exquisite motion.
You miss the secret that We slow

Creatures have known for so long,
That We move not through the world,
The world passes through Us, over Us,
Around and about and within Us, always.
Look at that rare gleam in my eye ...
You will see the secret there, I know.
But there is another secret that is
Shining there, and shining a dark light.

It is YOU - it is your own reflection,
And it is a secret that You put there.
Long ago, when I was very small ...
When I was very new to the world
And I depended on the larger of my
Group for everything, the One I came
From and nursed on especially,
(I admit, I loved Her most of all),

You came with many of your kind,
With the blades and sticks that shout,
You came around Us and used the
Blades and sticks to end many of Us.
Mostly the big ones, the old and the
Wise Ones, the ones who taught
Us and protected Us. But they could
Not protect themselves. You took

The Beautiful White from their
Faces - the Beautiful White that made
The big ones so grand and glorious ...
You used the blades to gouge it from
Their mouths, and they bled and cried,
For some were still not ended as yet ...
The Wise Ones and the teachers and
The One I loved most of all, they were

Hurt and on the ground in the red liquid,
And they cried and screamed for Us to run,
They did not understand why You were
Doing this to them ... but we could not run.
I was chained to the One I loved most,
Other small ones like Me were chained,
And You cut up the Wise Ones with us
There ... we wanted to run and never

See that place again, but We were tied
Tightly to our loved ones as they were
Cut up with the blades, and the pieces
Carried away. We were taken away
Then to the Place With Walls, because
We had not yet learned to feed ourselves,
And had no Wise Ones to help Us then ...
Others of your kind fed Us and helped Us

As they could, but We longed for our own -
The Wise Ones and the plains and rains
And dust and winds. A very long time We
Were kept there, and We saw very little
Of the things and places We knew and loved,
But We grew older nonetheless, with
A wisdom of our OWN, a different wisdom
With knowledge of the Busy Bees and

The others who had ended our loved
Ones ... We could not tell the difference -
Which of You would hurt Us and which
Would not. Then We were taken far away
One day and left by ourselves - We had
Come to know and love those few of
Your kind who had taken care of Us,
Yet we never saw them again. We did

Not have the Wise Ones to show
Us the ways of our kind in that new
Place, but slowly We learned to
Survive with each other. There were
Some of our kind there who did not
Want Us then, yet most were accepting
Of Us. But there was SOMETHING
Very different about Us - We had an

Anger and an edge that the Others
Did not ... those of Us who had watched
Our loved ones being butchered in that
Horror so long ago, had been deeply
Changed by it, but it did not show its
Affect until We were as the Wise Ones,
With the Beautiful White in our faces,
And now large and powerful. We could

Not stay with the Others of our kind
Because We were always getting angry,
Angry at things We shouldn't be angry at ...
That horror so long ago had CUT Us inside ...
Cut Us like the knives that had dismembered
Our loved ones, but with wounds that
Could not be seen, wounds in our minds
And emotions and hearts, wounds that

Had never healed because no one
Could see them, no one knew they
Were there but Us. We left the others
Of our kind then and went looking for
You - for the Busy Bees with the
Shouting Sticks - to find an answer
To our anger, to find a reason why You
Had done this thing to Us, why You

Had ended our Loved Ones and given
Us these wounds, these dark, unseen,
Angry wounds. But the answer You gave
Us was from the Shouting Sticks,
And the Others of my kind who had
The angry wounds from so long ago -
My Brothers and Sisters - were ended,
Just as You had ended our Wise Ones.

(continued)

Copyright © Greg Barden | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Kim van Breda | Details |

OUR BABY GIRL TURNS 21

OUR BABY GIRL TURNS 21

ON 1ST JULY 1990~ THE ANGELS DID SOMETHING ALMIGHTY
FROM HEAVEN THEY SENT US OUR LIFE-LONG DESIRE-A PRECIOUS DAUGHTER TO LOVE AND ADMIRE.
TRUE TO YOUR NATURE YOU ARRIVED WITHOUT FUSS OR PAIN--THE FIRST TIME OUR EYES MET WE KNEW OUR LIVES WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME

AS A BABY AND TODDLER YOU MADE US SO PROUD
YOUR VERY LONG HAIR, GREEN EYES AND SMILE-
ALL THOSE GOOD LOOKS MADE YOU STAND OUT IN A CROWD
YOU STARTED TALKING EARLY WITH MANY VOICEPRINTS 
YOUR CHARM AND GOOD LOOKS HAVE NOT STOPPED SINCE
YOU LOVED YOUR DOLLS AND PRAMS-- DREAMT OF BEING A “SINGER”
 AND VERY QUICKLY LEARNED HOW TO WRAP YOUR DAD AROUND YOUR LITTLE FINGER
YOUR BIG BROTHER DEVON--BEST FRIEND AND PROTECTER 
MOST OF THE TIME YOU GOT ON PERFECTLY TOGETHER

FROM AN EARLY AGE YOU SHOWED YOUR LOVE OF SWIMMING
AGE TWO AND A HALF YOU WERE ABLE AND WILLING
TO SWIM UNDER WATER AND DO MANY LENGTHS
THIS WAS CLEARLY ONE OF YOUR SPORTING STRENGTHS
AT AGE THREE YOU COULD BARELY WAIT TO START PLAYSCHOOL
“MISS INDEPENDENCE”, WAS YOUR GENERAL RULE
THE SLIDE AND JUNGLE GYM WERE YOUR FAVOURITE SPOTS
 AND TO OUR HORROR YOU WOULD CLIMB RIGHT TO THE TOP!
AT AROUND THIS TIME, YOUR FIRST BOYFRIEND YOU MET-
 HE LIVED NEXT DOOR, AND HIS NAME WAS BRETT

SOON IT WAS TIME FOR  PRE-SCHOOL
YOU LOVED YOUR TEACHER--YOUR NEW FRIENDS WERE COOL
‘SPRING BONNETS’ AND THE END OF YEAR SCHOOL PLAYS
THE TEDDY BEAR CLASS GAVE YOU SOME REAL SPECIAL DAYS
NEXT WAS ‘BIG SCHOOL’ AND YOUR FIRST CLASS
WE WERE SERIOUSLY ANXIOUS BUT FOR YOU JUST ANOTHER ‘MISS INDEPENDENCE’ TASK
LETTERLAND, MATHS AND LEARNING TO READ
YOU EXCELLED AT ALL THAT WITH INCREDIBLE SPEED
YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS CONTINUED THROUGH GRADES 2, 3 AND FOUR
YOUR PLACE IN THE SWIMMING TEAM HELPED YOUR SCHOOL WIN MORE

OUR MOVE TO AUSTRALIA… SAD FAREWELLS TO YOUR FRIENDS AND YOUR PETS 
BUT, GREAT EXCITEMENT YOU FELT AT ADVENTURES TO BE MET
A NEW SCHOOL--“METHODIST LADIES COLLEGE”
NEW FRIENDS--JUMPING A GRADE-- MET WITH SUCH POSITIVE COURAGE
YOU MADE US SO PROUD IN THE WAY YOU ADAPTED
MRS. WILLIAMSON SAID YOU WERE THEIR NEW CLASS ‘ASSETT’
.
THE ‘MR BEE’ SPELLING AWARD AND MANY MERITS LATER 
WE ALL GOT HOMESICK-- BUT YOUR POSITIVE NATURE DID NOT WAVER
THE DECISION WE MADE TO RETURN TO CAPE TOWN 
CAUSED YOU HEARTBROCKEN TEARS AND A PERMANENT FROWN
ONCE AGAIN A SAD FAREWELL TO YOUR NEW FOUND FRIENDS 
RETURNING TO S.A. FOR OLD ONES TO MAKE AMMENDS

IT WASN’T VERY LONG THAT YOU PICKED UP WHERE YOU LEFT OFF AT ALL
 ADDED TO YOUR TALENTS WERE NOW TEAM HOCKEY AND NETBALL

AS YOU APPROACHED THE FIRST OF YOUR TEEN YEARS
WITH YOUR LOOKS AND CHARM, INEVITABLY THE BOYFRIENDS WOULD APPEAR
SHOPPING, MOVIES AND MANY PARTY SLEEP-OVERS
CHOOSING TRUE FRIENDS AND DUMPING THE LOSERS
DANCE SHOWS AND DANCING EXAMS… YOU EXCELLED AT HIP- HOP
 FUN AND OF COURSE THE DESIRE TO SHOP

THE END OF JUNIOR SCHOOL-- THE FINAL ASSEMBLY—AWARDS
TROPHIES FOR SPORTSMANSHIP AND YOUR S.R.C. PRIZE GOT MANY APPLAUDS
SAD FEELINGS AT LEAVING YOUR OLD SCHOOL BEHIND 
EXCITEMENT AT STARTING HIGH SCHOOL WOULD SOON COME TO MIND
NO PROBLEM TO YOU, IT WAS ALL JUST A BREEZE 
AS YEAR BY YEAR YOU CONTINUED TO ACHIEVE
SWIMMING AND ‘A’ TEAM HOCKY MATCHES ON THE ASTRO TURF 
YOU EVEN STARTED TO LEARN HOW TO SURF
FRIDAY AFTERNOON CHRISTIAN MEETINGS AND EVENING CHURCH YOUTH
WE WERE SO HAPPY YOU FOUND GOD AND HIS TRUTH

THE REST OF HIGH SCHOOL PASSED IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE WHILE 
YOUR LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS REMAINED EXCEPTIONALLY HIGH
YOUR ORGANISATIONAL SKILLS WERE ASTOUNDING
COPING WITH TOUGH SUBJECTS LIKE MATHS, SCIENCE AND ACCOUNTING
IN HOCKEY AND SWIMMING YOU MADE THE TOP TEAMS
NO SURPRISE AT ALL THAT SWIMMING COACHES MOVED IN ON THE SCENE.

THEY CULTIVATED YOUR TALENTS FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
EVERY YOUR NIGHT YOUR PASSION SAW YOU DOING MANY LENGTHS
WEEKENDS OF GALA’S AND NATIONAL SWIMMING
S.A.SHORT COURSE, YOUR P.B’S, AND FAIR SHARE OF WINNING
TOGETHER WE CELEBRATED YOUR PLACE IN   W.P. SCHOOL CHAMPS THAT YEAR 
SO PROUD OF OUR BEAUTIFUL SWIMMER ALWAYS AHEAD OF HER PEERS 
.
FIRST YEAR AT UNIVERSITY YOU BECAME SO INDEPENDENT
 STARTING YOUR STUDIES AS A B.Sc. STUDENT
IT WAS ALSO THE YEAR YOU LEARNED TO DRIVE
GOT YOUR LICENSE—DAD SPOILT YOU—NEW CAR—RESPLENDENT


YOUR FAITH AND TRUST IN THE LORD STILL REMAINS FIRM
AS YOU WALK AND GROW SPIRITUALLY DAILY WITH HIM

SO MUCH HAS CHANGED, AND YET SOME THINGS REMAIN
YOU BEAUTY AND TALENTS SO EASILY MAINTAINED
YOUR  LOVE OF SWIMMING AND OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS IN WATER
YOU KNOW WE WILL ALWAYS BE YOUR NO. 1 SUPPORTERS
AND NOW YOU ARE 21, SWEETHEART 
YOUR WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF YOU-- TODAY IS JUST THE START
IT SEEMS LIKE JUST YESTERDAY THAT YOU WERE BORN—
OUR DAUGHTER~LOVES BRIGHT SHINING LIGHT~ WE ADORE
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED IN EVERY WAY 
WISHING YOU GOD’S RICHEST BLESSINGS ON YOUR SPECIAL DAY
HAPPY 21ST BIRTHDAY TO OUR BABY GIRL

TO HAVE YOU AS A DAUGHTER HAS BEEN A REAL PLEASURE
-YOU HAVE AND ALWAYS WILL BE OUR MOST BEAUTIFUL TREASURE-

(FOOTNOTE: OUR DAUGHTER WILL BE 23 THIS YEAR, HAS COMPLETED HER BSc. AND HONOURS DEGREE’S IN PHYSIOLOGY AND GENETICS AND NOW DOING HER MASTERS DEGREE IN EXERCISE SCIENCE. SHE IS ALSO A PROFESSIONAL TRIATHLETE—DOING SWIMMING, CYCLING AND RUNNING AS ONE DISCLIPLINE)

Copyright © Kim van Breda | Year Posted 2013

Long poem by The Seeker | Details |

The day the earth stood still - Tangerine

The day finally arrived, the day all new parents eagerly anticipate!  The contractions were ten minutes apart.  We climbed into our 1999 Subaru and headed for the hospital, her belly sticking out a mile, the look on her face a mixture of pain and excitement.  Last month we celebrated our tenth anniversary.  It seemed as though she would never conceive, we'd almost given up.  I'll never forget the day she told me.  I'd had an especially trying day at work and came home tired and grumpy.  I spoke harshly to her about something, I don't even remember what it was about now.  Something trivial.  She took my hand and led me into the bedroom and placed my hand on her stomach.  It took me a moment, but I finally got it.  She was pregnant!  Our new lives were to begin on that day.

Almost there, just a half mile more.  Her pangs had increased in severity and I was afraid she was gonna have that baby before we got there.  As we approached the intersection at Main and 3rd, the light turned green.  What happened next is still a blur, but I remember an impact and a loud crunching noise.  The next think I knew I was lying in a hospital bed.  

"Mr. Johnson, Mr. Johnson?" someone called.

I woke up to see a tall, imposing figure standing over me.  He introduced himself as Dr. Kevin Green.  

"Wha, what happened?  Where am I?" I asked.

"Mr. Johnson, you were in an accident, but you are going to be fine," said the doctor.

"My wife, the baby, where are they?" I begged, my voice just above a whisper.

What the doctor said next I didn't fully comprehend.  I watched his lips move and could hear the sound of his voice, but the words seemed mumbled and weren't registering in my brain.  I don't know if the concussion I had suffered was the cause or if my mind was deliberately protecting me from the full impact, but I passed out before he could finish speaking to me.

When I awoke that evening, the words of the doctor began to coalesce, and I realized at that moment that my precious Amy was gone.  How was this possible?  We were on our way to welcome a new life into the world and now I have to say goodbye?  Surely it was all a bad dream.  I could hear two of the nurses talking outside my room.  I was certain that they were unaware that I could hear them.  The one was shaking her head as the other said something about a drunk driver, and how he had walked away from the crash without so much as a scratch!  I yelled out at the top of my lungs:

"AMYYYYY!"

The nurse rushed to my side, but I passed out once again.  I would not awaken until morning.

"The baby, what about our baby?" I asked Dr. Green as he made his morning rounds.  His voice was soft and kind.  This time I understood every word.  The infant had been successfully delivered, but was in critical condition.  I asked the doctor if I could see the baby.  He reluctantly assented.

I remember when my sister had her baby, walking into the pediatric unit was quite an experience.  Little wiggling babies crying for their mommies.  But as I entered this special unit for struggling infants two things struck me: There was no sound except the sound of medical equipment and the unit had a strange sweet smell to it.  I didn't know what to compare it to - citrus?  It reminded me a bit of tangerines.  I walked over to where the child lay.  A little girl.  How I hated to see her with tubes attached and monitors everywhere.  A tear formed in my eye as I contemplated how and when I would tell this precious little girl that her mommy had died.  And then it hit me like a ton of bricks!  What if she doesn't make it?  I would be alone in the world.  Just as I was contemplating these things one of the monitors she was hooked up to began making an awful noise.  I was rushed out of the room as a team of nurses and doctors hovered over her.

Six in the morning.  I couldn't sleep all night.  No one would tell me anything.  I wished I was dead.  Why couldn't I be the one?  Everyone knows that children need their mothers, for crying out loud!  

"Mr. Johnson?" the doctor called.  "I'm Dr. Kim.  I want you to know that your baby girl is going to be okay.  It will be a long recovery and it won't be easy, but she's going to make it.  I'm so sorry about your wife."

My whole being was flooded with a mixture of emotions - grief, joy, anger, frustration, guilt.  I immediately prayed like I had never prayed before in my life, asking God to help me raise this little girl, a little girl who would never get to be held by her mommy.  I prayed for wisdom and courage and the strength that would be needed to face what lay ahead.

As I entered the unit where my child was, I smelled that same scent I had noticed the first time I was here.  Only this time it was pleasant, relaxing.  I walked over to where my baby, our baby, lay.  She was sleeping, her chest rising and falling rhythmically with each breath.  It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  I was looking at my future.  Just then, quite unexpectedly, her eyes opened wide.  She looked around with her gorgeous baby blue's and then her eyes caught mine.  We locked for what seemed like an eternity and I knew at that very moment what her name was going to be - Tangerine!  Tangerine Amy Johnson.

Copyright © The Seeker | Year Posted 2016

Long poem by Bob Quigley | Details |

Walter

He stood and aimlessly watched the parade of patrons and volunteers that wandered daily past his kennel.  All so familiar, so ordinary.  Just like every other day he mused.  Nothing new.  Nothing special.

Moving to the small crumpled blanket near the back of his cage, he turned several times and finally curled up, head on his paws, positioned so that he could watch the activity around him.  But in reality, he was bored.  It had been a long time since he had met each morning with anticipation.  Too many days.   Too much disappointment.  He would leave all that barking and racing to the front of  their cage to the younger pups who hadn’t figured out yet that the cute ones went first.  It didn’t really make any difference what you did to attract attention if you weren’t young or cute, or both.

Too much time had gone by to participate in the charade.  In reality, Walter had seen a lot of people that he would rather not spend a lot of time with.  You know the type.  Kind of hyper, bouncing from stray to stray, looking for a perfect dog.  Kids poking their fingers  through the kennel screen or banging on it.  Some even making barking sounds.  He didn’t need any of that and was glad when they were gone.

Walter was very picky.  Set in his ways after so many years.  He had had it good for  a long time.  An only dog in a household of two people that let him be himself.  No tricks. No stunts.  Just long naps and daily walks.  A yard to himself to reflect on what was for dinner.  He had been fond of his doggy bed in their bedroom.  Each night he would help his owner walk through the house turning off the lights and checking the doors before they climbed the stairs together.  And there was always one last good night pat before settling down.

But those days were gone now.  First one had become ill and went to the hospital and never came back.  The other one changed overnight, spending long days, sitting mostly.  The walks became less frequent.  Walter did what he could.   He could see it in their eyes that they were hurting from their loss. He would make a point of laying his head in their lap, trying to let them know that he missed them too.  At times like this, he instinctively knew that although it remained unsaid, they only had each other.

He remembers well the day that his owner snapped a leash on him and said, “well Walter, I’m afraid we have to say goodbye.  I have to go to a place where they won’t let me keep you, so I am going to have to let you go.”  Walter could see the tears in his eyes.  He knew it would do him no good to whine or resist.  It was obvious there were no alternatives.  And besides, it would just make it harder on his owner.  But he was going to miss him.  It was not going to be easy to adjust.

But adjust he did.   He had been here a long time now and had seen countless pups and dogs  trot past his cage with light hearts and  new owners, heading off with new found hopes and expectations.  But it soon became obvious that there weren’t a lot of people that wanted an old yellow hound.  Everyone wanted the young ones.  So here he lay, dozing a bit, but still keeping an eye on those walking by, many giving him but a glance before moving on.

He heard them before the saw them.  ”Honey” the voice said.  ”That looks like Walter, old Mr. Whitney’s dog.”  Walters ears perked up a little.  ”Do I know them” he thought.  ”They seem to know me”.  I’d better go take a closer look” and with that, he stood and slowly ambled toward his kennel gate, giving a cautious wag of his tail.

“It is him” the man said.  ”Walter, how you doing boy?  Do you remember me?”

And upon closer inspection, Walter did remember him.  He used to live right across the street.  He would see him in his yard and if Walter were to ramble over, he usually had a dog treat in his pocket.  With the recognition, Walter gave a little stronger wag and moved toward the fingers extended through the fencing.  It was good to see an old friend.

“What do you say hon” the man said.  ”How would you feel about bringing Walter home with us?”

Walter looked at the woman and saw her nod in agreement.  ”You wait here and I’ll go find a volunteer.”

The man bent down and said “What do you think Walter?  Would you like to go home with us?”

Actually, Walter decided, he could think of nothing he would like more.  A chance to go back to the old neighborhood with people he already knew.  What was there not to like.

Soon the woman returned and the gate opened.  A leash was snapped on Walter and together they proceeded past the rows of dogs and puppies, all vying for their attention.  Walter couldn't help but stand a little straighter, stepping a little more lightly, showing off.  ”This is what going home looks like guys.” he thought.  ”Good luck and goodbye”.

As they neared the car the man said “I can’t believe we found you Walter.  There is someone I am going to take you to see.  I can’t wait to see the expression on his face when you walk in his room>”

Walter, of course, knew exactly who he was talking about.  And he couldn't wait to see the expression on his face either.

Copyright © Bob Quigley | Year Posted 2013

Long Poems