Long poem by
Brian Johnston | Details |
CHALLENGE TITLE POETRY CONTEST FOR AUGUST ON POEMHUNTER.COM!
'WHY DO TURTLES CROSS THE ROAD? '
OK FOLKS! Please choose your favorite poem from those entered here and remember too to give your reasons for your choice. How often is it that we get to hear why the judges (YOU) voted the way that you did. Really it is very important to give reasons. Believe me your reasons are a very important part of the show here. So tell us what you really think.
Poem's can be voted on from Sept.1 to Sept.12, 2014 at which time the winner will be formally announced. PoetrySoup members can vote too if they wish I would have liked to show you the other entries in the contest but since I only wrote two of the poems entered under PoetrySoups laws I cannot do so. Although hosting a contest in Poemhunter is much more difficult than on PoetrySoup, there are innovations in my contest that I believe make it superior to contests on PoetrySoup. The biggest innovation is democratic voting. The second innovation, is that here is just one winner, and for your vote to count you must explain why you have voted as you have. This innovation can be very amusing. A final innovation is that the Contest Master can 'roast' the contestants. Go to Brian Johnston's site on PoemHunter.com and look for the poem...
[Challenge] Entrees for August! Vote Here!
Proposals of marriage, profanity and other inappropriate comments however will be deleted as soon as they appear. And like the US Supreme Court, I may not be able to define what is inappropriate here, but I know it when I see it.
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Why Do Turtles Cross The Road?
(A **Joint** Poem by Diane Hine and 'THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA')
‘Okie' turtles cross the road
because they've all read
‘The Grapes of Wrath'
AND NOW LIVE 24/7
IN AN ALCOHOLIC STUPOR
IN MIGRANT WORKER HOUSING
TRYING TO IMAGINE
WHAT THE WORLD WOULD BE LIKE
IF GILBERT GRAPE WAS PRESIDENT.
Badbottom Leatherback bikie
turtles on Harley-Davidsons
don't just cross the road,
they own the road
AND LIVE IN 'HOG' HEAVEN
THE TRUE FAT CATS (IS THAT A SLUR?)
OF THE MODERN WORLD.
Kerouac turtles are the road itself
SO LIKE SCHROEDINGER'S CAT
THEY ARE ALWAYS IN BOTH STATES
AT THE SAME TIME, IE.,
CROSSED AND UNCROSSED,
IT'S ALL PROBABILITY PROBABLY! ? !
ANYWHO, IT'S HARD TO LIVE ANYWHERE
WHEN THE WORD DESTINATION
IS NOT IN YOUR VOCABULARY.
and Chuck Norris turtles never
have to cross the road because
the road crosses itself
EITHER IN TRIBUTE TO L. RON HUBBARD
(WHO LIVES IN THE HUBBARD TELESCOPE)
OR BECAUSE THEY HAVE WATCHED
SO MANY INFOMERCIALS
THAT CROSSED EYES CAN'T TELL
ONE SIDE OF THE ROAD FROM THE OTHER
CHUCK NORRIS TURTLES DON'T LIVE ANYWHERE
THEY PERSONIFY, ‘I AM.'
Contest Master's Comment - The 'dark horse' of the pack, this poem is probably way to literate to garner many votes even if you have taken voice lessons from the Master of Music himself. Who is that masked man I wonder. Will he ever be unveiled? Surely there enough literary references in this poem to make most vapid English Major cross-eyed. The only groups left out that I can see are 'Samurai Ninja Turtles' and 'New Age Belly-Button Turtles' who are too frightened of the real world to ever come out of their shells anyway. Did you ever see a turtle levitate? I think you should add a couple of verses Diane & BO (I mean PO), after the contest is over, don't you?
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Why Do Turtles Cross The Road?
By Brian Johnston
‘So why are the turtles crossing the road?
My sister ask wonderingly
As each turtle would come into view.
No guarantee, but sometimes we'd see them
As we drove with Dad out of town
Checking out cows on a farm or two.
‘It's a great mystery to me, ' I said,
‘As both sides seem really the same,
And our vision's much better than theirs.'
‘The problem I see with crossing for turtles…
Is that they're low and also slow
So fast autos catch them unawares.'
A nice gesture, Dad would frequently stop,
Let us scoop them up in a box
For the ‘turtle farm' at our home place.
The grip's important when picking them up
‘Cause turtles can scratch, bite, and pee,
Oh what a joke, … ‘turtle won the race! '
But now why does a turtle cross a road?
Perhaps he's trolling for people?
Buggers don't care about other side,
From industries' leaders they take their cue,
Their mentors, short visioned and slow,
Who risk their lives to get a free ride.
Contest Master's Comment - Truly the oldest poet in the group, I am hoping to win by means of the sympathy vote crowd. Just think of me as a friendly, old, senile, grandfatherly type. Remember the reasons so many of you voted for Ronald Reagan you tea-party, sociopathic, nabobs of negativism and vote for me too or I will raise your taxes too just like Ronnie did! That's a promise!
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There are several more poems by other gifted poets on my site. Please come visit.
If you like what we have done here.....
>>PLEASE VOTE ON THIS 'POEM CONTEST' (FROM 1-10 <<
Maybe PoemHunter will make contests like this a website
feature in the future like some other websites already do?
And a huge vote of appreciation to both contibutor and my
collaborator Bri Edwards (the disgraced ex-poet and now
>>>Please help us make this contest even more popular <<<
>>>by emailing your friends on PH and elsewhere even, <<<
>>>to make the vote as democratic as possible! ! ! ! ! ! ! <<<
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Poem Entries Continue in Part 2
Long poem by
Brian Johnston | Details |
- - Chapter 2: Adult Responsibility (With Some Breaks) - -
By ten years old, no weekends off,
Or Saturday cartoons,
Although I did have cash to spend,
I felt my life in ruins.
I dusted cars in my dad's store,
And cleaned its toilets too,
I fixed truck tires as I got old,
Not much I couldn't do.
A trip to two month summer camp,
I learned to shoot and sail,
At twelve years old, a pioneer,
Canoed explorer's trail.
Near tragedy on my return,
My sister paralyzed,
A late victim of polio,
My conscience brutalized.
Felt guilty leaving her alone,
While I frolicked and played,
Brotherly love had been displaced,
Her protection was waylaid.
The washers, dryers, I repaired,
And freezers with no chill,
Then televisions came along,
Tube testing my new skill.
Assembling new farm implements,
And posting parts on hand,
My driver's license opened doors,
‘Collected bills' firsthand.
On Sundays we would go to church,
To hear the preacher tell,
Because my dad was not with us,
His soul would burn in Hell.
Dad's Channelled Poem-
[‘It's bad news when a preacher comes.
They all want stuff for free.
I have to feed my children too,
I've problems they don't see.']
Three years of summer music camps,
In Junior High reborn,
I played piano in dance bands,
Took lessons on French Horn.
My French Horn teacher laughed out loud
When I walked through the door,
‘Your lips too thick, please stick out tongue, '
Now rolling on the floor!
‘To take your money is a crime, '
The German said to me,
‘You've no high notes, ' ‘I know' I said,
‘Mom loves French Horn you see.'
Most summers were our busy time,
We all worked hard till dusk,
My ‘tail rung through a ringer, ' (1) la, *
The time for ‘smart mouth' (2) brusque.
But then the job that I loved best,
Flat tractor tires in field,
A chance to meet a farmer's girl,
The country's charm revealed.
One summer worked a cattle herd,
Two thousand cows were planned,
By cutting, wind-rowing (3) the grass,
Soon haystacks dotted land.
Dakota winters could be fierce,
The temp forty below,
The stacks were shelter from the wind,
A shield from blinding snow.
We'd use a horse for round-up, la! *
My God that was a thrill,
Except for blisters on your ass,
Or when you took a spill.
I had not ridden horses much,
You're so far from the ground,
The horse not knowing you from spit, (4)
Disdain can be profound! '
There was no time for niceties,
And work to do, ‘C'MON! '
If horse and you somehow part ways,
No choice, you climb back on.
Our ranch was all on ‘Indian Res., ' (5)
By river loop enclosed,
In South Dakota's Lower Brule, (6)
A twelve year lease proposed.
Land acres more that twenty thou.
Covered by native grass,
A chance like this was very rare,
My father could not pass.
The river's edge a solid fence,
No barbed wire to maintain.
The nearest town two hours by road,
Our days were mostly work and sleep,
With meals our only break,
Except for weekend groc'ry trips,
No chance for love's heartache.
Till I discovered farmer's girl,
Who lived half way to town,
Contrived a way to go to church,
When Sunday's call came down.
The church's name not one I knew,
The people all seemed nice,
To escape Sunday's usual fare
Was worth most any price.
Played music we could sing,
The pastor beat foot-pedalled drum,
We made the rafters ring!
I told myself, ‘there's something strange,
The music's gone too long, '
Emotion peaking and yet I
Somehow did not belong.
With music's end the sermon broke,
The world's sure end was near,
Time now to sanctify all sin,
‘Repent now! God's word hear.'
For God's quite mad, this cannot stand,
No doubt that it is prov'n
Those rockets from Canaveral
Are shooting holes in Heav'n.
I was in shock, glued to my seat,
The flock their garments rent,
And I the last one in his seat,
No sin did I lament!
At last not knowing what to do,
I left and went outside,
And knew whatever happened now,
I hadn't found my bride.
August 20, 2014
* When I was in the American Peace Corps in Tanzania, East Africa we had a group of 7
surveying assistants that were always with us in the first year and that we became very
close to. Their conversation was always sprinkled with 'la' and I thought it was kind of
cute. Like they might say to me, 'Why don't we stop in this village for some food, la.'
They used this word kind of like I use the word ‘OK' in casual conversation. 'You've got
food in your teeth, la.' I really enjoyed this idiosyncratic affectation.
(1) 'tail rung through the ringer' - Early washing machines did not have a 'spin cycle.' So
to get the excess water out of your clothing you would ring out the water from each item
of clothing first before hanging it on a clothes line to dry completely in the sun. So the
phrase 'tail rung through the ringer' means that you are all out of energy, and very tired.
The energy has been squeezed out of you by your job like water rung out of newly
(2) 'smart mouth' Someone who likes to talk back to authorities, or who just complains all
(3) 'wind-rowing' - To rake newly cut grass into long rows called 'wind-rows' that could be
more easily picked up and bailed then by yet another machine.
(4) 'not knowing someone from spit' - To have no respect for the person at all.
(5) ‘Indian Res’ – Land that Indian’s were given official title to by the American
government in an attempt to placate and domesticate them.
(6) ‘Lower Brule’ – A huge tract of Indian Land contained in a large meander of the
Missouri River. Although the mouth of this loop is only one mile wide, to get from one side
of the meander by river is over 28 miles. Lower Brule is owned by the Cherokee Indian
Long poem by
Mario DE PAZ | Details |
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
cassie hellberg | Details |
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....
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
over and over again...
It was the first name they gave her,
millions where created over the years,
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?
is daddy raping her?
is she doing drugs?
is anyone beating her?
did anyone molest her?
oxcarbezapine, trazadone, citalipran, clinazapam, colonipan,
valium, lithium, more.......
and thats what they gave her,
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
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,
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
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
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,
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
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
Reshad Yahyaie | Details |
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… 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
Girl… I have a new baby sister
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
Brian Johnston | Details |
- - - Chapter 1: Early Days - - -
My father was a rich man, la, *
Though schooled in poverty, (1)
As such he seldom raised his head,
The center of the ‘Dust Bowl' years,
Just thirty miles from home.
And children, seniors died from this
(Their lungs were clogged with loam) .
A huge tornado struck Woodward, (2)
Destroying our downtown,
It, cut a swath near one mile wide,
Dad fought back, doubled down.(3)
When storm had cleared, sky was fire red,
Dad put me in the car,
But roads were blocked in just three blocks,
The world become bizarre!
Barbed wire that penetrated trees,
Homes cracked like eggs insides,
Our home had grass blades drove like nails,
Into its wooden sides.
The biggest storm in history,
My dad was gone for days,
Storm victims sleeping on our floor,
The whole town in a daze.
Dad's rebuilt store, nicest in town,
Our home ‘across the track, '(4)
Attended too the poorest school,
But did not suffer lack.
Appearance was Dad's calling card,
No pretense there to see,
For ‘living too high on the hog, '(5)
Caused bankers misery.
The school board melted to Mom's charm,
(Or to her tongue of fire) ,
For with Dad's stature in the town,
Few dared to risk her ire!
Good teachers forced to leave rich schools,
Complained it wasn't fair,
Till they encountered Sis and I,
And found that they could care.
That was my mother's legacy,
And ‘ART' (6) the air she breathed,
Though slight she strongly stood her ground,
Our future she bequeathed.
We did not know the difference,
Just sometimes things were tough,
Our clothing did set us apart,
We always had enough.
There were some very poor kids there,
The same clothes thru the week,
Impoverished not just in clothes,
But that which all men seek.
I had a bike to ride around,
Of course it was a Schwinn,
And almost always home for lunch,
For Mom thought we were thin,
With two desserts at every meal,
(And Mom was quite a cook.)
But if you didn't clean your plate,
From Dad you got a look,
The waste of food a mortal sin,
A thump upon the ‘bean, '(7)
Made every meal traumatic fare,
And tears a daily scene.
My guess is Dad got worse than me,
Depression's (8) oldest child,
I mourn the innocence he lost,
That made his wrath seem mild.
Our parent's roles were well defined,
My dad brought home the bread,
My mom the joy of hearth and home,
Dad's entrance met with dread.
My dad did most the punishments,
But whippings weren't enough,
We even weren't allowed to cry,
To show we had the stuff!
Small wonder romance frightened me,
(So sure I'd be like him) ,
To challenge violence I feared,
Chose music over gym.
An auto-biographical look at family life impacted by both the American Great
Depression and the Dust Bowl years (1930-1950) in the Mid-West, divided into
This is a work of love and homage to the courageous and desperate people who
survived both. I hope that you enjoy it. New Chapters will be released as I complete
* When I was in the American Peace Corps in Tanzania, East Africa we had a group of
7 surveying assistants that were always with us in the first year and that we became
very close to. Their conversation was always sprinkled with 'la' and I thought it was
kind of cute. Like they might say to me, 'Why don't we stop in this village for some
food, la.' They used this word kind of like I use the word ‘OK' in casual conversation.
'You've got food in your teeth, la.' I really enjoyed this idiosyncratic affectation.
(1) ‘poverty' - born in 1911, my father was just 19 years old when ‘The Great
Depression' hit the US economy. The Dust Bowl began shortly after.
(2) Woodward, Oklahoma - the town that I grew up in.
(3) ‘doubled down' - after Dad's business was destroyed completely by the tornado,
he doubled his efforts to be successful in Woodward, borrowing heavily from the
local banks to do so.
(4) 'across the track' or 'wrong side of the tracks' referred to the part of town where
poor people lived, frequently, but not always, meaning 'colored people' as well. In some
towns no 'colored people' were allowed to live in the more prosperous 'white only'
area. Some towns (like Woodward) had no Negros at all. I take that back. One black
male did have a job shining shoes in the local 'Baker Hotel' but I think his home was
in the country somewhere (He did not live in town).
(5) 'living too high on the hog' - an idiom referring to people who have to have the
most expensive things in life and buy them frequently on credit even though they
can't really afford them.
(6) ‘ART' - My mother was a gifted painter and wood carver, but even meals she
prepared were done artistically. Art was always spelled with capital letters in her life!
(7) ‘thump on the bean' - to hit the offending child hard on the head with the
knuckles of your closed fist.
(8) 'Depression' - Hard times, not mental issues. (Actually works both ways though
I guess!) Born the oldest of 3 brothers and one sister, my dad's father worked him
hard and used a leather shaving strap to whip his boys when he was upset with them
about anything. Grand Dad Johnston made my father seem like Florence Nightingale.
I believe that he beat his wife as well (just a guess) .
Long poem by
Jack Scott | Details |
It is so hard to let go of love,
unpeels more gut more quickly
than reel or reeler ever lost
in all those years of lazy inches
in and out:
winding in and playing out,
hardly fishing, rarely catching
from the deepness out of sight,
hardly ever losing . . .
Blisters lust into the greedy thumb.
the startled brake lets go.
It dives full length into the never,
finds the limit of its leash,
pounds against its half-round prison,
at end of end of rope -
Got you, shrieks the reel and reeler
cranking in the give and take.
The line is taut,
the weight upon it heavy,
and waiting . . .
. . .waiting for adrenaline:
against the angry, smoldering thumb.
Caught to catcher,
fish to fisher:
let me go!
It tries too hard to turn to something else: away.
Away and bottom still beyond the knot,
the creature climbs toward the light,
her leap, an alchemy:
silver unto gold.
crinkled all about.
Million mile amnesia.
a flash of tooth,
then placid lips close over any sign of youth . . .
. . . as if the fish had never been.
-the fisher wonders:
The line is limp
as if . . .
for all the years of it,
nothing at its other end.
A flash of recognition:
she leaps another time,
not knowing if what held her holds.
Silver fish scales golden ladder
a sunbeam at a time,
and all the rungs of memory -
breaks air an instant.
The line has held
and as she leaps, it claims her,
a thunder clap.
Arrested in her flight,
she drops deadweight into the bucket sea-
fish to air to gold to water,
Of the gold,
an afterglow centered in the thumb.
Did it happen?
Was she really there?
Air turns to air once more,
the fisherman to memory,
pig-a-back the job at hand,
one slender monofilament insisting: no!
and memory, another plastic,
refusing to let go.
my pretty lovely,
so flying and so softly spun,
you seemed the air to me.
So high and free,
so very near the sun,
my tears dissolve the earth’s connection.
The line my hands are holding:
to limit freedom at its height,
impossible without restraint-
the line between us,
subtle and so gossamer.
There, it glinted,
there! So very real.
Real . . .
The hook is realer.
Tangerine transfusion from the fastened lip,
bleeds unreckoned into the larger blue.
The sea - as wide as weakness -
sucks the strength without a hunger.
Tired, the hooked,
and tiring even more,
the line grows stronger,
shortening toward the bobber boat.
I’ve got her, cries the fisherman,
raping at dead weight,
dragging mystery toward the kitchen
-on his mind is steak.
Slaughter, separate from supper,
passion with a knife,
the knife . . .
. . . the knife is ready
held tight between the skinless thumb,
and vendetta fingers -
five Sicilian brothers
waiting for their sister to come home.
The other hand around the rod
is closing on the lover’s throat.
The rod’s erect,
the reel is angry.
Come, my dear, come, come.
She hears the music of the end,
the bowstring whine of gut
still lean and taut from her weight alone,
hears the rhythm of the reel
and tries to run once more
-provoking lust to snatch still harder-
but can’t . . .
. . . is free at last
surrendered with the last of blood:
quicksilver nearing zero-
and two dollars worth of ice.
(a virgin: never dead before)
betrayed and penetrated,
(it’s time now to give in, enjoy)
rests her weight upon the line,
toward the bottom of the boat.
The whore! I see her in the water!
She gave me quite a fight.
The captain, ready with the gaff,
the lover, in his rented swivel chair,
seize her from the water.
The maiden’s heartbeat
is faint and futile as a final cry of rape.
Her breath is fear, yet sounds like passion
at the very end.
Her swoon is now complete.
Her swain is prickled with his heat.
His blood pounds within his thumb.
is left alone with her.
He ponders . . .
. . . while he does,
she pales and sheds her rainbow.
Her eyes turn glassy from the air,
She’s turned to meat.
He lusts at memory for a moment,
then dries the little sweat
and goes forward for a beer,
and band aids.
The captain’s seen it all before,
surgically removes the hook
and tidies up the gear.
He and the mate carry her to the ice
and lay her out within the cold.
The mate disinfects the deck
with sea water and a stiff brush.
Returning with his second beer,
a badge of gauze and Vaseline upon his thumb,
the lover is confused.
The deck, shipshape,
of scales and blood
it all might not have happened.
Then there would be hope.
The mate calls him to the ice chest
for the viewing,
opens it . .
I’ve lost her. There she is.
The smell . . . it must wash off !
Time to go home.
The sea is empty.
It is over.
Long poem by
David William Breidenthal | Details |
I grieve for your safety, sis, and I pray for you almost every day –
Depression does leave a big impact on us in a negative way
But I think you think I’m crazy…tell me if I am…
My heart’s devouring curiosity, pain and sham
And still – there’s questions left unanswered…
I feel awkward…I feel unheard like a loner at school, hovering around, yet
Staring at a blank screen before me…hurting my eyes a bit to a certain degree
I see that I have a long way to go with my writing process
I see my past unwind – set me free…the time will never leave me be
I’m living in a fairy tale, never truly bowing down to true success
Let me be…let me flutte like a butterfly out of its cocoon
Let me be who I want to be…let me shine bright like the moon
I’m glistening in the moonlight – I love you more than before
I wish the night away…hoping for some sunshine
I’ll stay with you till the day I pass away
We’ll fight this depression wars…if only you were mine
We’ll go through remorse and romance
Together…forever…we’ll dance in a serenity-indulged trance
Do you hear the wind, whispering their “goodbyes”?
Clear skies beam upon me for a little while at last!
Nothin’ but joyous skies feels therapeutic to my eyesight…
Forgetting the dilemmas that I’ve encountered and the horrid past
Clear baby blue skies hang above our heads in polished delight
Can you see right through me?
Will you ever see me in this reality?
You are bothering me, DEPRESSION!?
All I see is dismal clouds passing me by, accepting derision as a friend instead
of a foe
Should I just move on with life? Why do I feel the urge to cry?
I stab myself with frustration and hurt badly – I feel guilty for your crimes and
your sympathy will never show…let the wicked wind blow!
It pierces like an arrow that flies by night, hitting bull’s eye
Regret shouldn’t get the best of me
Why should I have an unwanted guess by the name of Anxiety?
I’m alone at last…but the future is left unknown
And, yet I don’t groan and God’s my backbone –
I accept the truth of it all…
These scars won’t heal at all,
Can’t help but be in the helpless frame of mind and the shattered state
The stars dim when city lights illuminate the ebony skies, revealing the
cemented ink painted in the atmosphere, unwavering without a smear of fear
Hold on to the bars before you – hold on to me, my love – I can’t help, but
hesitate – I keep thinking of my future, fretful fate
Please wait for me till the dawn scorches aflame like the planet Mars, but until
then – turn the wheel! Turn the wheel!
Hold on to the rope of hope – it won’t harm us, my dove! I can’t escape my
ruins, but I can change for the better and pick all the pieces up and sweep
away the debris - all we are is dust on the ground, rising like the horizon of
the sunset…stimulating our eyes with undying appeal
From where the sun now stands,
I’ve been succumbing to tragedy and preparing for the battle that lies ahead
How I wish upon Tomorrow to see you smile and lock hands
With me…with me…and go ahead of me – put your doubts and worries to bed!
Borrow happiness from me instead! You don’t have to return it back –
If it’s something you lack…come on and open up a crack!
Your hands as cold as ice in Antarctica…it’s frostbitten and I freeze to the bone
You’re concealing this warmhearted soul within you…do you want to be left
But, I won’t leave you without a trace, hiking this mountain on your own!
I know it’s dying to come out without a doubt like the dawn,
Shyly pushing away nightfall by projecting the sun in the sorrow-whelmed
Giving us sunlit glee…converting into flourishing ecstasy – God has my back!
Put your heart at ease and make Depression your slave –
Desert it forever and pick a different route to tread on…self-control keeps me
Oh! Perhaps, you were naturally made for me, but I must behave
I’ve had harder days than you – I’ve been through so much worse
Are you a refined, splendid gift or are you just another wretched curse?
You restored peace to my verse, angel of ambitious bliss, spreading about
good news with glorious grace!
(I can see your halo, spinning around and round and round your head like
Though I was tattered and torn by remorseful spirits, you were my childlike
You and I dismiss the blues and we figure out the mystery’s many clues,
placing our feet in other people’s shoes with empathy traced on our face!
I put my daily worries and distrust to sleep… I can see you weep…
The laments hits us too deep…I’m out of luck…all I thought I was was a loving
But, I was enchanted by the mirror and what it reflected with jubilation that’s
as shiny as a silver, noble sword –
A new spirit, radiant with compassionate, elegant elation …my heart beats in
Long poem by
Demetrios Trifiatis | Details |
WE ARE BROTHERS
Don’t look at me as though I am an alien or stranger,
Don’t let the dagger of antipathy fly out of your eyes,
I am your neighbor!
Don’t call me foe, antagonist or rival,
Don’t roll up your mistrustful sleeves to have a fight,
I am your friend!
Don’t hold this murderous weapon in your kind hand,
Don’t deny me the right to work, to eat, to live,
I am your BROTHER!
If destiny willed me to be born on this side of the
If my parents wished me these clothes to wear
And taught me their own dances,
Do we have to be adversaries?
If fate desired me to speak this foreign tongue,
And the color of my skin to be different than yours,
Do we have to be competitors?
If necessity decided in this country, in the North,
or South, or East, or West to live,
Do we have to be opponents?
If I believe in Jesus, Jehovah, Krishna, Buddha,
Brahma or Allah,
If this is my philosophy, my tradition, my history
and my culture,
Do we have to be enemies?
NO! A million times NO!
Please, look at me with new eyes and through away
your injurious prejudices,
What do you see but a person like you who wants,
Desires and hopes the same things in life:
Happiness, family, well-being, a home, some friends,
Look! I walk, I talk, I eat, I sleep, I dream, I laugh and
I cry, just like you,
I’m born, I grow up, I learn, I suffer, I bleed and
I die, just like you,
I’m a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter,
Just like you,
You see, we are alike, we are the same, we are
Listen to me my neighbor, my friend, my ally,
I am telling you the truth:
We are victims of schemes well- planned in advance,
By deceitful, evil-hearted men who wished,
Your distraction and mine,
They: masters of savage forgery, dividers
Have tricked us throughout history with
And with treacherous stories, these intellectually impotent
Have instilled tons of poison in your heart and
Thus, by cultivating hatred, bitterness and
Managed to shape us to ruthless foes, to merciless enemies,
To cruel animals,
Please, listen to me! It is true! We are
Let us, therefore, with irresistible will cross all frontier
That the past has erected between us, thus making divisions
Let us, with supreme power, break the bonds of history,
Religion and culture and run into each- others arms,
Let us uproot, from our tormented hearts, thorny mistrust
That was planted there thousands of years ago,
Let us seize ammunition from distractive hatred
And make war capitulate,
Let us sink the cholera of bitterness in the affectionate sea
Of universal brotherhood and finally,
Let us unite and march to higher claims, to incomparable glory,
Where peace can blossom today,
Thus, both of us my brother, AT LAST! Will go to sleep,
Fearless of each other tonight!
© Demetrios Trifiatis
08 June 2013
Long poem by
binibining p.iNk | Details |
Hmmm, where do I start? With deep sighs, I am sighing right now.
I just finished burying 2 lizards, and my heart is heavy...
Let me back up a bit...bear with me if I might turn out to be confusing here,
but I just need to write this, release something, in some way
Although I must admit, this is not exactly what I had in mind to write for this day,
hopefully I can write something more decent later...
I have been wanting to write something for my brother since yesterday,
since February 26 is his 10th year death anniversary.
The words remained stuck in my heart, 'til I fell asleep.
Visited him again today, heard mass for him,
ate a Chinese dinner with my parents and sister, went home.
I now needed dessert. Got a piece of Ferrero Rocher, but just one wouldn't do.
So I got a piece of Almond Roca this time and ate it while walking.
All this time, I have managed to keep my tears away
but maybe somehow, someway, if tears want to fall, they will find a way?
I walk to that area again as I ate that piece of chocolate-
when what do you know, what do you know??
I stepped on a lizard. Again
Yes. Almost exactly the Same area, tail falls off, and the lizard skitters away.
But. I did not slip this time. But, yes, I still screamed, scaring everybody again.
I. Could. Not. Simply. Believe. IT.
One month and 25 days after, I step on a lizard. Again.
Today, of all days. As if I needed more reason to be sadder.
This time around, I had the sense to try to find that lizard.
I had to know if it lived, if it was okay.
I pushed away the nearby cabinet.
And there it was.
Rather, and there they were.
The lizard that I stepped on now
and the petrified remains of the lizard that I stepped on on new year's day...
the other one didn't live after all :(
I know it was that lizard, same area, no tail, who else could it be?
Survival mechanism, no match for my killer foot.
By this time, I am crying, sobbing.
Seriously, the tears just start falling, and my heart so heavy.
And I know it's from the combination of so many things.
The day itself, what I had just done, just things running through me.
What broke my heart, was to see that lizard.
I was wearing rubber shoes this time, last time I was wearing slippers.
And its guts had spilled from its sides.
I couldn't help but keep on saying, "Oh, oh, oh lizard, I am so sorry"
I touched it feebly, and it was literally gaping its mouth.
I don't think I can ever forget that?
Such a small creature, gasping, with its insides out,
its skin on its legs and body scraped.
And it was all my fault.
My sister was there with me, trying to help in her own way.
But yes, there's nothing you can really do...I didn't want to stress it even more,
and let death finish what I did.
There's so much I can glean from this, and I want to ramble on, so badly
but I will try to stop myself from rambling too much.
I put the two lizards, along with a note, the dates when I stepped on them
(ok, killed them), and placed them carefully in a chocolate truffle box.
I buried them and still feel so sorry.
In some ways, this is can be so funny, and just freaky & crazy (what's new, this is me?)
What were the odds??? Same place, same thing happening.
And I can't help but roll my eyes at myself as well, just finding it so hard to fathom
how I stepped on not just one but Two lizards in just two months.
I bet that the lizards are all afraid of me now,
saying how I am a lizard killer. A serial lizard killer.
MO: stepping on them while screaming, maybe my screams also killed them off?
I actually took photos of both lizards, I am not sure why though.
Oh dear God, help me, I am acting like one, even documenting them.
I tell you, as I watched that lizard die, I couldn't help but just also
think of St. Jude (for the impossible) and St. Francis of Assisi (for animals).
I know he was dying, but somehow, yes, prayers still comfort me.
I just feel so guilty, with this happening.
I still can't help but cry for those lizards, death by me, for no reason at all,
no purpose served.
I know it's all a part of life...
but it still doesn't change the fact how death can change us
and of how I am responsible for two lizard deaths.
I know they were just small animals, but Still. They were living creatures.
Death can change us in small ways, some in big ways, negatively or positively.
It all boils down to death transforming us one way or another...
I won't expound on it anymore, this is too long,
but one of the ways I can think of comparing it to, is that of a chemical change,
maybe of the spirit, the soul? Not merely a physical change.
And we can never be the same.