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Long poem by Brian Johnston | Details |

Growing Up, La - Part 2 - Rev 3

- - 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, 
Security mundane.
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.
Harmonica, accordion,
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.

Brian Johnston
August 20, 2014

Poet’s Notes:
* 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 
washed clothing.

(2) 'smart mouth' Someone who likes to talk back to authorities, or who just complains all 
the time.

(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 
Tribe.


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Canto XVII Hell translation

“Here the fierce with the thin pointed tail,
Who passes mountains and breaks arms and walls!
Here who with stench can the world assail!”

So my duke started to talk with his calls;
And hinted then it to get the bank close,
Nearby to end of marbles and of falls.

And then that filthy image which fraud sows
Came close, and  just arrived with head and chest
But on the shore its tail it did not pose.

Its face was of the honest man at best,
So much benignant had its outer skin,
And of a snake was all its body next;

Two hairy gills it had to armpits twin;
Its spine and chest as well as ribs both too
With knots and wheels had like painted had been.

Vivid colors much overlapping do 
Neither Tartars nor Turks drapes never made 
No such canvas ever Arachne drew.

Likewise sometimes barges nearby shore stayed
In part in water and in part on ground,
And likewise there within the Germans strayed

The beaver prepares its war and to hound,
So the bad and evil fierce remained there
On stony rim of sandy soil around.

Its tail was flickering in void to scare,
Up twisting its fork poisonous indeed
Which armed tip like a scorpion unfair.

My duke told: “To modify now we need
Our pathway until we finally reach 
That evil fierce which there lies, careful heed”.

For this we down got toward the right beach,
Ten steps we did then on the limit rim,
The flames and too the hot sand to breach.

And when at end we arrived close to him
A little farther I see just on sand
People sitting near the site with no vim. 

Here the master “Now you have at hand
The truth about this circle in full just”,
He told , “go and their fate then understand.

Your reasoning way down there short be must,
Meanwhile you come back, I will speak with this,
So he will offer us his limbs robust”

So again up to the top of abyss
In that seventh circle now alone
I went, where sad people sitting exists.

Through their eyes the internal pain was shown;
Here, there defended themselves with hands
Now to steam, and now to hot soil of stone:

Not different are dogs in summer stands
Now with mug or with paw, when are bitten
Or by fleas  or by flies  or horseflies bands.

After I put  on some my eyes  smitten,
On whom the painful fire to fall saw,
No one I knew; but I saw as written

A pocket hanging from the neks to draw
With blazons and colors and well clear sign,
Of which they looked to be proud with no awe.

And as looking at them I joined their line,
In yellow bag I saw a sky-blue tint
Which of lion had face and clear design.

Then going to follow of sight the hint,
I saw another which was as blood red
With a goose that whiter exist didn’t.

And one who of a light blue sow well fed
Had his white bag clearly painted just so,
Told me: “How did you come in this ditch shed?

Now you can leave; and since you alive go,
Learn that my near Vitaliano still
Will seat then here at my left below.

These from Florence, I from Paduan mill;
So many times my ears are stunned nearby
From shouting: “Should come the sovereign will,

Who will carry his bag with three necks by!
Then he twisted his mouth and extracted
His tongue, as ox which nose to lick may try.

And since my stay could not be protracted
To shun master's regret asking be fast
I came  back to souls badly impacted.

I found my duke who already had passed
Sitting onto the croup of the fierce beast,
And told me: “Now be strong and bold not last.

Now we have to descend such stairs so pieced;
Come up ahead, at middle I must be
So that for you the tail’s danger is least”

Similar to one whose disgust is close to see
The quartan fever, with nails just pale,
And looks back  trembling at high degree,

So I became when heard the words assail;
But I was ashamed by his threats to me.
That a good lord makes right  his servant fail.

I found my place on that back hard to see;
So I tried to tell, but no voice I had
As I thought and desired: “Let embrace thee”

But he, who times before to help was glad
Maybe for other, when I was there sat
With both his arms gripped and sustained me sad;

And told: “Geryon, you should move now at;
Be the circles wide, and the slope down short;
You must be careful with such weight as that”

Like a small ship leaves off its  place in port
Backwards and backwards, so started then it;
And when he felt to be free to transport,

Where the chest was, he put his tail to fit,
And after stretching, it moved like an eel,
And with gills, inflated air to admit.

More fright I don’t believe would deal
When Phaeton unrestrained became then,
So that sky, as still seen, was burnt to seal;

Nor had Icarus with his sorry  loins when
Losing feathers perceived for the wax hot,
His father screaming to him “Bad way amen!”,

The fright I had, when I saw where I got 
Everywhere in air, and turned off  I saw
Any scenery out of the fierce spot.

It goes away swimming slow, with no flaw;
Rotates, descends, but I am not aware
Except for the wind which comes from yaw.

I felt just on right hand the eddy mare
Doing an indeed scaring roar below,
So that with eyes my head to jut I dare.

Then I became more bashful to that flow,
Since I saw fires and heard tears of pain;
And trembling all I snuggled in me so.

Then saw, since view on I could not attain,
Descent and turning those great pains around
Which came close from various parts again.

Like falcon whose wings long flied up from ground,
Without sight lure or any bird at all
Pushes the fa lconer to tell “Stop hound!”,

Descends tired while it moved easy and tall,
With hundred rounds, and then volplanes quite far
From its trainer, with disdain and fierce gall;

So Geryon put us on rocks which are
At foot at foot of the profound barrow
And, after discharged the persons of our,

It sudden vanished like from bow the arrow.


Long poem by Mario DE PAZ | Details |

Canto XX Hell translation

Of new pains new verses must be composed 
To give matter for the canto twenty
Of the canticle first, treating sunk posed.

I just was inclined with desires many
To thoroughly look at the open deep,
Which was moisten of mournful cry plenty;

And I saw people in round valley creep
Coming to us, mute and weeping, with pace
Which do the litanies in world with weep.

As lower went directed then my face,
It appeared admirably subject to twist
Each one between his chin and the chest base,

Because their face was opposite to midst,
And then they were thus compelled to walk back,
Since the observing forward they had missed.

Maybe due to paralysis attack
Somebody was  twisted completely all;
But I never saw him, total his lack.

If God lets you, reader, in mind install
What you have just read, now imagine then
If in wetting my face could not befall,

The closest to us image looking when
I saw thus distorted, that crying eyes
Wetted his buttocks falling down again.

Sure I cried, leaning on a jut with sighs,
Of the hardest reef, so that now my guide
Told me: “Are you of  other silly guys?

Here the pity lives when it's well died;
Who is even more wicked than the one
Who to God justice is with pain complied?

Straighten your head, straighten, and see beside
The one whose eyes on Thebans’ ground posed were;
So that all were shouting to him: Where hide,

Anfiarao? Why war don't you concur? 
And did not stop to leave to valley down
Til Minos who can everyone deter.

Observe now the ones who acted facedown;
Because wanted only forward to look,
Now only look and walk at back around.  

You see Tiresias, who new face took
When from male to female became just,
The form of all his body thus to crook;

And before, then, to beat again he must
The two wrapped up snakes, with the magic rod,
So his male feathers he could adjust.

Aronta is that who womb tails in way odd,
Who there in the Luni’s mountains, where dig
Men from Carrara who live there and plod,

Had in the white marbles a cave big
As his daily dwelling, the stars from where
And the sea also he could see and twig.

And that woman who covers hers breasts bare,
Which you don’t see, with loosened tresses yet,
And has a skin full of  fur everywhere,

Was Manto, who searching many lands met;
Then she rested there where I then was born;
So a  bit I like that my words you get.

After hers father his life had lost worn
And after slave became the Bacchus’ town,
She went long time around the world forlorn.

Italy nice has a lake with renown,
At the foot of Alps which the Germans stop
Over Tyrol, Benaco is its noun.

Thousand sources and more, I think, from top
Twixt Garda, Camonica and Pennino wet it  
With water which stands there after its drop.  

Halfway a place trentin pastors admit
And from Brescia and from Verona too
Who could hail, if their way with place should fit.

Sitting is Peschiera, nice mean strong true
With the Brescian and Bergamask to deal,
Where the bank around is steeper and skew.

There the need of water falling is real
All that exceeds Benaco’s full indeed,
Becoming river down valley with reel.

After water starts running to proceed,
No more Benaco, but Mincio is its name
Til Governol, where Po river can feed.

Not long way has run, when it meets an aim
In which it flattens and becomes a slew;
Which in summer is bad deserving blame.

Just there passing the raw virgin knew
An ample ground, in the midst of mire,
Uncultivated and no dwellers through.

She there, all human beings to retire,
Stopped with hers servants practicing hers art
And lived, and left hers vain corps to expire.

Men who in near places were split apart
Joined that site, because it was clearly strong
Thanks to mire which encircled any part.

They built the city over those bones wrong;
And in hers honor who first chose the site
Mantua was called with no chance along.

Already dwellers be numerous might,
Before the foolish Casalodi’s craze
By Pinamonte was deceived onsite.

For this I instruct you, if in some ways
You hear misplaced the true source of my land,
The truth could win any fib which betrays”.

And I: “Master, your thoughts are indeed grand
And are so sure to capture my faith then,
Such as the others would be extinct brand.

But tell me, of those forward walking men,
If you can see any who deserves note;
Since only to this I use mind and pen”.

He then told me: “That one who now from throat
Poses his own beard on the shoulders dark,
Lived – when Greece of males was empty moat,

Such as remained for babycots almost stark-
As augur, and with Calcant then hint gave
In Aulis to cut the first rope as remark.

Eurypilus his name, which I engrave
In parts of my poems here or there:
Which you well know and then in mind all save.

The other one with flanks skinny and bare,
Was Michael Scotto, who really had
Of the sorcery frauds knowledge and care.

See Guido Bonatti, Asdente bad,
Who now to his leather and to his thread
He would like to attend, but late is sad.

See there the dreary ones who were misled
From needle, pin and spool to be divine;
They did then enchantments with herbs instead.

But come yet now, because reaches confine
Of both hemispheres and touches wave
Down Seville Caino and forms of spine;

And yet yesterday night full moon behaved;
You should remember it then now so well
Because in the dark wood your way it saved”

So he, while going on, kept on to tell.


Long poem by Goutam Hazra | Details |

Scent of Paddy Flower

Scent Of Paddy Flower

                                   By Goutam Hazra

           1
Reminiscence

My father told me 
first time 
I was just a boy then,
“Follow the scent of paddy flower
move with the wind it carries,
surely you will go to heaven.”

I remember
he would catch 
fistful of wind
bring near to my face
and wonder,
“Isn’t it godly!”

Magically, opened his hand
but I never felt
what scent he meant.
            
             2
Days of kind rain

“Son, see the misty wind
rushing all over the paddy field
comes every year
to drink the scent of paddy flower.”

Mere as a boy
I could see only
tides of a green plane
touching my little finger
and racing far… too far.
I would ask  
“Where have they gone?”
Smiled my father 
and said
“Did not you listen,
they are going to heaven,
call the goddess then,
‘come goddess dear’
we all are ready with paddy flower.”




Curious was my face,
“Papa, then?”

“Goddess will arrive smiling
her feet will be here
there
everywhere.
Seeing a pot in her hand
all those paddy flowers
delighted, will open their mouth more wider
and life will be poured…”

“Where these flowers come from?”

Remained my father smiling
speaking all his mind
looking high at sky
asked me to see there
spoke he again.

“Rain, rain, kind monsoon rain
on the first day of its shower
kind rain would ask me to come here
with bagful of paddy seeds,
‘let seeds be spread all over,
let its eternal relation with soil
be the fertilizer’
when all said is done
waiting rain 
starts showering its kind
make visible hiding life in the abyss of seed.
Happy wind changes color
being green all around
waits for the day
when the wind would smell the scent of paddy flower.”

Days passed by,
kind rain was still in waiting
sometimes hidden beyond horizon
or simply making sun blind with its smoky face
and whenever wind said,
‘Dry I’m now’
quenched the thirst.

Someday wind played naughty with sun
asked kind rain to make it misty
and with brushes of sun rays 
painted a rainbow on the face of east sky.


Wait was over
green field blossomed with flowers
and wind said,
“Fill in my heart
with scent of flower
I shall bring life…”

Happy was my father’s voice
“Rain, rain, kind monsoon rain
said so
green wind brining life 
did so
scent of paddy flower
is made so.
Bare footed be here
print your soul
in the dust of this soil
kind rain will come
green wind being there
life will be yours 
beautiful
simple
with the scent of paddy flower.”
           
             3
Cruel entropy

How old was I then
nine or ten
my father looked up
up to the sky
again and again
for a month long
only to see 
change of sky’s color
from the color of a summer day to a long humid night.
Dry wind cried at last
over my father’s sweating body
“Rain, rain O kind rain, where have you gone.”

One day sudden
kind rain came again.
Cried to my father
“Why no green wind came this year
from ocean 
to bring me here.
Desert wind why
dry my breath
seeds you have sown
how could I then
enliven with my rain.”

Question 
many question
my father had asked the rain.

Short-lived, hurried rain could spell its last breath,
“I am not that rain 
as was your friend,
I am the curse of dying forest
I am the ghost of all pollution
I am born out of acid weather…”

Who knew, it left for where?

My father cried 
As kind rain left him alone
hiding in a dry wind’s bone.

My father was still
going every morning
asking the soil
in vain
if soil could alone
make the paddy flowers to be born.

Year passed by,
came back the time, 
for green wind to bring kind rain.

Rain came one day.

But why
as a cloudburst
treacherous
roaring always
pouring unwanted
like an unkind monster
flooded misery
in the life of a simple farmer?
           
            4
Relinquishment

Dumb remained my father
for days together
sad was his voice at last,
“Run away, son, run away from here,
sky rain wind
river village land;
thread of this garland
who cuts it
go, stop now there hand.”

Draught and flood,
uncertainty of life 
changed my mind 
as of a farmer’s son.
Books, studies and education
reasons, truth and compassion
might have had fulfilled my father’s mission.

But… 
Does not this civilization
converts us 
as the products to do more production.
Run, run and run 
run ahead of time
let be it, at the cost of inhaling killer tension,
stress taking  over your life.
Insomnia, cholesterol or cynicism
is our success’s companion? 
‘A’ is shaped as ‘B’
and ‘B’ is sold as ‘C’.
Modification
innovation
sophistication
but I found the basic
what it remain
as life’s supreme conviction 
‘simply a fist full of paddy
and its grain’.

             5
Scent of life

So here, I am again
standing in front of this green plane
searching for the shadow of my father.
Green wind surrounds my existence
I can see the dance of those bunches.
My mind whispers to my ear
echoes those words of my father, 
“Bare footed be here
print your soul
in the dust of this soil
rain will come
green wind being there
life will be yours 
beautiful
simple
with the scent of paddy flower.”

I never felt so,
what I smell now 
is the scent of paddy flower.




















Long poem by Amrapali Tendolkar | Details |

RAIN SHOWERS

The Earth dry and bare; waiting eagerly for the drops of care;
 


Caught in the hot, steaming summer’s snare;
 


The flowers and creepers decorating window sills; all look desolate and ill;
 


As the nature withers away in the sun’s merciless glare.
 


 
 


The men and the wives; the kids and the wild;
 


All are enduring the summer’s waterless exile;
 


They are waiting for the rain; to relieve them of the heat pain;
 


And of that life which has become a sweaty turmoil.
 


 
 


The wind strong and gusty; makes the roads yellow and dusty;
 


And the air around becomes suffocating and musty;
 


The birds forget to sing; their lilting, musical thing;
 


Even as the tree leaves wristle and make noise so husky.
 


 
 


Then come the Monsoon showers; falling first on boughs and flowers;
 


Making the trees and plants glisten and glower;
 


So the monsoon comes in grace; driving away summer’s trace;
 


Lashing at window-panes with its all-reigning power.
 


 
 


As the monsoon drives away the summer heat; with its raining rhythm off-beat;
 


And the flower buds open up to return it’s greet;
 


And as the water seeps in soil; a refreshing fragrance arise;
 


While the rain continuous to cool down hot gardens and streets.
 


 
 


The Earth grows green; and water droplets gleam;
 


On the smooth, waxy surfaces of the leaves;
 


Everywhere the flowers grow; in pink, red, white or yellow;
 


While buds make their way blushingly between tendrils.
 


 
 
 The wet and soft soil; now grows fertile;
 


And tender green plantlets push through the Earth in style;
 


Through soil the tiny saplings peep; as their sown seeds begin to reap;
 


And the plants and crops shake off the Earth’s temporary curse sterile.
 


 
 


As the raindrops go pitter-patter; water in puddles begins to gather;
 


And the little birds begin to chirp, twitter and chatter;
 


The insects begin to hum along; their irritating and happy song;
 


While due to rain and wind the roofs on houses begin to chatter.
 


 
 


As the showers for some moments cease; after giving Earth life’s new lease;
 


And the pitter-patter of rain is gently appeased;
 


The sun coyly shines; a cloud it half hides behind;
 


While the fluffy clouds move along with the cool breeze.
 


 
 


The fields now green and bright; are an artist’s sheer delight;
 


Pleasing to the senses of smell and sight;
 


The fresh air so sweet to breathe; that with pleasure the body writhes;
 


In the newly born rainy sunlight.
 


 
 


But this sunlight so quickly goes; as thunderstorms blow to and fro;
 


And Earth engulfs in darkness that now grows;
 


The wind rises and howls; with a voice that trembles all souls;
 


And day and night this gale roars.
 


 
 


The trees in fear tremble and shake; as leaves, twigs and branches break;
 


And the life of these trees is put up at stake;
 


Birds in nests cower with fright; and due to cold shiver with all their might;
 


And live in fearful anticipation of what else the storm may rake.
 


 
 
The monsoon now shows its ugly face; gone are its days of grace;
 


Rainy calamities take its place;
 


Cyclones and floods destruct worldwide; the raging sea throws up its tide;
 


“Nature reigns supreme”, we are forced to say.
 


 
 


Same is the life of man; may he do what he can;
 


But destiny will always play a hand;
 


What all will man control? So he should let destiny play its role;
 


And enjoy life and act as the situation will demand.
 


 
 


Somedays will shine the sun; those days life will be fun;
 


And work will be successful how much ever it’s done;
 


Somedays by the fun you will tire; and will long to get back into the attire;
 


Of normal life, however boring or glum.
 


 
 


Sometimes hope will come out; like a tiny plant sprouts;
 


And will remove from your mind every shade of doubt;
 


It will be a bright, hopeful ray; but for long it may not stay;
 


So we must make most of it when hope sprouts.
 


 
 


Just as the shower of joy; after summer comes out shy;
 


So shower of success will come when you have almost given up the try;
 


It will wash away your helpless sigh; and will give you a new will to try;
 


Which will help you succeed by-and-by.
 


 
 


Just as the sun goes behind the cloud; when thunder is heard aloud;
 


And darkness suddenly falls on Earth all around;
 


So also failure will touch you once; its upto you to prevent its repeated occurrence;
 


Or due to failure remain depression bound.
 


 
 


Sometimes through demotivation you will go; sometimes loads of success you'll know;
 


For we need all types of experience to make us grow;
 


Like some days it is wet; some days the sun for long doesn’t set;
 


But then it needs both the rain and the sun to make a RAINBOW…


Long poem by Steven Medellin | Details |

The Whiskey Bottle Wish


The Whiskey Bottle Wish

 	One late summer night outside a saloon in the mid-west, an intoxicated Dusty Rogers, stumbles out of the Bar nearly taking one of the revolving doors with him. As he flutters on out, he catches his fall on the walkway hand railing in front of him. Focusing his sight with a loose grip holding the railing, the other hand has tighter grip on a bottle of Whiskey. Hesitantly letting go of the rail he musters up enough hand eye coordination to fix his hat and pull up his pants. As the drunken man walks down the strip of a quiet town... A quiet town after all the rooms in the bathos are vacant, when all the liquor has run dry from every bottle, far after all the lead and gun powder filled the air ... It's then a quiet town. An hour walking and countless chugs of sweet, sweet whiskey; the drunken Rogers, has been taking over with the urge to piss. He sees a hallucination of a building up ahead about ten feet away. He pulls up, face nearly inches from what he thinks to be the wall of the building, but is in fact a towering cliff side standing over fifty feet staring down on him. He starts to piss on the cliff side soaking his pants and boots. He places the bottle down with his left hand as his right hand is stretched out flat on the wall holding himself up. He's leaning forward so much it appears as if he were holding up the mountain. He begins to mumble.

“You drunk. You will always be a drunk... That's all they ever spoked about me. But, why? How did this... How did any of this happen?” His right hand slips and his face crashes into the jagged cliff side in front of him. He groans in agonizing pain while he is lies in his urine. Bludgeon face he shouts up at the stars. 
“Damn you! You tooken everything from me. You left me all alone! Why didn't you take me too! Am I not good enough for death...? I do anything to feel the blaze envelop me. Like they so did... “Wiping his tears he whispers. “You should have tooked me with them. I should have burned on that train with my family... That was my destiny instead I bare the mark of Cain." looking up at the sky as if expecting an answer. “Just sit up their laughing as you strip everything from my hands and fill this void with this damned bottle."
 As he continues to wipe the tears off his face, he gets to his feet zipping up his pants and is about start to walk along the mountain side. In his peripheral he's sees the shimmer behind him. Turning around he Picks up the bottle of whiskey and stops to eye ball the remaining two or three gulps. Looking at the bottle and he starts to rub the side as if where a lamp. “I wish to see my family" holding back the tears forming in the corner of his eyes. "You took everything from me so in return, I'll take all of you!"
 He takes a swig and starts walking along side of the cliff shouting obscenities. In his anguish he stumbles and trips upon a metal beam railing falling flat on his face. Instead of picking himself up, he reaches for the whiskey and goes to take an even bigger hit from the bottle. Franticly shaking the bottle to get out every drop out he chucks the empty bottle in the air. The bottle never breaking hits the ground skipping and flipping along the gravel. Below his feet wooden planks placed about a foot apart from one another lay in a row. Running up the side, adjacent to the planks, runs a solid steel beam. The drunk has no idea he has stumbled onto train tracks leading into a tunnel right through the mountain. He thinks he is walking down a hand railed stairwell leading to a basement. He walks on the tracks towards a tunnel, he loses his balance and reaches for non-existing handrails but the rails are too low to grab so he trips over a plank of wood and falls on his face once more.

“What...What kind of crap is this?" he cries as he lays out on the floor half conscious. Suddenly he starts to laugh the intensity grew as he was trying to get to his feet. He only manages to sit up facing the blackened tunnel ceiling as if it was a starless night sky. “What are you waiting for? Stop toying with me. If you want then come take me. I'm here..." a loud whistling sound comes charging through the tunnel growing louder each passing second. With a shaky voice and a sense of uncertainty he asks.
“Trumpets? Is that roar trumpets I hear? Is that you?" as the ground starts to tremble the sound grows immensely; numbing all senses. Then, a bright light comes ripping through the darkness like a bullet through midair. The light striking his glossy eyes blinds him. The ground rumbles violently as the whistling sound becomes deafening. He chuckles and spreads his arms wide open and says “You finally answered my prayers." he closes his eyes, and black was the last thing he saw.


Long poem by Elaine George | Details |

Tea and Poetry in the Ides of March - PART THREE

Again the alarm is set.

Strawberries, date squares…Yum, Yum.   

The alarm rings again. The tea party is over.

 She returns to her perch where her wings are immediately clipped by the Bald Eagle who informs her that a bird doesn’t chirp when her poem is being critiqued, that a bird just listens. 

“I didn’t know this was a critiquing session,” she chirps.
I thought it was an afternoon of poetry reading. 

“Bring two poems”, is all that the Raven requested.
 
God! What does she know about critiquing? Everything she knows about poetry, she has learned from a website. She still hasn’t really grasped the meaning of Iambic Tetrameter. 

The scar beneath her ring, feels as if it might explode as what remains of her Revlon mask begins to melt under the heat of her humiliation.

God! Please don’t let them see I am a fraud, she prays, as she desperately tries in vain to regain their acceptance, as if there was any in the first place; her being such a sparrow.

The Bald Eagle twitters a poem about her battle with cancer, which brings her to tears. Again, she dares to dream she can be one of this flock as she too is a cancer survivor. It is decided the Bald Eagle’s poem needs punctuation.

Again, still daring to dream of acceptance, she chirps that most of her poetry is also written with very little or no punctuation.

“Well,” the Raven caws, “your poem in comparison is child’s play,” and with those words, breaks the strings of her ‘Violin’. 

***

As the afternoon wears on, the Crow caws for her to be quiet as she can’t hear. Visions of Vultures begin to fly in her head.

Later the old Crow caws that the bird she is addressing as a Blue Bird is not a Bluebird and that the only Bluebird is the Raven’s wife and that the bird she is addressing is a Turkey.

Even, while responding to something the Turkey has chirped to her, the Turkey gobbles for her to be quiet because the Crow is cawing.  

The scar beneath her ring now feels like it is splitting apart. Again, all she can see is red. The Vultures are circling now.
 
Her second poem, ’The Rise and fall of An Empire, is received with little pecking, other than ‘Well it’s poetic.’ 

The Raven caws, “If he were to be cruel, he would say it contains a cliché,” (a cardinal sin in poetry) as he caws an excerpt from her poem (as the sea grasses sing).  
 
The Turkey, demurely and with a gobble of sarcasm, inquires if everything she writes is in rhyme, as she casts a disdainful glance at her book of poetry.

At 4 p.m., when the final alarm has gone off, the Turkey announces that the next meeting will be at her Nest. 

 The Raven caws, “The sparrow doesn’t know where you live.”

 The Turkey then asks her for her email address, but doesn’t write it down and gobbles she will email her, her address before the next meeting. 

“Don’t hold your breath,” cackles the Sparrow’s little voice inside.

The Turkey then drops a book on the coffee table. 

Still foolishly seeking acceptance, the Sparrow chirps, “Is that your book of poetry?” 

 “No, it is ‘Descant’, and I have a poem published in this edition,” she gobbles.

“Yes!” the Crane pipes up. “It’s the only book that REALLY matters, the BOOK that all birds want to be published in,” ruffling her feathers with her innuendo. What? The pitiful Sparrow doesn’t even know what Descant is, she with her self-published book of poetry.

 Then the flock gathers together, chirping amongst themselves, and begin to fly away without a single chirp to her, like “Nice to have met you.” “Hope you will come to our next meeting.”

No!  They simply leave her there with her wings clipped and her veil removed, having been incinerated by their hot air. 

They leave her there with her Revlon mask melting like candle wax, sliding down her face, all their black barbs having finally penetrated her thin skin, exposing her for who she really is.

Not an intellect, not a fraud, just a Sparrow, now in the autumn of her life; a Sparrow who at the age of 16 dared to dream beautiful dreams while living in a nightmare. 

A Sparrow, who had many years ago seen an old broken violin in a junk shop and was so moved by its haunting beauty she was inspired to write a poem.

A Sparrow, who as a chick, with her brother, on a summer day, built an Empire made of sand, in a land where sea grasses sang—A Sparrow who knew why violins and willows weep.

A Sparrow who knew she would never be one of them. 

Yet she was grateful!

Grateful she had survived the Ides of March, and on this day was left wondering how something so ugly could have grown from something as beautiful as poetry. 
~~~


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

Summer Memories Summer Realities Thoughts about Part 1

Summer Memories
Summer Realities

This, the first day of summer, two thousand and two, finds me,
slipping back into what once was my desire, my need, my reality.
This step back into, and into times passed, has allowed me to touch,
to feel, to re-experience – for a moment, to a degree – my all time,
favorite sport – sunbathing. A sport I once played in all my glory
– my birthday suit – with such joy and total freedom,
beneath blue skies, high above the mighty meandering Grand
or alongside it’s river banks, silent winds, a breeze, rustling the leaves
of many shading trees, of many a cornstalk, a million blades of grass
beneath the heavens, beneath my feet, beneath my naked body,
golden brown laying in the noiseless sound of Mother Nature,
all Her, creatures, large and small, invisible, one and all,
except to the mind’s eye and ear, as the pleasures of hypnotizing music,
the sweet taste of mother grass, the glowing nectar of sparkling grape
that could take one on a journey, away from or into, dependent upon
the destination, the ticket you purchased would carry you.
For me, the journeys were upon the black leather of my red motor cycle,
upon the black leather of my black Bird of Thunder, her wings spread,
her top down, that great, platinum, glowing orb, hanging on high,
above this little  planet, wearing it’s great, bright blue shroud,
opened to expose the light shining down upon her nakedness,
showering down upon me, in mine, on our journeys through time,
through space, with his – Heloise’s – healing rays as I drive, as I ride
over, upon those black ribbons that wrap themselves around
Mother Earth and the back roads of southern Ontario, in the
Counties of Brant, of Wentworth, of Norfolk and others as well.
This is a sport I played – as I laid – from north to south,
from coast to coast, even, out into the ocean deep,
– on an island of coarse – on mountain tops, on sand dunes.
This sport I played, on the shores of all five Great Lakes,
on the beaches of Florida, of Mexico, of California,
of British Columbia, the last place, the last time I sported
my birthday suit in public before hanging it up
behind closed doors for more years than I care to remember.

Today, along with a few more that followed, during two weeks,
I took the opportunity, – covered of coarse, in my red and black loin cloth -
to lie beneath that burning orb in the deep blue sky and tried to recapture
the essence of those feelings, those desires of long ago and far away
- of what was and I still would like to be -, that will always remain
a part of my psyche, even though all the changes – no more noiseless sounds,
for they have been drowned out, polluted by screaming tires as they tear up
those black ribbons of death, as those combustion engines ( the driving force )
cry out in pain from friction as they pass by my horizontal frame looking for,
but hearing not, all that once was hearable, all that was beautiful in nature’s noise
–  that have left me longing for that time, left me as empty as a dried up lake.
A lone bird cry’s out it’s muffled song, a note or two where once was a chorus,
a full-fledged opera now reduced to a mumbling, meaningless sound,
a sound drowned out by the sounds of  traffic, traffic from our attempt
to escape our closed in, modern life style of constant motion.

Those sweet smells, clean and clear are lost by the cremation of decaying,
remains of once living organisms that inhabited this planet.
They are now – in death – permeating, with pollutants, the nostrils, the lungs,
the air Mother Earth and all upon her back, inhale.

The peace, once known, - in rivers flow, upon its banks, in Mother Natures flow,
on my motor cycle, in my black Bird – for this old man has almost evaporated.
The grass, the wine, the music, the camaraderie, the clean air, those silent sounds
have almost become extinct, fading into memories hoard, to be stored, forever more.
All that seems to be left - from the origins of these thoughts – is that silver orb,
still radiating down upon, but with more intensity and less glory and peace.
Only the music carries on as before, seems to remains the same,
at least to these ears, this heart, the old soul of this lone traveller.
Maybe the music has change ?, maybe for the better ?, maybe not ?
Could it be just perception ?, or has all lost its glory ?, its fire ?,
its passion ?, its glow ?, all I thought I did know in an earlier age.
Is it all in the mind of this old man ?, who still remembers that age,
the music, music still providing a refuge, companionship
and comfort during the hours, in the passing of time .


Long poem by Carrie Richards | Details |

MOCKINGBIRD - crown of sonnets

#1 "It is a sin to kill a Mockingbird. When playing games with rocks or guns, defray, them, please, ...shoot old tin cans!" "Whispered words of Mockingbirds, only heal wounds of the day" Virtues are cultivated, children are weeds, exploring a small southern town. Seeds, so rare, spread moral ivy, filling knotholes, threading trees, lining streets, during mad-dog summers. Scout, one sprout with solid roots, sifts wrong from right in spite of bull-headed pride. Stirring up dust, where resistance incites, although, brother, Jem, gently, grows more reserved. Scout, Jem, ...best bud, "Dill", are bronzed by summer's sky Moral's compass guides them home, as night returns #2 Moral's compass guides them home, as night returns yet challenged, the precocious child making assumptions. Folks would confound her! Some people were an oddity and quite beguiling Summer would sigh with ceiling fans, softly purring, people napping, long afternoons. Wilted yawns of a lethargic town, might seem undisturbed, with complacency, behind pruned shrubs, tall grass, mowed. Yet stilted air, would suffocate, with racial slurs and secret hate. Some hid by day, and spending their nights in masquerade, while crosses burned. We'd see a face, pretentious smile, falsely blend Integrity, at bitter cost, split wide the seams in 1930. Civil rights were just a dream #3 In 1930, civil rights were just a dream, and motherless children were coming of age. Bare feet were swift. Bandaged knees and hands unclean, would slam old screen doors, to seek lemonade. A ghost, they feared, in the raw sided house, watched close. A tree in his yard, hid treasures he stashed. The three Musketeers, upon discovering, shout! Armed by bravado, they are ready to dash. Putting yourself into another man's shoes, is a lesson, soon learned by Scout and Jem. They've faced their fear, and will make a friend. "Boo", the 'phantom', a new best friend left trinkets and gems. Kindness learned, role model intact, was Atticus Finch. A measure of integrity, inch by inch. #4 A measure of integrity, inch by inch, advocate for those who won't stand a chance. Folks down on their luck, where dollars won't stretch in a depression full blown. Money is scant. Fighting for the underdog, who have no paycheck. What's right is right. What's wrong, is wrong. Someone must stand at the end of the day, where flies fill a courtroom and tempers grow stronger. Regardless of skin, be it black, be it white Unfit, by standards of talcum shaved chins, if injustice is war, he'll give his lot. The falsely accused, he'll defend, to the end Those who wallow in mud, eventually sling lies when honor goes to hell, and folks sit idle #5 When honor goes to hell, and folks sit idle, false accusations can simmer, slowly inciting bigoted people, into mobs, spewing cries of hate. Screaming "rape" into the night. Ignorance and prejudice, are all of one stuff with corn-likker sauce and gravy mentality, amphibian worms, as if from a trough, gorging on mania. They covet brutality. Led by Bob Ewell, with arrogance oozing. Clan- fed, tantrums squirming out of control. Small minded men, choosing squalor, alluding the truth. Some would sell their mother's soul. They have lied on the stand, where justice treaded thin. Where white man's word, over a black, always wins. #6 Where a white man's word, over black, always wins, was a rule of the thumb, during those years... The innocent man, Tom, shackled, condemned, taken away and waits to die, and endure With Indian summer, waxing and waning, Atticus chooses the simplest words. His children need, wisdom, and calm understanding, in trying to explain, that most men are good. He tells them, gently, how someone so crude, even Bob Ewell, no matter how evil perhaps in his life, was misunderstood. The hellish of summers begins to unravel. But another ill wind, would brew up a storm, to bring more than a flurry, into their home. #7 To bring more than a flurry into their home, burnt embers of color, drift down, red and yellow. Carved pumpkins, and a grieving autumn, looms in the night. Roaches encroach, deep in the shadows As Scout rushes homeward, behind her on the trail, a whiskey-breath nightmare, with evil intentions Then, someone appears! Halts this devil,...,Ewell is not immortal! .....as we come to conclusion. A guardian presence, waiting to rally has kept a vigil, guarding children who run, swiftly through thickets. Lonely Boo Radley, appeared like an angel, a bird seeking the sun So pure of heart, and a thing so rare It is a sin to kill a mockingbird
2/17/14


Long poem by Christine Phillips | Details |

Souls On Fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Long Poems