Below are the all-time best Roy Jerden poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members
Coral life forms in myriad swarms
Feast in the Cambrian chyme
Dividing their cells and forming their shells
To end on the sea floor as lime
Tectonic churning and magma upturning
Renders marble whiter than bone
The marble is mined, but the cutters are blind
To the angel confined in the stone
A young sculptor arose, with a bend in his nose
And a transcendent creative spark
Charged with ambition to fulfill a commission
An angel for St. Dominc's Ark
An artist sublime who will live for all time
His genius is to see things not shown
For an angel to achieve he first has to perceive
Its splendor enclosed in the stone
At dawning's first glow he surveys the tableau
Of the blocks the stone cutters supplied
In some he sees dreams of potential themes
But only one traps an angel inside
“A beautiful thing never gives so much pain
As does failing to hear it and see it.”
The block that he chose was rejected by those
Who then lied and claimed to foresee it
With talent and skill he falls to with a will
Surrounded by rubble and relic
His method you see, for the angel to free
Is to remove all the bits not angelic
Michelangelo’s art for all time stands apart
But there's something further to heed
For there's a bit more to the fine metaphor
In the tale of the angel he freed
“A beautiful thing never gives so much pain
As does failing to hear it and see it.”
For in all our insides a bright angel abides
And is just waiting for something to free it
To remove all the parts which harden our hearts
And chip out the darkness and pride
To smooth the rough patches and polish the scratches
And unshackle the angel inside
Many eons passed on Earth, who only saw your face
Untouched your virgin body, floating there in space
Waxing, waning, gibbous, crescent, quarter, full and new
Selene the Greeks would call you; Diana, Caesar knew
Who would brave the ether, who would cross the void
To agitate the tranquil sea you had so long enjoyed
To softly kiss your ravaged face and return to tell the tale
Of Luna's hidden secrets beneath her powdered veil?
Three heroes took the final quest aboard their fiery steed
In Apollo's silver chariot proceeding with godspeed
Three days and nights they voyaged to their opalescent goal
On Earth they watched and worried in the halls of ground control
One held the craft outside the reach of Luna's jealous grip
While Eagle's talons cradled two who risked the final trip
They timidly approached her through the shadowy abyss
Luna waited patiently and received the Eagle's kiss
Nations watched and cheered on Terra's distant shore
As one man finally took a step no one ever took before
In our hearts and in our minds his words will be enshrined
"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
Click "About this poem" above the title to see the notes.
T'were the night after Christmas, 'n' the house wuz all dark
Not much money for 'lectric in the ol' trailer park
Ma waitin' tables at the club on the base
Just me and my sisters alone in the place
A big ol' blue norther, t'were a hard winter storm
We's all snuggled up close, jist tryin' ta stay warm
The trailer's as cold as a well digger's ass
Cause they come out that mornin' and turnt off the gas
I shore kinda hated to git out of that bed
But ol' Mother Nature made me git up, instead
I'd gotta go out if I wanted a leak
'Cause the toilet had bin all plugged up fer a week
Outside it 'peered warmer, which wuz a suprise
As I peed on the tree, sumpin lit up the skies
Them lights shined down on the yard, and I froze
Shore prayed it warn't one of them weird UFO's
As I stood thar turnin' round and around
There wuz white stuff fallin' and coatin' the ground
I grabbed a big buncha it up in my mitts
I thunk it wuz snow, but turnt out it were grits
I heered a big motor runnin' up overhead
And down come a monster truck painted all red
It bounced on the front 'n' bounced on the back
Then the driver clumb down 'n' grabbed a tow sack
He wuz white-haired 'n' husky, with red overalls
With ZZ Top whiskers 'n' blood-shot eyeballs
A red John Deere work cap wuz perched on his nut
And a WalMart white T-shirt half-covered his gut
He look like he just come off'n the farm
'Cept fer them tattoos of elves on his arm
As I stood around there jist like a complete dick
He sez, “Boy ain't you gonna say crap to St. Nick?”
“Yes siree Bob”, sez I, “I got sumpin to say.
I'd shore like ta know where you wuz yesterday.
The toilet's stopped up and we's all out of heat.
Ain't got no money and they's nuthin' to eat.”
“I wuz fixin' ta make it on time”, he then said.
He look kinda sheepish, and hung down his head.
“But I stopped at a bar when I finished my rounds.
And run inna St. Paddy at the Hare 'n' the Hounds."
"Ya know that he's the very best pal of St. Nick.
But there's none who can put 'em away like that Mick.
And the next thing ya know, we's over at Chances
Where that Tooth Fairy is doin' ten-dollar lap dances.”
“The Tooth Fairy a stripper? That done give me the chills!”
“Yessir”, sez he, “Where ya think she gits all them bills?”
“Jist a minute”, I goes. “Where's the reindeer and sleigh?”
He turnt even redder, and then looked away.
“Well, we had a poker game goin', I thunk I would win.
I wuz holdin' four aces and bet everthang in.”
There was a palpable silence, a terrible hush.
“Then that damn Easter Bunny laid down a straight flush.”
“Well, I cut cards with a redneck and won me that truck
But as for the reindeer, they wuz squat outta luck
They throwed a big barbeque, and cooked 'em up slow
But I must say them reindeer's good eatin', ya know?”
No Dasher, no Dancer, no Prancer and Vixen!
No Comet, no Cupid, no Donner and Blitzen!
For hung on that red-painted monster truck's nose
Wuz eight pairs of antlers, lined up in two rows.
“Anyway, I brung vittles for you and the girls.”
And out of the sack pulled six freshly skint squirrels.
“I jist bagged 'em thar in yer neighbor's back yard
Fry 'em up well, boy, with plenty of lard.”
I goes, “Them squirrels is rilly fine eatin' fer shore,
But ta git past tomorrow, we's gonna need more.”
Sez he,“Well, I's a bit short on cash fer today.”
And he give me six lottery numbers to play.
Then up drives my ma with bad blood in her eye
Draws out her six-shooter, jist primed to let fly.
Then lowers her arm down and commences to bawl
Sez, “I love you, you bastard, you tol' me you'd call!”
He sez, “Boy, looks like it's not healthy to linger
Sticks out his mitt 'n' commands “Just pull on my finger.
The truck is fer you, son. I bid ya goodnight.”
And on a column of wind, he plumb riz out of sight.
I feels fevered and flushed as I stands there in awe
And I reckons this redneck St. Nick wuz my paw.
A voice far-off hollers, “Merry Christmas, now, y'all!
Then adds, “Don't fret none baby, jist wait fer my call!”
December 19, 2013
They hung around the beer joint with the finest Western wear
With thumbs tucked in their belt loops and such a studly air
But those boots weren't made for stirrups and were polished to a sheen
And on those fancy cowboy hats not a sweat stain could be seen
You could be sure they hadn't spent much time around a branding pot
For the only brands they recognized were ones on stuff they bought
And if they ever passed the time just musing 'bout their spread
I'd be the one around their middle or the one they put on bread
Just a bunch of blowhard braggarts in a cowboy masquerade
But they had the biggest pickup trucks that Detroit ever made
The beds were big and beautiful without a scratch or scuff inside
'Cause the only thing they hauled around was a horse's big backside
As they stood around outside the joint, in a smart-ass state of mind
In pulled an ancient pickup with an old horse trailer hitched behind
The truck an old green Chevy, year 'bout nineteen sixty-nine
With two high wooden sideboards and hay bales bound with twine
Out stepped a skinny hombre, with steel-blue eyes and bandy legs
But he had a rippling six-pack while all the boozers sported kegs
His cowboy hat was sweat-stained, high-heeled boots were dusty gray
He kicked off a chunk of cow pie, then he grabbed a bale of hay
He was mighty parched and dusty, but he wouldn't quench his thirst
'Cause you're not an honest cowboy unless you water horses first
The pack of fools gave out a hoot, yelled "Hey there, Texas Pete!
Get yourself a man-sized truck and take that geezer off the street!"
As he finished with the horses, up walked two ladies smokin' hot
The cowboy promptly doffed his hat, while the posers there did not
The cowboy got a long admiring look and the rounders just a sneer
As the sham was so apparent when a real cowboy was near
They flashed the dusty cowboy a big ol' smile 'bout ten miles wide
Said "Honey, would a gent like you care to escort us gals inside?"
He winked, then gave the trucks a look and spat a stream of juice
Said, "Boys, y'all's might be bigger, but mine gets a sight more use."
What is a dream if not reality's conceit
What is reality if not a shadowy deceit?
The circle of reality was unsealed when we were born
But dream-time filled our lives from night to early morn
The circle got ever wider in our youthful days of yore
With unbounded dreams of glory on some far distant shore
But then the circle tightens when our days near to a close
Dreams replace ambitions as one's mortal body slows
So we shall write our dreams in poetry hence when we disappear
We'll leave our mark in some small way to show that we were here
And in some far off time we dream someone will read our verse
And a dream that was a part of us will shake the universe
Crash! Bang! Poof! The angry leaves assault my roof
My canine friend turns end to end, and cries out with a woof
I grab my rake and take a break, enjoying autumn's show
No haste to battle Zephyr's breath, with such a fine tableau
Then a pause and silence falls, and time slows to a crawl
Molecules of red and gold in fractal loops enthrall
Leafy fingers stroke my brow, a delicate caress
Cares and worries leave my mind and harried thoughts regress
A second seems forever as I'm lost in reverie
A timeless crystal moment of deep serenity
Then I stir, my eyes unblur and I roll up my sleeves
I put my mind in focus, and begin to rake the leaves
See "About this poem" above title for the notes.
They used the land
they sucked it dry.
They used the rivers
they were sewers.
And the people
believed their myths
and the preacher's myths
and trusted them
and followed orders
and saluted the flag
and died in their wars
and adored the fools
they told them to like.
And life was good.
For a while.
And when the problems
came they hated those
who spoke the truth
and blamed the poor
and helpless ones
and the ones
and glorified the rich
and powerful ones.
And they wanted
And then the
ones who owned
and smart people
and all the fruits
of their labor
But the hate
and the violence
and the racism
and the intolerance
and the ignorance
and the poverty
and the hunger
For a while.
Inspired mostly by "The Genius of the Crowd" by Charles Bukowski
I had to repost this poem as I was unable to make any edits and PoetrySoup
did not address the issue. Previous comments lost. Sorry.
In twilight, old songs thou'rt softly humming
Silken smiles paint tender thy lovely face
Beguiling my present still, becoming
In everything, to show thy outward grace
Deep thine eyes, beheld above the stillness
Thy mystic stance, dismissing every voice
Soft touches known in sadness and in illness
In bounty cherished thou didst make the choice
Sway, thy gaze and honeyed scent of passion
And poise, anticipating kiss conceived
Shall return my longing, in thy fashion
And make my life ten times a joy perceived
Great grows my love to see thy moves entrance
And weave with songs of old the siren's dance
January 23, 2014
A hot redhead there was from Bordeaux
Did she have the red fire down below?
When she let her skirt gape
And the rug matched the drape
It set thirty-five Frenchmen aglow
archy - cockroach reincarnate
from a free verse poet no less
now saw life from the underside
and had to get his thoughts to press
he sneaked onto a writer's desk
at a newspaper late at night
way back in the nineteen-hundreds
it was the finest place to write
the typewriter was set to go
with a sheet all lined up nice
now he just had to find a way
to operate the damn device
unpossessed of hands or fingers
he was suddenly filled with dread
to overcome this handicap
he'd really have to use his head
archy scaled the massive framework
and dived head down with mighty force
the impact and his weight sufficed
barely to type one key of course
no way he could use the shift key
punctuation was not worthwhile
he'd have to use just lowercase
and write in e e cummings style
time and time again he nose-dived
and pounded out a line complete
and then pushed back on the carriage
until it made that ding so sweet
it seemed labor sisyphean
but at last his verse was done
and then he collapsed exhausted
just at the rising of the sun
his column made the daily paper
and many others after that
thanks to his sponsor don marquis
and friend mehitabel the cat
so if you like philosophy
and wry wit that knocks you dead
you should read the verse of archy
a poet who used his head
April 18, 2013
Some of my favorite books as a teenager
were the collections of Archy's articles
penned by Don Marquis from 1916-1936.
These stories were originally illustrated
by George Herriman, the creator of Krazy Kat.
One of my favorites was "the lesson of the moth"
a nice bit of existentialism, I think...
See "About this poem" above the title for additional notes.