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The Gardener: A Soft Slam With Flowers

Fillet rhyme’s flesh (except for two remaining
mnemonic muscles)

to see if my skeletons can stand under their own duress
without leaning on gangsterisms and a pocket full of shells.

I have folded the katana four thousand times within my mind—
unsheathed from my eyes, it rides brainwaves,

mulching detritus into fertilizer 
for the seeds I plant in the ruins of your violence.

With every shot you fire,
I plant a flower in the casing, adding more photosynthesis
to turn your smog back into oxygen.

Your "just kidding" is a boomerang-bullet,
its true intentions covered in paint 
that was "Made in China"—

as it flies back ‘round towards your maw,
the paint peels off, and your "just kidding"
comes skidding to a halt (there’s the remaining
mnemonic muscle).

More and more people see your intent beneath the surface,


and you are left in the echo-reverb of your boomerang ballistics,
continuously shooting yourself, 
blaming others for pulling the hair-trigger,

until your words drain-out so badly,
the supposed life-force in your syllables
is a bluff floating on the fear of those who are too weak
to pull the intravenous filled with your "just kidding"

June 6th, 2015


Copyright © Chris D. Aechtner


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  1. Date: 7/13/2015 11:50:00 AM

    woooow ....still trying to think past the woooow. You cannot follow a spiteful word, or poem, with "just kidding." Once you have fired a gun you cannot take back the shot. Good one you! :)
  1. Date: 6/15/2015 9:38:00 AM

    I second you Keith, and I hope that it is directed to my poem "Say What You Think," because that was written for the "South Pacific Week" here in Canberra, Australia...Best, Ligella
  1. Date: 6/13/2015 2:13:00 AM

    Some crafty lines! Lately people have been slamming. It just make you think who's the target. Good One!
  1. Date: 6/12/2015 12:19:00 PM

    Hmm . . . this reminds me of that line you used once . . . I forget the exact wording . . . do you remember? Something about the softest petals . . . and he hardest blow . . . sort of had the same feeling when I read this . . . reverberation. It is the strangest feeling to be out in a place where it is so open that there is no reverb . . . and no "made in china" . . . no stray or ricocheting bullets . . . and no "just kidding".
  1. Date: 6/12/2015 6:09:00 AM

    Even flowers can become deadly and like all the troubles in the world keep coming back,,love this chris, your poetry today reminds me of the seed you planted when i read your first posted here on soup, poetry that just keeps on maturing. yet the message remains the same...
  1. Date: 6/11/2015 9:55:00 AM

    Chris.. Loved your point and your poem, nice to see it featured as POTD!
  1. Date: 6/8/2015 3:00:00 AM

    - Arthur, congratulations on your p.o.t.d. a 7 from me :) - hugs // Anne-Lise :)
  1. Date: 6/7/2015 10:50:00 PM

    Congratulations on your POTD, Chris. You've made a statement, and it reverberates in these hallowed halls.
  1. Date: 6/7/2015 5:17:00 PM

    Chris, congratulations on Poem Of The Day
  1. Date: 6/7/2015 5:06:00 PM

    Congratulations on the P.O.T.D Chris, wonderful write.
  1. Date: 6/7/2015 1:23:00 PM

    They come at you with the back handed compliment or the slight slam and try to push it off being funny...excellent subtle slam to those on their high horse...and congratulations on being featured today Chris.
  1. Date: 6/7/2015 11:35:00 AM

    Wonderful write, congratulations on Poem of the Day.
  1. Date: 6/7/2015 6:22:00 AM

    Congratulations ...Poem of the Day.....
  1. Date: 6/7/2015 5:56:00 AM

    The pain of "just kidding". People who say that and then when you feel bad add insult to injury, "You're too sensitive." I just say it as it is....Feeling down. Just...great poem. You really pulled it off well. Imaginative. The kind of stuff that Cyndi writes about, and I can never pull off. Good write.
  1. Date: 6/6/2015 5:28:00 PM

    Cont - I love the message in your poem , Let us be who we truly are, no more,no less. A favourite! : )
  1. Date: 6/6/2015 5:27:00 PM

    'Its true intentions covered with a paint that was made in China '..I do love this line, I do believe that such paint easily peels off, another line that I like is 'the brave have stopped kissing your back bacon '. So much to munch upon here. Chris this says so much about people who were a mask that represents whom they are not,I do believe, that in the end the bad will be proven bad,and there will always be enough oxygen for soft flowers to flourish again in soils that are rich in truth.
  1. Date: 6/6/2015 4:35:00 PM

    I think this is a brilliantly written poem, Chris! The imaginative way you describe a "toxic" person that uses the phrase "just kidding" is superb. A 7 from me :)