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Read Poems by Terry O'Leary

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Below are poems written by poet Terry O'leary. Click the Next or Previous links below the poem to navigate between poems. Remember, Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth. Thank you.

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Shut-Down City

On sidewalk, wet with blood and sweat (a street with no address), 
there lay a man, killed by the Man and left to evanesce.
The Man, then strode along the road and smiled at his success
and, cavalier, he bought a beer, sat down to decompress.

A life was gone, but day wore on, the sun awash in heat -
the riddled head no longer bled, concealed beneath a sheet,
and passers-by began to cry, were sobbing indiscreet,
while holy bells in distant hells began to moan and bleat.

In heaven's eyes, no one denies, due process is decreed,
but down below, where burdens flow, it rarely can succeed
and certainly not for those distraught, benighted in their need,
so Men in blue (you know the crew) thought nothing of the deed.

Though just eighteen, a little green (but still his mama's son),
was loved by all, but left to sprawl in webs of hate, undone -
the youth was shot and left to rot, but never held a gun,
so people cried and wondered why'd the evil deed been done.

The sheriff said "forget the dead, his crime was black as slate" 
and in the rush to hush and shush, he claimed "I'll tell you straight,
that boy, today, was on his way, to rendezvous with fate,
so  now you know - I gotta go, it's gettin' kinda late".

Not satisfied with those who'd lied, some took to fill the streets
with peaceful cries beneath black skies, were paid with clubbed retreats
and gas cascades and stun grenades and nights in jailhouse suites -
though curfew's on from dusk till dawn, each night this scene repeats.

With exits barred, in comes the Guard to rumble and repress -
still, people stray both night and day in search of some redress.
The city's scarred, the houses charred, the locals in distress -
with cut or bruise, they still refuse to kneel or acquiesce.

So choppers fly above the sky with whirling, twirling blades
and drones in flight within the night now search for renegades.
Within the shards of tarot cards, perceive the masquerades -
the counterparts of diamonds, hearts, are never clubs or spades.

Now all the Pols are making calls and acting out charades -
they're shouting loud within the crowd, and marching in parades,
but underneath, where lies a wreath, the hope for justice fades
yet freedom waits behind the gates, behind the barricades.

25 Aug 2014


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  1. Date: 8/29/2014 7:04:00 PM

    Very well written, Terry; you gave us all a gripping picture of your perspective. Congratulations.
  1. Date: 8/29/2014 7:00:00 PM

    I'm not always a fan of rhyme, but when it's done as well as this I really appreciate it, and not only end rhyme but internal rhyme, too! it's an impressive, hard hitting poem, with great flow - congrats on your win in my contest :)
  1. Date: 8/29/2014 6:37:00 PM

    Dear Nette.....what an intense poem, dark with description. I do believe you could write a novel.......but somehow this is so true to life, I can't help but wonder if it is based on a true event? You took us there! Well done!
  1. Date: 8/25/2014 8:33:00 PM

    a brilliant poem, terry, with some killer internal rhyme. i am truly impressed by your skills as evidenced in this really amazing piece of writing...
  1. Date: 8/25/2014 9:53:00 AM

    Awesome, very awesome tribute to that young man! What I do not get...and I really don't get it...why not just shoot to stop the man, why shoot to kill? Surely, if they had only shot him in the leg it would have stopped him, and he could have lived another day. I don't get it. Hugs, catie :)
  1. Date: 8/25/2014 9:53:00 AM

    This is very powerful and very well written. You have a very good sense of quality rhyme, and an excellent presentation for your message. Very nice. Jim