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Long Poems
Long poem by Teppo Gren | Details

BIO T J GREN PROLOGUE no escape

PROLOGUE
May 1979, Mount Druitt, Sydney, Australia

I was kneeling on the bathroom floor with my head over the toilet bowl. I felt sick. I felt nauseous, but instead of vomit, the only thing that came up was a white mixture of stomach acids combined with dis-solved pills. I felt terrible. The physical discomfort however was nothing compared to the mental hango-ver combined with the emotional state of despair I was feeling. It was only due to the mere fact that the pills I had taken the previous night were not strong enough that I was still alive. I had been a fool to think that heavy drinking combined with a large dose of headache pills would do the trick. It required something stronger, but due to my ignorance I had not acquired any sleeping pills or other stronger med-icine. I kept the stash of headache pills with me only for the purpose of taking them when the time be-came right: when the pain of living my life without love would become unbearable. They would be used to end the misery.

That time had come last night. Now I was feeling the after effects of the failed attempt. I felt worse than I had felt last night; worse than I had ever felt. The reason for this was not the physical distress, nor the mental hangover. It was much worse. After making a serious attempt to take my life, I now realized that I could never do it. The realization made me feel trapped. The only escape I had to get relief from the pain I was feeling was now gone. I was in a dead end trapped and surrounded by massive, dark walls of my mind. There was nowhere to escape. The only future I could see for myself was to continue living with the feeling of loneliness, misery and unworthiness. I had already experienced the torment of despair long enough to know how wretched it felt. And now that was the only future I could see for myself.

I was 23 years old and I was ready to end my life. During the last three years my emotional life had drifted into total turmoil and I was unable to change the course. I didn’t have the one thing I so longed in life: love. Why was it so difficult to find love? Why did I always find myself falling so deeply in love only to be rejected? The more I loved the greater would be the disenchantment and pain.

The continuous unfulfilled yearning for someone to love had taken its toll. It had not only shattered my heart, but it had also crumbled my self-esteem. Without love I felt I had nothing. It had become a fixa-tion: a desperate need without reality. The hopeless devotion had overpowered any sense of sanity caus-ing irrational actions which would only complicate the already unstable behavior: all because of love. What remained was a desolate, lonely solitude within my head: total despair with no escape. How to go forward without hope? How to go forward when nothing else mattered? The future looked dark, if not pitch black. That was the state I was in now, and the only direction I could take was the darkness which surrounded me.

The Olivia Newton-John song “Hopelessly Devoted to You” with words so fitting to describe the thoughts in my mind kept running in my head. This had been my favorite song and my song for her;

	Guess mine is not the first heart broken
	my eyes are not the first to cry
	I’m not the first to know
	there’s just no getting over you

But now there’s nowhere to hide
	since you pushed my love aside
	I’m not in my head
	Hopelessly devoted to you
	Hopelessly devoted to you
	Hopelessly ………

My heart was not broken for the first time. It had been broken many times, be as it may that I was to blame each time for setting myself up for the disappointment. Being an eternal optimist and a romantic soul, with even a glimmer of hope of finding true love I had to pursue that dream. This time around the dream had been shattered and the yearning for her love was so intense that I saw no way of getting over her pushing my love aside. But I had nowhere to go. I knew I no longer had a way out. I was trapped in my head. Hopelessly devoted to her: with no chance to possess her love. Hopelessly devoted and feeling hopelessly lost: hopeless, worthless, undeserving, and unwanted.

Love: such a simple word, such a strong feeling. But why was it so difficult for some? Why did love not come my way? Looking around me I saw loved ones getting together: feeling togetherness, bliss, and happiness. Why not for me? Love: such a powerful sentiment. The power to make or break: fulfill or leave empty: cries of happiness or tears of sadness. Looking around me I saw young love: the excite-ment, the hopefulness, the purity. Why not for me? Love: such a passionate emotion: togetherness or loneliness: acceptance or rejection: tenderness or pain: being loved or left hurting. Looking around me I saw love. Why did I get to experience only the downside of love: loneliness, rejection, pain, heartache, tears?

How did everything go so wrong? How did I mess everything up so completely that I ended up in this state of despair? Everything had been so easy and simple when I was a child, and even the years of my early adolescence went without apparent aberration. The answers lay down deep within my mind. A happy childhood didn’t guarantee a happy life fulfilled with love. Every action has its consequences. We sow the seeds of our future with the actions we take as the actions we take are echoed in our future. It was due to the choices and actions I had made that I now found myself living in a feeling of hopeless-ness. I was the only one to blame. With the mixed state of mind which I was in on that May morning in 1979 little did I know that the continued stupid actions I would take, would make things a lot worse before they would start to get better. I was lost and I had to find myself. The road to finding peace of mind was rocky and long.

SONNET – NO ESCAPE

The freedom of life’s end without escape,
no place to elude the pain of despair.
So close was the notion of a black cape,
darkness to cover existence unfair.
The pain of love far more than life itself,
to bear in hapless sorrow of regret.
Lost in the false sense of my darkest self
tainted minds morbid reflection‘s beset.
Dejected self with mindless thoughts adrift;
no lease of life to feel the next morrow.
I was chosen to live by nature‘s gift
and find freedom from the fear of sorrow.
Restrained by realities painful wrath,
a search begins to find life’s righteous path.


T.J Grén

Copyright © Teppo Gren | Year Posted 2016

Long poem by Gerald Dillenbeck | Details

Revolutionary Story

They called their gang The ReVolutionaries,
my Father Sun and Mother Earth drew time with them,
but they often called themselves Yang and YinYin,
respectively and mutually respectful
yet privately erotic,
not so much politically and economically
where Yang could not fit in for rabid competition
and YinYin could not alone float
her dipolar WinWin health-care priority boat.

Where was I in my Creation Geneology,
YinYin?

Once again
you did not get past much of a preliminary introduction,
without me,
Sugar Daddy Yang.

Oh yes,
Father Sun and Mother Earth
got together co-gravitationally,
first creating a nondual revolution
out of spacetime's co-arising
and revolving implied-fractal-seasoned syntax,
natural systemic order of healthy evolution,
as not-not pathologically dual-dark devolution,
probably too much Yin-recessive
in this Yang-dominant Creation Story.

Even so,
Father Sun with Mother Earth
revolved their bilateral health potential.
Then, next time you know,
here you are,
bangin around with too-dominant Left-brained Yang,
slippin' in some wise ol' tough love,
stirrin' up your Owl with your Moose Medicine
for stronger regenerative tissue issues,
still struggling between SunPowerLens
and EarthFlowLens,
primally RNA-balanced
informating regenerative health and therapy relationship
re-issues 
articulating as bicamerally climatic neural-temporal boundary tissue,
or is it the other way?

So confusing
all this time travel appositional and dialectical health language,
like RNA,
pointing toward your lovely
and always mindful
DiPolar EcoPresence as HereNow Time
in self-refining, reiteratively flowing,
spring of love's rich nutritional water and incarnate soil,
soul mating Heaven's fire warm photosynthetic
transformational
co-redemptively climaxing air
of sweeping surfing elating Time's Full ReGenerate Occupation,
living still within our TransParent Elders,
of which we each share equal DNA/RNA
neural-temporal 
regenerative-fractal Implicate-Concave Orders of rhythm and pattern and syntax,
folding and unfolding,
holonic-Holy Exegetical Syntax Scripture
teleologizing
enriching
enculturing
composting time's revolutionary health
through TransParent CoOperating Golden Rule
of Prime (0)-soul/soil, ego/eco, Interior/Exterior,
Fractal PolyCultural Relationship.

That's nice, Daddy Yang,
having said all that,
I'm wondering if I might add
that as I most kindly remember,
there are two sides to every Creation Story,
one is Ego's Yang Exterior Universal view,
while EcoOther YinYin echoes 
our Interior Landscape
nondual co-arising love for empathic capacity as rich nutritional experience,
co-elational syntax-voices of primal feeling and knowing
Yang/Yin is healthier as LoseSome BusinessAsUsual
to WinSome YinYin Tipping Point CoOperative Wisdom.

Yet even this wu wei PostMillennial TaoZen Bicameral Hybrid Story
is not the Fat Lady Death's Door final message you are fearing
within YinYin's WinWin EcoRevolutionary
0-soul Creation Story
of a bicamerally self-optimizing health and safety global network
with local cooperative poli-economic communication guilds,
nutrient 0-interest investment through implementation 
polycultural local ecosystemic-balancing glory,
cooperating our WinWin Mutual PolyEnculturation Story.

YinYin,
namaste for your generous and kind-natured
right-time reminder,
to win dialogical Solitaire,
not only does Yang Ego
think therefore I Win,
but nondual co-arising of Right-time's sequence
and dialect
syntaxed cards of Other
cooperatively win this balancing fractal 4 spacetimed
principle of steering co-gravitational positivity,
implied predelivery doctors and progenitors 
of ReGenetic-Health Optimization Time,
most sacred Positive BiCameral Psychology
of more humane natural ecosystems,
RNA-iconic as ionic,
CoMessianic Cross with Tao-Time Universal 
Black full-diastatic and dipolar synaptic 
absorbs WhiteNoise Aptic EcoPresent TransParentcy, 
and vice versa with reverse-temporal imaging ecoconscious
capacity.

We are both GooeyRight
and PricklyLeft
more truly balanced as positive/negative deviant equity seekers,
healthy optimizers
ecotherapeutic lovers of peace with ecojustice,
evolving an Ego/Eco Deductive/Inductive ConScience
of BiNomial (0)-Centric 4D spacetime
as our CoOperative Creation Story.

Group Theory's Zero-bilateral symmetrical
implied dipolar function as bilinear double-bound soul
could be RealTime expressed:
fold,
unfold,
refold,
pregenitive full-4 revolutionary closure Byte-Fold Balance,
inside-double-negative with outside double-boundaried
dynamically revolving,
waving-linear Tao-sign,
principle of thermodynamic balancing dipolarity.

PolyNomial ++ evolves WinWin equivalent
to LoseLose (--) NotNot PolyNomial 4D
spacetime prime 0-centric
Origin Point of Language and Scripture
toward future's (0)Mega Point Bicameral Creation Story
as EcoPresent Now,
our timeless invitation into full healthy love,
life as co-empathic bicameral love-positive,
restrained only by its absence,
cognitive-affective 
neural informating 
health/pathology-dissonance,
heading toward climatic long-term TransMillennial effects
of chronic stress,
sleep deprivation,
overly competitive ecosystems 
of all paradigmatic 
and polymorphic varieties,
and crappy nightmare 
claustrophobic 
death and dying dreams.

Yang space flows through YinYin Time's Light
as Time's syntaxed memory folds and unfolds,
refolds and prefolds revolutionary ecosystemic transitions,
emerging Full-PolyCultural
Diastatically Elational
Climaxing 
Beloved PolyPathic 
BiCameral Communicating
Interior Landscaped LoveNow-EcoTherapySpace.

Was that my Fat Lady
YinYin?

Now you know I am just right for you;
you're the one getting too hefty
for your own internal and external balancing capacity.

Maybe I need more exercise.

Maybe you need to get off me,
and help me paddle...
Did I say "paddle"?

Yes, love
I know,
you mean to flow your Revolution Creation Story
right through PostMillennial cooperative enculturation.








Copyright © Gerald Dillenbeck | Year Posted 2016

Long poem by Gerald Dillenbeck | Details

Fishy Science School of Geometric Arts

Math speaks through us
within us
of cognitive landscapes
imagined still and/or moving.

Primal metrics are rational and symmetrical,
good as true as straightforward,
complex creation story problems
unfolding with precise answers,
right as at least not not ecologically wrong,
ecopolitically suboptimal perhaps,
yet at least not full-blown subclimate of depressive pathology,
no irrational remainders of wasted paper and trees and days and decades remaining.

Tidy, if somewhat empty, 
zero-sum metric loving souls.

But scientists need to understand
how we climatically feel about these metric bicameral functions
of cognition's agape through terror
of dissonant irrationality,
exterior landscapes of joy with some considerable unknown as yet dismay,
empathically felt interior erotic-sensual trust 
fertilely opposing toxic hate of chaotic landscapes and lifespan dreams and meta-unphysical paradigms 
and ecological as ecopolitically correct global multicultural climates 
of and for not-so-much pathology.

This appears to become our bicameral fractal spiral
of three dimensional spatial landscapes
with one bilateral temporal summerish-mature  Yang climate
of ecoconscious 
Left/Right Balancing coredemptive polypathy,
bicamerally (0)-soul invested ecopolitical resonance, 
octave-crystal holonic harmonies of RNA/DNA Revolutionary EarthRights Solidarity, HistoriCultural ReWeaving, 
ReConnecting, 
ReLigioning, 
ReGenerating,
resolving,
revolving,
evolving rainblown spirals of metric scientific enlightenment.

Math erupts interior ecologic of healthy landscapes
while science is about exterior ecopolitics
evolving healthier climates
of polypathic Left/Right optimal-health comprehension.

This politics of science unveils economic health
cooperating,
perhaps even co-opting YangDominant capitalism,
co-operating ecologically positive climates,
regenerative 
of co-empathic trusting 
fully-democratically accessible 
co-messianic power
as opposed to decomposing pathologies of static distrust,
swelling toward LoseLose games and lack of passion displays,
climatic disempowerment of EarthTribe's Common Rights.

Politics of knowledge power,
both positive and negative,
relationships 
economically competitively ruined
unwilling to share and play Golden Rule through Ratio nice, 
static monoculturing, repressing, self-oppressing,
paranoid ecopolitical isolation,
stasis,
putrification,
petrification, terror, fear of future times,
anger about losses from potential regenerations past,
negative psychology shadowing Positive Psychology
becoming bicameral politics.

All of us infantile deep learning scientists
begin bilateral walking through nurturing climate landscapes.
Some learn to bicamerally struggle
with flying through days and most especially nights
of health v pathology regenerate/decomposing climates,
feelings of straightforwardly true
and too often not so much lifting off co-gravity's ground of becoming.
Few remember to swim erotically in our anciently sacred sea
of Agape's implicating bliss
ecoconscious self-governed kiss,
kicking and revolving not too hard to soften
old rememories of our ecologically graceful old school
for/of co-empathically trusting fish.

EcoPolitical Science as GraceFilling School for fish
begins far back before graceful bipedal walking,
on back to beginnings of wave-linear metric bilateral time
swimming radiantly Yang with Yin
prime relationally entrusting
incarnating dualdark Elder Yin's implicating procreation
born of Sun's Yang sperm
waving warming embryonic Earth 
regenerating healthy cooling information
of ecologically swimming bilateral identity,
revolving resonant light,
rainbow's metric timing.

Where Father Sun greets Earth's primal rain
there we scientifically engage
our Elder metric strains of harmony,
not merely cognitive-mechanistic predictability
of constant boring reiteration,
but profoundly politically embedded 
in organic love and lust networks
of continuously revolving life through death functions,
adding days to subtract nights,
multiplying families to divide 
empathic trusting schools of ecopolitical fish
swirling
spinning
spirals around and through coral boundary reefs,
reflecting ultra-violet resonance
of moon and star filtering almost light,
bounding heartbeat dreamy landscapes
and climates of septically bifurcating emptiness,
zero-centric ecopolitical scientists
still swimming toward bicamerally balancing identity.

The scientific life is not all full-swollen fertile summers,
not all hibernating depressive
repressive
monoculturing, isolated, hopeless winters of mistrusting discontent.
What co-arises in adolescent springs of life
will again co-gravitate in Elder's Harvest
about what all those regenerative days and decomposing dialectic nights
of summer's most Yangish WinWin outcomes
were all notnot about,
double-deductively as double-bind predicative, 
positive MEME-Yang as notnot negative MEME-Yin balancing,
LeftDominant as RightBrain EcoPolitical/EcoLogical Climate 
DNA-health-nurturing yet too-repressive, 
non-elite, nutritionally undervalued, 
yet healthwealth optimization regeneratively (0)-primal
Eulerian-spiral thermodynamic Prime Dipolarity 
(co-arising as co-gravitating, reverse-4D temporal) 
[as translated by Bucky Fuller's speed of light as geometric-fractal/fusion-holonic/sacred-prime (0)Core],
Perelman-bilateral function Prime Relationship unfolding Tipping Point Universal Optimization, 
[with 4 prime dimensions, Thurston, Group Theorists et. al.] 
TaoTime WuWei= MidWay WinWin Gaming Theory 
reiteratively profound enthymematic communication 
(bilateral cooperative prime-septic (0)-sum 
Positive=ReGenerative Health aptic-bicameral-internal-assumption 
[Julian Jaynes, BiCameral Ethological/Ecological Theory
of LeftBrain language-dominant 
teleology-logos-purpose-meaning 
as landscape/climate regenerative value],
reiteratively,
polynomially,
resonantly-harmonically eco-light,
polypathically bicamerally still speaking
health v pathologies of ecopolitical science.

Copyright © Gerald Dillenbeck | Year Posted 2016

Long poem by Gerald Dillenbeck | Details

Declaration of InterDependence

When in the Course of Earth’s climatic events, 
it becomes necessary for cultures to resolve political bands 
which have connected Her with human nature, 
and to assume among the powers of Earth, 
separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Earth’s Health entitle them, 
a deep respect for the opinions of others requires 
that we should declare the causes which impel us to this Declaration of Interdependence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, 
that all Earth’s Tribes are primally regenerative, 
that we are endowed by Elders with certain unalienable Rights,
that among these are Life as Love, 
Liberty from Terror and Liberty to Nurture, 
and the evolution of  CoOperative Health as Happiness.
That to secure these rights, 
Governments are instituted within and between Earth’s Tribes, 
deriving our just powers through therapeutic discernment of the governed, 
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of Healthy Life, 
Liberty, 
and CoOperative Happiness, 
it is the Right of Earth’s Tribes to alter or to abolish it, 
and to institute new Government, 
laying its cooperative foundation on such ecological principles 
and organizing its health-powers in such form 
and multicultural function, 
as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Health Safety and Loving Happiness. 

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that regenerative nutrient-systems long established 
should not be changed for light and transient causes; 
and accordingly all experience has shown, 
that human nature is more disposed to suffer, 
while evils are sufferable, 
than to right ourselves by evolving the self-governing functions 
to which we are more accustomed. 
But when a long train of anthrocentric abuses and usurpations of power 
used as a weapon, 
evinces a design to reduce multiculturally enriching outcomes 
under anthrocentric despotism, 
it is Earth’s right,
it is EarthTribe’s regenerate duty, 
to throw off such pathologies of government, 
and to provide new mentors and models for future health and security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these DNA/RNA Tribes; 
and such is now the necessity which constrains us 
to cooperatively reweave our former Competing Systems of Government. 

The history of the present nation-states is a history of repeated injuries 
and usurpations of cooperative governance powers, 
all having in direct object the establishment of mutual immunity 
and anthrocentric hubris. 

To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
We have refused Earth’s Assent to Love’s Natural Laws, 
the most wholesome and necessary for good multicultural outcomes.
We have discouraged governments from passing laws of immediate and pressing climatic importance.
We have refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of all Earth’s Tribes 
and EcoSystems, 
a right inestimable to them 
and formidable to tyrants only. 

We have dissolved entire species and healthy ecosystems repeatedly, 
opposing with manly firmness Earth’s matriotic rights of  healthy evolution.

We have refused WinWin ecotherapeutic orthopraxis for a long time, 
nation-states remaining in the mean time exposed to all the WinLose dangers 
of aggressive invasion from without, 
and terrorist convulsions within.

We have endeavoured to remove and destroy indigenous populations of these States; 
refusing to  encourage their healthy migrations, 
and appropriating Earth’s Commons through commodification.

We have affected to render the Military independent of WinWin therapeutic outcomes 
and competitively superior to Civil powers 
of active political and economic cooperation.

We have combined with other nations 
to subject ourselves to a jurisdiction foreign to Earth’s regenerative constitution, 
not acknowledging symbiotic processes 
of mutually subsidiary and complementary evolution.

We have not protected ourselves from punishment and defiance 
by deep learning rewards of empathic trust 
and healthy love of truths within nutritious beauty.

We have plundered our seas, 
ravaged our Coasts, 
burnt our habitats, 
and suboptimized the lives of our diverse nonverbal and marginalized residents.

We have supported domestic insurrections, 
terror, 
suffering, 
anger, 
fear,
hate amongst us.

A Princely Species 
whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, 
is unfit to be the ruler of Earth’s free Tribes.

Nor have we been wanting in petitioning our governors. 
We have reminded them of the circumstances of our co-arising emigration 
and settlement here on Earth. 
We have appealed to humane justice and empathic trust, 
and we have conjured them with the ties of our DNA/RNA kindred 
to disavow these usurpations, 
which would inevitably interrupt our connections and transactions. 
Many leaders are deaf to ecosystemic justice and consanguinity. 
We must, therefore, 
acquiesce in the necessity to hold governors, 
as we hold all creations, 
Potential Allies in Struggle, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, in General Earth Commons, 
Assembled Occupiers, 
appealing to the Supreme Judge of Earth’s Regenerative Health 
for the rectitude of our intentions, 
do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good Creations of Earth and Sun,
solemnly publish and declare, 
That these uniting national ecosystems are, 
and of Right ought to be Free and Interdependent States; 
Absolved from all Patriotic Allegiance to Matriotic Suppression, 
and all political and economic disconnection between human and nothuman natures 
is and ought to be totally dissolved; 
and as Free and Interdependent States, 
we have full Power to levy and conclude Peace, 
contract EcoAlliances, 
establish CoOperative Commerce, 
and to do all other Acts and Things which Interdependent States may of right do. 

And for the support of this Declaration, 
with a firm reliance on the protection of Earth’s Providence, 
we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, 
our Economic Fortunes and our sacred Political Honor.

Copyright © Gerald Dillenbeck | Year Posted 2016

Long poem by Gregory R Barden | Details

Of Winks and Wings - Part 2

     "Oh, indeed she was, young man ... I mean Greg. It IS Greg, if I recall correctly?"
     "Yes. Or you can call me True Friend if you like." I turned to him and smiled, and he returned it, though he kept staring ahead. I reached over and gave his arm a little bump, to accentuate the friendly intent of the comment.
     "She was a survivor," he said. "A NazI prison camp survivor. Lost all her family and friends to Hitler's SS, and though she was very young, she was strong and did her best to stay healthy while interred. It was only six months after her capture that the war ended, so she was freed by the allies and came here, via Ellis Island, at the age of eight. She didn't remember much about the camps ... that was a good thing, I imagine."
     "Yes, I'm sure it was," I added.
     He went on, "She loved to feed the birds and ducks, you see, because it reminded her of the little German girl who snuck food and soap to her at the camp. A little blond girl who helped her father, a baker, feed the soldiers at the camp ... she would collect scraps of food from the kitchen and soap, and sometimes even chocolate, and meet Grace every morning by the latrine. She would wait until Grace was alone and throw little bags over the fence, then wave and disappear. Grace never found out her name, but she remembered her face. She painted a picture of her some years ago - it still hangs in our kitchen."
     "Wow ... what an amazing story," I said. "Such hardship each day, fighting to just stay alive."
     "Yes," Clarence said. Then, much softer, "I get tired of fighting."
     "What's that?" I answered.
     "Oh, never mind that ... an old fool's ramblings." I let it go, but I knew I'd heard it correctly. "Anyway, that's why we came here, to remember that girl each day - the one that kept Grace alive - and to do her a bit of honor, in our little way."
     I waited to make sure he was finished, then said, "I think that's wonderful! Paying it forward, so-to-speak, and keeping the memory of that girl alive at the same time as helping God's creatures ... not enough of that these days, if you ask me."
     "Oh, there are still plenty of good folks around," he replied. "You just have to look a little closer, because the world is going by so quickly now."
     "That is so true!" I followed. "Everything is too fast for me," I added, "Too fast and too loud!" Just as a teenager passed us with a blaster on his shoulder, scaring the birds off temporarily. We both chuckled a bit at the timing. "I've always wished that I'd been born much sooner - in YOUR generation, for example."
     "Oh, no, you wouldn't have liked things back then, much too simple, and no cell phones!" He laughed at that, and I joined him, reaching in my pocket and flashing my iPhone at him, supporting his theory. "Besides," he added, "You'd be sitting here now wishing you weren't."
     "Wishing I wasn't what?" I queried.
     "Wishing you weren't." And his face went blank. I knew then what he'd meant by the comment.
     We sat in silence after that for a couple of minutes, letting the weight of his last sentence dissipate. That was the third thing he'd said to me that wasn't quite ... right, and I kept mulling those statements over, hoping they weren't as tragically motivated as I thought they were, but knowing otherwise, deep-down. I didn't want to think on that long, so I let it go.
     Some of the birds had come back by then, and I noticed that the ducks and geese had finally returned from the other side of the little island in the pond, (where their "house" was), and were headed our way. It didn't take them long to find out when someone was there to feed them, so the race was on, geese leading the way. The swans always stayed in the water, for the most part, but I had fed them to bursting earlier anyway, and I would save a little to take to them before I left as well.
     The geese and ducks reached the edge of the water below us and bolted up the little hill to where we were sitting on the bench.
     "You see that one, the duck with the little stripe on her leg?" Clarence asked.
     "Yes, I do!" I answered. "That's kind of odd, isn't it? A mallard with a striped leg?"
     "I've never seen another," Clarence replied, "And I've been feeding ducks for a lot of years!" He made a couple of clicking sounds with his tongue to emphasize the rarity of it. "That duck showed up the day after ...", and he hesitated as if wondering whether or not to finish, "Well, it was the day after Grace passed," he finally finished, though a bit more quietly.
     "Oh ... I'm very sorry to hear that," I responded. "My condolences."
     "Oh, don't give it no mind, but thank you anyway," He said. "It's been over two years now, and she was in a lot of pain, so it was a blessing, all-in-all."
     "Still, that doesn't make it any easier ... those holes never fill, do they?" I asked, again, more rhetorical than anything.
     "No, they sure-as-heck don't," Clarence said softly, "The pain of losing those we love never goes away ... well, not until WE do, anyway." Another long silence, then, very softly, almost under his breath, he added, "I've had enough pain now ... I'm ready."
     "What's that?" I said quietly, not wanting to push too hard.
     Another long silence, and then, so softly I almost couldn't hear, he said, "I'm ready ... Grace." And as he said this I noticed that he was staring straight ahead again, at that phantom he'd been focusing on earlier, when I arrived.
     Just then the ducks and geese, (AND pigeons), had reached us and were bustling around our feet, a couple pecking at our shoes in expectation. "Well, we'd better get to work, eh?" Clarence declared in a new, happier tone, and I concurred. So we set to feeding the birds and fowl and enjoyed the silence for a bit. A couple of cyclists rode past, scaring our winged friends away briefly, but they returned right away, food being the priority it was, especially that time of year.

Copyright © Gregory R Barden | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Teppo Gren | Details

BIO T J GREN part 04 30 Silent Cries

Ever since the half-hearted attempt to end my life at the February picnic I had thought that the incident had passed away quietly. Two incidents occurred in August of 1979 which made me realize this was not so.

In the middle of August the Dittmar’s held a birthday party with dozens of their Finnish friends attending: I included. It was a normal get together with drinking and people hav-ing a good time. I enjoyed being there in the company of my friends. Although I was still sad and de-pressed, I was no longer suicidal as the realization I had made in May would not change: I could never end my life. I tried my best to get along, and be part of the Finnish community again leaving the past behind me. But this evening I found out that I couldn’t leave the past behind me: it would haunt me forever.

During the latter stages of the evening a woman came up to me and said that she wanted to talk to me. I didn’t know her, so I wondered what she wanted to talk to me about. I soon found.
“You are the lad that tried to kill himself, aren’t you”, she asked.
“Yes”, I answered honestly.
She went on to explain that her husband had committed suicide. Initially I thought that this could be an interesting discussion. Perhaps she would understand me. But that was not what she wished to discuss. She started going on about what a selfish act suicide was. How cowardly it is.

I let her babble on how selfish and cowardly it was for what seemed like an eternity. I would’ve preferred to talk about my feelings and how to overcome my problems, my feeling of loneliness: feeling of being without love. Instead I was copping a mouthful on how weak I was. What a coward I was. How selfish I was. That didn’t boost my self-esteem. Had I not come to realize that I could not take my life, this outburst and condemnation would’ve triggered off another suicide attempt. Furthermore, I now realized that I was the talk of the community: I was known as the lad who tried to kill himself. That was an added burden to carry from now on. I was also surprised that not one single person would do anything to help me. Instead they condemned my actions, talked behind my back and treated me with total silence about the issue. God only knew what they thought of me. Noth-ing good I supposed.

Nobody understood what I was going through. Nobody understood that I was lonely: that I needed to be loved. I needed to be cared about. Instead, I was left alone in my loneliness to work everything out on my own. That only resulted in a deeper feeling of not only being lonely, but also being alone: alone to solve my problems and find myself. How was that possible when I was lost? I didn’t need a talking to. I didn’t need a lecture. I didn’t need to be told how selfish and weak I was. I didn’t need to be con-demned. What I needed was TLC: tender loving care. To be loved: to be shown that I was worthy of love.

The second incident took place only a couple of weeks later. I had thought that since my parents never said anything to me about the picnic incident that they in fact did not know. I assumed that had they known they would’ve brought it up somehow. Even though most other people seemed to know about it, I thought that perhaps they kept it a secret from my parents not to upset them.

One Sunday morning I woke up feeling I had a fever. I measured my temperature and it was over 38 degrees. Not letting that deter me I went to baseball practice. I was still the fearless leader of our base-ball team, responsible for taking care of the baseball gear and to take the gear to training as I would go to practice every Sunday. I liked the game immensely so I never missed the opportunity to practice: no matter how I felt. So as always I trained normally on this occasion regardless of being ill.

When I got home I felt terrible: I had a headache and felt feverish. I went to bed to get some rest. My headache got worse. My head was throbbing, and it felt as if it would explode. I needed to get up and get some headache pills. I tried to get up but couldn’t. I couldn’t lift my upper body to a sitting position due to the excruciating pain in my head. My temperature had shot up to well over 39 degrees and my head was spinning. I had to get some medicine to ease the headache. I knew my mother was in the living room so I tried to call out to her for her to bring me something. When I tried to call out I was only able to make out a feeble sound. I could not call out aloud without splitting my head. I had some books on the self above my head. I was able to lift my arm to reach the books. I took the books one by one and started tossing them at the door to get my mum’s attention.

She heard the noise from the books hitting my bedroom door and came to see what was going on. I ex-plained. I needed something for the headache. She went out to bring me a soft drink and headache pills. She helped me take two pills and swallow them down with the drink. Then she left me to rest, but she returned a couple of minutes later to come and get the rest of the headache pills she had left on my bedtable.
“In case that you don’t take too many of these”, she explained as she took the pills and walked out.
I realized that she was scared that I would take all of the pills. She knew. My parents knew about me taking an overdose of pills at the night of the picnic. Never in any way did they indicate to me that they knew. It must’ve been too difficult for them to talk bring up the issue with me.

Silence pertained. The only words said by anyone, were those by Harry, when in passing he had said to me;
“Don’t do it for a sake of a woman. It’s not worth it”. Those words of concern were the only words I received. But they meant a lot. So much that I would remember them for the rest of my life. I did not know how to cry out for help. Inside my mind, in my state of depression and loneliness, I screamed in silence. If ever I had been lost and lonely, it was now. Alone in life, I would fight my battle.

Copyright © Teppo Gren | Year Posted 2016

Long poem by Brian Johnston | Details

Growing Up, La - Part 2

- - 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.

Copyright © Brian Johnston | Year Posted 2014

Long poem by Stone Fox | Details

Home Sweet Hell

"That also has a steep drop off the far side of Home Sweet Hell" said my soulless guide as he pointed in the direction of the nearby screams. 
I could see what resembled silhouettes or smeared shadows  of something being thrown or tossed off the side of the tallest tower in sight.  
There were so many falling at once the blur of any kind of outline in this smokey medieval lighting was impossible and began to strain my eyes. 
"They're throwing bodies over the edge, a necessary task for the good of our home." he continued as he watched me watching the horrific scene of what now was confirmed as bodies. 
"They were rotting and now they will rot even faster engulfed in flames!" he exclaimed with a smirk. "It's quiet clever really, it serves two purposes as one form of torture while at the same time feeding the eternal damnation fires of hell. We recently have undergone new management so our productivity points have never been higher." He seemed to wear that smirk like a proud badge as he bragged about the last part. No doubt he was most likely the new management, possibly the one who would decide my fresh new hell. 
He gave a new meaning to the expression "milky white" and had a paleness that was almost purple.  Freakishly tall which wouldn't have been so bad if he wasn't as thin as a runway model-and that was putting it politely. He was dressed in a crimson velvet  suit like some dapper don vampire with the chilling accessory of sharp dead eyes. He exuded terror all around while stroking my anxiety in the most uncomfortable metaphorical rhythm. 
With his you-know "devil may care" attitude he attempted to smooth out a newly noticed wrinkle in his crimson red velvet sports jacket.  
"Even in Hell, one must always look their Sundays best or in the flames you go!" he giggled laughing at his own joke. I neither laughed or even reacted, instead I ignored him and continued to watch the screaming falls.
The worker bees or drones-or whatever you're supposed to mindless underlings from hell, were now headed for a v-shape among the only body that was not tossed from the tallest tower. Instead it was hanging off a wall like a common prized Picasso at the end of the biggest hall in Hell. Or so my tour guide informed me. 
The brutish beasts were poking, stabbing, biting, pulling, cutting, slapping, and slashing the hanging form. "Go then and take her down" My Dracula impersonator  whispered in my ear, making me jump at the stealthness it took him to invade my personal space. "Go on" he urged as he moved even more closer to me. "But-" he then said looking down the hallway "who is to say her sin is not greater than yours?" he asked while stroking his chin.  "In fact" he continued, "Save her and see how quickly you will be the one to replace her. "
I found myself asking "is her sin greater than mine?" for she no longer even resembled a "she" and I couldn't hide my disgust this prisoner she's appearance.
My five star tour guide squealed "Why heavens yes!" unable to contain it's laugher. "She makes your sin look like childsplay! he continued to cackle while saying "I wouldn't go bragging about your list of dirty deeds that got you here they are not that flattering. Or noteworthy really. You're lucky if you amount to anything other than flame feeder on Hell's roster." He then very seriously added, "but  if it was not for the Simple Sinners we would have no souls to keep most of our demons from going hungry. After all we only get fed once every hundred years when we are not topside."
I noticed the dead bodies recently just fallen into flames were starting to return slowly to our intimate greeting party. Most were empty handed or even handless, while all were naked but almost identical in the scorched rotted appearance, no sex could be identified.  
"They will be joining us for the rest of our tour" Vampire Lestat informed me following my gaze. He started walking down the hall and I followed as close behind as I could while maintaining a safe distance from both sets of company. 
Without looking at me, Red Velvet started saying, "most crazies dispose of bodies because that's what they consider normal. But here in Hell, we find keeping them is productive torture. You see staying in ones body after death is unnatural and therefor uncomfortable, almost painful.  So you can see why it is useful to keep souls in their meat suits. We also make them do physical labor like any good slave when the torture has become boring and is no stimulating. 
I was suddenly feeling woozy and felt confident I was just as pasty white as my velvet wearing guide.  I couldn't shake the disgusting smell of flesh, blood, sex, urine, and pizza from nose. In a meek whisper I muttered "I don't like this.." My words were greeted with a smug "Join the club Sweetheart, no one likes it here but that's the point isn't it? Welcome to your doomed end, your Home Sweet Hell. "
Tears welled up in my eyes and before they could fall to my cheek my thin velvet guide slapped me with such a unbelievable force that I felt my skull vibrating. I was shocked at the guides brute strength for such a blow and considered the possibility maybe this was a vampire. I could feel my tears start to reform and was met with another blow. This time they came with a side order of screams that said, "NO POINT FOR TEARS NOW! YOU WEREN'T ACTING LIKE A LITTLE BITCH WHEN YOU SINNED TO GET HERE, SO YOU'RE NOT GOING TO ACT LIKE A LITTLE BITCH NOW THAT YOU ARE HERE."
I had no time to protest, to react, to do anything and even if I had he was right. I knew what I was doing. My guide started pushing me while still yelling "IT'S TIME YOU EMBRACE THAT YOU ARE IN THE PITT AND THERE IS NO MERCY! NOW ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK WITH YOU!"
He threw me in the closest room  that was completely pitch black as he yelled "FRESH MEAT" that served as our farewell. 
As he made his exit with his heard of bodies, his dead eyes were the last thing to see.

Copyright © Stone Fox | Year Posted 2015

Long poem by Gregory R Barden | Details

Of Winks and Wings - Part 1

     I have a little story to tell you ... it's absolutely true, of course, at least as far as I'm concerned, but you can take it as you wish - as a tale, a fact, or just the musings of a hack writer - no matter.
     It happened about ten weeks ago, late in October, and while it's probably nothing very earth-shattering on the surface, if you give a bit of thought to it, it just may deserve an extra question-or-two. But that's just MY opinion, you should find out for yourself.
     It all began when I went to the park to feed the ducks.
     As usual, stopped at the market for day-old bread to break up, then made the ten-mile drive and parked under the oaks where the car would be in the shade ... it was a cold autumn day, but the car still got too hot if it was sitting in the sunshine for any length of time.
     As I got out and pulled the bread bag out of the back seat, I glanced in the direction of the park pond to see where the ducks and geese were at the moment and saw a familiar hat atop a figure sitting on the bench. It belonged to an old man named Clarence who I had talked to briefly a couple of times ... he always sat on the same bench, in the exact same spot. I didn't sit there myself very often, as I liked to go down to the water's edge and sit on a big, flat rock there. From that spot, I could throw the bread into the pond, that way the ducks would get some water along WITH the bread, and digest it properly. But sometimes, if it was really cold, I'd sit on the rod-iron bench and let the birds come to ME.
     Though I'd never thought about it LONG, I had noticed that about a third of the bench's painted seat had been worn down to the bare wood, and public works clearly hadn't been around to check on it or re-paint it, for many years. No biggie - it was quality hardwood and was worn quite smooth, so there were no splinters, and people used it continuously without concern.
     When I got near the bench I said hi to Clarence, and though he replied right away with his usual kind voice, there was a break in it, and his smile was not nearly as broad as it usually was. I continued down to the pond's edge and fed a couple of the swans, but the ducks and geese were not there, (most likely on the backside of the little island in the middle), so after the long-necks had their fill, I went up to sit on the bench for a few minutes, as it was cold that day, and the bench was still in the late-day sun.
     I said hello again to Clarence, but this time he didn't answer, so I glanced his way again and saw him wiping his eyes with a handkerchief, (a beautiful embroidered one that I'd seen him use before to carry crumbs in, or pat his forehead with on hot days, though he never used it for his nose, and kept a small package of Kleenex in his pocket for those duties). I didn't want to disturb him in a private moment, so I avoided asking him what was wrong, and just sat down on the end of the bench and made a soft comment about how nice the sun's warmth was, again with no reply, though I could see peripherally that he was still wiping his eyes.
     Since the ducks and geese were still nowhere to be seen, I decided to try Clarence one more time ...
     "You OK?", I asked, casually. Still, no reply, though I knew he'd heard me, as his face was turned my way. This time I looked directly at him as I spoke ...
     "Hey, Buddy, are you alright?" And while he'd just wiped his face, another stream of tears ran down his cheeks, and he looked at me quickly and then away, blotting with the handkerchief as he did so. I could tell he WANTED to speak, but was just unable to at the moment, so I looked back toward the pond and let the last question hang in the air.
     "I'm ... I'm ok," he finally answered slowly, with another crack in his voice. "I've just been here too long, is all." And with this, he straightened up a bit and seemed to not be dabbing his cheeks as often.
     "Why don't you head home and get warmed up then, Clarence?" I said to him, more a suggestion than a question, "It's late in the day and the birds will be tucking in soon, anyway."
     "Oh, no... no... that's not what I meant," he replied, though I didn't press for him to elaborate, more out of awkwardness than anything else.
     Still no birds around, so I sat silently and fidgeted with the bag of bread crumbs, breaking them into smaller pieces. Clarence wiped his face one more time, then ceremoniously flattened and folded the handkerchief on his lap, (I could see then it was decorated with hearts and love messages, his name in the center), all the while handling it as if it was the finest lace, ever-so-tenderly tucking it into his jacket pocket. I thought this was probably a sign that he was heading home, but he sat still, looking into the air in front of him, as though he could SEE something there that I couldn't.
     "Fifty years. Today," said Clarence.
     "I'm sorry, what's that?" I replied.
     "It would've been fifty years ... today," he answered. "Fifty years that Grace and I would have been coming here, every afternoon ... to feed the ducks and geese and swans. The swans especially ... Grace loved the swans."
     "They're beautiful ... Grace was your wife?" I asked.
     "My True Love," he said with reverence, emphasizing the last two words. "Yes, my wife ... she didn't like the words 'wife' and 'husband', she said they sounded too much like ownership. So we always used 'True Love', that way people would know right away how much we meant to each other. Silly, I guess, but it was important to her, and I didn't mind."
     I made a mental note of the fact that I agreed with that view, that there had always been something a bit too "possessive" sounding about those labels, and that "true love" was much more specific and special. "I like that," I said, continuing, "She must've been very special ... to be so specific about what she wanted you to call each other."

Copyright © Gregory R Barden | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Joe Flach | Details

Straight to Hell - A Short Story

I was a seventeen year old senior in a coed, catholic high school.  Our gym classes however were still all boys and all girls.  My senior year we had gym every other day and music every other day in the same time slot.  The music classes, therefore, were also all boys or all girls.

She was a twenty-eight year old nun in her first teaching assignment.  She was in way over her head.  She was about five-foot-four and weighed practically nothing.  The nuns in our school no longer wore habits and I remember thinking it was a good thing because she would probably fly away like Sally Fields.  If you don’t know what I mean by that then you are too young to be reading my story.

The music class was a mad house.  She could not control a room of twenty some boys bound and determined to make her life hell.  I mean, music class?  Really?

We never did the homework assigned; never answered her questions seriously; never believed her threats at discipline; wouldn’t accept the demerits she tried to hand out; and basically goofed off for the hour that was supposed to be dedicated to learning about music.

For some reason, she seemed too proud or too green or too determined to go to the principal or another teacher for help; and, sensing that, we knew we could get away with our childish behavior and so we did.

One day, a handful of us “got in trouble” and she said she wanted to talk to us after class.  I was the only one that actually stayed.  She tried to lecture me on my bad behavior but I guess my smirk was evidence it was not sinking in.  Then, she started to cry, and for the first time I saw her as a person.

“What am I doing,” she cried.  "I can’t do this.  I am trying; I am really trying, but I am not cut out for this.  Why are you boys so mean and hateful?”

I stood up in front of her not knowing what to do or what to say.  I felt like a real jerk.  I was a real jerk.

Tears poured down her face, which I finally recognized as being a pretty face.  She bowed her head and just sobbed.  In my awkward seventeen year old manner, I slowly opened my arms and allowed her to lean into me.  And I hugged her while she wept.
   
At seventeen, I was no ladies’ man, and this crying nun was the first woman I had ever held so close to me.  I could feel her breasts pressed against me; the heat emitting from her body; and, the delicate nature of her womanly form in my arms.  I knew then that I was destined to go straight to hell for the thoughts that were going through my head and the feelings I felt between my legs.

She pulled away and whispered, “I am so sorry, I should not have done that.  You may go.”

I simply said, “You know, you are doing fine, you just have a class of a bunch of butt holes”, and walked out of the room.  It was that night that she started coming to see me in my dreams.  To hell I go, for sure.

I wish I could tell you I had the moxie and the influence to whip that class into shape, but I did not.  The mad house continued with one less student joining in the fun.  I tried my best to behave, answer her questions, pay attention and feign interest in the topic of the day – but I was just one in a sea of monsters.  I stayed after class and after school a few times to talk with her, ask her how she was doing, and see if I could help in any way.  She was actually starting to get the hang of things and was able to focus on the few classes that were willing to learn.

At the end of the school year, I was one of the few students who had not enrolled in a college for the coming year.  Because I was one of the better students, it caused a little bit of a fuss and a number of teachers talked to me about the huge mistake I was making taking some time off before going to college.  It seems they were all convinced that if I did not start into college in the fall, I was doomed to never go to college.  I challenged them by saying what they were really worried about was their statistics of percentage of students who went on to further their education.

During the last day of classes, the music teacher asked me to stay after class.  It appears, it was her turn to try to talk some sense into me.

“So, I hear you are not going to college,” she said.

“No, I’m going to college … some day, just not this fall.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know yet.  Take some time off.  Work.  Nothing.  I don’t know.  Why is it so important to everyone?  When the time is right, I’ll go to college.”

“They just care about you.”

“Bull loney,” I said, only it was another word.

She smiled at me.  I had been dreaming about her now for six months.  I changed the topic.

“Have you ever kissed a boy?”

She laughed, “You know, I grew up the same as every girl in this high school.  I did have boyfriends.”

“Yeah, but have you ever kissed a boy,” I challenged.

“No.  Not the way you mean.”

“Do you ever wonder what it would be like?”

“No.  Never,” she lied.

“If I told you I will register for college if you kiss me, will you?”

“No.  I believe you when you say you just need some time off.  I think that is a good idea.”

Then she walked up close to me and stopped a heartbeat away.  Suddenly, she reached down between my legs, grabbed the crouch of my pants and said, “Just don’t let this thing get you in trouble.”

She abruptly turned and walked out of the classroom while I tried to catch my breath.

During the graduation ceremony I saw her sitting with the other teachers and shared a private smile with her while walking back to my seat after being handed my diploma.  I would never see her again … outside of my dreams.

I often think about my high school music teacher and my ticket straight to hell.  Unfortunately, I never heeded her advice.  That body part of mine she grabbed ahold of for a fleeting second those many years ago, has gotten me in trouble time and time again.

Copyright © Joe Flach | Year Posted 2012

Long Poems