Long poem by
Russell Banks | Details
Just enough to make it just
I want this to be enough to make this
The last song ever, the last note ever
The last romantically, poetically sad excuse for an apology, epilogue
But I've already messed up the melody that would've carried me to the finish line from this moment in time
So if you would allow me to pick up my fragile pieces, go back to my quiet solace
Hit reset and start all over again...
This Wild Life, my muse today
A consistent mainstay
I just hope it helps okay
I made a mistake, a miscalculation
A slight misconception
Played a song to induce tears
I knew it would hurt
You'd think I would learn
It's been gone for years
And I can't get it back
You'd think I would learn
Cause for years, it's all I asked
Then I said, "Get Away, Get Away
Just give me some space"
Hey, This Wild Life
Is it okay for me to turn this into a song for myself
Give it away, give it away
Let me have this today
Don't Say no, at least not right now
For right now, I'm not fine
I'm not alright
And there goes my melody tonight...
I called you here, stay here please
I will get this right
Sarah, hey how are you
No, please don't look so confused
No, you did nothing wrong here
No, you haven't appeared in a blue moon
Forgive me, I just miss you
So soon, everyday feels so soon
Years too late and it feels so soon
Don't leave! Wait! Just hear me out
Please just stay, no don't turn away
I need you okay, I need you okay
If I told you to listen to this song
Would you say okay?
What did you do so wrong to me?
I turned the thought over and over in my head
Found negative answers instead
I turned the thought over in my head
And wanted to go home to sleep instead
I turned the thought over in my head
What did you do so wrong to me?
And there it is, the question it seems
You don't know and I don't apparently
What did you do so wrong to me?
Played our song on repeat as you told me constantly like a tape recorder mouthing off all your indecencies
As you washed yourself of me with love and all it's other drugs
Were you snug like a bug in your rug as you took your blanket shape shifting it like a knife constructed to pierce me
Were you happy knowing that you slit both my wrists and broke my neck leaving me dead
Did you ever once consider how I felt, did you ever even hear me when I said you were all I had left
Did you ever once hear me when I said you were all I had
You were all I had
There it rises, the problem I have with you
The anger, the rage your memory ensues
My gut says to hate you for all you put me through
The lies, the false goodbyes, the way you had me by rope tugging at me
A blind dog on all fours
My gut says to hate you
Call this the end, scream for you to
"GET AWAY, GET AWAY! LEAVE ME BE THIS DAY!
JUST GET AWAY, GET AWAY! Let me dabble in the misery you plagued me with this day"
While my heart says, "No, shut up. Sarah, I love you. Don't leave, stay with me. Sarah, pick up the phone, contact me. Sarah, I love you; say something to know you remember my name. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah please don't give up on me
As my mind bust out laughing maniacally, "She doesn't love you, why else would she torture you? Torture your insides till you felt like you were bleeding all the time?
Why would she love you, embrace you when all your love was blind?
Why would she love you when you've been living in her vicinity; you've lived in the same city as her and yet you've only seen her face once
Nearly collapsing on sight from a panic attack when you wished it, wanted it, asked for it
You cowardly fool, why would love someone like you when it's so much more fun to torture you? Muhahahaha!"
To be fair I thought you, Sarah, were all mine
Though maybe in truth my love was blind, I thought you were all mine
How many shared your fruit with me?
And that's what brings me to my dilemma
Why I called you here
Why I play this song on repeat, intentionally messed up the melody yet still keep it intact
Please don't go away, go away
Sarah, please stay
I am selfish, I don't understand
With you, I knew what it meant to be a man
Sarah, I'm lost without you
I'm no one, you were my dream come true
Sarah, I diluted myself with poison and revenge
I've turned green with envy, wanting you; demanding that you return to me so I can have the real closure I've wanted for so long
But all this closure that I seek, is for me to kiss your cheek and say see you soon
8 years later and it all still feels so soon
Don't get away, get away
Sarah, please answer me
Do you have any pleasant memories of us?
Do you think of us anymore?
I, cluelessly in love with you
You, blissfully radiant too
All I have are these downhill memories
A giant snowball of negativity
Please share with me what you have left
Sarah, please don't go away
I still carry pictures of you for my sake
So I don't run out of my house, screaming "where are you?!"
So I don't call your phone feeling blue saying I miss you
Sarah, please don't go away, go away
I need you okay
Sarah, please don't leave me all alone again
I can't keep screaming at your moving pictures saying I hate you with rage
I can't keep staring at your heart with wonder and puppy dog eyes
Thinking softly if I'm still there, somewhere
Sarah, please don't go away
I'm lost this day....
But she never answered me
She never heard me
I stare blankly at this mirror, envisioning her face
But it's just my own, twin streaks of tears rolling
This Wild Life singing softly
"Don't say it's over"
But it's over
It has been for 8 years
I've tried to twist time, make her mine one last moment for a lifetime
I saw it once, she was my forever
I am her never
What's funny is I know the words she'd say if she read this
She'd say incredulously
"Awe Russy, I'm impressed
You have a way with your distress
I love you too but there's no more room for you
I'm happy you see
You need to move on cause you won't be happy chasing after me"
But the thing is in small steps, I have moved on
There's a lovely lady I'm chasing west coast bound
I repeat for it to be real cause honestly it still sounds so make believe to me
That I am traveling to California to be with a girl I saw in the same light I saw Sarah
And I'm terrified, terrified
So I call back on my first promised wife
I don't say hello, and I won't say goodbye
I'm just letting my mirror know that I'm letting you go
So it can pass it on to your reflection so you can see me in your eyes one day and finally get back to me
Just don't say I love you too...
Just tell me "I remember you"
Because I can't forget you too
Copyright © Russell Banks | Year Posted 2016
Long poem by
Aa Harvey | Details
Play Slipknot’s ‘Snuff’ song four times and use these lyrics:
(Do not use the official video clip. It has more than just the song.)
I still feel your pain within my skin…
Ripping out my heart again,
So I can’t let you in.
Silence only ever hid my truths…
The Book of Life showed us the way;
My fate is up to you…amen.
Never been one to simply move on!
Like to stay in wonderland; all alone!
It still seems to feel like you inside;
All it took was the death of love and suicide.
To find our paradise!
I saw the love within your eyes;
It burnt my soul to say goodbye.
Oh…So now I scream “I’ve changed my mind!”
But apathy has got a grip over me!
Death will surely catch up, eventually…
But if I have you by my side
And I have your love for the rest of time;
Maybe then I can truly say “Goodbye.”
But only once and never again, not in this life!
Happiness has gone from me again!
All I’m left with within my world; is my own pain;
But I never said to you, just what I knew.
Just know I only ever spoke the truth.
I just couldn’t do this to you!
You’re much too weak to take this pain,
I guess thought the crazy fool.
Oh…But picture me within your heart;
I’ll be your love light in the dark!
I’ll be the one who cares!
I’ll be the one who is always there!
I’ll be the one you keep within;
I’ll be the one you let within!
I’ll be the one to teach you sin!
If you would only live again…
This bullet has your name on it.
Oh…I’ll bury it within my skin.
I’ll take you deep inside of me!
I’ll open up and I will live again!
PLAY TUNE AGAIN…
PLAY TUNE AGAIN…
PLAY TUNE AGAIN…
Bury me with love within your mind…
Dig me up to play with me, from time to time.
Read what I’m so desperate… to say
I’m older now and people change,
If I hadn’t just walked away…again.
I’d walk straight up to him!
And punch him hard in the face!
Such innocence you have no right to take!
My psychopathic, unstoppable, rage!
Would have put an end to his days!
But those words I guess I couldn’t say.
I guess you wouldn’t listen to them, anyway.
Oh so shocked that I would let you go!
I hope you know within my heart; you were the one!
But these words that you must never know…
Are truly spoken only to…cleanse my own soul.
Now I know I had to let you go;
I just wanted to tell you that…You are not alone.
Just tell me that you will never go!
Bury me with love and death, deep within your soul.
Know your words are in my heart…
But I could never let you know.
I wouldn’t want to make you cry!
Your tears only ever, made me want to die!
I couldn’t be the one to save your life;
Oh But you will never truly know,
Just how much you have affected mine!!!…
The pain I never made you face!
I kept it all deep within.
I buried it deep with you, inside of me;
But I never did find any kind of release.
I guess I just couldn’t let it ever end up like this.
So pity me for all I should have said!
Lay with me once more my love, in our broken bed.
Oh Kiss me deep within your soul of light;
Stay with me and hold me tight!
If you still care I just want you to know…
PLAY TUNE AGAIN…
PLAY TUNE AGAIN…
PLAY TUNE AGAIN…
Together we will surely show this,
This loneliness, its death;
For I will never let you go.
I will only ever walk away.
For I have seen the death of love…
Once more in time, I should…have tried.
But these words of mine,
I guess I just could never say!
I miss you right now my bitter love!
I think of you now and then; sometimes other stuff.
But I want you to know, you are always in my heart.
I never truly left you; but I did depart…
I never told you how I felt.
Oh…I had to leave your broken heart;
But never weep because of me!
Never say…you are unhappy.
You will never be alone,
For you are buried in my soul
And if something I guess I could have changed;
I would have left you to your pain,
I would still have walked away
And hope to God, I pray! I pray!
That you would only ever have followed me!
My love for you shall never go away.
I feel like I need your love to breathe!
I think I need you!
Trapped inside of me!
I think I saw something in your eyes;
I think I saw my paradise, but now I guess I’ll never truly know!
I think I’ve hit an all-time low!
So come to me, I’ll embrace you once again!
I’ll speak to you with honesty, my beloved friend;
Let me pay my penance for my sin.
Let me tell your heart and your soul!
That you my love, shall always be kept within.
I keep you safe within my dreams.
Oh I offer shelter to your hurt and pains,
I only ever wanted to let you in!
I only ever wanted to let you in!!!
PLAY TUNE AGAIN…
PLAY TUNE AGAIN…
PLAY TUNE AGAIN…
So you can truly believe my words when I say…
I will never walk away;
In the distance I see your faith.
One last time you smiled at me and then…
You walked away then you felt my hand;
Land upon your hand again…
I love you, I always have!
I just didn’t understand!
But all these words I keep within;
I’ll never hurt you; I’m your friend!
I’m sorry I just couldn’t let you in,
But I believed you would be better off in the end;
If you never saw my face…
Oh if once more I had just walked away;
You would never have read your words and all of this would be a waste!
But if I were to tell you how I really feel…
I’d simply scream at you “This is for real!”
Let’s once more live in sin.
So I can show you my love within…
That you shall always be kept with me, deep within.
So save my soul I need you to care;
I need you more than I need air!
I need your love to set me free;
I need you to become one with me.
I need to tell you I love you my Friend,
I’ll never truly hurt you…not in the end;
I never claimed to be a saint.
Oh in wonderland I love your soul,
It took her death to let me know, I love you so!
So come be with me or break my hope!
You My Love; I believe You could be the one;
I only tried to be of help,
But you are strong enough to help yourself
And I will pay penance for your pain!
I will not leave, I’m here to stay!
Angels like me fear our souls;
Oh for my love was banished long ago,
If you still care, just know I love you so!
If you still care, just know you are the one!
(C)2013 Aa Harvey. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © Aa Harvey | Year Posted 2016
Long poem by
Teppo Gren | Details
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
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.
Copyright © Teppo Gren | Year Posted 2016
Long poem by
James Inman | Details
When you came to me...
Not that you wanted me. Oh, no! It was I who wanted you,
Your comfort... your caring... your
... compassion, your compassion...
Your body, beautiful and young, perhaps that as well at some different time, some different circumstance.
The beauty of your mind, yes, your essence... yes, that which makes you.
I wanted YOU... needed you.
...you smiled... the light, the beacon that saved my sanity from the storm tossed sea of my existence.
I smiled my feeble simper in return.
You said you looked for me and slipped onto the silvery, wooden bench beside me.
I had run away unable to face you.
I knew what the night would deliver... Goodbye. We would yet share our days but no longer our substance... your pain... my insecurities...
Oh, how you opened to me when we were new, like a bird freshly freed from its cage, stretching its stiffened, unused wings, your thoughts... hesitant but fluid.
You told me of your helplessness... of the night of fear and anger, the giving and loving in your heart stripped from you... taken by the one closest to you, so... violent, so... abasing.
How could anyone ever love you again, you asked...
I felt your pain.
I could not, but I wished to share it with you... to take it from you... to leave you whole, to help you... forget.
You used it. In your beautiful way... you wanted it... to create comfort where there was hurt... warmth where there was fear
...How could you not be loved!
...our talks and feelings... and you... never more to be a meaningful measure of my life. Then there was me. My destruction was my own. Concern on your face told me of the helplessness you felt as I confessed my demons. You had no answers. I wanted none... only comfort, your comfort.
I opened my soul to you... said things... private things... things that should never have left my lips... things I had never, could never share with anyone.
I told of destroying those closest to me...
I told of my feelings for you...
Then things changed. I approached you one warm, bright morning and you looked at me. The deep, bright orbs of cerulean that are your eyes twinkled then squinched gently as the edges of your supple... soft... inviting lips mingled with your blossoming cheeks. As always, the warmth of your alluring smile enveloped me.
You whispered in your gentle voice, “I missed you.”
Such beautiful words that I had so longed to hear. I returned your words, “I missed you.”
-But you need not miss me.... I am here.- You looked at me in deep reverie. You said nothing but I knew that I would never again hear those words pass through your delicate lips.
...you spoke of your doubts.
You spoke of your desires.
I felt shame for who I was and what I did, but you gently touched me... caressing me... my back... my shoulder.
You said “I care about you,”
You pulled me to you and we embraced. For long moments I held you, our bodies pressed together like a flower’s clinging petals... always touching... never wanting to release their grasp... to unfold... to open... for fear of ending the moment...
Not long before, I remember you turning to me.
“A magic hug,” you said, your searching arms reaching for me... and magic it was... they were.
The touch of your hands gently soothing me... the weight... the firmness of your full body against mine... your petite silhouette lingering beneath my awkwardly grasping arms.
How could you not be loved!
Each touch inviting more... each movement of my fingers tasting your skin. But it had to end as each instant... even a magical one... does.
...but as with everything the sweet moment was slowly lost. You sat as if waiting. Still... not moving, quiet... not speaking. I leaned toward you...
You grew cold. I did not understand. You withdrew from me... not speaking to me... not looking at me. I knew not what pain I had caused you, my friend... no... not friend... you never thought of me as your friend... never wanted me as a friend. You made that clear, I am not your friend. Friend... yes... you were my friend... are my friend... will always be my friend.
You called me needy.
You said you could not bear the strain of your pain and mine.
You said you cared too much... for whom? You never said... never too much for me.
I seemed to be your charity... Fix him! He’ll be well. He is broken but not beyond repair, fix him!
I thought our need was mutual. You listened... I listened. I cared... You cared.
I was still broken.
Then came the rage. You screamed. Like a Banshee filling the night sky you howled into the wind, “ I’M ANGRY... AT EVERYONE!!” I tried to understand... to help. You never explained. You never seemed to look at me... you avoided me...
You... hurt me, you hurt me.
...I kissed you...
sweet... gentle... beautiful.
The most tender of touches, your supple, full lips against mine... between mine. I drew you in with every breath. I tasted you.
I lingered against you... please don’t end.
I savored your gentleness... please don’t pull away.
Oh God what am I doing!!
I desired you, your presence, your voice, your touch, yes, your
Don’t pull away... it will end me.
“Please tell me you want this.”
“Of Course I do,” gently whispered, you appeased me...
never again to feel your lips against mine...
never again to press my body against yours... to feel the softness of your smooth skin beneath my finger tips...
to languor in your magical embrace.
I HATE YOU... simple words, easily said. Why could you not say them.
I HATE YOU... they would have ended things so much more quickly.
I hate you, leave me alone. It would have been so much kinder.
I hate you, don’t talk to me. I gave you the chance, “You seem to hate me,” I offered.
You couldn’t say them
I will never say them.
How could you not be loved? You never let me.
You arose from the bench as dusk turned to dark. The evening air was cool and the time was late.
I gazed longingly into your blue eyes. You spared me a last smile... beautiful smile... sweet smile... your good bye... thank you.
Copyright © James Inman | Year Posted 2015
Long poem by
Greg Barden | Details
"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 © Greg Barden | Year Posted 2017
Long poem by
Greg Barden | Details
I went again today ... to that place, the allurement overwhelming ... the one we called "ours" so tritely,
"Mine" before you, "mine" again now, (tho' others have doubtless staked claimed - ages before and since).
I went there to "forget" you ... to put life in perspective again -
To feel the awe of all creation and my insignificance amidst it ... yours ... ours.
Just one of the endless ways I forget you each day.
My essence is there ... an open-air cathedral for the melancholy,
(And I one of its honored caretakers and most stolid gargoyles, cold as granite).
The redolent brine ... laughing gulls ... clang of a buoy ... hypnotic wave wash,
Like it's lulling the day to slumber, or heartening me to listen ...
Listen to the rhythmic music of nature's capricious breath.
I walked to the end, where the ledges meet the sand, (the way we always did),
A bit of a hike, more than three miles down and back, I think,
But it seems as near as ever when I'm so enthralled with what my senses drown me in.
It's always there, (waiting for me, I like to think) ... "Our" rock ... hours spent there ...
Talking deep, talking nothing ... kissing, arguing, ruminating, dreaming, being silent, being loud ...
(Minds at one moment as if one, the next, eons apart ... our own worlds).
That rock, though molded and shaped by centuries of water and wind,
Fit us perfectly ... as if all those years of endless pounding of surf and gale,
Was a premonition for our special moments ... was a monotonous preparation,
For romantic fools like me who find fate inescapable ... who find happenstance hard to accept,
And who believe that this rock was placed here for our purposes alone ... (foolish).
Imagine the stories that rock has absorbed ... not just mine, but endless others,
Who have found that place as special and receptive for love and melancholy as we.
I wonder, when others are there alone, if they do as I do -
I talk out loud to no one - out into the ether - sometimes from the deepest part of my being,
Things I would or could never speak to another human ... but that spot ...
It coaxes them out ... the salt air and sounds of the shore, reach their fingers into my being,
And grasp things there I didn't know existed ... and I'm obliged to turn them to sound,
To give substance of voice to validate their importance ...
Not importance to me or my loves or any human or nature or even God ...
But importance to the moment ... to existence and its divine principles.
(These are the precise things this place stirs within me each time I'm here ... but always mixed with you).
There have been times ... times when I went in winter, during stormy weather ...
I love the ocean then the most ... it's personality is at its most basic ... it's most visceral:
It's strength, it's anger, it's exuberance, it's joy, it's indifference to humanity,
Is at its most obvious ... and my significance to myself is never more potent.
There are usually no people there then, and it's as if it's been placed there for me alone to appreciate.
At those times, when there are no others, and the surf is pounding ... the waves raging against sand and stone,
And the gulls are fighting the winds off-shore, the bell-buoys arguing with the swells, and the fog-horns warning ...
I walk to the end ... to our rock, and I stand up on it, and without thinking of anything but you,
And your eyes, the way they betrayed your soul the first time they met mine,
Your hands, the way God made the spaces between your fingers fit mine so perfectly ...
Your smile, that makes those "light up a room" clichés seem so inadequate,
That incredible tiny electrical vibration I felt when I touched your skin, (like no other),
And your voice, that never stopped making my heart flip whenever you'd speak my name,
Your sigh, a music so sweet and forbidden ... a melody for me alone, that held me prisoner ...
Thinking on all that defines what you are and were and meant, (and the void left behind) ...
I reach down into my soul, to that place that terrifies me, where I'd never go at any other time,
(The place I refuse to see when I consider the mirror each day ... the place I will always deny),
I saturate myself with that dark place and all that it holds ... all that it hides,
And with all my might I tear it from my gut in a single yell ... a sound as primal as my surroundings.
Not a scream of terror, but one of release ... a release of contrition and self-awareness ...
A purging of pain and joy and fear and passion ... loss and love and anger and insignificance ...
Hatred and jealousy ... exuberance and relief ... the longing to feel, and the desire to never feel again ...
All my emotion - negative, positive, ambiguous - the multitude of things I feel that are beyond expression...
I scrape them from my being with all the force I can ... completely, without regret or wonder,
Face skyward, I return them to the places they belong ... carried to nothingness on the ocean winds, (like the dust I someday will become).
No one can hear ... no thing can hear ... even to me the sound is swallowed by the surf.
The gulls and sandpipers go about their business, (I could be another of these rocks,
And it would matter not to them) ... my loud proclamations to the sky unrecognized.
But to me this little ritual is priceless, this place as precious as any ...
My soul renewed as my breath is spent, (at least temporarily), my mind as clear as the cloudless sky.
My thoughts are still of you ... us ... there ... magical ... sun dancing as a million jewels on the waves.
Or moonlight hypnotizing us to dream and believe and feel sure it would never end ...
Moments so precious ... so bathed in romance that they were eternal ... captured in time,
Beyond the sobering brush of reality ... and at those moments, all that mattered ...
No thought or feeling or emotion or thing that wasn't US ... alone but not alone.
Copyright © Greg Barden | Year Posted 2017
Long poem by
Brian Johnston | Details
My love is light (a fairy kiss?)
Like the pressure of sunbeams on your cheek,
Ineffable, and yet capable of changing lives…
Darkening skin to a more attractive hue,
Pushing spaceships to distant stars (given time) ,
Even causing cancer given sufficient lack of love for self.
For love is not about just getting needs met by another,
No, love is more like a laser's coherent beam….
For in reflecting back a portion of what is given,
The power of what is being created grows
Until it can cut through the hardest steel
And span the gulf between galaxies.
Poetry too grows through the cross-fertilization of newborn lines,
The lines of this poem insist that I record their birth.
Each new line grabs me by the scruff of the neck,
Forces me to hit the brake, grab my pen,
And claim it in my family bible…
My only children, clamoring to be set in ink.
As these Voyagers' pass into the present state of my art
(Some that I barely recognize in their profligate parentage
Of older verse's new verse's newer verse still) …
Somehow still carriers of my own genetic code.
They press my design against the blank page
Flying in search of, homing on… your heart.
My love's intent is simply truth (do you want less?)
Would you have me downplay
The warmth of our connection
Because it is complicated by here-to-fore
Unacknowledged passion, spiritual connection,
And the remnants of former relationships
(Even those still gasping for breath) ?
Or feign a lack of attachment to it's denouement
In a solitary attempt to feel safer?
No matter can restrain the effects of gravity
On the orbits of other bodies in its field of influence,
Gravity that binds us all in deep wells of space-time.
Your kiss of greeting…
After so many years of imagining such a possibility,
Imprinted deeper than even my memory of our first meeting,
Our moonlit shadows touching as we soaked naked
In the steaming waters of a volcanic mountain spring.
This new conjunction of souls occurred in God's clear view,
Without artifice or scheming on our part
And rocked my inner core to it's depths,
Organizing molten currents of confused turbidity
Into a magnetic flare of such intensity
That iron flew to my spine
Inspired me to finally declare my love
To acknowledge your impact on my life…
And after a period of gestation
Gave birth to this poem of celebration.
Back to Nebraskan reality and a new mystery…
I pass an overturned car,
Its wheels tied by yellow police tape,
A metaphor for my life perhaps
'Damaged but still salvageable.'
The windows are broken out,
The occupants removed to a distant hospital somewhere
(Hopefully arriving alive) ,
Their odds and ends of life scattered like garbage
On the inverted ceiling of their car.
The explanation, perhaps, is the water still standing
Several inches deep on the road side near the wreck?
A sudden orgasmic release of cloud in a desert….
The car tops the hill to find the highway
Buried by a lake of dimensions only God can know.
Who would expect such a thing in Nebraska's sand hills?
And what does it say about me finally
That I am so drawn to distant objects,
That the two women given access to my heart are
Both still tied to failed marriages
By dark chapters I am not part of
And innocent children who need their love?
And at our age where is the partner without a past?
Is this all that God has planned for you and me,
That we 'just miss' every thirty years or so?
I know there are times I am afraid to trust another's love,
Cannot even hear words of genuine affection.
Perhaps this explains my attraction to women
Whose availability might really be in question?
Maybe I'm afraid to let a real lover in?
Is the simple dream of love a better choice
Than the chance of finding real love anew
(Even love with an expiration date) ?
I think I'm more distrustful of my own heart's passion
Than I am of women being unreceptive to my love.
Do you struggle with similar feelings?
And is it my lot to only remember passion like this in a poem
While you spiral away to unimagined rendezvous'?
The coldness of space is not after-all
The simple absence of heat…
No, in human dimensionality it is more the absence of others…
Others who both shine life force toward us
And reflect our own light back to us,
Who collide with us physically and emotionally
Altering our pathways forever,
And who crater the façade whose design
We imagine belongs to us alone.
The void of human space-time is a true 'black hole'
Sporting only star death fragments of the 'Big Bang.'
This is all I really know…
I treasure the memory of our 'fly-bys'
Even if that's all they ever are.
And if I'm lucky this joy,
This celebration of your existence,
Will continue to pour out of me in songs and verse…
For your ears always (if I am so honored) ,
For God's heart (as I was born to honor Him) ,
And to the stars alone if I have only them for company.
This poem, like 'A Walk Near Blunt, ' began during an actual drive from South
Dakota to Oklahoma and then took on a life of it's own. These 'real life
narrative' poems are part of an attempt on my part to give precedence to truth
and content over form and rhyme. For readers with an interest in science, I
hope you also enjoy my attempt in this and other poems to bring my love of
Physics into the world of poetic imagery.
Copyright © Brian Johnston | Year Posted 2014
Long poem by
Greg Barden | Details
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 © Greg Barden | Year Posted 2017
Long poem by
Scott Howard Myers The Gypsy King | Details
Set upon the new world stage within the burning fires of hell. Silently posed factions of the elite, suppress the true inherit of Mother Earth. The meek children bending over for millennium, taken spankings of bare bottoms, pelted slavery.
Upon entry to rule, the open stage of smoked mirrors began to reflect back upon the podium of lies. Taught by scholars from university books of political science. Fearful of leadership matching mirrored images, of false pretense, babbling rhetoric. The stirring masses of discontented, individualistic, thought of as dead - enders, trouble makers, and rebel rousers, rallied aimlessly.
With super hero, Captain Do Gooder, bleeding helpless on the floor of Wall Street. Weary lost hope combatants mustered courage, and accepted destiny. To this point, someone shouted against the wind of change. Felt by all who sensed the importance.
"To death do us part of the purpose to which we, the united, stand for justice".
The chant began, as Captain Do Gooder was dragged away, and cuffed, once bleeding helpless on the floor of Wall Street.
Damn the torpedoes. Damn the torpedoes.
Captain Do Gooder, fallen, bruised ego matching skinned knees, lays helpless. Who will save them now.
Second glances from high rise penthouses. Serving champagne and caviar. Brought iron clenched hands once hidden, to draw the stage curtain down.
With Captain Do Gooder nowhere to be found. The voice that came from pain of pupil. Born within broken dreams of promised lands. Realized nothing was coming cheap on this occupation.
The dusty streets found Captain Do Gooder aimlessly stepping against the winds of change, down Wall Street. The well-intentioned, arrested and broken spirited, lost hope of recycling any salvage rights taken from them by Metro.
Was this the end of the well thought out, pushed down occupation.
Was this the beginning, of the underground faction. Where was senior generation X hiding. Only Captain Do Gooder and the well-intentioned, world stage occupiers, hold the key to that Pandora's box of hope.
The peoples across the oceans were already springing far ahead in their own, more brutal campaign. For they had no cushion on which they were raised to kneel against. Tyranny ran over them. A lesson yet not felt, or learnt, or taught, in the new world. No chance of city mayors issuing eviction notices. Bullets, tanks and bombs were of the order. Brought down the line, traced back to the ones our United Nations to this day, refuse to acknowledge.
While leaders there home internet shop, and pump out the lies. Everyone dies.
In the heart of the continent of center, where unto which as mankind sprang forth, for its first and ever conquest.
The lights kept dim, to obscure the violent cleansing. A facade to disguise once moreover, the brutal tyranny for which the greed of the elite, control the dimmer switch. Diamonds and oil fuel the fire of war and oppression, on this stage of greed and guilt. Too far away, and too many distractions upon center stage for one to see or care. Thought and looked upon by most as racially motivated. The origins of all mankind, to be left, far too far, behind. The true forsaken people. Why is man unkind.
So..........will Captain Do Gooder raise the bar to which drinks for the house, and all around, will quench the thirst felt by ninety nine percent of the people............mother knows best.
Yet, still, self-inflicted roadblocks of appointed destiny, drop kicked long days past. Faint light shining far ahead, within the tunnel of hell, brought up to land. Firm above the depths to which it sprang. The truth of world order.
Wait......what do we see......do our closed eyes deceive our cries........................................
We see Captain Do Gooder catching second wind.
She breathes deep now and all can hear her war cry, no longer whimpering softly. As in past tense situations, given way to dazed and confused wall street *****es.
She builds momentum, as our brothers and sisters lay dying and bleeding. On the streets of some not so distant for telling, of what's to be, will never not be coming full steam ahead and plowing through the hidden agenda. One step beyond the line drawn in the sand of time, we thought would never be crossed. Give way thoughtless future tellers, and takers. Still holding firm with paper cuts, deep into the hands who printed and prepared such slave papers, kept by the elite bankers.
Captain Do Gooder returns renewed and refreshed. Our true Mother.
Captain Do Gooder feels strong, as bruised knees and scraped hands heal.
Brush of destiny sweepstakes, allots winnings of earth shaking, volcano erupting, tsunami tidal waves, with bonus draws of worldwide chaos. Future draws are to be held with worldwide winners. Grand prize, dead oceans rising.
The next generation have no fear digest writes the next chapter.
Hold the press down firmly wall street backbiting backbenchers. Drawn into the crossfire, on her mark, place the x on the next general who dares not fall into civil disobedience.
Captain Do Gooder has grown teeth, and she is biting down hard against the line to pipe riches, spoiled from her lands. Stolen from the first pilgrimage, fifteen thousand years old, lost empire.
How dare you steal from, and pollute the minds of her children. Yet old enough to drink and drug and die in war. How dare all of us.
Meanwhile back at the ranch. Captain Do Gooder hugs tight that tree of life, to which sprang all this elbow rubbing and diversion. Wall street huddles in her corner, painted red to match the lengths to which an end will surely bring to it.
Painted red for all to see.
The end to friendly letter writing, give peace a chance, make love not war, generation taking a bow, and snow birding it, to false sense of security land. Like the ostrich with its head in the sand.
Copyright © Scott Howard Myers The Gypsy King | Year Posted 2013
Long poem by
CJ Krieger | Details
These 2 different versions are separated by nine years
MUST BE SPRING
Small speckles of wild grass
Looking like tiny green drops
That had fallen to the earth
Were the very first sign
Waving in the breeze
With their feathery tops rippling
They slowly reached for the sun
Growing much taller than myself
Then the dragonflies
Darting about like lost Messerschmitts
Looking for a place to land
Foretold of the coming
As I looked down the long winding path
I saw off in the distance
A slight figure of a woman
Drawing closer and closer
It was you
(And I had missed you so)
With your smiling face
And your arms wildly waving hello
Must be spring
MUST BE SUMMER
The unusually humid
Hot summer night
Found my hands sliding
Along your warm, moist body
As I watched you
Lying nakedly on the cool sheets
My eyes followed a single drop
Of beaded sweat
Which had leisurely rolled down
Your gentle curves
And magically disappeared
As you awoke to my touch
We both followed
The movements of my fingers
For a single drop of water
Lost within the folds
Of your thighs
Must be summer
- - - - - - - - - - - -
MUST BE AUTUMN
There was not a bird in the sky
They had all fallen
Into the top
Of a large red oak tree
On the northeast side of the meadow
Each one singing
Louder than the next
Until all the leaves shattered
Must be autumn
- - - - - - - - - - -
MUST BE WINTER
A single leaf
On a tree
Is all that remains
As a tribute to summer
While on the ground
Changing patterns with the blowing wind
The dry crinkling sound of leaves
Moves to and fro
As the tree quietly sleeps
For the chilly mornings to pass
And the warmth of a spring rain
To say… hello
Sit at my window
Staring down the road
Still waiting… for you
Must be winter
The windows rattled
As the spring winds blew
Down from the mountains
And across the forest
As I watched the newly budded trees
Bend and sway
Although spring was here
It was a cold wind
That chilled my cheeks
As I pulled the hood
Tighter over my face
Walking home I watched
While last year’s winter leaves
Scurried across the ground
Every so often stopping to rest
Before running out of view
I enjoy days like this
It keeps my thoughts from rambling
On thoughts of you
With your Easter dress and bonnet
Walking down this old country path
Waving to me as you fall
Silently over the mountain
It was the last days of Spring
It was one of the warmer summer days
Not a breeze or cloud in the sky
The humidity so high
I could almost reach out
And pluck it from the air
I watched the sunlight
Hitting the north side of my house
Seeking shelter then slowly roll away
Towards whatever little shade remained
With the speed of Grandma’s Black Molasses
A few miles east of the old country trail
The river’s waters had fallen
Lower than I had seen in years
Even the riverbanks had dried
Into a crumbling hard brown clay
That yearned for the rains to come
The heat, so oppressive and unyielding
Muted the voices of the birds
While all the wild animals
That usually ran about the fields
Sought out some relief or at the very least
Waited until night fell
Before coming out to play
These were the quiet days
The silent times of life
It was the summer of waiting
A time that I could no longer dance
Or sing, or see you under the starry sky
This was the summer you had gone
And I had grown much, much too old
To wait for another winter
To bring you home
It was the last days of Summer
With a cool morning wind
And the rustling
Of golden brown leaves
That changed color
As they hysterically danced
Through the town streets
Before heading out
To their winter home
Here and there
Gangs of ferocious squirrels
Ran up and down the trees
Harvesting whatever fruits and nuts
That refused to drop
From the shivering trees
Whose bare bark
Could be heard
All about the woods
As I watched
Their once small mouths
With bits and pieces
Of summers’ leftover bounty
The old woodland paths
I couldn’t help but smile
This is the time of year
That I enjoy the most
A time of transition
When the earth
Prepares for a long winters nap
Yes, it most definitely was
(As I thought to myself smiling)
A time of scurrying squirrels
It was the last days of Autumn
Night inched its way
Up the north-east side
Of my house
Much in the way
A little child
Would climb over a fence
One small hand at a time
And as night's shadow
Reached the very top
It stopped for a moment
Before tumbling over
And falling down
The south-west wall
Plunging the house into darkness
It was a familiar winter night
But what I remember most
Was how much colder it seemed
Then other winters before
Warm or cold
It was winter
Complete in every way
With winds like icy fingers
And falling snow
That seemed to go on and on
It was on a night like this
That I thought of you
When I was overwhelmed
By everything that winter was
Compounded by a darker darkness
Than any nights I could remember
That had come before
And try as I might
I could not summon the sun
Or make it rise more swiftly
To free my mind
From unwanted thoughts
Nor could I find any solace
In the quiet, quiet
Of winter’s silence
It was Winter
Copyright © CJ Krieger | Year Posted 2015