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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 poem by Kim van Breda | Details

OUR BABY GIRL TURNS 21

OUR BABY GIRL TURNS 21

ON 1ST JULY 1990~ THE ANGELS DID SOMETHING ALMIGHTY
FROM HEAVEN THEY SENT US OUR LIFE-LONG DESIRE-A PRECIOUS DAUGHTER TO LOVE AND ADMIRE.
TRUE TO YOUR NATURE YOU ARRIVED WITHOUT FUSS OR PAIN--THE FIRST TIME OUR EYES MET WE KNEW OUR LIVES WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME

AS A BABY AND TODDLER YOU MADE US SO PROUD
YOUR VERY LONG HAIR, GREEN EYES AND SMILE-
ALL THOSE GOOD LOOKS MADE YOU STAND OUT IN A CROWD
YOU STARTED TALKING EARLY WITH MANY VOICEPRINTS 
YOUR CHARM AND GOOD LOOKS HAVE NOT STOPPED SINCE
YOU LOVED YOUR DOLLS AND PRAMS-- DREAMT OF BEING A “SINGER”
 AND VERY QUICKLY LEARNED HOW TO WRAP YOUR DAD AROUND YOUR LITTLE FINGER
YOUR BIG BROTHER DEVON--BEST FRIEND AND PROTECTER 
MOST OF THE TIME YOU GOT ON PERFECTLY TOGETHER

FROM AN EARLY AGE YOU SHOWED YOUR LOVE OF SWIMMING
AGE TWO AND A HALF YOU WERE ABLE AND WILLING
TO SWIM UNDER WATER AND DO MANY LENGTHS
THIS WAS CLEARLY ONE OF YOUR SPORTING STRENGTHS
AT AGE THREE YOU COULD BARELY WAIT TO START PLAYSCHOOL
“MISS INDEPENDENCE”, WAS YOUR GENERAL RULE
THE SLIDE AND JUNGLE GYM WERE YOUR FAVOURITE SPOTS
 AND TO OUR HORROR YOU WOULD CLIMB RIGHT TO THE TOP!
AT AROUND THIS TIME, YOUR FIRST BOYFRIEND YOU MET-
 HE LIVED NEXT DOOR, AND HIS NAME WAS BRETT

SOON IT WAS TIME FOR  PRE-SCHOOL
YOU LOVED YOUR TEACHER--YOUR NEW FRIENDS WERE COOL
‘SPRING BONNETS’ AND THE END OF YEAR SCHOOL PLAYS
THE TEDDY BEAR CLASS GAVE YOU SOME REAL SPECIAL DAYS
NEXT WAS ‘BIG SCHOOL’ AND YOUR FIRST CLASS
WE WERE SERIOUSLY ANXIOUS BUT FOR YOU JUST ANOTHER ‘MISS INDEPENDENCE’ TASK
LETTERLAND, MATHS AND LEARNING TO READ
YOU EXCELLED AT ALL THAT WITH INCREDIBLE SPEED
YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS CONTINUED THROUGH GRADES 2, 3 AND FOUR
YOUR PLACE IN THE SWIMMING TEAM HELPED YOUR SCHOOL WIN MORE

OUR MOVE TO AUSTRALIA… SAD FAREWELLS TO YOUR FRIENDS AND YOUR PETS 
BUT, GREAT EXCITEMENT YOU FELT AT ADVENTURES TO BE MET
A NEW SCHOOL--“METHODIST LADIES COLLEGE”
NEW FRIENDS--JUMPING A GRADE-- MET WITH SUCH POSITIVE COURAGE
YOU MADE US SO PROUD IN THE WAY YOU ADAPTED
MRS. WILLIAMSON SAID YOU WERE THEIR NEW CLASS ‘ASSETT’
.
THE ‘MR BEE’ SPELLING AWARD AND MANY MERITS LATER 
WE ALL GOT HOMESICK-- BUT YOUR POSITIVE NATURE DID NOT WAVER
THE DECISION WE MADE TO RETURN TO CAPE TOWN 
CAUSED YOU HEARTBROCKEN TEARS AND A PERMANENT FROWN
ONCE AGAIN A SAD FAREWELL TO YOUR NEW FOUND FRIENDS 
RETURNING TO S.A. FOR OLD ONES TO MAKE AMMENDS

IT WASN’T VERY LONG THAT YOU PICKED UP WHERE YOU LEFT OFF AT ALL
 ADDED TO YOUR TALENTS WERE NOW TEAM HOCKEY AND NETBALL

AS YOU APPROACHED THE FIRST OF YOUR TEEN YEARS
WITH YOUR LOOKS AND CHARM, INEVITABLY THE BOYFRIENDS WOULD APPEAR
SHOPPING, MOVIES AND MANY PARTY SLEEP-OVERS
CHOOSING TRUE FRIENDS AND DUMPING THE LOSERS
DANCE SHOWS AND DANCING EXAMS… YOU EXCELLED AT HIP- HOP
 FUN AND OF COURSE THE DESIRE TO SHOP

THE END OF JUNIOR SCHOOL-- THE FINAL ASSEMBLY—AWARDS
TROPHIES FOR SPORTSMANSHIP AND YOUR S.R.C. PRIZE GOT MANY APPLAUDS
SAD FEELINGS AT LEAVING YOUR OLD SCHOOL BEHIND 
EXCITEMENT AT STARTING HIGH SCHOOL WOULD SOON COME TO MIND
NO PROBLEM TO YOU, IT WAS ALL JUST A BREEZE 
AS YEAR BY YEAR YOU CONTINUED TO ACHIEVE
SWIMMING AND ‘A’ TEAM HOCKY MATCHES ON THE ASTRO TURF 
YOU EVEN STARTED TO LEARN HOW TO SURF
FRIDAY AFTERNOON CHRISTIAN MEETINGS AND EVENING CHURCH YOUTH
WE WERE SO HAPPY YOU FOUND GOD AND HIS TRUTH

THE REST OF HIGH SCHOOL PASSED IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE WHILE 
YOUR LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS REMAINED EXCEPTIONALLY HIGH
YOUR ORGANISATIONAL SKILLS WERE ASTOUNDING
COPING WITH TOUGH SUBJECTS LIKE MATHS, SCIENCE AND ACCOUNTING
IN HOCKEY AND SWIMMING YOU MADE THE TOP TEAMS
NO SURPRISE AT ALL THAT SWIMMING COACHES MOVED IN ON THE SCENE.

THEY CULTIVATED YOUR TALENTS FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
EVERY YOUR NIGHT YOUR PASSION SAW YOU DOING MANY LENGTHS
WEEKENDS OF GALA’S AND NATIONAL SWIMMING
S.A.SHORT COURSE, YOUR P.B’S, AND FAIR SHARE OF WINNING
TOGETHER WE CELEBRATED YOUR PLACE IN   W.P. SCHOOL CHAMPS THAT YEAR 
SO PROUD OF OUR BEAUTIFUL SWIMMER ALWAYS AHEAD OF HER PEERS 
.
FIRST YEAR AT UNIVERSITY YOU BECAME SO INDEPENDENT
 STARTING YOUR STUDIES AS A B.Sc. STUDENT
IT WAS ALSO THE YEAR YOU LEARNED TO DRIVE
GOT YOUR LICENSE—DAD SPOILT YOU—NEW CAR—RESPLENDENT


YOUR FAITH AND TRUST IN THE LORD STILL REMAINS FIRM
AS YOU WALK AND GROW SPIRITUALLY DAILY WITH HIM

SO MUCH HAS CHANGED, AND YET SOME THINGS REMAIN
YOU BEAUTY AND TALENTS SO EASILY MAINTAINED
YOUR  LOVE OF SWIMMING AND OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS IN WATER
YOU KNOW WE WILL ALWAYS BE YOUR NO. 1 SUPPORTERS
AND NOW YOU ARE 21, SWEETHEART 
YOUR WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF YOU-- TODAY IS JUST THE START
IT SEEMS LIKE JUST YESTERDAY THAT YOU WERE BORN—
OUR DAUGHTER~LOVES BRIGHT SHINING LIGHT~ WE ADORE
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED IN EVERY WAY 
WISHING YOU GOD’S RICHEST BLESSINGS ON YOUR SPECIAL DAY
HAPPY 21ST BIRTHDAY TO OUR BABY GIRL

TO HAVE YOU AS A DAUGHTER HAS BEEN A REAL PLEASURE
-YOU HAVE AND ALWAYS WILL BE OUR MOST BEAUTIFUL TREASURE-

(FOOTNOTE: OUR DAUGHTER WILL BE 23 THIS YEAR, HAS COMPLETED HER BSc. AND HONOURS DEGREE’S IN PHYSIOLOGY AND GENETICS AND NOW DOING HER MASTERS DEGREE IN EXERCISE SCIENCE. SHE IS ALSO A PROFESSIONAL TRIATHLETE—DOING SWIMMING, CYCLING AND RUNNING AS ONE DISCLIPLINE)

Copyright © Kim van Breda | Year Posted 2013

Long poem by Donal Mahoney | Details

Children Are Why We Need Higher Taxes

Steven is a retired teacher disturbed by the problems he sees in education. Schools weren’t perfect when he was teaching but they were better than they are today. He has ideas for improvements. 

Some of his ideas are new and some have been around awhile. It’s hard to disagree with them. The problem is, they will cost money and that money will have to come from higher taxes. He thinks if we can spend billions on defense, we can afford to spend millions on education. Children’s minds are more important, he says, than missiles and bombs.

The reform of public education begins with getting more parents involved in it. Studies in the Amana colonies in Iowa show high performing students result in part from the support of parents. Involved parents are needed more than ever. Twitter and Facebook, appealing as they are to students, won't teach them the important things about life they need to know. 

In Steven's community, there’s a noticeable lack of parental involvement. Parents will flood a cheerleader tryout but won't attend a back-to-school event after their children are beyond third grade. Teachers try everything to get them to attend and nothing works. It’s always the same, relatively small group of parents who come.

I was surprised to hear him say students must learn their multiplication tables and long division by fourth grade. I assumed most students managed to do that. Apparently not. Many teachers say students won’t do the homework necessary to learn these basic skills.

He also says a pleasure reading time is needed in elementary schools. This would help build reading skills and make reading an avocation. Students need to read something besides what's on their cell phones.

The first three grades, he says, should be dedicated to reading, writing and arithmetic. Again, I had assumed that was the case. Not so. Too many children today become adults without being able to read and do basic math. Being able to write a coherent email can be a challenge for some. Shortcuts used on Twitter aren’t a big help.

Calculators should be banned until the end of the fourth grade, he says. I didn’t know children were using them in grammar school. Eons ago I never saw one in grammar school or high school. You had to do the math in your mind. 

Students must also be taught to spell. Too many of them can’t do that now. Reading a lot and seeing words frequently would help them learn to spell, my friend says.  

I remember spelling bees when I was in grammar school. Boys would stand on one side of the room and girls on the other. By and large the girls were the better spellers. But for me and two other boys, there was competition to be the last boy standing. And sometimes one of us would win. We learned to spell and had a lot of fun.

It’s wrong, my friend says, to allow software on grammar school computers that corrects grammar and spelling. Grammar checks and spell checks do the work for them and students lose an opportunity to learn. 

Civics and American History also need to be emphasized. He remembers having a student in the 9th grade ask him who had the Nazis fought in the Civil War. 

He also recommends that teachers be given supplies to give out to students who need them. Poor students don’t have the money to buy supplies and teachers have to provide them. Too many have to do so out or their own pocket.

Executives in private industry go to lunch and charge it to their employers. Teachers don’t do that. So why not give them access to the supplies their students need. 

My friend knows higher taxes will be needed to do this but says more children will graduate and be prepared to find a good job or further their education. And they in turn will become taxpayers. 

Another of his recommendations would also involve higher taxes. Students should be allowed to eat breakfast at school if they arrive hungry. At some schools this is currently the case. It's important, he says, because too many students don’t eat breakfast at home. 

Poverty is often the reason but sometimes it’s two parents leaving early for work. They assume their children will eat a good breakfast. Not always the case.

It would also help to stop criticizing teachers, Steven says, most of whom do their best to instruct students. Students who come from difficult home environments aren’t easy to teach. 

Some teachers are the most caring adults in the lives of children. They need public support and the money required to get the job done. 

Everything Steven suggests is based on common sense. The problem is, most of his suggestions require that you and I pay higher taxes not only to educate children but to feed those who come to school hungry. 

Since we have to pay taxes for public education, why not pay a little more to do the job right. 

You and I won’t go broke and we won’t go hungry and we’ll still be able to buy a car when we need one. 

Parents of poor students can’t do that. 

When someone must live paycheck to paycheck, it's difficult when the paycheck isn’t big enough. And that is still too often the case in the United States of America. 



Donal Mahoney

Copyright © Donal Mahoney | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Jamie Pan | Details

Storm

The day was fine and sunlit,
Decorated by several clouds 
drifting aimlessly in the radiant ocean-blue sky.
Chorused by gentle puffs of the morning breeze,
Sending leaves on the streets twirling like
ballerinas in a dazzling and mesmerising dance.
and the trees too,
waving their twigs like hands saluting people walking past,
Then the emergency siren suddenly shrieked,
Threatening of a descending storm,
Send us scurrying to safety,
As dark clouds stretched across the horizon
and its shadow slowly devours the daylight,
People around the village stormed like a colony of ants panicking
from the incoming storm,
Busy sand-bagging their houses and boarding up their windows with plywood
To keep them from falling apart.

I was inside my study room,
Huddled beneath the mountain of textbooks piling around me,
Terrified that I may not survive
from whatever’s happening outside,
From the storm clouds swarming over the school,
Unleashing sudden, violent bolts of lightning slashing across the skyline
As the deafening roar of thunder echoed through the village,
And then it came.
Cruel and merciless rain beating down upon us,
An untamed ocean of terror and destruction thrown from the unusually blackened sky
accompanied by the howling of immense hurricane-like wind,
Red blood-like sap spurted from the trees
moaning and groaning in agony
As their limbs were brutally ripped away by the monstrous downpour.
The winds were savage animals screaming at the children
While gnawing and clawing at our houses 
like a pack of hungry wolves
searching for their frightened prey.
Iced daggers stabbed at my feet
As the waterfall gushed through our roof
And knocked me to the floor.
Slowing the pressure eased,
as the rain gradually lessoned,
until finally fading into a charming melody,
Resembling the graceful chimes of bells.

The molten-gold rays peaked out over the mountain-tops
Emerging from behind a peaceful sheet of mist,
Casting slanted beams of light shining across the village.
Fluttering of wings could be heard
as birds erupted from their shelters
followed by an explosion of elegant song.
They sailed majestically over the schoolyard in unison,
Chirping and cheeping through the village’s moat of vast forest
as happy as a newborn penguin.
When I stared toward the golden coin glistening in the brilliant sky,
It appeared to me that the day was fine and sunlit,
Decorated by several clouds
drifting aimlessly in the radiant ocean-blue sky.

WRITER STATEMENT

My poem Storm is an extended metaphor for the emotions around school exams. It is written in three parts: before, during and after the exam. The intended audience is teachers, and the purpose is to elicit sympathy towards students, especially ones who underperform in exams. This poem has a scary mood, featuring the themes of destruction and terror up to the climax when ‘Iced daggers stabbed at my feet/As the waterfall gushed through our roof’. The third stanza used ‘birds’ to metaphorically represent the joyful group of students after the examination. 

Sibilance was used when ‘the emergency siren suddenly shrieked’, with the sharp ‘s’ sound being uncomfortable and shocking to the reader. Sibilance was also used in the previous quote ‘Iced daggers stabbed at my feet’ allowing the reader to picture and feel the uncomfortable and painful scenario of rain ‘gushing’ through the roof like daggers made of ice. The mood intensified at critical points, with similes such as ‘leaves on the streets twirling like ballerinas’. Personification was used in the simile ‘gnawing and clawing at our houses like a pack of hungry wolves’, which exaggerated the wind’s animalistic brutality. An example of vivid auditory imagery is the personification and assonance of the trees that ‘moaned’ and ‘groaned’, which is an unpleasant and painful human sound, strongly appealing to the reader’s empathy. Furthermore, enjambment was used during the second stanza to create an interrupted rhythm. This changed the tone to a more panicked one, engaging the reader in the suspense of the storm. 

Anthropomorphism was used throughout the second stanza, where the storm clouds were accompanied by ‘the deafening roar of thunder’ and throws down upon the village ‘an untamed ocean of terror and destruction’. The use of lending a human element to a non-human subject (eg. Storm) allows the reader to emphasise with the feelings of the ‘villagers’, increases the relativity between the storm and the villagers, and also granting character to the subject (ie. Storm). 

Structurally, the shape of the text varied dramatically (not shown on the site, due to space availability) during the second stanza to represent the calamity and disorder brought by the storm, contrasted with the peace before and after the storm. The poem was also framed by repeating the same three lines at the beginning and end. This engages the reader in the message that no storm lasts forever just like exams. 

06/01/17

Copyright © Jamie Pan | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Dorine R Spruill | Details

Mommy Why

 Molested the first fifteen years of my life. My mother remained silent the whole time. As the molesting continued all those years. Forced to live a pretend life all my childhood. Beaten and punished every other day. For no reason other than being a child. After all this I figured I was a unwanted child. My mother couldn't love me abusing me. She brought me fancy expensive clothes every year. To cover up all her verbal, mental, and physical abuse. She tried to hide me from people, family and friends. So that they wouldn't see the embarrassing scars and bruises. Sometimes so bad I couldn't even go to school the next day. Or I would get into fights or act rude to get a suspension notice. That would have allowed my body to heal. One time I even tried to get ex-spelled. However, it didn't work. I only came home to more beatings. Her boyfriend watched and help hold me down on the floor as she would beat, and beat, and beat. Maybe this gave him a idea that it was ok to abuse me. Being that my mother was already doing it. Yeah! From the outside looking in my childhood was perfect. Every child wanted my seat. Name-brand clothes, shoes, computers, and almost every toy in the Jc Penny catalog. From the inside looking out I was screaming to get out. Scared, alone, abused, and still a child. So there was nothing I could do. I had no brothers or sisters at the time. All my family wouldn't believe me.No! Not him they would say, and did say at age fifteen I started getting older, and more developed. I had to put a stop to this. So after talking to some school friends. I decided to talk to my mother about what was going on.  So later on that night I called my mother in to talk to her. I had told her what had been going on. while she was a work, and out late shopping. She in return asked me  to draw a picture of his *****. As if she didn't believe me on the spot. What! I thought to myself. How could she ask me a thing like that? After one hour she finally called the police. I was brung in also for video questioning. I told them what had been going on  in the house while my mother was away. The police in return asked me "what took so long for me to tell" I replied" I was scared, alone, and threatened. I had no one in the house to protect me. From my mothers abusive ways. I thought people would tease me." The next question was to my mother.  The police asked "How could you live in the same house, and not know that your child was being raped?" My mother sat quietly and had no answer. So she got charged with neglect. My mother's boyfriend got charged with child molestation, and a few other things. I can't remember them all. After all that I was still scared, but finally free. Free to be a kid again.
    Awh, hell the relationship between my mother and I went down the drain. After trial  she hated me even more. Every day she was threatening to kick me out of the house. I was only sixteen so she couldn't just kick me out. Yet! She even got so angry at times. She went as far as not letting me communicate with my newborn brother.  She even told people to keep him away from me. That hurt me so bad everyday. I prayed to God everyday to soften my mother's heart, but it never happened. When I turned eighteen she finally kicked me out the house for real. With no place to go, no money , and no food to eat.  I ended up living with family and friends until she let me back in. I don't know why, but I thought things had changed. About a week after moving she called the police and told them that I was prostituting. Which was a lie. Thank God I didn't spend time in jail. Due to her lies and deceit. I never thought I would have to leave my own mother alone. However, after that incident that was my final decision. Sporadically I call her to hear her voice, and check on my brother. Unfortunately she never answers the phone. Her guilt for abusing me won't let her answer the phone.
    I moved to Albany, NY for a fresh start. A new beginning! There I met  more friends, moved into a brand new apartment, and fell in love. I wasn't expecting to fall in love, but I did. With a adorable, hot, and sexy Italian guy. For the first time my life was great, and I was happy. I even tried some plus size modeling, nursing, and I started self-publishing my writings. I was accomplishing things that my mother never encouraged me to do.
 After about four years I started feeling homesick . So I came back to Virginia. Wow! What destruction was happening. My whole  family fell apart. Nothing or nobody were the same. They all became police property. That was a sign to continue to stay away from them. Continue my happy life. Continue self-publishing my stories. Praying to God everyday. that I remain successful. This is a true story. Unfortunately it happened to me. From a mother who brung me in this world. Only to use and abuse me my whole entire childhood. Then pretend that nothings even going on.

Copyright © Dorine R Spruill | Year Posted 2013

Long poem by Jamie Pan | Details

Storm concrete version

The day was fine and sunlit, Decorated by several clouds drifting 
     aimlessly in the radiant ocean-blue sky. Chorused by gentle 
            puffs of the morning breeze, Sending leaves on the
                streets twirling  like ballerinas in a dazzling and
                     mesmerising dance. and the trees too, 
                           waving their twigs like hands 
                         saluting people walking past,
                    Then the emergency siren
              suddenly shrieked,
      Threatening of a 
       descending storm,
          Send us scurrying
               to safety, As dark
                    clouds stretched
               across the horizon
             and its shadow
          slowly devours 
               the daylight,
                 People around 
                                                  the 
                                                village
                                         stormed
                                            like a colony
                                                   of ants panicking
                                               from the incoming
                                             storm,
                Busy sand-bagging        their houses
                           and boarding        up their windows with
                        plywood To keep         them from falling apart.
                     I was inside my study          room, Huddled beneath
           the mountain of textbooks        piling around me, Terrified
      that I may not survive from       whatever’s happening outside,
 From the storm clouds swarming       over the school, Unleashing
                  sudden, violent bolts of      lightning slashing across the skyline
            As the deafening roar of          thunder echoed through the village,
                   And then it came.     Cruel and merciless rain beating down
                upon us, An untamed     ocean of terror and destruction 
                           thrown from the      unusually blackened sky 
                                    accompanied     by the howling of
                                          immense    hurricane-like wind,
                                               Red    blood-like sap
                                            spurted
                                     from the trees moaning
                              and groaning in agony As their limbs
                    were brutally ripped away by the monstrous downpour.
              The winds were savage animals screaming at the children While    
                         gnawing and clawing at our houses like a  pack
                         of hungry wolves searching for their frightened
                         prey. Iced daggers stabbed at my feet  As   the
                         waterfall gushed through our roof And knocked
                         me to the floor. Slowing the pressure eased, as
                         the rain gradually lessoned, until finally    fading 
                         into a charming melody, Resembling the graceful
                         chimes of bells. The molten-gold rays peaked out
                         over the mountain-tops Emerging from behind a 
                                           peaceful
                                        sheet of mist,
                                  Casting slanted beams
                                of light shining across the
                              village. Fluttering of wings could
                           be heard as birds erupted from their
                        shelters followed by an explosion of elegant
                     song. They sailed majestically over the schoolyard
                 in unison, Chirping and cheeping through the village’s
                 moat of vast forest  as  happy as a newborn penguin.
                   When I stared toward   the golden coin glistening 
                       in the brilliant sky,         It appeared to me 
                         that the day                  was fine and 
                               sunlit                       Decorated
                                                    by
                                                             
                   several
                                                    clouds
               drifting 

                                 aimlessly
                                                                 in
          the 
                     radiant                           ocean-blue
                                                                                     sky.












Copyright © Jamie Pan | Year Posted 2017

Long poem by Robert Candler | Details

The Sooner Recruit

Fifty years, boy and man, I’ve been a Sooners fan;
And watched thousands of recruits try to make my Sooners Team.
Often, I’ve enviously wondered what it must be like
To be a touted Sooners recruit, living out his dream.

He’d had a great career through high school;
Made good grades, was a football star, played baseball too.
Coach said college recruiters were watching closely;
So, he tried his very best to make his dream come true.

You see, he’d played on the L’il Sooners as a kid;
Started getting serious about the game when he was only eight
Played with older, bigger boys and practiced hard;
Always told his friends, “To be a Sooner, ya gotta play great”.

Oh yes, his parents raised a football player;
And, even more important, a Sooners fan;
But he wanted more, to be a Sooner,
To feel the glory raining down from the stands. 

Now, the Sooners’ Head Coach is in his living room.
“Son, you’ve got talent.  We think you fit our scheme.
We’re offering you a scholarship, an opportunity
To be an important member of our great Sooners Team”.

His mother smiles her biggest smile.
His father nods proudly and pats him on the knee.
“Lord knows, son, it’s a dream come true.
Go be the very best Sooner you can be”.

He walks into the locker room,
Not quite sure what to expect;
But sure that to play for the Sooners
He will first have to earn respect.

He looks each man straight in the eye - 
Other recruits, trainers, assistants, and every coach.
“Be proud, but respectful”, his mother had said;
Your character, more than your performance, must be above reproach”.

His handshake is firm and he smiles.
“Only one chance for a first impression”, his father had said;
"Always put yourself in positive light, on and off the field.
That’s what it will take to play for the mighty Big Red”.

He meets so many other recruits, each one a high school star.
He’s played against a few and knows they share his dream.
And, to a man, each knows before any chance for Glory,
He first must prove worthy to play for this Sooners Team.

He knows a few will fail to meet the coaches’ expectations.
For some, the scout team will be their fate.
Many will suit up, but rarely play.
Only the very best will ever dare to be great.

Coach says, “If every man learns and executes when called on,
Then this team, we Sooners, will win a lot of games;
But, win or lose, if you play hard and give your very best,
You’ll never have to hang your heads in shame”.

“But gentlemen, with or without you, this team will win.
Every season, the Sooners strive to win it All.
So, listen, work hard, and prepare yourselves.  Each game is war...
And you must be ready when Victory calls”.

Through grueling practices, he finds himself.
As he walks to class, his closest friends are aches and pains;
But, just the other day, Coach helped him up, smiled, and patted his helmet.
“You’re doin’ fine, son.  Keep pushin’.  Remember, no pain, no gain”.

He sees his name on the "open scrimmage" roster for the very first time.
It’s a moment he’ll never forget, another milestone in his dream.
He calls his Mom and Dad, knowing they’ll tell his family and his friends.
He hopes they’ll actually see him play, proof he’s made the Team.

As he suits up for the last pre-season open scrimmage,
He wonders if the coaches would really let a freshman play at all;
But Coach puts him in for eight plays against the first team;
He makes two great open-field tackles and intercepts the ball.

He barely hears the roar of the crowd, as the whole defense “gives him five”.
He’s so excited, he forgets to ask if he can keep that ball.
Fans are buzzing, “Did you see that hit”!?  “Who is that kid”!?
“Will he red shirt or will Coach let him play this fall”? 

He sees his name in the Sunday paper, hears it on local sports.
He’s happy, but he doesn’t let it go to his head.
He keeps his focus and uses it as motivation.
After all, he wants to start one day for the mighty Big Red.

Yes, we’ll hear more of this young recruit.
Perhaps, one day he’ll be the hero of the game.
A seasoned veteran, maybe All Conference or even All American,
Who’s tasted Victory many times and helped glorify the Sooners’ name.

Oh yes, there have been so many who’ve aspired;
But many fewer who’ve actually made our Sooners Team.
They are our heroes, each and every one;
For it’s through their accomplishments, we fans can live the dream.

Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, and Jason White,
The Selmons, Little Joe, the Boz, Josh Heupel, and “Q”
They, and so many others, were once touted Sooners recruits;
Who set a higher mark and built the Tradition that is OU.

So, c’mon! c’mon! all you great young football players!
Dedicate your talents to OU’s Team and OU’s Fans.
Make Oklahoma’s Owen Field your Field of Dreams,
And feel the Glory raining down from the stands. 

Copyright © Robert Candler | Year Posted 2014

Long poem by Joe Flach | Details

My Conversation With God

I have been praying to God ever since I first understood the concept of a deity.  Although I have struggled through life with my acceptance of and belief in the religion I was force fed as a child, the praying has always stayed with me – on an almost every day basis.  In some way or some form or for some reason, it seems, I find myself praying to a God I am not sure I believe in.

Over the years, some of the things I have prayed for or prayed against have worked out in my favor.  Other things didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped.  So, I wondered, was this proof that my prayers are sometimes answered or simply the law of averages?  It really didn’t matter, I was programed to pray and so pray I do.

This has been going on pretty routinely for over 50 years; so, imagine my surprise when, for the first time last night, God talked back to me!

I may not get this exactly right, but, in essence, this is what He had to say:

(I am not sure what font to type God’s words in, so I will just keep on with the default.)

“Joe, Joe, Joe.  I have been listening to you for all your life.  And, whereas I do enjoy your thoughts; your words; and your sentiments; I find it is time for me to respond.

You really do pray a lot for lots of things.  Mostly good and humane things.  Mostly with a pure and caring heart.  But, son, you need to stop doing so much praying and start doing more stuff on your own.  I am not up here to make your life easier and to do things for you.

When you were young, instead of praying for that bicycle, you should have been doing chores to earn money towards buying it.  You could have cut more lawns, washed more cars, got a paper route, sold lemonade, or many other things other young boys were doing to earn money for the things that they wanted.

When you were in high school and prayed to me to help you do well in your wrestling matches, you should have, instead, been working harder at practice; spent more time on your conditioning; spent more time in the weight room; and studied harder on the art of wrestling.

In college, when you prayed for help on your mid-terms and finals, you should have, instead, spent more time studying and less time partying – I think that is something you already know.

Even when you pray on behalf of others – you should be doing more.

Instead of praying I would help old Mrs. Conner at the end of your street, you should have gotten up off your butt and walked down to the end of the street and looked in on her yourself.  You could have offered to go to the store for her, pick up her prescriptions or simply keep her company in her final years.

When you prayed for me to care for the starving children around the world, you should have been volunteering to help out yourself or donating more money towards this cause.  If you funneled all the money you spent on unnecessary junk food and extra meals you consumed throughout the years towards charities that help feed and clothe the poor, you could have saved many of the children you prayed that I would save.

Instead of praying that I cure your family, friends and acquaintances that you knew were ill or dying, you should have been visiting them in the hospital or writing them letters or providing assistance to their loved ones to help ease their pain.

Prayer is not the vehicle for you to be lazy and yet gain the rewards.  Prayer is not a means to have me do for others what you have the power and ability to do yourself.

I am glad that you talk to me, but you have been granted the ability and means to do so much more by yourself and yet you choose to take the easy way out and pray to me – the God that I know you are confused about.  Please, do me a favor, and before you pray, ask yourself, ‘Have I exhausted all avenues available to me to achieve the result I want God to perform?’ 

If, after you have done everything you can possibly do, then I may be more willing to consider what it is you ask for.

And now, my son, you can wake up.”

I sat up quickly in my bed, sweating and confused.  Was I just dreaming?  Was that really God talking to me?  Then, somewhere from deep inside, either from my conscious or a left-over message from the Almighty Himself, I thought (or heard): “What does it matter?  Whether it was God or not – the message is valid and something I probably already knew.”

“Well,” I said to myself, in prayer, “I will give it my best.  But, is it okay if we still talk?  It kind of helps to give me strength?”

Silence.

I will take that as a, “Yes”.

Copyright © Joe Flach | Year Posted 2012

Long poem by Roy Jerden | Details

Cruisin' the Drag

Sipping cherry limeade, driving in the car parade, 
we're cruising in the Lone Star state.
Didn't want a bucket seat; the thing it couldn't beat, 
was sitting up close to your date.
One hand on the wheel of daddy’s Oldsmobile, 
my arm around my brown-eyed girl,
feeling pretty sporty, radio on Top Forty, 
I was cooler than the Duke of Earl.

The lady of the cruise had her penny loafer shoes; 
her bobby socks were turned down twice.
With a little eyeliner, she couldn't be much finer,
too much and it wouldn't be nice.
There’d be no wild oats under those petticoats;
she’d never go all the way...
just a perfect flip-up 'do and cute look number two
practiced in the mirror all day.

Hear those tires squeal when I make the rubber peel
for the fly-boys waiting on the bus,
to take them to the base where they don't feel out of place,
not cruising like the rest of us.
I was the drag's head honcho as we pulled across the Concho
and we saw the lights along the riverside.
We'd had quite a lark there at Neff's amusement park,
playing Putt-Putt and going on a ride.

The cheerleader squad rode a killer hot rod
with a spinner on every rim,
a perfect tuck and pleat on every single seat,
courtesy of Wanda's Auto Trim.
Candy apple red, it would really knock you dead;
it was a drop-top Pontiac.
One was there to steer and three were in the rear
posing up on the back.

Those football beauty queens in their skin-tight Levi jeans
were followed by their biggest fan.
Checking out those lasses in his Buddy Holly glasses 
was the nerdy little Aqua Velva man.
In his stainless steel braces he grinned up at their faces;
they iced him with a haughty air.
He never would forget it; they would later on regret it
when he became a multi-millionaire.

A four girl bevy in a big finned Chevy 
were riding west on Sherwood Way,
four guys right behind in a pick-up state of mind,
all ready to make their play.
Thought they were the smartest cruising pick-up artists,
but those gals were pretty astute.
When they stopped and the guys started telling all their lies,
the chicks started putting on the cute.

We turned the car around and headed back downtown,
cruising down the boulevard.
Stay cool daddio, bear right at El Patio,
and take it down Beauregard.
There were lots of pleated skirts and those button-down shirts.
The flattops were everywhere galore.
From a Lincoln Continental, we heard an instrumental,
Mister Acker Bilk's “Stranger on the Shore”.

We slowly pulled through BJ’s, listening to the deejay’s 
announcement of the next hit song.
Leaning on their doors with their Brylcreem pompadours,
two hoods were playing Mr. Wrong.
Completing their disguise, they slouched with narrowed eyes
and did their best at looking mean.
With a twist of his pelvis, one was doing Elvis.
The other did a fine James Dean.

Like a sweet potato vine, the bride of Frankenstein 
was entwined around the Marlboro man.
With the passion of their make out, they should have gotten takeout 
and opted for a bigger floor plan.
With her black beehive hair and his fancy western wear,
they were putting on quite an awesome scene.
I had to give a chuckle at his huge silver buckle,
but those M.L. Leddy boots looked mighty keen.

I pulled the Olds on through, and we bid BJ’s adieu,
and I put us back onto the street.
With those four whitewall tires, we made for McIntire's
to get ourselves a bite to eat.
We stopped for some fuel, over near the school,
in those days they came right out to you.
Best place on Earth, ‘cause with a dollar’s worth,
they’d check your oil and clean your window too.

The drive-in, painted green, was quite the social scene
with people mingling car to car.
Everyone was caring; the drinks were all for sharing,
(especially when in a mason jar).
She ate a big banana split, and then left me for a bit
to comfort an old friend not feeling right.
A moment more to linger with that final steak finger,
then I took her home and called that one a night.

That was many years ago, but some things you don’t outgrow,
and I think back to when I was a teen.
When doors were left unlocked, and children safely flocked,
unchaperoned at night on Halloween.
And sometimes at night, when the stars are big and bright,
and I’m deep in a Texas state of mind,
I think of that lass who was in my high school class,
And I wonder if she thinks of me in kind.

August 10, 2012

Copyright © Roy Jerden | Year Posted 2012

Long poem by Corinne Meicher | Details

3:00 am Thoughts

It's 3:00 am and you're still up
You haven't slept in days
But what's the point anymore?
Why shut your eyes and dream of a better life?
Or close them to escape reality?
Why show your underserving self the slightest bit of peace?
Or rest your mind when you know the demons will greet you the moment your eyes flutter open? 
Why even try to shut up your mind for a few hours with silly rest? Even when asleep, your mind will traumatize you, keep you stirring around until you wake up drenched with sweat...or is that tears?
People say you look sleep-deprived. What are you going to tell them? Your favorite tv show was on late last night..
Sure, that'll work
But what will you say when your skin is now an unholy hue of yellow and teachers wonder why you aren't home with a fever?
Oh, just let me tell you
Although those dark circles surrounding your clouded, blood-shut eyes, can make it look as if you got into a fist fight, you don't look strong; because you aren't.
They say eyes are the windows to the soul, and perhaps that's why no one can see you're screaming and trapped inside. Suffocating. Drowning in your own thoughts. Because everyone is so distracted by the the smile plastered upon your face to see that the light and every living morsel has leaked from you.
You can't summon the strength to get out of bed and you can't even raise a finger to take a pill that will make you feel new, make you feel like a mannequin on display for the world. 
You don't understand the use for them. By time they wear off, the voices always come back whispering the truth that everyone refuses to tell you. 
It's 3:00 pm and your friends have invited you out. Together, you all laugh, but the demons still sit on your shoulders and you know that you don't deserve to laugh. Happiness isn't a word in your vocabulary. It's too bad, isn't it? Because you could be happy, you don't have to be the depressing friend. You could be pretty, and have a real smile, but youre addicted to be a certain kind of sadness.
It's funny, isn't it?
It seems months ago you were being criticized for just being too much. 
Sleeping too much
Eating too much
Too dramatic
Too sensitive.
Oh, but now your parents can't even look at you and the moment they sense your presence they tense and look pained.
Because now all you are is a lost soul.
You aren't enough
You don't get enough sleep
You don't eat enough
You are numb, monotoned, and lack qualifications 'normal' humans have.
People joke about how much you zone out and how your sense of style consists of sweaters in summer, but you don't laugh with them.
They pass you and your glazed eyes in the school halls and joke around, muttering "420" down the back of your neck, making sure to keep hush because the worst thing that they can imagine in their life is getting caught by a teacher, but again you don't laugh with them because the glaze that films over your tired eyes is caused from the tears that threaten to spill any second. 
And when it's midnight again, and you're attending a party; already on your 5th vodka. People surround your body, but your soul is no where near. It's far away. Buts it's okay, it isn't the first thing to abandon you. 
And when the cute boy that has been chatting up your worthless self all night, whispers in your ear unintelligible words and leads you down an unfamiliar hallway, you don't resist. 
It's when you pass a mirror and you see a wide grin upon a face you don't feel, a face you can't control, and you don't recognize yourself. That's when you try to pull away, but it's too late and- just like most of the time- you are helpless. 
You are wasted- mentally, physically, and literally, but all you do is pick up another bottle. 
And as your corpse of a body is being taken advantage of, all you can think about is your parents, and your siblings. And you hope your younger brother won't grow up praying to pass in his sleep or by an accident just as you wish upon yourself. You hope he doesn't fall in love with a girl who doesn't reciprocate that feeling. You hope he follows his dream of being a scientist. You hope he has a future...you hope he doesn't turn into you...
How is it someone's arm may be draped around your bare chest, yet you still feel so alone? 
And before you know it, your cheeks are stained with tears and your eyes are rubbed raw.
It's 3:01 am and you're still up

Copyright © Corinne Meicher | Year Posted 2016

Long Poems