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Read Poems by Richard Bates

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

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Cake and Hyenas

The desire upper cuts me and I’m a starving Somali teenager with my favorite dessert in reach.  
Dizzy from the smell as only the starving know, it proclaims a vivid freedom from pain. I lament the distance between my hand and the heaven of peace.  Just its presence increases the pain of hunger and I swell into a dream of plenty for me.  I think of all the analogies that would build a luscious poem until a twist of spirit dams me.  Suddenly, moments shift the craving into a repulsion and suddenly I’m little girl alone.  The danger of night is clear and the heckle of hyenas approach as I walk weaponless.  The i hear the shuffle of feet in the sands around me, imbuing hopelessness.  I walk, resisting the inevitable- optionless and loneliness overcomes me.  It’s all feelings, but to say that is to make it a grain of sand as I pace in the desert.       Suddenly, I’m just another poet with no analogy good enough for this string of happenings. Suddenly, angels become demons and i’m left in a prison built out of denial. I try to reach for the cake again but it’s not there.  It was a tease of the imagination. The shuffling gets louder and the shadows of shapes appear within the black.  Finally, anxiety forces in writer’s block and good analogies are far far away.  Suddenly, I’m left in a torture that stands at a podium and taps the Mic.  It plainly states, “until you get into action, this is all you’ll ever get to feel.  So just transition.”  Suddenly, a crowd roars in agreement and I’m left to feel the shame of unconquered fear  In front of a room full of strangers that ignore the call of the cake and the nearing hyenas.


Copyright © Richard Bates | Year Posted 2017

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