and pretend that we still get along,
half-hearted quips and idle chats,
eyes that brush but never gaze.
While sometimes, for a brief suspense,
there was this moment when we spoke
where I looked at you and you at me
and for that moment, we were friends.
But no matter now, we're moving on,
This is about to lose its rhyme
and cover all the darker places,
And anyways, I'll soon be gone.
This one reads the gospel to me -
in the face of every question.
His book of reason, of why's,
but mostly, of why not's.
He's been writing it since he was a child,
you see, and it's a long book -
I think he'll die before he finishes,
before he runs out of excuses and explanations.
And you. I still think of you sometimes, you know?
When we're alone with thoughts of wide spaces
and copper cages of scrollwork.
But I promised that I'd save your tears.
So I do - I won't let them flow.
As long as you get out of that damn grey river
and up the stairs to the great big door.
And please smile at me like that, just once more.
I want a sippy-cup of happiness,
sprinkled with a hinted storm,
A blackened marble stallion
to rear frozen in a dead finesse.
There is something about this other one that waits,
lurking beneath the social ruse,
I've seen the Jaguar's tail
in the broken branches.
A flicker of silky plushed death
padding along softly,
glimmering beneath half-shuttered lids.
Something about him that waits.
It snowed at work today.
105 degrees and it snowed the finest white powder.
They became as fools, caught the flakes on their tongues,
flushed cheeks and white noses -
and long after the snow had fallen they collapsed
like wounded beasts as the poison took its toll.
I just watched, and pitied them.
They called it fun in their madness.
She is screaming again.
Always in the back of my mind, screaming.
But there are no words,
just garbled noises that fade in and out,
as if in a fever, where your hands seem to swell
as you shrink and shrink into the spinning bed and the walls tilt!
S C R E A M I N G A T M E !!!
just around a corner in my mind.
Never, ever, ever enough.... ...hey....
I'll whisper it again. "hey you..."
I wish you could hear me,
so small at your feet -
her arms wave like crazed tentacles
as her eyes bulge cartoonishly, spinning in their sockets.
What a horrid beast your rage has become in my memory cage.
Should I kill it? Would that be kind?
Sometimes, I sit in front of that torrential, murderous howling
and I think it is terrified. And hurt.
We share some tears, for this I have found we have in common,
and then my communion with the beast is over.
I leave it on with its rantings.
Why won't it just die? Poor beast.
Poor memory cage, to have to contain such a thing.
Then there was one, who must never ever be believed,
was stable chaos, my servant and ruler,
She/He/It/They was everything.
The morbid ball of a word lolls about my mouth and chokes.
The emotions are long gone -
burningly spent and buried in a diamond tomb.
But the one was the one, was the hope and understanding,
before I understood.
I gave up my pain, literally passed it on,
and then we hunted. And there was a cold peace.
Nothing would touch me because
he/she/it/they would kill anything on sight.
Did, actually, but no one knows about that.
Perfect lunatics, roaming and running,
and we laughed into the night
like hyenas would sing to a kill.
I was just a child when I saw how to kill
and more importantly, how to let live.
Two wolves and a sheep sat around a table
and voted on what to have for dinner.
Someone said something somewhat like that about Democracy once.
That it must be more than the above.
I think it was Reagan, but no one remembers him now.
I certainly don't, but this guy here does.
He is old and before he can say more, he has passed on.
"What did he just say?"
"I don't know. Who cares?"
Generation gap. Gap? Hah! Trench!
Trenches! That leads me to another thought!
When has art saved a life? Literally, I mean?
I know when. And I knew this artist once whose life was spared
by some charcoal and oil pastels.
But art cursed him as well,
for his life it demanded theirs,
and every brush stroke killed a man.
Or woman. Or child.
Thousands fell in seven years.
He was blessed with the brain rot much later on
and died thinking himself alone.
I share his blood.
But the filthy red pigs made him do it.
You should read the book sometime.
From pigs to swine and pearls and songs...
(And this one is still SCREAMING at me, god!
For years now! Don't you get tired, thing?!)
Things are so empty. Stardust, they say,
are you and I. But what is Stardust made of?
Entropy? But that's just an equation
so that didn't even make sense.
It just rhymed with what would have followed.
(If the dog would not lick so noisily?!
Because I just forgot! Forgot to go to sleep again as well
and I hate that.)
I heard a cicada scream in fear the other night.
Never before would I have thought to hear that tone
in an insect's voice. Yet, incredibly,
when I heard the buzzing outside,
it ripped me out of my book as would the cry of a hurt child.
The experience was stunningly impossible; I had to save it.
I couldn't even control the impulse.
I was possessed, as if someone were beating an infant on my doorstep.
An insect! I hear them every night! Why this one?!
There was something in its tone...
By the time I got outside it was dead.
The black kitten happily munched on the last wing
and I patted him on his stupid little head.
Back to War and Remembrance.
So where do we end this thing,
because by now you must be lost and spinning,
Yet my mind is still hopping, and snapping into place
these random things at such breath-taking pace.
Rhyme and structure, don't even ask.
You're welcome to try and piece it together,
but to me, the chaos is fantastically clever!
Do the rules even matter if the message is clear?
Would you ignore "FIRE!" without "Madam" or "Sir"?
But wait, I forget, this reads more like "scramble"
to anyone not privy to the rubber-ball jumble
upstairs in my attic of skeleton dancers
and bones neither speak, nor divvy out answers.
Your guess is as good as mine, but at least I know what I'm talking about!
Nov-29-2012 -- FOR COHERENCY, SEE TEXT BELOW. --
But really I just threw this up for fun because I really liked it. This is how most of my work starts out before I reign it in a bit and force it to abide by something like coherency. It probably won't make any sense because every couple of stanzas are about a totally different topic, so maybe it would help if I explained a bit.
The first two stanzas are fairly obvious, I think, and revolve around a broken friendship.
The third stanza transitions into the fourth and fifth. "This one reads the gospel to me..." regard a frustrated male person in my life who always seems to carry a book of excuses and denials with him, and throws it in my face every chance he gets. It's basically his "gospel". I don't think he'll ever really change, hence "I think he'll die before he finishes it."
"And you. I still think of you..." The next two stanzas are about my brother who died two years ago, and a dream I had about him a few months ago, where he couldn't get to heaven because he was trapped in a river of our tears. He was in a copper scroll cage in my dream.
"I want a sippy-cup of happiness..." Is partially a quick spit of personal frustration and the want for a challenge with an earned reward in my life.
"There is something.." It then moves on to my work where (this is all in the past now, since it applied when I first wrote this poem) my boss kept hiring drug-users and felons, and one in particular made me uneasy. He was one of those people that, despite their friendly approach and apparent normalcy, you just automatically don't like from day one. I don't know how else to describe it, he literally always felt like a cat hiding in the bushes.
At this point, though the piece has already begun to fall apart, I threw out rhyme and rhythm and just wrote.
"It snowed at work today..." refers to the cocaine that one of the afore-mentioned felons brought in to work and the fact that many of the guys immediately jumped on the opportunity. It was 105 degrees that day, Texas summer, and so of course it amplified the cocaine crash a bit later quite severely. This is a welding shop where I worked, so not the safest place to be around a bunch of coked-up morons. Part of the reason I don't work there anymore.
"She is screaming again." The next three stanzas (not counting the "hey..hey" snippets in the middle as a stanza) jump back into my past to refer to a female figure in my life whose anger has left quite an impression on me, and sometimes haunts me to this day, more from a frustration than fear standpoint.
...ok, continuing with "Two wolves and a sheep.." is a Reagan quote, and the stanza expresses my frustration with the current state of our country, and the ideals it used to represent. Again, WAY off-topic.
This "stanza" (lol, yeah right) talks about my grandfather who was an art teacher, drafted into the military back in WWII, in Europe. He was captured by the Russians and spent seven years as a POW in one of their death camps. They spared his life because he was an artist and, among other things, forced him to paint the symbols on his fellow prisoners' uniforms, whether they would live or die. Many were his friends. He wrote two books about his experiences, but came down with severe Alzheimer's in his later years. Charcoal and oil pastels were his main mediums.
Referring to the Russians by the old term of "red pigs", as he would have called them, made me think of swine, which carried me into the song "I Am The Highway" by Audioslave, which of course begins with "Pearls and Swine, bereft of me.."
From there I babble and what I say is very literal in meaning. My dog woke up at this point and began to lick himself quite noisily, which badly broke my fragile 2AM concentration. I jumped back in with the first thing that popped into my mind, which was the very strange cicada experience the other night. I was reading a WWII series entitled "War and Remembrance" at the time. Kinda' boring by the way, if you're curious.
"So where do we end..." was the point where I had lost enough concentration to give in and conclude this thing. Following with that theme, I reigned the piece back in a bit, though now in a different format than the one it had started in, and even managed to rhyme once or twice. I purposely mentioned the chaotic nature of the entire - what do I even call it, because I don't want to sully the word "poetry" - thing, acknowledging its deep faults, but also pointing out that this was simply the way things were "upstairs" in my mind.
It went from the beginning of an ordered piece into a tumbling explosion of brainstorms and then finally drifted back into some semblance of order.
This is not really up for a technical analysis, unless you're feeling very brave and ambitious. I think it is a bit too far gone for that. I am more curious about general impact and impression, since again,this was mostly just cutting loose on my part.