This one’s another collaboration between myself and @MeeJong. I wrote the first stanza, then we alternated:
When we were kids,
the simplicity was an open sky,
the days were for playing,
finding diamonds in the sand;
the nights were for chasing fireflies,
and the monsters under our beds
could be defeated by a hug,
a kiss, and a prayer.
When we were kids,
the simplicity was an open mind,
the days were for wondering,
finding dimensions in empty land;
the nights were for chasing dreams,
with warm pillows under our heads
and morning brought light,
a kiss, and breakfast.
The years went by
bringing falling leaves and snow,
and the nightmares started to show;
the bullies and heartbreakers,
cheaters and drug dealers,
and the dreams were stretched thin,
stolen and broken,
as reality dropped like a thumping beat.
I slid through shadows
afraid someone would notice me,
afraid no one would;
the nerds or popular kids,
jocks or stoners,
and attention felt like spiders on my skin,
itchy and wrong,
as reality faded into a backdrop.
I started looking for attention
on stages where I could show off talents
like fancy clothes and jewelry
draped over a skeleton or a zombie;
the reality was that true connection
was hard and rare,
like the questing beast, the white stag,
but I could pretend through alcohol and performance.
The years went by
bringing love and loss in tow,
and the recklessness did grow;
the lost nights and brutal mornings,
guilt and shame,
and the dreams were nowhere in sight,
discarded and forgotten,
but I could pretend through alcohol and performance.
I spent time filling in the map in my mind
with Colorado mountains and Utah deserts,
hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing,
finding peace beneath the Milky Way,
loneliness in a Mexico parking lot,
beads, sex, and insanity at Mardi Gras,
crazy love back in Baltimore
in the blazing white night.
I spent time running from myself
East Coast to West Coast,
Army, homelessness, exotic dancing,
following boys around the country,
loneliness in a sea of people,
drinking, sex, and insanity in Anderson,
regrouping back in Baltimore
in the unstable stable.
I chased women through the bars,
blacked out for crazy drives home,
played dazed in rock bands,
read poetry out to the masses,
drenched my nights in seas of dirty martinis,
and everything came to a screeching halt
after I tried to run a cop off the road
and ended up hung over in central booking.
I ran home drunk from the bars,
blacked out and woke in random places,
jumped on random strangers’ motorcycles,
read poetry in small places,
drowned my youth in vodka and gin,
until I blacked out at a club
and woke-up in the hospital
warned they almost had to put me on life support.
When I came through, I found wild love
that ended in an explosion of silence.
I filled the space with dates like shuffling cards,
and settled on a sure thing, started a family
with four beautiful kids and church on Sundays.
When the sure thing ended, I was left wondering
if I’m just another wandering soul
who tried to fence himself in.
When I came through, I found solid love
that crumbled into an angry silence.
I navigated the Mexican standoff,
and my ground was stolen from under me
two beautiful kids a few buses and a train ride away.
When they moved back to town, I was left wondering
how I can escape the scars
of my broken family.
In the aftermath,
as I started to rebuild,
I search for salvageable parts,
pieces I can keep and new horizons;
I’ll always have God, the four beautiful kids,
my poetry and fiction, my music,
and there’s an amazing new connection
that actually isn’t so new.
In the aftermath,
as I scale mountains,
and crawl out of ravines,
I pray mostly for sanity;
grateful for the life I’ve lead,
even all the tears I’ve shed,
the people, places and things,
the way that my heart still sings.
So grateful too,
For writing, and for you.
Beauty in the Struggle
I still don't know how to hold you properly, these hands of mine are always used to touching art, beauty, and a love like yours. I want you to be good. I need you to be okay with how much you've already accomplished. Do not belittle yourself nor discredit everything that's brought you here. A place you never thought you would ever be able to make it to. There's always beauty in the struggle, there's always gold to find in the broken parts of life. The hurt you carry and feel are not yours to carry alone. I know how it feels to be alone and grieve with a wounded animal living inside you, and all it does is scream. I will never change any part of you. You no longer have to sit in an empty grave, waiting on everything you love to catch up and join you. Live now while the sun is still fresh and the moon still has shine in your name.
As the cat purred and swatted his paw through her tears
She attempted to swallow the child she'd been, but it caught as a lump in her throat; as an innocent cluster of endings within an amalgam of startings unwrote. All the carnage she'd skid on and trudged by unscathed... All the flocks she'd have tended; the wounds time had bathed. All the filth that had built up in matters of grey; in her brain, on her conscience; intentions to stay lost and wild within her pet pit of despair...
For that child... sweet child... sweet child of sin.
All the things we've now done...
....All the creatures we've been.
There’s a Weight On My Back
I carry my fat on my back.
My chonk and my rolls and my heft.
I carry the things I feel a need to hide.
I carry my gender and sexuality, my desires and opinions, my fears and the spools of webbed threads of thought thought thought thought thought.
They ramble on and jiggle on weighing heavy on me and I cannot entertain them, most times.
It was, as with every other, from my young self that I began to feel shame.
Shame over the things that I simply was and simply am.
So I zipped them up in a little backpack and tried to pretend that they didn't matter to anyone, nor me, tried to pretend they weren't there.
Shame became fear.
I loathed my backpack, hiding it away as deep into my heavy chest as I could possibly bear.
I carried it everywhere I went, of course, these are not things you can throw away but I wanted it all gone for a time.
But then I grew.
I still grow but it matters all the more that I've come to where I am now.
Because see, fear turned to anger.
And not anger at myself, not anymore.
An anger at the world.
A world that has made me feel I should not be too loud, too big, too heavy, too self-helping, too confident
A world that has made me shut down and quiet myself and hide away in as many shadows as I could possibly find until every dark knook and cranny knew my name by heart
I've spent so many years of my time on earth hiding things away in my backpack
So you can understand why I felt so proud of myself when I declared to myself that maybe I can be fat and be beautiful
You can understand I felt pride when I told my parents I was a bisexual with reckless abandon, sparked by my rage at the homophobia in the world
I've spent so long trying to categorise myself into mental illnesses, into right and wrong, into this is what I should do and it doesn't matter what I want to do
I have spent so many years not being me, whoever that may be..
My backpack is a little lighter of load now,
Much more than it was back then.
There's a while to go but
I have hope
That some day
This weight will slip off my back
My wings will grow again, roaring and big and beautiful and rainbow-hued and rearing for flight
Holding my Breath
I've been holding my breath since you have left, hoping our ways would change knowing nothing goes back in the same place, once love rearranges your heart. Stuck here for days and nights, imagining a disaster flowing in. I have empty hands, but holding a weapon nonetheless. Running down dirt roads and Open Fields full of rivers and recreational dreaming. A virginity was lost, watching Jesus drown in waters beside us all. This mind of mine is my coffin, I'm only alive once I'm inside it. Afraid to leave anything behind. A magician who hid his entire life before you showed me the greatest trick of all. Learning from you how to fly into the sun, eating my way through eating until I'm full, alive; steadily starving hauntingly existing by your side until the end.
Does It Really Mean Anything
The opening line to an old ditty, "Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall, ninety-nine bottles of beer, you take one down, and pass it around..."
My question is, why do we have beer on the wall where it stays warm? That's one reason a refridgerator was built.
Nine plus nine equals eighteen. Can you remember what you did at eighteen? I can, but it isn't a pretty tale to tell.
Then there are nine times nine equals eighty-one. For those who can or are able to remember the dance created back in nineteen-sixty-four by Candy and the Kisses. Looking back, that dance was weird.
I won't give a long look on 1919, 1929 and so forth until we get to 1990 to 1999. Ninety-nine ruled that decade.
Then there is the ninety-nine upside down called Route 66. Okay, so that was a stretch. but could you imagine if it were reversed just how many drivers would be looking for Route 66?
Then there is the ninety-nine, I may or may not reach come my birthday. That's still a good twenty-four years away.
Now this, I found online by accident. The number ninety-nine is frequently displayed on television and mobile devices. According to numerology, your life takes on a new meaning when you relate to this number. This number denotes enlightenment and progress in one's spiritual life. It's a gift from the angels, and if you can receive it, you can count yourself among the fortunate.
But make no mistake, the luckiest number in the universe is still seven.
On a side note, if you take the time to count all the words including the title, you will find it comes out to two-hundred and ninety-nine words.
Fancy that action. now, isn't that grand?
Helloooo, Mr. Wilson!
People being people, and unable to leave anything alone, “they” have put a fountain in our pond.
It is a beautiful little pond that I have written about before. When I sit to write it is directly outside my window; 10 or so acres, spring fed, an overflow creek on the far side. The people who owned the land before it was “suburbanized” stocked the pond with perch, bass (some of which are as long as my forearm), and other fish that are too smart to ever get pulled out. One such of that sort are a dozen or so carp that Pooky-Bear bought and had me unnaturally introduce because some guy at work told her they would eat algae and help keep the pond clean. Well, the pond is no cleaner. The surface does manufacture a thin layer of algae in the hottest times of summer, but despite the fact that those carp have grown two feet long now, the pond still gathers about the same amount of algae every year. As a boy will acquire dirt in summer, I suppose algae is part of being a pond. I like the carp though. They really have gotten huge, and will occasionally surface, rolling in the sun, their fins raised like sharks. If you startle them they turn with such power that you would think someone had thrown in a cinder block. They will not bite a line, but I see them, and sometimes the predator in me is tempted to get a bow and arrow, but I do not. Pook is touchy about her animals. That might not play well.
For several years there were two Swedish Blues on the pond, domestic ducks, easily spotted amongst the mallards and gadwalls by their larger size. Now there is only one. Pook put them in, too (or should I say had me do it). Occasionally one would disappear and Pook would have to drive to what we refer to as “Duck Holler” to purchase another for company, but I finally convinced her to stop. The one seems happy enough swimming with the wood-ducks mallards, and not at all lonesome.
There is a Great Blue Heron who fishes constantly, even under the midnight moonlight, and who drives away other invasive blue herons and egrets. Their slow motion, airborne battles are amazing to watch as they drift over the pond in pursuit of one another like giant kites, and then there are smaller green herons who watch it all disinterestedly. There is a kingfisher who also watches from the surrounding branches, chit-chit-chitting at them as they swoosh by as though he were manning a machine gun. There is a red-shouldered hawk hunting frogs and snakes, and an osprey who dives after turtles, or perch, and there is a pair of owls who take over for them at night.
Deer come for the corn that Pooky puts out for her duck, along with skunks, possum, raccoons, and muskrats. Even the turtles, some twenty pounders, venture from the water for a nibble of corn. It all happened outside my window as I type, only now there is only a fountain.
The fountain is three days old, and isn’t really pretty. It is too small for the size of the pond, and is too near the south end. It has an angry roar that bellows below it’s cascading water, which I imagine frightens the fish. There have been no wild ducks since it was installed, and I have not seen the heron. The deer still come because they must, but even the young fishermen seem to have been at least temporarily discouraged by the new monstrosity. I have considered complaining, but assume mine would be the lone dissenting voice, as the others around the pond have probably never even noticed the osprey diving on a grey, gloomy morn, or heard a carp turn in the darkest of night. They have never stood on the porch at three in the morning and watched as the blue heron, shadowed by moonlight, pulls a fish from the inky shoreline and dooms it down an outstretched neck. No, they probably think the fountain pretty.
But I am not the type to stand idly by, so I have convinced my dog, General Sherman, to run for President of the neighborhood Home Owner’s Association. He is the only one who could win, as he is insanely popular, while I am notoriously stand-offish, and Pook too demanding.
Unfortunately The General has not shown much interest in the fountain one way or the other, as there is a pretty new doodle-dog across the pond who has caught his eye. It may seem shallow, but I think I will follow his lead. A fountain is a small thing in the grand scheme, and there are bigger worries, as I now see that the neighbors have bought kayaks for their young boys… ugh.
Singing lullabies of hope, while exhaling breaths of tranquility she treasures us with her placidness, anointed with her effervescent aroma. Discharging or inner anguish with her being a slave of abandonment, allowing us to see her chrism of relief extinguishing our affliction. Seducing humility's offering with the grace of a sacred angel, leading us all with her unison a perpetual adherence for love.
Neon blonde temptress doom scrolling dual
GLASS cyberspace, shocked tectonic dance floor
Pulsing each shade of her lips, transparent
Glazed raincoat flutters idle, flaring rose
Blush from digital hookups, electric
Blue interface floats ethereal, flesh
Frozen in barren landscapes, frenzied stupor
Anchors her across aurora afterlife
Awaiting hollow suitors in cryptic
Coded chainmail, nebulous kisses, star
Studded specular simulacrum of
Shakespearean thrills, famished beauty howls
Moonbeam lashes blind charming pale haze, gem
Optics oscillate upgraded opulence,
Viscous wine red plasma swirled like strawberry
Ice cream, twirls toward glassy crystal abyss,
Her gentle hips turning beneath comet
Shower infinite, gleaming chest pumped by
Visions and steel implants, glacial veins move
Volcanic sips of spiraling plasma,
Each step taken blindfolded, false prophet
Enticing every entity, John C.
Crooning silently on cherry leather
Throne, sipping frosty spiked latte, off she
Taps pink striped heels, glitch pop vacating masses,
Orange fleshed marveless smiles Cowell's way,
His cyber V.I.P tower, judging
Noble peasants, torrent synths blast as she
Bathes in Eden's darkness, club atmosphere
A hall of mirrors for Wonderland romantics,
John fantasizes her and him on hill
Sides and champagne skyscrapers, Ferris wheel
Talks, riverside jazz splashing from copper
Hi-hats, candy cane Christmas, peppermint
Passion, back to Historia Cowell
Travels, hypnotic like black and white spirals,
Looping symphonics sync with her fluid
Dance, Aims snaps Cowell's gaze towards smoky
Booth, blue haired Melody takes Arthur's order,
Icee raspberry rum, hints of her vanilla
Perfume pervade arctic LED aura
Arthur worn from wanderlust, slushy drink
Flares frigid fingertips, Legion brutes pound
City concrete, chanting for more microchips
And plasma to engorge, GLASSSCAPE moves her
Quick, John sees his archangel slipping away,
Static steps louder than brute chants, wanting
Every material known, shutting down
Sectors to be heard from Pink City excess
To Gaul Height's modern Grecian fused elegance,
She was an infection sprawling through his
Merciless enterprises, kids shipped to
Domes west, families cut and diced, some
Cowell cared for, others not so much, social
Realms shattered once the pacific was lost,
Aims slid the empty turquoise acrylic
Cup to the edge of the mahogany
Table, John stood up knowing that it was
Time to return to patrolling Historia,
He looked around once more for her hoping
Particles kept her floating in Eden
Just a little longer, no matter, these
Fiends come and go, not one new, all just reruns.
Twisted off your Ribcage
One day, this true love I have for you will make the Earth and you shake. Finding my place, tide twisted off to your rib cage. Your scars lie within me. Fighting my entire life to find you, dying to keep you safe. I hope others remember me, knowing I write of you with a smile, when I knew you were falling apart where you stood. There are no lies between these lines I write for you only. May your hands hold flowers you deserve. Mostly may your smile bring back those who have gone mad for a life they forgot how to live.