After a while…we went out in the rain
It’s the place we live
A place of treachery
A place of trembling hope
A place where centuries of salty tears
Have cried the oceans high
Where the pines, the redwoods, and the oaks
Have fled high to the skies-learning from their earthly mistakes
I want to know it all
But I know I never will
And I want to feel strong
But a feeble human existence can never fulfill
And when the thorn pricks
That’s when I’ll feel pain
But to the pain I feel when I lose you
Every few months-it is nothing
You were here on the first day
And we know— and He knows
You wont be here for the last
But I hope you will be, for the talks in between
We don’t really talk about it
Instead we talk to talk intelligently
And I like that
And you like that
And that is why we’re the same
I wonder when I’ll have faith
Perhaps, when you have faith
Have faith in me and have trust in my words
Sorrys spread themselves wide-too wide
With every rise of the sun and turn of the tide
Despite the try, despite a determination of independence
They are taken
I worry I lack some sympathy
For I did not cry the day I heard
But you do not cry on the days you die
And you die for quite a few of them
Do you know who knows?
Or do you not care
Does it matter?
For me, it does, and you know, and he knows, and she knows
I scoffed the day I heard you believed
I laughed that I figured you a man of reason
You said you could be both
I still scoff
When I shall count the stars
When I shall breathe evenly
When I shall free the butterflies from the pits of me
That’s when I shall-when I shall free you of the blame
I know you deny it
And you may right not deserve it
But when I’ve read of all the little live things
We too, will be alive
Do you count your lucky stars
Or do you rest assured
I call the arrogance a bluff
I call it today-for tomorrow
The blanket of grey
Which comforts me so nicely
Will always remain a compliment
A compliment, remembered, and not deserved
It’s a humbling experience to realize
Not one idea you will think
Will ever be
And it’s a disappointment to realize
Ideas of others
You will never even think
In that I call injustice
But no one will make it just
And I will rest aside
Quiet… less than robust
My existence is frightening
So is yours
So is his, so is hers
Though arrogance makes for a fantastic façade
And we’re all incredibly concerned
That today will be lost before we have achieved something—anything
Yet too distracted by tomorrow
We fulfill the prophecy, and yes, we lose today
Pride is a thing to tussle with
I want to be proud, but more so, I want you to be proud
We’ve been told to not be so proud
To be humble and oh so very honest
Though those before me have proved, time, time again
That to be anyone and to get anywhere,
Humility just won’t do
And that’s the juxtaposition I live
The contradiction I’ll never escape
How to make it all of worth
While upholding a worth of self
Your mood changes with the moon
And I try not to mind
For I know that mine
Is as steady as the tides-not very
*Her pillow covering all of my face*
Her tears suffocating me.
They won’t let me breathe.
Her pillow covering all of my face.
The more she tries to pull me out the more I sink into a worse place.
How everything started to get so morose in some robust planet in space.
Where I always took my time to enjoy my one and only grace.
Her pillow covering all of my face.
So I can inhale all her tears from last night’s race.
So I can enjoy the silence of our heartbeats.
*Will it get better by any chance?*
*Or any change?*
*Will we be able to embrace?*
To watch her shutting down my full-of-blood face in one glance.
The sacred geometry of chance.
To watch her draw in silver then lick her sorrow as it turns red.
When my veins eventually got the chance to meet their soul mates.
When I got the chance to finally appreciate.
Appreciate the ray that is running towards me screaming love when we both know it’s full of hate.
Never thought she’d be hiding from me the key to my fancy world’s gate.
Her pillow covering all of my face.
Inhaling her tears.
But I always enjoyed shutting her mouth while listening to her innocent screams.
Then with one glance she was able to read my mind.
She knew it.
That If I died today.
Lots of aliens would be at my funeral.
And she’d tell them about the joyful memories she shared with me.
You know what sucks?
Read it all over again.
Read it all over again with some serenity.
Read it with some dignity.
*Sweaty rusty bed sheets covering her chopped body.*
*Fifty stitches all over her skin.*
But her wide bright eyes will fix the whole picture and make it full of mildness and flaccidity.
Then her screams again teasing my ears and starting up the electricity.
Running through my veins getting me thirsty craving for more intensity.
And if I could.
I’d replace my ink with her blood.
Because I needed my papers to bloom.
Turn it into a meadow on the shape of her eyes.
All of a sudden.
Woke up with nothing to look at other than the bathroom tiles.
Nausea, revulsion, disgust and repugnance.
With nothing to shorten the distance.
Until my eyes started screaming for more of my addictive substance.
Got me into watching a huge fight between romance and brilliance.
Smudge my face with her blood and tears.
While all what were flashing before my eyes are the past four years.
Cutting my head open to enjoy the brainwash until something got me to calm down and bear.
A cup of our old cold drink.
Pouring it inside her lungs to drink it happily.
Then after I was done she smiled then spoke through my mind.
That gave me a new brain and a new key that I should’ve tried.
Went fine until I found the huge gate with no lock in it.
The bus stop that I wouldn’t want to leave.
Cause my tears won’t.
How will I do such a thing when I can get it all in one night even if I could hold it in for two months?
I’d blast myself to keep my veins full of that drug.
To keep my life full of that love.
To save me from her devil.
A construction of a maniac if you would have looked at it from a different aspect.
*A sick puppy stabbed in the face with a flower.*
A sign of loneliness strikes again.
But I forgot my shoes at the mountain while rethinking my future.
Dreams versus nightmares.
And the winner was her.
Orange and grey is all I can remember.
A beautiful abounded house.
I’d lick her fear within a second.
Eat her up then vomit all of my internal organs to build a wonderful cycle of admired calmness.
Feeding the sad freak.
Hiding in the very first place that people will find love at.
The arbitrator behind all my happiness.
Dances for a while and then disappears again.
Light and awareness.
She’s the aliveness and energy controlling every apparent motion inside me and all motion in my mind’s motion and all mind is her mind.
And all my thoughts and actions are licensed by her.
Empowered out of me and returned to her.
She’s the correct consciousness of my mind.
Everything I see.
Do or know is enabled out of me.
It is my mind and my being in use.
To end up falling from the furthest planet into the lowest ground.
To end up where I can never be found.
With her pillow covering all of my face.
She longs for his presence
To be able to hold him in her arms
One more time.
She’ll never tell him how she feels
She longs to hear the sound of his voice
The way his hazel eyes brighten up when he talks
About something he loves.
How his smile can make her day
The way he isn’t capable of doing simple tricks
Although he has been practicing long enough
She loves everything there is
To love about him
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The Banyan Tree (A Tribute to Sally)
by Nat Lipstadt
I am a man, grandfather to four.
Adherent to the same religion,
Breathing through mine eyes,
Exhaling carbon words,
That with time and pressure become
Poems, verbal musical notes upon life.
Each motion, from tiny to grand,
A capsule of expression,
That if examined under microscope,
Familial DNA, interconnected tissue,
Discovered, tho logic says,
Time and distance render impossible.
But this is a diamond
This is a writ to be slipped
Upon the finger, the heart, the essence,
Of the only Banyan tree I have hugged.
This poem but a fig,
In the cracks of kindness,
The crevices of caring,
It has slow germinated.
You dear, Sally,
A building upon I can lean,
When wearied spirits uproot
My surficial composure.
Your seeds carried from east to west,
By a fig wasp, a bird unknown,
An ocean voyager, of indisputable vision, strength.
This seeded messenger, word carrier,
Supplanted in me, and your pupils,
Whose very names breathe poems,
in others too, like me and Atu,
Seeds to become new roots, but you,
Our Host official and forever
Planter of trees of loving kindness.
You already know with love and affection,
I call you Grandma Sally,
And when you ask, beseech,
I cannot refuse.
Together we will will banish the sad,
Acknowledge we, that life’s ocean,
A mixture of many, even sad, a necessity.
But I promise that will turn it into
Something simple, something good.
For you have asked and I answer you
Right here right now - your wish,
My objective, deep rooted like you,
Like an old banyan tree,
Your roots spread far, spread wide.
So some eve, when to the beach, to the sky
You glance, smile, no matter what, troubles dispersed,
For the reflection of you, seeds, full fledged trees now,
Bending skywards, in search of your rays of expression,
Your maternal wisdom rooted, spread so wide, globally,
All over this Earth, is visible from your
**In her own words..
I am a widow,
with five remarkable granddaughters….
all beautiful, intelligent girls.
It is such a waste not to write….
each morning that unfolds is filled
with things to write about….
the people, the birds,
the trees, the wind,
everything we set our eyes on,
they are all
poetry in motion.
Life itself is poetry,
I always have pen and paper within reach.
My past experiences are a
of ideas and words for my poems….
I shall write until time permits me,
"til there’s breath within me."**
A banyan (also banian) is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte (a plant growing on another plant) when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree (or on structures like buildings and bridges). “Banyan” often refers specifically to the Indian banyan or Ficus benghalensis, the national tree of India, though the term has been generalized to include all figs that share a characteristic life cycle…
Like other fig species (which includes the common edible fig Ficus carica), banyans have unique fruit structures and are dependent on fig wasps for reproduction. The seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating birds. The seeds germinate and send down roots towards the ground.
The leaves of the banyan tree are large, leathery, glossy green and elliptical in shape. Like most fig-trees, the leaf bud is covered by two large scales. As the leaf develops the scales fall. Young leaves have an attractive reddish tinge.
Older banyan trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots that grow into thick woody trunks which, with age, can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. The original support tree can sometimes die, so that the banyan becomes a “columnar tree” with a hollow central core. Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area.
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Caught between empty sheets
by James Mellin
I can fake a smile.
I can pretend that I’m okay ….
but I’m only in denial.
My hearts been chained I’ve been imprisoned by shame..
I’m fine F for forsaken
I for insecure
N for neurotic
and E for EMPTY.
A few more fags
a couple more beers
and I’ll be able to ignore my pain till Tomorrow
that doesn’t change the fact that I’m Hollow.
Caught between empty sheets I lie
awake and think of a way so I can
drown in your tranquil eyes..
The grass will never be greener my heartstrings
tug at a brighter tomorrow.
A few more lonely nights a couple more mind numbing days
and I just might live to see the light without its enemy, sorrow.
Tears run down my cheek today my dear but I’ll never blame
maybe tomorrow I’ll learn to live without the pain….
Caught between empty sheets the monsters inside my mind
will surely haunt me ,the more the better all
I have to do is understand your honest letter…
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by Star T64
**bildings in roowins
I rite with brokin-hand**
it is the year of the unlord-tyms 2085
and skool hadbin abolishd since fyv decades
evrything in disrepair -
no hospitills no parks
no creche no greens
all grey and dark
now here I lie amid the rubble
I see they took my legs for under-market
what else did they take?
the last I’d eaten was 2 days on
a chunk of hard-bread whose colour would turn envy in its boots
with artifishal-milk whose curdled smile greeted the back of my arid existence
damn bastarrrrrrds! they put me under, sawed off my legs
left me hobbling with jagged wounds and smirk-pain like hot-rods searing my brand-new stubs
elementary-bandage of an old sheet torn into strips…
wait, I must use this anger as fuel to get me going
she told me so
many, many times..
*(I can remember my mother reading to me
reciting from her memory
they had burnt evry-single-book Man had ever known
My eyes have never been graced with a book
she tort me words with stick in sand
and counting with stones
and there were many stones
she fed me poetry when there was little else to eat
with fainting-body and starving-belly
my mind took pleasure in her ultimate-care
she told me of a time when childrin took poor-interest
in the blessings of a book.. wen their minds were swallowed wholemeal by what they called media, I think
when they were not saddled with the worry of their next meal’s magical-appearance
(I can spell ‘their’ at least, yes.. she made sure I knew the difference)
the only pictures I saw were the ones she drew for me
in the volcanic beach-sand when we ran away from the parasitic-city
I knew nothing of the world but what I saw around me
- decay, decay, decay
until she brought me colour - rite into the hart of me -
blooms that hurt at first, so bright and giving
that it saturated every molecule in my parched-centre
and I became a rainbow-suffused capsule in a otherwise drab-society
such wonder she spoke with open-eyes and loving-tones
and I also remember.. the day they took her..
I remember.. too much)*
I crawl forward like a snake in the .. wait, *what was that expreshin again*?
I’ll think later when I find a place to harbour my broken-body
thought is a luxury here
thers a horrible smoke in the air
stings me so
and I miss her so
I have nobody left
but I cannot feel forsaken, as so many do
and succumb to self-pity
she made sure my armour grew
from the inside.. first
and I took it with disbelief painted on my face
the things she told me about..
*I cannot believe there once were -
green fields and trees with chirping birds
a blue sky
blue? not possible
I’ve never seen a blue sky
I think she was being kind to paint me portraits of psychedelia
to entertain and distract me
from the horror of our lives
I heard tales of things called flowers - daisies and things
like vegetables and fruit
it seemed funny to me - little beings in the ground,
standing rooted, awaiting harvest-hands
just for people??
no.. such depth of kindness I can hardly imagine
for we have had only **hard**-earth.. most concreted
and drank only brack-water from collapsing pipes
no, an unforgiving-scene is all I know
she is so kind to feed me such fantasy-tales of deep-imaginashin
pity she could not tell any others
for any tenth-of-a-whisper of this to any wrong-ear
and her head would roll
in the gutter.. where we lived in contest with rats
she could only rally my mind and relay things which would die with her
things that she bequeaths
what will I do with it? this legacy of forgotten-paradise..
what can I do? this wonder-clad heresy..
I now know thers a way out these city walls
ther is a life beyond
with valleys and rivers and salty-seas
I must try to find a river
she told of oceans which live - which heave and swell and move!
she said these things too .. they exist
what quaint-things, indeed
oh, for dreems..
but now, I must off the streets
for a **double**-darkness has begun to fall
when red-eyes will scour the streets for scraps of flesh
anything is worth a barter
even a dead-man in a lane whose eyeballs are gone
harshly-hacked out living - by a previous-visitor
becomes a piece of currency for seekers of the dark
I don’t know what they’ve done to her.. or where she is now..
yet, she always said - keep moving
for blue-sky and flowing-rivers and yellow-flowers..
I wonder if it’s real
I do believ her - I must)*
now I scrape on in haste into a darkening-alley
towards a derelict-bilding
whose sinister-interior is the only welcome it can afford me
I have little choice
no time for sentiment
plus, I feel a fever coming (perhaps **this** is all the dreem.. and she is the only-flower I know)
the night-Rats will come out soon
and I hate their stink
it doesn’t help I leave a trail of blood..
only hoap lives
as I rite on with brokin-hand
onto the back-pages.. of my mind**
S T - 5 octoblah
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by Pvnda X
i miss you. even though i’ve never met you, i can still feel your energy from a thousand miles away.
a face that can make men go to war for you. your smile makes time move slow, everything in the world makes sense. i find comfort in your love and warmth in your presence.
lover. i fell in love with your words, everything you uttered was. beauty personified in words. that deep energetic vibe from your soul makes me want to dance in your. elegance.
i fell in love with your mind, and i fell deep within your subconscious. a trance i was in. you’re my intellectual crush. you had me on my knees, you had me intellectually lovin’ you.
i had a dream we were both dancing to Eros’ beautiful rhythm. nothing makes me stronger than your fragile heart, baby don’t think im out to hurt you. not my intention.
i fell in love with you and i never knew. falling in love with you was never my plan. but i guess it was God’s plan. we’ll never know.
even though we’ve never met. i can still remember the sound of your heartbeat, your voice so sweet like the heavens. and your movement so graceful. graceful. you’re like a Raven - innocent, beautiful, sweet.
my heart just skipped a beat.
beautiful soul. speak to me. i saw the beauty of life through you, beautiful soul. and even though we’ve never met, lover. i miss you.
you got a lotta soul, lady. that’s beautiful.
all i wanna do is admire your beauty from a distance because im afraid if i touch you. my flesh will be tempted to do all that is regarded. earthly.
i’ll prolly luh you fo’eva. let me escape through you in thought. beautiful lover. beautiful soul.
"touch me with your mind. hands are overrated & ‘soul’ is overused."
the closest stranger i’ve never met. i became more with you. your lips i will kiss, your hips i will hold, and your love i will embrace. you have my heart. you have the key to my heart.
and the more i think of you, i miss you. even though we’ve never met, beautiful lover.
our hearts are interlocked in deep conversation. thoughts & feelings in graceful motion, love never known.
i saw us dancing under the moonlight. you wore a silk white dress with Queen Elizabeth’s crown upon your head. and me, just a man wearing a white suit with a purple rose in his chest pocket.
and we danced in the cosmos, the stars were watching us - the sun and the moon were playing music only heard in the heavens.
dear lover. beautiful lover. beautiful soul. i love you. i miss you. even though we’ve never met.
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by Kim Davis
Once there was a girl
Who could feel
A young, playful girl
naturally born to lead
Jumped in front of any camera she saw,
cause she wanted all eyes on her
but one day,
one insignificant, random day
an old lady took a fall
and a dog began its downward spiral towards death
and a neighbor got a wall of weapons stolen
and no more did the girl get attention
but that was her drive, her motivation to live
taken from her, she desperately tried to regain her spirit
but couldn’t handle that everything she ever knew was changing on her
and a little girl, third grade, began a path of self destruction.
The natural leader now a follower,
The playful girl turned her interests into other people’s pain,
She enjoyed that year the most she could,
secretly hating the old woman, mistreating her
saying her goodbyes to the dog that was there years before she was born,
grades turning from all A’s, to B’s, to C’s, to D’s and F’s, year by year.
getting rejected just a few times, but overcomplicating it, as she would do everything later,
taking it personal, letting it destroy her
and so the little girl grew,
first into an angry, manipulative version of herself,
she was no longer slender, pretty, or girly in any way.
She was a wreck. No care for herself anymore.
Sharpened her finger with a pencil sharpener.
When mad, would beat herself up.
Demented, but that was just covering a layer of desire for attention.
Something so simple, something everyone has to learn to live without, took such a toll on a little girl, because it was just cut off, one insignificant day.
But one day she got attention again, months after another
This insignificant day, she remembers,
daddy standing by the mailbox
she was outside playing with neighbors
and she heard daddy talk funny.
A sliver in his voice, that was never there, was it?
and listening, she heard it again,
and she looked at dad, and in his eyes, he wasn’t there.
his body, his face, his smile, but his eyes weren’t there.
And the little girl ignored it.
But daddy was in pain for months. Didn’t tell a soul.
and when that sliver in voice kept going, mom forced him to go to the doctor.
But the sliver wasn’t it, there was blood, daddy was coughing blood.
And so the doctor diagnosed it as bronchitis.
But it was deeper than that, it was the big C,
and the little girl knew that daddy saw it coming
his smoking tripled
and he got a recorder so as to record what he was thinking
and there was that night, at her aunts, everyone in the kitchen,
the little girl heard it from a distance,
but she wanted to be wrong, so bad.
She gets in the car with her mom, and receives the news,
but upon seeing her mother crying, doesn’t know what to do.
She was supposed to be strong for her mother, everyone expected that of her,
but everyone also expected her to be fragile, and wanted her to cry more than anyone about her dad.
But the conflicting emotions resulted in the girl, not so little anymore, to grow up.
To shut off all human emotion, to be a walking robot. To never cry, never feel.
That made everything pile up in her head.
Daddy had cancer.
Daddy was doing Radiology treatments.
Daddy’s treatments were failing.
Daddy was getting skinnier.
Daddy was doing Chemo.
Daddy was trying to kill himself.
Daddy was in and out of the hospital.
Daddy wanted her there.
Daddy *needed* her there.
Daddy cried in front of her and asked, “Why don’t you love me anymore?” because she showed her disinterest in tying his shoes for him since he couldnt.
But there’s nothing more terrifying, than seeing someone one genuinely cares about in the hospital.
Than being afraid to break the person one loves in half with just a hug.
Daddy was dying, and daddy wouldn’t talk all day until she got home, even if it was just a hey and a smile.
To this day, she’d love to say now that she would go back, and do it all differently, show that she loved him, not that she was disgusted in what he’d become, but she knows herself, and she’d shut herself down again in a heartbeat.
Daddy died of three types of cancer,
and the little girl got the attention she’d longed for, but in the form of pity.
But she hated pity.
She stopped doing anything.
Couldn’t go out with friends, secluded herself in her mind.
Until she found a way to be herself and get attention, and became someone new.
Then someone else.
Then someone else.
And then the girl was no longer herself, she was someone who made an impact on people.
Someone who people were attracted to,
Someone who had friends,
Someone who had company who couldn’t physically show her pity,
company that satisfied her romantic desires, and company that was there when she was down,
and who she could manipulate to her desire, to understand men and women on a deeper level.
And that sweet, playful, little girl, was a monster.
Divided in two, she emoted on a fake half of her, a half that wasn’t her, a fake story personified,
what was left of that little girl was skinned, and buried in dirt.
So when the girl had had enough damage inflicted on the sane, but fake side of her,
and was unhappy regardless of who she was that day, at that hour,
she would tell herself it was over, it was time, this should have ended a long time ago,
and her skinned corpse of a soul was trying to crawl out of its grave,
pulled back by the dark cloud it became, and buried again with the fake’s love,
because that side of her, with skim, but human emotion,
couldn’t bear to hurt people it’d already done enough damage to.
So one day, when she was found out, by best friend and an ex, it was a sigh of relief,
just to feel the air on that hand, reaching up to get out of her grave.
But she didn’t know that what followed was losing half the people she loved,
most being the ones she loved most, the most active in her life at the given moment,
And even then, with the remaining few, she felt too awkward in that situation,
too conflicted, that she once again, turned off her emotions.
And now, what’s left?
A broken little girl, in a big, damaged carcass, freezing in mud, staring down at her own grave, unable to find her skin.
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An Ode to Transcontinental (A Slam Poem)
Where time flew past us, Track remembered.
Blood puckered into iron creases like sweat creased into cracking skin, like backpacks creasing flesh into workers, winter hats pulled down tight flaps clasped
over thick bodied chins.
Teeth clicking, bone on bone.
Hands etching words into old paper. God only knows the silent struggle
of a grown man’s life led by slave labour.
A train city creased us. Increased us.
Relieved us. A train nation gone brazen looking for more
ways they could forget to feed us.
Ouch. Did that hurt you, because we can’t even imagine the half of it. Sweaty
palms hanging open over the edges of church pews asking
God and Mohammed, “Can I see my kids yet?”
Transcontinental rail turned into transcendental jail, where struggle
lived in secret and papa time tried to eat it,
but we can’t beat it.
The train people sit in the pocket of your favorite jeans, humming along
as you carry yourself from brick wall to carpet, from concrete to sidewalk.
From cobblestone to a happy home, never touching a blade of precious grass, never thinking
twice about how you got here, who put that there, who’s fault was that.
Who made your shoes? Was it God? Was it you?
When my cell phone stops working I get angry
because i’m privileged.
I thought I deserved every ounce of the world as long as I could afford to
pay homage, pay off damage. Pay to forget about it as long as somebody else
got half-paid to fix it.
Selfishness was studious and righteousness was fearlessness.
Ignorance was a light
that I tried not to see in my suburban bedroom at night
when the television stopped flashing pink and bright and my
parents started to fight.
I went to amusement parks when I was a kid because danger
was treated like halloween. I wanted to dress up
like the scared girl on lake street and put
candy in my brain; numb. Convince myself we’re all the saem.
When I was eighteen I finally understood the meaning of honest work
where pink lemonade was candy, babe, started looking for ways
to get myself hurt.
I picked up my legs and I dirtied my feet.
When I was eighteen I stopped taking the trains.
I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t stop moving my feet taking flowers from heart gardens and
stuffing them in my sneaks.
And suddenly, the guilt got heavy. The weight of a world bent on social levy, relying
on injustice to keep it steady, and when I asked myself
"what can I do, what do I see?" everything fell through, like a labored life falls through a forgotten memory.
And the only thing i could take with me was,
"Be careful who you choose to be."
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by Larry Potter
They say, in the wheel of life, you’ll spend half your years rising to the top and the other half tumbling to the bottom. I guess they got it all wrong. I believe life is a crooked tire that can never roll up and down. Pretty sure, it is nailed to the ground where weeds could grow to entangle it forever. Until now, what they keep trying to say remains a puzzle to me. Perhaps I can never understand what they mean. Or maybe I just won’t. Why? Because from the moment our eyes opened for the world, we’re already stuck down below and I’m afraid we’re trapped here in this limbo for all eternity.
We’re just simple people living an ordinary life. Like every family who seeks refuge from the storm, we do have a place we call home although it’s not much of an architectural delight. However, for some reasons, I find our roof appealing like a real work of art. Patches of cardboard embellish the underside while a combination of tarpaulin and ad posters works in harmony to provide an extended shelter. On bright mornings, we’ll wake from the sunbeams piercing through its many gaps. On rainy days, however, the sound of raindrops falling from the gaps down to our water containers serves as our wake up call.
To jumpstart ourselves for another day’s challenge, we could either eat breakfast (if there were any), or just sing our skipping meals away and spend the rest of the day with sacks of scraps and rubbishes on our back hoping to make a good deal with Mr. Gomez, the junk shop proprietor. He reminded me so much of my father but without the alcohol problem and violence, though. During nighttime, we bring with us our drum to sing carols on the lonely streets. If our feet become too weary to walk, that’s the time we head home. We rush all together, eager to count the coins we’ve collected that night. We make sure to put a plastic cap underneath two of our table’s feet so that it won’t lean uncontrollably and spill the tiers of ten, five and one peso coins we’ve dedicatedly piled over. Then the next part does the trick. A portion of our collection for the night goes straight down a big jar and joins in the many others which fill more than half of the container. The remaining part is used to buy supper to save our hungry tummies from
shrinking again. However, during slack nights when drivers and busy people decided to become miserly, we’re fortunate enough to have a pack of noodles for supper. But if we ran out of luck, we just set our untidy beds ready and drown our raging stomachs to sleep. I know there’s not pretty much but this is where our lives revolve. And as they say, life must go on no matter what.
Together with the three most important persons of my life, I continue the journey for a better living. Along the way, we try to search for the good things out of life’s bitter truths. We never let misery kill our hopes and dreams. Instead, we work harder and tougher. Take Islay, for example. She’s cheerful,
clever, aggressive, talented, a model of hard work. She’s got most of everything. Well, except for height, probably. I wanted to be a doctor so I could help the needy. Islay dreams of becoming an elementary teacher. She said she really likes kids and teaching them would surely be a more exciting thing to do.
Then there’s Nova. Her looks may require you a little more time to think and consider, but she has a good heart. However, she gets a little, uhhm, what term do we use for an unsociable person? That’s it! She’s a bit of a Killjoy!
Islay and Nova caroled a store swarmed with drunkards. It was always Islay who’ll find every creative idea and propose it convincingly to Nova, who in turn hesitates and rejects it but then ultimately respects it in the end. Islay always has the winning edge. Maybe that’s one of her abilities. Her convincing power deserves a credit to the list.
The two didn’t mind the booze that welcomed them. Inside her mind, Nova asked herself how many people could waste their money on a doze of liquid or spirit that can poison their mind and bring them to imminent danger. If only they have given it to the poor and needy, they could have saved a lot of lives instead of ruining their own.
But Aling Nena, the wicked storeowner, unleashed her witchy wrath to the two. She looked at them with eyes of contempt, of prejudice and disgust. She accused the two as jinxes and blamed them for the
store’s unprofitable end. If only she could look at herself and discover a chest of shimmering blame, she might shrink into shame. Islay and Nova ran off not because they were afraid of Aling Nena or the drunken men but because of what Aling Nena said to them. They cannot defend themselves from such
an attack. How could they when they were surrounded with eyes of ridicule?
And of course, there’s my dearest sister, Juaning. We’ve only got each other since our mother’s death. It has been months already. Juaning was still 15 when mama left us. She’s 16 now. It’s been quite a while and I know she misses mama a lot like I do.
And so they fought life’s bitter realities. They begged and implored to the unconcerned passers-by, almost falling to their weak knees for one very important thing - to live. But even if the three of them were sitting, lying, and rolling down the cold pavement, these people with more graces just pass by without even sparing a glance of concern. Wouldn’t it be happier if they shared their God-given blessings? But as the day continues, they have to endure the hunger, the contempt. Because other than filling their
hungry stomach, they have a sibling, a friend to support.
That’s my part of the story. It has been months now since I caught a serious illness which bound me
to this bed, flat on one’s back, weak, inutile, and useless. Every time they come home, I wish I was with them to taste the sweet and feel the pain, not just a good listener to their stories of survival and moments of friendship. Someday, I’ll become strong again, and this curse of a disease shall be gone.
I woke up to the longing for water. I’ve never been this thirsty before. I called out their names but my voice just echoed deep in the four dark walls of our crooked house. With no one to help me, I summoned my strength and decided to get a glass of water by myself. But my legs aren’t as strong as my will. And as I attempted to stand, they betrayed me. I collapsed and plodded down the floor. Luckily Islay came and helped me get back to bed. She scolded me for being careless. I cried. I can’t help it. I pitied myself all
The cold evening wasn’t a problem for Islay. Seeing me cry like that crushes her heart. I know, as a friend and a part of our family, she wishes the best for me. And that’s why she’s still out there in the middle of the night, working late to earn more for our better future. She ignored the chills and the exasperation. She knows she has to work harder and she’s more than determined for it.
But something happened to me while she’s away from home. I cannot move my body, not even my mouth. Tears just fell from my weary eyes. And before it’s too late, Juaning caught me unresponsive and paralyzed. My sister cried for help. Nova sprinted to get the jar. Juaning told her what to do. And wasting no time, Nova rushed to the nearby pharmacy to get me some medicine, and most probably to save my life.
But Nova’s effort was in vain. Prescription drugs cannot be bought that easily. The pharmacist closed down the only lining of hope for me. The security guard felt pity on Nova and he suggested her an alternative decision that will change our lives forever.
Islay was still busy serenading the busy streets with her chants of joy and sweet hums. But the clouds become unwelcoming. And by the sound of the thunder, big droplets of rain started pouring down the highway. She ran as fast as she could and sat on a corner where she thought of something deeply. She hugged the drum that she was carrying for five hours or so and tried to remain calm in the presence of the bad weather.
After half an hour, Nova came back with a pouch of medicine on her shaking hand. She handed it carefully to Juaning whose faith and hope were hanging to the tiny bottle of miracle.
Days gone by and my condition wasn’t going any better. It turned out that my medicine was consumed to the last drop. Still I remained immobile and my hands are going number by the days. Slowly I was losing hope. I wish they weren’t mad at me. I’m trying my best to live on. That’s why I’m still here. But Nova shared something worth listening to. She revealed how and where she got the medicine.
It was from a quack doctor on a stall put up on the corner of Rizal Avenue. She said he was well versed and very convincing. And that she spent all of our savings for a bottle of deception. But we can do nothing about it. We did not have formal education. We were fortunate enough to meet kind children on
the streets who would try to teach us something they have learned from school. We would attempt to read newspapers and the description in the carton boxes we spread beneath the Badelles overpass.
Nova cried in guilt and shame. Islay was still angry at her, and it can be understood. My sister, Juaning, comforted Nova with a promise that everything will get better in time.
December 27. It was my birthday. And more than anything else, what I wish is for the four of us to be happy. Nothing in this life is more important than seeing everyone you love smile with absolute
happiness. Juaning never forgot her job and that’s to buy me a cake. Every year, they will try to surprise me with every creative possible way. But that’s how their surprises become predictable with my age.
They sang me a birthday song. But this time, they were the ones waiting for a surprise. As my sister was about to hand me the cake waiting for me to blow the candle, she noticed something she was least expecting for. My lips are pale and my eyes are shut from the light of the world. I caught my last breath and before I gave it away, I left a smile on my face that can never be changed forever. That is how I want them to remember me. Not that heck of a frown clown whose audiences are stricken with sadness.
They say, in the wheel of life, sometimes, you’ll spend half of your years rising to the top and the other half tumbling to the
bottom. Maybe they were right. It was then that I’ve come to understand what they were trying to say.
Our life’s wheel revolves around things way beyond just money, food, and shelter. It is about the moments you spend with your loved ones, friends and family that will be forever carved in your heart. We can never know when our life here on earth will be over. So let us cherish every bit of it. And for me, even if we skip breakfasts and eat only noodles for supper, I have realized in these last fleeting moments that my life has always
been on the top of the wheel after all.
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by Patricia Tsouros
Opening my eyes to
The streaming sun light
Stretching my body
In the heat of the day
To the sound of the sea
How lucky I am
From the 16th floor
Looking out at
Sweeping palm trees
Stretch of South Beach
Echoes of beach life
Resonating all around me
Feeling the freedom of happiness
Down at the beach
Sand between my toes
The rolling waves washing
The taste of salt on my lips
The wind in my face
I lose myself in the expanse of ocean
Glistening under intense sunshine
Your depth of care eventually saving my life
Binding us together as husband and wife
Feeling the freedom of happiness
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one day i watched from the top of the rock
by Ilion gray
i watch infinity
dance in the palm of the father
looking on fearful
that he may close his hand
i am faithless in this terrifying land
where men hunt men
disregard and mishandle women
shaming whatever eyes lie
behind the sky
i trust no one
with a smile
this world has eaten up the smiles
of the trustworthy,
i love no one
fear some devil may come
snatch them away
there is a squeezing of souls
the darkness does
extracting every drop
i am always looking for light
it’s not where it was
but i wont stop
staring at the emptiness
and calling it clouds
the silence throughout
the corridors is suffocating
yet these days scream so loud
they interrupt everything…
a chasm of light
not dying but slowly dripping
there was always a life
against what we were living
whilst walking in the presence of god
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by Dominique Espiritu
A mirror is never just your reflection,
My mother once said
The mind has this devilish way of
Making then a lot more or a lot less
That what stands before me
My face isn’t my face anymore
I stare blankly at a blueprint
Society itself has hand-sketched
Post-it’s on where things had gone wrong
Scribbles on things I needed less of
Highlighters on places I needed
And I just stood there
As these self-proclaimed architects
The plans they had for a body that wasn’t theirs.
The new rooms they had drawn next to the ones that already existed,
The ones that were always there
The ones I made a home out of,
The mole on my ear
That never seemed out of place
The impact of a critical post it told me so.
The place where my thighs met
I’ve always ignored,
Assuming I was normal
But the scribbles that
For less of me,
The marks of stretched skin
I considered battle scars over a few calories at a buffet table
By society’s architects
As if it were up to them
Like human came in the form of overruns
But I stare at this blueprint that suggests to change me from
Floor to floor
Head to toe
If the one who owns the lot in which I am
If He wanted to change me anymore than them
If He liked the original rooms
More than the ones carved to fit the trends
If He wanted me to ignore the architects
And the drafts of copies
Of different versions of me
Didn’t He want me to accept the mirror for who I am?
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She came into this world
But her parents
Didn’t regret a thing.
She grew up with
Her hands stretched out,
Hungry for knowledge
And taking in
She was only 9 years old,
When she saw both her parents
Screaming at each other.
She didn’t understand,
"Why are mummy and
She asked as tears
Started to fall from
Her eyes to her
Her parents sighed as
They knew it wasn’t
Things were crashing down.
She was only 10 years old
When her daddy left her.
As he carried his bags
Out the door,
"Where are you going, daddy?"
He left, without a word.
She grew up,
She grew up,
Love is the problem.
She never trusted love.
She never wanted love.
She never needed love.
She was only 13
When she took
Her first puff
She was hoping
That her misery
Would fade away,
Just like the smoke.
She was only 15
When she was suicidal.
Nobody knew about
She cried herself
To sleep, wishing everything
Was different and simple.
Her wrist was like
Her own canvas,
Covered with scars,
New and old.
She was drowning,
In her miseries.
All she wanted
Was someone to save her,
Or least teach her
How to swim,
But no one did.
She was drowning,
As she watched
People around her
Minding their own lives.
Till this day,
And no one
To save her.
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three types of love
a few months ago,
you asked me: “What is love?”
As you can see,
it had taken me a long time to understand the question myself,
but I think I’ve finally come up with an answer.
the English language
has only one word to describe something that has limitless interpretations.
there are three words for the three basic types of love.
This type of love
is when you find yourself doodling their name
on the inside of your history textbook,
dotting the I’s with hearts
as if you are 13 again and you were just asked on your first date.
You chose that textbook
because it will be the only place no one would ever think to look.
You think about everything you would be far too shy to say or act in person,
making out in the back of a movie theatre
not caring who would walk past,
sneaking off away from your friends just to have two measly moments of what you both call “peace.”
this type of love is encased in “I love you”
only to obtain a certain goal.
or even just one more night
of having them in your arms.
Eros is not authentic,
it is emphemeral.
The friend you would drop anything for in a heartbeat to make sure of their wellbeing,
but also the neighbor you see from time to time watering their garden.
They ask you
to tend to their garden while they are away,
and you do it
even though you’ve never spoken more than a paragraph to the man
because it is what you believe is right.
This type of love is the devotion of time and energy without any promise of compensation in return,
purely out of the good of heart.
Phileo lasts as long as the people do.
The final type of love
we are guided
towards showing this type of love towards the diety.
Yet, very rarely
it is shown towards a human being.
is the ability to say so much with only uttering a single word.
I have experienced this love,
it is great pain
and great sadness
but the feelings of pain will never leave my lips
in case they are transferred to the person i wish to have the least pain.
This kind of love
is when it is not only enough that you think about them every waking moment but every slumber-filled one as well. You have hung up your needs at the front door along with the key to your heart and devoted yourself entirely to them,
even if they don’t reciprocate.
They have been adopted by your body and taken the form of a vital organ.
If you do not
pay absolute attention
to them at all times
you will run into many problems.
You need to keep them running smoothly in order to stay alive and healthy,
because without them you are nothing.
You are a sorry sack of bones with a beating heart with no purpose.
Unconditional love is taking all the lessons you have ever learned
all the rights and wrongs you have finally learned the difference between and throwing them out the window.
It is the thin line between sanity and insanity,
heaven and hell,
and safety and danger.
You walk the rope
from building to building
without the promise of a net.
but not emphemeral.
((Love sucks, don’t do it.))
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