Winter Poetry

The Menzingers – The Bars

This list (which may repeat some poems I posted on here) is a compilation of 10 semi-edited poems I submitted during my winter term intro to poetry course. I hope you enjoy some of them.

 

Shade Is His Enemy:

I watched a lizard for about an hour;

He didn’t move.

I watched the same lizard for another hour;

He didn’t move

I looked at the weeds next to him growing;

Casting shad to the side of him.

Soon he’d have to move.

The shad is his enemy.

Move damn you.

Move!

He didn’t move.

The sun set.

He didn’t move.

 

We’ll Make Sure of That:

A couple lovable leeches

Jealous of Jeff because he reaches the best leaves–

And it’s only after adulthood that we stop believing violets are blue

And start saying like, “fuck,”

And “I’m the one that’s blue.”

What a waste of talent;

Like Planet of The Apes,

But with no apes.

 

Poison Abalone:

That’s how this radiation story begins

With the Illuminati and a tiger religion.

All handing out lion infusions

Like nobody would notice the minerals of emotion in North Korea’s water.

It’s a devil evaluation by unknown politicians.

Where Hollywood dragons travel block to block, shielding prostitutes.

And God cursed these devils with evil rickets and lonely hearts.

Daisy and I danced to the shitty music,

At the moment it was rather magnetic, I agreed.

And my poor, fragile, deltoid felt like jigsaw fangs under my dress coat.

The tip of fragile slug looked like panties slopped with placenta.

We ignored the prayers emanating from paper cars

And shoveled Haas avocados down the throats of sharks.

That was the year the sun shut off its glow.

 

Crabs:

The figure rose from somewhere unseen

Dimming moonlight from on the precipice

Climbed and clawed its way to me

Eating,

Stuffing its mouth with dead fish

I knew it wasn’t,

But it had to be.

And the gangrenous tendrils wrapped

Its shredded loose-leaf material around

The grasped claws with dead fish trapped

Buried it within the confines

Deeper and deeper into the ground.

The garbage, by such a creep, given grief

On which the same has grown

And the melted wall’s dissolved mush

Flooded the lung, as the creep crawled on.

 

13 Ways of Looking at Life:

  1. A rooster illusion
    On the horned back thorns of a dinosaur
  2. That boys got the devil in him
    Lobotomy
  3. Commercialism at its finest
    Socio-economic trends
  4. Coordinated furs make for perfect animal pairs
  5. Go ahead and substitute me
    With your newfound abundance of grief
  6. Steered ships with arthritic hands!
    Powered a lighthouse for the blind
  7. Gentlemen dressed in rags
    Spent all our free time at the wishing wells
    Muttered well wishes to wish everybody well
  8. She smiled at me, but her teeth were black
    I gritted mine and managed a smile back
  9. Laid in the dirt with the bodies and the worms
  10. Placed my hands on the hide
    Felt the trembling in my chest
  11. The fighting pit was no longer fun
  12. Continue burning the candles
    At both ends
  13. Keep cutting your teeth
    C’est La Vie

 

A Bond as Strong as Steal:

A gathering of pork skins

and a murder of crows,

where heroes go to die young.

Sheep wool strangling a child,

a bond as strong as steel

the likes of which might steal your heart.

Or steal a steely look at your bride,

yours, the one you love,

the one you’d die for.

The one you got high and left

because she slept with your best friend

your most well-dressed friend.

The friend you protected

in the car crash that took you,

the car crash that separated you and your wife.

 

A Hero’s Welcome:

a dog destined for destruction

well-equipped and armed

dressed to the nines with nails and narcotics

ready to riddle the enemy

tagged to the wall and medicated

strong enough to be forgotten

but weak enough to never forget.

 

River of Life:

River of life, run through me

Unhindered, teach me to breathe

Dear river, I feel it.

Finally free

To find a field to fester in

Forgiven, never forgotten

For, given the freedom, families fall apart

And friendships ferment,

In foil frozen.

Forest of fire, give life freely

Because it is I that stands at the end

I alone and soon I’ll find it.

A place to hand my hat and my skin

For I saved my money, but it won’t save

Me

Sleeping with serpents,

Sacrificing suffrage for sustenance,

Suffering in similar pitches but softer sounds

Suffering sweetly to save face.

 

Hear Me Out:

Lend me your ear!

Or at least give me a hand.

I don’t have a leg of my own to stand on.

I’m more willing to speak about things in public

Than I am to partake in public speaking.

You’d think as my metaphorical ship sinks,

That I’d try to find land. Nope.

Here I go, down with it.

I am the captain now.

And you haven’t lived until you’ve sat through class

Or work still stoned from the edible you had the

Night before AND on a microdose that you thought

Would ease you out of the marijuana high but just

Intensified the lingering effects and drew it out

Over about nine hours or so.

A banana hammock is just a relaxed monkey.

 

Whiter Shade of Pale:

Stare at the corner table.

Notice all the books on its surface.

Did you really notice ALL the books?

Look at the vibrancy of the ones on the top of the stacks,

The ones that, by deduction, you know get picked up

More often than the others.

The ones that are drab and white and grey.

They like attention, too.

Go over, grab one of those drab looking fellas.

Like that book, I imagine, you often feel drab and white and grey.

You wait for that one brief fleeting moment to feel vibrant like

All the other books on the stacks on that table in the corner.

You feel as important.

At some point, you lost your color, though.

Somebody got ahold of you and showed you things.

Like where to cut and edit and develop.

Handed you a brush, sent you to the printer,

And glossed over the vibrancy.

And now here you are.

Half-finished.

Drab and white and grey.

Weeds & Wildflowers

Alien Ant Farm – Happy Death Day

(This is a completely fictional story.)

 

What I’ve come to learn is that it’s in our nature to kill.
Fight-or-flight.
Survival of the fittest.
If it’s between me and him, I’m coming out on top.
They put us on our own Chinook. Me and my squad. All 6 of us. Wheels up at 0300.
As fire team leader, I was first out. The squad leader was last.
We were early.
My 249 felt light. The fresh morning was penetrating, far colder than anticipated.
I took point.

Hand signals and silence were all we had.

The village wasn’t far off and we had clear instructions: assault through the village, take out the hostiles, and escort the inbound politicians through the safe streets later this evening. We were tasked to hold down the village until then.

We were lying in our bunks the night before, me and my team, sharing stories about the ones that got away, as many did when they were trying to pass the time as well as possible. We had shared this tent for three weeks now, 21 days exactly. We had been on 12 missions in that time span.

We were tired. Late nights and early mornings were our forte as Night Stalkers, the army’s most elite transportation regiment. We flew in, did our missions and were out in about a month with minimal casualties. In my squad you either slept hard or not at all, cards and dominos were always on deck in our tent and the folks that had computers were pirating movies that were never in English.
These were the soldiers you made bonds with because accepting they might not make it home was harder to swallow.
The enemy grew to fear the night worse than the day. How do you kill an enemy you can’t see? You don’t–you’re forced to wait until they’re on you, until it’s too late. And that’s how we operated, quiet.
We marched through the fields until we were on the edge of the village, quieter than the surrounding darkness. Our designated scout came forward to my position, a few meters ahead of the wedge formation.
Thermal binoculars, that’s how we got our eyes on the enemy.
“What are we workin’ with, Richardson?”
“I’ve got nothing. There’s nobody in any of the windows or doorways.”
“Can you see the northern end?” I spit my tobacco at the ground.
“I’ve gotta peak the corner. You got me?”
Richardson laid his chest to the ground, removed his kevlar helmet, and peered around the corner. I had my hand on his belt loop and my 249 was propped up on its bipod ready to return fire.
“Nothing. Wait, there’s two running around the rooftop to the northeast of here, about half a click away. Not holding anything, just moving from one end to the other.”
I pulled him back behind the building we set our perimeter at and hit the radio hotkey twice. Our squad leader, SGT Vera, came jogging forward to me.
“Two on the roof to the northeast, half a click.”
“Take these first couple of buildings and see what they do.”
“Roger.”
We stacked up on the first door. Valdez came forward and cleared the doorway and threshold, searching for ambush traps.
I grabbed the knob, twisting quietly, and the door swung gently open.

With our night optics on we swept; me from left corner to back left, Valdez from right corner to back right, and the rest followed behind searching hallways and connecting rooms. From the other room there was a rustling and soon after a single radio hotkey.
First floor clear.
The two assault gunners moved up the stairs. They fired six shots through silenced M9s.
Single radio hotkey.
The squad moved upstairs and set their gear on the wall.
SGT Vera gave us our commands from there.
“Sandoval, take your two, clear the east side buildings. We’re lucky this village is small and it’s the only one between here and the embassy. Nobody sets foot in any religious buildings.”
“Roger.” I replied and spit again.
“When your team is done with those three buildings, return here. Richardson, go up to the roof and keep eyes on those people moving around on the northeast side. Let Sandoval’s team know if they do anything you think is suspicious. That’s the last building on that side so just be careful with that one, Sandy.”
“Roger, SGT.”
“Copeland, and I will be here watching for any movement on the roads. Hot mike once after each clearance then get your asses back here. We’ve got about an hour before the convoy comes through, and the sun’s peakin’, so let’s fuckin’ move boys.”
Valdez, and Lavictoire turned to me.
“Leave your rucks here, put your gear on, let me see your first aid kits and camelbacks.”
We moved downstairs, green on water and ammo, peered out the doorway and stacked up on the door to the next hut. Valdez swept the threshold again, and in we went.
We gunned down two men in the first room, reaching for their weapons. The other two cleared the rooms in the rest of the house. Five minutes and another cleared building.
I hit the hotkey.
“Sandy, those two moved down into the building and I don’t have eyes on anymore.”
“Thanks, Rich homie, let me know if anything else transpires.”
“Roger.”
In similar fashion we entered the second building. A group of women and children were huddled together in the first room, and a man bolted around the corner.

Valdez marched upstairs slowly, Lavictoire kneeled down in the doorway, away from windows, and I whipped around the corner in pursuit. At the end of the hallway was one room with an open door, no movement.
Step by step I closed the distance to the room, I could hear nothing. I pushed my back against the wall next to the opening, my heart was in my throat.
My eyes fixed to the part of the room I could see from my position, there was a faint rustling, somebody was searching the rotted wood floor for something. I moved my shoulders forward a bit and began to scan the corners of the room. Before I could raise my weapon completely, the man lurched forward with a knife into my chest.
It takes far more than a shit knife to pierce armor plates.
I grabbed his wrist with one hand, fingers with the other, allowing my sling to bare the weight of my weapon across my shoulder, ripped the knife from his hand, breaking his wrist, and plunged it into his throat with force. He slumped against the wall.
I turned the corner to the room and buried a 9mm round in the head of another. I hit the hotkey before his rifle even touched the ground.
Two down. One to go.
We were inside the next building quick, no limitations. There wasn’t a soul to be found. From behind us we heard the sound of a canister hitting and bouncing off the ground. Two men ran inside from the back door and up a set of stairs. Smoke filled the room.
Valdez took off up the stairs, his weapon ready. Two shots sounded, and his weapon fell to the ground. Lavictoire and I moved up the stairs, pulling Valdez to the wall.
A fire fight seems more intense when there’s only a few people involved.
I pushed a needle between Valdez’s 2nd and 3rd intercostal ribs to relieve his lungs from the mounting pressure, but he was already gone.
Lavictoire caught a bullet to the arm but managed to take out a hostile.
“It’s just a graze, I can still fight.”
“Sit your ass down.”
I moved up past the landing and into a room on the right. Slapping down the bipod, I set up the 249 and held the trigger down, riddling the upstairs with holes, pulled out a flash grenade and tossed it into the room across the hall.
Without hesitation, I rose up, and moved into the room.
Buried another 10 rounds or so into the last enemy. I radioed SGT Vera.
“Valdez is gone, those two were setting up an ambush. Lavictoire has a wound but he can still fight. East side clear.”
“Grab Valdez and get back here. We’ll handle the rest. And hey, good work.”
“Roger.”
I shouldered Valdez in a fireman’s carry, and with Lavictoire at point, we made it back in one piece.
Minus one.
“That was the last time I saw you. You fuckin’ bastard. You know, you could’ve just stayed alive. I could’ve told you that story face to face and we could laugh about it. It would’ve been the war story we tell the junior enlisted to put the fear back in them. And they would’ve looked up to us, the same way we looked up to our superiors who told their crazy war stories. The squad goes back overseas in a week or so. Lavictoire misses you. I miss you. SGT Vera and Richardson got shot down on their chopper back to the FOB (Forward Operating Base). Rich lost a leg, he’s back home now, refuses to use a wheelchair so he’s been crutching around for the last couple months. SGT Vera got treated for a TBI but he’s shipping back out with us anyway. Copeland went on orders to South Korea, he sends his regards. The ground looks cold. I’m going to plant these flowers here for you, so you have something beautiful to look at. This place really needs a better groundskeeper. I’ll be back tomorrow to pull these weeds. Love you buddy.”

 

13 Ways Of Looking At Life (A Poem)

The Chariot – David de la Hoz (this song is not for the faint of heart)

1. A rooster illusion
On the horned back thorns of a dinosaur

2. That boys got the devil in him
Lobotomy

3. Commercialism at its finest
Socio-economic trends

4. Coordinated furs make for perfect animal pairs

5. Go ahead and substitute me
With your new found abundance of grief

6. Steered ships with arthritic hands!
Powered a lighthouse for the blind

7. Gentlemen dressed in rags
Spent all our free time at the wishing wells
Muttered well wishes to wish everybody well

8. She smiled at me but her teeth were black
I gritted mine and managed a smile back

9. Laid in the dirt with the bodies and the worms

10. Placed my hands on the hide
Felt the trembling in my chest

11. The fighting pit was no longer fun

12. Continue burning the candles
At both ends

13. Keep cutting your teeth
C’est La Vie

The Ocean and Me

Cage The Elephant – Cold Cold Cold

If you read Fake Fan: A Short Story, you would have noticed that the main character was afraid of the ocean. It was an important part of the story development, but it was true of its author as well.

That’s right, folks. I am deathly afraid of the ocean, and really any water I cannot see through to the bottom. It sort of makes me laugh, though; if you were to ask me what I was afraid of the ONLY thing I would claim is water.

I’ve stood outside gazing up at funnel clouds wondering where the tornado was going to hit; I’ve experienced deep earthquakes; I’ve seen lightning cut through a giant tree not 100 feet away; I’ve dealt with all sorts of weaponry during my time in the military; rattlesnakes; giant spiders; scorpions; bulls; nothing compares to the amount of fear that wells up inside my chest when I think of deep, dark, murky waters, whether lake, river, or ocean.

I’m currently working on a short story titled Where The Sea Separates, and I began to notice this underlying theme of aquatic settings. This new short story deals with a child-like (the main character is a child) fear of the unknown. In a lot of ways, I think this is my subconscious way of dealing with my fears on a shallow level.

I recently saw a post on Facebook, it was about 6 minutes long or so. Normally, I don’t sit through such long videos. But it was all about a personal idol–you may know him, Jim Carrey.

This video, Jim Carrey: I Needed Color, spoke heavy words to me. It made me sit back and analyze what it is to be an artist (of any type, not just painting as he is in the video). The highs and lows of getting something right or wrong with

images-2.jpegyour work. Trying new techniques to get people to focus on the subject matter, to make them think and feel and understand what the artist feels, it is all so heavy. He talks about facing his loneliness and using his art as an outlet but that even bright vibrant colors become dull to his eyes. Just as in my work, if I use a word I like too often it becomes mundane. Played out.

He goes on to describe how paintings of Jesus are some of his favorite. He speaks of his relationship with a higher being almost nonchalant. A friend of Unknown.jpegmine described it as a modernist’s view on religion. He speaks much about allowing people to peer into the eyes of Jesus through his paintings and recognize they aren’t alone but even he never claims a religion, just that he feels very passionately about the idea of Jesus.

I myself am agnostic but the main focus for me was that painting, or in my case writing, about what you feel your psyche NEEDS to express is important. I’ve always been told to “write what you know,” as I’m sure any serious writer (and some not so serious writers) have also been told. So, if I am so terrified of the water then I must be incredible at describing the feeling of this fear.

I’ve come to the conclusion that writing about water is most likely going to be an underlying theme to many of my works. I am excited to think of dealing with my fear through my favorite activity and I hope I deliver the way I know the subject matter can. Maybe someday I’ll get in a shark cage and submerge myself deep out at sea… art is a dangerous thing.

 

 

Re-Think (A Poem)

Culture Abuse – Dream On (two posts in one day…scary.)

the record player spins and spins

skipping across the etching in the vinyl

like a rock skipping across a lake or pond

or like my mind skipping lines in my head

then drawing on thoughts like

slitting one’s throat on the tips of a white elephant tusk

or crossing a border to hear new sounds

like trumpets or strings

like the knights blow and fools strum

when the king rides

so too does the moon in the night

and the wolves hiding in the trees

attack the birds climbing out of holes

burrowed to hide from the rabbits that run through the prairies

howling at the sun

and as it rises so too does the needle off the vinyl

the rock off the pond

the white off the elephant

the border off the land

the trumpet from the lips

the fingers from the strings

the knights from their title

the fools from their reputation

the king from his horse

the moon from the night

the wolves from the trees

the dirt from the birds

the rabbits from their lucky feet and

the sun from the prairies.