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.

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Dropped The Ball

The Menzingers – Lookers

I done goofed. I missed a week. Funny how things workout.

It was midterm, though, hopefully that’s justifiable.

I’m handling school well though. Got myself a puppy (chihuahua/pit bull mix—weird, right?). Working on a bunch of poetry and a couple short stories right now. Slow chugging against the constant current of a full course load at university. I’ll post a couple poems here in a second.

As I’ve mentioned, I am a veteran. I go to school off of the GI Bill, which covers up to 36 months worth of school. A professor of mine recently told me I should look into a double major. Currently, I’m a creative writing major and a psychology minor, but this professor, the same one pushing me to apply for graduate programs, believes that, to maximize the use of my GI Bill, I should pursue a double major.

I crunched the numbers today and realized I need 118 credits total to finish both degrees and the university’s general ed requirements. Roughly that equates to 18 credits per term for 6 terms and a 7th term with about 10 credits (2 years and 1 term worth of quarters). I have already been in school for 2 terms and amassed 75 credits through military training and my work at the university. So, basically, in 3 years I’ll be able to finish a BS and a BFA… let’s do it.

Anyway, here’s some poetry while I continue working on my damn short stories.

 

Forest of Fire:

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 hang 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.

 

An Edible & A Microdose of LSD:

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 than willing to speak about things in public but god forbid I have 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 stoned from an edible AND on a microdose of LSD.

And a banana hammock is just a relaxed monkey.

 

Reactions To Steve Running Naked Through Town:

People staring, jaws agape, eyes bulging. Kids pointing, laughing, hiding. Animals cower, shake, howl. Twins with matching facial expressions. Lizards scurry back under cold rocks. Elvis left the building. Ricky ticky tocked out of sight. And Steve ran naked through town.

Human Encounters

The Jungle Giants – No One Needs To Know

Short and sweet tonight, folks. Next week I plan on writing out a short story I’ve been working on. Who knows how long that’ll take, though. I wanted to talk tonight about how people, no matter where they are in life, are adamant and quick to share information about themselves.

I mentioned in my last post, The Sacrificial Lamb, that I drive for FedEx when I’m not in school (which would be now…thank the universe for holiday breaks)–I also brought up the methadone clinic and that whole scenario I experienced. Another thing I’ve picked up on, in brief, fleeting moments–people will share just about anything with somebody they don’t see on a regular basis (or have any reason to trust).

I find this to be more humorous than anything. For instance, I delivered a box of wine that required a signature from the recipient. I rang the doorbell and they signed. However, the elderly woman insisted on explaining how I had perfect timing because she had just returned from a vacation to Hawaii. I didn’t need to know any of that, I just needed a damn signature…

I’m not talking about anything new here either; every single day somebody starts a conversation with a drawn-out monologue about how their right foot feels heavier than their left when they climb stairs–meanwhile, we all just want to live our own selfish lives and talk about how our feet feel fine when we climb stairs, but that we are worried about how our son is dealing with his first sexual experience or drug overdose. It’s all relative.

Honestly, it’s not something that bothers me–in fact, it’s more intriguing than anything that people would share their personal life so easily with strangers.

Oh! Another great example–I was standing in my truck prior to delivering my packages for the day, and the fella in the truck next to me starts blurting out how he used to live in Wisconsin and how people here in Southern Oregon don’t know how to drive when it’s cold outside.

Stay with me for a second… it was 7:30 in the morning and I hadn’t even officially met this guy… and he was yelling from inside his truck with the windows closed… I smiled, laughed when he laughed and nodded to him… then I began my strange spiral into the idea that people are incredibly open about themselves.

Pay attention to your next couple conversations and see how quick some people are to share about what’s going on in their lives at the moment. You’ll see that you do it, too. I know I certainly do, and it’s a funny little thing to be self-aware of.

Enjoy your next human encounters!

The Sacrificial Lamb

Desaparecidos – The Left Is Right

I wanted to bring this up because sometimes I believe we as humans take for granted the common struggle of being alive. We are our own sacrificial lambs. Our own judge, jury, and executioner. Our own UFOs. And our own Boogiemen. We are the reason we fail or succeed at anything we do, not just life.

When I’m not in school full-time I drive and deliver for FedEx. A couple days ago, Tuesday I think it was, I had a delivery to the methadone clinic in the city I live in. It was hands down the most intimidating delivery I’ve had up to this point. The place itself wasn’t overly seedy, but the people that were there stared me down the ENTIRE time I was inside. Like I did something wrong. If I was wrong for doing my job then so be it–it got me thinking, though.

I tried to put myself in their shoes. If I had been a struggling addict mother, one baby on my hip and another by my side, standing in line at the methadone clinic at 10 something in the morning on a Tuesday, how would I look at a clean, well shaven, FedEx delivery driver? Honestly, if I had the same personality I do now, I wouldn’t look at all. I’d more than likely be too ashamed of myself to look. Not because I’m a bad person or anything, but because I’d know I was in a much worse position. I could be the happiest mofo in town, but as soon as I’m reminded of how better off some others are (not that I’m all that well off necessarily) I would immediately shut down. The rest of my day would probably be ruined.

The only point I’m trying to make here is that none of us truly understand the sacrifices anybody has had to make in their lifetime.

You can sit me down, look me in the eyes, and tell me you understand it and always will. But say it to me next time you’re in line at the methadone clinic awaiting your legal dosage.

And then say it to me again when you’re spending time at your summer home in Cabo.

Yeah, you’ll be lying both times. I’d do the same thing. We like to think that because we’ve had experiences that we can automatically speak on the struggles of another, but the reality is that we only reflect on the struggles of others when those struggles are forced in front of our faces.

Exhibit A: Me at the methadone clinic… I didn’t even know that clinic existed until I delivered there.

I started thinking about how when I die nobody will know what I went through. My close friends and family will be aware of the things that I did but not necessarily of the life that I lived. Not as a whole at least. It stands to reason, the only person you’re out to please is yourself, and even those people that carry on and on about their life hold some things back. Extra special secrets only shared between lovers or perhaps a dark thought that need not be voiced–even now I’m withholding information from all of you (not about my thoughts on the clinic and the subject at hand, though).

If your life was played on a projection in the sky for the whole world to see, what parts would you be embarrassed about? What parts didn’t you share with people? How much of our life goes unseen? A handout to the homeless? A donation to Toys for Tots? Chances are you told somebody about those, though. The unfortunate part of life is that we are all destined to share only the things we deem worthy. We pick apart our life until it’s neat portions and then we divvy what we want and keep the leftovers in the freezer for some drunken occasion in the future… or it rots in our graves with us.

As morbid as that sounds, all I’m hoping anybody takes from this post is that our lives are continually taken for granted. We go around flaunting all of our nice things and forget about our neighbors on the other side of the fence that are starving (or standing in line at the methadone clinic). We sacrifice and give up things right and left until we have a “successful” life and then we forget about that struggle, we forget about when WE were standing in line at the methadone clinic (or whatever hypothetical situation), we forget when WE were homeless or when we received a donation FROM Toys for Tots so that we could have a Christmas like our neighbors had and refused to share with us.

We forget sometimes what it’s like to be human.

Dealing With Family and Christmas Greed

Maybe “Dealing” isn’t the right word for it. But Greed certainly is.

If you hop over to psychologytoday.com you can read about how to help your child avoid Christmas Greed Syndrome. I’m certainly not qualified to help anybody with it (and that won’t be the last time I’m not qualified to help).

Christmas Greed Syndrome is characterized by material gluttony and lack of appreciation.

Now, I understand this seems a rather obscure topic to start a blog with. But we’re here to navigate the human condition and what better way than to look at greed and family (everybody can relate in some way).

And away we go.

So, when I was younger, we’re talking like, real young–only stories to go off of, it was a running joke with my 4 older siblings that I would love absolutely anything I got for Xmas.

“This is exactly what I wanted!” is what I’m told was my line for every gift I unwrapped.

I had an inflatable ball pit (like those found at McDonald’s back in the day (minus the inflatable aspect)). I called it my arm-pit, it was shaped like a bear and it was the best thing in my life, I never wanted anything more. I loved Xmas with my whole heart.

Idk what happened between then and now, maybe just growing up and seeing how adults/peers acted around Xmas, but it’s one of my least favorite holidays. Honestly, I’ve grown to dislike almost all of the “Hallmark” holidays. I’ve found that it boils down to a plain dislike for greed.

Right? Who doesn’t hate greedy bastards?

Yeah, but if you’re the one saying that then you’re part of the problem.

I’m part of the problem.

I’m not going to chastise anybody here (on my blog I mean) more than myself. It’s just an observation I’ve made, primarily during my time in the military. Not that those in the military are greedy, don’t put words in my mouth (or on my page), but that I’ve had the “privilege” to encounter SO MANY different types of people.

Anywhere from dirt poor to obscenely wealthy (including a guy that CLAIMED to be the son (or grandson?) of the inventors of “Life Alert”).

And it was in the military that I began to realize that sometimes the most greedy people are those that grew up poor–their paychecks disappeared the fastest.

Sometimes this was because they were sending money home to help out their family and I’m all for that, but I’m referencing those that went out and bought things they didn’t need, and oh baby you’d better believe I’m part of that group.

I’m still part of that group.

I live beyond my means and I stress about money, but I pay my bills, too, so I like to think I’ve found a happy medium.

I’ll get on with it.

Greed has become the single most aggravating abstraction to witness. I’d just like to see less of it, really–I know, how could I have been so long winded to end that subject with such a blatant and boring statement. Well, I guess we’ll just have to deal with it, kinda like greed in a way.

Alright, family, here we go, strap in.

This time I visited WebMD–and I actually didn’t read symptoms for anything, so I don’t have a sneaking suspicion that I’m dying any quicker than I already am. HOWEVER!, I did check out this intriguing article by R. Morgan Griffin aptly titled “Home for the Holidays.”

I absolutely adore my siblings now that we all can function on similar brain waves (I’m the youngest by a minimum of 6 years, so all I’m implying is that I had a lot of living to do before that could happen). This isn’t about my relationship with my siblings, though.

If you’re struggling with the “Take. Take. Take.” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) of this time of year, and that includes toxic holiday gatherings, then do yourself a favor and head over to read that article. Like I said, I’m no professional on any of these subjects, but I can speak to you as one human to another (don’t be afraid to leave a comment for me).

I’m no “newb” when it comes to feeling upset during the holidays. I haven’t spent a single Xmas with my family since leaving for the military–going on 5 years now. I also think that my Scrooge mentality has developed from not being with my family when I’ve always felt that it mattered most. It’s all just theory, really. I might seek out some therapy at some point because I’m such a curious son-of-a-saint.

Anyway, thanks for going on this strange journey with me. I love to write (Creative Writing major) and being able to do it and share it with everybody, even if it isn’t something I’d attempt to publish in a book, really means a lot to me, folks. Take care this coming Christmas, be safe, and may the universe deliver the necessities unto you.

And don’t forget to remember, we are all just as confused about humanity as the generation before us. Let’s navigate the human condition together.