These Murky Eddies (A Five-Part Origin Story)

These Murky Eddies (A Five-Part Origin Story)

I.
I love,
I do,
perhaps not like you,

not in that
traditional
happily-forever-after way,

but perhaps
in other imprecise,
functionally dysfunctional
broken ways.

But perhaps
in many ways,
my broken ways work
in my knowing what it isn’t.

I can survey its limitations,
where the barrier of its outstretched
feathered wings fail to reach.

My love cannot care for your birthday,
but it cares deeply that you care.

My love won’t reach out
and embrace you, drenched,
saturated with sentiment,

but it will lash-out
to protect you
from all manner of harm.

My love is imperfect,
incomplete, and has been
ever since the day I fell
as a small child.

I was six when I fell,
losing balance some two score ago,
as some collateral damage
of a disintegrated heart.

II.
I was born
in medias res
of a toxic heart,
as many are,

upon opposing maelstroms,
learning to flow with the current,
anticipating its quirky grooves
and perilous nuances,

gliding along the lazy trickles,
bracing for the furious crashes,
holding my own within
fortune’s fickle ride until…

the only heart I knew split in two,
each side seeking dominion over the other,
but settling for oblivion,

the void
created by two beloved factions
consumed me
and I fell,

and fell, and fell,
and kept falling,
the only sound, the
mournful wailing of my own voice,

it too growing more distant,
falling away from me

along with the other senses of
belonging to something greater,

losing everything and
finding myself lost
at the bottom of an abyss.

III.
I was six years old
when momma went
rattling the kitchen silverware

for an adequate blade
to plunge into dad’s back,

ending years of emotional and
physical abuse by his hand.

I was six years old
when that knife pierced him
inches from his heart,

inches from his own demise.

Dad’s cousin was hysterical,
explaining to the medics
what my awful “bitch of a mom” did
to free herself from dad’s drug-fueled rager.

Though mortally wounded,
dad survived and recovered

enough to redeem some of his repugnant actions,
while bafflingly doubling down on others.

As for me; I was six then.
I am forty-six now, but
I know now that parts of me
never left the bottom of that abyss.

IV.
I love, I do,
but always in a broken,
displaced sense where
I never have to remove my velvet gloves.

My hands
hold nothing of weighted value
unless my beloved breathes value into
that space.

Images
reflected into my eyes
rarely move me

unless the images
are of others being moved
towards joy or sorrow.

I hear voices of my family calling,
but I only reply out of obligation.

I’ve smelled and tasted
gourmet Sunday dinners made in my honor,
and when an aunt asks me
if I’m glad I came home to them,

I smile and say yes, knowing that
they know I’m lying to keep the peace.

V.
I love, I do, but perhaps not like you,
or the guys on television who
get down on one knee,
proclaiming their love for all to see.

That kind of love dazzles in the sunlight,
and it would be nice if I could love like that.

But my love is born from toxins,
constructed from shards of self-hate,
twisted, entangled by the vast void
in such an oddly dysfunctional way

that when darkness comes for you,
as it inevitably comes for us all
regardless of where you are,
as I still tread these murky eddies

you will never be alone.
***

Originally shared on Medium.

Fractions

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Photo by Amanda Flavell on Unsplash

Fractions

Even now, forces battle for fractions
of light and dark, air and earth, truths and lies
the spoils, ripened treasures and abstractions
like oil, our foods, as humankind’s soul cries
split to the bone in factions
honed for overreactions

My soul’s not known for overreactions
compressing, sealing night into fractions
of morbid amusement, viewing factions
through porous veneers of their willful lies
unmoved by their biased cries
on currents of abstractions

Our sun will yield to night and abstractions
leaving the void and overreactions
light evening showers won’t drown-out the cries
of justice-seekers sliced into fractions
divided by clever lies
blinded factions fight factions

I welcome rain as night deceives factions
truth is our souls are merely abstractions
these lines dividing us all are sad lies
gains of few, fueled by overreactions
many fight over fractions
immune to his brother’s cries

I remain in-tune with my brother’s cries
but turn a deaf-ear to brother’s factions
I see us whole, and not just the fractions
bellies are filled by more than abstractions
stilled by overreactions
humanity’s fate still lies

I wonder which side will win through the lies
will we have our peace or feast on war-cries?
I still observe the overreactions
blackening hearts into soulless factions
they have killed for abstractions
weighing lives by the fractions

I wonder which lies will fell the factions
silencing the cries; soulless abstractions
overreactions leaving fractions.
***

Written for dVerse  Poetry Form: Sestina, hosted by Victoria C. Slotto. Other poets have contributed to this prompt here. The Sestina is an oily form, super-tricky to pull off, like Jello-wrestling a sexy, nude, female vampire who’s riding a velociraptor. Naturally, I had to give it a go (the poem, not the Jello-wrestling, though I’d probably be game for that too.)

Also sharing at Real Toads

fear, despair, and apathy within the echo chamber

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Photo by Alan Tang on Unsplash

fear, despair, and apathy within the echo chamber

I’m muted snowfall
not a whisper

your dutiful servant
I will comply

you inquire deeper
I offer surface

still, you insist
my voice matters

I demur again
not from shame

I’m muted snowfall
not a whisper

you pontificate, listening
yet never heard
my cries
***

Written for dVerse Quadrille #85 – Raising our Poetic Voices, hosted by whimsygizmo. Other poets have contributed here.

So, yeah, someone is harvesting my content for clicks and kicks, and that’s not really ballin’ to me, so I think this just might be my penultimate entry, folks!

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

So, yeah, someone is harvesting my content for clicks and kicks, and that’s not really ballin’ to me, so I think this just might be my penultimate entry, folks!

“…the moon steals its shine from the sun, and no one ever gets the two confused. Take it as a compliment.” -Art Teacher to Riley, The Boondocks, Season 1 Episode 12, “Riley Wuz Here”

So, yeah, my blog has been harvested without my consent. My online friend who runs the idorun blog was kind enough to notify me.

What does that mean exactly? I’m not entirely sure, but it certainly seems like a type of plagiarism. Go ahead and see for yourself, witness the theft of my hard-earned shine – granted you may be buying the underwear gnomes who run that site another free pair of underpants by clicking the link, but I’m not tripping. The reason will become clear when you continue reading.

My initial response to potentially being plagiarized was a weird sense of pride (“Say, word? My craft is now actually good enough to be stolen from? That’s kinda dope!”) Next, for a moment, I became vexed (“How dare someone steal my intellectual property! I worked long and hard on those navel-gazing ghazals about all those attractive women I wish I had slept with! If anyone should be making money off those self-satisfied missives, it should be me!”)

But the more I thought about it, and the more I learned about it, the less sense it made. It’s never been about the money for me. Sure, I had grand designs as a wide-eyed youngin’, but my learned poetic excursions have been a moderately inexpensive hobby to me.

Let’s discuss my poetic content at face value; For nearly two decades, I’ve been dabbling in online poetry using various media (including a poetry collection I self-published through Lulu). During that nearly-twenty years, my net income from my poetry could pay for a cup of coffee and exactly half-a-haircut.

No one is clamoring to pay for any of my web stuff on the strength of the content, and I get that. But crimes of economics have taught me that people usually steal things for – oh I dunno… some type of profit? If there’s no profit in my words at face value, then where does the profit reside?

My instincts tell me that it must be the site traffic that is somehow fraudulently aggregated to a point where sponsors unwittingly pay the cyberthief a fee for driving clicks their way. Which means that I wasn’t singled-out (I average less than twenty unique views per day; not exactly rolling in Skillshare sponsor dough) but I was harvested along with countless other unwitting blogs.

In fact, if you’re a blogmate of mine hosting your blog on free\public blogs like Blogger or WordPress, chances are high that you’ve been harvested too. Go ahead and check for yourself. Buy those dickheads another pair of undergarments in exchange for knowledge of your own site’s harvesting.

I’m not as special as I thought. Oh well. I’ll get over it.

So I’ve been harvested, and some nefarious entity is probably getting paid in cryptocurrency or some other underwear gnome-economics I don’t know about. Now what? What do I do about it?

Many bloggers are justifiably outraged enough to jump through the hoops of a DCMA takedown. Others have found that the harvesting blog is just an unsophisticated blogroll-type of aggregate that can be foiled by making their copied posts private.

I’m inclined to go another way.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit. Perhaps this is the very catalyst I need to shutter this blog for good (as well as my old one over at Blogger). Fighting some damned greedy money-bot trolls over my hobby is not why I got into online poetry. Life is too short, and the absurd time and economics of this make it a non-starter for me.

I will miss the wonderful community we’ve cultivated here, especially my friends at dVerse, Poets United, Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, as well as all of my online friends too great in number to mention individually. I haven’t decided on a switch-off date, but it will most likely be fairly soon.

So, what next then?

Well I’ve been flirting with the notion of hiding all my nonsense behind Medium’s $5 monthly paywall. (I have a free presence there right now.) Again, I don’t expect to be swimming in a pool of money over poetry about some naughty dreams I had, but the economics makes more sense to me now. At WordPress, I bought the domains cosmicrubble.com and mylibidowearsatuxedo.com for $100 annually. Well recently, they lowered their price to $60, assumedly to remain competitive with Medium’s plan.

But here’s the rub; while WordPress’s response to intellectual theft is basically “We’ve already got your money, we’re not being robbed directly, we don’t see a problem here, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯”, Medium’s paywall won’t allow for some random yokel to do a drive-by smash-n-grab on my shine, ya dig?

Also, if I develop enough traffic, my $5 monthly fee could eventually pay for itself. Imagine having a secure online presence essentially for free. I know this is beginning to sound like an ad, but I have imagined it. This may sound naive or glib, but I don’t want to think about intellectual theft anymore than I have this weekend. I just want to write about my love of my family, life, and words without worrying about someone turning it into a click for free underpants.

A friend once told me that I’m worth more than I give myself credit for. Well actually, several friends have told me this, including my best friend, the Wifey. I think I’m finally starting to understand what they mean.

Cosmic Indifference and Crisis of Meh

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Photo by Tomas Sobek on Unsplash

Cosmic Indifference and Crisis of Meh

One day
the sun
will rise
alone,

radiating light
on not a single tree
nor even a blade of grass,
warming a barren earth for no reptile,
nor bird,

nor even a single bipedal mammal
to bend a knee
in humble worship of Ra’s
once life-bringing magnitudes.

I won’t try to tell you how to feel about that
nor will I implore you to stand up and
do something to slow the inevitability,
for even if we collaborate to stem the tide,
it will happen inevitably.

One day the sun will rise alone,
scorching an already sterilized planet,
eradicating every gaudy man-made
monument to ourselves, and we
just may knowingly accelerate
this unavoidable fate
exponentially.

I won’t tell you to save a world that is
well beyond our combined will to save,

for it seems like hubris to even
entertain the notion of saving a world
from the cosmic nature of its
unavoidable demise;

saving our planet, to me, sounds
as ludicrous as saving our lonely sun
from burning though its
finite supply of hydrogen,
and then its helium,
collapsing into a
cooling carbon cinder
of its once majestic brilliance.

But why won’t you think of saving the sun?
We’re wasting its resources, you know.

Why not warm your house with clean coal
and save some of those precious
hydrogen-fused released photons?

I won’t ask you to do that
because that would be utterly ridiculous
and just speed things along and
I greatly prefer slowing things
as much as those
sensible conservationists,

though I won’t ask you to recycle either,
even though it would be rather kind of you
to join me in doing so.

I won’t tell you
to protest Big Oil
and petroleum products

because the cabinet full of pharmaceuticals
extending my lifespan, health and comfort
would compel me to mock my own hypocrisy.

But our planet is dying and
one day the sun will rise alone.

That was always going to be the case,
though we are helping to speed the process
significantly, and with cosmic indifference
bordering perverse zeal.

I won’t sit here and tell you to
get up and go do something about it.

But do get up
and go do something
for me; stand up

and take inventory
of the beauty and wonders
we’ve all taken for granted
from time to time.

If you’re fortunate enough
to experience the ongoing miracle
of waking tomorrow,

go stand outside and listen
to morning wipe the sleep from her eyes,
unfolding her wings, singing all around you.

If luck favors you with a summer rain shower,
let it soak you to your pores
and breathe deeply,
inhaling her perfume.

Observe regal, billowing,
wispy clouds march overhead
towards the horizon,
dissolving from view,
but still existing in both
mystery and memory.

I’m willing to wager that what you see
may cause you to gasp as you tenuously
grasp at your own insignificance,

and maybe, just maybe,
you may find yourself compelled
to preserve some of these moments
a few moments longer.

It’s not much;
perhaps even too insignificant
to make a sliver of a blip
of a microbe of a difference.

But one day the sun will rise alone.
What will you do until then?
***

Written for dVerse Poetics: On Climate Crisis, hosted by anmol(alias HA). Read other poets’ prompt contributions here.

Where the Rocks Kiss the Sea and the Waves Embrace All

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Photo by Hugo Kemmel on Unsplash

Where the Rocks Kiss the Sea and Calm Waves Embrace All

Standing on rocky midnight shore, the sound of the Sound beckoned his return to where he began decades ago; his wish, to bookend his life where ancient kinship first drew breath.

He intended to breathe saltwater and snuff-out all that rotten progress.

He’d just wade into the frigid current until the chill melted into warmth, freeing him of the dread of empathy among the specter of cosmic apathy.

Inhaling brine should sever the unending sinewave bouncing between two extremes.

Knee-deep within numbing, moonlit, black-reflected muck, the cold needles through, forcing his breath shallow. Waist-deep, and the current beckons him forward to rejoin infinity and nothingness.

He begins surrendering to uncompromising fate he’s chosen when far away an interrupted cry of a drowning woman breaks him from indulgence. He summons reserve to drag her back to the rocks.

“You’re welcome,” smiled the mermaid he “saved”.
***

Written for dVerse Prosery #1, hosted by Björn Rudberg (brudberg). Others have contributed to this prompt here.

Classes (Blue Side of Pale Series)

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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Classes (Blue Side of Pale Series)

never understood her,
wish I could’ve felt I was
good-enough for her,
the most popular girl in school,
the top-of-the-class, with class to boot,
the most smartest, the biggest-hearted,
the most valedictorian-charted,

I valued her diction; her glory from afar,
like the twinkle of the stars in her eyes,
she spied me in the lower-brackets
perched in the basement of my thought-lint,

never meant to breathe the same air,
but she shared her atmosphere,
she grabbed my booty in the hallway
with a blue-wink,
she made me think that she was fruity
and all the way loony,

cause she was same age as me,
but she carried her energy
like a Motown boomer; like she’d sooner
rub elbows with Gladys, Ross, and ‘em,
and it was madness that she’d
waste her chi on me

you see, my bracket’s in the basement,
it consists of only me,
indeed, her tactics out-of-phase meant
insistence was her sweet-tea

but can’t you see? Her judgment’s clouded
like an imperfected diamond,
she thinks I’m a find, a rare beautiful kind
of boy deserving her time, that alone
among dissenting voices of mine
should disqualify her from sanity
and sound choices refined

you see, my bracket’s in the basement,
it consists of only me,
indeed, her tactics out-of-phase sent
persistence to how we be

my syndrome hooked right in-place;
I see her and stutter,
her skin tone looked like it
tasted like peanut butter,

I wish my vocabulary
could’ve carried verbs that varied
from “uhh” and “uhm”, but she
carried our conversing beyond the peepers
and pursed-lips of
bemused green-eyed gatekeepers

I never made a move from the basement,
but the placement of her groove made me
reassess the fallacy of classes
from behind coke-bottle glasses
where she said my eyes
were too pretty to be so sad

and her smiles evaporated fog,
eradicated smog, changed air currents,
and lent me change in perspective,
and her elective had one smile
specifically for me

you see, my bracket was in the basement,
it consisted of only me, but indeed,
her tactics, out-of-phase,
lent resistance to my reality
***

Terrible Puppet Show Rehearsal (Blue Side of Pale Series)

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Photo by Sagar Dani on Unsplash

Terrible Puppet Show Rehearsal (Blue Side of Pale Series)

We were
the main characters
in a puppet show,
rehearsing countless times,

giggling
when we messed-up,
encouraging each other
to try again and again and

I guess
working so
closely with me
led you towards
unexpected feelings
of needing to be
closer,

so you leaned
into your vulnerability,
asking me,
in front of blue sky,
heavy summer sun,
and all our classmates
if I had a girlfriend,

and if not,
if I wanted one,
and if you
could play the role.

I scoffed
and told you
it depended on
if you could tell me
how you read my mind

as I confidently
rewarded your vulnerability
with a reach
for your hand
and

a first kiss
that split
our reality
in two,
into

before and after

as an audience
whooped and ahhed
and fell into ambient
background noise as time
propelled us forward into

meeting each other’s parents,
graduations, bittersweet goodbyes,
joyful welcome backs,
midday “I do’s”,
midnight “we did’s”,

telling our kids
the kid-friendly parts
of our tale from the
puppet-show all the way
to their smiles, living
a lifetime of smiles

that would certainly had been
had my childish grip
on my fragile vulnerability
matched your Black Girl
Magical openness

within the moment
of you opening to me
in front of God,
blue sky, glaring sun,
and leering bystanders.

But we both know that
rehearsal and reality
live two separate lives.

That’s not how it went down.

Oh, I did scoff though.

It’s what I did best when
looking for coiled demons
and ghouls hunting for
a pound of free flesh.

In every corner
of every heart,
I found shadows
of cynical weather
whether under blue sky
or not.

Pinning down demons
I thought I saw,

I scoffed and told you
it depended on if
you could tell me
what kind of fool you thought I was,

turning on my heel
to the sound of whoops and ahhs,
content at ripping out your heart
in front of our peers
before you had access to mine.

But as I peeked over my shoulder,
expecting your smirking derision,
instead, there was only the specter
of sincere aftermath, and tears
willing themselves not to fall.

That was ages ago,
but even now,
when I think of you,

I wish I hadn’t blocked
the gift you’d given us.

I wish I said the lines
and kissed you
like I so desperately
wanted.

I wish our last moments
together
were so much more than that;
more than just one of many
terrible rehearsals.
***

Day 29: Lark (Blue Side of Pale Series)

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Photo by Andrew Le on Unsplash

Lark (Blue Side of Pale Series)

A blue side of pale winter sky
A false promise of warmth
Mocking lie leaves frostbite
We learn to live without feeling
Breath before death leaves us warmer
Beyond all comprehension of touch

A blue side of grey spring and sleet
A note passed across the order
It reads as up is down and I am worthy
I compound why nots ‘till I forgot
We would never be, yet I felt warmer
Lark or not, I envisioned her touch

A blue side of bluest midsummer dream
Her declaration under scalding eyes
A fragile fondness that could never be
I lash-out, shredding her baby-bird song
I wound her before she could burn me
Sense of touch long beyond the pale

A blue side of amber autumn gale
Earnest harvest of unmindful fullness
Ripened want withered on bough
Unseen by us, insulated from life
Preparing for death has iced our light
Beyond all comprehension of touch
***

Written for dVerse Poetic: Theories of Everything and Anything, hosted by merrildsmith. Other poets contributed here. 

Also written for NaPoWriMo’s day 29 prompt: write “a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully.”

In sixth grade, I was pranked by a girl who pretended to have a crush on me. Once the prank was revealed, I was the laughing stock of my class. Prior to that, I’ve always had poor self-esteem.

That prank confirmed every awful thing I thought of myself and informed my actions in the future whenever I found myself connecting with someone who claimed to be into me. I just wanted to explore those feelings again as an old man.

Anyway, I’m pleased to be the last person to complete #NaPoWriMo2019 #GloPoWriMo2019. Phew! Sorry I’ve been away for a bit. Life has been quite challenging these days.

I have a few more entries this month, but soon I’ll be on another extended break. I’m due for a sabbatical from writing as I spend more time reading all the wonderful poetry of my fellow online poets.

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