Pity the Pitiless

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Photo by Peter Lewis on Unsplash

Pity the Pitiless

You will never know true love
You, who weighs all things by gains
You’re left a wealth bereft of
Substance and joy, your void reigns

You, who weighs all things by gains
Born into meaningless means
Substance and joy, your void reigns
Stranger to spring’s renewed greens

Born into meaningless means
What is sin, you call a win
Stranger to spring’s renewed greens
The want you chase? Frail and thin

What is sin you call a win
You’re left a wealth bereft of
The want you chase; frail and thin
You will never know true love

You’re left a wealth bereft of
Compassion; lost, you taunt fate
You will never know true love
Your flock divides, wielding hate

Compassion lost, you taunt fate
Lies, scapegoats fuel your sad boast
Your flock divides, wielding hate
Both them and you suffer most

Lies, scapegoats fuel your sad boast
But spring sun will have her turn
Both them and you suffer most
You will never feel the burn

But spring sun will have her turn
You will never know true love
You will never feel the burn
You’re left a wealth bereft of

You will never know true love
To hold her hand, knowing God
You’re left a wealth bereft of
True gold, searched by dowsing rod

To hold her hand, knowing God
Surrender to selfless need
True gold, searched by dowsing rod
Not obtained through hate and greed

Surrender to selfless need
Unlocking joy none can buy
Not obtained through hate and greed
Treasures few can quantify

Unlocking joy none can buy
You’re left a wealth bereft of
Treasures few can quantify
You will never know true love

You will never know true love
You’re left a wealth bereft of
***

Written in honor of the peaceful worshippers in New Zealand who had their lives violently ended by a hate-filled man who was enabled by hate groups emboldened by greedy, racist, selfish, corrupt leaders (I’m sure you know the one leader I’m thinking of. I won’t give him the satisfaction of writing his name.)

Shared at dVerse Poetry–a Piece of Written Art, hosted by Victoria C. Slotto. We’re still dabbling with the pantoum form here.

I Carved a Wish and Let it Rot

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Photo by Tianshu Liu on Unsplash

I Carved a Wish and Let it Rot

I carved a wish and let it rot
Do not make us a trite cliché
We wandered lives we both forgot
In overripe, fragrant decay

Do not make us a trite cliché
Your focus shifts, discarding me
In overripe, fragrant decay
Your hold on me, an empty plea

Your focus shifts, discarding me
I know that look, lived in its gaze
Your hold on me, an empty plea
Our history, beautiful haze

I know that look, lived in its gaze
We wandered lives we both forgot
Our history, beautiful haze
I carved a wish and let it rot

We wandered lives we both forgot
You flirt with him, turning the page
I carved a wish and let it rot
A labored pace, our passing age

You flirt with him, turning the page
In your heart, I am long replaced
A labored pace, our passing age
A sketched-out dream blotted; erased

In your heart, I am long replaced
It seems your wish has withered too
A sketched-out dream blotted; erased
Yet I still smile at dreams of you

It seems your wish has withered too
I carved a wish and let it rot
Yet I still smile at dreams of you
We wandered lives we both forgot

I carved a wish and let it rot
As all things end in their own time
We wandered lives we both forgot
Melodic memory sublime

As all things end in their own time
I wish you love and a full plate
Melodic memory sublime
We conjugate, entwined by fate

I wish you love and a full plate
As we are not a trite cliché
We conjugate, entwined by fate
In overripe, fragrant decay

We wandered lives we both forgot
I carved a wish. And let it rot.
***

Written for dVerse Poetry Forms – The Pantoum, hosted by Gina. Other poets’ contributions to this prompt can be found here. I probably veered slightly from the authentic structure of a pantoum, but I knew from the moment I read about this form that I wanted to tinker with it.

My thoughts on the origin of this poem: Nothing major. Wifey and I were discussing how our previous marriages and romantic relationships ended and how we often have moments of clarity when a relationship has tragically run its course prior to either party officially announcing the ending.

This part of a relationship is rarely a positive experience, as rarely do both parties come to the same conclusion at the same time. Someone always wants to hang on a bit longer, and that makes things rather messy.

This poem is a fictional account of an idealized version of one of these endings where both parties maintain a semblance of dignity and equanimity at journey’s end. I like to think that the couple in the poem remained good friends even after their romantic journey ended.

Feel free to offer constructive feedback if you feel moved to do so. Or not. No pressure, either way.

 

code-switch virtuoso

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Image of author by author. My face doesn’t always look like that. 

code-switch virtuoso

I remember dad
made me say “yes”
with emphasis
upon the stressor

Nevermind
that I was nine
and tryin ta find
a kinder lesson

Cause he knew
that to stay true
the rule of two dialects
was needed

To succeed in greater stages,
I took heed for greater wages

That was the birth
of my first split,
my trunk from earth
and I admit

I never found out
where I fit,
forgot about
which was legit

If I could ask about my place,
Is it my mask or just my face?

I assimilate and then replace
but if it’s fate what gets erased?

Unlike the ballers,
I make myself smaller,
pump-fake for shot-callers,
and I try to hide

They don’t know me,
only what I’m showing,
phoniness controls me,
what I feel inside

I try to fit like 8-bit chipsets,
rely on wit
and slight-of-hand
to make you see
and comprehend
the fantasy

In apogee from what is me,
I hear the chorus and chime-in
a midi-synth vibe,
a remedy
that I prescribe

A suicide by a thousand cuts,
I lack the guts for full erasure
so I white-out, blot-out
the rougher sides

Not Safe For We,
or Not Safe For Me
to just safely be
authentically free

Unlike the ballers,
I make myself smaller,
I fake for shot-callers,
and I try to hide

They don’t know me,
only what I’m showing,
loneliness consoles me,
what I feel inside

Dysfunctionality amazing
when my laziness and cravings
take up space, ranting and raving

All my blemishes diminish
our corporate saving grace

I forfeit the part of me
that blends creativity and yin

Feeding them yang
yields hunger pangs
as I hang by self-inflicted sin

I cover-up
and smile through scars,
give my regards to Wayne Brady

It seems odd
the most successful switchers
go criminally crazy

O.J. Simpson and Bill Cosby
cracked the code and set the bar

I ain’t with them, but let’s always
set the mode for who we are

Unlike the ballers,
I make myself smaller,
breaking for shot-callers,
and I try to hide

They don’t know me,
only what I’m showing,
only just behold me,
who I am inside.
***


(NSFW – cuss words and shit like that there.)

Written for dVerse Poetics: On Privilege, hosted by anmol(alias HA). Other contributions to this prompt can be found here.

My dad demanded that I learn to code-switch and speak the corporate lingo so I could “make money in the white man’s world” (his words). Big ups to pops for making sure I could earn a living wage, but yeah, I almost never feel like my authentic self, whoever that may be.

This one hit me where I live, so I just let it flow in one take.

 

 

Sage’s Laughter

Sage’s Laughter

Reaching the summit was of no small feat
Great Sister’s reception felt bittersweet
The young man bowed to her respectfully
The old woman shrugged an indifferent beat

“Great Sister,” he greeted her fretfully,
“I come to you troubled, regretfully.
Life seems meaningless, yet death do I fear.
I pray you change my heart’s trajectory.”

The old woman peered through somber veneer
Her response, sincere, and yet still unclear
“Your fear of death is a fear of pre-birth.
If your life lacks meaning, why are you here?”

The young man searched her words, seeking their worth
He puzzled their weight, finding only dearth
“I climbed this peak seeking your renowned sage
but you made it clear I serve as your mirth.”

Great Sister stood fast in his bleary rage
“My child,” asked she, “recall your pre-birth stage.
You cannot; for none of us know that time.
The same is death; an unreadable page.”

The young man mused over these thoughts sublime
He asked, seeking reason within the rhyme,
“So death is a void and life, but a joke?
If true, does that make existence a crime?”

Great Sister laughed soundly before she spoke.
“The void and joke are both yours to invoke.
We are a part, not apart from the whole.
I am flock and hen; you are shell and yolk.”

The young man bowed as her words took their toll.
his heavy heart lightened by her console
Path to the valley, beyond his control
Its footfalls? Perhaps his own to insole.
***


(NOTE: Audio at the 4:30 mark mildly NSFW.)

Written for Frank’s Rubaiyat Challenge on dVerse.

On Service and Serving

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Photo by Ding LU on Unsplash

On Service and Serving

What a
bizarre perverse
spectacle we must be
to anyone with the gift of
vision.

Contorting our delusions
to fit absurd collective
narrative illusions.

Your happiness is
worthless
to me
and yet

I weigh my worth upon you saying
that you are pleased by my efforts
to bring happiness directly
to your seat with a smile in my voice

fit to claw your eyes out
to minimize eyestrain.

As I strain,

monks go door to door
with empty bowl in hand and
it is filled more often
than not.

If it be a sin
to covet a neighbor’s empty bowl
then I am the foulest
most wretched creature living

if one could subscribe
to the false illusion that
somehow this is life.

But I lie while lying;
it is his heart I covet most.

I would reach into him and
feast right upon it,
right there in his face,
sitting upright, cross-legged

upon the dusty,
nutrient-starved earth, and he
quietly, peacefully

would mourn the fact that
he only had the one
heart to offer,

withholding nothing.

I don’t even count them
as withholds anymore,
for they are nothing to behold;

I place the holy magic beans
inside the divine tabernacle
and watch random gods of diversion
snatch them all away like a

school of piranha
picking clean the bones of my
counterfeit coffers.

Thus, am I served.

It would be cute
to call it being
eaten alive,

but that would play to
the illusion that the beans,
the tabernacle
and my convent with the gods
ever existed and that

somehow,
this is living.

Oh, what a bizarre spectacle I must be
to anyone with the true gift of sight.

But I am ready.

Ready to leave it all behind,
take a leap into the absence of lore,
and see for myself
what this living business is all about.

Perhaps
the best part of
my yet-to-be-told tale
will be when I ended service
and served.

My story begins on the last page.
***

(Video is only loosely related to the poem. I only included it because I really loved the movie, and it makes me feel better about things in my life that kinda suck right now.)

Written for dVerse Poetics: The Art of Confession in Poetry, hosted by  anmol(alias HA).

Doink-Doink

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

Doink-Doink

Imagine, if you will, training most of your life perfecting a difficult skill most don’t understand or respect. You hone your highly-specialized craft in a world where most risk life, limb, and brain-trauma fighting for that extra yard, and yet few who fight for those yards can replicate the one thing in which you have invested the most.

Now imagine developing a reputation for succumbing to external pressure and frequently failing at the one task you’ve spent most of your life perfecting. Your brothers who risk life, limb, and brain-trauma fighting for that extra yard continue to believe in you and try to boost your confidence as external forces clamor to see you fail again so they can tear your embattled spirit to pieces.

Lastly, imagine that the very thing you fear most comes to pass; failure on the greatest stage of your life, melting beneath the microscope of notoriety, your greatest effort summed-up in an onomatopoeic, “doink-doink”.

I sat on my floor, having just slid off my couch, staring at my screen in silence, no longer feeling January chill born from an old furnace and poor insulation. Numb to external elements, I didn’t feel the anguish I expected in typical expected terms. The team wearing the laundry I’ve rooted for since I was four had been bested by an apparent missed kick, and as I watch an entire city prepare to heap hatred upon the kicker’s slumped shoulders, a single thought echoed repeatedly in my head…

“That poor kid.”

frail sun slips away
winter night falls unannounced
I have faced both ways
***

Written for dVerse Haibun Monday: January, hosted by kim881.

all the difference

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Photo by Alejandro Benėt on Unsplash

all the difference

On the path not taken
incomplete thoughts and wishes
pair with longing and regret
along elongated line-of-sight
shrinking to a point-of-light
as all paths do when curving
beyond known horizons
I close my eyes for vision

the grass is greener, and yet
the air is thick and toxic
reflection fails to muster depth
strangers call me pops and grandpa
ex-lovers commiserate
in much greater numbers, laughing
at flaws, triumphs, cuts and scars
revealed only to their eyes

pale winter sunset invites frost
breathing artic dusk breezes, I watch
my trail turns away from light
Orion the hunter claims the night
as he pursues the Pleiades
my hunt dovetails to warmer days
for the path not taken
is uninhabitable
***

Written for dVerse Poetics: Time and What If?, hosted by Merril D. Smith. Other poets contributed to this prompt here.

Condition Zebra

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Condition Zebra

The ominous klaxon wails as boots drum steel. Seatbelts are clacking among the hurried professional murmuring. My mental-checklist rolls tape automatically within: flashgear-check, gasmask-optimal, headset audio-go, mic-check good. My scope hums into action, glowing green and amber.

“Weps, One online,” squawk my butterflies, as I note the surface contact sent to me automatically by my boss. It’s beyond gun range, but it’s streaming right for us. A single anti-ship missile would hastily end its aggression, but we can’t launch a preemptive strike without just cause. And so, we wait.

“Weps, aye,” boss booms in acknowledgement, adding, “Surface-action port-side, bearing 279-relative…”

Breathe

“…Renegade gunboat coming in hot… not responding to our hails… I guess the pirates wanna play…”

Rely on your training. You got this.

“…Batteries-tight. Do not fire unless fired upon, but stay frosty, ya got me? We got this.”

“One, aye,” I reply.

And now we wait.

the heavens shriek red
dawn or dusk, our plight unknown
now gird your courage

***

Written for dVerse Haibun Monday: Waiting, guest hosted by Imelda.

One of the US Navy’s unofficial slogans was “hurry-up and wait”. Not very poetic, I know, but the topic of waiting makes me think of those days.

Ephemeral Inquisitor

Ephemeral Inquisitor

sunset spies our pose ephemeral
second-hand glides a blushing sky
nectar merged near hip-femoral
the hands reside, each on a thigh
though breathing strained, there slips a sigh

there slips a plea to make it fall
broad, gentle strokes now urgent, coarse
tongue strikes nerve; it ignites our squall
as hands kneed flesh, chorus falls hoarse
ripe shadow probed, more we endorse
***

Written for dVerse Poetry form: English & Spanish Quintain, hosted by Grace.

I enjoy tinkering with new forms, and Grace suggested that we could even apply the form to another desire and sexuality theme similar to the Poetics: Desire and Sexuality in Poetry prompt I wrote Concentric Snapshots for earlier this week.

I mean, I certainly could use a few distractions, and what’s a better distraction than a little smutty poetry between friends, right? And it’s not even that smutty! 😉

Concentric Snapshots

Concentric Snapshots

I.

Two new high school grads
our duet, playing at probing,
experimental love;

clumsily grasping
at the third rail,

illuminating our
respective darkness,
calling the freshly found
fool’s gold
love eternal.

II.

Victims of circumstance, we
circled the idea as
adults consenting at this
scandalous dispelling of intent, this
instinctive discontent

sucking at the plea; a need
we’d already met
in spirit if not deed, she,

splayed and braced
for our forbidden crossing,

forever eroding a
gold-pressed
promissory note
as false idol.

III.

Never bothered catching her name;
would’ve fumbled it away anyway
in the aftermath of two bored barflies
stalling to return to our respective
counterfeit lives, finding life and little
deaths pressed between, rubbing for wishes,
but granted only golden gilded-guilt.

IV.

Last night with her was…

last night was…

it was… have you ever

in all your
quarter-century-plus of life
been so sure of someone,

so secure in her warmth,
so open to your own vulnerability
so overeager to overflow,
to explode,

to lose containment of self,

spilling onto
and into her essence
until you forget
where you end
and she begins? Like… you know…

uhm… like two novice glassblowers
playing in molten golden sands,
you both know it’s real and urgent
and wonderful, and powerful and… and…

…and inevitably,
one or both of you
will still shatter it
once it cools.

Anyway,
it was like that
with her.

V.

There was something
within this sad, soulful
old-soul lonely eyes

that fleetingly
stole her soul
from her fiancé

for an afternoon delight
that never happened; that was
her story anyway after
entering a bachelor’s loser-loft,

asking for a glass of water
she never drank a drop of,
spilling it on the night-stand
next to her thirst and
a certain creaking
secret-spilling mattress

and I can’t say if anything
she moaned into my ear
was gospel, but truth is,

sometimes
seeking that golden sandy fullness
leaves us spent, wrought
with emptiness.

VI.

Neither of us
are in the mood,
molecules moving
a bit slower with age
and still,

catching me
admiring her hips,
she wiggles a spark my way,

igniting knowing smirks
encircling in decaying orbits,
concentrically spinning
towards collision

saying inflammatory things like,
“I thought you were sleepy?” and
“What you wanna do?”
with knowing grins,

knowing the answer
before it begins with
clumsy grasping of our third rail,
transmuting darkness into
golden hues.
***

Written for dVerse Poetics: Desire and Sexuality in Poetry, guest hosted by Anmol Arora (HA).

Initially, I was going to skip this one and just exist within my depression for a minute, but then I began reading everyone’s steamy contributions, and as Bjorn predicted, I became inspired for some reason. *heh*

Passion and sexual desire are often their own reward, but I thought it might be interesting to examine the fact that often these desires don’t exist within a hermetically-sealed bubble. Sometimes indulging is great and the circumstances wonderful, and sometimes the whole sultry exercise may be wrought with symptoms of a deeper need.

No judgments here! Lord knows I’m not qualified to judge anyone. I just thought it might be interesting to play with circumstances.

I enjoyed writing for this prompt. It pulled me from my doldrums for a bit. 🙂