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.

luminous coven of midnight gypsy moths

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Moth-Woman
Luke Eidenschink
Used with Permission

luminous coven of midnight gypsy moths

her magic flavors fertile night
among lightless thickets
moonlight seeping from sybaritic palms
transmuted into diamond-dust
as it rises to the Moth King’s pale coat
merging

only
monolithic haystack audience
bear witness to
what mage commandeers or defers
which berthed witch
sorcerer or summoner

shadow trails enchantress’ past
ripened midnight transcendence
seasons her fermented moon
***

Written for Real Toads Art FLASH/ 55!, imagined By Kerry O’Connor.

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.

the loneliest part (is knowing)

the loneliest part (is knowing)

knowing is the loneliest part
(for it is knowing
that you are
alone)

it’s lighting the wick after dusk
(the wick’s initial spark
cutting through tangled
colorless murky thickets)

my lantern lights a moonless night
unknown banished from amber sphere
(my amber sphere is weak
and clearly finite)

margins of its influence dim
(for the margins are too frail to divine)
beyond lies entangled nothings
randomly pierced by pricks of light

(each nothing entangled
as knotted terrain; each pin-prick
of light, a home or villa)

each, a distant lonely lantern
(each lantern,
a wick’s spark,
cutting)

lighting a range; the loneliest part
(for the loneliest part
is in knowing they are
alone;
surrounded by loved ones,
they may not know it,
but they are,
utterly and completely
alone)

look to the sky and you’ll find more
of lanterns lit eons ago
(eons later,
their light dots darkness
like notes from sheet-music)

each one a voice; an unheard song

living verse that died without bridge
(for the living verse we hear
leads to a divine bridge,
a cosmic chorus of a song
heard in its entirety only by
the Infinite,
the Alpha,
and the Omega)

unrehearsed, the ballad plays on
its meaning dims where our light ends
knowing is the loneliest part

(for knowing this
is knowing that
I am alone)
***

Inspired by this Oatmeal comic and this tweet.

Shared at Real Toads

Happy New Year, everyone. See you in 2019.

 

for my dearest intrepid

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Photo by Steve Shreve on Unsplash

for my dearest intrepid

you and I are more different than alike
born under the same sign in different
eras and regions, our intertwined fate
indifferent to lineage, chromosomes

we share no bloodline, only profound love
for your mother and sister, and yes, still
I instilled my values upon your heart
hoping you’d call upon them in moments

of your greatest need, of unseen hazards
dovetailing with the inexplicable
born from my inevitable absence
(we rarely have say in Final partings)

we have differences and share likenesses
both from broken and imperfectly-stitched
families, mended by golden-lacquered truths
my truth lied in helping you stand alone

but while I drew strength from isolation
you forged alliances with other hearts
each heart fortifying your own backbone
foreign course, yet I admired your route

your unique journey led you to a path
not so different from mine; I know it well
a quest to find answers from a father
leading to an absence of resonance

while I can’t truly know your emptiness;
for it is a similar, but different
flavored void than my own quest for my Truth
if you never knew it before, hear me

I will end this crime and tell you the Truth
it’s what he should’ve told you long ago
and what I should’ve known you long needed
for you (as you are right now) are enough

you are you; your differences are beacons
as lighthouses, cutting light from darkness,
rock from sea, known earth from cosmic secrets
I pray our similarities guide you

strengthening, enlightening your journeys
without fogging your way towards your own Truth
for, you see, my dearest, intrepid son
we are more alike than we are different
***

Apollo’s Lament

apollo08_earthrise

Image source: NASA

Apollo’s Lament

Two dozen or so of intrepid stock
have seen the far-side with their own two eyes
a vastness and a full-body away
the furthest a man has ventured apart

“Where are you?” she asked, with penny for trade
soft lamp painting crescent upon her face
within arm’s reach, I would answer with touch
feeling’s believing, whenever we lie

Those men could only boldly go so far
detached, yet still tethered by their baggage
toting food, water, their breathable air
carbon scrubbers, to stop self-poisoning

“Where you going?” he asked, “party’s this way”
I’d be there soon, I lied, convincingly
insulated from the December chill
I yield my toxins to the evergreens

Apollo wears many hats ardently
His archetype arcs winding remote course
an arm’s length of two-hundred thousand miles
rising alone, each on this lonely earth.
***

The clip below isn’t related to the poem, but it fulfills my obligation to mention the holiday season. I hope you’re all having a fulfilling christmahaunakwanzaka, or whatever.  

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.

Liberating the Moment

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World outside my kitchen window.

Liberating the Moment

She missed it earlier
but examining the November storm
from behind the sanctuary of
coffee-sweetened kitchen window,
before the late-fall deluge wiped evidence,
wispy-warm poems rose
from every chimney vent
clear to the far tree-line, each
an ascending esoteric-buttressed declaration
of internal warmth and acceptance.

She smiled,
squeezing me extra tight
as the rain shushed the trees,
shooed the expelled steam-dancers,
obscured the looking-glass,
embracing the roof overhead
with white noise.

We observed the rain in silence.

Seizing the moment
would’ve been ideal; instead,
we let it breathe,
the evergreens and barren trees,
the chimney vents and fogging panes,
she, embraced by me,
all exhaling in equanimous unity.
***

Another one for toads.