Poetry – Am I This Beast?

 

Am I This Beast?

Am I not my own beast? May I set him free?
This beast lives and he lives within me.
In some manner or way, I am he, and it is I
who fears the beast. And I know why.

This is no charming fucking poet.
He is no eloquent reader of verse;
he’s no lover of beauty for all to see.
‘tis me, this beast, but is he also not me?

Summon your magic, bring on a shaman,
twist my beast with the best that you can.
Bring on the robots. Cast the day’s best witchery
into the face of this monster, who really is me.

Cut him and burn him and poison the beast.
More lives than a cat, he’ll find his way back.
From annihilation, he’ll rise-up, again to be me.
A beast: one with me. Here to kill me, you’ll see.

Look deep. Dig deeper still. Search for his mark.
In this battle for life, made from my nature,
his shadow will be there for as long as I lurk.
This beast that we seek – has control of my future.

© Bill Reynolds 8/8/18

 

Recently, I read about a British poet named Peter Reading. He and I were born on the same day. His poetry is said to be ugly and morbid in its honesty. Yet, I do hope to read more of Peter’s work soon. While Peter was not the inspiration for this specific poem, his attitude was.

I am also trying to write my words as they come, regardless of what others may think. That is not easy, but it’s not like I’m trying to make a living writing poetry. Sometimes, it is just bleak.

This outburst is just another poem. While it shouldn’t be taken lightly, I reject any perceived notion that I need counseling or psychiatric care. I’m fine, but this is how it came to me.

Peter Reading, ‘Collected Poems’ cover

 

Look both ways, inward and out.
Mind the gaps as well as the beast within.

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Poetic Recovery

I am atheist. I groan when I read, “as an atheist” before people make a statement. Well, guess what? I owe lots of apologies because….

As an atheist, I have been asked how we handle life when it sucks: sick kids (or grands), lost jobs, death of friends and loved ones, financial trouble, or any disaster. They rightfully ask, “How do you get through those tough times when even heavy-duty doubters pray for relief?” We do manage without god. Not only are there atheists in fox holes, some of us have died there.

I’m dealing with a cancer diagnoses and some of my doctors ask me how I feel about it. “Well, Doc, this is one time I wish you were wrong. Now, let’s do this.” I want action, science, and medicine; not prayers.

Here’s what I got for ya. Franky, baby! I love the song; both the music and lyrics of That’s Life, by Frank Sinatra. Some say, this too shall pass, but the song puts that theory on another emotional level, and I love it. I hope you do too.

Here are the lyrics. Below them, I also posted a youtube video with music, singing, and the words. Now, let’s get back up, brush ourselves off, and have a wonderful July.

That’s Life

That’s life (that’s life) that’s what people say
You’re riding high in April
Shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June

I said, that’s life (that’s life) and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks
Stompin’ on a dream
But I don’t let it, let it get me down
‘Cause this fine old world it keeps spinnin’ around

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate
A poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race

That’s life (that’s life) I tell ya, I can’t deny it
I thought of quitting, baby
But my heart just ain’t gonna buy it
And if I didn’t think it was worth one single try
I’d jump right on a big bird and then I’d fly

I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate
A poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself layin’ flat on my face
I just pick myself up and get back in the race

That’s life (that’s life) that’s life
And I can’t deny it
Many times I thought of cuttin’ out but my heart won’t buy it
But if there’s nothing shakin’ come here this July
I’m gonna roll myself up in a big ball and die

My, my

Songwriters: Vernon Duke / E. Y. Harburg

That’s Life lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Music Sales Corporation, Shapiro Bernstein & Co. Inc., BMG Rights Management

Look both ways for life’s ups and downs. Mind the gaps, as silly as it sounds.

Poetry: Honor the CAS Brigade

Memorial Day greetings as we acknowledge our remembrance with parades and poems, and we mark the unofficial threshold of Summer with humbled celebration.

I wrote a poem for Memorial Day…

Agree.

Honor the CAS Brigade

Not the six hundred, your life or mine.
My life for yours, in what noble cause?
You, comrade, have set my stage,
presented me with this chance,
and roll life forward to repay.

Has the world truly lost you?
Is it peace we’ve all gained?
Willing you were, but not for the price
to pay for my freedom, this high liberty.
Did you pay all my dues? What is my debt?

You did not die to win over another,
’twas peace you willed not mere death.
Shall I follow your glorious footsteps?
What cost for Liberty the price to pay?
Was the sum too dear for us to say?

Back to you, no debt can now be paid.
Was there glory in your demise?
Hail Liberty! is now your shroud,
I bow my head and we salute your life,
as today we stand to morn your death.

Comrade be known to only so few,
your loves, your bests, your suffering pains.
Dress right in honored memory
and in memorial spirit. Your life for mine –
no greater sacrifice, no higher honor.

Me. Standing before you,
your stone,
your memory.
Your life!
I’m humbled.

Yet honored.
Not that you died,
But that you lived.
And because you lived, you died,
So I may live. That we can live.

To my fallen fellows,
to my comrades of ideal,
may your sacrifice be honored
within our best brigade.
I salute your life.

Bill Reynolds © 27 May 2018

Look both ways in Memorial to our fallen comrades, yours, mine, ours. Allow no gaps.

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: Cactus Flower of Spring

The 29th (of 30) NaPo prompt challenged me to write a poem based on the Plath Poetry Project’s calendar. I was to pick a poem from the calendar, and then write my own verse that relates to it.

If you don’t know anything about Sylvia Plath, you should. Click on her name to link up. I selected her poem Poppies in July (click for link to analysis) because the city I live in is having a Poppy Festival today. Also, reading the poem and learning about Sylvia’s life was deeply moving.

Poppies In July (by Sylvia Plath)

Little poppies, little hell flames,
Do you do no harm?

You flicker.  I cannot touch you.
I put my hands among the flames.  Nothing burns

And it exhausts me to watch you
Flickering like that, wrinkly and clear red, like the skin of a mouth.

A mouth just bloodied.
Little bloody skirts!

There are fumes I cannot touch.
Where are your opiates, your nauseous capsules?

If I could bleed, or sleep! –
If my mouth could marry a hurt like that!

Or your liquors seep to me, in this glass capsule,
Dulling and stilling.

But colorless.  Colorless.

© by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes.

Taken on this morning’s walk as I pondered Sylvia and her poem.

Cactus Flower of Spring

Little Cactus Flower of much despair,
Your short life, a sad bad mad dream.

Your song of pity plays on. Oh lord, I want to touch you.
Deeply reaching your inferior, I want to know your pain.

Misery and pain surround you,
dear yellow flower of agony and sorrow.

Surrounded by cacti, as you are,
I cannot save you in life or death.

I can only see your pain today,
Through words you left of such sorrow.

May your pain be gone, your love remains,
O’ Little Flower of despair.

Yellow, green, red and blue,
I see them now, and I think of you.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/29/2018)

 

 

Live and learn and lean both ways, looking for our Cactus Flower.
Mind the thorns and shun the needles, the gaps are there for all to feel.

 

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: What is Love?

The day 21 poem prompt of the 2018 NaPoWriMo challenges me to write a poem based on the myth of Narcissus. After reading the it, I was to write a poem that plays with the myth in some way.

My poem looks at love from Narcissus’ point of view. Was his beauty a curse? Was his rejection of the love of suitors, male and female, a problem? Should he have loved them all? One of them killed himself and asked the goddess Nemesis to punish or curse the object of his affection. That curse caused Narcissus to love his reflection. That’s what happened, and it is not vanity. How many spurned lovers have placed curses like that?

 

 

What is Love?

Bukowski was right
Love is a dog from hell
The passion
The pain
The inevitable pain
Did Shelly love?
Did Browning love?
Who did Dickenson love?
Did Poe, Wilde, Lord B?

Love is a dog from hell
Look at me
Look at you
We echo no love
For the other
cursed self-love
the prayer of A him
the curse of a Nem.
Bukowski was right.

No god can make me
Love you any less
I must die into hell
To love as I must
Be cursed forever
To be loved
By so many
No love to give
In return, forever
To be known as
The beautiful fool
who loved himself.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/21/2018)

Look both way to see love as it is.
Mind relationship gaps.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poetry: A Strain of Madness

The pathetic bitch just lay before my eyes,
we each blamed the other for her horrible lines.
I had once dreamed of her as a flawless beauty,
but her loveliness was soon all too fleeting.
Everything about her soon disgusted me.

She beamed as I hacked away and mutilated her.
Such beatings were horrible, she no longer was fair,
not lovely as once I’d imagined. She was my obsession,
she had to be better, no – I demanded perfection.
I swore at her, insulted her, I’d not let her rest.

Her excruciating pain was caused by my emasculation,
as I twisted her limbs, she bled and cried out my damnation.
I never shed tears. I was her god, her creator; I owned her.
Angered I was, by what she’d become in my hands.
No longer did she sing her sweet angelic song.

Her nightmare was my blind fury. As her cruel and ruthless master,
I swore obscenities and pointed out her flaws; her heart was shattered.
I pondered her shredding – me killing her. Where could I hide?
Should I kill us both? Maybe that was it; murder-suicide.
Thus ending our miserable suffering, both would just die.

Without me, she would not exist. Mutilation continued;
I hacked off pieces, yet that suffering twaddle endured.
I attached new members, only to rip them away as crap;
I ignored her cries for mercy as I tossed her limbs as scrap,
replacing them with her rip-torn skin; still oozing blood.

Was her beauty hidden or gone? I ripped at her face.
She was mine to mold, to satiate my perverted desires.
Everything, from her disfigured hair flowing down
to her awkward stumbling feet, was to gratify me.
Her suffering would end with my metered pleasure.

I deemed us inhuman. A mere dullard of life, all that she was.
Her reasons for existing were meeting my ruthless demands.
She failed. Each day I emptied myself into her, more beatings.
Her tolerance for my impatience stroked her pleasurable feelings,
her loving and caring endurance infuriated me all the more.

I was disgusted. All that time. All the work. All our suffering.
Yet, lain before me that pathetic little twat blamed me.
Exhausted, I thought this would be the end for us both.
Barely breathing, her heart murmuring along with mine,
our time together had neared its end, soon it was done.

One final scream! And then; calmly I stared, feeling a bit proud.
My anguish gone, I muttered the sounds of her words aloud
just as she set them before me. Slowly, she began to change.
That poisonous little worm became my lovely butterfly.
She smiled at me. Then she pouted, both sensuous and shy.

We reached out to each other one final time.
Soon, she would be with eternity, but somehow still mine.
I wept as my pleasure mixed with regret and my sorrow.
After setting her release for after sunrise, tomorrow,
I abandoned my poor little poem to whatever might follow.

Bill Reynolds, 9/4/2017

Know the gaps and mind them well. Look both ways, or deal with hell

But he who, having no touch of the Muses’ madness in his soul, comes to the door and thinks that he will get into the temple of art – he, I say, and his poetry are not admitted; the sane man disappears and is nowhere when he enters into rivalry with the madman. ~ Plato, Phaedrus

Hence poetry implies either a happy gift of nature or a strain of madness. Aristotle, Poetics

Love the art, poor as it may be, which thou hast learned, and be content with it, making thyself neither the master nor the servant of any man. ~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book Four

prisoner

I have not sinned
against a god nor man
nor woman
harmed no beast
—cared for Mother

why do I suffer
these sins of others
the revenge of Man
sins against me
—why am I prisoner here

admit they say and
confess – to what
I did no wrong
I harmed no one
—and yet I’m here

yet I am punished
forced – I sit alone, told to
feel some shame and
remorse and
—guilt for my breath

my dignity
my humanity
they took all from me and
I suffer – I do – I am alone in
—my pain without sympathy

why am I punished
made less than
human – no son of god
son of man
—fuck it all – fuck them all

try harder they say
love this god they pray
why must I see their way
It’s their way I’ll suffer
—the goodness of Death

prisoner by bill reynolds. 5/31/17

Look around. Mind what you see.