Poetry: A Blaze of Glory

Warned ya: F-word used cuz I do.

A Blaze of Glory

I should be dead.
Hush! Be quiet.
Listen to me.

I shudda been dead years ago.
Every rock wall or cliff I ever saw
was for climbin’ up or down
got kinda hairy sometimes, ripped pants,
scrapes, scratches, and snakes
got bee stung once.

Every train was our ride, tracks for playing
and high trestles for wide river crossings.
A train’s comin’?
I knew two guys who
killed themselves
jumpin’ off a them bridges.

Every roof was to be jumped from
after a building’s been climbed, got
wrenched, twisted, and sprained —
never broken.

Me and Jimmy swam
butt-naked
in that filthy, dirty, Susquehanna
in our bathing suits, which means naked.
Immunity.

We climbed up shit.
Like towers, bridges, trees, buildings.
Shinnied up rusty poles. If we fell,
we’d die. Motivation!
If a train came, we’d die.

Fucking people jumped
from there
into the river
to kill their selves.
My uncle did – Dad’s brother,
Was his name? James maybe,
Something. Yes it was James. Same as Dad’s dad.
His sons said he was trying to save a dog.
Uncle Jimmy weren’t savin’ no fucking dog,
But glorious if he had.

We poached – fish. Got shot at!
Fuckers missed us – on purpose likely.
When you get shot at,
you hear the bullets buzz past.
Crack, crack,
buzz
buzz.
We left — pronto.
Fish were prolly scared anyway.

It was fun to be
scared. And nothing
scared us more than
death.
But Jimmy and me – we
would live forever.

Then Jimmy died
after heart surgery.
Took him off a machine that
breathed
for him – how fucking
inglorious!

I’ll die too.
Too fucking late for
glorious.
Or is it?

Tom died too. Jumped
off a tower. ‘chute didn’t open.
BASErs say gear malfunction.
Midnight. New Year’s Eve.
BASE jump. Glorious.

Jack died of fucking cancer.
He knew. He called me cuz
he knew. I knew too. When his
wife called to tell me. I
fucking couldn’t talk – I
went totally fucking Dumb.

Give me the Light Brigade.
Fuck pas. Gimme a rifle,
a cause, a revolution, a reason.
Fernando!

Teach me how to
die. All the lessons of
life – not one teaches
me how to die.

Love hard, live fast,
die old. But die for a reason.
If yer gunna die, have a cause.

¡viva la revolución!
Aces’n eights ain’t my hand.
I’m not motherfucking dead yet.

There’s more.
More to tell, more to do.

I toast my comrades: to their glory. Salute!

(Bill Reynolds, © 14 May 2018)

In life, there is a reason for each season. Look both ways and mind the gaps.

NOTES: While I think a poem should stand on its own without gloss, my editorial reconsiderations include these.

If you like, read the Charge of The Light Brigade (esp. last stanza) by clicking here.

Pas is physician assisted suicide.

Fernando is the song by ABBA, click here to listen.

 

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Poetry — NaPoWriMo: Assimilated Rebel

The day 20 poem prompt of the 2018 NaPoWriMo challenges me to write a poem that involves rebellion. For example, defy a rule, or write something either funny or serious. My poem should open a path beyond the standard, hum-drum ruts that every poet sometimes falls into.

Warning, this poem is bleak. It is written to reflect panicked frustration and to respond to the prompt. The dark side of reality interests me. I am not disturbed by it and I accept its existence. Many of you feel the same or Stephen King would be a retired teacher today.

I use the f-word a lot here, cuz I use the spoken f-word a lot, except when I know some prudish soul may be crushed. So, if those two things bother you, please give this driveling twaddle the sack.

One more thing. I am fine. Please try not to think otherwise. Yes, I recently got some bad news, but that has nothing to do with this stream-of-dark-consciousness writing (and if it does, so what?). It’s hard enough to write without folks asking if I’m suicidal.

The poem is rebellion from my POV. If you do read this, and you happen to be, or have been, a Teacher of English grammar, take a deep breath and perhaps a glass or two of wine first. It is one sentence. I know. Many great poems (one of which, this is not) are.

 

Assimilated Rebel

one must dress like this or that and think thusly and carry this torch to that goal and be always right and feel like shit when not and one must win, always win, a looser dont be, dont say that is not me because bukowski said just do it, just do it, and live and work for the glory of no god or whatever, but to survive and whatnot, and to help them survive, the ones you love and them ya dont and its a beautiful life and we will all just fucking die because thats what we do in the end middle or start, and then go to some nonexistent haven or fucking hell foe-evah cuz ya didnt cross da tee or dit-da-dot on a dam i and smile for a kodak if yer not, then dont fucking try cuz anyway they all die no matter how hard ya try and then dunna fuckin cry, just be stoic, thats a lie but i dno why, just go along to get along and be different and ah independent thinker, just be creative and spell it my way in stripes with plads or circles, and socks wit sandals, and man-buns and feet with pit hair, lay and never lie, its all so jacked up nothin’ fucking matters so fuck it, and fuck it all.

(bill reynolds, 420 day y2k+18; freddie mercury tribute concert day; and a. hitler’s b-day)

Look both ways today to see who’s got the loco weed tea.
Allow no gaps of toke.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: A Pocket Full of Doubt

The day seven poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month challenge was for me to list my different layers of identity (son, father, grand and step-grandparent, retiree, white male, septuagenarian, poet/writer, hippie, etc.) — ways I could be described. Per the prompt, I divided those identities into two lists: what makes me feel powerful; and what makes me feel vulnerable.

I wrote a poem in which one of the identities from the first list (man) contends or talks with an identity from the second list (sensitive man). This poem reflects the doubt seemingly inherent in that conflict.

 

A Pocket Full of Doubt

Walk tall and proud to be our one man
Carry strong your body, mind, and be of good spirit
Hold on to what’s yours as tight as you can
To be a man, my son, inside you can’t feel it.

It ain’t me. It ain’t me. But a man I must be.

Stand honest and truthful, be a real man
Sense love and sadness and touch with your soul
Let go of yourself, as alone you must stand
Into the soul of men, you must never there go.

Can’t you see? It just ain’t me. Like so, a man I can never be.

So, of two minds you continue to fight?
Two spirits, one soul we continue to see
Where is the truth to set this man right?
Conflicted as such, you’ll never agree.

Let you be the man. The one we can see.
…….A man such as this can never be free.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/7/2018)

Look both ways if you’re of two minds.
In the gaps lie the answers, so mind what you find.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

From The NeverEnding Story

A few weeks ago was the 33rd anniversary of the movie, The NeverEnding Story, being released to theaters. I wrote this little ditty to relate to the moral of the story, as I see it today.

Moonchild

The mantle of truth is a heavy coat of many colors,
it gives warmth and freedom, but not love, friends, or quiet.
I can wear it out for all see, or keep it secretly private,
hidden away from the flak and dissent of others.

During this never-ending search for the best,
I face many challenges, and risk the love of others.
Do I seek such love, or a truth not of any lovers?
Must Falkor guide me on my never-ending quest?

When it’s only a story, is it also a myth?
At the Magic Mirror Gate, what truth have I now?
What is it within me, that this story won’t allow?
Are love and truth the same, or is it the Oracle’s kiss?

I find the impossible hard to defend.
The nothing is within me, but I’ll take my stand
for the dream of truth to my last grain of sand.
No seeker would stop with this as the end.

We deny then accept, it’s hard to compile,
the path is a clear one for all who will stay,
it may not be possible, at least not today.
Make Fantasia all truth, son of Moonchild.

*Bill Reynolds 7/31/2017

On your never-ending story, look both ways. Mind the gaps, they’re not myths.

My favorite lines from the movie (and the youtube clip):

G’mork: Foolish boy. Don’t you know anything about Fantasia? It’s the world of human fantasy. Every part, every creature of it, is a piece of the dreams and hopes of mankind. Therefore, it has no boundaries.

Atreyu: But why is Fantasia dying, then?

G’mork: Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams. So the Nothing grows stronger.

Atreyu: What is the Nothing?

G’mork: It’s the emptiness that’s left. It’s like a despair, destroying this world. And I have been trying to help it.

My Last Dream: Your Final Kiss

Lay your kiss upon my lips,
this parting now so ends our mix,
this love of ours death has eclipsed.
You’re not wrong, of us to deem
that our days were but a dream;
‘tis not our lust yet flown away,
so little time we’re here to stay,
in this night, the last we share,
we end this passion that we bear.
Did it happen as it so seemed?
Did it happen as in my dreams?
Was it true, now comes to this?
Press your love upon my lips.

I stand alone before you now,
into your care, my final vow –
my life I offer to your hand
eternal love’s last grains of sand,
slipping slowly where you stand.
Weep not for us, lost to the deep,
from your breast let love not seep.
It was a dream, and as we dreamed
our heart’s desire was as it seemed.
Before I die, my one last wish,
Upon my lips – your final kiss.

Bill Reynolds 7/7/2017

Inspired by Poe’s A Dream Within a Dream…Listen to it while reading my poem again. You’ll see…

Look both ways and mind the gaps, but remember to live.

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.

The Paradox of Love – Joan and John

This is my second post in a series about the paradox of love. It is a little different in that it’s about a man I’ve met, and a couple in love. I’ve included two of his poems.

Let’s answer this question: What is the best hoped-for outcome of any relationship?

Even Grimm’s Fairy Tales don’t finish with the “and they lived happily ever after” fantasy. The best we can hope for is, until death do us part. Barring the end of the movie The Notebook, murder-suicide pacts, or certain accidents; someone gets left. And we are often made miserable by our loss, about being left without someone we love, or about how that happened.

I don’t know John Gorow well. We attend the same writer’s group. John’s an old timer in the group; I’m new. He agreed to allow me to publish the story he related to me, and the poems he wrote. It is a remarkable and inspirational story. His poems are wonderful.

Joan and John Gorow met in 1969, when both were recovering from divorce. Prior to their marriage in 1972, Joan told John that she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). According to John, Joan’s health setbacks did not begin for about 28 years. Since 2000, her MS was a problem. Then came breast cancer. While treatment led to a full recovery, a Parkinson’s diagnosis soon followed, in addition to her worsening MS.

For approximately 15 years, John was Joan’s constant companion and full-time caregiver. As Joan’s health continued to deteriorate, the burden on John increased. In response to that challenge, John wrote the following beautiful, heart-wrenching poem.

***
CAREGIVER
by John Gorow

Time moves on
Inconvenient impairments become life altering
Legs don’t do what she wants
Hands have difficulty holding things

Normal chores are no longer normal
Cooking becomes dangerous
Washing dishes is impossible
Clothes can’t be carried to the washer while using a walker
The vacuum can’t be pushed
Self-worth begins to fade.

The one who has been cared for must now give care
She has cooked for me
It is my turn to cook for her
She washed our clothes
I will do the washing
She kept our home clean
I will try my best

It is assumed we all can dress ourselves
That is no longer true
Showering on her own can’t be done
No more going to the bathroom by herself

Memory slips – confusion arrives
What day is it?
Where are we?
I need patience
We talk, and then we laugh – I cry on the inside

Kids tell me to get help
I finally do – one day a week
Who is it harder on – her or me?
I get some freedom – she does not.

Caregiving is tough
Better than the alternative
I want her as she was
It will not happen
But then again, I do have her

(October 17, 2013)

***

Seven months ago, on October 22, 2016, John no longer had Joan with him. Since then, John has suffered and struggled with his pain. He wrote the following poem to directly address grief in response to the prompt: what brought you to your knees? In the fifth stanza, he directly addresses the paradox of love, vis-à-vis his grief.

***

GRIEF
by John Gorow

Who are you, grief?
Why do you pester me?
You have dropped me to my knees.

I knew I would have to deal with you,
But is it forever?
You keep lingering in my life.

I think you may be gone,
Then you grab me once again.
My laughs turn into tears.

Others have told me about you,
But you don’t behave the same with all.
I can’t determine when you will rise again.

What a paradox.
I have tried to hate you,
But without love you wouldn’t be here.

I know we will take the rest of my journey together,
So I must accept you.
That acceptance will be slow.

You should know
I will no longer dread the tears you bring me,
You will need to accept that.

You can stay with me,
But I will slowly rise from my knees.
I will move forward, but not forget.

(May 18, 2017)

***

I want to close this post with the same line John ended his email to me. It’s a beautiful one-line poem of five words.

“I miss her very much.”

***

As we look both ways and mind the gaps,
let’s not forget that some of us are suffering.
Let us love and support each other, and at all times, let us cherish those we love –
paradox or not.