Something For The Touts, The Nuns, The Grocery Clerks, And You

By Charles Bukowski (1920-94)

we have everything and we have nothing
and some men do it in churches
and some men do it by tearing butterflies
in half
and some men do it in Palm Springs
laying it into butterblondes
with Cadillac souls
Cadillacs and butterflies
nothing and everything,
the face melting down to the last puff
in a cellar in Corpus Christi.
there’s something for the touts, the nuns,
the grocery clerks and you . . .
something at 8 a.m., something in the library
something in the river,
everything and nothing.
in the slaughterhouse it comes running along
the ceiling on a hook, and you swing it —
one
two
three
and then you’ve got it, $200 worth of dead
meat, its bones against your bones
something and nothing.
it’s always early enough to die and
it’s always too late,
and the drill of blood in the basin white
it tells you nothing at all
and the gravediggers playing poker over
5 a.m. coffee, waiting for the grass
to dismiss the frost . . .
they tell you nothing at all.

we have everything and we have nothing —
days with glass edges and the impossible stink
of river moss — worse than shit;
checkerboard days of moves and countermoves,
fagged interest, with as much sense in defeat as
in victory; slow days like mules
humping it slagged and sullen and sun-glazed
up a road where a madman sits waiting among
bluejays and wrens netted in and sucked a flakey
grey.
good days too of wine and shouting, fights
in alleys, fat legs of women striving around
your bowels buried in moans,
the signs in bullrings like diamonds hollering
Mother Capri, violets coming out of the ground
telling you to forget the dead armies and the loves
that robbed you.
days when children say funny and brilliant things
like savages trying to send you a message through
their bodies while their bodies are still
alive enough to transmit and feel and run up
and down without locks and paychecks and
ideals and possessions and beetle-like
opinions.
days when you can cry all day long in
a green room with the door locked, days
when you can laugh at the breadman
because his legs are too long, days
of looking at hedges . . .

and nothing, and nothing, the days of
the bosses, yellow men
with bad breath and big feet, men
who look like frogs, hyenas, men who walk
as if melody had never been invented, men
who think it is intelligent to hire and fire and
profit, men with expensive wives they possess
like 60 acres of ground to be drilled
or shown-off or to be walled away from
the incompetent, men who’d kill you
because they’re crazy and justify it because
it’s the law, men who stand in front of
windows 30 feet wide and see nothing,
men with luxury yachts who can sail around
the world and yet never get out of their vest
pockets, men like snails, men like eels, men
like slugs, and not as good . . .
and nothing, getting your last paycheck
at a harbor, at a factory, at a hospital, at an
aircraft plant, at a penny arcade, at a
barbershop, at a job you didn’t want
anyway.
income tax, sickness, servility, broken
arms, broken heads — all the stuffing
come out like an old pillow.

we have everything and we have nothing.
some do it well enough for a while and
then give way. fame gets them or disgust
or age or lack of proper diet or ink
across the eyes or children in college
or new cars or broken backs while skiing
in Switzerland or new politics or new wives
or just natural change and decay —
the man you knew yesterday hooking
for ten rounds or drinking for three days and
three nights by the Sawtooth mountains now
just something under a sheet or a cross
or a stone or under an easy delusion,
or packing a bible or a golf bag or a
briefcase: how they go, how they go! — all
the ones you thought would never go.

days like this. like your day today.
maybe the rain on the window trying to
get through to you. what do you see today?
what is it? where are you? the best
days are sometimes the first, sometimes
the middle and even sometimes the last.
the vacant lots are not bad, churches in
Europe on postcards are not bad. people in
wax museums frozen into their best sterility
are not bad, horrible but not bad. the
cannon, think of the cannon, and toast for
breakfast the coffee hot enough you
know your tongue is still there, three
geraniums outside a window, trying to be
red and trying to be pink and trying to be
geraniums, no wonder sometimes the women
cry, no wonder the mules don’t want
to go up the hill. are you in a hotel room
in Detroit looking for a cigarette? one more
good day. a little bit of it. and as
the nurses come out of the building after
their shift, having had enough, eight nurses
with different names and different places
to go — walking across the lawn, some of them
want cocoa and a paper, some of them want a
hot bath, some of them want a man, some
of them are hardly thinking at all. enough
and not enough. arcs and pilgrims, oranges
gutters, ferns, antibodies, boxes of
tissue paper.

in the most decent sometimes sun
there is the softsmoke feeling from urns
and the canned sound of old battleplanes
and if you go inside and run your finger
along the window ledge you’ll find
dirt, maybe even earth.
and if you look out the window
there will be the day, and as you
get older you’ll keep looking
keep looking
sucking your tongue in a little
ah ah no no maybe

some do it naturally
some obscenely
everywhere.

Poem source

Image source: www.discoverlosangeles.com

If

By Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Poem source

Empathy

By Morgan Harper Nichols

 

EMPATHY:

Let me hold the door for you.

I may have never walked

a mile in your shoes,

but I can see that

your soles are worn

and your strength is torn

under the weight of a story

I have never lived before.

So let me hold the door for you.

After all you’ve walked through,

It’s the least I can do.

 

Poem source 

Image source: thedoctorweighsin.com

The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost (1874–1963)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

Original source: Poetry Foundation

Detonation Rows

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As cold steel fingers cease the reaping of the pitiful sows
a new class of heads are banged together like balls on detonation row
new questions grew from a town view that few wanted to see
yet it often pleased and comforted me
see a new suspended vision exuding a rare power
after years of numbed technical ecstasy
I want to see, feel and move
like the exponential growth of a rare full blooming flower
In this frame living is the fullest
and all the honey and the grime I can roll in
keep pumping my heart, mind, soul and body
on all fours: the sacred four burning
a blinding wipe out

 

By Nicholas Peart

3rd May 2020

(c)All Rights Reserved

 

Image: Anselm Kiefer The Orders of the Night (Die Orden der Nacht) (1996)

The Universal Tide

Caravaggio

The universal tide: jacked on the cross
tainted down to the tow: forgotten seat dread
Everything I said was captured and fed
at the dust down
at the dusk: hold and go
As the airport got tight
and the blue/gray mutilated stratus sky was out of sight
I should’ve sown what I saw in a less than plain view
forming a white view board from which this can grow
from where the crows lowly glide;
are they looking for a home?
or are they out-reaped and looking low?
For a chill second I can beat;
the ships like broken bread
malted dread to level all those distorted hollow sounds

I wanted to delve and I wanted to feel
Of all the reeling
as it sapped all and everything
out the back mind ground to level dust
On a devil-cut mirror stretched to rage
In my cage I can’t be the fullest entity in another dimension
I need that place where the grip is soft
I need to be there where a coin toss determines nothing
The rotations last for as long as one can forsake
crystal glints of mirages more fleeting than rainbows
As gravity classifies and resists
all underwater sub-machine gun fires: a storm in a shot glass
this transpires to nullify all lost to random heavens
Low grade leanings; creased and worn
from a battle long forgotten
For victories returned to crust micro living
broken reeds: posed feel
no halos or smoking guns
grabbed tight, fast and blown

The dice repeats; one rinse and an algorithmic key
hoping for some secret chord beyond the promised land
Don’t go. Never. No
All fires flipped to the charred thunder
all lovers dipped into pools reserved for the afterlife
awakened callings; more bangs, less whimpers
the shown degree to what they say
put aside and boxed for another day
The seeds lost count and I am losing my sleep
Too hard to take the heat
with the fear level breaking the needle on the dial
as rocks turn to magma and the magma now an engulfing cloud
with no destination only suffocation
until I wake up and a new blue day awaits

Mothballed liver found fault
on the creases in his face
as he slanted to a crooked place
the gaze mutated to a duller shade of pink
and the stagnant wine retreated in an alchemic blink
a nation torn down
an abandoned and unedifying sink to leave no trace
let us all pray

No lines crossed
All spots and sparks; around an arc
marked full and hard
like the tyrant string pullers of fragile lights
soon brushed off crumb by crumb
to bring lanes to the next beams
I see the cheers
I keep walking
not letting go of the veil
all else is of no control
splinters in another wave

 

By Nicholas Peart

Published on May 2nd 2020

(c)All Rights Reserved

Image: Caravaggio – The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

Kings Out Of The Smallest Ants

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A thought for which I fought

in marble blood-stained lands

A bridge united all these forgotten fragments

Once dead in stagnant Earth liquid;

the white light blinds our eyes

and makes kings out of the smallest ants

 

by Nicholas Peart

Written: 22nd January 2014

(c)All Rights Reserved 

Image: https://photographyfree4all.wordpress.com

The Secret Plain

enchanted-forest-2510562_1280

Folded complex
sweet
a bitter rot
underground

nothing smooth detected
no sugar coat
only you
and all your human core
at the fore

as days turn to clockless horizons
where unknown freedom reigns supreme
no nostalgia needed
in this eternal loving vacuum

 

by Nicholas Peart

Written: 29th October 2018

(c)All Rights Reserved

The Effortless Beat

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A faded glow pricks the plankton
most agitated from decades dishevelled
at the micro level too close to the picture
then yes it is a rut not softening the blow
where I am never protected from what I want
and where silent subtle beauty is forever elusive
and joy only permeates once the controls are discarded
then the muted band of life breaks free

Moments are the sacred secret chords
like temporary cloud formations
they ring in a key
before the new pitch saves the day
and old spheres make way for other tones
in all their elegance, discord and limitations
a splattered banquet with no way of knowing
questions and answers are mere confusion

The astral warp is also a puppet
we will never see who pulls the strings
if you search you will not be in rhythm
to the harmony beyond your self imposed prison
the leaves on the trees don’t inquire
they only be; not chasing the next best thing
and when they see those restless rainbow seekers
they laugh so hard the ground beneath them smiles

 

By Nicholas Peart

Written 27th October 2018

(c)All Rights Reserved

 

Image: Arcaion