IN THE RAGS OF A SERVANT
He spoke to me:
“As I walk the land,
Submerged in thought,
I hear the footsteps of my ancestors,
conquering the darkness
with their small candles.
Their once extant spirits
moonlighting as heralds from
another world, riding the winds,
praying I breath in
their ceaseless energy, So
their good can emanate through me
As it once did them.
When you dream, he says,
Dream a dream that changes
The world, not just yours.
In a world turned upside down,
Be good hearted and strong,
And watch as like minded men rush
to your aid.”
When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
from The House of Belonging
In the perfect world, what would we do?
Do you think I would love you?
Would you love me back?
Would we be friends?
Do you think your mother, brother, sister would reciprocate my love?
Would there be anyone without it?
Is love the perfect world?
Not infatuation, not shallow, not relationships, not some cliche from a hallmark card
but real love.
Love of brothers and sisters.
Love of husbands and wives.
Love of children, parents, grandparents.
Love of true friends.
Is that the meaning of perfection?
Is a world of love a world of perfection?
What is the world without love?
What is perfection?
Is it beauty?
What is beauty without love?
What is the world made of?
What is it’s foundation?
Is it made by us, for us?
Is there a purpose behind it?
What is a man without love?
What is a woman?
Tell me what…
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A cottage on the prairie of red brick and clay,
My home, my sandbox, my fort of play
My forlorn crevice of secrets untold,
The ghosts of my past, ghastly and cold,
Eerie rooms now, air thick with dust,
Paint chipping, nails laden with rust,
A crack in the wall, skeletons in the store,
The laughters of life buried deep in its core,
Like a long forgotten tradition it doth dwell,
The lingering sense of failure and its musty smell,
The vermin scurry in a pile of decay,
The roof hung low with a saddening dismay,
The grass grown tall, crickets chirp through night,
A once cosy retreat, now a painful sight,
And as much as I fear, this dark recluse,
Sees me as i see it, a chronic excuse.
Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic
Flying with the breeze, blissful and free,
A stroll through the starry canopy,
Tranquillity filling the pores of my skin,
A timeless moment for both kith and kin,
No worry of what will be no care of what has,
Tonight I will surrender of what has come to pass,
So let the moonlit absolution proceed,
Let peace prevail, its what we need,
Let pebbles be pebbles and branches be leafy cones,
For no sticks shall defeat me no stones will break my bones,
Lets pick ourselves some lilies, or dandelions if you may,
Lets run again through the meadow, lets sleep once more in hay.
Endless possibilities here
Beholding a beautiful beast
entranced by a smile
I linger a while…
Immersed in a sea of pillows,
by a beautiful thing i may not be able to keep.
Captured in a moment of what I can only describe as contentment
I allow lips to grace my neck.
Savoring this simple touch,
Trying to remember how long it has been
Since someone decided to do that…
I retrace the steps that brought me to this bed,
I lie still gently drawing shapes upon his forearm with my fingertips
recollecting the moments before
when those eyes drew me in for a moment
inviting my body to move in sync,
when those lips threatened to take control of my destiny
even if it was just for one night.
Mind swimming in libations,
joy radiating from me like a soft warm glow
he saw me,
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it’s a tiny word,
respect, and, after all, what does it mean? a creeping,
crawling word that
remembers to rinse the empty
can of cat
food, that didn’t call for its scripts on time, that knows
if you keep doing the same thing, you will keep getting the same
results. and why not? why the body, the heart, must leap,
but no one knows how to get there, or when trust (and success)
will come, or that to pass into your lover’s body, you must let
them pass into
yours. rolling round in the straw
will take out the kinks–yes, your heart matters; I want a big bed
covered with white
linens, a vase of fresh roses on the window ledge & the window
open to salt breeze, english town from Hardy &
your body shining under mine–bad girl, or
copyright © 2013, The Rag Tree
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Everytime I see you, you give me butterflies.
Seriously, what am I supposed to do with these?
Am i supposed to let them fly free?
Am I supposed to release them into the air and let them fly like I feel like I can when you’re around?
I think I have too many butterflies now.
You give them to me every time we meet
As if you think I am running out.
I wish that you would stop giving them to me.
But somehow I think you don’t realise that you leave butterflies in your wake.
It’s like you leave a trail of them and I am supposed to follow the trail
Am I? Am I supposed to follow the butterflies like bread crumbs?
Or will it just lead me to the witch’s house?
Everytime I see you, you give me butterflies.
I don’t know what to do with these.
At first light she opens her eyes,
rosy cheeks bedimpled as she smiles.
With her hand she reaches out,
to touch the sun’s rays caressing
her window pane.
A breath of sigh escapes her parted lips,
contentment she bears in every line of her face.
Her body slowly opens up to the day,
as she uncurls her limbs from night’s embrace.
Stretching body with sensuous delight
falling sheet slowly cascading,
on smooth skin that glistens in the light,
never ending like sparkling wine.
Emotions… be thankful for their honesty.
Emotions grow as we do. With us. Daily
Can they be trusted? Can we be trusted?
Beings of this vast universe. Change comes so rapidly for us.
My Heart only wants for the truth.
The ego must summon to my Heart’s beat…
With feelings of an indecisive nature, we simply can not keep up with the effortless spin, our emotions deliver.
[Poem written by: Christina Clark]
You were the beauty in me
Now that you’re gone I can’t look at myself
The mirror wants to burst at my sight
I’ve turned gray and ugly and dry and old
My heart is withering
You cut off the roots of beauty in my soul
And poisoned the soil of my fields
No love can grow there any more
You must be strong,
You have pockmarks down the inside of your arms,
like blue ink tracing blue veins down the trails of your
You didn’t make a promise for nobody. You tell yourself
that at night, but it stopped being so funny when you fell
for the lies that seemed right, the ones that told you: “Hey.
There’s something left for you to sell.”
Sell yourself for dimes and quarters because it’s better to
be the pestle than the mortar.
You must be strong,
and you tell yourself this crouching in the dry bathtub,
remembering their touch and their malevolent backrub,
capricious, perfidious, you hope they have found a shackled love
to prove them wrong.
You have pockmarks down the inside of your arms,
like blue steel turning you cold down the footpaths of
Vicious, prestigious, you breathe with a mackled lung
and chickenpox scars…
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and treasure it deep
for you haven’t much time
’till you fall back into sleep
where you’ll dream of a heaven
and a hell most unique
where the final star shines
over the last mountain’s peak
and as the star slowly dims
and it all starts to look bleak
… soon that star will be gone
and you’ll sit alone, blind and weak
then the mountain, too
will begin to sink
until you’re left with only
cigarette stains on your teeth.
I wonderful piece
Time to write about religion now,
after buying bananas and escarole,
after passing up a rosemary plant
that was blooming, which I have
never seen, which sent me on a
whole series of associations
(gardens, my mother, whose name
was Rosemary; she was a pilgrim
in the garden, always a transplant
and always seeking something—
blooming vigor, a pleasant surprise
brought about by her own two hands:
Oops! Look at that—this thing I have
tended, not even knowing for sure what
it was, is now exploding in splendor.)
But anyway, I was buying onions
and carrots, basil and bread,
showing Betty, my daughter,
how the eggs we buy are cage free,
certified humane. I was cringing
at my ostentatiousness, how I
justify myself out loud, and my
children were fighting, mainly
Joseph, my son, relentlessly
needling Betty because he is
smaller and knows he is smaller.
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if you cross the line
after which no shoes are required
if you grow out of your clothes
before I grow out of mine
and enter the atmosphere I breathe
I will hunt you down eyes closed
every day every night every
breath one breath closer I
will take you in breathe you out
a cosmic CPR
on the couch in the car
in the woods in bed
for if you should precede me
you’ll be in front of me forever
ahead of everywhere
I turn as I push off
to the word ahead of this one
~ Wyatt Townley
Wyatt Townley’s books of poems include The Breathing Field (Little, Brown), Perfectly Normal (The Smith), and her latest, The Afterlives of Trees (Woodley), a Kansas Notable Book and winner of the Nelson Award, completed with a fellowship from the Kansas Arts Commission and just nominated…
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nice bit of writing
Really nice line…. “Appreciate an ear for its own worst fears.”
I died again last night
A guttural exhalation
that scattered stars
Cozied up in my trestle bed
Where you used to lie
And we would sleep
in the spoon fashion
Breathe in, breathe out
Dreaming of love’s release
That took shape with each move
But you’re gone
Away to Neverland
Without so much as a whisper
Or even a sigh
And I’m here comatose
In the bed you always made
On the morning of your birth
With all that it entails
Drained of my essence
Because I let you in
I let you breathe for me
And you’ve stopped my breath
But I must exhale
And start again.
And breathe again.
The hummingbird council convenes,
Once every three centuries,
Aligned with prime numbers,
She desecrates time,
Reveals hidden things like decisions
Made veiled as myth for the next
She tells me stories laced with tragedy,
Ribboned with defeat;
She sings them so very pretty,
She strings them like coral beads or
Turquoise bangles, Phoenix feathers,
For gunpowder to trade;
When she rides it is a slow burn,
Whispers loud enough
Her secrets spilled compromise
Bring down a kingdom or two;
She is flippant with the facts,
Her fingers a tyranny of sorts,
Yet she sings it oh so pretty,
When she burns dominion.
It’s not getting any better.
And I’m not going to be alright.
The water’s frozen over.
With the cracking of the ice.
Like the cracking of my back.
I can hear no movement coming.
There is nothing.
And I have become it.
I sleep too much and I speak too low.
For in their silence, I can still hear your laugh.
The voices of others are the sound of ground glass.
The chaos of crickets as I lay my head on the grass.
There are photos of us.
You and I in the background
Of somebody’s memories.
I found them by chance.
In a hole in a wall that you built.
I hold them too close.
Don’t I always?
I don’t suppose you know they exist.
I lit them by moonlight at my window.
To put a bit of fight in my chest.
I smoke a lot of cigarettes.
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I salute you
I want to know
what that word means.
the thought may be,
I can’t help but cling
to believing that knowing
what you mean whenever you
flippantly throw that word at me
would unlock the secret to all
the things you’ve hidden
from me since the
Every door will open,
every wall will fall,
and when you look up
at me again you will
finally see what has
been here all along.
i’m not a smooth talker.
i consider conversations
that are covered in fucks
cordial, if not clever.
i parallel genitalia to
any awkward utterance,
enunciating the word penis
in oversensitive cafeterias,
rehashing knowledge by way of
i zone out–quite–like no other,
dream of other things
when my interrogators bore me,
like fucking or sleeping or
loving or trying or taking–
taking bets and
taking shits and
taking hearts and
spitting on them,
taking chances and
taking compliments and
taking everything worthwhile,
everything worth keeping,
and returning it to the desires
that know how to smooth talk
the generic mold that is a
October wind sweeps colors of the day
In a mini tornado, ravaging
The hospital parking lot
Days like this remind me
Of evening air years ago
When all of us kids would take that leap
Into piles of bright corpses, freshly raked
And laugh and play in the masses
Of reds and oranges and yellows
Along with the rare greens
Making Christmas with the rest
A sacrifice to what comes after
And I think, even then,
All of us knew we’d end up
As part of the pile
Seventy, fifty, twenty years onward
I’d end up in the same bed
Where both my grandparents, demented,
Kissed the soul of fall and
Greeted the coming cold
In front of my childhood eyes
As I sit here, the feel of winter
Approaching chills my summer bones
In a car in the hospital parking lot
My heart ravaged by a mini…
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She carries a wicker picnic basket
filled with apples smashed to sauce.
They wet the checkerboard cloth
and make the contents a bit messy,
but there’s nothing tastier
than a delivery of homemade
in the wintertime.
The fruits are fizzy and fermented
from sitting in the sun too long,
becoming green, envious apples
though they began
To keep them fresh,
the flesh is washed in wicked witch;
her armpits the secret spice in this mulled cider,
the antibiotic to scare away microbes
before the pretty girl has a taste.
You tried to resist,
Snowy skin betraying hints of nervousness
in the lipstick flush of your cheeks.
You tried to keep your distance from the old lady,
whose skin was a bit too wrinkled and
nose a bit to crooked to be anything
but a bad makeup job.
But you bought Girl Scout cookies last week
and would feel…
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To be young again
Is not a possibility
For life has sculpted
What I am.
To return me
Would do me no favour
For my optimism
Would be crushed
By the doubt
That twice spent
To be young
Brings visage of joy
By a turning clock,
And the acceptance
But not always.
I identify with this piece
Pawing at the saline of the sky
Lovely bit of writing
A fast-striking weapon with scarlet lightning
Streaking the night of its leathery back:
Don’t try something like this
If you’re not ready yet.
Like a beam of the sunlight, split in a prism-
The pain that’s inside us blossoms to colour.
The desert breaks open and soil reveals green:
No more do we feel the need to escape.
The old self remains as a counter-example:
Its presence continues by our need for its end.
As cold as the coldest winter chill
Seeping into my haggard bones
I seek fire
Their January eats me alive
Then February, short and swift
Like a judge’s gavel
Descending, then gone
A loping deer in the rearview
March comes marching by
Left, right, left, right
An uncertainty unmatched
Except by mixed company
An April passes next
Animals gnawing on food
Defrosted and freezer-burned
But tasting better by the day
As May follows near
A chirping bird on a branch
Spreading its wings
And flying into June
A beautiful girl with pigtails
Dancing gaily in the grass
As warm as summer’s breath
July continues the theme
Burning bright and steady
A car’s headlights on bright
Blinding in its ferocity
Their August takes me unawares
Stealthy and fleet of foot
A secret they share too late
September eases on by
Indian summer in the air
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When you THINK you know a fellow?
by Edgar A. Guest
When you get to know a fellow, know his joys and know his cares,
when you’ve come to understand him and the burdens that he bears,
when you’ve learned the fight he’s making and the troubles in his way,
then you find that he is different than you thought him yesterday.
You find his faults are trivial and there’s not so much to blame
in the brother that you jeered at when you only knew his name.
You are quick to see the blemish in the distant neighbor’s style;
you can point to all his errors and may sneer at him the while,
and your prejudices fatten and your hates more violent grow
as you talk about the failures of the man you do not know.
But when drawn a little closer and your hands and shoulders touch,
you find the traits you hated really don’t…
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What is justified and what isn’t?
Who are we to claim our killing is holy and justified?
Doesn’t God say in the Bible that vengeance is His?
Is it right to disregard the uncomfortable passages
and pretend like those are ones we simply missed?
Jesus didn’t conquer death with a sword,
but through becoming a lamb prepared for the slaughter.
It isn’t by violence that we’re redeemed.
It’s not because of revenge that we can drink living water.
Did Jesus say war should be an option,
or did He preach a message of loving peace and forgiveness?
Can we really be so lukewarm in our faith
that we have the nerve to argue that His words weren’t realistic?
Truly a nice piece
No longer will I
Look, to shores
Of distant lands.
The foaming roar
Of grey wolf waves,
Battered me back.
Screamed me down.
Faced me in defeat.
The land so banal.
Worn to fit these feet.
As they grow and harden.
No longer will I look.
Nowhere else will
I call home.
For I have dreamed.
So I look to love.
Where I stand.