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The Bossman's Footfalls

Alone on top of a crowded Mississippi mound
Where the bloody ground still mumbles
Echoes of old bossmen’s quick and angry footfalls

The nighttime’s bone deep chill trembles
Recall the restive ghosts of souls, the ones 
Borne by this stand of weeping poplar trees

The burning cross and the hemp rope noose
Are physical metaphors with shared geometries
That extrapolate to jail cells, prison gurneys

With automated poison drips, urban schools
Rock cocaine, brown heroin and deadly myths
The prison-industrial lynching tree complex

From an African gorge to distant mountains
Then out of the caves and onto the steppes
They warred against the Others and named them

Themselves as well by what they saw: Caucasian,
Negroid, Mongoloid as even then they were enthralled
By a triangle of A and B and what’s between the two

Humans don’t make triangles but ladders
Rungs stretching from the mud of African gorges 
To the clay of Eden in the hands of an anxious god

Breeding his chosen people (after weeding his garden --
No more Lilith), he preferred ribs the next time
While Lilith got busy with the Negroid and the Mongoloid

The Divine Eden seals the order of the ladder’s rungs
The highest are the bearers of the myth, colored within the lines
Ascending from gorges through caves to condominiums

The rest is too fresh to require reinforcement
Gaze over your father’s shoulder and take it all in
The three rung ladder is cemented in myths

Matured to the chosen ones with Edenic roots
The closest friends of god, meant to do his work
Owners of the dominions and all who live within

Now the lynching poplars flower only naturally.
The hemp rope noose is closeted in the big house
While the theology of race hides in plain sight.


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Ducks

I was kayaking on the lake the other evening when I cut a flock of ducks in two. 

It was a beautiful evening. I had managed to step into the kayak without capsizing it or soaking the cuffs of my jeans. The lake was still and the kayak felt steady in the gentle swells. The shining red prow cut the water like a warm knife through butter. I had been working towards the ducks for some time - they were interesting ducks, black with brown heads and a white band around their necks, and adorned with feathery brown crests across their skulls.

While watching them, I paddled overzealously and shot into the center of the flock of ducks. They didn’t divide evenly - only one duck remained to my right, and the rest hurried off to the left. The kayak slid on between the ducks, but I turned to watch them.

The larger group disappeared into the rocks of a nearby island, while the loner remained, quacking plaintively - it reminded me of the way goats will bleat, bleat, bleat when their keeper walks away from the herd, wailing to attract their friend back to the group. Safety in numbers.

The lone duck looked different without his friends. With the other ducks, he had been a piece of a whole. Now he was a nervous individual, staring at me through one shining eye. 

Quack. Quack. Quack.

The sun from the waves glinted into my eyes. 

The rest of the ducks didn’t seem to notice the loner’s absence. They paddled on serenely towards a smaller island far out in the center of the lake, ignoring the steady quacking of the loner, who paddled after them at a hurried clip. The group didn’t need any one individual, but this individual needed the group.

I turned the kayak around as quietly as I could and glided up behind the loner, trying to encourage him to hurry towards his compatriots, but he ignored my boat and continued steadily towards them at his determined pace, brown crest in disarray from the steady, cool evening breeze. 

The flock continued on obliviously towards the smaller island.

When I returned home and stood out on the porch a few minutes later, I could still hear the loner quacking persistently to the other ducks.

Wait up.

I’m still back here.

I’ll be caught up pretty soon.

I promise.

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Worker

In the afternoon

Bones I shed day after day

To the fields I lay

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Drifter

            His coat was thick and his boots were sturdy and he wondered if maybe that was all a man ever really needed. A clean, well-oiled gun at your side never hurt, he reminded himself, and a good horse under you. Yes, a good horse is always helpful. He had all those things and for that, he was grateful. He felt a bit greedy though, wishing for a roof over his head and a warm fire that night as he rode through the rain. Yellow-orange lights dotted the land far away from him; a village lay nestled in the arms of the mountain valley.

He rode at an easy pace, not wanting to wear out his tired horse, not slow enough to let his muscles get cold. The grey had taken him far. Too far. The lights blinked in and out of existence as they rode down the beaten road through the trees, tall pines with others mixed in, smelling strong of clean, good earth. He thought of the last town, out on the grassy, quiet plains. They were all much alike, but each with its own heart. Still, they were all full of good folk, bad folk and others simply trying to make a living. He by no means considered himself a good man, for he had come to respect the plight of a man just trying to get by. A cowhand, a gunslinger, even a miner he had been and always a hungry one, since he was twelve, always hungry and with few friends in the world. You’ll be too old for this one day, he told himself as the lights fell out of sight behind an outcropping of rock. Still, he loved this country, the wondrous emptiness, the beautiful, quiet power of nature. And yet he longed for that roof, that fire, and maybe something more.

He shook his head at that notion. Not you, he told himself, and he thought of the war. Those bad things will catch up with you, and no Union or America or anything could justify it. Nothing good will ever come to you, just as nothing good has ever come from you. No, he assured himself, nothing good. His cold hands tightened around the reins and the horse sensed the shift in him, knew what it meant. He began to trot a little faster down the gentle slope, turning left and right with the wind of the path, coming down into the valley.

 

The click of a rifle action brought him out of his dark thoughts and his Winchester sprang to his hand, searching the darkness for the rifle pointing at his heart.

“Who’s that?” someone called, an old man.

“Nobody. A drifter,” he replied.

“Ain’t nothin’ here for no one to be driftin’ too. How’d you come to find this place?” the old man asked, somewhere further down the trail.

“Just wandering, partner. I like the open country. I don’t bring any fight if you’re not hunting one.” He was well-spoken for a drifter, the old man noted, though his voice carried the accent all men had out west, fast and loose and twanged from countless shots of bad rye whiskey.

“Well, drifter, you come walked right into one. We got Injun troubles in town; a war party taken issue with our town bein’ where it is and we don’t aim to move it.”

“Injun troubles?”

“Yep. Renegades, the lot of ‘em. They carried off two women last night.” The drifter smiled, lowering the cocked hammer of his Winchester. Well, well, well, he thought, perhaps he could do some good after all.  

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Adapt

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I'm Big in Hawai'i

He waited, tensed and coiled - not like a snake, but like an old, rusty spring. The power of the strain had fallen out of him, leaving its dust (cool ranch Dorito detritus, if one must be literal) to stain his Goodwill jeans and almost-trendy Chucks.

They might have been trendy if he had other options. He didn't, so they were just kind of sad.

Still, he waited. Watched. He hoped and dreamed, even as his muscles and his tendons congealed to a sort of sloppy cream inside of him. It mixed in with his adipose and made him not just fat, but sedentary. He wasn't well-rounded, no, just round - a very different sort of thing.

Still, he waited. Distracted himself with warring fandoms arguing over every rule but number 34. That rule allowed for an atmosphere of laissez-faire, a feeling that he could appreciate. Being left to do sounded right to him. Just let me do it. Let me do it. Let me do things with you.

So, still, he waited. Then it blinked. It buzzed. It beeped. It even played a fandom-clever song.

Unfurling like a shredded plastic bag from one too many tins of potted meats, he read:

hurry up and do this with me TUMBLR SUMMER DIET { d o t } COM

He looked. He logged off. He sloughed down into the slop of himself and fell asleep.

He was still waiting in his dreams.

(Prompt: hurry up and do this with me TUMBLR SUMMER DIET { d o t } COM - Anonymous. Remember, dear readers - this could be you! Oh, the glamour of providing me with stuff...)

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins

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impromptu

Listen, just listen,
focus on the cadence,
the emotion
the subharmonic.
See the micro gestures,
the light and shade,
unconsciously playing
an accompaniment, 
those subtle notes
underscore.
Words are but the initiation,
there is a hint, a whisper,
in omissions
in the stutter-starts-and trailing endings,
let the quiet between breaths guide,
touch and taste the contours
of my soul,
as it sighs and moans, please..
be sensitive to the perfume,
the floral notes may hide
an unexpected spice.
Listen,
to the whole orchestra,
the symphony is playing
a melody unrehearsed,
absorb and abstain,
from trying to change the score,
quench the urge to fix that raw strung bow, 
all that`s needed is your undivided
attention, to
my music.
It is the listening 
that translates to
understanding the whole composition.
Do you hear me
or have you allowed my words
to distract?





 

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“Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood.” ― George Orwell, 1984

When I came across this quote, it opened up a part of my mind that had previously been cloudy. Suddenly so many things made sense. About myself, and several of my past relationships. One in particular, specifically. I had never thought about this relationships from this perspective.

I was on love once. Or at least, I thought I was. I have more recently realized that what I was in was a shadow of what I thought should be. Truthfully it was never there. The guy I was with loved me, at least in theory. He could ramble on about stupid things I did, how pretty I was, my giggle, how I sneezed like a kitten, and other pointless things. He often resorted to this list whenever he got really upset at me for something and would go on and on about how much he loved me. Now I realize that what that was isn’t love. Also, let me clarify the things he used to get mad at me for; he would constantly check my facebook and read through all of my messages and would get really angry if even one of them was from a guy. Didn’t matter if it was just a friend. If it had a penis, I was obviously cheating. Then he would get quiet, say he wasn’t being controlling, he was just interested in my life and if he could trust me, then I would be fine with him reading my personal messages daily. If I ever told him I wasn’t comfortable with it, he would be like “What are you hiding? What do you have to tell me? Who are you seeing? Why don’t you love me anymore?” And then he would proceed to cry. I, being the loving girlfriend I should be because he loved me SO much, would let him as not to upset him. This all sounds so bad looking back on it… I have since been informed that this is, in fact, a form of abuse, even though I only went home a handful of times with bruises on my arm. Those, he called “An accident” and I just “Bruised too easily” and excused himself because “He didn’t shout at me, and he was just trying to be funny.” He WAS abused as a child, and as long as he wasn’t shitfaced drunk and beating with all his might it didn’t count to him I guess.

So many people in life are looking for people to love them. I don’t need that now. I had someone obsessively in love with me to the point where he controlled me, and I was so completely miserable I couldn’t stand myself. He made me feel like I was constantly doing something wrong, like I wasn’t worth anything if I didn’t do everything to please him. I am an understanding person, so I was constantly reasoning out all of his control and issues trying not to be judgmental, or be a ‘crazy’ nagging girlfriend. I gave up so much of who I was to have him love me. Because I thought that was the most important thing, to be loved by someone. I didn’t think about my own feelings, my own happiness. At the end of the day, he didn’t understand anything about me. He knew all of my physical characteristics and my large life goals, but not much about my personality. I realized this was mainly my fault for just doing what he wanted, but I did everything he wanted because he convinced me that everything…was my fault… so in the end I just feel exhausted by the whole thing.

What positivity I glean from this exhaustion is what NOT to do in future relationships. Romantic, or otherwise. (A similar thing happened to me in middle school with a girl I wanted to be best friends with for some reason.) I don’t need to find someone who loves me, I need to find someone who understands me. If I am understood on a certain level, then I can truly value the companionship of that person. If I just do whatever I have to in order to get a person to stay around because they “Love” me, then I will end up repeating the same cycle of unhappiness. I have had too much of that in my life, and it has been a long hard road to realizing that I don’t have to change who I am in order to please others. Now, people hate me for my self assurance. Self-conscious people DESPISE confident people.

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And a One, Two, Three, Four...

image

There's a satisfaction, really, when you're done up to the nines. Everybody cleans up pretty.

It's not the fabric or the wingtips, not the tie clips or the silver cigarette holders. It's the swish and sway. It's the beauty in the beat. It's in the heart when it slides past your sleeves or just  over that neckline. That's the color red to me - it's wine red, blood red, ruby red and lips all over.

I wash away the hesitation and the half-alives. I smoke out the stubborn feeling that no one or everyone is looking at me. Sure they are, who wouldn't be? Of course they're not; we're all fabulous down here. It's a shift in perspective, a hue strip over the floodlights overhead. When I see things in the color crimson, the other colors aren't so harsh after all. Hell, I'm harsher.

I taste the grit of an oncoming depression, sometimes, but not when the music plays - there's no grays or white or robin's-egg blues when I hit the street lights of the late nights, not my stage lights. There's only screaming golden saxophones and trumpets blowing brass into a storm. None of the sick, green gasps of dirty pollen nor her mold-green, greedy eyes. Depression dies.

When I go red, I only have eyes for me. But I've got words for you, a few minutes of a song. I've got a piano-man behind me and a sweet kid on the sticks and toms. I'm ready. You're hot. Get steady. 

Cuz when I go red, I go black. When I go black, even the devil steps back.

Prompt: thedailywritingprompts:

Writing Prompt 170

The color red infuses me with the power of…

Jazz, apparently. Smooth, classic, and sexy jazz. Gods, I need to hit the clubs again. Maybe even learn to dance...?

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On Wembury Beach

How was it we were brought together?

A glorious weekend in June,

The sun shone, entranced by our union, refusing to be hidden

As we stood on that balcony, oblivious, and played flawlessly

The parts which the gods had written for us, 

Unaware that every word we spoke

Was but the closing of Vulcan’s engine that

Compelled us together.

 

The evening wore on, and the envious sun 

Hid itself in a shroud of mauve and vermilion.

The balmy night drew in, and I fell into unconsciousness

Unaware of my surroundings. 

Light greeted me. The crushed whites of an uncovered duvet

Lit by the hasty promises of a coastal morning, 

And the azure sea shimmered in the cove. 

Gulls called to me, and the tang of salt echoed through my nose.

 

I turned to find you

Lying completely still beside me,

With your smouldering eyes closed you looked almost angelic, 

Ultimately at peace with the world. 

We lay in a window seat, not four foot square

Our forms held tightly to each other, 

Battling the morning chill that lit up your cheeks, 

And there I found perfection.

The wind tussled your hair as you lay, 

You held me tighter, instinctively, 

And every worry I ever had drifted away 

On those playful gusts, and out, over the sea

To join the thoughts of those

That also lay in perfection.