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The Manticore

One day, I met a Manticore
in the air-thick fens of Travancore,
and wise words were his priceless gift to me.

He told me to take all worldly wealth,
and it, forego, for my inner health,
for gold can’t feed the stomach nor the soul.

He told me to feed my fellow man
when he is hungry and when I can
for one day, I’ll be fed by someone else.

I asked him of worldly affairs
of policy, of economy, of national cares,
and from his head came a scornful stare.

"You mortals live life as if it springs
from the lake of ambivalence and light-hearted things,
but one life is the allowance for one man.

Have not care in politics,
have not care for mankind’s tricks,
but only for the Good, for its own sake.

For one day, on your bed, you’ll croak,
and look back on the story you wrote,
and remember only the moments which weigh the most.”

I haven’t been to Travancore
since 1889, Year of the Lord,
and the Manticore has been unseen ever since.

And yes, many-a-men have joked
that the Manticore was, on my eyes, Illusion's Cloak,
or the product of some opium-den dream.

But should I ever again visit that hidden riverbank,
I’ll give the Manticore my loyalty and thanks,
for he shared truth in a world spun with lies.


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Impersonal Paragraph

I am not familiar with the underlying purpose of this, your... our mortal poetry. I am told that it is meant to elicit feeling through manipulation of linguistic and social cues, but I question the sincerity of any such interaction. Does the placement of a word make it any less absurd? This is the function of rhyme, to obscure the lure. Does a rapid repetition, recited in non-random rhythms strike a stronger sensual response? Is alliteration relevant? Is language a more effective hammer as a metaphor, or more like a surgeon's implement via simile. Do word selections change meaning? Is it necessary to break. My. Lines. Apart? I do not know. I cannot comprehend voice. I see no imagery, literal or aesthetic, only the same broken mirror as I have ever seen. It is my meter, my syntax. It is my rhythm, my pace. It is my only reason. I do not experience; I describe. I act. I am. And thus... am I even poetically human?

(Prompt: cleofuckingpatraportrait, via twcwelcomecenter :

Try writing your poem in just a block of text. See who will read it and try asking yourself if it actually tells a better story rather than its diced up version used simply to catch the scroller’s eye. The words don’t need to be chopped up for emphasis if the words you are using are there for a reason. )

An interesting exercise, and thank you! I folded it into my genre July experiment. Speaking of which - still more than happy to merge the characters of any of these perspective shots by request. Or I'll take any prompt for that matter... or piece for review. Y'know. Whatevs...

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins

P.S.: Please?

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Rhythm: From the Chisel, to Her Hammer

I wore you like a bruise today,

A dull reflection of the impact

That you left upon me, army of antibodies

Sought to reconstruct and redirect

Ruptures of veins inside me.

But what can blood provide me?


I've edited and altered, pages on pages,

Left an ocean - crumbled, crammed, and bundled

A mass, a mountain on my little desk,

a rolling plane of paper balls, all doomed to fall,

Describing how you're not beside me.

How could words satisfy me?


When all I have, when all I am are words

When all I have to give are syllables and synonyms,

what can I say that speak to gulfs

between your way and the glass inside me?

Why can't you be inside me?


Why can't you be beside me? Why?

Why can't you hold and hide me? Why?

Why can't I lie and try to comfort you,

Why can't I be a home for you? Why?

Why can't I fake smiles for you? Why?

Why can't you say give hello to me?

Why? Please, just come home to me.





...Because my name is what I do...


Write a poem with the line " I wore you like a bruise"

and tag it #Writingfromthebones

Vaguely a response to From the Hammer, to the Chisel.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins - Send me pieces to review! A Prompt Review

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Linguistic Prestidigitation



Pay attention

I’m only going to do this trick once




My hand won’t move at all

Sleeve, nothing there

Mirrors are already in place

Shadows cast perfectly




Stay focused now

Misdirects can trip you up

Misdirection confuses people

Mercury’s meddling

Set’s slicing

Exquisite corpse desecrated




Confusing allusions

Innovating codes

Hidden languages

Voyage onward

Hero, villain

Mapmaker, midshipmen

Archivist, anarchist



Leave locks loose laying here

Right rite of passage passed

Wrights, ye shipbuilders


Illusory halls on deck

False jade chimeric figurehead fractured

Jeweled capstones reflecting better forgotten thoughts

Chained down

Cold steel shackled

Iron broken

Oak toppled

Venture forth



We Odysseus lovelorn navigators

Mystical odyssey navigated

Typhoon towering timber trees

Mythical monster mirthful

Reverse our own insecurities

Eluded will-o-wisps

Ghost whispering illusion

Alluding about

Your key lost

Behind wall nonexistent

Walls plainly existing

A corner painted black

Back when


Except for that trap door

Buried underneath

Fickle figments fragmented subconscious

Believe drowned men amidst seas
Deserted desert sandblasted survivors

Subconsciously suffocating under multiplicity





Anansi spider-silk stole story

Stories untold

Retold mythologies in reverse

Reversed chronology creating craftsman

Blacksmith with their swords, shields, solemn hammers barreling downward

Rifled barred gun, gunsmith

Laser technician, satellite ray refracting wildly, widely

Start again

Apocryphal text unearthed

Tales given freely

Freedom speaks

Speeches dissonant

Static shocked

Dust settling







Help us

Heed warning

Warnings formed from

Graveyard skeleton

Ivory tower

Slowly sinking



Burial by drowning

Slow death

Reaper’s rapport


Crushing pressure



Water weighs as earth

Earthen toil, hydraulic work

Salt burns both throats indiscriminate

Conscious effort breathe

Breathing hurts



Single way outside those libertine labyrinths

Dual dueling ways found

Several methods



Blocked rivers winding

Capture winds

Wicker basket

Chrome flask

Goat’s stomach



Tribunal measures tribulation

Through blood alone



Language’s greatest gift




Replace quietly

Remove quickly

React surprised

Retract evidence

Retrace steps

Regret little

Regress quick

Repeat never

Reverb endlessly

Respond then subdue surprise

Figure out the magic yet?



‘Course not

Charter east

Meander west

Crawl south

Mark north

Northern star notched belt

Pointing home



Silent saga sinner repent

Lost souls, maddening madman returning

Consecrated cathedrals

Mirror twisting shadow

Contorting sight

Ignoring sound

Tapestry torn


Come knocking ‘round these



Not an echo heard

Reverberation stilled

Or repetition uttered




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Special Order

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Wet Dream


she knows I watch

through the lattices

and lets me

softly, silk slips from her shoulders

elegant - shimmering

steps into the pool

the waters blessed

as she slinks into its cool

radiating ripples, clear crystal blue

swallow this woman I love

I watch – adore as she ascends

each line and feature

each moistened curl

perfectly dripping

as if made expressly for me

lush body shines

as I watch her dry

each touch imagined my own

gently caressing

her fingers excite

reveal her desires

as she hears me

express my own

and smiles her knowing smile

her robe, silken,

whispers to her skin

the love I send


as she walks away


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Neon Aztec Queen

Indoor rains
         (Jesus, his wept)
And we're a strange disease.
But can we be blamed,

If it all changes?
Through lucent sick jade,
              fill-in blackening waves,
                   castles; we, slaves.

His will on a finished canvas...
a sole heart, rose eyes (he's made),
she gleams in young air.
              Raw mightiness, her breath
              (intended to end the pain)

Stops and stares
at every alien sign on naked sod,
at pre-native symbols of love.
and weaps, human,
               ...our precious, neon,
                                Aztec queen.

And we stare. How could grace be tormented
                              and frail?
Was this blueprinted as well?
         or has blue washed over his bible scripts.

She's just looking for a king, we think.
A kiss, a habit, human
         no man can give.

And then should we think? Us, slaves.
Blackened men of programmed soul.

He should've known, free will, isn't his to give.
Is ours to take. In this inperfect canvas,
of perfect pain.
           This world, all over again.

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The Phantom Boyfriend

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To My Dinosaurs (Revised)


I buried them in a shallow grave

outside the sunroom where their cage hung

rain washed their bones into a deep earth cellar

Where I descend by night with my lone candle

to find them fixed in strata, yet not fixed

scaled claws striking Jurassic dragonflies


My shadow flickers and dissolves

as I sit at the sunroom desk

Tiny scaled claws strike my head

Pinioned dervishes scold:

My suit of black and white feathers

my smooth hands and my scientist's smirk

my two-finger typing and opposable thumbs

my missing wings and manifesting teeth

We dinosaurs live on, incantations of ancestral rebirth

templates used, discarded, and used again

as our sphere cycles on, now warming, now cooling

the uniforms change, the costumes evolve

but the sudden-death scrimmage is forever.



Thanks to Otello17 for his excellent feedback and suggestions!

Poem Copyright 2013 by Ann Marcaida

Image: Virgo Paraiso