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The Craven

Gazing at an unsent query,

Long past midnight, drained yet leery,

Here I find myself with long nights' labor,

Craft of muse emplore.

My finger hovers 'fore the key,

My belly tightens, lurches, lees,

To warn me, bid me bide a little longer,

Begging, "Edit more."

I wrest and wrangle with this doubting,

Draft, redraft, and research shouting,

"Nothing else, if you have yet to say it right?

Then say no more!"

But say no more? A chill subsides me,

Pillared strength to salt inside me,

Resistances court me, sussurus

A chorus calling, "Edit more..."

Another beg for beta readers?

Lines read aloud, revising meter?

Second-guessed to second-handed

Threadbare scraps of withered lore?

What then? These choristers find silence?

Bless my tales of love and violence?

Laying down praises like feathers?

Rose petals? Nay! "Edit more!"

I tear my hair, the roots upending,

Knuckles red and ripped, fists sending

Shards of mirror glass against the walls

And ceilings, scratching doors.

And yet, I cannot send submit,

I linger, doubting faith and wit.

So here I stand, fucking about on tumblr.

Thinking, "Edit more..."

And with my muses long since parted,

Pages, links, and lives discarded.

Writ upon the epitaph of one more sinner?

"Edit more."

Prompt: An eldritch Anonymous asked me:

"Quoth the raven: 'Nevermore'."

Seriously, though. There is such a thing as too many drafts.

(c) 2013 Lawerence Hawkins. Seeking writing prompts, exposure, and cash. I really will give anything an honest try.

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An Open Letter to Members of the YMCA

Dear old men in the locker room,

It’s awesome you are comfortable

enough with your body to walk

completely naked to the shower.

I know you don’t give a fuck

because you are old, but please

wrap the towel around your waist.

Nobody wants to see your old wrinkly

man balls dangling between your legs.


Dear guy who swims one lap then stops to breathe for five minutes,

Swim or get out of the pool.

I’ve been waiting 10 minutes

to get my laps in before I bike.


Dear great body, horrible face,

Fuck you.


Dear great body, okay face,

Fuck you too.


Dear great body, model face,

Fuck you, you fucking asshat.


Dear boy I never replied to on Grindr,

You are much cuter in person

definitely hit me up again.


Dear ex-boyfriend running on the treadmill,

I want/don’t want to see you here.

Part of me never wanted to see you again.

Part of me is more than happy to run

behind you. I always said you had

an ass for days and seeing you

sweating only adds to your attraction.


Dear idiot smoking outside the door,

The irony of this isn’t worth my time.


Dear overweight person walking on the treadmill

Keep it up,

we’ve all been there.

Hell, most days, I’m still there.

It does get easier.


Dear weird guy mouthing the words to Britney Spears while running,

There is no stage here.

No sequined gowns.

No face painting. Close

your drag queen wanna be lips

and focus on the task at hand.


Dear guy on the bike with the huge bulge,

Can I see it?

I don’t need to touch it

(although I will ask).

I just want to know

what it looks like.


Dear person with all the right clothes,

I’m getting more of a workout

in my old basketball t-shirt and shorts

than you are in your Under Armour

outfit head to toe.  You move from

treadmill to elliptical as if you are

in a ballet no one dances in.


Dear soccer moms on the elliptical,

This is not the community market

for your gossip.  You are

distracting everyone with

your bitterness of the new

neighbors cleavage in the dress

she wore for her husband.

The one you fantasize about

alone in the shower.


Dear men crowded around the TV to watch the football game,

Put your masculinity away,

stop cheering for your team

and burn the calories

you drank last night.


Dear father teaching his son how to play basketball,

Thank you for renewing my faith in young parents.

I watched you the entire time I was running,

how you got on your knees to show your little man

the proper way to hold the ball, he watched you

as closely as doctors watch cancer cells.

I almost broke down when you lifted him

onto your shoulders so he could feel like Jordan.

You are his biggest cheerleader.  You wore pride

like a purple heart when he made his first basket.

He hugged you so hard I swear I could feel his joy.


Dear mother intently watching her children at the pool,

I can see your smile.  You can’t hide it

from someone who watches too many people.

These are the moments you will miss when they grow,

let it flood your body, let it course through you

until it’s the only thing you know

because what’s the point in thinking

of all the horrible things that could happen

when you miss the moments right in front of you?

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CANNOLI IS ITALIAN FOR HEAVENLY (In case you don't speak it)

We nod silent faux smiles then inquire politely
About the day’s trivial pursuits (then back to ruing our own)
Expecting a slightly mordant touch as spice
For two very dry martinis that we bottoms up quickly
Hurrying to the Azzuri Café for heavenly Cannolis 

We bite our Cannolis and sip our green tea content
Our sweet rapture ended a night out well spent.

2 0 2


I awoke this morning with a gargoyle in my bed
I rolled away, lit a joint and tried to figure out what I’d said.
I know she’s a sense of humor, that’s one thing on her side
Whatever got her ‘back up,’ I had hoped she’d let it slide

The gargoyle looked thirsty so I poured us both a drink
Mine cooled my smoky throat and gave me time to think

I carried my new lover with me to the breakfast nook
She sat there deadpanned with her nose deep in a book
I introduced my new bedmate as an attractive possible third
In our first ménage á trios; coolly she flipped my the bird

I told her that I planned to nail it to the bedroom ceiling
The bottom of the double-back beast would see the top’s feeling.
I know
I know

I know.
My need for knee-jerk repartee had brought me low
It’d be less than a week before she’ll pack her things and go
Yet in the back of my mind I knew I worked to make it so.

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Otis Cookes the Blues

I was born by a dead river
In a government high rise tenement
And just like its brave little roaches
I’ve been running in the dark ever since

It’s been long-term unemployment
Lord, I can’t even keep up with subsidized rent
Brother I know Change must’ve got high and lost its way
Whenever we’ll get to see it isn’t going to be today

Can’t afford one 3D movie pass and popcorn
Downtown mall is too far away to walk
Ran out of minutes on the cell; can’t even talk
Never been this broke since the day I was born

It’s been long-term unemployment
Lord, I can hardly find my way to tomorrows
Change is on vacation and the Blues is working
Overtime, my life is rife with the ghetto sorrows

I ran to the East Coast because I heard it was cool
But it was either be a streetwise tool or a hustler’s fool
Then I ran to the West Coast to marry and settle down
She took the house and the kids, left me a homeless broke clown.

I was born by a dead river, in a government tenement
Broke as the ten commandments, I’m barely eking out the rent
Now I’ve kids, alimony and child support payments too
It’s been a hard time becoming; I was born to sing the blues.

2 0 2


She said I probably have to wear coke bottle glasses
Because I masturbate to cyberspace’s sexy nasty lasses
Slaying the after school hangout’s teen audience
Stoked and fast food giddy in a rock and roll ambience

She parlayed quickly the joint’s lighter mood
Offering me, her now disarmed victim, a share of her food
That I gladly accepted and sat down beside her
Like the lactose-intolerant Miss Muffet’s pushy spider

It was then I noticed that her eyes did not play
Together well; each sought its own ocular way
Like the biblical pair not becoming one, not yoked like oxen
Not awed by one vision of her going and where she’s been

I clasped her hands gently and looked into her right eye
Whispered of the bitter irony of the left being left aside
Our booth of friends covered their mouths and looked away
While she struggled visibly to reply and save her day

I still wear glasses but her eyes are no longer cross
We’re now yoked like oxen but you know who’s the boss.

3 0 3

Confusingly simple

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Palm Sunday

As hard as I try,
I can't find a single indication
that today is a sunday (nevermind
a holiday) solely by perusing the troughs
of my pink, dry palms.

Then I wonder
how intelligent this mewling
chair must think me to be, what with
my being a smart-ass and all. 


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Anything from Anything

Hooch from yeast
and ciders,
words from hearts
and the gaps between teeth,
music from strings
and seasoned throats,
money from mineral
we found in the dirt,
machines from metals
and rivets and screws,
light from cavemen and some
asshole enjoying the wrong weather.

Flesh from dust
and rib
and boredom -
maybe some petty bet
gone wrong on Gods end.

Imagination is one hell
of an ingredient. 


5 0 5

Inanimate objects

Blessed are we who get to sense —
To feel the ambience of sentience

The sights
The scents
The tastes and sounds so dense 
They make filtered ignorance our defence

But what of those objects who cannot see?
On the brink — cannot think —
Have no sense of "me"?

Try fathom — if just for a thrill —
That inanimate did animate with sentient will

If walls could talk
Or amenities squawk 
Your life would be full of diversion
You could no more ignore these things that implore you 
Through monologues read in first person ...

 "My life is to serve you
 Sometimes unnerve you 
 But you don't swerve from the curb to me like you use to do 
 Stuck on this mooring 
 It's always so boring and my life'd be fruitless — useless —
 If not for that one thing I'm adoring 
 If it's correspondence you seek 
 You know longer peek at me 
  — once a week if I'm lucky — 
 All of your phonics are now electronic
 Leaving me bringing ills; 
 Delivering bills or junk mail that soon spills from the bins that it fills 
 I'd feel so much better 
 If just one letter not from a debtor 
  — from maybe a friend or a jet-setter —
 Would fill my emptiness and bring you happiness; 
 It may make you check me more and not regret it 
 I don't mean to offend — it's true — 
 I've got this job to do
 And one day I'll not be needed and won't be here for you
 Just ...
 Once a day check the clocks
 Mailman been?
 Turn the locks, I could hold pleasant shocks.

      Love —  your mailbox"


 "Face scarred
 Life's hard
 Emotions charred; 
 Not much to warm the heart from my greeting card 
 Each time you use me it's to abuse me 
  — slices, cuts; they all confuse me 
 Uncooked meat
 Something sweet 
 I see it it all as you prepare to eat 
 I sit in silent resignation
 When food's in need of separation 
 You slice and dice in preparation
 — I just pray for variation 
 My life
 Your knife
 Your knife, my life — constant strife! 
 You know I've uses less unnerving 
 I'm flat and large enough for serving 
 On my face could make a fine display 
 If just once I was used this way
 But you never think to risk it 
 I'm never, ever used for biscuits 
 Your relentless chopping 
 — then it's to the sink for mopping 
 And into the drawer until you pull me out for more; 
 Just like before  
 I'm scored — so scored —
 I don't want raise discord
 But I have ambition
 It's my mission to be like the platters and the trays
 To be used in more ways one of these days 

 Can you just once put down that sword?
 And maybe — if you can afford —  
 Serve food from me?

      Love — your chopping board"

 "My job is one not many envy
 But I just sigh and be the best I can be 
 You see? 
 It's your machinery 
 You've got to pee
 And social rules say:
 'You pee where none can see.'
 — none can see but me 
 I know but don't tell
 I have no nose so can't smell, 
 But it's living hell some spells
 — and I pray for the days you eat well!  
 The things I've seen! 
 I'm a simple machine 
 I like to be clean
 But it's obscene
 And a little mean what do what you do to this old latrine! 
 If it's yellow let it mellow? 
 Who came up that?! 
 ... "Not this fellow!" I bellow 
 If I had a hand with which I could rush 
 I'd reach up and give myself a flush 
 My mouth it sours
 I've no mobile powers
 And have to gargle that for hours! 
 I love it when your friends are 'round 
 Or your parents in from out of town
 Then you scrub me
 And rub me; 
 You give some love to me 
 Shine me up nice and bright, 
 Get my porcelain gleaming white 
 The toilet brush, he lives in fear
 But he only gets used twice a year!

 I guess what I'm saying is: 
 Keep using me to do your biz 
 But this thing we have?
 We're close, don't spoil it
 Take the time to clean
        — your toilet