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SHIRTSLEEVES AND HANDKERCHIEFS

There rest placid lacrimal seas
Under the eyes' subtle folds
Twin reservoirs of the unredeemed;
Not the spillage from hard losses;
Nor the deepest mystery’s waterings

Salt water roils beneath the blues,
Sweet water flows over the joys
When the welling brims, the gathered begin
Their flow, the wept ones kiss first the lashes
Slow streaks wet line cheeks

Checked by shirtsleeves and handkerchiefs   
Before they resolve openly in air
Remembered by the shining lines
The dampened sleeve, the balled cotton hankie
And the seminal memories of losses and joys.
 

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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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Running Mascara

the last time I saw her

she was standing ankle

deep in the sandy shore

watching as the waves

try to kiss the continent

continuously falling back

into the arms of a past

lover that has found a

home with someone else

she stared at the water

as if the ocean would show

her truth in the reflection

she is a beautiful mess

she is running mascara

broken stain glass windows

I never asked her name

just watched as she walked

with no expression to the

end of this country and

stared into the infinite blue

she was never seen again

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In Case of Cliche

I'll split an ocean

with this verse

(raining tears

it's sad to say)

too many views

are so cliche,

and we should just

not think that way,

but oh, the pain

that spreads that way

if I cannot

seek these mundane

petals of hope-sprained flowers

broken at the stem

from hours of

social anxieties

pulling love-me-nots.

They drain in sighs

that chill our spines

with cold oppressive eyes

deprived from words

that can't be fine

even if they're customized,

to ride the track

that trains would

claim their own,

but not allow

the chariots

to follow them

vengefully.

There's a traitor

inside everyone.

So why don't you

just shut up and listen?

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Observer...

He may not notice
The subtle
Fading of your smile
But I must be cursed
If I must flinch
At all
The fleeting 
Changes
Of you,
Like astronomers
Study
The stars
And catalog
All their movements,
And unlike
The weatherman
Who predicts
Through all
His charts
And graphs,
I know;
Down to the smallest degree
All your emotions,
But I'm only
A foreign observer
Who can't change the channel...
APAD13 - 098 © okpoet

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Every high

carries an equally intense low:

“the end is nigh—

and you don't even know.”

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americana x

lit and reckless
gone against type
clean cut but 
no business

prompted by
licked lips and 
harsh spirits

hard sell at 
last call 
convinced

stumble in
and unwrapped
swift by dying light
an errant tattoo

halt halt 

cold shake 
brought up short -
surprise swastica

he claims reformation
learned hard the error
of racist ways

an admirable 
transformation
agreed

pauses stand
awkward chills
creep

after mumbled
excuses

i bounce

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Bitterness

I can smell the spilled ink
on 
the letter you gave me, 
and it’s as acrid as the 
words of your bitterest
goodbye..

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A Report of a Fictional Tragedy

A collapse of columns
around the theatre today
caused the roof to cave in
from unwarranted stress
in the balconies,
pressing down 
with a thousand-watcher-weight.

Ninety dead- more injured;
a small shoe was found,
and a playbill,
which had been folded
into an airplane.

Police records report: the director
had no idea 
that attendance would be so high,
and wishes now,
that they’d spent less time
hanging up posters around town.

Open funerals will be had
within the month;
the building’s chief architect
will attend every one.

The play was a small piece
in which a character sighs,
“oh this grandeur - life”;
the playwright has been notified;
she expressed condolences.

In total, 
actors: four,
stagehands: three,
director: one,
mourners: three raised (two raised three).

The seats were stained
with rubble,
and the idea of a moment
flitted through the isles,
floated away,
to hide in the torn curtains.

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when just talking isn't just talking

did it scare you, how familiar she felt

how you could swear that the scent of her hair
was your earliest memory,

and how the weight of her head on your chest
should have been foreign,
should have been wrong,
but it wasn’t

she made you fall in love without a word and you knew,
you knew

it was a love you wouldn’t 
let last the night

it was a love that would take its dying breath
with the rising of the sun