Coming To (poem)

Coming To

An F.e.Feeley Jr / Dan Stone poem

Him:

I’m giving back the ring.
It’s the last “no” to the questions
we could never answer,
the ones we never asked.
The last step outside
the circle we could
never really manage
to complete.
It’s our fade to black,
our exit stage left and right.
Consider it a token
of regret, a not so
fond farewell,
my “J’ai fini.”

Me:

How were we strangers?
When I know you down
to the scar on your hip
and your cool gray eyes
when i got down on one knee
I tasted the salt on your mouth
and now this ring, a token not of
regret but all that was broken
between two men
How did this happen?
This Au Revior
but there is no good in goodbye
J’en ai fini avec toi

Him:

You would go there,
bring your lips to my ear
and whisper what I’ll miss,
make this ache even more,
remembering how you kissed
that scar, convinced me
it would heal
when all we did
was tear the tender pieces
of our faith apart,
demonstrate how much
we both misunderstood.
I can’t forget your hand
resting on my heart,
your sighs in your sleep,
your feet warming mine,
but I’ll still make that claim
and wish I could.

Me:

I see,
I saw what you did there,
took what I said what I felt
and made it into war
this isn’t about disunity
this is about fear
of letting go of what you were
before we met
of what that braided claddah white gold ring meant
we joined more than nethers to nethers
we became a consecrated union of souls
where I must die and you must die
to birth something new and you now
circumspect, suspicious, and beautiful
still
blame me if you must and lie to yourself
but there is no forgetting as there is no unloving,
no unwinding of what we’ve done

Him:

What would you have me do?
If our scaffolding
still stands,
our bridges haven’t burned
why are you just
standing there,
me over here
both lobbing
weightless words
and turning phrases,
talking what we
cannot hear
or find a way
to wander through?
Where was your certainty
when I needed you
to hold it—me—close,
to bend so we don’t break?
Could it be
we only comprehend
the fear, the grip
and gasp of death
the mess we make
and not the labor,
not the long deep breath
needed after birth?

Me:

put my ring on
is what I’d have you do
as the bow has broken
and the cradle has shattered
on the floor
our masks are stripped away
leaving us more naked
in each other’s eyes than
the bed we’ve shared
I do hold you
as I’ve held you
as I’ll always hold you
I know no certainty, no vow,
no prayer
and without you no pride of place
except for the burning in my gut
and the wretched wraiths of loneliness
howling between my ears , now
I know. I know!
Curse you and damn you!
What would I have you do?
Love me and live and die for me
and kiss and cry and bleed for me
and let us breathe only the air
that exists between us
And the mess we’ve made

Him:

Is this the truth
we’ve wrung from
both our hands,
dug up from our
trench of frowns
our balled up fists?
Could we just now
be coming to?
Are you just now
seeing me unclothed,
unarmed, unbound
by all I hoped
you’d never see,
and are you telling me
it’s what you’ve waited for?
I never knew.
I never even dreamed
this nakedness
could be enough.
I hope this hope,
this match we’ve struck
is all it seems, more
than everything
I’ve been afraid to want,
the blood the sweat
the sweet the salt
the flesh and bone,
a love that rockets
through the midnight sky,
this sun and moon
rising, setting
in our eyes,
this ring back on,
this making up.

Me:

Yes

Jesus on the 50 Yard Line

edwin-andrade-162696

Edwin Andrade

I knelt to pray in a great coliseum
a humble gesture
to the cross on Golgotha’s Hill
I turn my heart inside out
desperate
hope, and sleep, and calmness evaded
and tremble in our desperation

Great voices spoke
from the foot of that place
and I heard them all one by one
“They slipped the surely bonds of earth…”
“Ask not what your country can do for you..”
“I have a dream, today..”
“..a day that shall live in Infamy..”
“…that this nation, under God, shall have a
new birth of freedom..”
” …betwixt the negros of the north and the women’s of the south…
“A national sin shall cause a national calamity..”
“I once was blind but now I see…”
“Homo sum, humani nahil …”

I at once so weak and powerless
made all the more humble
at the commanding voices from times long since passed
in an attempt to lower myself further, in my madness
I ate the grass at my feet
and the dirt, and the rocks were made wet
with my tears

A long silence followed
and I dared not raise my head
for the voices that had spoken was to great
and mine eyes too unworthy
until I saw a pair of sandal clad
nail scarred feet standing just inside my outstretched
hands
that braced myself against the burdens of the world

“Oh, my child…”
A warm voice softly spoke
as a gentle hand lifted my chin
the sight I can never fully describe
“I’ve not left you, or them, alone.
For they are the most beloved you see
and the most favored, the most blessed, by me”

“How?” was the only word
that managed to escape my lips
Softly and tenderly he wiped my face
with nail scarred hands and knelt down
to look me in the eye
“My love is not tangible items, my son
a blessing isn’t the same as a gift
and while they thanked me for games and wins and gold
I turned a blind eye

but when they knelt, ah yes, when they knelt
though proud gladiators one and all
I stayed the anger of twenty thousand angry fists
and kept them glued to where they stood
for even though no one could see me
I once again used all that was foolish to shame the wise
and no one would mess with the Seahawks tonight
not with Jesus on the fifty yard line ”

 

From a veteran: Grow up, America

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Mark Jefferson Paraan

I have seen two posts over as many days saying ‘we don’t care about the kneeling’ or ‘you’re a rich NFL player and kneeling is disrespectful to those who served and fought yada yada yada”

What’s happened here in America with the rise of racism and would be fascist dictatorships and authoritarianism, is happening all over the Western World.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Murkel was just reelected for her fourth term. That’s great!

The bad news, the far right party, which is equivalent to the Nazi party got 13 percent headway into the new government.

The U.K has Nigel Farage and Theresa May, etc.

First off, if you don’t live in this country and you comment about what’s going on in this country – watch your lane. You need to check your own.

Secondly, the reason the whole kneeling thing is happening by the NFL, WNBA, NBA, MLB etc. is due to dead people in our streets murdered without due process of law. The majority of them being black.

So black athletes – starting with Colin Kaepernick starting making this issue visible using their platform.

See we like black people when we’re bumpin their music, when we’re watching their movies, when they go out and win championship titles, and trophies, and boxing matches, and super-bowl rings.

Black Athletes have brought home the gold in Olympic sports representing this country. They’ve fought and died for this country’s freedom.  (By the way, how did service members and the military get white washed?)

We like our black folks, then.

But when they kneel and we know what it is they’re kneeling over it makes us uncomfortable.

So to deal with that uncomfortablness of your country not being all sunshine and roses, instead of dealing with it – you want to put that off on the flag, or over the anthem, or best of all on veterans and current service members.

Stop putting your bullshit off on us. Because quite frankly, the majority of the responses from vets to the black community and those who are kneeling has been supportive.

Why? Because like major sports, the United States Military integrated successfully. They make it work, everyday.

See, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights is the Beatrice to our Dante. Do you understand?

Of course you don’t.

See, when you sign up to serve, you need something grandiose to hang on to. A reason. A deep abiding faith in more than just looking good in a uniform. Because once you sign over that blank check you know you could die and dammit you have to have a reason to die and an even better reason to live.

That reason is that one day the words of our forebears would be actualized and not just conceptualized.

That oath we swear to uphold and defend, regardless of selective incorporation, regardless of federalism, regardless of SCOTUS decisions – we stand for life, liberty, and all of what it entails.

We stand for the right of the Klans member to march and for fuck sake – we stand for the black man (universally speaking) who was brutally discriminated against for 300 years – to make a statement about his freedom.

Because at the end of the day – our money is not on those who can’t take three minutes of a wake up call. Our money is on someone who’s suffered and died for over three hundred years and still —AND STILL —- remains.

Slavery didn’t wipe them out
The Civil War didn’t wipe them out
Jim Crow never wiped them out
Organized and racist religions didn’t wipe them out
The Rise of the religious right didn’t wipe them out
The war on drugs didn’t wipe them out
These killer cops aren’t going to do it either.

They have 300 years of this, you have three minutes.

I don’t see black people as the problem. I see you as the problem. You’re lazy. Intellectually slothful, hanging on to something your grandpappy put in your head, hanging on to the war of northern aggression, hanging on to dead ideas and death culture, because you’re whiteness somehow equates rightness.

I can’t speak for the rest of my brothers and sisters in arms but quite frankly all of this is the reason why we really don’t like civilians.

You’re children. Spoiled rotten ass children. This country has kept you this way. Your faiths have kept you this way. You’ve refused to leave your colloquialism behind. You refuse to travel the world and see and experience other people. Hell, most of you won’t leave your neighborhoods.

It is 17 years into the 21st century.

It is well passed time for you to grow up.

Personally, I think a mandatory 2 year enlistment for all citizens in one of the service branches would do a great deal toward working out the issues this country has with race among other things.

My adventure in self publishing

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Patrick Fore

I just come off of publishing a full length novel, When Heaven Strikes, and there’s so much that goes into self publication I feel like I need to take a moment and address it for those who are considering writing their first book or who may want to break away from traditional publishing.

First, and probably the most expensive part of the whole process is editing. I have run into costs that range from .004 cents per word to .05 cents per word.
If you take a base novel (which is 60,000 words) it looks like this.

.004 * 60,000 = 240 and that’s the lowest I’ve ever seen
.05 * 60,000 = 3,000 and that’s the highest I’ve seen

and that’s per sweep

The more reputable or the more well known the editor is, the higher the cost but the trade off is, the least well known they are they may be cheaper but they may not be as good and that requires additional sweeps.

Factor in cover art which can range from 50 bucks up to 300

Then you have to pay for someone to format the book for you for both the ebook and paperback

Once all of that is complete – then you have promotional stuff like creating a book trailer which can run you 100 bucks or more and a tour service which can run anywhere from 25 bucks to 100 dollars depending on what package or service you use.

You could end up, to produce one book, spending a great deal of your own cash.

And all of this takes time to do. So while you may have down time between purchases, you’re burning hours going through everything.

Now, if you go with a traditional publisher – they absorb that initial cost and all you’re responsible for is working through what the editors send you.

However, especially if you take an advance, you may not see royalties on your book for awhile. When you do, depending on the contract you signed, your royalties will usually be less than half (usually around 35 to 40 percent) of the money earned.

And none of it says that mistakes still won’t be present. You try to minimize that, of course, but shit happens. Stuff slips through and if that’s the case you can have someone go back through it at cost.

The best advice I can give is to establish a budget and while I know its difficult to do that – especially for people who are just starting out or people who don’t have a lot of money – if you have to make a change jar to throw your quarters, nickels, and dimes in – do it. You’re now in business for yourself and if you’re in the self publishing world – you are responsible for everything.

The reader doesn’t get to see any of that. They get the finished product and it’s really strange when I see comments about how they won’t spend more than x amount of money for a book. And especially the whole KU thing where people associate that with Netflix or Prime.

It’s not the same. Actors don’t get paid from that, they get all their money up front before the film is made. So should a movie flop, or should it break box office records, their pay is the same. The set people, the director, the producer, etc. all their money is taken care of by the unions. It’s the studios that make royalties off ticket sales, residuals, netflix, prime, dvd sales, yada yada.

So when I see authors selling their book for less than five bucks on the market it really upsets me. Not just because they’re making it harder to compete with them, but because they’re short changing themselves and everyone else around them.

It becomes that much harder and that much more competitive to produce a book – and the idea of making a living off of being a writer or becoming popular as a writer is becoming more and more difficult. You have to hustle your work every single day and that’s just as difficult. Most of all because it pulls you away from your next project.

All of that sucks. I think the average person would be astounded if they were to actually sit down and do it themselves.

But I think there is a flip side to it, a silver lining, despite genre fiction, ‘the rules’, the lack of a publisher pushing you in one direction, the market forces, goodreads, the critics, all of that liberates the author to write what they want. All of that gets muted. They can cultivate an audience from the very bottom and slowly over time build a readership that is loyal despite what the author writes and is more open to what they have to say. They’re more open to the way the author’s style comes across and becomes familiar with that voice. It allows the author to move around and not get bogged down in having to appeal or wanting to appeal to a certain kind of reader.

And it allows the author, I think, to say things that need to be said in their work, it allows for authenticity, without their work being diluted by the aforementioned.

I think literature right now is going through a golden age and Amazon is on it. They publish something like 3,000 books per day and KU is taking a huge chunk out of author’s profits. And while technology is king, and not content, it won’t stay this way forever. I think if authors sort of banded together, and I think they will eventually, the pendulum will swing back in the other direction. Meanwhile, I think those who love the craft, who absolutely must write, who have a passion for it, will stay and get better at what they do slowly but surely.

 

Autumn solemnity (poem)

mikhail-elfimov-320056

 

 

 

Mikhail Elfimov

My body knows fall is coming
my eyes can see the difference in the sunlight
and my soul longs for the smell of burning leaves
and long nights sitting on a porch
with an Irish Coffee

Blue jeans, sweatshirts, and book in my hand
the porch light on casting illumination on my comfort
the air is cool but the hot liquor warms me
as melancholy music whispers in my head
the coffee isn’t the only Irish thing about me

It’s a time for magic, and spirits
as my eyes dart from the page and into the yard
and long lengths of deep shadows
was that a ghost? Maybe so. Probably so.
and somehow i am okay with that
as I return to the words on the page
of a book written by Fessenden

It’s silent, save for the occasional car
and the wind passing through the trees over head
the pages in my hand as sacred as rosary beads
and my prayer to God is for the night to slow
for time to be suspended as a spider descends
on a single silk thread just to the right of me

all is equal on nights like this
no revulsion, no spite, or fear
only a mutual understanding
as the creature makes it’s way across the porch
and down into the darkness on the otherside
we are simply two beasts enjoying the starry starry night
preparing ourselves for the inevitable onset of winter

 

Street Preacher (poem)

 

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Alex Hockett

 

I am the street preacher
saint and sinner
dancing along that fine line
and eternal circle
of life and repentance 
When I dare speak in exclamation points

Loving the in between
like grass that grows in busted concrete
pushing upward to heaven
flat broke, I feel like a million bucks
when it rains upon my brow

There are no pamphlets
no special prayer to yank you out of the world
but there is a dirty hand
that points you to where the food is
where the hope is
where eternity is

Touched in the head
touched on the heart
I stumble around just as blind
as the rest of the self appointed saints
and maybe I am a fool for thinking so
but radical equality is the song i sing

Amazing Grace
has a history as sordid as those it saves
and church can be a canopy of stars
as I open my shirt to show you my scars
that make me bitter and afraid and hopeful
knowing you can’t be found unless you’re willing
to get real good and lost

Damnation is only reserved for empire
and cruelty, and hate
and for those who need to be punished
for crimes, for failings,
for the inability to forgive and be forgiven
those flames also familiar to me

But I wander and wonder
and stare at the magnolia tree
and the big fat bees that bumble along
flower to flower with impossibly large bodies
and no sense of urgency

With a shot of whiskey in my system
and a grin upon my face
a hurt in my heart
and a little room where I lay my head at night
with a penchant for storytelling
I wander
a preacher of the streets
professing a gospel of life

 

Amber Colored (poem)

 

amber color

(Some Random picture I saw)

In looking for my rest
I found a bottle of amber colored joy
as I sipped – I let it burn my throat
as the fire cascaded down into my heart
upon a gut made of stone
There are a million miles
in the tattoos that I wear
and ten thousand memories with each
passing of the needle over my skin
as I proudly display each step I’ve taken in life
I hum dixie melodies
when I go looking for my soul
gospel songs and blues
when I’m lonesome and flesh upon flesh
doesn’t do what I desperately need it to
My church is a rusty and dusty bar
when I’m in the faith having way
Otis Redding the reverend
playing on a Wurlitzer Bubbler made in 1950
just one amber glass at a time

Banged up old car (Poem)

instagram-com-igorovsyannykov-252347

 

Instagram.com/igorovsyannykov/

 

I’m banged to shit
the wrong kind of gay for you
but i’m still here
like a car that has a bald tire
busted tail lights and a broken air conditioner
still gets you from A to B
I still cruise the night with the radio blasting

sure I may be not as attractive as the benz
you’re riding in
but my backseat lays it down just the same
maybe even better

and my engine may not be as quiet
but I liked it loud and verbal when the peddle is put down
as rubber burns the asphalt
why I even growl “mooooooooore” as i disappear into the night

unlike you’re uber
you know when you’ve ridden with me
like an infection I get under your skin one way
or another
your fingers find the impressions I make
and despite your sensibilities
it always makes you smile
now, whether you like that you smile – well, that’s you’re business

I may require a trigger warning
I may cuss when I’m not happy and I may break down
and I’m sure guaranteed to offend
the BMWs and limousine riders
and my ride might not be as smooth
but I am not here for smooth
I’m here for those who like it rough

Sure, the valet is gonna raise a brow
at the ancient upholstery and smoke tinged glass
but he doesn’t know what you know
and he doesn’t know what I can’t explain
and he can’t articulate the miles on the odometer
but you can – you know – at least part of the story

Thoughts on the nature of Good vs Evil

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Oscar Keys

The nature of evil is not to be something shrouded in black smoke, having horns, fangs, or some sort of paranormal element to it.
That would be easy.
And evil is never ever easily recognized.
It’s not something slayable on a weekly television series no matter how sweet Jared and Jensen are.
Evil never shows up and sticks out its hand saying, “Hey there. My name is evil and I am here to be be the worst baddie that ever did bad.”
No evil overlord has ever taken the mantle of evil – they all stand for the most truth and for the best justice – and the evil shows up in the execution of their plans.
That is how its possible for politicians to be monsters, cops to be murderers, preachers to be con artists, and populaces to be deceived.
Anything that separates you from God by separating you from your humanity and mutes your ability to recognize the hand of on God in each other – is Grade A certifiable evil.
When it comes to racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, hatred of Jews – any adherence to radicalism, fundamentalism, extreme political ideology – is evil.
Anything that seeks to remove you from the whole, from the main – is evil.
I do believe in angels and demons and spirits – but all I’ve ever seen in my life – all the evil I’ve come across in my time on earth – has been nothing short of human.
Evil is often not a thing but an absence of a thing. No hope.

Yet on the flip side of that – Good is rarely as loud as evil. Good is subversive. It shows up in the unwashed masses, it shows up in the actions of those who refuse to let man made divisions occupy their thoughts. It shows up in protests, it shows up in natural disasters, it shows up in making friends with the ‘other’ as they allow themselves to see a person and not a category. It’s sitting down and breaking bread, it’s working through problems, and it’s a prayer flung upward to heaven.In the midst of impossible, knowing it will probably fail, it still does the right thing. IT’s in the alcoholic struggling to maintain sobriety, it’s in the depressed person pushing on another day, it’s in the slipping of a homeless a couple of bucks knowing that they’re not going to buy food – because their addiction will kill them if no immediate help is made available and not judging them for it. Although the road to hell has been paved with good intentions the good is in the intent. Good exists in the radicalness of equality and the faith that even the most evil can somehow be redeemed. For good to flourish there must be hope – and hope is the thing that evil needs to destroy before it can assert itself.

 

Wisdom is knowing that human beings contain the propensity for both one hundred percent of the time.

The Lighthouse (poem)

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In the midst of tempest raging
When the wind and waves crash constant
And the night is filled with flashing lights and rolls of thunder
When the rain lashes a thousand needles agaisnt the skin
A proud lighthouse stands in the midst of it all
Even when the world trembles
From the celestial cannon fire sounding
And the periods between electric light are as dark and deep as the ocean
And the sailor has lost his way
A proud lighthouse stands in the midst of it all
With yellow lights beaming, round and round it’s promise goes
Warning sailors of imminent danger while at the same time guiding them home
Though the waves may hide jagged rocks jutting upward
Ready to take apart ship and limb and life
The steady knowledge of someone watching, always vigilant , always ready
Encouraged the sailor to keep on fighting till the wind gives up the ghost
That’s how I felt the day I found you and i knew to come and speak to you
When life’s cruel waves did force me from a life id always known
And as that cannon fire through the night did rumble
Blinded by the lightnings angry forked limitations
Though hot as the sun’s surface, was too brief to guide me home
But those days tempest tossed are far behind me
And even though the wind and waves grow higher
The fear of going under or dashing against the unyielding rocky shore
Isnt Much of a worry for me these days
For I’ve given up my ship, now Harbored just inside the bay
And now I bathe in the glow of the lighthouse which has now become my home