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    dots Submission Name: The Highway And The Land (Revised)dots

    Author: Jason The Basta
    Elite Ratio:    4.69 - 191/281/68
    Words: 7494
    Class/Type: Poetry/Misc
    Total Views: 3052
    Average Vote:    No vote yet.
    Bytes: 48462

       REPAIRED: Found the accidental repeated stanzas and replaced!

    Very Long. 1,000 10 syllable lines, divided into 10 chapters of 10 stanzas of 10 lines.

    Make the font bigger!! Double Spacing Back to recent posts.

    dotsThe Highway And The Land (Revised)dots


    I: The Art Of Complaining

    Being a Highwayman would have been boss,
    Closed circuit TV and helicopters
    Have ruined a good thing for everyone.
    Snatch a suitís wallet and make-out with his
    Wife, pack a pistol, a half-dozen knives,
    And shout fun stuff like: ďStand and deliver!Ē
    I could live in the wood with all my friends,
    Sing songs, get drunk, deflower some maidens.
    Weíd grow our own grass, brew our own beer and
    Burry our dead in our own shady grove.

    I have acquired many detractors,
    What I need are some proper enemies.
    Some folks who would hunt me down dark alleys
    By torch-light, brandishing pitchforks and such.
    They could howl like rabid dogs for my blood
    And tag me with some unflattering names.
    Iíve no interest in petty derision,
    What I am after is recognition.
    I donít mean to go and do something rude
    But the fact is I need the attention.

    I want to piss on something important,
    I want to slap an innocent stranger.
    I want to burn something sacred and old,
    Drinking beer and eating uncooked red meat.
    Iíd like to dig-up all the hallowed dead
    And leave them on lawn chairs in flowered shirts,
    Martini glasses in their upraised hands
    In toast to regret and rigger mortis.
    The rain must fall in the fairest country
    So why the hell not in this wretched place?

    I wile away the endless hours
    In musings both base and irrelevant.
    Mindless filler from the bowels of my brain
    At once repugnant and entertaining.
    By far more personal then bad TV
    And easier on the eyes then a book;
    Not dimly grey like the ramblings of sleep
    But gory and red and electric blueĖ
    They flash and flutter and twist my eyes like
    The reflections of a funhouse mirror.

    I think ugly thoughts in my ugly head
    And search-out the ugliest things to do.
    The more debaucherous, the more I like,
    And the greater the gratification.
    I find nothing in my experience
    To compare to the faces of decent
    Folk whoís eyes go wide and mouths drop open
    To see their precious convention flaunted.
    I take the most heart-felt, workman-like pride
    In being a master sonofabitch.

    The corridors howl--noise is muted
    But still unmistakably furious,
    Like children locked for the night in closets
    And prisoners chained to cold basement walls.
    More then the petty guilt of survivors,
    More then the dim echos of rash actions.
    Silence turns the ears into kettledrums;
    The deep ears that discern through the nothing.
    It is here, in the creeping hours, that
    Perception aspires to creation.

    Iíve the real and perceived in two severed
    Halves; a broken segment in either hand.
    I bring them together, move them apart,
    And though they are one as my own two hands
    So too are they akin in separation;
    One always valued above the other.
    My vision microscopic with earnest,
    Noting the fractures and imperfections
    Created in the bisecting instant.
    No glue can ever undo the damage.

    A dark new dawn of monstrous insight,
    Professional thinkers, so consumed in
    Calculation they pay no heed to sums.
    Savage is their torture of molecules
    For the sake of icy commerce and pride.
    They wring the double helix for profit,
    Taking patents on their aberrations;
    Power to them is both reason and right.
    Like children with guns they play foolish games.
    Shameless, they carve-up the world for market.

    The myth, not the lie, is what murders truth
    And great liars know well how to weave them.
    Clerics, mystics and legislators leave
    All the world famished for something real but
    Without the conviction to hunt their food.
    Is anything so, said often enough?
    Can faith excuse any breach of reason?
    I read once of an Indian temple,
    Home to sacred rats, and though Iíve not been
    That far east I have seen Capital Hill.

    Hyper-aware of my impediments,
    Agitated by them beyond reason.
    I try to dwell in possibility
    But thereís that elusive yearning again;
    Gnawing, gnawing its way into the skull.
    All seems frustrated with worn promise, then
    Suddenly nothingís left to remember.
    We are but flea market shoppers of sin,
    Black-marketing food stamps for a future
    Of dry gin and some cold calculation.

    II: With So Many Others I Sling My Stones

    All that I need is a bottle of wine,
    Some money for lunch and a place to crash.
    I guess I could use some tail now and then,
    Some sleeping pills and a full pack of smokes.
    All that I want is a new pair of boots,
    These things are really beginning to stink.
    A quiet cafť is something I need,
    A cappuccino and maybe some hash;
    Just something to see me through the long days
    And then help me to get some sleep at night.

    I envy you there in your little niche.
    I have only this rock to crawl under.
    Too acutely I feel the bound nature
    Of all my energy and enterprise;
    The illusion of antique elegance,
    The need to restore what never functioned.
    I try to dwell in possibility
    But thereís that elusive yearning again;
    Gnawing, gnawing itís way into my skull;
    Itís to compulsion alone I answer.

    Not for the sake of standard or measure,
    So much as my local custom of self,
    I eschew the banquets of my betters
    And feast of the pizza that is my soul.
    Bread and cheese and the flesh of the vanquished;
    Olives and onions if Iím in the mood.
    So what if I am an obnoxious hack,
    Debasing myself in inky malice?
    Iím afraid to me itís just not art Ďtill
    It comes to your house in a cardboard box.

    With so many others I sling my stones,
    Whoís to say who killed whom in this maelstrom?
    All to discredit my predecessors
    I curl-up in the dark with my notebooks,
    Defiling virgin pages in dark
    And malicious inks for nothing but spite.
    My bloodied words are restless and vicious;
    The crude falchion swords of peasants pressed
    Into service, no lordís fine rapier nor
    Kingly broadsword from the deep mists of time.

    So what would I do if I lost my thumb,
    Settle on down in a white picket cage,
    Take up banking and live by the numbers?
    Forget the drivers who once took me in
    From the freezing cold and the pouring rain?
    Would the roar of the Highway still find me
    At night and keep me from getting to sleep?
    I suppose Iíd just get it sewn back on,
    One more scar isnít going to kill me
    And Iím really bad with numbers besides.

    Why is it I go, again as before?
    A fleeting and peripheral glimpse of
    Something in the shadows that goes unnamed;
    Something that naming would only destroy.
    They say what is gone is never again
    And the Fisher King grants only one chance.
    Indiscriminate and particularĖ
    Fickle as a woman in her cruelest
    Affections, history allows only
    Our failures to return to us at all.

    I shut my eyes and examine my scars.
    A wide assortment of lacerations
    And a plethora of small abrasions.
    Things broken and mended too many times
    To either count or expect them to hold.
    The tracks of the lash all across my back
    With no way to tell which I made myself.
    My spirit bound-up with tape and wire,
    Glued and nailed in a workman-like fashion;
    Functional if unattractive I guess.

    There is a gnawing, dream-like impression
    Of something obvious, yet overlooked
    Which keeps pulling my eyes past my shoulder.
    Perhaps Iím less the abandoned changeling
    Then the bastard son of a TV set,
    But something strange goes on in the eather.
    An odd foreshadowing of things to come,
    The shadowed past ready to re-emerge.
    Something that stalks me from the inside-out,
    I feel it breath down my neck as I sleep.

    The shifting faces of strangers in dreams,
    mysterious landscapes that always change
    But are clearly and indisputably
    One, simply configured anew to need.
    Only vague and ephemeral glimpses
    Have ever visited me in waking;
    Yet I sense it, I can feel it there
    Shifting and undulating just below
    The solid surface where it waits for me.
    I am searching for that perfect doorway.

    I require a great resurrection
    Of the self; with rituals, rites and feasts.
    Perhaps a quest with maidens and monsters
    And a party to mark its completion.
    Hog-tied and filled with hallucinogens,
    Stuffed and sewn into a gutted bullís hide
    Reciting the periodic table
    Or something, anything to mark the day.
    Maybe Iíll just go out and get torn-up,
    Alcohol poisoning might do the trick.

    III: Spite And Ennui

    We canít get along or we donít want to,
    Or maybe we just want someone to blame;
    Faces that we can pick-out in a crowd
    And fix in our minds: The face of evil.
    I guess one devilís good as another
    And people need to have someone to hate.
    Better, perhaps, keep them easy to spot
    Then complicate the issue with reason.
    People are all garbage anyhow, and
    As for me I fucking hate everyone.

    Fuck the whole world and everyone in it.
    Fuck the ruthless merchant adventurers,
    Fuck all the landlords, the lawyers and cops.
    Fuck the pimps and fuck the junkies, fuck the
    Crusty little punks, always grubbing change.
    Fuck the left, fuck the right, and anyone
    In the middle can go and fuck themselves.
    Fuck religion, capitalism, and
    The fucking people who call me at night
    To talk about my long distance service.

    The world has gone stupid but I donít care,
    Let people starve and murder each other.
    Let blue-blooded vampires run the show
    And sell us like cattle on their car phones,
    They must be better then the rest of us
    Or weíd have cut their god-damned throats by now.
    We all deserve to live in this shit-hole
    Like the Prozac-popping pigs that we are;
    We wallow in it, and love it so much
    We watch ourselves do it on TV.

    On the surface this may seem a bit sick,
    But tel the truthĖare you not entertained?
    Thereís great humor in human suffering;
    All games contain the idea of death
    And all comedyís based on injury.
    Injury done upon others, of course,
    Itís rarely funny to fall on your face.
    Misery may love company indeed
    But everyone likes to see someone else
    Do an Achilles at the gates of Troy.

    I donít like air that you donít need to chew
    And Iíve always felt hope was intrusive.
    Patience is a virtue only in sheep
    And no good ever comes of anything.
    I like to find fault in all that I see
    But only because I strongly believe
    In the process of elimination.
    If thereís anything left, itíll turn-up,
    And then weíll start talking alternative
    Ways for me to make myself a nuisance.

    Like beats on a drum, the shot glasses slam,
    Perception is warped to the wormís dark will.
    The Volcano Lord is angry tonight,
    Like a Djin released from bottled slumber
    To vent his wrath on a weak mortal mind.
    A golden elixir, stained with anger,
    Boiling-over the brain with treason.
    Like a dark and blood-thirsty Aztec god
    With his own dark, capricious agenda,
    Demanding a life in return for dawn.

    A rancid, burning, fouling of the blood;
    Drowning, drowning, and boiling the brain.
    The colors, the fumes, the endless glass doors
    All arranged by price on ascending shelves.
    Language flows fluid, though twisted and warped,
    Incomprehensible to every ear
    But whole and lucid in their native strain.
    Rambling and raving and speaking in tongues,
    Taking wisdom and logic to strange heights
    And chewing them all up in a blender.

    The walls are breathing, bleeding and melting,
    The world moves clockwise at terrible speed.
    Mezcal prowls its way through the arteries
    And lays siege to the fortress of the brain.
    Its defenders fight with all abandon
    But their stores of oxygen can not last.
    Theyíve sued for peace, theyíve begged for mercy, but
    The attackerís savagery only mounts.
    The boon demanded is unpayable;
    A bar tab that would choke Dionysus.

    Iíll go to the bar when I need to bleed,
    Rather then pay to go cry on some couch.
    Perhaps itís because I feel more sincere
    Once Iíve replaced my blood with tequila.
    It may be brutish, it might be crass, but
    In any event it always seems best
    To get loaded and go on a bender.
    Ranting and raving and carrying-on
    And picking the odd fight with a stranger.
    Iíll get a hooker if I wanna talk.

    No woman is more sincere then a pro,
    Absolute honesty means cash up-front.
    No need to invest in flowers or time
    On high-risk ventures that so often fail
    When legs will open fast as a wallet.
    Why bang your head on some bitchís brick wall
    Or put on a ring that binds like a chain
    When the coin of the realm opens all doors
    And a dank, dark alleyís always at hand.
    Love is a lie, but tail is eternal.

    IV: Ode To An All-Night Diner

    A point in transit, a lifetime apart,
    Forever lost in the smokestack jungle.
    No hero, just a walk-on neurotic,
    No lover, just a passing addiction.
    No reasons, answers, or explanations;
    Just a turtle on his back by the sea.
    Where can you go to find someone to love
    Who wonít try to cut your throat in the night?
    Where can you go once the bars have all closed
    And you still havenít found satisfaction?

    To the all-night diner where the unmatched
    Have gathered to talk of sports, whores and cars.
    Bitter young boys that time has imprisoned
    In exhausted and broken old bodies.
    Their degenerate wisdom filling the
    Air with a smoke that burns the eyes and mind.
    This entire scene could turn ugly soon
    But that would be perfectly fine by me,
    The road of excess led me here and Iím
    Feeling more then just a little betrayed.

    Welcome to the American stage, which
    Has now been set for a very dark play:
    Please Note Tickets Are Not Refundable.
    Tales of blood orgies in old money homes,
    Scenes of cut-throat real estate warfare and
    The ever-popular playground shootings.
    Ordained ministers with truck-stop hookers
    In cheap motels all along the Highway,
    Investment bankers whipping their daughters
    And gnawing upon the bones of their dead

    Strung-out on endless celebrity news
    And wet-dreams about the office upstairs,
    It seems as if everyoneís freaking-out
    And getting bloated on sugar and hate.
    These people are jonesiní the High Life bad
    And shooting it up with a dirty rig.
    Iím sick of hearing myself complain but
    I donít have anything better to do,
    I canít find even one pair of eyes not
    Doped-up and glazed on this apple pie shit.

    What more could these people possibly want?
    They already have the family farm,
    And why did I ever bother with school
    Or get mixed-up with life on the Highway?
    I guess my nose belongs on a grindstone
    Or buried deep in the classified ads,
    But Iím just one death shy of redemption
    And finding a job never helps at all.
    Thereís always something to eat-up the cash
    And always a toilet to be flushed down.

    And whatís all this talk of cats being killed
    For no reason except wanting the truth?
    Some bullshit you get with your diploma
    No doubt, when they finally cut you loose.
    Either cut you loose or cast you adrift,
    It doesnít much matter out on the street.
    Who would have thought that sex could be lethal
    Or that rain would be deadly, poison scum?
    As for me, Iím saving my pennies and
    Ammo for one final shot at the crown

    I think I should have been a holy man,
    Or had a traveling medicine show.
    In another age and another place
    They might have even called me a prophet;
    Here Iím just another junkie and a
    Garden variety playground sniper
    That canít hold a job as a drug store clerk.
    Iím such a hopeless romantic as well,
    I canít get it up without drawing blood
    Or convincing myself itís Judgement Day.

    Kissed by a muse and then kicked in the ass,
    Like some refugee from a million scenes
    Who has been spending all his peace of mind
    Just trying to keep from losing his shit,
    And all of his time in all-night diners
    Wishing that it could be warmer outside.
    The end of my rope, my last cigarette,
    And hours Ďtill the liquor stores open.
    Iím doing my best to hold-off the wolves
    But it seems they always smell the panic.

    Can I see something more real and more now,
    Something my senses might tell me is true?
    Can I leave this place and get back to the
    Highway where the Buddha roams with the rogues?
    Maybe Iíll crash a party tonight and
    Ride the ship to the bottom of the sea,
    Fire a bone with Davy Jones and try
    To forget that I had ever been here.
    When youíre ready to buy it, just take a
    Number, and donít bother packing your shit.

    Iíve been sleeping in beds for far too long,
    Itís time that I shook the dust from these boots,
    Took one final ride on the Wild Wind
    And cashed-in all of my chickens that hatched.
    Let me just get off the subject for now,
    I really need to slip out of these chains.
    Fill my cup with the joy of a sunrise,
    The brew they push here is far too bitter
    For a damn fool bent on falling in love,
    Reaching the Land, and staying out of jail.

    V: A Shadow Cast Darkly

    Did you know the Shroud of Turin was fake?
    Did you know your teachers were full of shit?
    Did you know democracy was a myth?
    And a Greek one at that, they make the best.
    Do you know how to tell a dying man
    From one heading for the end of the road?
    Can you tell a pen from a poison knife
    Or tell an assassin from a lover?
    And can you tell the difference between
    Repentance and a fear of the gallows?

    Things we donít talk about hang from the lips
    And loiter about the tips of our tongues,
    Waiting on booze or a moment of rage
    To rock them loose from solid foundations.
    Casual cruelty will do it for some
    Where others just need a touch of drama.
    Some like it hot, some donít like it at all
    And answer questions only with silence;
    So loud and telling in their omissions
    That the thunder of it might leave us deaf.

    A deep bitter beauty, both white and cold,
    The frozen world locked in the ice below.
    A blank page on which the words never flow;
    Simply taunt with vague possibilities.
    Lifeís breath bleeds-out from the mouth as a mist,
    Carried away and consumed by the sky.
    A sky that howls and rattles the bones then
    Drives us like beasts to the shelter of caves.
    The cold is nothing but that which is not;
    When light has failed and the heat given-up.

    My shadow, cast long in the street light glow,
    I stand there and glance at the sleeping trees
    Pondering which wrong turn I should choose and
    Breathing with a deliberate indifference.
    Dawn will soon come here, and with it the sun
    That puts me to bed, afraid to be burned.
    Decisions are best left to those who care
    Or one, at least, whoíd want to be seen to.
    My shadowís wiser then Iíll ever be,
    Never seeming to pause in deciding.

    Iíve the real and perceived in two severed
    Halves; a broken segment in either hand.
    I bring them together, move them apart,
    And though they are one as my own two hands
    So too are they akin in separation;
    One always valued above the other.
    My vision microscopic with earnest,
    Noting the fractures and imperfections
    Created in the bisecting instant.
    No glue can ever undo the damage.

    Convinced that time and distance might save me
    I take to the road like a fugitive.
    Drive hard against the sweltering heat or
    Stand motionless, to be entombed in ice.
    I crave the vague hope of revelation
    And the dim prospect of transformation.
    Be it nothing but petty discontent,
    Be it fear or the exoticís allure;
    Constant motion provides the illusion
    That mortality can be evaded.

    In constant travel, if not going far,
    But always in motion never the less.
    I loath regretting and saying good-bye
    And donít keep a thing that I canít carry.
    I have a way of using a place up
    And being alone before I begin.
    It can be easier to have nothing.
    Nothing an no one that would never fit
    On my back or the bag on my shoulder.
    Never stay too long and always pack light.

    The rain must fall in the fairest country
    So why the hell not in this wretched place?
    Each step that I take falters in chaos,
    Each though I conceive lies shrouded in fog.
    Deep in my heart, I long for The Highway,
    Down in my marrow, I yearn for The Land.
    The summer will come, but with it no warmth,
    And the birds will stay south, knowing wisdom.
    Through a rising heat The Highway will dance;
    Washing my eyes in its uncertain wake.

    I need to take some bold, daring action,
    Something that could break me free of this hold.
    An unseen menace is gripping my throat,
    My head grows light and my vision darkens,
    The desire to just surrender grows.
    Like the Athenians first sighting the
    Persian host upon the Marathon plain,
    Utter destruction and dissolution
    Are gathering like a terrible storm
    Requiring a gambit to be made.

    Do you know where it is Iím coming from,
    Where Iím at and how we came to be here?
    Do you know when to stop and turn around
    And do you know a way back to the Land?
    No looks canít kill, as far as Iím aware,
    But the Pentagon has quite a budget.
    I found a dead cat on the road today,
    I suppose he must have known too much.
    I donít know a thing that they donít think is
    Theirs and from their look they mean to collect.

    VI: Dying City

    Itís an unreal city, washed of color,
    Everything grey or something close to it.
    Stark and baron for all of its bustle,
    Even the clamoring traffic is drone
    As though a cloud of white noise has fallen
    Like an invisible fog on the street.
    Perhaps the chaos of people and cars
    Has settled by habit to some neutral
    Pitch, learning to drown each single part out,
    Each absorbed in its own solipsism.

    Here peopleís very presence seems shadowed;
    They move like a herd of busy specters
    Requiring Herculean effort
    To make them appear as solid at all.
    My focus relaxed they become again
    Vaporous; insubstantial and wraith-like.
    Where do they go, do they go anywhere?
    Are they just ghostly echos of motion,
    So frantic in their intent on nothing
    They never pause to see they go nowhere?

    Even the weather itself seems vacant,
    Neither warm nor cold, not wet and not dry,
    No breeze can be felt, the sky canít be seen.
    Far overhead is a ceiling of white
    That can not be touched and shines without light.
    The sun canít be found though there are no clouds,
    No way to distinguish day from the night.
    Thereís only a chill that wells from within,
    A wind that howls through the cavernous mind
    And a rain of icy sweat on the skin.

    The ravenís usurped the pidginís domain;
    Black feathered sentinels with doll-like eyes
    Line every wire, crown every rooftop,
    Gazing down with incidental malice.
    For living things in this unliving place
    They appear strangely real and substantial.
    Not so unmoving as birds made of stone
    But eerily steady in their witness.
    Patient, so patient they sit in waiting
    Like Valkaries poised for the horns of war.

    They canít be seen but this city has walls,
    Their oppressive constraint can be felt
    Like a ring that tightens upon the finger
    Or a choke collar, drawn upon the throat.
    This place reeks of madness, however still,
    Though the typical scent of the city
    Is absent, the air utterly sterile.
    That it can be breathed at allís a wonder
    As it fills my lungs with a terrible
    Thirst like a manís whoís lost in the desert.

    This must be a dream, a dim reflection,
    But the world seems more solid then ever
    Before with the stern gravity of truth.
    It has a reality all its own;
    Thereís an intuitive understanding
    That nothing beyond its confines exists.
    The buses and trains all radiate fear,
    Not means of escape but further descent.
    Into darker neighborhoods of terror
    Where nothing resembling light can reach.

    Even the parks will provide no refuge,
    Like twisted, murky forests of darkness
    They shelter horrors that dare not be faced,
    With millions of eyes and venomous fangs.
    The sky might be turning a darker shade
    Or fear might be evolving to panic;
    The heart could be swelling, ready to burst
    Or the ribs may be closing-in for spite.
    Whatever designís behind this twilight
    It circles near by, unseen like a shark.

    Something of great malignance and power
    Is drawing closer with each mounting breath,
    Something tremendous and overwhelming
    Something that nothing could hope to evade,
    Perhaps a flood that will cover the earth
    Or a storm that will shatter the skyline,
    A blizzard to bury the world in ice
    Or a fire to consume it to ash,
    The ground might thunder and quake then openĖ
    Or maybe a thing like a whisper comes...

    An old and nostalgic movie house, lodged
    Deep in the heart of the dying city.
    The lights grow dim and the murmuring breaks
    Like a fever, or a dream with the dawn.
    He consults the hour and then rises
    To go; he has seen all of this before.
    A man on fire and a man marooned,
    A man of the world, alone on the street.
    His eyes, long hidden behind dark mirrors,
    Have since taken-on the color of steel.

    A world blind on the edge of destruction,
    A man lost on the verge of exhaustion:
    Always on the edge or the verge, the edge of
    A fall or the verge of discovery.
    A penetrating narration follows,
    A finite but seemingly endless stream
    Of images and moments parading
    In a steady succession before him.
    He descends into a subway station
    As the film finally draws to a close.

    VII: Waiting For A Train

    Deep in the bowels of The City again,
    Waiting on passage to some outer realm
    I move the mirrors away from my eyes
    And resolve myself to the wretched light.
    The herd erupts inside my head and its
    Voices rise-up to devour my own.
    Shattered, my face becomes lost among them
    As panic fills my skull with its static.
    In failure we slither like worms on the
    Platform, tapping our feet impatiently.

    Nothing seems to flow, merely run its course.
    All things become cold and sharp as razors
    With this immutable geometry;
    Strait and unwavering lines, merciless
    In their stark, right-angled philosophy.
    Even the bright and beatific flowers
    Are tamed to military formation:
    Bleak and perfect in their new assignments,
    Over-disciplined to waiting in line
    As navigation becomes pure science.

    They rise and they fall like little nations,
    The groups of people who pass through our lives.
    Some go slowly, fading like a whisper,
    Lost in the groaning winds that disperse them.
    Others crumble into ruin when a
    Keystone is taken from their foundation.
    Some destroyed by marauding invaders
    And some we must walk from in exile.
    They rise and fall like tiny empires;
    Nostalgia making the most ancient shine.

    The minutes race past, rush like a torrent,
    Toss and carry me like a willful tide
    Sends a pebble along a river bed.
    Inaction slowly digests my tissues
    Like a rude and ungracious parasite
    Who thumbs its nose at my white corpuscles
    And squats my abandoned, crack-house organs.
    Indecision is a privilege of youth;
    One that becomes deadly and decadent
    In a whispered, unheralded instant.

    I miss the glorious treason of youth,
    Beautiful, amorous, treasonous youth!
    The sound of glass raining down on the street,
    The corse red dust of a brick on my palm,
    The quickness of breath as I dashed in flight
    And the crimson orbs that blazed in pursuit!
    The neighborhood dogs whoíd wake-up the dead
    As I flew over their fences and yards.
    No adulthood joy has ever compared
    To the glorious treason of my youth!

    I miss my illusions, miss them dearly,
    Miss the clever young lad I thought I was
    I miss the way I was convinced I was free
    And miss the control I thought that I had.
    Iím a conflict of my own opposites:
    A world overwrought with sense and reason,
    Lost in my own self-imposed estrangement
    Without hope of reconciliation.
    If the sirenís song proves muted and dull
    For my survival, well then so be it.

    Too many subtleties lost in these woods,
    Too many forked tongues, like quicksilver flashed
    Too many loose passwords and epitaphs.
    Too fast they came, too much they borrowed,
    Too long they stayed and too far they wandered.
    All for the sake of a feigned excitement
    Too many crayons crossed too many lines
    With too many colors to make much sense.
    Too many prophets screw the prophecy,
    Too much rebellion kills revolutions.

    Furry little wreckage along the road,
    The small and irrelevant tragedies
    Of the Great Highway and its industry;
    Its striving purpose of forward motion,
    Moving always on the horizonís
    Promise with no regard for the fallen.
    Some will afford them a moderate cringe
    But most will ignore them or even grin.
    The vanquished remind us each of our place
    And the unyielding nature of traffic.

    Suffering illuminates no prison.
    Misfortune serves as instructor only
    In bitterness and base degradation
    For eyes not already open to see.
    No enlightenment or nobility
    Ever come from pain, their only lesson
    Is showing our curious need for one.
    No silver lines the poisonous vapors
    That hover over the darkened cities
    Where the disregarded dwell in dispar.

    Am I doomed to walk these streets in silence,
    Is there no living thing that lingers here?
    Are these darkened ruins, monolithic
    In their still silence, the only betrayer
    That life once raged here in all its clamor?
    Bared from The Land like some half-assed Adam
    Whoís eve has gone and shacked-up with a snake.
    Iím so obsessed with being forgiven
    I screw-up on purpose just for the chance.
    Do we just grow old and die to ourselves?

    VIII: Last Call

    Electricity runs through my body,
    Sparking fires and possibilitiesĖ
    Flicking switches on and off in my brain
    And filling my eyes with tiny lightnings.
    My blood is charged like battery acid
    And my heart rages like a humming birdís.
    My knee goes dancing to violent rhythms
    That none but a schizophrenic could hear,
    My teeth are grinding and my eyes are locked
    Like lasers on the target of my lust.

    A breath of fresh air, the scent of new blood,
    Let me call the carrion birds to feast.
    Thereís no point waiting for timeís patient hand
    And gravity to come and set things right
    But aside from these, thereís only me and
    Itís too cold out to look for salvation.
    Iíve no head for the jesterís secretive
    Smiles, no way to dissect the cipher.
    Her bed is warm, if the mornings are coldĖ
    Come; let the carrion birds have their feast.

    I can see fires leap high in the sky,
    Reflected in your moist and glassy eyes.
    I can feel the toxic rivers flowing,
    Its current surging through our common vein.
    Civilization has a certain stench:
    I can smell it heavy upon our breath
    And in the oily sweat that coats us
    In the terrible dark of our embrace.
    I sense the end of all things in your hips,
    The way they rhythmically drain me of life.

    I hear the ring of steel in her whisper
    And feel the dagger unsheathed in her touch,
    But she is no fool and surely must sense
    The blade I conceal beneath my caress.
    Though weíve found places to bury our scorn
    Its specter returns for vengeance at night,
    Drowning our sleep in the sweat of fatigue
    And bleeding our words of sincerity.
    We share little now save venom and flesh,
    And I think that Iíve had my fill of it.

    A Most Unwelcome and unwanted sight
    Visits me on this bleak morning after,
    A bloody and tangled vision of me
    Reeking of some strange mixture of vices.
    Iím dimly perturbed but unremorseful
    As self-loathingís long since lost all its charm.
    Iíve no remembrance of whats or whys
    But know in my bones, itís wholly deserved.
    The scent of justice fumes-up from these wounds,
    Overcoming even the stench of booze.

    The mirror shows me a doppelganger,
    Seemingly perfect but stained with silver;
    Backward in all things to close inspection.
    Iíll not touch this glass for any treasure,
    Not gaze for long in those alien eyes
    However familiar they claim to be.
    My poisoned blood too ripe for possession
    To risk playing Alice in Wonderland.
    How long might I stay marooned in that place,
    What terrible deeds might he do in mine?

    Hyper-aware of my impediments,
    Agitated by them beyond reason.
    I try to dwell in possibility
    But thereís that elusive yearning again;
    Gnawing, gnawing its way into the skull.
    All seems frustrated with worn promise, then
    Suddenly nothingís left to remember.
    We are but flea market shoppers of sin,
    Black-marketing food stamps for a future
    Of dry gin and some cold calculation.

    Once again my carnivorous nature
    Seems to have gotten the better of me,
    I think Iím getting a bit sloppy now,
    Having meated-out the measure and more.
    Traces of the past, better forgotten,
    Linger like dirt beneath the fingernails.
    The place stinks like a brothel at low tide,
    Fishy characters sneaking up the stairs
    To do their business with stealth, so quiet,
    That you can hear a rat piss on cotton.

    The air is too sharp and pointed to breath,
    My lungs are drowning in blood and bile.
    I continue onward, the motion seems
    Forward to all but the most intimate
    Inspection. Every step feels terminal;
    My open tomb is my visionís terrain.
    Who are these people, these solid specters,
    Walking so lightly and cold on my grave?
    Have they no sense of the muted carnage
    Which lingers here in the blunted sunlight?

    Iíve the real and perceived in two severed
    Halves; a broken segment in either hand.
    I bring them together, move them apart,
    And though they are one as my own two hands
    So too are they akin in separation;
    One always valued above the other.
    My vision microscopic with earnest,
    Noting the fractures and imperfections
    Created in the bisecting instant.
    No glue can ever undo the damage.

    IX: A Cruise On The River Styx

    Questions in the dark; she hunts and haunts me,
    Transverses tangled forests in my mind,
    Moving forward both deliberate and slow.
    She touches softly to keep me from sleep
    But her gentle warmth promises nothing,
    Simply demands in the silence between.
    Whatever she needs, sheíll never quite say,
    Only remind me again and again
    That something remains, always, to be said.
    A question, unasked, that needs an answer.

    The morning light had finally broken,
    Raining like shattered glass on the Highway
    And forcing me to take shelter at last.
    A feverish tide, a thorn in my mind;
    My thinking placed in a wicked context.
    No spring-time romance but a brush fire.
    Would she dance for me in a golden cage
    And would she wear these shackles of iron?
    Do my laundry, kill my enemies, and
    Pick her teeth with my bones when itís over?

    There was a cool and certain savagery
    To be found in her brand of honesty,
    Blood-thirsty in an off-hand sort of way.
    Just like an earthquake on the ocean floor
    That gives rise to a gentle, rolling wave
    Which then crushes cities on distant shores.
    A warm smile and a steel-cutting tongue,
    Always dripping with honey and acid
    Mingled together like fragrant poison,
    Possessed of a whipís appetite and reach.

    Sheíd strut down the boards, mistress of the house,
    Savage and sweet like a wild fire
    Searing the sight of her into my eyes.
    From cool to cold to burning with fever,
    Rending my wits and constricting my tongue;
    Swelling my heart to the point of bursting.
    What had it done to my poor fragile mind
    To even be brushed by her piercing eye?
    Gladly Iíd go to my own dying breath
    If only to draw it out from her lips.

    Sheíd dance over brittle ice with colors
    And across white ballroom floors of canvass.
    Fly on brushes like a witch on her broom,
    Both lure and enchant through magics unseen.
    Something at once both frightening and dear
    Had captured my frame, my form and my mind.
    Planted its roots in the nerves of my skin
    And only grew by the grace of her light.
    My reason to be, wrapped in living flesh
    With brightly burning and angelic eyes.

    Almost a decade lost to me now
    And sheís still keeping me up all night long.
    I walk the streets in the rain without her
    Like some great drug I can never quite score.
    Birds of a feather, though seldom in flight,
    We were better as lab rats then lovers.
    Iím looking for an effective way to
    Get happiness off my mind forever.
    Something as rare and expensive as that
    Is something to avoid getting hooked on.

    I fumble through what memory remains,
    Fearful to lose the sound of a voice or
    Misplace the color of someoneís eyes in
    A most disloyal act of survival.
    A celluloid phantom from a shoe box
    Tomb, how could I have foreseen the danger?
    Intoxicated with strong nostalgia
    I stagger along the vanishing path,
    Stirring the dust and harassing the dead
    By calling them up with nothing to say.

    Pity the weeds you tare from the garden,
    For though less lovely to your human eye,
    They live and they grow, they hope and they dream,
    As does the rose youíve chosen to water.
    Conviction crashes and breaks like a wave
    On conventionís mean and treacherous shore.
    Nostalgia flows like blood from the body
    And reason runs like a rat from the hold.
    I stand there like a horse bred to warfare
    And await my fallen riderís return.

    How strange that we, with our two forward eyes,
    That tell-tale geometry of the face,
    Should squirm at all for the spilling of blood.
    That we, overlords of the great buffet,
    Who seldom ever pause to shrug at the
    Carnage delivered to our living rooms
    Could be so moved by the wreckage of life.
    How strange that from the food chainís summit we
    Could be so repulsed by death in the flesh,
    Without the filter of the cameraís eye.

    I am but the tubes which worm through my frame,
    A parcel of food in the spiderís thread.
    Iím the soft-spoken beeps os strange machines;
    Uttered for muted, reluctant organs.
    I am the statistics on bedside charts,
    Which seem at first to betray signs of life
    But exist in truth for themselves alone.
    I am a monument to medicineís
    Arrogance: that all which can be done should.
    I am the meat in the butcherís window.

    X: People Planets & Entropy

    There is no free will, only gravity;
    Boundless, soulless, relentless gravity.
    The cold-hard compulsion of chemistry.
    All things are forgone; pointless, closed and fixed.
    All will end lightless, scattered through the void
    Or in the bellies of the great dragons
    Upon which all of the galaxies wheel.
    All was planned in the musings of atoms,
    All of us doomed before timeís inception;
    All questions are answered simply: Because...

    Sightless we scramble about in the dark,
    Inertiaís shadow ever gaining ground.
    Blotting-out the sun, then the stars in turn,
    And bleeding the heat from our sweat-soaked skins
    Which shiver and quake for want of a flame.
    How easy it is, insulated by
    A few feet of earth once entropy comes,
    Hunting like a shark through the depths of time.
    Hear them bay, the dogs of the Wild Hunt,
    Rabid with pleasure we may never know.

    Right you were named for the goddess of love,
    Serine in your vestments of blue and white
    As you smile upon us from afar.
    Yet beneath the airy, beautiful veil
    You hide a blazing and furious heat.
    Bone-crushing pressures and poisonous breath
    Surround a barren and merciless land
    Where nothing survives to tell your secrets.
    How like a woman is lovely Venus,
    Both beautifully bright and dark as the night.

    An angry blood stain amid pastel bands,
    A vicious wound to the king of the gods.
    A murderous eye gazing out in rage
    Across the vast and icy distances.
    Lord of all storms, raging through the ages,
    Anger eternally fed by the winds
    Which race untroubled and unimpeded
    By mountain or forest or tugging tide.
    Ever unblinking and unforgiving,
    Tell me, is your wrath unappeasable?

    I feel so old, I feel it in my blood,
    I feel it grow thin and feel it go cold.
    I can feel the tides recede in my mind,
    Feel the erosion of my spiritís shore.
    Trapped in a desert, so far from the sea,
    I can still feel it writhing in violence;
    Feel it drown me even in my absence.
    My deepest waters of self grow shallow,
    Soon to be gone like the oceans of Mars;
    Evaporated, or deep underground.

    A dragon dwells in the heart of the wood;
    The suns and planets of heaven circle,
    Held aloof in the whirlwind of his wings.
    All the galaxy upon his table,
    His hunger insatiable, even the
    Very light of the stars he devourers
    For all is fated to fill his stomach.
    When all other morsels have disappeared
    Heíll begin to hunt the rest of his kin
    And then turn his teeth at last on his tail.

    For the hour will come, wether by the
    Thunder headís herald or the whispered hiss
    Of the sudden asp, doll-eyed and frigid
    Of vein, transforming blood to fire.
    Death may descend like the fall of common
    Night, as winter is foretold by autumn.
    Each moment adorned with uncounted fates,
    Flown aloft as the winged embers of flames.
    Death is toothless as a barrow worm to
    The scared and withering flesh of mortals

    All things seek their place in the pattern,
    Like waters freed of the damís constriction.
    The lights that slow-dance across the heavens
    And all of the worlds which forever follow;
    All of the things which slither and the things
    That stride , the things that grow, the things that fly
    Are drawn towards perfection and symmetry.
    Yet entropy rules alone in the void.
    In perfectionís garden all things seek death
    For what else is left? What more could matter?

    We all are born of the far-flung debris
    Of ancient lights that have gone from the night.
    We and the trees, the rocks and the soil
    All brothers brewed in a cosmic cauldron.
    Sewn wide like seeds through the boundless reaches
    And reunited by gravityís hand,
    We race our way along the expanse in
    A seething tempest, too huge to be seen,
    Until we tire and make our way home;
    And then it is time to set out again.

    Ten years gone now, to the dust and the grave;
    A decade lost to me, strictly counting,
    But an instant of slow eternity.
    Dumped for the Lord of the Nether Reaches
    And left this lingering season of death.
    Winter politely stands-in for summer:
    A summer wasted in pining for spring.
    The tenth part now of a century past
    And I still feel like Iím cheating on her
    Whenever I burry myself for spite.

    Submitted on 2006-02-06 20:38:11     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
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    ||| Comments |||
      I could live in the wood with all my friends,
    Sing songs, get drunk, deflower some maidens.
    Weíd grow our own grass, brew our own beer and
    Burry our dead in our own shady grove.

    Holy crap man this was long. Brilliant, but long. Anyways I am gonna keep the comment short for once and say that i think that this is genuis and that the part I have copy and pasted is my favorite. Because don't we all just wanna live that way?
    | Posted on 2006-03-24 00:00:00 | by lori_tab | [ Reply to This ]
      A man perpetually caught between land locked predators and the destroying winds of offended gods? This is a philosophical sort of Dante's Inferno with intimate interviews and a live studio audience of skeptics and miscreants playing their parts before a gray backdrop of indifference, regret and remorse. I sense entire works (and bits of others) previously deleted from the site, stirred into one huge pot of rage, bravado and sadness; this is Jason revealing Jason to the planet. I'll have to make this a favorite simply because it's a manifesto of the displeased full of powerful imagery. Stick around this time. Take care of yourself. Bill.
    | Posted on 2006-02-06 00:00:00 | by rws | [ Reply to This ]
      You vividly portray the steps of grief when something loved is no longer present. The piece though overly long ,you seem in some way or other to hold the reader's attention.
    The stanza containing,"Things we don't talk about hang from the lips and loiter about our tongue-and answer questions only in silence-that the thunder of it might leave us deaf",is a notable stanza;as well as, the "toomany,too fast, too long ,too much " stanza.
    If this woman's demise was your beloved please accept my sympathy. I sense in the closing few stanzas that perhaps you may be on the verge of acceptance of the inevitableness of death. I liked the imagery you used throughout and the utter feeling of loss which led you to booze and all the other steps of grief.
    | Posted on 2006-02-06 00:00:00 | by realpoet | [ Reply to This ]

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