Daily Archives: December 14, 2010

“Carousels” by David W. Rushing

There is a painting of a carousel where
one by one the horses become real,
jump off, and run away.

I once knew an old man
who'd had many different children
with many different wives
and he said the horses in the painting
reminded him of his children,
running out of his life.

I have a daughter who's seventeen.
Her and my days of carousels
are long gone and she, too,
is sprinting out of my life.

And now I know how it feels.

“She Said” by David W. Rushing

"I'm just not very happy right now."

"What is it?" I asked

"I just don't have time for anything except work
and school and that's it."

"I understand."

"And I hardly ever see my boyfriend anymore except for
half an hour at a time and, of course, he wants to
have sex. Tells me, 'Let's put the time to good use.'
But half an hour just isn't enough for me, I need more
than that."

"Of course you do," I said, as my imagination ran away
from me like wild horses over the hills.

“The Tables Turned” by David W. Rushing

Some twenty years ago
I had a girlfriend who not only loved me
but was "in love" with me as well.

A rare occurrence.

But with my being younger than she
and being, by the standards of the world,
much better looking too,

I felt little more than indifference towards her.


This kind-hearted woman had taped upon her wall
a favorite quote from Kahlil Gibran
that went something like this,

"And think not you can guide the course of Love,
for Love, if it finds you worthy
shall guide your course."


Anyway, I liked the line too
and so copied it down in a book I was reading,
which soon found itself gathering dust upon my shelf.


Jump ahead twenty years
and now I, older, grayer, but not wiser,
found myself madly in love with a woman both younger than I
and, by the standards of the world,
much more attractive.

When the young lady happened to mention that she enjoyed reading Gibran,
I was soon able to impress her with my romantic worldliness
by supplying her with the quote above.

This however did little toward inflaming the woman's passions;
in fact, it accomplished little more than increase
her utter disinterest regarding me,


For my sins of a much younger day,
I had at last received my reward.

“Ballad of the Lonesome Flower Seller” by Krishna Kanchith R

She was a lonesome seller of jasmine and roses.
She cried and yelled "Hear ye, all you strangers in a park, a temple or a funeral
I have something pretty for your hair and something pleasant for your noses."
Walking street to street
She had to bear the cold of shivering winter nights
And bear the summer's unforgiving heat.
She was the one you saw in every train headed somewhere far or near.
At every junction where the buses halt.
Words of scorn and anger were what she heard.
But a mother had she to care for and a young brother too
Rarely did she see a smiling face or hear words of cheer.
Drinking and gambling might lure her brother
And that was her only concern and fear.
She was a lonesome seller of jasmines and roses.
She cried "Hear ye, all you strangers in a park, a temple or a funeral
I have something pretty for your hair and something pleasant for your noses."

Her brother, he made a dime or two while playing his flute
He sold newspapers and sliced cucumbers too
His patched up shirt, it was smeared with black soot
He cleaned and swept the hotel rooms
Sometimes stealing a penny or two.
He didn't speak too much, his silence it loomed
And built around his weary body and dusky face
He did not always return home every night
His boyhood had vanished without a trace
One night when he returned after a fortnight of absence.
He tried hard to make this meager fortune last
In vain she tried to hold his childhood back and touch his fading innocence.
He had lost the halo he once had, the broken child of a hundred stars
Sad pangs of longing striked his roots and bones.
Yet wore a smile and slaved his body beyond midnight hours.
Her brother, he made a dime or two while playing his flute
He sold newspapers and sliced cucumbers too
His patched up shirt, it was smeared with black soot.

Her friends, they were kind and playful
Rainy days and boisterous winds came and went
Their little home rocked all night to the coughs of her mother, awful
Thoughts and fears crept in and out faster than the golden sun
Far away in that valley of dreams and ambitions far beyond
The rivers of pain and hunger where she carried this burden
Of flesh's thousand needs, a hundred fancies she dared to paint
She dared to dream and hope, to cross every ocean
And move every mountain, her thoughts knew no restraint.
She laughed loud and sobbed hard, she the tenderest creation
Living her life in her green mind's eden polluted by society
She prowled and pranced like a wild river's roaring musical motion.

Then one day everything tumbled and powdered to dust
Her brother, he was stealing some twenty rupees
A cruel victim of chance, he was busted.
The faint bells of dignity they once dearly protected
Was now going down the drain as they found out three days later
His broken frail body was helpless and starved.
He begged for mercy, but the man denied it.
She had to scrape a whole week's earning together
Along with her mother's cherished bangles
The indifferent rich men spoke of justice and education
Their plastic wives nodded straightening their tangles.
She went with her head held high to get her brother back
Twenty odd from the dead pockets of wealth wasn't worth the rotting cell.
She put down all her savings on the table by the bent down racks
Of fat books of law, constitution and other high sounding baloney
The policeman twirled his moustache as he eyed the slender girl.
He glanced all the crumpled money and faded jewels lying on the table
Coldly with a shrug, he says ‘this is no good'but there is a way as he swirled
His long cane like a hungry hunter and came forward as the girl shivering stood still.
She did walk out with her freed brother half an hour later
But she was silent and her poor body ached and had lost every shred of her will.
After what happened inside the closed doors of justice's appointed guards
She walked fast like a ghost caught in a hurricane
Her eyes wide and expressionless, they searched and searched hard.
She went straight to the lone majestic tree made lifeless by the ravage of autumn.
And hung herself till her life squeezed out of her broken lips in one last whisper.
Her gentle brother, aching inside, wounded and hurt discovered it too late
He watched her frail sister, the starlight of his dusty weary soul.
Her unmarked grave, her unspoken words, fears and little aspirations
All flew like mateless birds of shattered wings in the hell's unblessed hole.

This my friends was the tale of the lonesome seller of jasmines and roses
I wished to sing to you about how she fought back like a tough goddess of wrath
Like an angel of change, she stood and fought defiantly, something like Moses.
Oh, believe me, I wish I could say that, but I need to speak the truth
Of what happened and It breaks my fingers to write this ravaged cruelty.
She was who you saw in every corner of this sick society's maddened maze
Our stale talks and vain streams of wasted sweat fulfilling defined roles of travesty.
This my friends was the tale of how the lamb of innocence met the clawed cold gaze...
This my friends was the tale of a flower which in our burning cauldron turned to steam
This my friends was the tale of the girl who sold flowers for a night full of dreams...

“The City of Lonely Breeze” by Krishna Kanchith R

In the City of the lonely breeze
On either side of those dreamy streets
Merchants selling hopes and devastations
to hobos, heartless dreams on auction
and nightmares in excess gifted to those
who wait, upon the cloudy days of lonesome hopes
I was just some traveler you see.
Weary and tired of dancing
On the ever shifting sand.
I've been here long enough
Yet the City never fails to amaze me
with its Schopenhauer sinners and unhurried travelers
shopping there all the while
humming the tinsel tunes of ever changing songs
It's a city with disabled bleeding lot
Their shiny medals proudly, always they flaunt
long after the wizards of night are gone
they shall with their broken echoes haunt
the dreamy streets where nothing is bare
in the City of the lonely breeze.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde rule this twilight town
searching for Oedipus who roams the dark alleys
after a funny chain of choking misadventures and follies
Titanic arrives on its shores every lilting evening
where every new romance is an adventure
and where every misadventure is romanticized
where stars are counted and moons are mined
You gaze at wilderness in eternity's deep blue eyes
truth seekers that you are, playing with the fabric of a masterpiece.
Examining the geometry of some Modigliani woman's neck
as she peeks inside your empty heart looking for her lost cross.
Thick metal minds hanging like desolation bats by a heartbreak hook.
Passerbys always pay their imperfect tributes
to those who spend their long lives hung up on some gypsy dream.
But they hardly know they are serving their time
on the dreamy streets where everyone is chained
in the City of the lonely breeze.

The alchemists are hard at their work
and Frankenstein emaciated, he's in search of his legacy.
Time machine factories open at dusk here
Autumn whistles its arrival every now and then
as the bed of leaves at my feet soften the roads
to the distant misty peaks embracing the mountain maze, roads
that are lost forever till the return of the departed spring.
The only thing certain here is the cold pendulum swing.
The shopkeepers keep swapping their shiny shops
in the middle of the blinding day and in the secure cold of the night
on the dreamy streets full of penniless musicians
in the City of lonely breeze.

As the old erudite patient in his haunted hut
claimed his lineage to the twinkling and trembling stars.
The rebels sweep their long roads to guillotine
as the funeral rose dangles at the unforgiving foot of the cradle
Blank walls with crazy hieroglyphics carved, they stare at the doomed dreamer
as the clouds gather high up in the sky
for a rain that will never fall upon thirsty lips of prayer
And the illusionist, he has a silent cobra for his pet that he keeps
under his arch where Dr. Freud talks to Hamlet and lady Macbeth everyday
or he just dreams so, I guess.
Dracula is selling flowers now from his hungry pool of blood
He has sold his cursed castle to all the pious and the unwashed who roamed
directionless where saints of yesteryears recite Machiavelli from rooftops
on the dreamy streets where abandoned king Lear weeps
in the City of the lonely breeze.

Here the crucified heretic walks around in his lovely lilac robe
as the outcast child tries hard not to surrender
and the anarchist tries to walk naked in the meta-human winter
As some laughing pauper foretells the coming of endless riches
the ephemeral journalist is busy polishing his stained mirror
and the mothers are collecting fallen teardrops of their lost sons
Goliath sells little marble statuettes of David from his mansion
as all the strangers keep looking at their icy beds
looking for some measure of love and a transfiguring poem to hold
on the dreamy streets where dreams sing their swan songs
in the City of the lonely breeze.

The lover sees his love in the broken mirror
that he once saw her in
The preacher plays with his little summoning bell
and the shepherd is busy making worthless deals with the butcher
as the winds of indifference hits the orphans' perfect face
The footsteps of the sages are vanishing without a trace
when each day, a train arrives carrying wild flowers and seeds of guns.
The dancer of everything mobile is weeping
in her palanquin of sand, don't you miss her?
and the mathematics mystic is a box of contradictions
amidst the violins of purest pain that plays softly
for the dead and the dying in this crucible of lies
on the dreamy streets where there is something to mourn and celebrate everyday
in the City of the lonely breeze.

The broken and the injured dog lies down, unsubdued yet on the alley
The children are flying kites from their enchanted terraces
and the wintry wasps of gloom are continuing their magical dancing
as the songs of moonstruck daydreamers
float as a sliver on the heavy evening air
when you dare to dream about worlds beyond your game
and dare to write a song to cherish your lovers' name
while all those who are hiding and are faraway
exiled by this momentary empire of shame
are seeking your presence away from this highland of burning candles
With every throw of dice on the gamblers' floor
you are losing what you lost long ago
and your memory is flooding out
even those things closest of close to your rose bosom
And the crying clowns, the songless singers aplenty
they are moving away now with a sorrowful burden, their silent blues
on the dreamy streets where the oppression and weight of lost lives are taking their toll
in the City of lonely breeze.

When the ghosts of future get entangled in the machinery of mind
forever on the dull desolate Saturday afternoons
Peter Pans of superimposed impossibilities insinuation
taking you in their delusions of fear and vain glory
seeking to chisel your disfigured form on this rumbling avalanche.
And the king, he is trying to make his ends meet
sitting alone in the garden overgrown with tomorrow's untouched blood
while his one hundred servants were busy plucking trails
of life's endless resilience for their moody master.
I hear trumpets transfusing broken meaning
into endless names of unreal sparks of your mind's ice cold schemes
and your young tender bodies' unnatural isolation
glaring loud from the rooftops of every empty house you occupy
Of all the gone nights and days, need I speak more my friend,
on the dreamy streets where everything drifts away into oblivion of a million epic blinks?
In the City of the lonely breeze.

“Empty Promises” by Annie McWilliams

The gray fingertips of day
reach for the edge of tomorrow.
The town moves on familiar streets,
lights stare quietly as life unfolds.
Evening stretches and yawns, nuzzles into night.
The grizzled man, bicycle bound for home,
stops at the fast food dumpster,
and picks up his dinner.
Impartially, the sign blinks,
a dog searches the gutter,
people scurry around corners.
The stranger, faceless,
outside dweller,
spirit naked before god,
pedals up the hill on the outskirts
to share his meal with a family of skunks.

“To Feed on the Sun (Hobo’s Creed)” by Annie McWilliams

whatever was left behind
enough air, a kingdom

some notes for a song
about history's wounds

patron saint of pilgrims
buries want by the road

being is hunger, a
poverty of desire

emptiness and appetite
talks about walking

nobody imagines
outside, out beyond

impressions in fields
as light moves day

howls warning
wherever it is

life's lived inside out
death face first

no windows or roof
earth beaten

face to sun
back to wind

smoke wanders, finds
space for something

to listen and breathe
alone on two feet

offers no map
to a soul who passes by

“Hobo Jacked” by Annie McWilliams

"Mystery is scratching at the back screen door..." -- Mark Hartenbach

i am a river and above me constellations slip in and out of watery delirium with the force of a bullet.
Sometimes this old moonless night lasts forever.
Hand in hand my rag tag friend shares an umbrella
and we walk a route that smells like surprise.
i'm always navigating a hallway filled with blistered doors,
mostly darkness opens upon darkness and snips my wick.
i lie down and hear everything.
is that a monster i'm tempted to share a place with at my table?
i am the flame of my own cremation.
i want to be a handful of ashes floating.
some things can't be forgotten.
and, since you asked, i hear a voice calling... proffering my dinner.
my belly is hollow.

“Homeless Landscape” by Annie McWilliams

what guides them constantly forward
ghosts moving through our country
men outside windows drag the earth
you see it, forget it,
and still it is going on out there
snaking through, soundlessly sending loneliness toward the stars
which are comfortless and cold

miraculously, they use no money
live one event at a time
keep going for however long
such a huge rift, grief, ugly black moods
the brim of memories pants at their heels

cold winter leaps from blue to wash again
before returning seasons,
worlds turn darker, whirl, then
lighten again still holding that first taste
of rain from any mountain. they slide, scurry

forever moving, once more leave camps behind;
scale the end of a deeper pool where the river of memory
droops and conceives
they wear uncherished in a wide berth
hats and shirts circled with sweat, shaded eyes watch our passage

we watch each other
until dust and distance
are too much...
they know us by our leavings

“A Violent Lullaby” by Rebecca Khera

I close my eyes
But I can't find dreams.
My memories just twist another nightmare.
A violent lullaby,
Forcing silent screams,
Unheard by all but me.

I still feel you against me.
Your hand on my face,
My shoulder, my back,
Placing that purple so elegantly.

The marks you left are more than temporary,
And they will forever haunt me,
So I cope in a way that I know would make you proud.

With warriors of sharpened silver,
Fighting against the flesh,
Ivory smooth, with rivers of blue,
They dare not cross.
Soon enough it's victory,
The soldiers plant their crimson flag,
To stain the temple with its war.

Remnants of battle scars fade,
But never truly disappear.
The marks stay concealed
In fear of being seen,
And life becomes a game of hide and seek.

It's the scars you've left that keep me from loving.
It's the scars I've left that keep me from living.

“Americium, Oxygen, and Rhenium (In That Order)” by Keith Perks

it's all around you
it's even in you
it's in me
it's in your dog
it's in your loud asshole neighbors
it's in your mother-in-law
it's in your boss
it's in the people you may even hate
it's in thought
it's in memory
it's in dream
it's in word
it's in action
and when it's forgotten
when it's lost
when it's left behind
when it's been hurt and bruised
when it's been lied to
when it's been lied for
it's still near by somewhere
no matter where you look
no matter what culture
no matter what country
no matter what race
no matter what religion
no matter what language
it's there
and even as unexplained as it may be
it's even in science

“From my Window (This Isn’t the Yard)” by Keith Perks

there's beauty and it's out there,
but from from my window
it's hard to find.

there's grass
and there's flowers
and there are trees,
but they aren't mine.

something takes away from them
and they just aren't right.
maybe it's their color
or maybe it's their smell.
or maybe it's the angle
they are growing
that hides what i'm hoping to see.

or maybe it's the rain.
maybe it's the air.
maybe it's the sun.

hell, maybe it's just me.

all i know is
this isn't the yard
and this isn't the window.
this isn't even the view
where i'm supposed to be.

and come to think of it
maybe what's hiding
their beauty,
is the same thing
that's hiding me.

because the sun isn't hitting me
the way it use to.

and i'm not growing much either.

i think there's someone out there,
not seeing

“More” by Keith Perks

simple things
are the most important
i don't care what anybody
tells you
right now i'm thinking about
driving up and down streets
with summer winds
blowing on my face
sand between my toes
and sweat dripping down my back
there's a freedom in those streets
they are so far away
yet they are closer than home
i am free there
more than i will ever be here
and it's not for lack of trying
those small moments
they need to be more often
driving slow
up and down southern streets
with shoulders that are up
just a little bit more
head back almost proud
and a smile
that only those streets
bring me
i find happiness
in those small things
and i want them more

“The Monarch, the Cowboy, the Horse, and the Corpse” by Keith Perks

i opened the window
and the sun spilled to the floor.
outside in the green grass
a butterfly landed on a dandelion.

a cowboy pedaled by on his tricycle.
he stopped to look at me
as I watched him through the screen.
i smiled and he gave me a mad sneer.

he pulled a revolver from his side
and with one eye squinted shut,
he took careful aim
and fired.

he galloped off toward the sun
on his three wheeled stallion,
leaving me hunched over
holding my chest.

the pain was real.
it pierced deep in my heart
setting off thousands
of explosions in my chest.

i closed the window
and slumped to the floor,
asking myself why i didn't move
from his deadly aim.

there are many ways to die.
by a bullet or sword
and even by a smile or hug.
every child i saw killed me in a way.

“Houses Have Bones Too” by Scott L. Bird

I had a realtor once
Who said houses have
Some have good ones,
Some have bad ones.
I bought a house
Based on that and
I helped fill it up with
The kids threw their toys
Around my cottage built
In 1942.
Their toys put dents in
The dents made by
The number of kids
Who filled this house
So patiently I asked my kids
How they would feel if
The house threw its toys at
They laughed when I said
The house would feel like
Tossing us out like
Cold, wet vomit
For breaking its

“Left Out” by Matthew Anish

Broken by the
winds of time
Left out
in frosty solitude
which we never expected to happen
Did you see the lights
as they danced on the waters?
Perhaps we can work
together and build something
to float on those waters
before the darkness
covers us altogether
and we are left with
only shreds of what we
once loved and cherished

“Longing” by Robert O. Adair

How I longed
for my long johns
on those cold winter nights!
Lost in the Yukon
midst bright Northern Lights,
mushing along the Dawson Trail
where the arctic cold cut
like a driven nail!
How I wished I was back
in old Tennessee!
How I longed for my home
in lovely Plum Tree!
How I longed for my long johns
of wool and cotton!
Their comforting warmth
could not be forgotten!

“Journey” by Jerome Brooke

Fast and wild, fast the river flows,
Through the empty land;
Down the desert, endless plain,
Through barren sand.

Dark eyes that see,
See the goal,
Where the lost river,
Wild river, wild soul.

The past, made plain, open,
Our future known,
All, all is now clear, plainly told,
All is shown.

Searing eyes, eyes that search,
Eyes that see;
Cruel eyes, eyes now hidden,
Hidden by the sea.