Ancient history: More naive poetry: January 2008 – May 2008

A handful of poems written for my poetry class during my senior year at Westminster College. I believe each of these were developed in response to some kind of prompt, although the specifics of each now elude me.

Book 

It sounds both threatening and friendly. It begins like an infant, untested yet with endless potential. Buhh. It ends solidly, but in the back of my throat, as if it has entered me and stuck. Khh. It sounds quiet but wise. It sounds patient and stable. It smells musty, like something untouched for ages. It smells like summer afternoons laying in the sun.

Infantile you seem, so friendly.

Your potential scares and attracts me.

You are quiet, patient, stable,

but with wisdom to impart.

You are musty, avoided, abused,

but I love the smell of time lost.

Your pages fling dust as I flip through.

Light splits your ink into red and blue.

Light from the sun, high in the sky

on a balmy summer afternoon.

We travel to places far away;

Lay on the fiery slopes of

Mt Doom in the depths of despondence,

tramp the brambly woods of

ancient England in luminous hope.

An excursion of emotions with

every anxious turn of the page.

I finish but you stay for a while.

 

Civilized

A vessel barrels through space

at nine hundred thousand times

the speed of sound.

Time can not be bound

with so hasty a pace; the craft is

unbridled by size shape and mass.

None watch the ship pass

stars planets and particles unrestrained

by the invisible forces

Sir Newton maintained.

Hybrid polymers separate its passengers

from a vacuum and the magnetic

forces of wormholes that loom.

 

At fore things are bustling

Captain shouts orders from his chair.

Midshipmen are hustling

From station to concourse to lair.

One man has a mission, an order to deliver

He strikes out on a journey,

the ship spans a mile.

With twisting corridors and anterooms;

a labyrinth of tile.

It’s a jaunt of a week, or a day if he’s lucky.

But his stay will be short; consign and flee.

 

Aft things are secret, and brutalities

commence. Poor men pour lives

into indentures of servitude in the luxury

ship, hoping to get ahead, hoping

for cheap transport hence. Few survive

the journey. The engine rooms spell danger.

Virulent radiation pours out of gray

engine housings onto the

impoverished and needful.

They draw straws for the next

to perish. Attempts at escape are

met with sanguinary vengeance.

The area smells of blood,

of sweat, of foul flesh.

 

Up in the control room the Captain grabs his mic…

The Andromedous Nebula is coming up soon.

All passengers look out to starboard if you like.

He leans back in a plush chair and smiles as he thinks,

Ah, to be civilized…

            Thank god for Science.

 

Dancing Plant

Dancing plant, did

you drink too much?

At the party last

night I watched

you guzzle a beer

and now you droop

and dance lazily

in the wind;

A decadent devourer,

a gregarious green.

Your leaves are tattered;

I think you got in a

fight with a Venus Flytrap.

Silly plant, you were

overmatched.

Yet, you move joyfully;

in daze of the days.

Did you meet a pretty

female and spread your

spores last night?

Did you sow your seeds wildly?

Should I be worried that your

children are already sprouting?

Why do you dance?

I think you have a problem.

 

Fourth Wall

It’s the fourth wall I care about;

not the third, with constant

ramblings about character or

the first, the initial, the self

so often lost.

 

Or the second, beautiful

though it may be, with

crystal lakes and pristine

peaks to match the cracked,

dry desert land and the

smoggy valleys of the

east Midwest.

 

The judge, the high

gavel-tossing pallid persona.

 

The fourth wall.

 

Insomnia

My lids droop and my back

aches with the pain of another

sleepless night split

frequently with starts.

 

Groaning, I turn and flip

my pillow for another

restless journey marked

by artificial loss.

 

Leggers

To spiders, something

with less leggers, and

more leggers than eight leggers. Scary.

 

Living Transparently

They wish for some and nothing and display

Whole thoughts and brain synapses and so

your condition of life is the reality

for Pittsburgh and someone in Peru

always this show

is the me and the you. You have come home.

 

Untitled

Snow caps the mountaintops

Beyond a field I didn’t know.

And I wander aimlessly among

long reeds, stomping into

sulphuric water; my mind

distracted by the quarrel of

two squirrels and a baboon.

Their location doesn’t concern

  1. I only wonder, what would

a squirrel want with a banana?

and how could it win? My thoughts

soon drowned out by fear of

The dragon flying overhead.

Dragonfly, I realize. It is silly

to be scared unless I am allergic.

With a wheeze I press on, finding

the foot of the hillsides, where

a small dark cave hides my

secret journal. It is wet when

I reach for it. Soon my words

will spider and nothing left

but smudges of black, blue,

and never read. It is too harsh.

I use it to express, to think;

to put my thoughts finally into

words, but it abandons me

And now I use words to avoid

My demon. My bane.

 

The Acropolis

Worn marble steps, covered

in dry, tan dirt ascend repeatedly

before me. The steps rise feet

at a time, but each is a platform

carefully placed by the ancients.

They must have been in good

shape, to move all of these stones,

and clamber over such tall plateaus.

Finally, I reach the gate, and walk

through into the deep past, yet

present will not leave. Scaffolding

mars the side of Nike, and I wonder,

Would they have wanted it rebuilt?

I think I would want to know how

long it endured the forces of the

life-giver before returning to dust.

It will not be. They love the past,

will not let it fail. I continue onward.

The famous ionic columns still

stand tall, majestic in unwavering

solidarity, among pollution, unrest.

My heart is suddenly stricken.

Looking down at my belt,

I find my camera is lost. All that I

possess is my sword. And my thin

shoulders are now weighed down by

thick leather. I am a Centurion.

Raising my blade to the clear

blue sky, I look out upon the

city below, and let loose

my lungs with the

thunder of the gods.

 

Trying to catch my breath,

I realize it can not be caught.

The dry air here is acrid. The

vibrant city turns to gray.

Maybe they are right to rebuild.

Maybe it was better before.

 

Unwanted

I want to be with you.

I want to be with you.

I deeply want to be with you.

I’m not sure what stands in the way.

But I know the reasons feel fey.

I know when we are together

it seems as if everything else

dies away. And pains long

untouched fly today. It’s

here we stand to decide

the choices which may let

us confide. In each other!

My God, what a statement.

 

But here we are, decisions latent

and I reluctantly feel impatient.

I don’t want to force any decisions,

just to plan no further incisions

in my Heart, the delicate organ,

stressed too far, cant-contrive

of an option to find a sleep,

a rest without some form of

commitment, a rest from my

head, like a gun.

 

Waterfall

College is the falling torrent

students pass through, drift

and wade through information

flows over their heads

doused with knowledge

though not always wise

some reach the end of the

journey downward but many

slip awkwardly aside

and paint the cliff briefly

before evaporating away

others mingle together in

the fall before the frightening

crash, the moment of truth

when they are churned

into the stagnant depths

or they surge on into

unnumbered directions

some for lakes, others

devoting their lives

to the growth of trees but

all eventually find the starlit

shores of the sea.

 

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