Friday, July 24, 2015



It's always been coming,
this over-heat in the system,
burning sea waiting, cracked starving plain
naked mountains racked with slabs of falling Thule,
since we made our first rock a mortar
to pound our brother's skull.
It's a question of numbers,
advice beyond the conquests carefully kept forgotten.
 Oil must be drilled to put in the machine
for each sovereign's puppet-show, each flicker of a golden age
subsumed within deep night: our most lively fear
that someone might have more; 

and our love, the ink
with which we write these prison sagas, 
 the color of spilled blood.

~July 2015 

posted for     real toads

Challenge: Get Listed with grapeling
Michael (grapeling;it could be that) gives us a word list inspired by the great cynical Beatles song, Taxman, but I've wandered a bit. This may be more Eleanor Rigby with Maxwell's Silver Hammer.

Image, top: via internet search, author and title unknown
no copyright infringement intended
Image, bottom: Olduvai Chopper, dated at 1.8 million years
British museum, photo by Archeomoonwalker  via wikimedia commons


  1. Your middle stanza describes an ugly truth in wonderful words!

  2. Oh, WOW! So powerful, that it was always waiting from the time we made our first rock hammer........and the fear that someone else might have More. Oh, yes. An excellent write, Joy. Those closing lines are stellar.

  3. Ha. How true is that. Our fear that someone might have more. It drives our jealousy and our need to accumulate. To rape the planet for resources. To kill our brother. Nice tie to Cain and Abel as well. It works well. The blood we write with, is not always our own.

  4. "our most lively fear...." coerces us, the beggars (wanting more, by hook or crook) to pound, drill, carefully forget light and deluge the world with sinful is definitely the only key to unlock the chamber of the past sins....

  5. Everyone so far, including me, is so struck by the line of our worse fear that someone else might have more--this is very powerful, agh--I love the opening--I am thinking Planet of Apes as well as bible==and just naturalism--but it is very effective--I also like that you use mortar (and not pestle) in that mortar could be a building material but it is not used that way, but instead as a pounder! And it fits the skull--crush it up in there! Prison sagas--agh! I hate thinking of love as spilled blood, but I do tend to think there's a lot of truth there in terms of the way love of country, group, race, boundary, family, caste--etc is used to foment hate of the other-- the ocean and the plain lines also very strong--the whole thing. Mine--I took a break and just finished--is long and stumbling! k.

  6. Oooh! I love the way you wrapped this up in the final three lines. For some reason, this description put me in mind of doomsday preppers, perhaps they are less fanatical than they first appear.

  7. I love drilled here~ I enjoyed yours! Your last stanza sings the truth and haunts-as it should~

  8. So much in our accelerated time seems inevitable. Free will is often posed as an uplifting alternative to inevitable determinism. But so much of what we've "chosen" has turned out badly. Where do we go from here? I don't know that there's a happy answer, but your work here certainly puts the question front and center.

  9. cracked racked skull - ink .... your words each tell a story, and your weaving of them is moving and unique. very nicely done.

  10. I'm reeling from that knock-out punch of an ending! Wow.

  11. Your tags are just great, by the way! Also, focusing on this line of "it's a question of numbers, " which has I know to do with a great many bottom lines--but really you kind of show that it's built into the equation--men evolving the way they do and then there simply being so many of us--I don't know if that's what you meant--but there is kind of an inevitability towards destruction in that mix-- (Though I do hope for more prison sagas from your end of the cell btw.) k.

  12. There's a video making the rounds of a surfer who drops in a HUGE wave in Tahiti - 30'? more?, and he falls, and it sucks him up and casts him in the crash.

    The first two lines are like that, to me: the moment just as he's falling, and if you stopped the image right there, you know he's pounded - and then roll film, and it's even more powerful than you could imagine - the crush and power that courses through the rest of your pen is the surge that will take us all 'over the falls'.

    I only wrote mine because it was my hosting duties (and evident, in the reading) - this, however, is what I was hoping for.


    1. I'm rather burnt, myself - I decided against announcing an official break this time, in case something arises, but just not feeling it (well, for a while now) so not sure how much I'll be posting anymore. when the muse visits, I suppose...

      thanks for coming by my place - hope your break is restful...

    2. Thanks to you, M--glad you thought there was something elemental and dangerous in this one--and not just aging pessimism. I think we all need a break from time to time--I only announced mine because of my dog. I am like you, when it happens it happens but it seems to not be happening just right this second. ;_) O well---summer drought may last till autumn rains, but you never know when an isolated shower will break through.

  13. "...since we made our first rock a mortar
    to pound our brother's skull."

    I'm always taken by words that show that myth rarely gets old. Progress is a great thing, but it often brings greed and destruction. Those two lines bring to mind Cain and Abel, and construction "developments" that live the poor without a home in the name of progress.

    You always say so much in such few words... love it. ♥

  14. A perfect capsule of the world in this moment. I especially love the middle section.

  15. A last comment and a farewell, friend -- What I will always love about your work is the restrained fury and overspilling compassion of the lines, art and heart as what Stevens called the "complicate amassing harmony." Finessed to razor sharpness and potent bittersweetness. All of it here, Ragnarok in an old, despoiled world, same as it ever was, ever "since we made our first rock a mortar / to pound our brother's skull." Hard indeed to hope, and with each loss, each next poem is more freighted than the last; and in the end, was it worth it? Is the ink just "spilled blood?" A question to carry with you wherever you fare, friend. How long this blog? Such a powerful, sustained effort --- though most of us tire, grow reedy, fail, walk away, or simply move on to other things. I left the online poetry forum for almost two years and then found I needed to return; maybe so for you; maybe not. The community is what I missed most, some sort of accord about a style of writing the world doesn't care that much about and somehow needs more than anything. I hope you preserve your work somehow because its such a gift. Poets need their rocks to go back under (or into), fare well there; if this our last connection in this world, friend, farewell, and thanks. My early hours are now taken up away from poetry, with local journalism, maybe only an experiment, a hiatus: maybe not: being away from poetry may be just as important as being close to it. Or maybe neither route matters. Road less travelled and all that, what do we know, we're all Bozos on this bus. Best --

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I always say too much, so I'll just say, thank you, Brendan. Best wishes in your new endeavor.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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