Saturday, June 30, 2012

What Box?

No corrugated walls confine us
or ivy strangled halls define us
and if you need a task completed
we'll outhink the easily defeated.


***Dedicated to Bob & Martin***

Friday, June 29, 2012

Jump

So many seem to hop about
throughout a dismal bog of doubt
impatient for a guiding hand
to lead them back to solid land
but once they’re known to be devout
they’re herded towards the quickest sand

and soon it’s just a big morass
of slinging mud and noxious gas
that causes everyone to choke
much like the heavy, stifling yoke
that's clamped on those of 'lower class'
until the day they gladly croak.


***Inspired by The Frogs that Desired a King***

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Revelation



The first time we are truly hurt inside
it seems as though the world itself will die
until we learn to soothe our nettled pride
and maybe have ourselves a little cry;
it’s funny how the tears can feel so warm
when prompted by the coldest type of pain
but condensation only tends to form
if fire and ice are suddenly made twain.
Be wary of the storms that may ensue
but don’t you halt your plans for fear of such
we all have spates we have to make it through
the trick is never dwelling over much
beneath thunderheads of our own design
so healing sunlight can finally shine.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Unresolved

Half of me is sorry
and insists we could have saved you
from the undeserved horror
and the pain that you went through

the other half is bitter
for a score of wasted years
where we shrank behind the shutters
in our homes of brittle tiers

all of me is hollow
like the heart within my chest
remembering those yellow
roses that we laid upon your lifeless breast.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Indulgence

Isn’t calling a poem bad
just because it rhymes a tad
ridiculous to say the least?
Delicious ditties that abound
with flavorings of echoed sound
can make a treat on which the mind will feast.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Voyagers

As envoy of the human race
it sails the vasty void
an object of ingenious grace
too often unemployed
while searching for the faintest trace
from any that have toyed
with questions plumbing who they are
and what’s beyond their native star.

Through endless night it navigates
transmitting all the while
historical coordinates
with every passing mile,
an instrument that demonstrates
the brashness of our style
by braving such enormous risk
to bear one gleaming golden disc.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Unlimited (My Ass)

I've been using this phone
to update my blog
and comment as much as I can
but now I just moan
like a beaten down dog
that last bill demands a new plan.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kindred

A grackle combs the creek
picking food out with it's beak
the iridescent blue-green head
is shimmering and sleek

until it starts to spread
ebon wings to fly instead
to somewhere with a bit more fare
than this old lumpy bed

and as it lifts into the air
searching, searching everywhere
I wish it luck in finding peace
and long to meet it there.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Prospect

The smell of daffodils at dawn
raises spirits, like the sun
that lights upon the lounging lawn
now that night is done;

with yellow fingers stretching out
blooms become minuscule hands
to grab the gold that’s all about
before it ever lands.

A bumblebee’s been bitten by
lust for gold, that greedy bug
and tries to pilfer, on the sly
as much as it can lug,

tonight the moon turns new again
daffodils will never know
they’ll be asleep while dreaming when
the glow of life will show.

A wealth of ways to win awaits
those that dig devoid of shame
in search of more affluent fates
we all would love to claim.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Small Change

It seems such a crime
to have one sticky dime
and nothing on which I can spend it
while hardly sublime
I thought of this rhyme
then unstuck my digits and penned it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Enter the Wagon

Have you ever bought groceries with a ninja in tow?
In case you ever do, here are things you should know:
the veggies will stalk you to make you pay the price
and you may be banned forever from the Aisle of Rice.
Despite the daunting challenges you’ll likely crack a smile
remembering that childhood will only last a while
and if the lettuce snaps back, just bust a head or two
then you and your little warrior can laugh when it’s all through.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Scrape

Have you ever been in a harrowing situation completely unsure of why you’re there, and only after you toughed it out did you discover it was for a different reason than the one you were given before you took the leap? I remember one such incident with humor now, but when it was happening I was scared beyond anything I had felt up to that time in my young life. And while I was a bit scuffed up afterward, it ultimately helped make me the plucky person I am today.

I joined the Navy when still 18, my 19th birthday occurred while I was in boot camp, so as you can imagine, I was quite naïve. My Mother sent me a box full of brownies and various cookies which I had to go to the Company Commander’s office to retrieve. BMC Watts, I’ll never forget him – our company mascot was a bulldog and that’s just what his face looked like, his big droopy jowls and squinty eyes giving him a laid back appearance. That is until he opened his mouth and started barking orders like the drill sergeant he was. So, as I innocently knocked on his door I was unprepared for the razzing he gave me.

“So you want your cookies that mommy made for you Hazelton? Too bad me and the other Commanders already ate your little treat, you’re in boot camp now Rick (short for recruit) you only eat if we say you eat.”

Now I was green but I knew what it was to be busted, I had endured my own fair share of people lording over me just because they could, but what he didn’t know was that I could maintain a stone face that it was hard to see through, and this is exactly what I did saying, “Well I guess there’s no need for me to stand here any longer, request permission to return to barracks sir.”

This caught him off guard; I imagine he had prepared himself for some whining but I would give him no such satisfaction, so he quickly recovered and said, “I guess you don’t want this then.” and he held a small opened cardboard box in his hands for me to see. Thinking the test was over I began walking towards him to get it, boy was that a mistake.

“Just where do you think you’re going Rick? Did I give you permission to enter this room? (I had been standing in the doorway this whole time) “If you want this you have to prove you want it, how about some push ups?”

My deprived young body was craving homemade sweets so I dropped saying “How many Sir?” to which he replied (while half reclined on a couch), “Just start doing them, I’ll let you know when you’ve earned your package.”

After about twenty he grudgingly told me to stop and gruffly threw the box at me as I stood. “Don’t get used to that stuff, go share it with your crew.” And that was my first inclination that martial bullshit, er I mean discipline wasn’t really for me.

Anyways, fast-forward several months and I was at my ship, the USS Briscoe, a destroyer with a crew of about 300 on board. I had already started getting my sea legs when on the way over I had a brief stay on a Marine transport until my ship was close enough to reach with a helicopter. While on the transport, the USS Ponce, I had liberty and enjoyed some time in Haifa, Israel, experiencing some local flavors, mainly ouzo. When I woke up hung over, and felt that rocking motion of being on water, I felt the gorge rapidly rising. But I had learned at a young age that if I really set my mind to something I could make it so. I remember lying in that bunk for a good hour with my eyes closed, fighting the nausea that kept coming in waves, just like the Mediterranean, and telling myself ‘if you give in now you will always have issues, but if you can stomach this you will never be seasick’. Well I never did get sick then or any time after that, regardless how rough the sea was, a small victory but a win nonetheless.

So I had only been on the ship maybe one day and they told me to report to the forecastle for my duty assignment. As I walk out onto the front deck of the ship, I see the chief of my department, his second and another seaman, so I’m not thinking anything of it. The second in command, a tall thin guy with a very pointy nose named John McGlone aka Spike, did the talking. He had a gravelly voice with the slightest hint of a southern accent, a very personable guy, but right then he was all business.

“Seaman Hazelton” he said in a very stern voice, “We are, as you can see, underway in the Mediterranean Sea which is made of salt water. We are on a vessel made of steel. Do you know what happens when salt water meets steel Seaman Hazelton? Rust! This is something we cannot have, so a big part of our job is maintaining the ship which includes regular scraping and painting of all surfaces that show exposed metal, any questions?”

At that point I had none, it all seemed pretty straightforward to me. “Now Seaman Hazelton, have you ever heard of a boatswain’s chair?” I indicated I had not which prompted him to bend down and pick up a small plank of wood, barely wide enough to hold my skinny ass, which I had ignored up till then. It was very much like a makeshift swing with two ropes knotted through the wood on either end. “This is a boatswain’s chair and we are going to use it to lower you over the side so you can scrape the anchor.”

Excuse me? Had I just heard what I thought I heard? It’s a friggin’ anchor for Christ sake, why would you possibly want to scrape something like that? It was half the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and from my vantage point on the deck about 40 feet above the water, it looked like it had a lot of exposed metal. Now I was good at keeping my mouth shut and going with the flow but I finally said, “Are you sure, it will take me hours to scrape that. What am I supposed to use?” Spike gave me a sardonic smile and handed me a small wire brush, “Here you go, now try to clean the metal the best you can."

I have to admit, when I first got there I was mesmerized by the beauty of the Mediterranean and loved the smell of salty breezes, but then, on that deck, my mind was gripped by horror. I wasn’t the best swimmer and first going over the edge and then dangling there under that anchor was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. The water was literally as smooth as glass and there was almost no wind. The ship had been fully stopped for this procedure and I just kept picturing myself falling out of the chair, or worse yet that anchor suddenly busting free and taking me to meet Davy Jones personally. I tried my best to scrape but when I pushed against the anchor to actually remove some rust the chair would go swinging out into the air. Oh, it almost makes me sick just thinking about it.

After about ten minutes which seemed like 10 years, I noticed that the breeze had picked up and when I looked at the waterline I could see movement so I yelled up to the guys on deck. “Hey are we supposed to be moving?”

“We’re not, don’t worry about it.” came the disembodied response.

“Yeah well you better look again.”

“Holy shit we are moving, hurry pull him up!” and suddenly my little swing started rising up to the deck very quickly. Two sets of hands roughly grabbed my arms and yanked me over the edge of the deck scraping my torso and legs. Spike stood there with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth (glad they were so concerned for my safety) and started laughing. When he looked at me there was more respect in his eyes and when he spoke his voice was much less stern than it had been. “They weren’t supposed to move again until we gave them the word you were back up, that is extremely dangerous, are you OK?”

I said “Yeah, a little scraped up but I’ll be alright. I didn’t clean the metal very well so I don’t think the paint will stick when we…” I had stopped for Spike and the other two were laughing openly.

“Listen” said Spike, “It was just a test, we were seeing if you would do what we told you and how well you handle pressure, we have to know if we can count on you in case something goes down. You have to understand we could be attacked at any time or have some kind of disaster and the ship start sinking, we had to know what you’re about.”

Realizing I had just been hazed I said, “Well, how did I do?”

Spike said with a smile “Outstanding Hazelton, you’re alright.” And just like that I was one of the guys. He told me later that some people flat out refused to go over the side; some freaked out and had to be pulled up early. Very few it seemed handled it with the grace I had exhibited, if they only knew, I had to change my undies after that one.

If nothing else, that experience taught me I can do anything, even if I get chafed along the way and I’ve always been grateful that I wasn’t in the engine department, for their hazing ritual involved a grease gun and a certain orifice, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination – talk about traumatic predicaments.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Testament

I contemplate the future without rue
there’s none to leave my wealth of nothing to
no one to let down when I don’t come through

I’m puzzled why I never could commit
while telling myself I’m better off for it
then sigh... because I know I’m full of shit

there are people in my life for whom I care
and though my vagrant mind’s not always there
I love them more than anyone’s aware.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dishing

When you operate a diner
it gobbles up your time
but I'm not a whiner
just a poet doomed to rhyme

and if you come here starving
you'll never have to wait
for I am always carving
always trying to create

an entree that's fulfilling
but also tasty too,
it's grueling ever grilling
for the patronizing few.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tidbits

There's nothing you can't do
with faith that's true
and nowhere you can go
that love won't flow
there's not much you can't see
when ego free
and little you'll regret
devoid of debt.

Friday, June 15, 2012

'In' Sect

The house where I grew was burned down,
the ship I was on? simply sunk,
my past, like an old wedding gown
has been eaten by moths in the trunk.

I strove to be so independent
but lack of achievement can sting
and now I’m a badgered defendant
unable to prove a damn thing.

Someday, they’ll be razing this plant
where I wasted my lifetime in toil,
the tiny yet diligent ant
that’s crushed like a bug in the soil,

I want to be one with the swarm
but can’t find a motive to fly
if wings mean I learned to conform
I’d rather be splattered and die.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vertices

There’s always been a side of me
unheard of in geometry
for no set shape can quite define
the angle of my own design
not even trigonometry—

and if our vectors intersect
the single point where they connect
may help us plot another arc
that slices through the looming dark
with pure respect.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Amend

There is no profundity
in endless redundancy
but sometimes we just can’t abstain
from rituals performed in vain.

There is no deformity
when questioning conformity
despite the impolitic stares
of those convinced their leader cares.

There is no immunity
to impudent impunity
of roguish types that make the rules
but feel to follow is for fools.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lookers

A preponderance of pity won’t preclude
the misery of an ever-moping mood
rejoice in the reality you wreak
satisfaction serves the sort that seek.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Prudence

You can scrape a line before me
but that doesn’t mean I’ll toe it
for no one tells me what to say or do
but if we’re keeping score we
may be forced (just so you know it)
to spot you one, or maybe even two;

I don’t know why I was born this way
but it’s been like that forever
so let’s commence to do what needs be done,
you can pound your chest and loudly bray
pursuing this endeavor
or let me do my thing and feel you’ve won.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Life

Some blackbirds buzz a crafty crow
that tried to raid their lair
who scorns them as it turns to go
and ride the churning air--

a pair of yellow butterflies
are dancing cross the road
their bright ballet a sweet reprise
of spring's expectant mode--

an old man harbors many fish
where some have yet to bite
but bait won't tackle every wish
when bobbers drop from sight--

the hollow clangs of longing ring
and slowly start to creep
from rail to soul as crickets sing
a yearning mind to sleep.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Timbre

The tipsy trees are tilted left
it seems the wailing wind is deft
at bending things
I hunger for my axe's heft
and pray I never fall bereft
of how it rings.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Just for Men?

A tube full of youth
can sometimes cost more
than the washed out truth
it was purchased to hide
that is surely in store
for puppets of pride.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Expectant

I wonder how he'll be
when he enters this world
his wispy hair curled
I guess we'll see--

there's not a single thrill
that compares with birth
to redeem our worth
like I pray he will.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Winging It

Hush!
There’s a cardinal in the brush
and if you’re careful not to flush
him out, he’ll show his blush.

See!
He’s there beside that tree
and if we’re quiet as can be
we may not make him flee.

Darn!
Now he’s flown behind the barn
and down beyond the corn
but at least we have this yarn.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Buy the Book

My thesaurus is tattered, it’s threadbare and frayed
from the scans and the searches and queries I’ve made,
I’m inclined to acquire, or purchase, or find
a replacement or stand-in of similar kind.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Outside

The raindrops will mutter
they’ll splatter and sputter
spiraling down to the grasp of the gutter,

the wind whispers weakly
and babbles obliquely
until it’s a memory mewling so meekly—

a storm can be static
or a feisty fanatic
assumptions should never become automatic

as fronts are effective
at being deflective
for people both passive and over-protective.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Cracked

Any government's first concern
is how to stay in power
devising vicious plots to spurn
advances on their tower--
the model citizen must learn
the proper way to cower;
it's tragic how these august minds
crave lips attached to their behinds.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Scope

Something that's rounded doesn't always roll
and a thing that's deep isn't always a hole,
moments of darkness aren't always at night
while true illumination isn't just from the light.

This list could go on but I've things I must do
so always remember when looking for 'true'
that all of those facts you thought that you knew
are dependent entirely on somebody's view.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Midriff(t)

I’ll fast away unwanted growth
that left unchecked could hasten death,
I can lose two inches, till they both
come back when I release my breath.