And I hide
And I travel
And I am pleased
And I die
And I create
And I hide
And I travel
And I am pleased
And I die
And I create
Johnny O writes to our delight, and we write with him. (Happy Birthday to our Founder and Chief Editor! He’s a double-digitarian today – you guess the digits. ;) ) – mh
I’ve seen the American dream in faded, aged pictures of my immigrant family, who barely escaped Nazi occupied Italy in the bottom of a cargo ship shortly after WWII ended… equipped with not much more than the clothes on their backs, shoes on their feet, and seeds of dreams of golden-paved American streets planted in their hearts.
I’ve seen the American dream in the big-shouldered, blue-collared Chicago streets sewn with train yard threads weaving the cloth of my youth where Midwestern hardened men fought the bitter elements to battle the machinery of box car couplings in sub-zero temps to ensure that they brought the food to the tables of families whose dreams are as basic as having their next meal to eat.
I’ve seen the American dream in the degeneration of my X generation who were raised in a world chockfull of fears that the Commies were near and “the bomb” would knock us clear into oblivion any day while mama and papa were away at work, too busy trying to make those elusive ends meet.
I’ve seen the American dream in barely 18-year-olds who raised their right hands with me to take the oath to defend our great nation and wore our country’s cloth, vowing to battle those hell-bent on taking away the dreams of our fathers.
I’ve seen the American dream twisted in Middle Eastern enemies’ eyes, who despise our freedoms and see our dreams as demonized things that these martyrs have destined themselves to destroy.
I’ve seen the American dream in the Teamstered truck drivers who filled the dock doors with their 18-wheeled machines, trekking our wares over the highways and byways to where they are needed most, to feed this industrialized, capitalized dream.
I’ve seen the American dream in fearless and feared, bearded bikers who fly their freedom flags on their backs and swear to God almighty that whosoever tries to take away their dreams will suffer the slow and painful death of a treasonous expatriate.
I’ve seen the American dream in the helpless homeless men who wander predawn outside my urban doorway, looking for some way to survive just another day without starving and hoping their dream turns to views with brighter hues.
I’ve seen the American dream in the aged lines of our country’s elderly, who see that this land is a far cry from what it was way back then and hoping to forget that it’s just a skeleton of what it once was.
I’ve seen the American dream in the children’s eyes of the next generation, who will be raised on standardized grades, equal praise, fading classes, unemployed masses, man-made disasters…
I see the American dream every time I look in the mirror and it’s clear to me that I am, that you are, that every man, woman and child in this land of the free are the dreamers of the American dream and that the power is in our hands to mold this clay and keep dreaming of better days.
We are immigrants, all! Better we dream together… (This’n came from our Chief Editor in response to a request for poems on the subject of The American Dream. It’s a grand dream we share and you don’t have to be American to share it, either…) – mh
On a fine Spring day a friend and I were sitting on a park bench. As we started talking, I gazed down between my feet and noticed I was ankle deep in clovers. I commented to my friend that I have never discovered the four-leaf kind before. He chuckled and informed me he thought they were a mythical make-believe kinda thing.
I knew that they weren’t but couldn’t prove it while sitting there scanning the mound of obviously three-leaved scenes I kept seeing.
And as the seconds turned to minutes turned to hours, my gaze stopped staring downward. We shared some quite right-on insights with one another. Our time turned to talking about less make-believe things. Heavy things. Heavenly things… like the passing of life, the loss of love, the madness of the earth below us and the swirling heavens up above. I could feel change a-comin’ and changing me profoundly while sitting soundly in our park side seat. I could feel seeds inside me taking root. I began to see the blessings flowing all around me. Once believed to be make-believe things could once again be a reality…
As the sun started playing hide-and-seek behind the trees, shadows sprouting legs and running from the horizon, we realized time caught-up and life was calling us back home. With a heartfelt embrace, I thanked him for this gift of friendship he had given me and the things he helped me to see and believe in again.
And as we were starting to part, I looked back down towards the ground, where there seemed to be nothing but a sea of three-leafed clovers. Then to my eyes’ surprise I saw it standing clear, like it was there the whole time… the elusively famous four-leaf clover rising above the rest. With an “ah-ha” I reached down, plucked it so tenderly and handed it my friend, who moments before said he didn’t believe in such things. His eyes grew child-like and wide when he saw my find. I told him he helped me today to believe again in things I thought were lost and gone forever. And because of that, this lucky clover showed itself to me and told me it was my turn to return the favor in the form of a found four-leafed-clover.
Pluck one o’ these from your four-lobed brain to place in your four-chambered heart to carry you four-ward through your un-four-told future, with luck. (Lucky are we to receive this treasure from our Ed. in Chief, Johnny O’lson. Thanks, JO!) – mh
Poet: 1) a person who composes poetry; 2) a person who has the gift of poetic thought, imagination, and creation, together with eloquence of expression.
Am I a poet? It seems to me there are some missing pieces to complete this puzzle. I’d love to own the romanticized title, but sometimes… most times, I just don’t know it. Am I truly a poet of some kind or just an imposter? I gotta ask because…
You won’t find me sharing my new born written words freshly delivered off the typewriter… or notebook… or iDevice
And you won’t find me presenting a new poem to the world every day… every week… or even every month
And you’ll rarely find me pondering my lines of rhyme in some hip bookstore or corner coffee shop
And you won’t find me putting out chapbook after chapbook filled to the gills with my prolific words
Only once in a great while will you find my name in forums or in crews spewing out what’s currently on my mind
And far and few between will you find me free flowing poetically baring my wares for all to see
And almost never will you find me reading classical or modern or anywhere in between works of poetic masters
And you won’t find me riding the train of quatrains or riding on the schemes of sonnets and things
However, you will find me hiding between letters and words and allusive alliterations in the scribbles and riddles flowing from my thoughts, my feelings, my experiences, my dreams. Sometimes I succeed and find a rhyme scheme. Sometimes… I don’t.
Sometimes I’m inspired by all the things I see that come to me on muses wings and deemed to be called poetry… by some.
Sometimes my futile attempts fail completely but the act alone is therapy and even if no other eyes see it but mine… it was well worth the time.
And sometimes it all comes together in the beginning, unravels in the middle and then falls all apart in an orgasmic ending, exploding and creating something new in this world. And it is then that it ends and I lay down my pen and nod my head and answer my own question… yes, I am a poet.
In our Mad annals, this one identifies as erstwhile AND ever. (A Swirlin’ Happy Birthday to our friend and founder, Editor-in-Chief, Johnny O!) – mh
Last night I was walkin’ thru wonderlands thinking,
torn apart by all the mes I was being.
When a battle broke out, a me-fight I was feeling.
I had to stand back to witness this dealing.
The young me, the innocent me, the ones who believe.
Versus the old me, the tainted me, who never believed.
The nice me, the naughty me, all the mes in between,
Were fighting and arguing, seen and unseen,
thru this southern winterland, on this eve of all eves.
I’m not sure why my mes came out on this night.
The young me still hoping that peace we would find.
While the older me doubted, saw no peace in sight.
They continued to argue and renew this age fight,
while I listened and wondered which me would be right.
The innocent me said let go of old places.
Suggested I dream of merry times and warm faces.
The tainted me replied, (oh, how this me-battle wages)
don’t listen to fools and ignore all the sages…
this is the end of your innocent ages!
Enough was enough, I could not let this be!
This argument’s rattling, I gotta stop battling me.
When finally I realized, and the mes all agreed,
that peace isn’t something left under a tree.
It comes wrapped in harmony among all my mes.
So tonight, I will walk again, and see what I’m seeing,
in harmony be all the mes I’m meant to be being.
And thru these wonderlands, I’ll surely start thinking,
of this time of love, unity and warm peace-full feelings.
Give this one gift to yourself to enable that selfless desire to gift others. This night and every night; dream away, dream away, dream away all! – mh
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz” – Allen Ginsberg (excerpt from “HOWL”)
I see the maddest minds of my generation consumed by sadness. Hopes gone. Dreams destroyed by endless dished-out disappointments. Beaten down by daily grinds. Chewed up and spit out. Pathetic pulp. Finding no solace in empty bottles of booze. Finding no peace in the ashes of burned out bowls. Finding no holy in the crossroads of the thighs. Finding empty in their never ending fight to find something in xerox’d chapbooks & grainy films & endless blogs & x-rated midnight scream dreams & face fucks in seedy bar bathrooms & seeking answers to questions no one’s ever heard muttered in the first place & in the spaces between the lines that dash the back roads that they ride. I see.
It starts in the eyes. The look that goes right thru you. They are dwelling somewhere else. In lonely rooms in shanty houses and flopped on couches scratchin’ at some itchin’ they never can reach. Abused by the muses, these mad ones escape in bottles of booze chased by pills or filled with weed, their crazed eyes greened by Mary’s fumes. I’ve seen the madness take root. I understand their howls. I’ve seen their slack jaws hang wide with words and worms crawling and falling and eating out their insides. Too much all at once. The walls fall, not enough. Hungry and wanting. More life, more highs, more lows, more tears, more fears, more fucking mores! Sharp minds, dulled senses. Lost ones. Bloodshot eyes, twisted mouths, gone ones. Dancing feet, shuffling streets, mad ones. Never enough, there’s no such word, beat ones.
I have no feelings one way or the other. I hold no judgement. For you see, I am an accomplice and I too am being consumed by this collective madness.
I am with you…
…on endless quests to find rock bottom
…whetting the dreams that wake you screaming whispers of regret
…in the pools of blue eyed bimbo’d bitches pitching fits and saying your poetry ain’t shit from some duct taped bar stool
…flippin’ the bird to thankless zombies who have no clue who you are, were or will be
…baring your wares for those who kinda care and kinda don’t and won’t admit it even if they didn’t because it ain’t hip not to get it
…on this ride into the endless nights
Unholy is the…
…never ending cigarette
…dirty faced ashtrays
…tombstones of believed bottled dreams
…terror faced stares in broken mirrors
…throwaway seeds and stems
…rejections due to style
…dejected dreams that didn’t fit the status quo
…short lines of open stages
…long lines of closed stages
…wishes for the discovery
…promises of someday soons
…pity me and my self-constructed self-destructing woes
…envy for those with no egos
…dreams and screams of drug induced screens
…the bird song bringing in the dawn
…you I be
…me you be
click <a href=”http://youtu.be/KZd5K52ld6s” target=”_blank” >here</a> to see the video of this poem being performed LIVE at Mad Swirl’s Open Mic
“…end,” he says; “…nope,” we thinks. This inspired by birthday Jack from Monday back, tickling his Ginsberg muse, wound-up swirl of words carries on as long as eyes read and voices speak – this methinks. – mh
It’s been awhile. It took a spell to feel well but now I’m back on track. Ol’ Humpty Dumpty me fell off the wall carelessly and my broken pieces scattered thin and it took all the King’s horses and forces to put me back together again. But, I am back…
I’m finding my heart again. Seems all I needed was a kick in the seat and just a little traction for my wayward feet. Now… I’m planted firmly (sorta) and my head’s back on straight (kinda) and my mind ain’t dwelling and cloudy and shouting at my sleeve bleeding heart which is finally starting to feel and thumping excitedly at all the possibilities awaiting me. The ticker was sick but not no more. What’s opened up with all this reconstruction from its mass destruction is a bigger door! From my heart’s shore to its other shore, from tip-top ceilings to down low floors! Now there’s room for so much more. I am back my friends and ready to feel.
I’m finding my eyes again. I’m no longer staring at yesterday’s whats, whys, whos and whens. I grew so tired seeing only yesterday’s classes with half-filled glasses. Now I’m looking out and seeing what is presently. My eyes have longed to see the here and now… soaking in this urban scene, quietly chaotic and loudly serene seeing hot assed summer breezes waving dreamily to the pock-holed pavement, Tejano music bloating and fading, floating and falling, accordion chords ricocheting off these technicolor walls on this X+ street seeing all kinds of beat and diggin’ on how beautiful it feels to see again. I am back my friends and ready to see.
I’m finding my ears again. All I kept hearing was chatter and lies, soul shaking sighs, breaking good-byes. But they opened up and I’m ready to sit and listen, to really hear, to perk up and give you my undivided attention and to fully absorb all these pictures you’ve been saying and praying and hoping just to be heard. Speak to my years, sing to my tears, shout to my fears, whisper in my ears, I hear you. I truly do. I am back my friends and ready to hear.
I’m finding my voice again. It was cracked and weak, ignored and meek. But it’s no longer keeping quiet. I got some words that have been waiting to speak, patiently sitting and bidding their time to bounce out in shouts out of my mouth and pair up and make them some rhymes! I’ve saved up a few stories or two too, believe you me. And my shout is back on, along with my whisper, too. They’ve just been waiting for the right time to play and say… “The time is now!” because I am back my friends and ready to speak.
I’m finding that the finding finds me finding more doors. Discovering something everyday as I’m scratchin’ at my surface. There’s still a whole lot more of me left to explore in this quest of rediscovering all of me. But you know what I really feel? I feel back, my friends, and really feeling real.
I’ve seen the rains of changes
come crashing down in torrential waves
But it had been awhile for me
it had been awhile
since I’ve felt the rains of change
wash down these cheeks
it had to have been a few decades or more
not since I was no more then four.
I thought I grew immune to the tears,
(big boys don’t cry, big boys don’t cry)
I couldn’t imagine I’d ever hear
the tune of this grown up man
& breaking down
But one day, one day the clouds in me
threatened to finally break free
As the blowing winds stroked my parched cheeks,
and the skies began to crumble
the lightning ripping thru to those
used to be’s,
woe’s are me’s
and once the rains came they didn’t stop
they started with a drip and a drop
drip drop drip drop
And I cried for all the things I failed to shed tears for – drip
I cried 34 years worth – drop
I cried all those held back tears – drip
I cried for childhood fears – drop
I cried for the the ones that used to care – drip
I cried for the long lost years – drop
I cried for world despairs – drip
I cried for the dearly departed – drop
I cried for the gone good-hearted – drip
I cried for the disappearing dreams – drop
I cried just for me – drip
I cried just for me – drop
And I cried
I cried for all I was
And I cried
I cried for all I am
And I cried
I cried for all I will be
And I cried
drip drop drip drop drip drop drip drop drip drop
drip drop drip drop drip drop drip drop
til finally the rain ripped a hole in my sky
and all I could do to stay sane
was keep on crying
and oh how I tried
to stop the storm
but it kept on coming for more
and I kept on crying
the tears rolled down my cheeks
in streams, in rivers, in crashing waves
pounding on my shores
and my once parched cheeks
welcomed these rains of change
and as each one fell it relieved the pain
that I kept so deep inside me
I let go
I released my hold
I opened my soul
to the raining skies inside
I let go
I allowed the clouds to open up
I welcomed the storm
I let the rain drops flow
and fall from my eyes
and my once dried up, thirsty baby blues
took on a different hue
as they swam in these streams
from these rains
washing down my cheeks
each one falling from me – drip
calling to me – drop
reminding me – drip
that this storm is – drop
healing me – drip
releasing me – drop
cleansing me – drip
opening me – drop
baptizing me – drip
freeing me – drop
and the drips and the drops
of this internal storm
began to stop
and the sky opened
and the sun shined down
Twenty years erased and faced with buried memories of some other me from some other time and from some other place. Something was said which set-off thoughts in my head and I was whisked off to desert lands of oil and sand while in my cozy corner. Finding myself halfway across the world remembering…
Devil Dogs & M16s.
Camaraderie & war machines.
Fragile farewells & goodbye to our families.
Live-fire dry-runs & everyday MREs.
Letters from home & sand storming breezes.
Spades was the game & hating the enemy.
Watching our backs & getting home strategies.
GI Joe games & barely nineteen we be’s.
Not old enough to drink but could kill with ease.
Smuggled porn mags & uptight Saudi’s.
Sista sent candy and found hidden doobies.
Shield became Storm and we hunted Iraqi’s
“Gas! Gas! Gas!” & “Where the hell are we?”‘s.
Young old salts & old young newbies.
Just trying to get by & survive the atrocities.
Surrendering armies and our easiest victory.
Homecoming parades & tied yellow ribboned trees.
Semper Fi’s and remembering “when we”‘s…
Twenty years later and I find I can still be brought back to that some other me from some other time and from some other place, silently remembering these memories I know I will never forget.
I’m a nobody looking to be a somebody in any way I can. Or perhaps a somebody that nobody but me notices. Either way, I can’t help but wonder why my words and day screams and insane rantings and ravings aren’t splashed across every page? Isn’t it just a travesty? A crying shame? Why must I suffer with the hunger and pain, with the knowledge that I should be a somebody that is something more than some sometimes piece of shit, lazy fuck? My mad dreams tell me so. My swirling gut tells me so. My whole being tells me so when it does twists and turns for no reason at all. What else could explain that empty feeling growing in my chest, in my mind, in my soul, in my art, that never seems to be satiated…sits thirsty and gnawing and there’s nothing I’ve found yet to shut it the fuck up.
Who the hell am I?! I’m a-knocking on 40’s door and still wondering why and when and how I got moved into the 35 – 50 demographic. Damn! I fear age. I fear the clock’s tickings and tockings and the days passing and the months falling and the years rolling and…and…and what’s that ache I’m feeling in my knee, in my wrist, in my stomach, in my temples, in my heart. And my almost-40 year old heart, it tells me to hurry this shit up ‘cos time is running out and wouldn’t you know it, bad tickers run in the family. Shit, why not have another smoke and give this some more thought?
Who the hell am I? A dreamer without a bed. A writer without a plot. A painter without a brush. A Midas without the touch. A bong without a load. A big fucking cock with no fucking pussy. Do I need to keep going? A rummy without a bottle? Or how ’bouta druggie without a jones? I got it…a whore without a john! Yeah, I like that one. Picture painted enough for you? I sure hope so.
Who the hell am I?! I’m Johnny Olson, that’s who the hell I am. And if the name rings a bell then you’re probably knocking on 40’s door…or more…too. You’re probably thinking… “Tell us who our next contestant is, Johnny Olson” “Well Bob, it’s Joe Shmoe! Joe Schmoe, come on down, you’re the next contestant on the Price Is-goddamned-Right!” Oh, and don’t be confused with the weasel friend of Superman, Jimmy Olsen. Jimmy/Johnny OLSEN/OLSON. That’s right, I’m Johnny Olson. Write it down, make a note of it. I’ll wait. I got all day night.