Destiny (a tanka)

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Taurus; Gemini
Pictographs in the heavens
Our fate in the stars
Sailing across the Milk Sea
Toward Alpha Centauri

11/29/16

My response to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Prompt Challenge #10 – FATE & STARS

tanka-tuesdays

Image: Alpha Centauri (left), Beta Centauri (right) and Proxima Centauri (in the red circle). Found on WikiMedia Commons.

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Sharing a Meal

van_gogh_-_terrasse_des_cafes_an_der_place_du_forum_in_arles_am_abend1

I’m not ready for you to leave yet.
Though I know the time draws nearer
When you will excuse yourself from the table
And never come back.
Dinner only lasts so long;
Nobody stays forever.

When you got up to use the restroom,
I thought “This is what it will be like.”
But I’m not ready for you to go.
There’s so much more to talk about,
So many things I need to ask,
I need you to see who I’ve become
And be proud, as you always have been.

I’m not ready for this meal to end.
I’m not ready for you to go.

11/28/16

Image is “Terrace of the café on the Place du Forum in Arles in the evening” by  Vincent van Gogh

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Walk into the Night

Walking around the college campus
For health and fresh air,
Away from the welfare lines
Contemplating the soul of a billionaire

Past the waste reclamation plant,
Tumbleweeds roll past a dying tree,
Leonard Cohen whispers in my ear
About the nature of American democracy.

The Bitter sweet aroma of fresh hops
Waft over from the local brewery,
In the alleys huddled masses know the fear
Shared by nineteen-thirties European Jewry,

Gypsies, Homosexuals and trade unionists,
Soon to be murdered and in ovens burned.
After all that happened back then,
You’d think somebody would have learned.

Walking back toward the office,
Bread-lines coming into sight,
Trying to think of reasons not to
Disappear Tom Joad into the night.

11/25-11/28/16

Exiles and Enlightenments (a sonnet)

wrecked_fishing_boats_finnmark

A deserted beach, shipwreck on the shore,
Desolate remains of a life once shared,
Before it was clear what fate had in store
In Eden, with you, when our hearts were bared,

Forbidden fruit can ne’er be un-eaten
Once taught, good and evil can’t be un-learned
Battles can’t be won once you’ve been beaten,
Bridges can’t be crossed once they’ve all been burned.

Alone we walk the paths on which we’re hurled
Exiled to wilderness, where truth is found
To become ourselves, to create our world,
To accept the fate to which we are bound.

No way to be that you’re not meant to be
No way to accept this and not be free

11/27/16

Image: Wrecked fishing boats at Grasbakken in Nesseby, Finnmark, North Norway (6 December 2012, 17:53:17) by Hans Olav Lien.
Found on WikiMedia Commons

Unwritten Poems (a tanka)

Unwritten poems
Unexpressed feelings and thoughts
Lost, gone forever
Mourned my unborn baby boys,
They can never be replaced

11/27/16

Summer of a Doormouse: On the Beach (a prose fragment)

The following fragment was written for my Summer of a Doormouse project. I wasn’t quite sure where it would be placed in relation to the rest of the narrative, though the scene is mentioned in passing in the draft of Chapter II I posted on this blog as one of Jack’s reaccuring dreams, though the nature and relative reality of these dreams is not addressed within the chapters that have been written and posted thus far.

All my life everything seemed to be building up to something. Something special. Something that I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to participate in. I had been expecting something on the order of Christ’s passion, or at the very least something similar to what had happened to Kilgore Trout in Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. In the end it all seems somewhat anti-climatic. Nothing happened. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe life has no point to it after all. Continue reading

Summer of a Doormouse: Chapter II (Prose)

Summer of a Doormouse

Back to Chapter I

Chapter II

I’m gettin funny dreams again and again
I know what it means, but…

– Pete Townshend, 1965

I’ve been listening to Pete’s new concept album, Psychoderelict, almost constantly since I got it yesterday afternoon. The main character, a burned out rock star named Ray High, spends much of the album revisiting an old unfinished project of his called “Gridlife”, which is represented by bits and pieces of Pete’s old unfinished Lifehouse project. It’s gotten me to thinking about that story I was working on when I was in college. Mostly crap if memory serves (and it usually doesn’t) and largely ripped of from what I’d pieced together as Pete’s original story line for Lifehouse. Somehow I’d actually thought that I could give those ideas and visions form when their creator couldn’t. Ah, the egotism of a youthful artist… But still, maybe I should fish out those old manuscripts and have a look for old times sake. Maybe they weren’t as bad as I remember. After all, Ang always liked them. I’ve been thinking of her a lot lately. Especially since the dreams have returned. Continue reading

Summer of a Doormouse: Chapter I (Prose)

Summer of a Doormouse

Back to Prologue

Chapter I:

Always, no, sometimes think its me, but, you know, I know when it’s a dream…

– John Lennon & Paul McCartney, 1967

I wake up to the news that Keith Moon is dead. I lay in bed staring at the ceiling in the dark for several minutes while it sinks in. He was found dead in his apartment yesterday. The same apartment Cass Elliot died in. According to the DJ he died of an overdose, which isn’t too surprising really. What’s strange is that he OD’d on meds he was taking to get off booze. Too strange. I’ve been a big fan of The Who since I first heard their Who’s Next album when I was in junior high school and became absolutely obsessed when Quadrophenia came out a couple years later. Their guitarist and chief songwriter, Pete Townshend, is like a god to me. Moonie was the heart and soul of the group. He is (was) without a doubt the greatest rock n roll drummer in the world. I wonder what the group will do now? I’ve heard rumors that Pete’s been just looking for a reason to break up the band and go solo. I guess this is his chance. Oh well, I guess nothing lasts forever, eh? Continue reading

Summer of a Doormouse: Prologue (Prose)

When I started this blog my intention was to share prose as well as poetry (though poetry will likely always be my main focus), but I have neglected to post any prose pieces until now.

Summer of a Doormouse is an unfinished prose project that I haven’t done any signifigant work on in many years. I have hopes of finishing it in some form someday, but, until then, I want to share it here and mayb get some feedback.

The Summer of a Doormouse

by John W. Leys

“When one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation), –sleep, eating, and swilling – buttoning and unbuttoning—how much remains of downright existence? The summer of a doormouse.”

– George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron (1788-1824) Journal Entry, dated 7 December 1813 Continue reading

Evolution

Time before human memory, trading gills for lungs
Crawling onto dry land, into holes and up trees,
Growing legs, fur, tails and tiny little brains
That would soon be far to big for a birth canal.

Out of the trees, walking on two feet,
Hands free for carrying, nose picking and tool making.
Lower back pain discovered and bequeathed
To future generations for free.

Out of Africa around Mediterranean: north.
Cousins walk east until it becomes west,
Reunited when shortcuts are sailed.

Families become tribes, become communities, become villiages,
Become cities, become states, become countries and empires.
Gatherers become hunters, become farmers, become craftsman and artists,
Become citizens, become soldiers, become pawns of powerful men.

Brain growing visionaries become shaman, become oracles,
Become poets, prophets, philosophers and priests.

Curiosity, thirst for knowledge, need to understand
The world around: how it works and why.
Turn inside: who am I? What am I?
Realize that you to must one day die.

Needs become wants, become desires, become suffering,
Fear to lose, fight to keep, to steal, to fight, to kill and wage war.
Accumulate things, power; wealth.
Chase fleeting moments of sensory pleasure.
You will still one day die.
Try to avoid the inevitable; suffering is unavoidable.
Slave to desire, pleasure and greed can never really be free.
Sage, divorced from desire, seeking power over only his self,
Can never be anything else.

November 2016