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My sky is my life

My life is the sky,

My mind is a valley, covered in fog,

Like an glass eye, staring vacant,

Like a treetop aching for the sun.

My soul is spread across the horizon

Like an undiscovered canticle

On a blackboard, hidden,

As if anything written across its virgin black

Might change the world before it disappears.

Are we but a blackboard with

Words wiped away?

The lost thought, the pretext, now the past,

Sent away to define their own east and west?

Our words, our lusts, our prayers,

Words where there are no words

Souls where there are no souls

Abandonment where there was once substance

But with a little imagination

Can we find ourselves un-erased?

 

A blackboard obscure and somber

The sun fades forever

Into the blackness,

Into the dust.

Phrases hidden in faint visions

Our once solemn vows are but

Remnants of a civilization.

Ideas that never flourished

Never gave a reward,

Never gave nourishment to an empty soul

Never a grain left behind, but an already eaten morsel,

Stale and quotidian

My life is a brazen question

Unasked and unanswered

Forgotten on the lips of a corpse.

 

 

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Yesterday I received a copy of my fathers last will and testament in the mail as is a required part of the probate of his estate. I won’t go into the contents publicly, but it brought the loss once again very much to mind, as well as the years of absence we both endured from each other.
 
I found this beautiful, sad poem written by one of the best young poets I have found in quite some time, Warsan Shire. It brought a needed calm to me, as it embraced the emotions I feel as well.
 
 
Backwards
by Warsan Shire,
 
for Saaid Shire
 
The poem can start with him walking backwards into a room.
He takes off his jacket and sits down for the rest of his life;
that’s how we bring Dad back.
I can make the blood run back up my nose, ants rushing into a hole.
We grow into smaller bodies, my breasts disappear,
your cheeks soften, teeth sink back into gums.
I can make us loved, just say the word.
Give them stumps for hands if even once they touched us without consent,
I can write the poem and make it disappear.
Step-Dad spits liquor back into glass,
Mum’s body rolls back up the stairs, the bone pops back into place,
maybe she keeps the baby.
Maybe we’re okay kid?
I’ll rewrite this whole life and this time there’ll be so much love,
you won’t be able to see beyond it.
You won’t be able to see beyond it,
I’ll rewrite this whole life and this time there’ll be so much love.
Maybe we’re okay kid,
maybe she keeps the baby.
Mum’s body rolls back up the stairs, the bone pops back into place,
Step-Dad spits liquor back into glass.
I can write the poem and make it disappear,
give them stumps for hands if even once they touched us without consent,
I can make us loved, just say the word.
Your cheeks soften, teeth sink back into gums
we grow into smaller bodies, my breasts disappear.
I can make the blood run back up my nose, ants rushing into a hole,
that’s how we bring Dad back.
He takes off his jacket and sits down for the rest of his life.
The poem can start with him walking backwards into a room.
 
Warsan Shire, “Backwards.” Copyright © 2014 by Warsan Shire.
 

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1.
Where have they gone
The young and the proud?

Will we say their names again?
Will we sing their praises on Sundays in church?
Will their photographs hang in Willies’ barbershop windows
Alongside the heroes of World War 2,
The Norman Rockwell prints
And his autographed photos of Ted Williams and Rocky Marciano?

Will there be a celebration of their sacrifices in the town square
The mayor making a speech and mounting a plaque?
The mothers and sisters and wives crying inconsolably?

Or will their fathers hide their grief in bottles of moonshine
The bitterness growing with every drop
Their mothers asking themselves in secrecy what they’ve done wrong
Sisters feeling unprotected without big brother
Little brothers lacking a role model, what chance do they have?
Will no one waltz in the street when their names are mentioned
Or will they merely turn their grief away?

Who will lead us into the future?
Who will install that first traffic light?
Their photos in the Sunday paper big smiles all around
Where will our smiles come from without our boys as heroes?

There will be no continuity here
A generation is lost
Our sons have been ripped from their future
Johnny will not come marching home again.

Where have you gone, my heroes my heroes,
Why have you left our lives?
Where have you gone, my heroes my heroes,
And what will become of us?

2.
Where have they gone
The young and proud?

Where is Gus?
He who could run like the wind
Down the field to victory on homecoming night

Where is Eddie with the cannon right arm?
He who threw the winning touchdown pass to Gus?

Where is Lawrence?
He who made his grandmother so proud
Her slave life stories were so vivid in his mind
The first one in the family to finish school

Where are Gunvald and Bengt?
The town’s only immigrant sons,
Those two new Sons of the Town who worked so much harder,
Just to fit in,

Where is Tom?
He who always drove too fast
Son of the local sheriff,
Racing in the streets on Saturday nights?

Will their parents mourn their loss?
Will we notice their absence?

Greg, he whose Diner has already closed down,
Crippled after his hip surgery failed, and now
Gus is not there to take his place
Irene, his wife, she who couldn’t deal with the loss
The towns first civilian casualty
Of a war so far away

The 5 and Dime store won’t last long either,
Mr. Nichols, he who is getting older by the day,
Never stands outside the shop door anymore, greeting everyone,
His health is failing and Eddie isn’t coming back to take over
It’s a matter of time now they say.

Pete he who can’t climb the trees anymore to trim them,
Says he’ll have to sell his orchards and land to pay his mortgage
Gunvald and Bengt will be trimming trees only in Pete’s memories

Where have you gone, my heroes my heroes,
Why have you left our lives,
Where have you gone, my heroes my heroes,
And what will become of us?

 

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These poets released their hearts on the world​The ones we knew and lost,

Those punk poets with ADHD and precious fits of anger,

​The ones who tore down the murals on Pine Street

The ones who brought their stolen guitars

​13 years old, playing music in the streets until dawn

​When the police stole them from their sleeping bags

​Handcuffing them into the backseat of their prowlers

​The order of a blowjob or a night in jail

Those romantic poets whose hearts were young and full of anticipation

​The ones not yet broken down by maryjane dreams in

​The back seats of adult theatres

​The quick cum meals swallowed fast and cheap for food money

​The old men with their eyes closed never cared about a name

Those dying poets who were still so very alive and independent

So much more than you and I ever were

​Not haunted by false iconic visions of future fatherly duty and the

​Idiom of an autocratic family life without questions

​Answers answers answers they never wanted and we never knew

Those spoken word poets who sold their souls on the interstate

Spouting their gospels out loud in honkytonks​

From Nashville to Memphis

Living in the back seat of a 55 Ford

​The Guardians of Race beating them in fits of fear and hate

Those crazed poets who raced down the riverbanks without shoes

​Hair flying in the breeze, eyes bulging out of their skulls

​Blanked out on crack screaming at the universe about

Eternal damnation and all the

​Virgins they’d never live to fuck

Those anaemic Goth poets who couldn’t get out of bed before 6pm

​Puking in the hallway, blood surrounding the toilets

​Building supervisors looking the other way in disgust but

​Knowing they’d pay their rent at the end of the month

​When they dropped their jeans

Those interstellar poets who flew to Europe with daddies’ money

​The ones who blew it all in a casino without windows

Losing it on broken promises and

​A thousand and one forgotten explanations

Those intellectual poets who fell to their knees in philosophical orgasms

​Espousing a faith to the almighty Kafka. Trotsky or Camus in

​Coffeehouses filled with clove smoke thick as lies

Clueless fools awaiting verbal ejaculations

​Still debating just what the fuck they meant

 

Does it fucking matter at all?

 

These poets released their hearts on the world

​The ones no one knew

Those hipster poets their pockets filled with Hegel

​The ones who argued that life is a fucked up poem of its own

“Ecstasy is the natural form of live” tattooed across their foreheads as they killed themselves

​In taxis sneaking their poems out of East Berlin in the 1970s

​The last stanzas of the Internationale and top secret words,

Words of revolution slipping out of their consciousness.

Those fashionista poets with the berets,

​Dizzy and Bird and Mingus, oh bop kabala, oh piano riffs of Monk

​Twisting the head around until it falls into the Hudson

​Only to be born again in these lines

.

I too want to be born again in these lines. Oh holy oh holy

Oh Mother of Invention and Creationism dead and dying.

Lying in a supermarket aisle with the scars of unfaithful husbands

Cocks swallowed whole in hasty retreats

Notes in pockets of winter coats left behind hastily and forever regretted

Let me cum on your breasts.

Let me fill your vessels in three quarter time.

Frantic frantic these words cannot give me peace that’s not their intent

These are the poets’ cries, the ones no one hears

Bulldozers running 24/7, poetic cities of metal built and rebuilt on the same stones

Stoned poets running in the Bowery,

Running in Harlem,

Running in Seattle and San Francisco bath houses

Running from gin joint to bop united strip joints to gay bars with big screen tvs

Blasting Eurovision and Berlusconis porn for the masses, but I digress

 

These poets released their hearts on the world

Those shy poets tripping over cobblestones in 60s Stockholm coffeehouses

​Out of focus permanently in every night daydreams of a better world

​Daydreams daydreams life is but a daydream

​Palmes murder ended a countries’ dream but now it’s all life as you want it

​If you want it here it is come and get it

​Swim from the city to the archipelago drown in the icy water all alone

​Your poetic dreams washed up on shores of fascist nations

Those awkward poets hiding in the public library salons built like hospital wards

Leaving notes in Martian, this I’ve seen, that no one can decipher on the large tables while flashing gorgeous legs to the staff

​Security guards keeping a vulture close watch on their every curve

​Rhymes from ancient poets calling, pushing their insanity further and further

​Their poems lost for all time with a jolt of electricity or the push of a needle.

Those poets who burned their blood with ink and notes and bong hits to Mars

​Screeching their poems across the Reed College radio wavelengths

To scholastic pulpits with drug infested dirges raining down on their

Consciousness

​Until Eric has to scream “No more, No more” across the rooftops of hell

​Campus security hoping he takes the leap

His poetry left behind on the stones of campus forever like a scar to the truth.

Those poets who burned their draft cards, chanting allegiance to Ho Chi Minh

​Who refused to follow the dictates of the ruling class,

​Sprawling their refusals across the urinals of the world

​Taking the sacramental piss on the military and thus winning

​The hearts and minds of the universal soldiers of peace

Those poets who set themselves on fire feeding the flames of the suicide contagion

Dying young and holy on the streets of Tibet, on the streets of Tunisia,

The Werther effect burned forever into the minds of rebels and sacrificial lambs as the only answer, orange robes in red flames

  

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I will see nothing
But the children of peace
Their hair spread against the wind
Like the wings of angels

I will hear nothing
From the tombs of your dead
But the voices from my own thoughts
Like the salve of the ages

I will not open my door
To you as a visitor
Bringing your unrepentant anger
To my thirsty soul

I will no longer dance
With you parents of war
Your darkness blots out
The light from my feet

I will not see your world
Nor read your newspaper
Not hear your symphony
I will not say your prayers
But those which I make myself
The words of empowerment
The songs of unison

I will not drink at your table
I will not eat of your meat
You have no nourishment
To offer such a one as I

The end of the world
As you know it
Will be our only salvation

I will not die
Until we, all of us,
Can die under peaceful skies
Our souls drifting quietly across the sunset
Like a shroud of the finest linen

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Imagine my horror when what I thought was…

 

Actually turned out to be THIS!!

ARRRRGHHHHHH!!!

 

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The door.  Introduction
This photo was taken last night as i waited for the bus to take me to work. As you can see it’s of a normal entry into a normal apartment building.  The outside is covered up with scaffolding and netting now because they are putting a new facade on.  I started to wonder who lived there? What stories do they have?  I’m going to use this door to tell their stories. Just a couple of paragraphs for each tenant together with a new edit of the pic, the lady who turns 100, the quiet guy no one remembers, the angry young man, the asylum seeker. I hope you find it intriguing

The first story in the sequence, The Door, part 1, Gunbrit

Early morning 25th of November,  a cold wet morning, Gunbrit awakened and thought back in time. Tomorrow would be her 100th birthday and she wondered if anyone would remember. Bengt, her husband had passed long ago, and she had not spoken to her only child, Ole, in years. She remembered the last conversation they had together. It was the First of May, International Workers Day. She had just found out that he was going to demonstrate with the Nazis. She told him she was ashamed of him and never wanted to see his face again. Those words haunted her as she faced the morning, as they had every morning since then. Sweden was, to her, the most free country in the world and her pride in that reputation was enormous. She had been a lifelong member of the left party, strong and proud in her belief in the equality of all, a fact which no doubt fuelled her adamant refusal to make amends with her son. She had, in fact, not spoken his name in years.
Though she was fragile of course, at her advanced age, she was still spry mentally and maintained a semblance of self sufficiency surprising for someone at 100 years. She got out of bed and went to start the day. Her home assistant would be there soon to help her with breakfast and all that went into her increasingly limited existence. She rarely left the apartment anymore for health reasons she felt  her world was collapsing in on it’s self.  She turned on the radio, the volume very high so she could hear it, Always station P1, she hadn’t missed the program “God Morgon Världen” in a very long time, she felt like she was friends with the hosts. It brought her pleasure to hear their voices. She remembered the flower shop that she and her late husband had opened down the block. They had owned it for 30 years before retiring. The money the had made selling it went to travel. They both loved life and always went with the moment, a fact that she never regretted even though she had precious little money now.

In the many years in the neighborhood she had made many friends, but sadly she had outlived those who had not moved on and she was always bad at staying in touch. That meant that there was no one around that she felt close to, that she could talk to or invite to a fika. Her upcoming birthday was a reminder of her isolation.

Maria was to be her assistant that day, she tried to be nice to Gunbrit but it was difficult. With her own problems to deal with and the work conditions, constant understaffing causing the most unreasonable demands, Maria didn’t have the time or energy to do what the job required. Gunbrit loved the flowers she brought, but always wished that Maria could stay longer. Maria had made plans to have a small celebration for her birthday tomorrow, a princess cake and a card together with flowers, but that was tomorrow. Today, she was running late and trying hard to get there on time. She knew that Gunbrit, even with her stubborn self sufficiency needed much help.

Digging her keys out of her handbag, Maria opened the door to find Gunbrit on the floor. She rushed to determine what had happened and if she was breathing. As she leaned over, she heard Gunbrit mutter a word with her last breath, a word she hadn’t said in decades, “Ole”

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