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Ship Ragged

Ship

Ragged

By

John J. Beach

Shakespir Edition

~~~~

Published By

John J. Beach on Shakespir

Ship

Ragged

Copyright © 2015 by John J. Beach
Cover image modified from
PixaBay user Svenkkoepke0
released under
Creative Commons Deed CC0

License Notes:

Thank you for downloading this free ebook. Although this is a free book, it remains the copyrighted property of the author, and it may not be reproduced, copied, and distributed for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage friends to download their own copy from Shakespir.com, where they also can discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

~~~~

This book is dedicated to
my parents, students, and friends, who have all taught me different ways to survive.

Also by John J. Beach, Published at Shakespir:

Ship Ragged (poetry)

Slumbering Probabilities (poetry)

MUNINN, Marquis de Reminisce (poetry)

The Distinguishing Aspect (poetry)

Joe (fiction poetry)

Functions and Subroutines (poetry)

Illuminating the Umbra (poetry)

A Dozen Steps Through Hel (poetry)

Value Received (western novella, historical fiction)

~~~~

Closing Down the Professor Man

Some students came from the barrel’s bottom.

Most school systems will not reach down that far,

will build so-called “safety nets” above them

 

where they’re safe, their teachers needn’t bother

with the remedial, suicidal.

Most school systems will not reach down that far

 

but think they do. I’ve taught homicidal

hands to remain bloodless in the trenches

with the remedial, suicidal,

 

lazy, anti-social, nuts, and wrenches

in the works tighten, strip me, demand for

hands to remain bloodless. In the trenches,

 

For-Profit means careers for them, then me.

I’ve helped them raise themselves among those who—

in the works—tighten, strip me, demand. For

 

-Profit boils broken horses into glue.

Some students came from the barrel’s bottom.

I’ve helped them raise themselves among those who

will build so-called “safety nets” above them.

Culturing

I believe in some things that you may not.

Our necessity suggests invention.

Society builds upon what we’ve brought,

 

openly shared, and held in contention.

What we need often is not what you think.

Our necessity suggests invention,

 

creative ways that may be out of sync

with common groups at particular times.

What we need often is not what you think.

 

Flowers and fruit trees grow in dirts and grimes,

and the extremes are bound to cause trouble

with common groups. At particular times,

 

we will be the elite, be the rabble.

These stones and sticks have freed fire with friction,

and the extremes are bound to cause trouble.

 

Good. Affirmation creates conviction.

I believe in some things that you may not.

These stones and sticks have freed fire with friction.

Society builds upon what we’ve brought.

Exchange Rate

We, the creators of terrible times,

have everything we need: shared enemies,

brutality, absolution for crimes

 

committed against whomever we please.

We, who counterbalance those who have naught,

have everything. We need shared enemies,

 

distractions from having to think each thought,

each action we take has consequences.

We, who counterbalance those who have naught,

 

weigh in, understand what an expense is,

but know nothing of value, of true worth.

Each action we take has consequences.

 

We evaluate by measuring girth,

Photoshop beauty into poverty

but know nothing. Of value, of true worth,

 

our life has no conception, cannot be.

We, the creators of terrible times,

Photoshop beauty into poverty,

brutality, absolution for crimes.

Denominators

Some people need to remedy what’s wrong;

they are the shakers and movers, chaos.

Irresistible, they force us along

 

unexplored options, aren’t afraid of loss.

Everything good has come from their actions.

They are the shakers and movers. Chaos

 

questions the worst and demands subtractions,

those things that would exclude the marginal.

Everything good has come from their actions,

 

but, have they sewn weeds and harvested woe,

weakening the natural evolution,

those things that would exclude the marginal?

 

What’s bad can thrive in a revolution.

They reimage life to their perception,

weakening the natural evolution,

 

the foundation, to grow misconception.

Some people need to remedy what’s wrong.

They reimage life to their perception.

Irresistible, they force us along.

Numerators

Some people need to preserve status quo;

they are wardens and sentinels, order.

Unstoppable, they object to the flow,

 

the veer from tradition, what they prefer.

Everything good is saved by their actions.

They are wardens and sentinels. Order

 

reveres the best and controls additions,

those things that would include the marginal.

Everything good is saved by their actions,

 

but, have they extended what’s apropos,

weakening the prospects of outcrossing,

those things that would include the marginal?

 

What’s good can die when homogenizing.

In their cold, dead hands, they strangle changes,

weakening the prospects of outcrossing,

 

the flourish that comes from these exchanges.

Some people need to preserve status quo

in their cold, dead hands. They strangle changes.

Unstoppable, they object to the flow.

Acer saccharinum

Treehousing five kids and their neighbor friends,

you were nailed and climbed and tapped for syrup.

And, today, your trunk hollowing, life ends

 

slouching to the northeast. But you stood up,

Maple. I took pictures of your last day.

You were nailed and climbed and tapped for syrup

 

once or twice. I drove to work, couldn’t stay

any longer than you could, and I knew,

Maple. I took pictures of your last day.

 

Later on, I thought I should have touched you,

my flesh, your bark. I couldn’t be stronger

any longer than you could, and I knew

 

I had grown in your arms but no longer.

Reaching for your fat branch, I am beyond

my flesh, your bark. I couldn’t be stronger

 

than I am squirrel-nested in your bond,

treehousing five kids and their neighbor friends.

Reaching for your fat branch, I am beyond,

and, today, your trunk hollowing, life ends.

The Lusus Naturae Beneath Our Skin

What’s cool about chicken-head biting geeks,

animals on parade, fortune telling?

I miss the days of honest circus freaks,

 

top-hatted ringmasters, barkers yelling,

“Ladies and gentlemen, may I present

Animals on Parade?” Fortune telling,

 

even back then, could see the wicked bent,

feel the misery. There’s a price for joy,

ladies and gentlemen. “May I present,

 

in the center ring, Color-Blind, Deaf Boy,

the Insufficient? Mimic the slurred speech;

feel the misery.” There’s a price for joy

 

that comes hard from the host but costs the leech

nothing. They just pretend they’re abnormal,

the insufficient, mimic the slurred speech,

 

stuttering as a joke. If that’s “normal,”

what’s cool about chicken-head biting geeks?

Nothing. They just pretend they’re abnormal.

I miss the days of honest circus freaks.

The Common Street League

Holding a bat, too large, forever young

on Sundays in the backyard softball field,

an eight-block-wide neighborhood of kids swung

 

at a groc’ry man’s fat lobs, our eyes peeled,

always ready. A plumber, kneeling, caught

on Sundays in the backyard softball field

 

or a railroad man wore the catcher’s mitt.

These fathers were the batteries we’d face,

always ready. A plumber, kneeling, caught

 

us cold if we’d lead too far from first base.

We kids wired together along train tracks.

These fathers were the batteries we’d face,

 

should-have-been tired men needing to relax.

Aged in single and low double digits,

we kids wired together along train tracks

 

dancing small ball jazz. Each of us fidgets,

holding a bat, too large. Forever young,

aged in single and low double digits,

an eight-block-wide neighborhood of kids swung.

Marilyn Louise

We called Mother “M” as if it were code,

shorthand cipher text, kept our plans secret.

But, we’re never too old for her to hold,

 

we’re always her children, cause her to fret.

We still love them, but Mothers are crazy.

Shorthand cipher text kept our plans secret.

 

She had places we couldn’t go, times we

need, need to be indoors under cover.

We still love them, but Mothers are crazy

 

with wet love, helicopters who hover.

They establish touch-and-go flight patterns,

need, need to be. Indoors, under cover,

 

under nesting wing, the baby bird learns.

Fully-feathered fledglings must soar to live.

They establish touch-and-go flight patterns,

 

which are mostly go. This, she will forgive.

We called Mother “M” as if it were code.

Fully-feathered fledglings must soar to live,

but we’re never too old for her to hold.

Limited Capacity

My password is FrontiernetSucksDonkeys.

It’s no secret. My ISP’s low rent.

Saturday afternoon brings a disease,

 

which strickens. It’s something they can’t prevent.

The network brain farts. It’ll seize and drop.

It’s no secret my ISP’s low rent.

 

How low? My Mama’s got more ping and hop,

and she’s 82 with epilepsy.

The network brain farts. It’ll seize and drop,

 

sure, but we can reboot you and safely

get you online. It’s just what you deal with,

and she’s 82 with epilepsy.

 

My provider’s oversold, lacks bandwidth.

This knowledge cannot be used, doesn’t help

get you online. It’s just what you deal with.

 

Warchalking it here’s a joke, a dog yelp.

My password is FrontiernetSucksDonkeys.

This knowledge cannot be used, doesn’t help.

Saturday afternoon brings a disease.

Help Desk

We are your ghosts, the ghosts in the machines,

images flickering across your screens,

introverts, Wal-mart shirts, not human beings.

 

We speak in code, and know what syntax means.

We gave up normalcy so you can see

images flickering across your screens:

 

Web advertising, free pornography.

Our souls will host, will serve and host machines.

We gave up normalcy so you can see

 

grumpy cats and memes, live like Kings and Queens.

While we beneath, bequeath you, all our means.

Our souls will host, will serve and host machines,

 

then virtualize, materialize dreams.

Misfits, we fix your misclicks, your crashes.

While we beneath, bequeath you, all our means,

 

above us, you shove us to our asses.

We are your ghosts, the ghosts in the machines.

Misfits, we fix your misclicks, your crashes.

Introverts, Wal-Marts shirts—not human beings.

The Internet of Verses

I’m just a guy who’s writing poetry

to keep aging thoughts alive and unwind

daily wrangling from the drudgery:

 

people hating people all of the time,

then we hate those people, have to chime in

to keep aging thoughts alive and unwind

 

coiled muscles against that slime, their crime, and

vocalize a venom that looks like us.

Then, we hate those people, have to chime in,

 

bring ourselves down to our own level, cuss

naturally—echo—but we won’t hear them

vocalize a venom that looks like us.

 

We need you. Agree with what we condemn:

we’re all just living. Words we throw away,

naturally echo, but we won’t hear them.

 

We have no right to look surprised and say,

“I’m just a guy who’s writing poetry.”

We’re all just living words we throw away

daily, wrangling from the drudgery.

Charting the Terrain

There’s nothing in the mapping that’s more true

of who I am than the embellishments

layered and slathered on as my stories grew

 

in their recollection. Certain events

rise, and there’s no better indicator

of who I am than the embellishments,

 

which push up earth, while others soil, crater

facts into shadowy pits. I want to

rise, and there’s no better indicator

 

than cartography, the man who goes through,

highlights my world while also blackening

facts into shadowy pits. I want to

 

terraform happiness while preventing

pain, the mountain-building crushing thought, which

highlights my world while also blackening

 

the sky. Details leach, they also enrich

pain, the mountain-building crushing thought, which

layered and slathered on as my stories grew—

there’s nothing in the mapping that’s more true.

Valkyrjan vid Diskotek

At The Nolling, the new students advance.

We were Zeroes, but we’ve turned that around

edgewise. We’re now Ones. You ask me to dance,

 

and I am terrible as “Funky Town”

reverberates flesh along my inseams.

We were Zeroes, but we’ve turned that around

 

in Borås scavenger hunting in teams

for The Threes, who watch as Flickan Folkestad

reverberates flesh along my inseams.

 

I’m an exchange student living abroad

enrolled in computer classes designed

for The Threes, who watch as Flickan Folkestad

 

invites me to heaven, and I’ve declined.

Mathematically, we were just nothing.

Enrolled in computer classes designed

 

for Seniors, I feel this is more hazing.

At The Nolling, the new students advance

mathematically. We were just nothing

edgewise; we’re now Ones. You ask me to dance.

The Pop Top Maybe, Never the Smörgås

Jeff and I live with two gift-wrapped women:

Maria (Masken, The Lägenhet Worm),

and Susanne (she’s a Carolina wren

 

with pale plumage, the soft texture buffed firm).

In cold October, her mouth outstretching,

Maria, Masken, The Lägenhet Worm,

 

unhinges her face, lets out a quetching,

“Nej, Staffan!” She barefoots a bottle cap

in cold October. Her mouth, outstretching,

 

directs our male roommate (a decent chap),

wants us scolded, corrected by proxy.

“Nej, Staffan.” She barefoots a bottle cap,

 

finds a sandwich half-eaten and crusty

on the fifth floor. The Worm is all mutter,

wants us scolded, corrected by proxy.

 

“We’re way too poor to waste peanut butter.”

Jeff and I live with two gift-wrapped women

on the fifth floor. The Worm is all mutter,

and Susanne, she’s a Carolina wren.

Ship Ragged

Whaler Dude’s plopping down chips like Milk Duds,

Black Jack chewing through thousands of Kronor.

I’m sailing duty free on his beer suds.

 

Commanding hands, I pass on cards, take more,

break the Dealer, and win for Whaler Dude.

Black Jack chewing through thousands of Kronor,

 

which aren’t my own, have steadily renewed

my near-sleeping mind set for Helsinki.

“Break the Dealer and win for Whaler Dude!”

 

He’s drunk, wants me playing aggressively.

The money matters only in context,

my near-sleeping mind. Set for Helsinki,

 

ship ragged and cabinless, I’m annexed,

swallowed whole by a toothless Norwegian.

The money matters only in context:

 

he lets me keep the small change I win him.

Whaler Dude’s plopping down chips like Milk Duds.

Swallowed whole by a toothless Norwegian,

I’m sailing, duty free, on his beer suds.

Want Some Pain?

Ulrika was an eighty-pound ettin,

an elf-faced ogre, a kitten who hissed,

liked to sibilate three words to threaten

 

you while she quivered, clenched a tiny fist.

You couldn’t help it; you had to love her,

an elf-faced ogre, a kitten who hissed.

 

Ridiculous woman. She had power,

wind-up moments, could disarm the angered.

You couldn’t help it, you had to love her.

 

At breakfast, you’d watch her flit, this strange bird

would peck at rolls, spoon wet tea bags from cups,

wind up moments, could disarm the angered.

 

She instigated mischief and stir ups.

With no yield, she returned arrows and slings,

would peck at rolls, spoon wet tea bags from cups

 

then strangle them dry using their own strings.

Ulrika was an eighty-pound ettin

with no yield. She returned arrows and slings,

liked to sibilate three words to threaten.

Doing Her Job at the Livsmedelsaffär

I was putting things back where they belong,

mislaid products I just happened to find.

There’s a grocer within me. He’s lifelong,

 

even here in Sweden, and I don’t mind

the comfort he seeks, his need to return

mislaid products I just happened to find.

 

This store is home. Took me five months to learn

when he’s in here, I’m half a world away.

The comfort he seeks, his need to return,

 

mimics my own. A young clerk’s lips replay

in my brain to move the right words along.

(When he’s in here, I’m half a world away.)

 

She’s Ingela; her question’s a sing song.

My hand taps spider legged, works itself

in my brain to move the right words along,

 

“Jag… hittade den på… hyllan? ‘The shelf.’

I was putting things back where they belong.”

My hand taps spider legged, works itself.

There’s a grocer within me. He’s lifelong.

Netherlands

Sometimes, I remember you, like flowers,

the corolla, floral leaves in sunshine,

bright, wide, and opening. My world is yours.

 

I remove its layers like a blushing wine.

Fermentation has begun and bubbles.

The corolla, floral leaves in sunshine,

 

absorbs, envelops me, and it troubles

no one listening. I feel the count down.

Fermentation has begun, and bubbles

 

escape, pop from our mouths until we drown,

sticky in syrup. Gasping, we bother

no one. Listening, I feel the count down

 

until parting. Our cooling lips further

the day, widening the bloom inside me.

Sticky in syrup, gasping, we bother

 

only routines, and I will guarantee

sometimes I remember. You like flowers,

the widening day, the bloom inside me,

bright, wide, and opening. My world is yours.

That Sour Business at Brett’s

You and I step out in brisk November,

weaving through stores of the Mankato Mall.

I will follow wherever you prefer:

 

J. C. Penney, The Lorraine Shop. This sprawl

isn’t quite your modus operandi.

Weaving through stores of the Mankato Mall,

 

I uncrinkle a wrapped Warheads candy.

A malic-acid coated lemon drop

isn’t quite your modus operandi.

 

Turns out you don’t do sour. You let it flop

wet out of your mouth onto my gloved palm.

A malic-acid coated lemon drop

 

shouldn’t go to waste, so I remain calm,

lick it up. A sales clerk tracks the movement

wet out of your mouth onto my gloved palm,

 

tongued into me. She makes an assessment.

You and I step out in brisk November,

lick it up. A sales clerk tracks the movement

I will follow… wherever you prefer.

Pressing Moments at Brett’s

You’re looking for shirts, and I’m loving you,

trying to behave in public places.

Mostly, I fail, but what’s a man to do?

 

That clerk stink-eyed me, was making faces

when you called me back to the dressing room.

Trying to behave in public places

 

grows arduous when these people assume

I’m a dirty pervert stealing glances.

When you called me back to the dressing room,

 

I did cling to how your shape enhances

a shiny, satin blouse. It may be true

I’m a dirty pervert stealing glances

 

off the tops of breasts and looking straight through

the fabric, which holds you firmly in place,

a shiny, satin blouse. It may be true

 

my eyes pool in a woman’s breathing space.

You’re looking for shirts, and I’m loving you,

the fabric, which holds you firmly in place,

mostly. I fail, but what’s a man to do?

The Standup Sitting at Brett’s

By now, the salesgirl has sized me up, down.

I’m leaning in that chair, the one for men

waiting on their women while they’re downtown,

 

clothes shopping. The clerk’s a comedienne,

she asks me, “Do you have some business here?”

I’m leaning in that chair, the one for men

 

to balance time upon and persevere.

But we don’t always do what we ought to.

She asks me, “Do you have some business here?”

 

“I’m… just waiting—for a woman—like you…”

Sometimes just thinking things through will suffice,

but we don’t always do what we ought to.

 

“…a little taller, though, more blonde—and nice.”

I’m an embarrassment like other men.

Sometimes just thinking things through will suffice,

 

other times need action. Men don’t know when.

By now, the salesgirl has sized me up, down.

I’m an embarrassment like other men

waiting on their women while they’re downtown.

Monkey Play at Brett’s

The salesgirl and her not-so-discrete eyes

keep clerking on me as I meander

through the department store. I improvise

 

new activities to make her ponder.

I will share discomfort when employees

keep clerking on me. As I meander,

 

I brush against skirts making sure she sees

me leaning, staring at the dressing rooms.

I will share discomfort when employees

 

start with me and make sure that feeling looms.

I unbelt my coat and want her to view

me leaning, staring at the dressing rooms.

 

She took it upon herself to pursue,

question, vituperate, and bully me.

I unbelt my coat and want her to view

 

me rubbing myself like a zoo monkey.

The salesgirl and her not-so-discrete eyes

question, vituperate, and bully me.

Through the department store, I improvise.

Futon Thoughts

I buy a shikbuton, sized for a queen:

eleven inches tall and pliable,

fabric sleeved, and tight as a trampoline.

 

It’s a kakabuton dining table.

We’re the mealy bloom of cattail flowers,

eleven inches tall and pliable.

 

Undressing our leaves, we caress for hours.

My thumb and finger V-frames and squeezes.

We’re the mealy bloom of cattail flowers.

 

My tongue discovers the rhizome, pleases,

unmasks the Asparagus of Cossacks.

My thumb and finger V-frames and squeezes,

 

plumps the mound of Venus, which you relax.

My whole face noses into your business,

unmasks the Asparagus of Cossacks,

 

and I police your south Russian recess.

I buy a shikbuton—sized for a queen.

My whole face noses into your business,

fabric sleeved and tight as a trampoline.

My Batgirl, 1937-2015

For young men and boys of a certain age,

the 1960s brought us a hero.

Her masked librarian took center stage,

 

turned the Dynamic Duo to Trio

Terrific.  She had a killer fashion.

The 1960s brought us a hero,

 

but, she also had been the assassin,

Ecstasy, gave The Wild Wild West a whirl.

Terrific, she had a killer fashion.

 

As Crazy Marta, Orion slave girl,

she wore green paint, caused Captain Kirk trouble.

Ecstasy gave The Wild Wild West a whirl.

 

Although she sexed up The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,

Yvonne Joyce Craig was stirring, thrilling us.

She wore green paint, caused Captain Kirk trouble,

 

was five diff’rent Loves of Dobie Gillis.

For young men and boys of a certain age,

Yvonne Joyce Craig was stirring, thrilling us.

Her masked librarian took center stage.

Erasure

We argue over words, definitions.

Acceptance vaporizes. War wages,

language fails, thought lives in harsh conditions

 

then dies. Our verbicide comes in stages,

a bathing in blood-cleansing rituals.

Acceptance vaporizes. War wages,

 

trenches troops out of individuals.

We rally where pointed, organizing

a bathing in blood, cleansing rituals.

 

We knife trim our corded stems, despising

what’s ugly on the surface, different.

We rally where pointed, organizing

 

ridicule, degradation. Bitter, bent,

focused on destruction, we cradle doom,

what’s ugly. On the surface, different;

 

therefore, all the rest follows. We assume.

We argue, over words, definitions.

Focused on destruction, we cradle doom.

Language fails thought, lives in harsh conditions.

The Spectre of Men

She tells me I cannot speak for the queen.

I am not born of any sovereign

royalty. I am part of the unseen

 

rabble. The right of birth will determine

life, who deserves to dwell within this realm.

I am not born of any sovereign,

 

cannot armor this flesh, nor wear the helm

upon my peasant head wanting to voice

life. Who deserves to dwell within this realm?

 

Her majesty provides a Hobson’s choice:

the grave. A stone monument crashes down

upon my peasant head wanting to voice

 

supplication. I cannot wear her crown

nor exercise volitions regarding

the grave. A stone monument crashes down,

 

crushes the poor man and all he’s guarding.

She tells me I cannot speak for the queen

nor exercise volitions regarding

royalty. I am part of the unseen.

Circle of Protection

A circuit of living force against loss,

thresholds are sill plates, life’s perimeter

vampires and phlebotomists cannot cross

 

without license. Saint Petros (or Peter)

supports and stone wardens against the gates.

Thresholds are sill plates, life’s perimeter.

 

Beneath the needle prick, my blood awaits,

is slurped into draw tubes, labeled, and racked.

Supports and stone wardens against the gates

 

hold intimacy in, a living pact,

circulating breath. The water, cerise,

is slurped into draw tubes, labeled, and racked.

 

A finger pressing cotton cloth will cease

the letting. Hemostatis is restored.

Circulating breath, the water, cerise,

 

moats against crossing. The dead cannot ford

a circuit of living force. Against loss,

the letting, hemostatis is restored.

Vampires and phlebotomists cannot cross.

Stewing Bayou

The world is wet washed, and I am sleeping

off her cold flashes, thunder, the rumble.

A diddering mass, my body, steeping

 

off the bone, surrenders in a gumbo

stock, thickening. Famished, I’m left feeding

off her cold flashes. Thunder, the rumble

 

in the brain says, “Get up!” Day is needing

some stirring, responsiveness. And she comes,

stock thickening, famished. I’m left feeding

 

raw desire with mixed flesh, which succumbs.

What’s left?—the hollowing, tasteless fiber,

some stirring, responsiveness. And, she comes

 

boiling rich, as I lay here and bribe her

with flavors of should have been, simmering

what’s left, the hollowing, tasteless fiber

 

cooked down into mushy dreams. Shimmering,

the world is wet washed, and I am sleeping

with flavors of should have been, simmering

a diddering mass, my body steeping.

Nahts Marōn

No one else on earth penetrates like that,

makes me punish my flesh, makes me regret

in my brain all the thoughts I arrive at,

 

the bruising divide, the branching violet.

Pain stutters across me, jump starts the pump,

makes me punish my flesh, makes me regret

 

the smallest pride inside, the chump, chump, chump

rattling against skull bones and ribcage.

Pain stutters across me, jump starts the pump

 

pressuring a deep red fluid, a rage

I swallow, the corrosive aggression

rattling against skull bones and ribcage.

 

A horse rider I can never outrun

hooves a path right to the judicious part.

I swallow the corrosive aggression

 

dissolving a world revolving apart.

No one else on earth penetrates like that,

hooves a path right to the judicious part

in my brain, all the thoughts I arrive at.

Composition Teacher Love Affair

Certain words you’ve written leap out at me.

I feel the unhappiness in your prose.

Did you choose this diction deliberately,

 

trusting my discerning eye would see those

awkward choices, your tone defeated, scarred?

I feel the unhappiness in your prose,

 

can’t help the necessity to regard

a preponderance of wanting desires,

awkward choices. Your tone, defeated, scarred,

 

breathless, owns me. I’ll do all it requires,

cross boundaries. I cannot see beyond

a preponderance of wanting, desires,

 

love. I need you to love me and respond,

demanding I revisit and revise,

cross boundaries. I cannot see beyond

 

your entreaties, the almost pleading cries.

Certain words you’ve written leap out at me,

demanding I revisit and revise.

Did you choose this diction deliberately?

The Morgue. You Think About It

There are moments where I am missing you.

These moments come, they come too frequently.

If I knew what my reminiscing knew

 

now, would I replay events critically,

my dreams, my dreams of living life again?

These moments come, they come too frequently.

 

My mind rewinds every now and then.

Vivisections and autopsies visit

my dreams. My dreams of living life again

 

cut me to pieces. So, that’s life, is it?

Isn’t it? Today, we live. Tomorrow,

vivisections and autopsies visit,

 

dissect our past. We’ll give, and we’ll borrow

moments, which did not but might have happened.

Isn’t it today we live? Tomorrow

 

never comes, only can be imagined.

There are moments where I am missing you,

moments, which did not but might have happened

if I knew what my reminiscing knew.

Microaggression Policy

I can’t question an emotional state,

your reasonableness. I must forewarn

something nearby may trigger, irritate

 

trauma within you. A rose has a thorn.

I am to help you avoid what you fear,

your reasonableness. I must forewarn

 

some words or images may interfere

with comfort. You must challenge this belief

I am to help you avoid what you fear,

 

alert anxiety, hide you from grief,

teach the exact opposite of learning

with comfort. You must challenge this belief

 

you are better when you are not burning.

Grow red in the face of opposition.

Teach the exact opposite of learning—

 

shield thinking—and you have taught submission.

I can’t question an emotional state,

grow red in the face of opposition.

Something nearby may trigger, irritate.

No Point Vanishing

We can’t choose whom we love or how many,

but people lose all sense of perspective.

The only conclusion, if there’s any

 

limit, is we have more the more we give.

Love’s not pizza pie with finite slices,

but people lose all sense of perspective,

 

are stingy as hell, don’t know what nice is,

hold back on quality and quantity.

Love’s not pizza pie with finite slices.

 

Some crust is thick as the Windy City,

thin as St. Louis without yeast, cut square.

Hold back on quality and quantity,

 

and you’ll never see me visit twice. There

are the hands that need. Our hands must supply.

Thin as St. Louis without yeast, cut square,

 

Chicago shoulder big, wedged wheat stacked high,

we can’t choose whom we love or how many

are the hands that need. Our hands must supply

the only conclusion… if there’s any.

Sounding Lines

It’s difficult to fathom, hard to name,

can’t address the restlessness in my brain,

I go to bed tired and wake up the same,

think about everything, every pain.

 

Don’t want your pity, and no one’s the blame,

can’t address the restlessness in my brain,

doesn’t help matters, doesn’t cool the flame,

must suffice that no advice can sustain.

 

Don’t want your pity, and no one’s the blame,

I come just because, I need to complain,

swim within my soul, swallow all the shame,

must suffice that no advice can sustain.

 

Commiserate the player, hate the game,

won’t drown sorrows if we kneel down for rain,

swim within my soul, swallow all the shame,

pace a merry chase, don’t race the terrain.

 

It’s difficult to fathom, hard to name,

won’t drown sorrows if we kneel down for rain,

I go to bed tired and wake up the same,

ply a few verses and try to explain.

How To Write a Terzanelle

One line opens the poem and sets the mood.

The thoughts placed next are the first to echo.

We begin to rhyme; we also conclude

 

some ideas speak only once, then go,

would-be friends we will never meet again.

The thoughts placed next are the first to echo.

 

Four lines pass. The syllables count to ten

each time, rise, fall, and the reader senses

would-be friends. We will never meet again

 

if we concentrate on the differences.

Fourteen of the nineteen will harmonize

each time, rise, fall, and the reader senses

 

that each individual phrase supplies

the motivation, produces the wealth.

Fourteen of the nineteen will harmonize,

 

while five brave clauses must sing by themself.

One line opens the poem and sets the mood,

the motivation, produces the wealth.

We begin to rhyme; we also conclude.

###

About the Author:

John J. Beach is an Information Technology Department Chair, teaching college courses primarily in Linux and Macintosh computer systems. Along with my Computer Science and Mathematics degrees, I also completed a Master of Fine Arts in Writing in 1998. Since then, I have written mostly lab books and study guides for my students. However, in 2011, I returned to creative writing and entered the world of ePublishing. Ship Ragged is my eighth volume of poetry.

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Ship Ragged

John Beach's eighth collection of poetry. The 36 (mostly) terzanelle poems in this collection are about the author's thoughts as the college he’s been instructing at for the last 18 years begins teaching out its final batch of students. There’s reflections of other difficult, transitional, and tired moments in his live, but there’s also fun and opportunities. The terzanelle is a French/Italian adaptation of the terza rima to the villanelle form. Each terzanelle is meant to be 19 lines long (ten syllables each), composed of five triplets with a concluding quatrain, and are written in iambic pentamater. I don't pay much attention to where my metrical feet are stepping, but I enjoy the puzzle-like nature of this form and the subtlety of the repeating lines, the variations in meaning. I also enjoy breaking the lines and changing punctuation.

  • ISBN: 9781310842870
  • Author: John Beach
  • Published: 2015-10-03 22:20:12
  • Words: 5147
Ship Ragged Ship Ragged