poetry critical

online poetry workshop

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Random Poem:

Imaginary Ashes (Part II)
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It is still with me; this rock I swallowed, this uncomfortable stomach and torn and searing bowels reminding me I am still real even as I stood under Washington’s arch looking forward, upward, as the rock of Empire towered above me, and I shouted up Fifth Avenue “Abomination!” and was replied by an eager man’s wild howling and the hushed smoke, smoke whispers near the fountain,
 1
Children of a giggling god, our confidence fragile as shattered glass left hanging in a store window, we blew smoke-rings real as us, vulnerable moments drowning in our coffee cups,
 2
Inert phrases slept between us on the table, hard-dealing phantasms whispering from looseleaf, hot tea fogging up my mindful disruptions, lost whispers condensing on the windows, undone by introverted delicatessen blues humming down Second Avenue,
 3
Semantic youth patrols scoping for the perfect in at yet another suede cerebral New York joint, waiting to claim the scarlet couch, the chessboard, the righteousness, always cheated by those ahead in line,
 4
Lust for effervescent digits and rock-hard vitalizations of the deepest interminable vowels made seeking a violent sport,  gutting the authentic from our places, leaving me to wonder about the framing of brick walls and this historical slot of Village credentials,
 5
The screaming feces of the street, the dreary evaporative loss where God and me live Downtown, doing our laundry at Bleecker St midnight, still alive because I ain’t found nothin’ to die for, nothing more than a slide to the very heights of Babylon…
 6
But you, you do not remember the smoke and fire days when the gone world still smoldered and we carried with us everywhere the smell of Auschwitz ’44, you do not know a city where love rots in the gutters and truth is litter in the wind—a million missing posters, three thousand souls made paper and tormented as driven leaves in bitter noreaster winds,
 7
I beheld the power and the glory of the firefighters’ doom when down came crashing a yawp most barbaric, collapsing death shuddering the enshrined palm trees, the lone New Yorkers sympathetic to my felonious residence in this snow-lit winter,
 8
How those impersonal canyons shook, as New York at last cried out my name in chorus with a million others it tried at once to swallow, her towering horns revealed in their impermanence as simple assembled dust unholy to all that is solid,
 9
Reality exploded outside my windows as it replayed on the tube, I clamored down my stairs while the newscasters yelled at me from all directions, I fled impending dust while watching the TV,
 10
I witnessed the flights of irregular trapezoids freed from the confines of trigonometric conduct, I dodged the cannon fodder of our genitals raining on the cars of the doomed, delivering the prime climax of inalienable life,
 11
So belief is difficult to muster in these trying days of irony, one-way streets, and snow, but somewhere in the nervous jolts of the Metro North, the nightly evacuation of Washington Square, and the public worship of a hypermayor, there is a dirge for downtown’s gutters,
 12
These days of lonely contraception with the poor, inadequate air, as God in His wisdom rains Washington Heights on Belle Harbor,
 13
We sat behind closed windows and sweated, afraid to breathe, forced to look for meaning through a hole in the sky over Judson Church, imaginary ashes burning as smoke curled twice about the city and lay down dead,
 14
The only thing still real is death, not even the deaths of you, only my own eventuality: you watched on your TV, I saw those towers fall, I saw those towers down, I lived those towers down; they are tattooed upon the windows of my skull,
 15
When we dream, we die, and remain vainglorious in the spaciousness of a blood-boiling vacuum, sucking significance from steel and leaving a thin asbestos dust—Scott, how crowded and ornate is this business of life…
 16
Our silence stings and strikes unregarded, we bathed our grievances in the ardor of conviction, wondering now why we wasted the time, but where were you when my soul spit up its hairball, leaving me beneath the old beach house hammock cradling my innocence,
 17
Too much visibility has rendered you paper-thin, you are the taskmaster of a thousand inconsequentials,
 18
You spread viruses around her reputation that devour it in microscopic bites, you hook wriggling insinuations on filament weakness for predators to snatch her, you string out filets of oddities so anyone can snack on rejection, facilitating factual infilling by ravenous minds,
 19
We burned tennis balls, I threw my Legos® in anger (I wanted to reach you), we buried King George, we dreamed hard questing knights, but between us lies Mount Sitcom and it will forever now, I am afraid,
 20
You, my friend, are the collapse of meaning, the fake trees sprouting from newspaper soil, the absurd raining down in your inane kitchen where split-second slo-mo thwarts attacking peanuts,
 21
You could not take on your own mirror, you crawled up the asshole of ethics, you’ve finally shed me, I suppose; in the audacity of your reckless claims, you have erased all but the cruel joke of friendship and left me choking on its punchline…
 22
Coming down the 8th Avenue line and ascending the stairs to the Village I again failed to dream her into possibility, although convicted colors like red remain most welcome in this corner of a dusty mind, capital pediments of marble still adorning the stately sanctuary she let me have a glimpse of by staring at my eyes,
 23
But I was busy believing in cigarettes and thinking about the roundness of her breasts, jeans riding low as I try to record her evanescent smoke and the danger folded in her lips, drawn curtains admitting a nonspecific light not known in transparency that makes her silhouette more feasible,
 24
I am the lost pen! I am the screaming illegible! I am martini-freak goodness! I am certain I am without her, the halogen sun is taunting me through the insomniac night of extracurricular greed,
 25
I am feeling this so utterly, I wish I knew what it was—how small the place of her soul, how numerous its rooms…
 26
Only the terminal nature of endless futility makes sense, leaving me swimming in a pharmaceutical sea of unprocessed copy where only surreal stars remain worth reading and your evanescence is too heavy to be believed,
 27
For now I am beyond the reach of alphabetics: with each sign already signified, New York not taking place is life-threatening, and each subway ride hurls slings and arrows I dare not oppose,
 28
For vested interests in the binary art of murder, for prophecy on the subway walls, for OnlyBeautifulHappens, for amber waves of Cain,
 29
I keep her in the faded pockets of my skin, where I hear the heaving loss of angels…
 30
I remain devout, placid, still; how like water in the morning.
 31

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