eality check: Life is not a fairytale in case you weren’t aware, and it isn’t always fair. Sometimes it ends badly. Sometimes it begins badly. Sometimes the middle goes from bad to worse. Which is not quite as bad as from worse to dismal, and certainly not as bad as from dismal to abysmal. So cheer up if things get worse. They’re usually not as bad as they might be if they were even worse than worse!
Just trying to be positive.
For some of us there will be more downs than ups, more bad times and tidings than good. Unfortunately, some of us are born less fortunate than others. We can hope our luck will improve but not everyone is destined to live happily ever after, despite what we are raised to believe is possible. Often, for every winner there must be a loser, in every victory another’s defeat. Thus, one person’s happy ending may result in another’s tragedy.
I know what you’re thinking: You call this positive???
Yet it is picking up the pieces following a disaster or downfall that truly defines us.
When we lose, if we see ourselves as losers then that is what we will be. If, however, we look for a trace of good out of the bad — we can wring our hankies and find the strength in our disconsolate hearts, our dilapidated spirits to go on. We just never know. It could be that defeat, that tragedy which leads to our greatest triumph somewhere down the road. We can always dream.
Whatever Life may hold, it behooves each of us to strive to be a better person. Better than those who plot or side or turn against us.
I myself do not care for serious competitions or manipulative games. I prefer to participate in something for fun, and I am generally relieved to be out of a contest because I really don’t need the pressure! Some people are ruthless and aggressive, whereas I attempt to avoid confrontations. When forced, I will stand up for those I care about and what I believe. But so much of Life seems to involve contention and rivalry.
Must disagreements between or within nations be settled by war? Do we have to compete in order to succeed? Is it a requirement to do or be or look better than others? (The ones who aren’t plotting or siding or turning against us, that is. Also the ones who aren’t committing crimes against Nature, humanity, or themselves. We should definitely try to do better than them!)
I know, I know, some things may never change. Then again, not everything may need to.
In accepting what can’t be changed, marching forward regardless of how tattered and torn, standing up to adversity however painful, we show precisely who we are. Those who cannot accept losses gracefully and live with respect, who connive and contrive out of envy or spite or avarice to bring about the ending they desire, ultimately lie defeated upon the cosmic field of battle. They may win for a while, but they will sacrifice their souls.
Life is a constant struggle against forces from without as well as from within. It is our duty to ourselves and those we love to maintain our integrity and withstand the tribulations, the temptations and trials that Life flings at us to the best of our ability. In that, I believe, is found our dignity . . . our nobility . . . our courage.
If we fail in this, the consequences can devastate. Yet all of us will fail at some point or other, for Life is as much a learning process as a progression and we must learn from its lessons until the end of our days.
Perhaps it is possible to overcome a life of misfortune and eventually flourish if we keep the right attitude. Perhaps that fairytale ending might still be possible after a long dark journey. No fairytale goes placidly from start to finish. They are fraught with obstacles and perils. Perhaps it is how we pick up our pieces and put them back together that will determine our Fate.
I want to believe that we can control to some extent our happy endings. For one thing, we can be happy with the way things are or endeavor to change them in some positive direction. We can find things that make us happy. The world has much to offer. But we must not seek our own satisfaction at the expense of others.
I have picked myself up and patched myself up on numerous occasions. I like to think I’ve done a pretty decent job. My life hasn’t gotten any smoother in the fifth decade, but I like to think it could. I like to think that there could be a happy ending for all of us — that the conflicts great and small of the world can be solved, and each of us might win in our own turn.
On that note I think I’ll write some poems. This in itself is a risk. I never know how they’ll turn out; I simply have to trust myself. I don’t trust easily. Trust is one of those things we should handle with care and use with caution.
My poems are the product of my imagination, and I hope now and then they capture yours. Some are born of whimsy. Others seem to spring forth out of madness or terror. Some are a reflection of my soul. I do not write them to be judged, critiqued, or even praised. I write them for me. And for the sake of sharing.
It is in sharing the depths of our souls that we are truly alive.
Candlefire casts a shadow’s dance
Of page turns adorned by gilded prose
Quaint illustrations of pure romance
And fayish doings, not worldly woes
Where fettles and fetters and fickles abound
The daintiest sprites may flutter past
In such grand stories have I found
The spark for the tales I’ve cast
I break many rules, including the main
That fairytales tend to end well
There’s truth to my words, however insane
Thus I must at times mangle not quell
Real Life can be cursed, the grimmiest grief
Besieged by sorrows, beset by travails
Defying all reason, beyond belief
Scripted of heartache, sheer torment and wails
The blithest endings are never cemented
Promises break and bonds come undone
So in writing of fairies, they are likely demented
If I can’t have my cake then I’m going to have fun
Up out of the agonies I have survived
Come monsters and menacings, horrors and bones
Creepers and boogeymen oft are derived
I spare no torture, no screeches and moans
Yet sometimes I write of sweeter things
Innocent wonder, the good in the world
I forget for a moment the arrows Life slings
And cavort with my heartstrings unfurled
Mostly my pen scratches less lovely themes
I hope you don’t mind what crawls out of my head
The products of anguish and pain and bad dreams
The urges and splurges, the things left unsaid
All endings aren’t happy, all tales do not cease
With everything tidy and tied in a bow
For the interest of interest I like things to crease
A few garish wrinkles to disrupt the flow.
I stepped from the path of least resistance
Onto the tracks of a speeding train
Hauling a bedazzlery of splendors
A seldom-glimpsed-again refrain
I’ve longed for the smells and sounds of midways
Far from the highway’s rush and roar
One of those fading classic memories
Such as can make a heartbeat soar
Foolish me, standing blind in the spotlight
Struck by the locomotive’s prow
Swept to the site where tents would rise
I’m unable to leave them now
My spirit wanders with the show
Riding the rails of jesters with wings
We are the souls from a gone-by era
And always know what tomorrow brings
I lived my life with a carnival spirit
Traded my future to retain that zeal
The spinning delirium, infinite rapture
Of wonders once precious that now I can’t feel
Animals, too, are trapped in a limbo
Elephants, lions, tigers and bears
Creatures that should be at home in the wild
Were tormented for your stares
A circus of shades and revenants caper
To a broken organ’s strained discord
The show never ends, it goes on and on
Yet the train leaves the station all aboard
My brain has been shredded to cotton candy
It’s a challenge to think with a fluffy mind
But I feel so much lighter than I used to
My cares have been left behind
I lived my life with a circus spirit
Tripping on moonbeams and carousels
That’s who I am in the afterworld
A crowd of lost parallels.
A hulking bulkneyed bodily-harmer
Sinistery, masterly as a cobra charmer
Crept through the cracks of cobble lanes
While the city slept under shadow stains
In the bleakish blackstrous urban-scape
On a night unbounded by lamp or drape
Past hollow-eyed window, deafened grate
Scaling a trellis, anointed with hate
Brackish, swarthy, The Monstrel snuck
Inside the houses of those without luck
Taking what little they had to live
Stealing from those with nothing to give
Robbing the poor and raiding fresh tombs
He sifted and sorted and sealed their dooms
The heartless varlet, a scandalous thief
With moanstrous glee, bringing naught but grief
Barehanded would menace, no weapon was needed
But the fists of a brute whose size was heeded
Like Death he stole through Life a shroud
Smothering breaths and feeling so proud
Till a hare with cordovan eyes nipped the brute
Diminishing him to a mellow galoot
The stray bunny bit yet he thought it sweet
Not to mention, a prize with four rabbit’s feet!
Bearing her home, he cooked carrots for dinner
The rabbit feasted a little less thinner
An alliance was forged that murkful eve
Where from the rabbit could never leave
Named Zinfandel, she was trained to aid
The Monstrel in the games he played
Distracting, attracting, luring his marks
His victims would suffer the sting of his larks
The ghastly man stroked the bunny’s white fur
And cooed such gentlest phrases to her
But was it affection or empty need
From an ogre with a motive behind every deed?
Would the culprit ever be brought to pay
For the things he’d done each live-long day?
Too often malicious types elude
Their just desserts by being shrewd
Though now and then a villain is halted
By that which he or she exalted
Zinfandel hopped before a truck
The Monstrel dashed yet ran out of luck
The bunny survived, the man did not
The rabbit escaped her sorry lot
And my somber tale has a wry conclusion
What a shame it is mere illusion.
I’ve decided to be happy
For no specific reason
Does one always need a purpose?
Would it be such dreadful treason
If we skip instead of walking?
Or laugh when we should weep?
If we dance to the Fandango
When we should be fast asleep?
I’ve decided to be silly
Cuz I haven’t for a while
I have chosen not to care so much
And wear a foolish smile
By grinning I can push aside
The evils others do
Not allow the ills to hound me
Scrapes and bruises to accrue
It’s my decision to embrace
The positive in life
For thinking negatively
Can only lead to strife
The way we feel is up to us
Despite what may befall
The day will be much brighter
If we’re happy most of all
I’ve decided to be grateful
For everything that’s good
Accentuate what matters
Leave behind the stuff I should
If things happen for a reason
Then why should I be blue?
If each up must have a down
Every down will rise up too
All decisions are not lucid
Some are very complicated
Some have clauses or tough choices
Edges sharp, perhaps serrated
But deciding to be happy
Doesn’t take a lot of time
It just requires determination
And will leave your life sublime.
A shard or a spike can burrow neath the skin
Like an underlying tick that can’t get out as it got in
You might carry it at length, a foreign object in your flesh
A festering sore, a ragged wound that won’t mesh
Splinters can burn and remind you with pain
Of their presence, the disturbance can make you less sane
Their removal is tricky and could end in disaster
The injury gaping, your blood pouring faster
Needing surgical precision, it should not be taken lightly
It may even leave a scar, most conspicuous, unsightly
Yet permanent disfigurement’s the least of your woes
Should the splinter be a cutting of some plant that grows
Which could sprout vines or branches, take root in your skin
Like a parasitic alien, sap your strength, leave you thin
You’d be overgrown by tendrils, become a walking shrub
Chased by gardeners waving trimmers, bugs seeking grub
It could never be removed once it hooks you that way
You might have to be planted and watered each day
Oh the shame of it all, such a pity it would be
Here’s hoping no splinter should stab you or me.
Can you hear yourself blink?
Do you watch yourself think?
Have I driven you to drink
A cup of hot sauce?
If I pester you with queries
Am I worse than sprites or fairies
Who might fill you up with berries
And then cover you in moss?
Are you sure the world is round?
Do you contemplate profound?
Am I standing on the ground
Or somewhere higher than a kite?
Is there joy behind each sorrow?
Will today become tomorrow
If we live on time we borrow?
Is an error ever right?
Does each riddle bear an answer?
Should you feed a belly-dancer?
Can you trust a necromancer
Not to cast a spell on thee?
Might a beginning e’er conclude?
Is too polite the same as rude?
Must I construct my fortitude?
Are my intentions meant to be?
Can a mountain come to you
If it has nothing else to do?
I think my face is turning blue —
How does one actually catch a breath?
Should afoot quit while it’s ahead?
Why are you turning very red?
Was it something that I said?
Can someone scare their self to death?
Are you as rankled as you seem?
Could someone sleepwalk in a dream?
Can farmers grow a crop of cream?
What are those scissors you have for?
Does a moot point ever quite express?
Why can’t I argue with Success?
That tape must be for me, I guess —
Don’t you like me anymore?
a twisted fate
He stole into the city like a vagrant thief of hearts
By nightfall he had toppled every lady’s staunch ramparts
And lured them to a tower, there to hold them in his clasp
Mere hostages of fortune, they surrendered to his grasp
With half his face concealed, the damsels had been smitten
Why must the dark appeal? Where was this tenet written?
A chopping block he fashioned, an axe he brandished well
To demand a sum of riches before the first head fell
The city lavished wealth, yet his ransom met no bounds
“More!” the cad demanded, amidst wails and weeping sounds
Though the ladies all would swoon if he but glanced their way
His roguish charm was iffy, still he held them in his sway
The fairest of his captives had raven locks or manes of gold
These femmes would lose their heads for just a smile, it’s told
He possessed them in his thrall but there was more he craved
The villain sought respect despite him being so depraved
Love and passion were but trinkets, for he coveted esteem
In a mask he might be anyone, the worst that we could dream
How he hungered for raw fear, and thirsted for disgust
He envied ghouls and monsters for their loathing and mistrust
A nameless soulless rascal who had earned no sympathy
And had never squandered any on his vain and lethal spree
The blackguard bled the town until they’d nothing left to give
And their daughters, sisters, mothers, wives would no longer live
He tossed the heads down yelling, “Look what you made me do!”
Slaying women as if they were objects, leaving only two
A sweet and wholesome lady, her calculating opposite
He descended from the tower, hoping both of them might fit
Abandoning a night-haired beauty, clambering to his coach
He sped off with the lighter version, who seemed beyond reproach
Yet was a cunning witch and shrew, but only time could tell
That each deserved the other, a match made in their own Hell
A posse sprang to horseback and pursued the butcherous beast
Drawn by eight frothing stallions, piled high a glimm’rous feast
His carriage overladen, the treasure’s bulk a bridge did cave
The coach and unloving couple were lost as aging timbers gave
Swept deep into a canyon, where gravity would not hesitate —
The posse slowed by a cloud of dust in a happy twist of fate
Justice can’t subdue the grief no more than Life can skip a season
But small satisfaction was achieved . . . things happen for a reason.
If I told you a horror story
Would you think me very awfully gory?
Would you tell me that you’re truly sorry
But it isn’t hunky-dory?
If I spoke to you of gobblies and frights
The fiercest fiends and darkest knights
Could you sleep in bed without the lights?
Without the covers to block the sights?
What if my tale begins with a child
Who trusted others, was sweet and mild
Whose inner demons were badly riled
By terrors that can’t be reconciled?
What if her storybook fable went bad
Twisted and jangled a gnarly tad
The likes of which could render you mad —
Would you turn a deaf ear or wish you had?
What if I said the child was me
The harm is done irreparably
Yet the worst is over, would you agree?
Or another vandal be?
What if a child reached out to you
For compassion, protection, what would you do?
Be someone honest, someone true
Or another betrayer too?
I’m not a child outside, but in
My heart I wear that child’s lost grin
I don’t seek pity, a palanquin
I simply want peace, to trust again
Respect and kindness, treated fair
That’s all I asked and all I care
One day perhaps my heart to share
If ever I should dare
What if I told you life is mean
Based on so much of what I’ve seen
And still I hope for a brighter sheen
For happiness to intervene?
What if I told you I can smile
For I’ve known bliss between the vile
And I will walk another mile
Until I reach a place worthwhile?
Somewhere that hope and faith abide
No treachery or malice hide
Where only Nature’s beasts reside
And wishes float on a rainbow tide
What if I said that I avow
My horror story ends right now
No more abuse will I allow —
Could someone show me how?
~ Published ~
March 1, 2011