America Then Vs. America Now

Lemme take you to an age before the days of Netflix

A time before you and I, when people made their own bricks

That’s right you pussy boys and girls – “Hold on a sec what year is this?”

One fucking seven, mother fucking seven six

That was the year that we stood and said, E-NUFF

“Take your shit back to Brit, this weak ass tea and other stuff”

“Hold on hat, you don’t like that? Go on get out your handcuff”

“I’m sick of all your taxes rather jump off Martha Vineyards bluff”

Waaaaait boyz, come on give me a break

The world’s been sleeping soundly now it’s fine’ly bout to be awake

Haven’t you heard? Healthcare should be a human right

Or could I be wrong? If so I don’t know why we fight

We’re changing the world, we stand here holding up our fists

All of you girls, get up and shame misogynists

We don’t like a President who judges people by their skin

Thank the God that we don’t think is real that none of us are Indian

Hooooold up, this isn’t what we fought for

We’re so ashamed at what became we’re rising out of Rushmore

It’s obvious that all you dweebs are needing this here crash course

So thank God you’re talking to the fucking eagle-blooded source

This. Isn’t. What. We. Had. In. Mind.

All. You. Do. Is. Bitch. And. Whine.

Man the fuck up, grow some balls and make this country free again

Turn off your TVs and fucking re-learn how to reason, men

Um, excuse me please, but you just sound like a big jerk

America today is different, watch us dance and watch us twerk

So get used to this new way of the world and new reality

How dare you scoff at human rights and my gender mentality

Meanwhile, overseas…

HA! Look! We’ve got them right where we want

They’re so accused of being used they can’t tell New York from Vermont!

Now it’s time to move while they have this dumb discussion

We shall crush them all with haste and make these morons Russian!

Muahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

Pussies.

The Worst Tinder Date Ever

Come here close, come here, see?

“Are these the things you said I need?”

“Wait a second, what is this?”

My trick worked, now you do belong to me

Come on down, don’t be shy

“I think that we should let it be”

Just you wait, you won’t regret

“You’re really starting to scare me”

You worry wart, this room is safe

“Are you just playing hard to get?”

Ask yourself, would I do that?

“I’m not sure sir cause we just met”

Here we are, just take a look!

“This place seems like its cool I guess”

You’re oh so right, now have a seat

“I see the checkerboard and chess”

There there now, let’s have a peek

“A peek at what, you silly man?”

A look at at all the options, see?

Because you’ve walked into my plan

“Wait a minute, what’d you say?”

Don’t fret now darling, just relax

Get yourself a comfy seat

And sit there till I sharp my ax

“Haha man, very funny,

Quit the acting, come here now”

You think I’m acting? Oh my dear

It’s not a joke, I’ll show you how

There we are, buckled in

“The hell is this you’re being weird?”

That’s okay, for very soon

I’ll show you what you all have feared

I think I’ll start with toenails, yes?

Shucking them like oyster shells

Soon you’ll realize who I am

And wish you were in seven hells

But wait right there and say a prayer

You aren’t going to see the light

And when I’m done and had my fun

You’ll wish you hadn’t swiped me right

My Hands

Never idle, on the move, ink pours on the page

The force that drives, a needed guide, is with me on this stage

I try to be an optimist, but sometimes I’m consumed by rage

Thinking of how things are done and how they could so quickly change

Yes all the world’s a stage you know, it’s something that you shan’t forget

The sun and stars would get along if only they’d shake hands and met

Humanity could follow suit, we’ve got the tech but somehow, yet

We manage to exacerbate the very things we should forget

Fossil fuels and everything, you know that it’s all temporary

But tell me more of how it works, and how mining isn’t mercenary

If you truly want to change the world into a gilded sanctuary

Then play the long game not the short, and hire you an actuary

Maybe they can run the numbers, project a truth that you won’t like

Their findings likely point to truth like human beings should take a hike

Sure, we all know that we need to build that interstate or that turnpike

Yet as we do this trees are cut, it’s like the land of the Third Reich

Yes it’s so, the world’s a stage, it’s just a game of checkers, chess

We put our pieces on the board, where we think they’ll help us best

And when we find a new chance to establish ourselves, let me guess

You want to build a military presence just to clean the mess

Sure my man, come on down, bring your gadgets and your tech

Cause I don’t really care what happens as long as I get that big check

You see this is why the world is wasted, all it’s countries are a wreck

We let the people be in charge that only care for their own neck

Maybe one day you’ll wake up, realize that this dream of yours

Doesn’t have to happen this way and you won’t be on all fours

Rising up and taking charge, you’ll fight and finely take these lands

Until then I’ll try my best, just writing with my moving hands

Between the Lines

Never have I ever wanted to fit into normalcy

Every time I thought of it I knew that it just wasn’t me

Don’t get me wrong, I know that it’s society

There’s nothing bad of being glad and fitting in the mold, you see

And if I’m being candid it’s a life I’ve started to envy

All the happiness that comes along with having a family

Sometimes I think about the path I’m on and start to think so differently

A wife and kids don’t sound so bad if I’m looking at things honestly

But then I think back to that day, when I got down on one knee

I told her I would change the world, no matter what, I’d make it be

That was the day I started walking, embarking on this journey

Using every tool I could, my sharpest sword is words it seems

This pen and pad are all I know, through time they’ve ‘come a part of me

Now my purpose has been found, it was her death, ironically

That made my prior motives lost, I’m born anew and finely free

To do the things she would have done if she were here and she was me

Understand the “why” behind this, then you’ll know the realest me

I truly do not care for fortune, or the fame that others seek

I want a world where all is fair, without the animosity

I guess I’ll post this poem online, but we all know it won’t matter, see

People want their news to heed the sickness and the tragedy

They care not for the positive; the things that most will never see

I pray one day this changes and we have a new reality

But until then I’ll post this, sure, but no one really cares to read

My Last Supper

*Partial credit to Andrew Lloyd Webber of Jesus Christ Superstar, 1973*

Look at all my trials and tribulations

Sitting in a gentle pool of wine

Don’t disturb me now, I can see the answers

Till this evening is this morning, I’ll be fine

I’ve lost myself in search of something greater

I refuse to say “I quit” and that “I tried”

And when I retire, I can look back at life

So they’ll still talk about me when I’ve died

Always hoped that I would be a writer

Knew I’d make it with her as my guide

And now that I’m here, I can share my heart and soul

On this journey that we call our short life’s ride

Da Boyds

There lives a small famiwee, I call them da Boyds

They are so pwetty and so vewy cute

I love to watch them frolick and pway

Everwy day on my morning commute

They live in a howse made out of straw

It seems the parwents never do rest

All of the time da Boyds fwy through the sky

Looking for woyms for the chicks in their nest

DNA: A Controversial Poem

Open the cover, turn the page, are you sure you wanna find what you’re lookin’ for?

Some things are better left unsaid, I bet you don’t wanna open up this door

There’s a mask that we all wear; you know what I mean, don’t act like you think you don’t

There’s things that we all do; you know what I mean, don’t act like you think you won’t

People are animals, that’s the truth at the end of the day

Wait a sec, you don’t think so? I’m sorry you’ll get it, but maybe not right away

Look at a man, what does he want? He wants all the things that’ll get him a girl

Look at a girl, what does she want? All the things as the girls in the animal world

A place for the fam, no? A unit that’s close and looks after their own

And then you’ve got Dad, right? Who just runs all around trying to make it alone

But hey we can’t really say much, know why? Cause at the end of the day

It’s not the Dad who’s confused, it’s just all written in our DNA

Ballad of the Bimbo

Lemme tell a story, it’s about this crazy bimbo

That booty was so strong ya’ll, just like a Slice of Kimbo

I took her back to the crib, thinkin’ I’mma get some some trim, yo

Next thing I knew she bends on down, “You gonna lick this rim, tho?”

“Hold up girl, wait a sec, I gotta check my bills, ho”

“I don’t know if I can pay for this,” my mind starts movin’ real slow

“Wait up girl, the fuck is that?” She just pulled out a dildo

Fourteen inches, girth of Thor, I laugh and tell her “HELL NO”

But wait a min, the shit is this? Whips out a Pokémon handcuff,

“Come on now, don’t be shy, stop actin’ like you hard n’ tough”

Locks me up and bends me down, grabs the dildo, lookin’ rough

Stares at me straight in the eye, “This gon’ Peek-on-thru that Jigglypuff”

“Oh my God!” I screamed out loud. “My butt isn’t that durable!”

“Sorry bitch,” she said to me, “this tickets not transferable”

I’m sorry ya’ll, I cannot tell, what happened was unbearable

Let just say that the next day, my butt was unrepairable

Listen now, all of you, don’t care how much you think you know

Never go to that same place. Never shop by that window.

Cause if you do, I swear to you, you’ll soon be playing limbo

With the roughest dame in town, that crazy freakin’ bimbo

Ripples

Ripples, I see down below

The waves are moving, soft and slow

Like zephyrs, gently drifting through

The water’s stillness calms and soothes

I cast a rock into its deeps

Watch it sink as this willow weeps

I see the first bright evening star

Across the lake, the trees afar

The coast adorns a bright green coat

It’s shadow cloaks a lonely boat

My friend, on four, barks on a whim

As children there, begin to swim

A sigh escapes, the calmest breath

There’s so much life to live ‘fore death

And as I stand, to pack my things

I thank this world, for all it brings

My Life

The sand, the dirt, the grass, the trees

The sticks, the stones, the light, the breeze

The things this world has made for me

Have warmed my heart and set me free

I look at the stars as I rest on my knee

They twinkle and spark, this light that I see

I gaze at them wondering, what could they be?

As I listen to waves hit the rocks under me

So calm it all is, out here with the leaves

No fear of the world, or it’s warriors and thieves

My mind is at rest, this feeling I’ve sought

A needed reprieve from the torment I’ve thought

The darkness within isn’t something I share

I keep it behind the false mask that I wear

It’s not that I’ve feigned, and not that I’ve lied

I just don’t want to release all the pain that’s inside

I want to be happy

I just want to live

Her death, it has gripped me

And it’s hold will not give

My words carry weight

Of this, I know

But now I see nothing

Through her bedroom’s window

It used to be filled

With her smile, her love

As she watched us all playing

With a ball and a glove

Those days are all gone now

And it hurts me so much

Please take this away, God

Please heal me, your touch

I don’t care if they read this

It’s my only escape

These pages have saved me

From a much harsher fate

I beg you, my Father

If you truly are there

To take this away

And heal my despair

These words that I’m writing

They’re the realest I’ve penned

I beg of you, God

Will I see her again?

Scars

They’re carried each and every day, they never ever go away. I cannot seem to find a place where minds are clear and thoughts erased. They stay with me, they’re always there, it seems a saddened love affair. My heart is blackened when the air begins to flow with fervent prayer. The things I’ve done, the things I’ve not, they occupy my every thought. The questions that I ask myself are known to me; and no one else. The answers lie in of itself, or maybe on my dark bookshelf. Our past, it haunts, it makes us see, that which we often disagree. For truth is that, and nothing else. It doesn’t care for time, or self. It shines its light, and nothing more. It opens every locked, closed door. Yet when we see the things we’ve done, we often want to turn and run. Such deeds exist, there in your past, and if you let them ever-last, your further will be chained and cast to those who judge and those who blast.

Let your scars, while they remain, fade away into the plain. You’ll always have them, they’ll maintain, but use them for your growth and gain. Learn their passage, learn their plight, and if you ever have to fight, your scars will tell you what to do; if it’s wrong, or if it’s true. Some see them as the wounds of life, but I prefer to use them like a knife. Every time I’m broken, down; my scars remind me that I’ve found. I’ve always found that this will pass, and every time, it always has.

Love can be the best of things, but think before you exchange rings. Be certain that they are the one, that love and bond won’t come undone. Take a look back at your past. Make sure this time that it will last.

And if you doubt things, look to the stars. Then, look back, at all your scars.

91 (A Short Story by Josh Jones)

91

At 91, Gladys sips bourbon from her grandmother’s floral teacup. It’s eleven in the morning. The teacup shakes slightly in her veined, big-knuckled hand. The saucer clinks several times as she sets it down. She’s given up reading the newspaper because her eyes are shot and she feels reading glasses are gauche. Instead of reading she listens to the radio.

Her radio, an original transistor type, picks up programs broadcast on the FM signal. A light jazz music traipses through the air. She wears a light cotton gown. White, wispy hair dances around her face, catching the morning light. Her eyes are set deep within a wrinkled face. Looking out her window to the yard, a young Hispanic man mows and trims.

Her lips, moistened from the bourbon, tense every so often as she listens to the irritating man on the radio who talks between her songs. As he prattles on, she closes her eyes and sees the lovely vignettes of her childhood. She dwells here more and more, in the thoughts of a youth, where memories are so vivid in her mind. She revels in her recollections and the emotions they bring. They take her back to times long before the Alzheimer’s became the focal point of her life. Mornings are the best, with her bourbon, her light jazz and her youth.

She remembers the small apartment where she, her sister, and parents lived. It was an Irish neighborhood on the cusp of Harlem in the thriving days of New York City’s bustling renaissance. She remembers ‘rushing the can’ to her parents as they listened to Benny Goodman. The large can, coming from the corner bar, was filled with cold beer. At nine years old, she would give the slip of paper to the bartender for credit at the bar from her father. She remembers the smoky bar. She remembers neighbors sitting on the stoops of their buildings. She remembers her parents would drink the beer out of clear glasses while dancing in the kitchen.

Her older sister, Esther, would come home with stories from The Cotton Club where she was a coat check girl. She told her parents about the fur coats, the shimmering clothes and way the dancefloor pulsed with people dancing, drinking, smoking. Gladys would sit in the window overlooking the alleyway watching her parents dance, wanting to be older. She remembers her mother moving to the icebox, her hips swaying to jazz orchestra, to get refill the glasses. When her mom would be busy, Glady’s dad would pluck her from her window seat and spin her around to the jumpin’ and jivin’ music. She could smell the beer on his breath and the smoke on his clothes.

At her kitchen table, the ninety-one-year-old Gladys brings a hand up and feels the cotton collar of her house gown. She thinks of the sable furs her sister described from her job at The Cotton Club. In her silent reverie, Gladys picks up the cork from her Maker’s Mark bourbon bottle. The weight in her hand reminds her of the Bazooka Joe bubble gum her mother would give to her. She’d unpeel the wrapper, read the joke to her parents and they would hoot and holler with tipsy delight.

Gladys’ toe is bouncing along to the jazz station on her FM radio. The bouncing reminds her of jumping on the bed as she and her sister giggled together about a Barney Coogle cartoon called “Patch Mah Britches”. The character, and his big bottom, are covered by trousers with a hole in the seat. They fall back onto the bed laughing at the picture of the man’s underwear poking through his britches.

The radio goes to a commercial and her thoughts stop as an advertisement to cure erectile dysfunction dissipates the fond visions in her mind. She looks wide-eyed at the table. A plate from dinner with her remaining meal still sits on the table next to a pill dispenser.

Did she forgot to eat last night?

Oh dear, whose pills are those?

She sips her bourbon as a commercial for feminine hygiene products for maximum flow days causes her to scoff. She looks at the table again where her teeth are submerged in a glass next to her uneaten meal. She touches her mouth as if she’s surprised her teeth are across the table from her.

The music begins again and again, she is now skipping down the sidewalk beneath her apartment, throwing  a stone onto the hopscotch square. She hops deftly from one square to another, leaning forward to pick up the stone. A siren sounds down the street, she looks up as folks lean out their windows to watch the fire truck ramble by with its large water tank as firefighters hang off the sides.

Finishing her hopscotch, she says hello to Mrs. Finnegan, the fat lady across the hall who wears enormous, floral dresses and hands out candy. She gives Gladys three pieces of salt water taffy. She puts the candies into her pocket and runs upstairs to share with Esther. The radio in the kitchen is playing a rumba song. Esther grabs Gladys and they try to copy the dance moves they’ve watched her folks do. They both trip over each other, falling into a pile, giggling on the kitchen floor.

“Mom!” Gladys hears the sharp words and thinks her mother is yelling at them.

But, where’s Esther?

The knock comes again to her door. The door to her house, not her parent’s apartment.

Gladys walks to the door. “Yes?” she says.

“Mom,” a woman says again. “Open up, I have your groceries.”

“Groceries?” Gladys questions laying her hand on the door. “I didn’t order any groceries.”

“Mom,” the woman says, “it’s me. Your daughter.”

Gladys opens the door and looks at the woman and says, “I don’t know. I need to call my daughter to see if she ordered these groceries.”

“Mom,” the woman said. “I’m your daughter.”

“Oh…” Gladys said.


 

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Sheltered

 

The Answer: 3

My superiors are hounding me.

They claim to know more about these humans than I do. Obviously this is impossible. I have spent an entire career studying them. For years and years I have unearthed and uncovered recollections of this primitive species. No, those who oversee my operation are simply misinformed. They have no idea what it is I am carving into. My research has produced the most comprehensive recollection of what this species was. They were primal, to be sure, but they were brilliant at the same time. Many of the transcriptions I’ve deciphered tell to us a tale of severe calamity, a world where everyone was fighting one another. It is obvious based upon the interpretations of the sites we have uncovered that there was much turmoil at this point in their civilization.

And yet, the artifacts I’ve recovered tell me that they lived on. What happened? What events occurred that caused such a seemingly advanced civilization to crumble the way that they did?

These questions haunt me. I shall unearth this mystery; I know it lies here, somewhere. Its waiting to be discovered, just as the frozen bodies found at the southernmost point of this world.

I will find the answer.

The Answer: 2

Thought.

It is such a curious concept. It exists behind everything. Every single action, every single behavior, every single thing we do is motivated by thought, whether conscious or not. Breathing, for example. Do you think every time you take a breath? I think not. And yet you do it.

I am having difficulty compartmentalizing the minutia of human behavior. What things do I file as instinctual behavior, and what things do I classify as conscious behavior? It is a task my superiors have asked of me, and quite frankly, I do not yet know where to draw the line. What things were under these humans’ control? What things were manifested simply because of the circumstances at a given time? What could be helped, and what couldn’t?

The more answers I seek, the more questions I seem to face. This shall be a most difficult undertaking, if I am to speak openly. There are so many pressures I feel falling upon me to fully create an analysis of such behavior. This question of why may be my undoing.

I’ve yet to determine an answer.

The Answer: 1

I fear I’ll never know why they did the things that they did. Yet, counter-intuitively, this is the very question that lies at the bottom of every single shred of truth I find in my quest to understand these things called humans.

Why?

Why did they do what they did? This rudimentary, fundamental question has haunted me since the first day I began studying these creatures. From the very first memory I transposed…that hazy, clouded image of a mother taking the bottle away from its child’s insatiable lips, I’ve always wondered – why? Why did she do that?

It is this that sparked my quest into the deepest levels of their consciousness. A quest motivated by nothing other than lingering curiosity. I have decided that I must understand the workings behind the human psyche. I must understand the reason behind their actions. Why did the mother protect her children from the dangers of the world? Why did the General fight to the death to protect his men? Why did the shaman perform such dances to predict a year’s harvest? What forces were behind these behaviors? What motivations caused them to transpire?

It is this question that I have to answer.

I must understand…why.

Torn

The world is torn, its seams are frayed

They say they’ve wished them well and prayed

So many hold opinions, strong

But words are where they stop, its wrong

 

For if the ones who claim to care

Are genuine, then where’s their fare?

What costs have they all taken on?

Outside of tweets, or Facebook pawns?

 

Let me make this very clear

My life is committed to this, hear?

My books, my poems, they share a theme

The world, it needs a better dream

 

So while you spit and spread your hate

Know your words carry no weight

Keep posting, crying, doing naught

You’re dead weight, friend, an empty pot

Letter to My Lost: 2

My dearest Lilliana,

Not a day goes by without my thoughts eventually falling upon you. Those carefree, restless nights spent together I always think of as I sit here in the trenches, covered in the grit and dirt that this advance has cast over me. Every day we are inching forward, further and further as we push back the filth who see this world in a way that our loving God surely wishes to admonish.

Your last letter struck the deepest chords of my heart. I long for nothing more than the knowledge to tell you I shall be returning soon, and yet I fear there are many more battles to come. The officers have assured us that this war will come to a swift end, but many of us withhold our doubts. There is even talk that things are growing so perilous that the Americans will be giving their support in the way of rations and arms. The men say that it would be better if they would send their troops, but it seems as they are careful not to get themselves directly involved in the atrocities that the sons of Europe have been forced to bear witness to.

I cannot say I blame them, much as we would welcome their aide. No God fearing man on this Earth should be forced to shoulder the burdens this war has created.

I so hope that I shall see you before long, my love. This tiny locket I carry does not do justice to the image of you I dream of each time I lay down for the night.

Pray for me, my Lilliana. God willing, I will hold you in my arms soon.

Forever with you,

Your Braden

Letter to My Lost: 1

My love. My all. Such memories do we share. Memories such as the times we’d awaken to the sun’s shimmering rays darting through the window, on those soft linen sheets as you’d rollover, greeting me with the morning’s first kiss. Memories of your fingers gently gliding, cusping the back of my neck, holding me as if you’d never let go.

I so long for these moments. I cannot help but wonder where you are and what dangers lie ahead. Each day, without exception, I sit gazing out this window at the calm beach and its soothing waves; the soft sound of the salted water drifting to the shore. I think of us, my love, walking along that cool, flawlessly smooth sand with our hands clasped tightly together, enjoying the warm breeze as it passes through us without a care in the world.

The days are proving harder, my love. Each day without you further shatters my soul, as my thoughts are imprisoned by the uncertainty of your welfare. I miss you every waking second of the day, and am greeted by your embrace only in my most deepest of dreams.

Tell me you will be returning soon. I cannot bear the thought of going through this every day. I miss you, my Braden. I hope my letter finds you well.

Please come home to me.

With everlasting love,

Your Lilliana

The Ward & the Bone: 13

“Bites of the Round Bowl!! Please, lend me your ears.”

Standing valiantly on the balcony of Cage Spamalot’s Keep, Grr Barker tells the entire Realm of the quest he will embark on, with no puns intended.

“Realm!” He shouts, “I shall commission my bravest, most chivalrous Bites to accompany me on this epic quest! We will weather the challenges that lie ahead. No obstacle shall stand in our way as we courageously mush our way to the artifact of old; the fabled Excalibone!!”

“HUZZAH!!!!” The Kingdom roars before him. “LONG LIVE GRR BARKER!!!”

“Calm yourselves, constituents,” Barker howls as he raises a paw. “Yes, this quest shall bring much glory to our Kingdom, but we mustn’t forget the severity of the threat which lies to the East! My advisors have informed me that there still remains a Phelyon, by the name of Corgin La Fey, who wishes to reclaim our freed lands!!”

“NAY!!!” The crowd shouts, fully in support of their leader. “You must vanquish her!!”

“Yes!” Barker asserts. “And vanquish we shall!! But first, I must unearth the fabled weapon of old!! For without Excalibone, I might as well be riding into a sea of Jellyfish!”

“But wait, my Liege!” A random peasant shouts from the crowd. “What do jellyfish have to do with this narrative? Alas, they don’t even remotely relate to the topic at hand!”

“Aye,” Grr Barker barks, “your words are true. Jellyfish are not, in fact, related to this quest at all. But alas! We shall recover Excalibone and send Corgin La Fey back into chasm from whence she came!!!!” He howls, awoo’ing at the rising Moon.

“AWOOO!!!!!!” The crowd repeats, even though many of them are not Kaynine. “Tomorrow,” Grr Barker shouts, “our quest shall begin!!”

Hide & Seek

Sweaty brow, aching back, home packed lunch and the sleepless nights

That’s how things were done when people worked, reaching up for higher heights

Dirt and grit, skin and bone, not a moment thrown into the waste

Men would own up to the challenge, no obstacle they wouldn’t face

Things got done, cities built, on the shoulders of their work

They didn’t need a safe space, they built these things from grit and dirt

Now, today, we watch as our children have their feelings hurt

Instead of saying “toughen up”, we tell them “get revenge and throw some dirt”

Paint the people disagreeing as bigots and misogynists

As they yell and cry aloud, raising pickets and their fists

Its sad to me, watching as we become so weak

Many years from now, the stronger will destroy the meek

Its not immoral, its not unjust, to teach your children to be strong

Look out at this harsh, cruel world and tell me that you know I’m wrong

And if you do, then friend, this is the only thing I’ll say to you

I hope you taught them hide and seek, cause hiding’s all they’ll know to do