By Narcissa Lyons
I’ve not normally prefaced a poem with words, but so what. It is that time of year, and the last time for some of us weary of dread. Continue reading
By Narcissa Lyons
This is rage.
And it’s the sting of an angry wasp–
The lash of a grinning whip.
The progression of your tongue
Is the recession of my steps.
Yes dear, it’s collecting.
By Narcissa Lyons
Note to reader – This was written maybe 15 years ago but sadly now rather more relevant
Dark, green leaves and sticky heat,
Dewy tendrils caressing bugs—
That’s what is this jungle,
This bed of wild and danger.
We left the ship for this fresh stench,
For this dense and sense of stranger.
What they said we’d find we found
And thus we are en garde.
We’ve met strength that looks like men
But oddlier, foreign.
Creatures are these,
One might say they’re sleekish
Due to the sweaty black,
But conclude in fact it’s freakish
To be so bloody black.
Before their capture what we beheld!
It’s wild, berserk and rhythmic!
No subtlety and no finesse,
No demonstrated sanity,
And no requisite vanity.
Animals stand as men.
They’re not bangles, maybe so
But the beasts need mighty measures.
Hence a shackle here—
Hence a shackle there.
Who wouldn’t do the s(h)ame?
Some cried when we took them;
So human the tears that fell.
Too the shrieks and too the screams
Prove the beasthood we beheld.
Their chicanery might have cost us.
Such a human ruse, daunting.
But we carry on.
Rough seas, mean rains, rare sun
Make weary sailors vapid.
Some excuses for abuses
We regret, bewail, don’t quite condone.
Anchors down, the shores are reached—
We’ve most of us survived.
Our beasts in chains seem tentative,
Hesitant and lost.
Their mutterings are quieter,
Glances less than angry.
That lion’s fight is not yet gone
But eyes can’t lid defeat.
Some of us now cheerier—
Nay, we’re almost martyrs.
We will give these blacks a home!
Give these blacks some means!
They’ll not have to forage
In pesky damp and risk.
They’ll do some simple work
And such for simple fare.
The climate would be similar—
A nod and a wink, good job.
They’d surely get familiar–
Handshakes all around.
Yes, we were feeling kind,
Ignored the vague nausea,
Our duty is now done.
Back again to farther shores.
We will need thousands
Of these newly tethered,
Newly welcomed hands.
I own a vastness
And I’ve bought some fine fettered men,
Though I’ve never seen the like
(And it’s not that I dislike).
Big and black and strong—
Fierce, I think, and sly.
A few are even beautiful
And some seem downright keen.
They’re from the deeps of Africa,
The center of splendor gone crude.
Most of them obey
But most of them resent.
Is not absent.
One must enforce the rules.
Since much like beast,
A whip is just that must,
And my stand-up peers agree,
Nod their heads, “of course”.
By and by we get along.
They understand their place,
Come to terms with race.
These beings are not fiends,
Just not quite you and I.
And the female variety
(I know it’s what she intended).
Tension is filling our days.
Those that don’t know
Question this show
And are forcing our noble hands.
And I will fight fight fight
For what is right.
What is right.
What is right?
The land is turning red.
Blood seeps into branches
And stains the sky.
Is a swath.
Where is comfort for this honest man?
A deluge of battle—
An unwieldy war—
And illness that reckons with evil.
How did this begin
For the slightest sin?
But now I’ve said the wretched word.
It could have been a sin.
These could in fact be men.
No conviction in fighting,
I offer this waving white.
I offer late freedom
To my awkward companions.
My sweet, black Maisy
Has been with us some time.
We’re a border state,
But have no hate
For this strong yet gentle kind.
Maisy can be trusted.
She’s got her own to tend.
She may not be clever,
But I’ve begun teaching
And her eyes are very sharp—
Seeking, absorbing, resolute,
The beginning of quietly smart.
As I said,
She has her own clan.
Her fair husband Jeffrey
Is our other hand,
And her little ones play afield.
While ours are thus concealed.
I’ve thought of them mingling—
Children are children.
But what if some essence
Of which I know not
Goes into the minds of my young?
Goes quietly creeping and thusly infecting?
Yes, we are so alike
But I’m no clairvoyant!
What I can’t see
May still exist,
And if it’s vile
Then we are undone,
Probably perished I fear.
Still they wish to frolic,
My little ones and her little imps.
I finally broke and they played.
My eyes were braced for naught,
Will O’ Wisp poised,
And hand at the ready.
Strifeless, harmless amblings.
Tripping, bubbling, mimicking.
And Maisy just smiled and knew.
Assumption or presumption?
I will not admit wisdom.
Yet this is trivia, trivia.
Cursed rumblings bother the righteous.
White sheeted men
We lost Maisy’s man to treachery.
The night rife with screams
That since have my dreams
Been causing the ruin of days.
Those triangle men
Tied him and beat him
And put torch to the home of these friends.
Without even seeing him end.
We watched in shame as he died.
Maisy saw me weep,
But her eyes held no pity
And even a trace
Of “You too are guilty”.
What good was that bloody war
If now cowards might cloak such hate?
More north still we must
To be rid of this lust.
We can’t escape it, but shall avoid it,
This atrocity, monstrosity, truth.
Mother, said John, Jimmy’s my best friend.
Yes, Mother said, so what of it then?
Well, why’s he not in school?
Gosh John, they’ve different rules.
But Mother, he should be learning.
He’s learning but somewhere else.
Well, said John, then I’ll go there.
No you won’t and don’t you dare.
But Mother this makes no sense.
It does, his school is special.
Is that what’s really fair?
It’s true that it’s separate,
But it’s also nearly equal.
Mother, said John, why’s Jimmy way in back?
Because we are in the front.
Well then I’ll go back there.
No you won’t and don’t you dare.
How about Jimmy next to me?
That makes no sense, be still.
But this is nuts, he’s my best friend.
And the same he’ll be at this ride’s end.
Took awhile, but has arrived.
Roses and Parks,
Lovely the image—
So that’s the end of that
(at least the legal facts).
Two men playing basketball,
Sweating and shining—
Jostling and spinning.
Black and white rubbing skin,
Black and white exchanging grins.
Shoot the ball,
Love the game,
And honor it.
Both men clanking drinks
And talking manly tripe.
Constant nods and I-know-what-you-means.
Heeding, but viscous vision,
Seeking dames or any action—
The boys don’t see
The you and color me.
“Nor should that be.”
Agreed and then some.
How long we been friends?
“Too long, but this is cool.”
Know it is you fool.
“So what happened long ago,
And do you need compensation?
Would that be our salvation?”
Too late, too late you simpleton,
The time, it is at hand.
We’re close, we’re friends, we’re pals,
But we must, we should, we have to.
“I must ask–
Since that is past–,
Why is us a must?”
Look around you, white boy–
There’s a brewing on the rise.
Too much Spanish Brown
Is in our next sunrise.
The soldier was not in a familiar arena,
And very darkness deep in someone else’s,
Whip-like aware of dwindling defenses.
The indifferent heat would be his undoing–
Almost visible the tongue of steam.
He was itching in the undergrowth,
Twitching with the expect,
Capital Fear at what’s next.
Bugs—festering, brilliant, myriad,
All fucking over him, and catastrophic loud,
Seemingly ignorant in this fetid shroud.
The various smashes of sound were unnerving.
If an enemy could be defined,
What was the enemy behind?
Alone he was alone he was alone.
He was sure in youth he knew despair.
Now derision at such nonsense etched him crookedly.
What was that despair?
The glee of heart-break?
Some inconsequential waif waving get lost?
Bitter, bitter this particular chocolate.
This used to be sticks! He shouted in silence.
We hid behind rocks!
It was Ollie “Speeder” Finch
And Tim the moron down the street,
And the soldier smiled as only a soldier can smile.
But here sticks were dirty mean, underhanded.
Wooden pieces waiting to betray—
Stop progression, snap as he ran.
Traitors all, he thought.
Yet another traitor snap and now the enemy fired.
A thud of pain found his back,
Grew aching fingers further up his spine.
The soldier paused while buckling.
Had he been shot—had he been gotten?
Messy confusion, regret, rotten.
The ground was kindly there
To catch his endless descent.
He was shuddering, shuddering.
Blood sputtering, sputtering.
Then he heard foot-falls, determined.
Someone was closing the deal.
Even now, clichés from another planet.
Knowledge seeping, seeping.
Mr. Black creeping, creeping.
His ender approached and up looked the soldier,
Ready for this moment of which he had dreamed,
For which he had bravely braced.
But this was not his reverie,
Did not belong to him.
The fiend who had sent the bullet was smiling.
The soldier had imagined righteousness—
A knowing recognition—
A meaningful glance exchanged between fighting men.
A solemn, but proud moment in death.
Vicious, Vicious the foe he faced.
Sardonic, haughty, eager to witness one more.
He reached for anger but only got disgruntled.
So this was bloody it.
Valor and honor gone to shit.
What of beauty in this fading gray?
What of an angel at the end of his day?
Stupid smile on a stupider enemy who would remain unadvised of same.
Death was not unkind, just vilely disappointing.
He stared at his enemy while vaguely dying,
Duly noted the raised gun butt,
Understood the pristine intent.
A rather large Alas.
Maybe Tim was not the moron.
*The only humorous poem I’ve written to date, and written because it was for an entry to a bad poetry contest. I did not win, but maybe that’s OK?
I saw Bigfoot kiss a flower
Which reminded me of you.
You are so very pretty
Not just here but in any city.
And you are not an old bitty
Like someone who a sweater knitties.
But you are cute like kitties.
I like when you sing ditties.
I know Venus is a planet
Which reminded me of you.
You always have a nice hair-do.
Your eyes are like pools
And you, of course are cool
Like someone out of high school
And it’s not me that you can fool
Because to my heart you have the tools.
I have several big teeth
Which of course reminds me of you.
Your elbows are like a magic potion.
I get your awesome neck action.
I like how you walk and function.
My heart must have a love infection.
I am pleased with your mid-section.
Most ladders help you go up
Which mostly reminds me of you.
It is for you I sing a song,
One not short but not too long.
But don’t cry and try to be strong.
This is not a show where you I’d gong.
If you like, please wear a thong.
This love, so deep, cannot be wrong.
It is obvious that toothpicks are useful
Which almost reminds me of you.
I look at you, you’re such a doll.
I think you’re bouncy, like a ball.
If you’re cold, I’ll give you a shawl.
I would date you in public, even the mall.
Probably write our names on the bathroom wall.
Maybe even the handicap stall.
There are certainly peas in most soups
Which always reminds me of you.
As you see, it’s for you I fell.
When I see you off go bells.
To my friends you’d be an easy sell.
I hope this poem finds you well.
I think you’re more than pretty swell
And this is not something I’m afraid to yell.
I love you, can’t you tell?
The soul of a single–
The need for a tingle–
The screech for the mingle–
This is not a mother.
Have I blown this cover?
Precious nothing more than this,
Beauty by define–
Better than water–
Better than wine.
But the soul of a single
That needs to mingle
Dances on the fine–
Seeks the scintillating
Yet lives the true sublime.
Locomotion in female walls that runs a fire engine.
Plasma charisma and daring orgasma passing out on stars.
Hooting and Hollering, spinning and splintering,
This is the end of Sane Jane Main Jane Plain Jane–GONE.
The heat of the sun is the why she’s undone.
Puzzling through a sticky heat
And battling through a sweaty sheet–
Flirting the demon to outsmart the devil
And feeding the lion to quiet the lamb.
So much for the tango.
Maniacal strings hold the beautiful head
And the eyes hers and theirs smile softly instead
That maybe, could be, it is possibly just
That ending an engine is revving strange dust.
She could pull through the odds if the odds weren’t timed
But the clock whispers oddly and deepens the lines.
There were darker than light things that held on to tresses
And she spun to avoid the savage undressing.
Delicious and precary in an untested world.
She clamors to get in and then she clamors to get out.