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Lottery tickets are a surtax on desperation.

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The Lottery

The Lottery

Through their mind’s eye, patiently they stood gazing to the sky,
peering through the floating cloud, hoping to spot the pot
of gold at the end of the rainbow.

From a shorter distance, a day in the month of May,
and in the solitude of self, I studied the long line of
Mona Lisa faces against expectations and probabilities.
Some leaned on canes; others rode in wheelchairs;
still others held up under their own weight.

As the single column shrunk, it grew with young mothers
and their laughing children ducking under their
grasping hands, and using them as Maypoles.


My mind got a glimpse of a young mother with a cute little
house etched on her face for she and the baby
on her hip, and the toddler tugging at her skirt.
In the stillness of self, I was able to see beyond my likeness
into the mind of a round- woman silently, moaning as she
leaned on inflamed knees that ached for a knee replacement.

I even eavesdropped into the thoughts of an adult male,
weighed down under jobless, moneyless, and homeless.
The gold at the end of the arc is certain to replace
“less” for “more”, he thought!

I could not help over hearing the long conversation of two men
standing side by side, in the single line, making loud talk:
''I'm behind in child support payments and can’t see my child, said one.”
'Are you saying, you sat quietly in the courtroom waiting for
a judge to evaluate your family's needs, the other asked sharply? '
MAN, we got to do better!
We can’t keep letting others adjudicate our worth and that of our families!
Let’s take back our dignity, and with pride,
place it in custody of our sons and daughters.”

As the front of the line was dwindling, I plainly saw a silver haired woman, time lined her forehead; her eye lids drooping like weeping willow branches. Yet she held tightly onto the plastic holder bulging with blessed lotto cards. She fixed her eyes and mind to the heavens, silently praying that God would not forsake she and her three small grand children…though, she had fruitless results before.

The procession moved closer. I stood in awe at the speed and accuracy of the cashier’s fingers pecking the keys; as the machine violently spat out handfuls of lottery tickets. And like a robot, taking customers money- at the same time- placing the tickets in their hands. I patiently shuffled along not thinking myself as part of the aggregate in the shopping mall.

Nearing the front of the line, I pulled my cell phone from my pocket,
(Unknowingly) a ten spot fell to the floor. “Hello Boo. I’m good. No.
I’m waiting to buy my lottery tickets. Son, hopefully the cashier has that
“BIG CHECK” we have been waiting for. Okay, bye”

I leaned forward; handing the cashier my number list, then reached into my pocket and pulling out an empty hand. I wondered if gamblers count the times they lose or win.

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The 'Poem A Day' Project ~ Day 164

She said “I’m not being funny, but I need my benefits
So I can fit my kids in a big new car
I their dads can’t pay as they’re all different guys
And I don’t really know who they are
And I’m not being funny but I need handouts for food,
Yes, its true that most is spent of cigs and drink
And of course my lottery tickets should be funded by you
So it’s not my cash going down the sink
And I’m not being funny but I’d really like a job
I want to get some work honestly
But not cleaning or manual stuff, I’ve to much pride for that
And every boss has it in for me
They asked me to turn up on time and work while I am there
And won’t let me skive which I find cruel
I’m not being funny but you should all pay for me”
And I didn’t find it funny at all

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What Our Dead Do

Jan came this morning
—I dreamt of my father
he says

he was riding in an oak coffin
I walked next to the hearse
and father turned to me:

you dressed me nicely
and the funeral is very beautiful
at this time of year so many flowers
it must have cost a lot

don’t worry about it father
—I say—let people see
we loved you
that we spared nothing

six men in black livery
walk nicely at our sides

father thought for a while
and said—the key to the desk
is in the silver inkwell
there is still some money
in the second drawer on the left

with this money—I say—
we will buy you a gravestone
a large one of black marble

it isn’t necessary—says father—
better give it to the poor

six men in black livery
walk nicely at our sides
they carry burning lanterns

again he seemed to be thinking
—take care of the flowers in the garden
cover them for the winter
I don’t want them to be wasted

you are the oldest—he says—
from a little felt bag behind the painting
take out the cuff links with real pearls
let them bring you luck
my mother gave them to me
when I finished high school
then he didn’t say anything
he must have entered a deeper sleep

this is how our dead
look after us
they warn us through dreams
bring back lost money
hunt for jobs
whisper the numbers of lottery tickets
or when they can’t do this
knock with their fingers on the windows

and out of gratitude
we imagine immortality for them
snug as the burrow of a mouse

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Erica Jong

Paper Cuts

Endless duplication of lives and objects....
-Theodore Roethke

I have known the imperial power of secretaries,
the awesome indifference of receptionists,
I have been intimidated by desk & typewriter,
by the silver jaws of the stapler
& the lecherous kiss of the mucilage,
& the unctuousness of rubber cement
before it dries.

I have been afraid of telephones,
have put my mouth to their stale tobacco breath,
have been jarred to terror
by their jangling midnight music,
& their sudden blackness
even when they are white.

I have been afraid in elevators
amid the satin hiss of cables
& the silky lisping of air conditioners
& the helicopter blades of fans.
I have seen time killed in the office jungles
of undeclared war.

My fear has crept into the paper guillotine
& voyaged to the Arctic Circle of the water cooler.
My fear has followed me into the locked Ladies Room,
& down the iron fire stairs
to the postage meter.

I have seen the mailroom women like lost letters
frayed around the edges.
I have seen the Xerox room men
shuffling in & out among each other
like cards in identical decks.

I have come to tell you I have survived.
I bring you chains of paperclips instead of emeralds.
I bring you lottery tickets instead of poems.
I bring you mucilage instead of love.

I lay my body out before you on the desk.
I spread my hair amid a maze of rubber stamps.
RUSH. SPECIAL DELIVERY. DO NOT BEND.
I am open-will you lick me like an envelope?
I am bleeding-will you kiss my paper cuts?

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New-York-City Sad Song

I am in New York City, but New York City,
It does not belong to me. You understand?
I am in New York City, but New York City is not in me.
What do I mean? Listen, I am from Chicago, Illinois.
Been in New York City for thirty-five years.
I am a New Yorker! You must understand!

Nope, nope, I probably confuse you.

What happens here? I have some examples.
Take the Second Avenue Subway. It doesn't exist!
City continues the project as long as I remember.
Seventh Avenue, midtown calls it, Fashion Avenue;
Yet garment making and design,
Do they play any role in today's American trade?

And the neighborhoods, they all look the same.
Look down the blocks. What do you see?
Corporate interests and franchise,
Dunkin' Donuts and big-time banks,
And, on almost every other corner,
Drug-store chains hawking their wares,
That's the story, the moms-and-pops, those stores,
Those stores are gone.

I notice more begging,
People seeking handouts more today than I ever recall.
The murder rate spikes. The poor kill the poor;
Children shoot other children.

And the City's once renowned middle class forced to flee,
I see a Great Migration,
A town left to ladies with big, diamond engagement rings,
And babies pushed in fancy perambulators.

By the way New York City's mayor,
He is the richest man in the state.

And you, yes, you, too,
You are not around much anymore.
How seldom I see you during the course of a year!
I am lonely without you.
I miss your not being home with me.
Nowadays, you go abroad
And, when you return, we go for dinner.
I only see you once in a while and then for a short time.

Ever notice all the lottery tickets which losers leave
On counter tops, and discard to the floor?
Seems many people hope to change their luck.

You follow? You understand what I mean?

I am in New York City, but New York City is not in me.

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Journey To Lisbon

Winter Journey to Lisbon

Up rua Garrett I walked and it’s steep, in Baixa, the old heart
of Lisbon, past a shop that sells lottery tickets that sits beside
a shop that sells religious artifax, which is next door to a shop
that sells Cartier watches, if you buy a ticket and win, there is
money to decorate you mother’s grave and to buy a watch for
yourself. At the top of the street there is café Brasilia it used to
be Fernando Pessoa’s drinking den, the place is full of solemn,
nice Portuguese who, dressed for the occasion, drink nice cups
of coffee, their forefathers used looked down on Fernando,
irreverent poets and writers must go and drink elsewhere.

The master poet is now a statue sits outside in the rain and has
his picture taken by tourists, one wonders what he thinks of it all
as he sees the statue of Antonio Ribero Chiado, a poet who lived
in the sixteen hundred, the Largo is called after him he is bald and
is dressed like monk. From Largo Chiado I could see the harbour
where tug boats ply their trade on grey waters; the church
“Incarnacao” where Antonio used to pray is beautifully restored,
but empty god had left by the backdoor, the front door was too
heavy, but I saw woman weeping near a statue of Christ, “opium
for the people? ” Yes, why not?

It is getting dark the Portuguese are swallowed up by the Metro
as middle aged men with folded cardboard boxes, look for a shop
doorway where to bed down; and over this scene hovers Amalia,
the great Fado singer, she came from poverty too, famous in her
own life time she had the sense to be a friend of the powerful and
made it to the top. When her friends toppled from power she was
out in the cold, but not for long the Portuguese quickly forgave her.
Fine rain falls on Fernando’s hat and Antonio’s bald head, empty
streets the city sleeps and leaves the space to cats, the sleepless,
whores and their sad clients.

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Patrick White

Looking For A Little Black Water After The Fury Of The White

Looking for a little black water after the fury of the white.
Dark energy after the light as peace
settles down gently upon me,
the sediment of the eras and rivers of my life.
And this cool night in early autumn,
a woman in a dark cloak and hood
I could almost caress if I could just breathe
a little more deeply than the abyss
I've been dogpaddling in because
there's nowhere else among all these stars
I can swim from the shallow end of myself
into the watersheds of my last drowning.

And there's an unprescribed silence,
a herb of the moon that's salving the wound
of the lunar thorn I just pulled out of my heart
delicately with my teeth. I'm trying
to tune my spinal cord to the guitar string
of the Tay River, so I can resonate in harmony
with the flow of things. Starfire walking
on the water of the mindstream without
the crutch of a miracle to help bear me up.

It's not so much a matter of power or self-discipline
as it is well within the spontaneous capacity
of everyone's emptiness to do so because,
labour exhaustively as we do just to find the path
let alone stay on it, all we've had to do
right from the start, is to let life
give us a narrative of our own we can be true to
as it makes you up going along with it
like a lonely survivor singing to himself in a lifeboat
at the last watch of the night. Arcturus
at the tip of our eyelashes, enmeshed
as it sinks in a western treeline of beached shipwrecks.

Reach out, but don't grasp. Accept and let go.
Scatter your blossoms, even when you're
down on your luck, like ripped up lottery tickets
whether they end up in the gutter
or on an impressionist table cloth somewhere
playing checkers with a patient still life.
I've seen whole Japanese plum trees in blossom
be brushed aside like perfect haikus
by a street sweeper at three in the morning
when no one else was watching but me and Basho.

My blood is saturated by an overdose of stars
and I can feel a light from deep within
rooting in my limbs like nightfall
as my awareness is enhanced
by how much unknown compassion
there is the silence, love in a dark time.
Blue moons on the wild grape vines,
approaching the autumn equinox in Virgo
as if they could read my mind like a purple passage
intoxicated on the wine that can be pressed out of its own decay.

The waterlilies are gone with the fireflies,
and the reupholstered cattails are beginning
to show signs of wear already. And soon
the Canada geese will be flying high overhead
bearing the souls of the dead to new latitudes of seeing
where the starmaps fall from their hands
like the feathers and leaves of being
flowing along with the mindstream
like the wiverns, wavelengths, and water sylphs
playing on the shores of the Milky Way
with as many burning bridges,
as there are flames on the phoenix
in the immolated sumac, as there are eyes
to see across these circuitous waters
to the other side of where we've always been going
alone together with everyone who's ever come aboard.

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Down By the Carib Sea

I

Sunrise in the Tropics

Sol, Sol, mighty lord of the tropic zone,
Here I wait with the trembling stars
To see thee once more take thy throne.

There the patient palm tree watching
Waits to say, 'Good morn' to thee,
And a throb of expectation
Pulses through the earth and me.

Now, o'er nature falls a hush,
Look! the East is all a-blush;
And a growing crimson crest
Dims the late stars in the west;
Now, a flood of golden light
Sweeps acress the silver night,
Swift the pale moon fades away
Before the light-girt King of Day,
See! the miracle is done!
Once more behold! The Sun!

II


Los Cigarillos


This is the land of the dark-eyed
gente,

Of the
dolce far niente,

Where we dream away
Both the night and day,
At night-time in sleep our dreams we invoke,
Our dreams come by day through the redolent smoke,
As it lazily curls,
And slowly unfurls
From our lips,
And the tips
Of our fragrant cigarillos.
For life in the tropics is only a joke,
So we pass it in dreams, and we pass it in smoke,
Smoke — smoke — smoke.

Tropical constitutions
Call for occasional revolutions;
But after that's through,
Why there's nothing to do
But smoke — smoke;
For life in the tropics is only a joke,
So we pass it in dreams, and we pass it in smoke,
Smoke — smoke — smoke.

III


Teestay


Of tropic sensations, the worst
Is,
sin duda,
the tropical thirst.

When it starts in your throat and constantly grows,
Till you feel that it reaches down to your toes,
When your mouth tastes like fur
And your tongue turns to dust,
There's but one thing to do,
And do it you must,
Drink
teestay.


Teestay, a drink with a history,
A delicious, delectable mystery,

'Cinco centavos el vaso, señor,'

If you take one, you will surely want more.


Teestay, Teestay,

The national drink on a feast day;
How it coolingly tickles,
As downward it trickles,

Teestay, teestay.

And you wish, as you take it down at a quaff,
That your neck was constructed à la giraffe.

Teestay, teestay.


IV


The Lottery Girl


'Lottery, lottery,
Take a chance at the lottery?
Take a ticket,
Or, better, take two;
Who knows what the future
May hold for you?
Lottery, lottery,
Take a chance at the lottery?'

Oh, limpid-eyed girl,
I would take every chance,
If only the prize
Were a love-flashing glance
From your fathomless eyes.

'Lottery, lottery,
Try your luck at the lottery?
Consider the size
Of the capital prize,
And take tickets
For the lottery.
Tickets,
señor?
Tickets,
señor?

Take a chance at the lottery?'

Oh, crimson-lipped girl,
With the magical smile,
I would count that the gamble
Were well worth the while,
Not a chance would I miss,
If only the prize
Were a honey-bee kiss
Gathered in sips
From those full-ripened lips,
And a love-flashing glance
From your eyes.

V


The Dancing Girl


Do you know what it is to dance?
Perhaps, you do know, in a fashion;
But by dancing I mean,
Not what's generally seen,
But dancing of fire and passion,
Of fire and delirious passion.

With a dusky-haired
señorita,

Her dark, misty eyes near your own,
And her scarlet-red mouth,
Like a rose of the south,
The reddest that ever was grown,
So close that you catch
Her quick-panting breath
As across your own face it is blown,
With a sigh, and a moan.
Ah! that is dancing,
As here by the Carib it's known.

Now, whirling and twirling
Like furies we go;
Now, soft and caressing
And sinuously slow;
With an undulating motion,
Like waves on a breeze-kissed ocean:—
And the scarlet-red mouth
Is nearer your own,
And the dark, misty eyes
Still softer have grown.
Ah! that is dancing, that is loving,
As here by the Carib they're known.

VI


Sunset in the Tropics


A silver flash from the sinking sun,
Then a shot of crimson across the sky
That, bursting, lets a thousand colors fly
And riot among the clouds; they run,
Deepening in purple, flaming in gold,
Changing, and opening fold after fold,
Then fading through all of the tints of the rose into gray,
Till, taking quick fright at the coming night,
They rush out down the west,
In hurried quest
Of the fleeing day.

Now above where the tardiest color flares a moment yet,
One point of light, now two, now three are set
To form the starry stairs, —
And, in her fire-fly crown,
Queen Night, on velvet slippered feet, comes softly down.

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Patrick White

Living On A Planet That Kills More People Than It Heals

Living on a planet that kills more people than it heals.
And the most dangerous of predators, our own ideals
turning on us like ingrown hairs, solar flares the wind
blew in our faces without any of the veils or auroral graces
that used to adorn our amazement at what our eyes
in creative collaboration with victimized ions, could do
with the last breath of an expiring sun god to make it
mystically beautiful and awe-inspiring. Just
to be a witness to it was enough to keep your mouth
shut for the next ten thousand years, the silence
before the sublimity of being in the presence
as convincing to the farmer as it was to the astronomer.

As civilization progresses into an improved savagery
and people grow more bovine in their living rooms
as the one-eyed liar at the nadir of the third eye
entrances them into believing they're still
grazing in the starfields of genetically modified astroturf
they were raised on, slowly, from a moon cow's point of view
it's beginning to dawn on people that civilization
is nothing but the history of war since Sargon of Agade
first turned the plunder of cattle and women
into the military imperialism of the few against the many
by staying like a parasitic cosmic egg laid
on the pineal gland of a host caterpillar so civilization,
mimetic word, a cattle prod, an axe, and an abattoir,
is coming to be seen for the death trap that it is.
Muddy Waters, there's anotha mule kickin in yo stall.

I grew up in an impoverished neighbourhood
where the garbage cans were full of people
but I swear, and I've seen a lot I wish I hadn't,
I've never seen so much rot, corruption, and ignorance,
lacking even elementary street smarts, as I do
in the portulent politicians and their fanatically kempt hags
that make you feel so sorry for their hairdressers,
and the tailors that have to fit them like a hidden agenda
of hate and greed, oozing through the seams
of their shapeshifting, deformed-fitting suits.

Makes you want to stick the old peace sign of the sixties
down your throat and throw up. Or pack up
a small tent, like a refugee or an emigrant
and get in line with the rest of the waterlilies
who've finally given up on trying to turn
the festering swamp into something redeemably beautiful
and would rather be homelessly lost among the stars,
floating down the Milky Way with wild black swans,
than sit like the eggcup of a crown on the skull
of a false prophecy missing more than one link in its evolution.
And if you think not to be appalled by the stink of the world
is a kind of experienced wisdom, a seasoned outlook,
then I might suggest that you've aged like offal
complicit in the contagion of worms in the grass
where the children play on the swings. And your last best hope
is that your eyes have retained some of the original innocence
of the fool that you used to be,
before the Medusa turned them to stone
and the colour flaked off like the irises of violated covenants.

Radical in the sixties, I was into self-creative destruction,
tallowing sand candles out of napalm and beeswax
that went off like fifty calibre lipstick shells in your face.
I occupied. I dropped out. I blew my own mind
more than once just to make sure the bridge was burning
by the time I got to the other side of my own mindstream
and no one was following me like another blistering ideal
that got thrown like acid in the maculate face of the full moon.
It was easier to believe in everything back then
than to make peace with myself even now,
though I know it's just one illusion dead set against another
and I'm sitting naked in the Himalayas alone at night
trying to hatch a new cosmic egg for myself
or at least a new cosmology for this glass third eye
I've ground like a lens or the mirror of a reflecting telescope
with gritty carborundum down to within an angstrom of perfection
just to be on the same wavelength as quicksilver and diamonds
when it comes to seeing things that don't easily disappear.
Now I can see the stars dancing clearly from the inside out.

I'm looking for an abandoned observatory on the top
of the world mountain standing on the shaky cornerstone
of a snapping turtle, and I'm not being driven out this time,
exiled among exiles, like some scapegoat beaten
like an objective correlative for what is most ugly in humans
that don't sacrifice themselves for their own sins.
I've been leaving of my own accord for the last thirty light years
of this wilderness experience for the wind knows where.
And I still care. And I still help the waywards of life
that blow across my path like losing lottery tickets
and one winged butterflies trying to fly
like the unbound page of a book with half a wingspan.
I still fight with words and actions that have been blooded
like Damascene swords in the sacred forges of my infernality.
I've gone on exploring the elusive dark energy
of my expansiveness long after the universe went out
and sight stopped being a kind of love as lucid
as the imagination on a good seeing night for the sky bound.

But as my compassion has grown deeper, more holistic
and mystically specific simultaneously so has the sadness
of feeling so many suffer the indistinguishable pain
of simply being alive to endure the agony
of cauterizing their cosmic wounds with the very stars
they wished upon a heart break ago when the waterclock
broke like an ice-age dam and the baby mammoth
was washed away like starmud in a glacial flood
of Pleistocene tears. And life seems so randomly perilous
in the way it maims and kills the body and the mind,
it seems even the wise and the sublime die as surrealistically
as the sarcastic mentors of trash and trivia
trying to distract our attention away from our dilemma
with cheap thrills and punchlines about the meaning of nothing
so we can't feel the house burning down around us
until we're reminiscing in our urns,
as if we were still haunted by eyes in the dark
like some lingering significance to our demise.

Lachrymae rerum. Sometimes I think the mute rocks
don't just speak, they weep like stars
for the things they've seen like the headstones
of prophetic skulls in a cemetery of ancestral asteroids.
An abandoned observatory, yes, the jewel in the lotus,
and a large garden where I can grow my own constellations
like esoteric zodiacs of asters and sunflowers
and a lover I can bed down with like an equinox
when our celestial equators intersect our ecliptics
at the equinoctial colures of our cosmic G-spots
and we can implode like supernovas in each other's presence
just for the pure joy of immolating ourselves in bliss
to renew the tenderness of the fireflies who know
there are no limits to how far we can take this.

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Patrick White

Waiting For A Thunderstorm

Waiting for a thunderstorm
just me and the moon
and these deserted streets with their heritage lamps
and tungsten suns
swarming with frenzied insects
like the brain of the occasional crackhead
who's made a hoody of the night
and pulls it down tighter as he passes
wondering whether he should have asked me for a cigarette.
Lines from sad songs like lingering smoke
from distant fires
curl through my head
like the ghosts of roads I once walked
then break off like old shoelaces.
O and the faces
like blossoms from a tree
hidden deep in the night
suddenly crossing the moon
like birds with messages and destinations
not meant for me anymore.
Kids wives lovers friends.
Imperatives of tenderness
like the first sight of her
shy and naked
and the first angry word
from his mouth
that ever passed between us
as we both stood in silence
knowing the weld
would be stronger than the original bond.
The first scar to ever write alif on my daughter's skin
like a tiny sabre of Kufic script
you could touch
only if you were very very careful
it was so sacred
she revered it like a holy book.
The first time I ever realized
making my son breakfast in the morning
as he usurped my chair like a throne
and shrieked with laughter
daring me to uproot him
like a baby tooth
that he was fathering me
as much as I was fathering him.
And we could both feel the new ones growing in.
Evanescence of time
releasing the flavours and fragrances
of wounded flowers like cultish elixirs
into the humid night air.
Auroral phantoms of past raptures
gather and disperse
and gather again
like radiance and rain
like carnal intensities
red-shifting into the spiritual immensities
of an ageing star.
A squad car slows down to check me out
and I expect any moment
to be talking to a cop
like a fast food attendant
at a drive-through window
but he decides I'm not a threat to the food chain
and cruises off.
And what could I have said to him
if he had asked me
what I'm doing out so late and alone
if I'd been in the mood to be accurate.
I'm watching water lilies
banked along the star streams
bloom and perish like Cepheid variables.
I'm remembering all the women
I've ever loved
teach the green phoenix
how to burn in the autumn like sumac.
And then eat my own ashes
like honey from an urn
without getting them all over my heart.
The uncontained contents
of an intimate stranger
passing the closed gates
of a more habitable solitude than mine
listening to the picture-music of his past lives
brighten the wind with fireflies
with the spearheads of weeping candles
guarding the entrance to Eden
as if there were no return address
on the uncensored love letters
that expressed the innocence
of our tragic insight
into the mutability of love.
A furtive young man bobs up
like an apple in a dumpster
in the grocery store parking lot
and stares at me
as if the whole world had root rot.
I make myself as inconsequential as I can
and pass on
wishing I had enough
to take him to Mac's Milk
and buy him some pizza pockets
that four and twenty blackbirds
don't fly out of
like a nursery rhyme
that's as real to him
as the seagulls and crows
he shoos away from his garbage-can
like fierce competitors
for a place in the ark
of his peerless lifeboat.
Humans live to eat to be hungry.
Life eats life to live.
It's incestuously symbiotic.
It's cannibalistically psychotic.
It's a perpetual agony machine.
The big fish eat the little fish
and the little fish have to be smart.
This one swallows like a silo.
This one steals food
from the begging bowls of children's mouths.
And that one
makes you think
he's as sweet as St. Francis of Assisi in poverty
as he brushes the flies off a butter tart
and smiles like grace
over something he found half-eaten
and cast away as he is.
Sweet mother of God
have your breasts withered
like the collapsed parachutes of emergency airlifts?
No more manna?
No more locusts and honey in the wilderness?
No more milk of human kindness?
No more galaxies at the spigots of your tits?
Just this ferocious squall of hot toxic vipers
falling like acid rain
down a dry wishing well
that ran out of holy water
like a gnostic mirage
in a hermetic desert of stars?
Are you past the age of child-bearing.
Are you laughing with Sarah
at the very idea of giving birth again.
Have you come to the end of your rope
like the bloodlines of great nations
in the loins of hapless prophets
sacrificing their sons to you
even though you asked for goat
in a holy war of sibling chromosomes?
Are you finished for good
with morning sickness and messiahs?
Have you had enough of immaculate miscarriages
that rise from the tomb
like a man not born of a woman?
No more loaves and fishes?
There's a genie.
There's a lamp.
But no more wishes?
There's a prayer mat.
There's an oilwell.
But no more flying carpets?
There's a fortune cookie.
There's a message in a bottle.
But only this afterlife of lottery tickets
and instant wins
that rip the wings off the heels
of mercurial chance
and alchemical hopes
of turning base metal into gold
with instant defeats
that are as quick on their feet
as turtles and hares on steroids?
The fruitless anomalies of a complex man
bewildered by his own helplessness
not knowing whether he should
insist on the birthright of food with a fist
or open his heart and his hand
and give everything he's got to give
though there's as little protein
in the names of his mythic ideals
as there is among the hungry ghosts of fame.
Estrangement and outrage.
The savaged dignity of the cornered
eating their own hearts for the courage
to face their sacrificial lives again another day
like the strategic retreat of an ice age
trying not to do any damage
as they gouge their eyes out in their dreams
and silence the birds with their screams.
Sometimes I think the radiance
I see in the stars and people's eyes
whatever they're looking at inside themselves
isn't so much a function of light
as the shriek of murdered mirrors.
But way leads on to way
and by the time I get down
to the willows on the bank of the Tay
I'm alone again in my own agony
and the willows sway
and the river flows
and the eternal sky
does not inhibit the flight of the white clouds
everything in passage
a water snake riding
the wavelengths of the moon
like a mirage of dead seas in a desert.
And the deep unsayable sadness returns
to pervade and saturate the mind
with ephemerids of the heart
that resonate in time
like the last flowers of the summer.
Translucent simulacra of past familiars
who once possessed me
like occult seasons of the soul
that scattered like leaves and water birds
but made such an impression
upon the waters of my life
they're indelible reflections
left untouched
by the summons and imperatives
of the long seances of the heart
and quick exorcisms of the mind
cooling the swords and grails of their passions
in star streams exalted beyond thought.
Focused like a drone strike
hunting frogs among the irises
a wild cat disregards me.
A fish jumps at a mosquito.
A flash of long distant lightning.
The shorter circuits of the fireflies.
Headlights slashing through the dark groves
beyond the train tracks
that intersect the road by the cemetery.
Elephantine clouds labour for a mouse of rain.
But every dropp a star globe
and the whole of the moon and the sky
in each little tear of a world.
Beauty in the pain of departure
comes like a consolation
and leaves like an alibi.
The willows have lost their flowers
and soon enough their birds.
Some people are buried deeper than others.
And some are at a loss for words.
And some rely on bells
to temper the severity
of their disciplined farewells.
Each of us reaches out for the other
as if we could touch time itself
and gentle it
like a feather of a breath upon our skin
that for a few unborn moments
that last longer than life
makes light of death
for not knowing where to begin.

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Unfortunately, the current format for this lottery program are subject to fraud and abuse and leave our nation exposed to those who may seek to do harm on American soil.

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Today I bought two lottery tickets, because I had a feeling that it would be now or never - they were both blanks. So I am not going to be rich after all. Nothing at all to be done about it.

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Marshmallow Shores

Raspberry skies raining peppermint drops
Strawberry clouds and blueberry raindrops
Candy cane trees with chocolate fences
Land of dreams that tickle your senses

Climb into my tangerine boat
Upon pumpkin seas we shall float
To laughter island where smiles are free
Ivy swings and rainbow slides you’ll see

A land where golden sunbeams sing
Chocolate cherries are bells that ring
Tickets are made of wind-dings galore
Day dream island of marshmallow shores

Copyright ©2005 Carole Cookie Arnold

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Long Tall Sally Rose

(Emmylouy Harris Paul Kennerley)
Well tonight I'm gonna wear my dancin' shoes
'Cause I heard the word and I heard the news
Ther's a gal in town she's packin' 'em in
If you've seen her once, you'll see her again
She's got a red hot dynamite band
They're burnin' down another one-night stand
Headlinin' double shows
Everybody go see Sally Rose
She sure knows how to rock the crowd
Rocks 'em slow rocks 'em loud
So you better move fast 'cause tickets are tight
If you wanna see Sally Rose pick it tonight

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Occluded

Occluded by dust,
And well traveled orbits
Beyond the known space-
What rankles after midnight
Each being labors alone;
Coming and going a lonely way
The ending of life like a faint surprise
And even less interruption,
To others-

Back to the bingo, the pool halls,
Lottery tickets, and soccer games,
Finish the beer, the haircut, the lovemaking,
Death's another ritual, we must partake.
Mechanically we remove the blood,
Paint the face, bedeck with flowers.
Lower the body, down into wood:
(The small interruption does us good) -
But hallelujah- it's not our time, yet.

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No Acceptance Of What Is Going On

Many today are living lives in desperation.
Few are still clinging onto delusions.
The kind that only an appearance from Santa Claus,
Can forever erase.
The shouting sounds of reality,
Can not chase them away...
From their 'what if' existences.

There is no acceptance of what is going on,
In front of their faces.
And their lack of involvement,
Has invited what it is they deny.

Many today are living lives in desperation.
Few are still clinging onto delusions.
The kind that only an appearance from Santa Claus,
Can forever erase.

Minds are gone!
And there is no where to retrieve them,
From a lost and found!

Minds are gone!
And some folks were never attached to one,
To know what it is they are missing.

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Lights, Camera, Action!

Welcome!

To the greatest show on Earth

Seldom, do the actors study their words

Or review their lines or cue in on time

For stories undefined

The talent is slim or full of girth

It’s got romance and drama and chock full of action!

It’s a show for the ages, a fatal attraction!

Tickets are free, come on in and see

No intermissions and fewer distractions

Drink and eat, you’ll jump out your seat!

Witness special effects that cannot be beat!

The grooves in the tunes will make your heart swoon

And the wardrobe itself is an added treat

It’s got humor, suspense, and plot twists galore!

Original characters; original score!

You’ll cheer and you’ll jeer and you’ll fill up with fear

You might want to leave but you can’t find the door!

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Traveling Dream

I am packing to go to the airport
but somehow I am never packed.
I keep remembering more things
I keep forgetting.

Secretly the clock is bolting
forward ten minutes at a click
instead of one. Each time
I look away, it jumps.

Now I remember I have to find
the cats. I have four cats
even when I am asleep.
One is on the bed and I slip

her into the suitcase.
One is under the sofa. I
drag him out. But the tabby
in the suitcase has vanished.

Now my tickets have run away.
Maybe the cat has my tickets.
I can only find one cat.
My purse has gone into hiding.

Now it is time to get packed.
I take the suitcase down.
There is a cat in it but no clothes.
My tickets are floating in the bath

tub full of water. I dry them.
One cat is in my purse
but my wallet has dissolved.
The tickets are still dripping.

I look at the clock as it leaps
forward and see I have missed
my plane. My bed is gone now.
There is one cat the size of a sofa.

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After All These Years

Turn around.
Don't show me your back,
Give me eye contact.
Stop staring at the ground.

You wanted me to be honest.
And honesty I've given.
You wanted me to give love complete.
I'm here to deliver,
Both bitter and sweet.

Don't shut me out!
Let me in.
Help me to understand.
What have I said...
For you to lower and shake your head?

If I am wrong,
Tell me now.
Open up and communicate.
Don't be like that.
I want to comprehend.
Don't give me a cold shoulder.
Over something I'm sure,
Wont happen again.
Can you for once not be so stubborn?
What did I say to offend?

Turn around.
Don't show me your back,
Give me eye contact.
Stop staring at the ground.

I was teasing when I said,
Your head is like cement!
But don't give me the silent treatment.
Or reason to initiate another argument.
Anything but that silence!
That silence you can prevent.
'Okay! Okay...you win! '
Again!
For 'whatever' it was...
That started this 'nonsense' of yours,
To begin!

'Nonsense?
You spent my last twenty dollars,
On lottery tickets?
And you say that is 'NONSENSE? '

YEAH!
But I won a hundred dollars.

'Why did you not say that in the first place? '

Well...
You still have such a terrific behind.
And after all these years...
I took a moment or two,
Of my time to bide...and ponder!

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Lucky?

The lottery hit well over 500 million bucks,
And everyone was making plans
As if they'd already got the dough -
Some made lists of unneeded vices,
Others, plans to invest it all
(' 500 million just isn't enough these days ya know! ') -
So many - who mind you hadn't even won yet -
Were quickly showing signs of paranoia,
Plans to move far away, change phone numbers, get lawyers,
security systems, gaurds, and guns!
(' gotta be prepared ya know,
this kinda cash can cause friends to turn on ya! ') -
The day before they lived without a worry.
Then so suddenly, overcome with the emotion of it all
Their fear ran amuck:
' What if strangers call,
asking for a buck? ! '
' How dare the vagrants so bold be,
to ask for even a pittance
from one of such wealth as me? ! '

- Thinking of all that everyone had said,
It sort of went to my head.
So naturally I started to plan,
What if I was that winning man? ... what would I do?
- I'd buy a jet!
...no, I get air sick.
- I'd buy a yacht!
...no, I get sea sick.
- I'd buy a mansion overlooking L.A.!
...no, the smog makes me sick.

Then it hit me, hard and low.
I'm just not cut out to be rich.
... for no matter what, I am simply an average 'Joe'.
Even merely pondering over that kind of gross cash
Gave me a heartfelt fit.
Just the thought of being a wealthy snob
... really does make me sick!

So here, please
Take these lottery tickets back.
I've decided to be content,
Just a sittin' peacefully
Over here on the 'poor' side of the tracks.

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