deepundergroundpoetry.com

This Soulless Metropolis

Ups and downs
Cities and towns
Smiles and frowns
Kings and clowns

..

As the main doors are flung
Wide,
To release the mass of
Screaming children,
The sun was in my
Eyes,
Which blinded me
To his approach
And I didnít
Know,
I was leaving school,
To be kidnapped

My smiles were bright,
My spirits as eager
To take
Flight,
As the rest
Of these
Innocents

He had a layer of greasy
Unease
Upon his skin,
Which was taut,
From hunger
For his
Fix

His gaze is sometimes
Terrible,
Often,
Unfixed,
Addressing
The ghosts
Of his need

His motherís apartment
Had bright, white walls that
Contrasted
The feeling of
Darkness
Those walls
Held,
Father had beaten her,
Some days before

She lay prostrate
On the bed
And then
The floor,
As she attempts to rise
And make it to the bathroom
Door,
She doesnít

She soils herself,
Laying there,
She gasps
For air,
With which
To weep,
For her pain
And shame
Are equal
And deep,
He doesnít notice
Either

The ransom for
My life
Was
Whatever money
My mother
Had earned
That week,
In her job
As a barkeep
And the title
To her car,
She didnít hesitate

I am returned
Safe
To grandmotherís house,
Where
I find out,
He had threatened
To take me,
To murder
And dump my body
Back weeds,
Where I would never
Be found

They had tried to beat him
To the school,
Grandmother coming so close
In such a desperate
Race,
That she fell on a
Raised
Bit
Of concrete
And broke her ankle

Her foot looked like a giant
Q-tip,
But the pain that pinched
The eyes
Closed
Behind those
Coke bottle
Glasses
Was nothing
Compared to the
Flood
Of tears
Of relief

He had his
Drugs,
They had their
Child

So itís
Ups and downs
All around
;)

I was nine years old
And could comprehend
Little
Of what was happening

..

Two and a half hours or so
To reach her,
Drive out
East
On Interstate 10
North,
A good piece,
Up Interstate 85,
She is eager
For me to
Arrive

I am eager to
Meet her
Eyes,
To taste her
Mouth

I stop at a phone booth,
When I get off
At her
Exit,
My fingers
Tremble
As I dial
Her numbers,
It has been fifteen years
Since,
But still I
Remember

We drive
Late
Into the night,
On the return
Trip,
She falls
Asleep,
With her arms
In a tight
Grip,
Around my
Right
And itís
Alright,
No need
To shift
Into park or
Reverse,
On a long
Drive

Lights slide off her
Angelic
Face,
Streets
Glide
By

The car whirs
Itís many
Gears
And wheels
In centrifugal
Motion

Everything is
Perfect
In the
Quiet
Stillness
Of this
Beautiful
Night

I enjoy every detail

So itís
Cities and towns
All around

It all holds together,
For now,
And so,
When we get
Home,
I carry her
Inside

..

I am 26 years old,
I am in my fourth year of college,
When she
Leaves me,
For a man with
Money,
He lives in
San Diego,
Buys her
Beautiful
Objects,
Across the
Internet

I walk into English class,
In a haze of
Grief,
To a hail of
Applause,
I have won
An award,
For poetry

I am thirteen years old,
In the 7th grade,
So it is an oddity
And an alien
Thrill,
To receive mail,
Two pieces, no less

My mother hesitates,
A pallor creeps over her
Face,
She hands me the first envelope,
It is from a contest I entered,
In a magazine,
I have won my first award,
For poetry

A childís elation
Washes
Over me,
My motherís smile is
Wane,
She has opened the other
Letter,
That has arrived in my
Name,
It is from my father,
Somehow,
He has found us

She waits, days
To explain,
That he was sick
And wanted
To see me

We discuss it
And decide
Against,
Three years
Hence
And yet
The fear of his
Violence,
His
Madness,
Remains
Fresh,
In memory

I am thirteen years old,
When he dies,
From aids,
Emaciated
And blind

I keep his letter
In a drawer,
My award
In a frame
On the wall,
Above

He dies
Without seeing
His son,
Without saying
Goodbye,
Without expressing
His remorse,
Or his
Love

So itís
Smiles and frowns
All around

..

In this soulless metropolis, where I ache in absence, surrounded by similarly separated souls, where our brothers sleep on streets, in hollows of weeds, under the boughs of trees and our daily routine demands that we look away from them and their needs, which are often little more than a bite to eat, a blanket, a smile of acknowledgment. A handshake. A simple greeting. Yes, I see that you are suffering.

In this bloodless land of concrete, where all and each, suffer individually, it becomes an astonishment to learn, that I also, have lived a life of joys and sorrows, each within the tangled grasp of the other. Not terribly different from yours. Oh my sisters and brothers.

Forests are whittled into another cookie cutter shopping mall. Nature retreats from these faceless walls, blank and staring into nothing. Where lives are placed in numbered boxes. Where children are stacked by name and height into classrooms and school photographs. Where silent steel drones are building vertical bridges to nowhere.

An orange corona flickers and blooms in the thicket, the stink of crack wafts out and I know somewhere in that hollow of filth there is a soul not unlike my own, seeking a momentary refuge.

I find my own respite, in moments of passion and clarity, when all of life unfolds before me, like the petals of a flower, delicate, gorgeously fleeting they are, soon to wilt, which makes them precious, all the more.

A subtle vibration of sound, a tremulous motion of wind, a sunset awash in sibilant skins of colors and for a brief moment, countless lifetimes are one. And in that moment, I remember everything.

I am forty years old,
And comprehend
Far more,
Than I can comfortably
Relate,
This eternal destiny,
This foolish flesh

So itís
Kings and clowns
All around

;)

..

I am ten years old, this day. It is my birthday and I am playing in the street outside my grandmotherís house. The sun is shining, the air is cool and sweet on a perfect October afternoon.

I see him coming, this time, at the far end of the avenue. He is smiling, the light is reflecting off his glasses, which burn like twin ovals of sun fire. He is carrying something in his hands.

Panic grips my heart. I remember the incident, just weeks earlier. How my mother wept. How she trembled as she held me in her arms. The surprising strength in her desperate embrace, to have her son returned to her, unharmed.

I remember the countless days and nights of terror. Glass smashing, blood fountaining out of his arms as he laughs. Hours spent in the aftermath, wiping it up with towels. And many other horrors, too many to recount.

I flee in the opposite direction. I catch a single glimpse of the smile falling from his lips as I turn. I will never see him again in this world. He was bringing me a birthday present.

It has been thirty years. And still, I burn with the memory.

Ups and downs,
I answered, casually
Cities and towns,
I drove through
Smiles and frowns,
I witnessed
Kings and clowns,
I have been

We have each been
Everything,
Each other,
And everyone in between,
Oh my sisters and brothers

I have been
Everywhere,
I remember
Everything


..

This Soulless Metropolis
By
Daniel Christensen
DanielChristensen
Written by DanielChristensen (The Fire Elemental)
Published
Author's Note
Photo is my father looking over me in the crib.

Copyright © 2017 by Daniel Christensen. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any...
Photo is my father looking over me in the crib.

Copyright © 2017 by Daniel Christensen. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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