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Mudcat Poetry Corner

Joe_F 22 Jan 09 - 08:35 PM
Amos 22 Jan 09 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 22 Jan 09 - 05:46 PM
VirginiaTam 22 Jan 09 - 03:43 PM
VirginiaTam 22 Jan 09 - 02:45 PM
VirginiaTam 22 Jan 09 - 02:33 PM
Amos 22 Jan 09 - 10:52 AM
Amos 27 Sep 08 - 08:50 PM
katlaughing 27 Sep 08 - 08:29 PM
Joe_F 27 Sep 08 - 08:14 PM
Jeri 27 Sep 08 - 11:04 AM
Amos 26 Sep 08 - 11:09 PM
Joe_F 26 Sep 08 - 09:00 PM
Georgiansilver 26 Sep 08 - 03:17 PM
Amos 26 Sep 08 - 11:10 AM
Joe_F 16 Sep 08 - 10:32 PM
Lonesome EJ 16 Sep 08 - 10:29 PM
olddude 16 Sep 08 - 07:36 PM
Joe_F 15 Sep 08 - 09:07 PM
Sailor Ron 15 Sep 08 - 11:55 AM
romany man 15 Sep 08 - 06:23 AM
katlaughing 12 Sep 08 - 10:57 AM
GUEST 12 Sep 08 - 10:26 AM
romany man 12 Sep 08 - 05:55 AM
peregrina 11 Sep 08 - 07:52 AM
romany man 11 Sep 08 - 07:11 AM
Lonesome EJ 10 Sep 08 - 12:14 AM
Amos 09 Sep 08 - 10:18 PM
Joe_F 09 Sep 08 - 08:36 PM
Amos 09 Sep 08 - 03:56 PM
romany man 09 Sep 08 - 09:54 AM
romany man 09 Sep 08 - 05:17 AM
katlaughing 08 Sep 08 - 07:45 PM
romany man 08 Sep 08 - 12:57 PM
Amos 08 Sep 08 - 10:12 AM
romany man 08 Sep 08 - 06:03 AM
katlaughing 07 Sep 08 - 11:32 PM
Lonesome EJ 07 Sep 08 - 11:20 PM
Amos 07 Sep 08 - 09:21 PM
Amos 07 Sep 08 - 09:07 PM
Jay777 18 Jul 08 - 04:43 AM
katlaughing 17 Jul 08 - 03:18 PM
Amos 17 Jul 08 - 12:10 AM
Lonesome EJ 16 Jul 08 - 08:27 PM
Georgiansilver 16 Jul 08 - 06:42 PM
Megan L 16 Jul 08 - 05:28 PM
Amos 16 Jul 08 - 05:10 PM
Amos 12 Apr 08 - 03:58 PM
katlaughing 12 Oct 07 - 06:00 PM
Joe_F 11 Oct 07 - 09:17 PM
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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Joe_F
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 08:35 PM

Convected, fueled by the noon's fat
(you are a flame in all you eat),
in sight of our ruddy and pale tent at
    the top, we made a movable feast.
    Now we stand, staring at the east
      like the moon, and break our starry fast:
      golden-breasted, silvery-assed,
unbound boots on reminiscent feet.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 07:48 PM

Man after me own heart, TJ!


A


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 05:46 PM

Mere singing makes not a singer,
Nor mere writing, a writer.
Wishing is not believing,
Nor a promise, a deed.

A dilettante's life is a life unfulfilled,
Dabbling, trying, touching without feeling.
A life must be more, with its pain and its joy,
Without depth, one swims in a shallow pond,
And dies, unremembered, and in need.

Living is immersion, not simply connected,
But one with your passions.
Like a steed seeking freedom,
Take the bit in your teeth, and run!
Run until you bleed.

Dare to be ridiculous,
Dare to lay bare your soul,
Dare the slings and arrows
Of those less willing and more fearful.
Drink deeply from life's fountain, drink indeed.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 03:43 PM

I just discovered this thread today. Thank you Amos for creating it and for ressurecting from last post.

It is going to take me some time to read through entire thread. I like to take my time with poesy. Some wonderful stuff here. Already pm'd one poster cause he made me cry.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 02:45 PM

FRACTIONALITY

   Whole life
-----only-----
half lived

Parceled out
----pieces----
    of me

    I reduce
-----lowest-----
common denominator

    I am
---improperly---
   top heavy

   Divided by
---numerating---
    duties

   Attempts to
----multiply----
   cross out

   Result in
----wrong----
   answers

   What is
----left----
   but this

   Half life
----to be----
whole lived

Written by Tamara Hiatt between 1992 and 1996


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 02:33 PM

CAPRICE

Having no mind to make up
provokes me
defies that need
to take a stand
to resist deviation
from a course
of action
that will
identify me
place me
safely
firmly
somewhere

written by Tamara Hiatt, between 1992 - 1996


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 10:52 AM

Inauguration

The impossible is made by street walking,
Menders, and patchers,
Fixers of today, making ready, lovers in wait.

Teaching the earlier lessons, talking
About small, important matters,
About each; nothing heady, but nothing late.

When embers are made new by the breath
And such places prepared to be filled,
Then it begins, by multiplication.

Then, the whispers of old deaths
Sing to bring out the impossible
In the voice of a whole nation.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 27 Sep 08 - 08:50 PM

Beautiful work, Joe.

Jeri, that is rich. Poignant, also. Good.


A


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Sep 08 - 08:29 PM

JOe, I love that degrees of freedom one, esp!!! Really brilliant!

Jeri, no, no, and no! Don't touch it! Don't doubt it! Aye-yi-aye, woman! That is stunning. I love it!! (Esp. since my jewellery company is called "StonePeople!")


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Joe_F
Date: 27 Sep 08 - 08:14 PM

Professor, resting from your rigor
to dimple the contour up,
do not mumble "causality", say
"because the sky is black at night
so that there can be physics".

Copywriter, moiling on the 23rd floor
in an inside room, to be a nuisance and a liar
just within the law,
how much more you would stink
with no seas to piss in!

Man, how little you could make of life
if you did not rest from your rigor at last!

                                    (ca. 1970)


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Sep 08 - 11:04 AM

I LOVE Joe's work!

This, however, is all over the place, much like me. Doesn't know if it wants to rhyme or not. It probably needs editing... a LOT of editing. I used to write stuff like this when I was young, and I'd hide a bit of rhyme in it. I also wanted to turn this into a legend with a crow bringing the promise of life and setting the conditions.

Stone Woman

The world is made of one too many sunsets,
Glowing bittersweet fire
      through dusky clouds
             at the end of too-short days.

It is said that statues sometime live,
No one knows what magic makes it so.

Stone Woman watched as three times the sun rose-
Molten gold in a sky of cornflower blue possibility

The first day glowed with joyful color,
Until the sky went black and the light was ripped away
Like a door slamming shut
After just a glimpse of joy denied.

On the second day, the morning bloomed vermillion and marigold
Promising fullness and warmth
But smothering clouds soaked up the sun
Sucked out the air and mocked her foolish hope.
The world dimmed slowly, allowing her to believe sunset was illusion
So when might came, it was all the sadder.

On the third day, a bashful sun kissed the morning.
The far-away was amethyst and peach; the sunlight, golden laughter.
Stone Woman watched and longed to join the birds of dawn, and lift upon the breath of a sigh
She thought, 'Night will only come again'
But she opened her heart one last time.
As long as life had not abandoned her, she would not abandon it.

She wanted happiness but knew that day too would end,
When it did, she faced west to never see the dawn again
She was given three days to live and feel before she turned again to stone
And in what passes for a heart in a stone thing
She wondered at the cruelty love and life could bring
She knew she was not blessed but cursed, to remember all and to be alone

And she stood through cycles of day and dark for uncountable years
The days were dimmer, the grey land stark, and the rain was all she had for tears.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 11:09 PM

Joe, that's just brilliant,man!!!


A


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Joe_F
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 09:00 PM

DEGREE-OF-FREEDOM BLUES

What makes the mist
boil off the street?
What makes big molecules
soak up more heat?
Just that they can do it --
they don't have to choose.
They've got those everloving
degree-of-freedom blues.

Why isn't the sky
solid white with stars?
Why don't you see much
from Jupiter to Mars?
There's lots of space for losing
what you have to lose.
Just don't let it give you those
degree-of-freedom blues.

Energy is everything --
so some people say,
but entropy has got the keys
and trucks it all away.
Everything is plenty --
more than we can use,
but most of it is down with those
degree-of-freedom blues.

We may get TV signals
from deep in outer space,
and funny, long-dead faces
may stare us in the face.
If they look a little green,
that won't be news.
That's just your dopplered-down
degree-of-freedom blues.

There are more words
than you can ever say,
more stars and people
than ever come your way.
You ignore the billions
to learn the ones and twos.
Open up your ears to those
degree-of-freedom blues.

Once love was stuck in cylinders
and pulled creation's train,
but now, if you believe it,
it's falling with the rain.
Love is free to cover
whatever may amuse.
I think I hear love drumming those
degree-of-freedom blues.

Ropes knot and snarl
if you just let them be.
No river runs
straight down to the sea.
Crooked ways are billions;
straight ways, ones and twos.
All the worms are singing those
degree-of-freedom blues.

We send our whores
banging thru the sky;
we keep on building bombs
as if we'd like to die --
just cause we can do it
(costs too much to choose).
That's what's got me singing those
degree-of-freedom blues.

You can run a rocky road
balancing a pole,
but you can't run with water
and keep it in the bowl.
What you've got to run with
has still more ways to lose,
and what you've got to live with is
degree-of-freedom blues.

                               1978


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 03:17 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 26 Sep 08 - 11:10 AM

Renewal is joined at the head
With the truth of things.
That is the great secret, and why
This thread comes back
Over and over.


A


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Joe_F
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 10:32 PM

ELEGY FOR THE COMBAT ZONE

(The raunchy district in Boston -- pornographic movies & the like -- succumbed some years ago to political pressure from the city and economic pressure from the expansion of Chinatown.)

Farewell, O street of sleaze,
For even sleaze must pass!
Rebuild, O virtuous Chinese,
That true blue Boston, Mass.,

Where men still had their powers,
And women used their wits;
And "topless" went with towers,
And "bottomless", with pits.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 10:29 PM

Joe F, were you by any chance an early subject for lysergic experiments? I love the imagery!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: olddude
Date: 16 Sep 08 - 07:36 PM

AT LAST

      Elizabeth Akers Allen

At last, when all the summer shine
   That warmed life's early hours is past,
Your loving fingers seek for mine
   And hold them close at last at last!
Not oft the robin comes to build
   Its nest upon the leafless bough
By autumn robbed, by winter chilled,
   But you, dear heart, you love me now.

Though there are shadows on my brow
   And furrows on my cheek, in truth,
The marks where Time's remorseless plough
   Broke up the blooming sward of Youth,
Though fled is every boyish grace
   Might win or hold a lover's vow,
Despite my sad and faded face,
   And darkened heart, you love me now!

I count no more my wasted tears;
   They left no echo of their fall;
I mourn no more my lonesome years;
   This blessed hour atones for all.
I fear not all that Time or Fate
   May bring to burden heart or brow,
Strong in the love that came so late,
   Our souls shall keep it always now!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Joe_F
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 09:07 PM

A MIGHTY YOGURT IS OUR GOD

A mighty yogurt is our God,
And wicked as a teasel,
Which makes Our Mother dark and cross
As clouds above grass-laden sod
That draw its great green breasts of loss
Up to the Big Sloth Weasel.

He, stretched upon the thongs of hate,
Despises every inning
Wherein poor pricketts pushing past
The hateful health of Pa's debate
Let go the thought of shorn things massed
As if they might be winning.

Soon comes the second -- aye, that long --
When they are caused to know it:
Each prickly parent reams them through
With a necessitated gong,
To wake them up astride the ewe,
And only snow to show it.

He that did plow a Christmas path
Amidst dark stumps of apples
Shall sure upon the hills be struck
With avocado pears of wrath
And heathen antonyms of luck,
Which each brown spatter dapples.

Each now devises by his ways
An ever crushing pattern
Of rampantly abrading spheres
Dispersed in swarms of bleak displays,
To vomit heat on stellar fears,
While Justice bides, a slattern.

Evil are they that hate the witch
That drinks their blood upon them,
For it is purple, and can but
Despoil the whimsies of our stitch
Till naught but razor blades can cut
Such strings, from such as don them.

But worse and worse the wet flesh gets
By every moonlit measure,
So sprouts of vaginated teeth
Infest the serifs of our debts,
Like pintles holy men bequeath
For our dendritic pleasure.

And so the asterisks of hate
Have synchronized their twitches
In order to become the sight
Of film-clothed Death (at any rate)
And, with a little luck, of Night,
Who comes in small, ripe breeches.

                      [Written about 1959]


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 11:55 AM

Full forty years and over this task have I done
Ate the meal from off the corpse before the requiem.
The 'sin-eater' of the county. I eat their sins with the wine & bread
And with take unto my self the sins of all the dead.But who is there to take it on? Where now can I turn?
For if no one steps forth for me in Hell's cold fire I'll burn.
The sins of hundreds gone I carry in my soul
What happens when the 'sin-eater' lies cold beneath his pall?
With sins as countless as the stars, murder, lust & hate
Will anyone step forward my legacy to take?

The 'Death Song' they are keening, so to me they call
Yet they'll cross to the other side fore my shadow on them falls.
Will they watch my spirit flee bearing this black load
the sins of generations past to be judged before the Lord?

For this task you were chosen, so do not your duty shun
For the only one to eat my sins is you my only son.

Eat the bread, and drink the wine, as the priest at my mass
The choice my son is in your hand, do not let this chalice pass.
Or you condemn your father's soul to Hell and black despair.
My son in love, I beg of you take up this cross to bear.
Are you here to take it on? Unto you may I turn?
For if you don't step forth for me in Hell's cold fire I'll burn

Who is there to take it on? Where now can I turn?
Or in Hell's fire, in Hell's cold fire, in Hell's cold fire I burn.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: romany man
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 06:23 AM

Off we went the hops to pick,
Followed by apples, we gotta be quick,
The winter is coming
but harvest we must
the hard times will soon be running.

the wagons need paint,
the chavvs need food,
the money we earned
a lot has been spent,

time to knock doors
with pegs and posies
time to shelter
we wont be cosy.

Hard time is coming
shelter to find
heather to cut,
brooms to bind.

where to stop without fear
can we go back where we were last year
meat we will poach
the keeper aware

just a few few rabbits
look there are children here
they cant eat grass
nor the hoss that we rear.

what to sell just to keep em fed
need warm things
for the chavvs bed
the boys on the ground.

the girls fair better
they sleep in the wagon
the boys underneath
on straw with the hound.

some folks take pity
on lives so hard
others give fear
and drive us away

the hares in the field
they will feed us for a week
the deer in the forest a month they will keep
the he knows and traps he do set

we just want to live guv
you have so much
most game you dump
after you have all shot.

We are human guv
dont to prison
me send, who food
to my young'uns will send

as i walk to the gibbet
for poaching the game
i say to you boys
keep liiving the game

for young lads now
men will become
in just a few moments
my breath will be gone

look to your mother
your sisters to
look to our ways
aqnd never give in.

a right to live
and a right to roam
my dear sons
it will soon be gone.

look to your lives
look to your ways
lookt the sad times
aheading your way.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Sep 08 - 10:57 AM

Thank very much for sharing with us, romany man. Much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Sep 08 - 10:26 AM

I think I shall never hear,
After everything's been said,
Nothing so sweet and dear as,
"Original Poster, you give good thread."


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: romany man
Date: 12 Sep 08 - 05:55 AM

Nah just like to write it, the old ways are gone never to return, the younuns dot want to know us getting on a bit know the ways cant come back and are left to history, or museum peices, yeh i can still cut pegs and mend lodsa thing, but people want machines, and plastic,
our history is bastardised, our ways treated with contempt. its always "oh you are a gypsy" then they are gone. ifn you want to use it please do, there are loads more, Ken


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: peregrina
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 07:52 AM

that's really powerful and poignant, Romany Man.
have you thought of singing or reciting it?


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: romany man
Date: 11 Sep 08 - 07:11 AM

Just marks in the grass,
where the wagons sat;
Just marks in the grass,
where the horses grew fat,
Just marks in the grass,
the turf a bit higher,
Just marks in the grass,
where they had the camp fire,
Just marks in the grass,
folk stayed here you know,
Just marks in the grass,
they were forced to go,
Just marks in the grass,
Those lives they have gone
Just marks in the grass,
the bailifs my son.
just marks in the grass,
spattered with blood ,
just marks in the grass,
we will stop this flood,
Just marks in the grass,
no body will care,
Just marks in the grass,
Gone , but where ?


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 Sep 08 - 12:14 AM

Joe, shocking, disturbing, maybe a trifle disgusting. Very interesting and real though.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 10:18 PM

Wow, Joe.

Those dances were a sore spot with me, too. I never could figure out the game very well.


A


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Joe_F
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 08:36 PM

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR AT A PARTY

The moon, a little bag of death,
shakes shit within itself above a tree:
a Spanish-rhythmed slog with every breath
insults the intellect, and me.

Now, in a ferment smug and pure,
this single buttock germinates and bursts,
spilling a hate jazz out along the sewer
of light, to taunt the common thirsts.

It's time now for a job of talk.
Why don't they fuck and bugger on the floor?
I came in case they did, so I could gawk,
and it is what they came here for.

-- June 1965, but a remembrance of undergraduate mixer dances in the 1950s


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 03:56 PM

AW, jesus.

Thanks, romanyman.

A


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: romany man
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 09:54 AM

Four days it took to get to the tan, (camp)
Here to farm for to work,
Money to earn, to get food for the pan,
Not known to us the gavvers (police, etc) did lurk.

Vardos set tilts tied tight,
camp fires burning heating the pani (water)
Strong tea, an cheeseon bread will have to see us right,
By morns rising to fields we'd go just like an army.

The night was cold, the moon she was full, sitting high in the sky,
little we knew how the day it would start,
as sun replaced moon, they raided the tan, ol' joe the first to die,
The gavvers cosh it hit him hard, the skull it did part.

the waggons did burn the chavvs (children) they did run,
the gavvers the council, the locals, didnt care for any,
Pain and fear it ruled the day, many did die at the end of a gun,
The new laws were in, no stopping it says, not even allowed to earn a penny.

The travelling day gone , the people are next,
settle you will, the law says you must,
no land can you live on, your ways they are hex'd
where ever you go your type we wont trust.

a way of life, a culture being slowly destroyed and smashed,
we the victims sit and watch, for to stand up and fight,
would only bring quicker the time to be cashed.
who will pick up the pieces, and see our plight.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: romany man
Date: 09 Sep 08 - 05:17 AM

Thanks, some of the threads go way over my head with all the bitching and psuedo racism ie go to 5000 morris dancers, oh my god.
ive chosen to drop nthat thread as its just tooooooooo much, i have and use the word loosely "suffered" all my life and im knocking on a bit, 3 major breakdowns, spells in looney bin, etc but hey im still here fighting the corner, love our music though we tend to keep it to ourselves, ive bought so called gypsy music cds and laughed at the obvious piss takes that the producers and non gypsy folk dont realise, still life goes on, just wish i still had the stopping places and work we used to have. Theres always a bye law that says no stopping and another that says no travelling, so good bye to the thirty foot trailer, in the words of the song. see ya


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Sep 08 - 07:45 PM

romany man, you might be interested in a few threads including this one: Origins: Traveller and Romany Influence on Trad. If you put "romany" in the search box at the top of the thread titles and use teh drop down box to set the date to "All" there are a few others. Similarly, if you use other words such as "romani, roman, etc." there are a few others, some contentious. Welcome to the Mudcat!

kat


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: romany man
Date: 08 Sep 08 - 12:57 PM

Im used to it amos, life goes on, it will never stop, it happens daily, eventually you get either numb or bitter, i choose the middle road , ie dont hear it as i cant fight it.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 08 Sep 08 - 10:12 AM

I am sorry you have to endure such targeting, Romany man. I would think, by now, that that sort of categorical insult was behind us, buit this appears to be disappointingly untrue.

A


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: romany man
Date: 08 Sep 08 - 06:03 AM

With the romani love of music , I thought id just place this old romany poem, first in romany then in english.
Miro dadus miro jin,
miro daia durogilo;
miro pireni sar o iouzers jell.
bor miro ker no,
yeckoro tu mi bosh,
miro mi yeckoro bor.
ENGLISH
My father I have never known
My mothers long since gone
My sweetheart with the flowers go
of friends i have none,
only you my violin
are my only friend.
A sad tale relevant today, it shows that many romanys who like me have no KNOWN family left, feel that they really dont have any friends wether that is true or not is debateable, I have many friends, all romas who have seen me through some very bad and sad times, but sadly there are times that as many people do , the feeling of being alone tend to overwhelm.
Being of romany decent i know the real world of exclusion from mainstream life. Yes we are a race apart but since the first arrival of the roma folk in the 14 1500s there has always been suspicion and fear of the unknown, but only last week i was called a dirty pikey, by a shop keeper, because i had tied my horse to a lamp post as i went in to buy a packet of fags, had i pulled up in my car and parked in the same place would he have said anything?, but because i was taking the horse and trap out, he did, so what do i think ?
sorry got on me soap box again. oops.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: katlaughing
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 11:32 PM

Love it, LeeJ, esp. as I used to sell specialty ad products just like that!**bg**

A friend came to visit.
In the middle of the night
She was just there.

I heard her first on the phone
After months of no calls, nothing
I said, I cannot believe it is you!

She said, I've crossed over.
I gasped with sorrow, cried her name.
No, no, it's okay, she said, it's really nice!

There we were in the middle of the night
In a room of high ceiling, warm wood
Singing, her strumming, a session of our own.

I realised there were others there, singing, too
Playing, too, a full session which filled me with joy
And, wonder that it was there in my home, though not my home.

How could this be, in the middle of the night
A stranger on the phone, then known, then here?
A dream, precognition, or a visitation?

copyright 2008 Kat LaFrance


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 11:20 PM

I found this poem in some papers. I wrote it when I was 22. I had a strong urge to edit it, but resisted.


An old man stumbled through the door
his overcoat gray and solemn December
Stark against the glassed-out sunlight
he fumbled, spoke with a voice like cracked marble
"My name is O.L. Brown. I sell matches."
He dropped a brown suitcase like a basket of bricks
the leather scratched and scarred with years of layered sweat-
the young man's nervous sweat in buffed-brass waiting rooms
the old man's thin moan of beaded sweat
mapping the wrinkles on his face with moisture
and the dust of the road.
"35 years in the Advertising Game"
he winked with a salesman's rude charm
"My matches have carried names of men great and small
into the pants pockets of America.
My matches have shouted manure to hog farmers-
have sung silver against the cigarettes of rich men.
They have told barroom secrets to distrustful wives
they have flamed for seven men-all strangers.
For 35 years they have flashed
in the cupped hands of nameless people.
For 35 years they have told stories to chance eyes.
For 35 years they have kept me from the cold."
He smiled and held out a crooked hand.
Small flames glowed behind his eyes.
I reached out to take his hand.
A matchbook fell with a whisper into my palm.
O.L. Brown
35 Years in Matches


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 09:21 PM

Waves Over the Transatlantic Cable



Waves in the green dark rising hammer
The clamor of hot continents to be still
Tendering the fierce land-fires rising until
They can unbroken go, new hard shores surprising

Mountains engorged and foam-faces running
Force and force and force the hard-rock edges
Aiming ferociously at the harbor seals sunning
On the marker buoy's ledges.

Small hums under the great quietude
Tease the green-water hard thrust
Pricking with intent and rude
Intrusions, unknowing, unjust.

The wires speak their messages unknowing
That they communicate; the deep waters
Know from all sides, containing thought itself,
Sending no message but being.

The sub-sea mountains listen, and the cables drape the crags and pass by to
another kind of place.
The one needs no telling; the other must never know.
Or all kinds of doors will open and the loops of space itself
Break in the rush of green, green waters.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 07 Sep 08 - 09:07 PM

Aged Dust



Shattered, without hope in the wind,
Whirling where the world's face ends
Itself coldly ended without power of naming
Any future, or caring how to name -- knowing
That one and another are not preferred
But are same. Not even glumness shadows
The lost decision from which complete indifference seems
Eminently respectable.

And fire not even a memory to the face, and the world's
Face so over-remembered, it is a loss to try
To tell one from another past, or pry futures apart.
Paint it, and it stays painted; deny, and it will
Oblige by disappearing. Call it and it will be.
Be one with it and it will color you so gray
That your name will be arbitrary and your
Face vanish in the world.

Fight it and it will oblige endlessly. These
Are the molecules that will not disperse nor harden but
Will endlessly prove the barren ice of time.
How it stretches into the horizon, telling nothing because
Nothing is.

This is the heart of dying, hell
Beyond the hope of measure, f
For space is denied. But,
What mastery within! To make so little from so much,
To so completely nullify, must be the handiwork
Of a truly great machine.

So dust has its master, and if you only
Congratulate him, he will withdraw,
Sated with your precious admiration.
You who command admiration command all things
And dust's dry dominion dwindles to your light.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Jay777
Date: 18 Jul 08 - 04:43 AM

As a teenager in the late 60s, I lived near USAF Greenham Common. My family befriended many of the servicemen based there. This poem was written by one of them, whilst he was serving in Vietnam. He went back there, and we never saw or heard of him again. I thought it deserved a wider airing.

AMMO by AFC 18756330 Ronald Brown, 1969

I work with bombs both day and night,
And stand and shake with awful fright.
My past is short, my future's bleak,
I'll never last another week.
My friends are dead or dying fast,
I don't know how long my luck will last.
Death may come in several ways,
From gas or bombs with short delays,
There's Sarin gas or TNT,
Or fragment bombs to murder me.
They say that nerve gas works just great,
Five short minutes and it's too late,
Of course blood gas isn't so fast,
Fifteen minutes you can last,
There's white phospherous and thermate too,
They just sear and burn holes in you.
You know that you are bound to lose,
So you get a bottle and start to booze.
You drink all day and drink all night,
You go on duty still half tight.
If the bombs don't do it, just wait and see,
THIS DAMNED BOTTLE WILL FINISH ME!!!!!!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 03:18 PM

Me, too, LeeJ. Inspired and so poignant!


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jul 08 - 12:10 AM

Oh, Lonsesome, ya done caught me off guard with that last line. Big grin, but a torn heart, too.


A


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Jul 08 - 08:27 PM

Me and Don

By the convenience store he sat
his feet propped on rusted breast plate
inverted helmet inviting help.
"The windmills of my mind" he sighed
"are by my own intellect o'erthrown!"
Inspired by irony I smiled and said
"And you find yourself here alas
o Knight of the Tarnished Mirrors
in the shadow of a slain dragon
transformed by wizards into the guise of a dumpster"
He only stared in silence
and so I walked away
until his choked whisper split the silence
"Sancho?"


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 16 Jul 08 - 06:42 PM

Even though the clouds may fly,
On high on such a beauteous day.
Tis not that I will be out there,
I'll be on Mudcat, far away.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Megan L
Date: 16 Jul 08 - 05:28 PM

In 1983 my new husband and I stood in a small churchyard in Wales looking sadly at a row of shiny gravestones each had the age of the young man each one had been on the Galahad. I remembered thinking that somewhere in Argentina someone could be standing beside a row of graves or a memorial for equally young lads from the Belgrano.


War dead

See my name all you who pass by
As you are now so once was I.
I was a son whose mother wept
I was the husband whose wife kept
A light in the window lest I should come
To find my way once more back home.
I was the brother whose sisters tears
shall wash my stone
I was the lover who will not come
the one who left you here alone.
I am your love
the memory that will not die
My name it matters not anymore
Rhys or Ramone we are the same
In death, a memory and nothing more

MHTBL


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jul 08 - 05:10 PM

Stone and Moss

Both time and timelessness are easy errors
To an eye bewildered,
And a mind too crowded,
Or ears betrayed by sounds.

Sapphire beginnings; hard
Ends of gold, feverish
Days of penitence, shivered
By hours made too loud
For any heart to arise.

In this maddened vise
Between each minute and its loss
Nothing is truly seen
Neither the cold stone nor the soft moss.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Amos
Date: 12 Apr 08 - 03:58 PM

Memory Ahead



Stepping off the curb, scaring the random pigeon
Approaching a conversation in an early city evening,
Do you draw the face, the tremble of the fingers, in his colors?
Choose the palette for pain to seep down, after leaving?

Is it a fade, from grays to black,
Or brilliant in real incandescen restaurant hues?
How will it seem, when it comes back,
Some day, when you are shopping for new shoes,
Or cleaning up after a dinner,
Happy with remarks about dessert,
And how you look (younger; thinner).

Then will the colors intrude, answering some subtle sign?
Whites supplanted with that faded low-
Light tinge of pigeon-gray
And fear in chiaroscuro?
And was this some spiritual design,
Mapping a way across the street,
With older shoes, on earlier feet?

A step across the line dividing you
From infinite changes and reminding
Is a fine grained memory – too fine
To built a public mind upon, though true.
But, when memory’s moment clocks in, blinding –
The face, and trembling fingers, in their native colors.


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: katlaughing
Date: 12 Oct 07 - 06:00 PM

Widening Circle

Two friends met
Shared lives and loves
Spread their net
Cast wide and low.

Two friends saw
An open life
Torn and raw
They held it close.

Two friends held
The hurt one
'til love's dealt
Healing was done.

Three friends met...


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Subject: RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner
From: Joe_F
Date: 11 Oct 07 - 09:17 PM

Spontaneous symmetry-breaking,
exits from loops,
limiting processes making
infs go to sups,
a little irritable tissue,
pairwise unlinked rings --
a friend will wish you
all those good things.


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