Between the Cracks

Outside the storefront gym this morning,
Dressed in veteran’s clothes –
He asked me to sit down and
Talk with him

Though filled with trepidation of
A man deep in the throes
Of anguished chaos there
Within the dim

He told me of sonatas
He had played with some aplomb;
The manic and the squalid
All around

Of the appulsive nature of
The flower and the bomb;
Of flagging serifs buried

Each branch of quasi-servitude
A hailaj of misfortune;
Disaster in the starlight
And the dusk

A cudgel filled with truth,
A chance to firm reclaim his mission,
Behind venetian blinds
And manners brusque

But now, he’s just some weirdo,
Some lost schlump alone and homeless:
His only perq’s, a blur
Of rain and brass —

The medals he received,
No more than dark metallic twilight,
Another parvenu
Left in the grass

And soon, the leitmotiv he saw,
A world lost in tomorrow;
A sidewalk for a home,
A parallax —

And by the sunrise, too, I saw
The ersatz life of soldiers:
Who live on asphalt, lost
Between the cracks

(The idea for this post comes from Holly, and it ties together all the words I used in the A-to-Z challenge this last month.)



In substituted things, in battle lines,
In all of my egregious missteps,
I pay the price in feelings, or in fines –
A heart that’s rent, a torn-up quadriceps –

And I can dress up words, and syllables
To speak about the pain I have, or cause,
To many varied individuals
By means of word, or deed, or even pause —

There’s only this: that I must pay, at last,
I’ve drunk and dined, and had all of my fill;
But dinner hour, now, has come and passed,
And I can’t go until I’ve paid my bill

The ersatz truth I tried to substitute
Is gone – and what it was is rather



(It’s the z-to-a challenge, using the last letter of the word instead of the first. And remember, kids: word inversion – GOOD; corporate inversion – BAD. – S.B.)

Through packs of tracks, and parallax
We toted sacks upon our backs
And did the max to not be lax
With tacks in stacks, and too-tight slacks

The Analects: it redirects
Perspective into recollects;
The specks and flecks can get complex
In convex or arcane respects

In new galactic palmistry
(That some think of as sophistry)
We plumb the span of history
A luminescent mystery

So we arrived, and dived, and thrived
On live endive that had survived,
And then contrived to be revived,
And bumble-bee’d, and stung, and hived

We live for facts – like sealing wax
And honeycomb, and sugar smacks,
And wizardry in wane and wax,
And stellar parallax attacks



(Nearing the end of the a-to-z challenge, using the last letter of the word rather than the first.)

“tomorrow,” said the sea,
“everything will happen again.
  everything that has been,
  or is,
  will again be, in that moment.”
“why must it be so?” I asked –
“because life is music —
  the melody of our choices,
  the harmony and discord of our relationships,
  and the rhythm of recurrence and repetition.”
  I listened to the waves,
  Felt the sun and wind on my face,
  And realized:
  The difference between
  Me choosing my fate
  My fate choosing me
  Is a lot more
  Than the order of the words



the light is almost gone, and there
is so much more that we could say;
but everything winds down, and so
it has here on this april day

the lessons learned in laughter, left –
the memories comprising
the bits of you inside of me,
so many, so surprising

the clemency of all who’ve known
the secret that the winds blow —
the twilight of another dream
that fades into
the shadow



(Part of the a-to-z challenge done using the last rather than the first letter of the title.)

To learn to play is pain and noise,

With bits of brass and felt and spit;

Unnoticed mass of girls and boys

Repeating, yearly, all of it —


The embouchure, the lips, the tongue,

A mastery which comes but slow:

A voyage for the rather young,

For some, just practice to outgrow


For others, it is more: not just

Another course to take and pass —

It is a part of who they are,

To learn, and to develop




(Last letter yada a-to-z challenge yada embrace your inner weirdness)

I’m here now, but
It’s all a blur —

I most remember feeling nothing,
Nothing, till I swallowed something,
Maybe something from a bottle
Bottled up inside this gray

Gray as cold despair on quaaludes
Preludes to a different morning
Mourning what cannot be felt, or
Failed to show up, every day

But they found me, locked me in here,
Said I need to go through living,
Giving platitudes and bromides,
Can you hear me, ma’am or sir?

Floor and door and wall and ceiling
Tired of no longer feeling
What is this you speak of – “healing” –
All of it; it’s all a blur

Let me out please, ma’am or sir –
All of it; it’s all
A blur



My job, it has its perquisites.
I cannot say their worth:
Like spending 20 hours here
Each turning of the earth

Like trudging the frustrating way
From debacle to crisis:
And thinking so damn hard I get
A case of hemolysis.

My job does have its perquisites
That make me more than slave —
Like driving me quite quickly to
A sound and early



(Today’s entry in the a-to-z challenge.)

He watched life from the outside, since
He wasn’t born to dress the part:
He saw that love is made for those
Who never really give their heart —

A handsome screen on which romance
Can be projected, full and clear;
The perfect both and hollow man –
Who’s always far away, and near —

He watched, and then went home, to find
Such solace as is made for men,
For winners win, the rich get rich,
And all of it restarts again

Yet he had dreams, and visions; that
Someone, someday would him dream of,
But what he wasn’t formed a shell
That kept him from real touch, or love,

And led him to the darkness, where
He’d often gone, since days of school:
For when all kindness goes unused
There’s still a residue of cruel;

Or, if not cruel, perhaps, unreal.
Frustration to the very core:
To see what is required, but know
That you aren’t it, and never could
Be more



The mean girls called her “weirdo”, saying friends we should not be — but she was wonderful to me, a laughing playmate, wild and free, in days we ran down by the sea, when we were eight years old.

The mean girls called her other names, a “bookworm” and a “nerd” –but all of that just seemed absurd, so quick was she with glance and word, although her voice seemed seldom heard at fourteen years of age.

She wasn’t very popular when we were seventeen — but she was good to everyone, and beautiful, and full of fun, her long hair flying in the sun, her stories still untold —

She’s way beyond the mean girls now, those days are far behind — but somewhere, in her secret mind, a sadness you might never find – that cruelty sees where love is blind, in each successive stage —

For know the truth: humanity knows no depths to its cruelty, and any way you look you’ll see, more weirdos there, like you and me, who know the outcast poignancy at very, very young —

Yes – very, very young.



(Hey – it’s me again, doing the a-to-z challenge using the last letter of the word in an effort to prove unified field theory.)

Is it bad light that makes venetians blind?
I do not know. I think it’s so.
They always block my window.

I tried to find a boat, but it was gondola.
Perhaps behind a tree with root canal —
The sound of accord from Venice heard
That was written and composed by a mishapsburg –
Whoever she was.

No light, no windows, no boats, wet roads —
Venetians should be glad they’re blind,
For this place is
Too straussful



(I’m doing the a-to-z challenge using the last letter of the word rather than the first, because Han shot first.)

It doesn’t matter what he says –
You know that bastard’s wrong:
It’s time for you to reclaim who
You have been, all along

Sometimes, the steps we take may lead
To places we don’t want to be;
There is no shame in turning back
And crawling out of misery

For you are worthy – worth the world –
I say it, ’cause it’s true —
The person that you need the most
Is there, inside of you

Don’t let controllers play their games,
They’ll get inside your head;
They’ll tell you how to act and dress
And creep on you in bed

He’ll try. His kind are everywhere,
And he thinks that you’re “his” —
But once you’ve felt the sun, you see
The dark for what it is —

It doesn’t matter what he thinks –
You know that bastard’s wrong:
It’s time for you to reclaim who
You have been
All along



(I’m doing the a-to-z-challenge this year using the last letter of the word rather than the first because I fly in the face of convention. Which is, come to think of it, safer than flying United Airlines . – S.B.)

when dusk comes with it’s colors on,
i stare at all it’s bright array
the few brief moments that i have
before it starts to fade away

each time is like the first time, since
some brand new color i can find:
for color is like music, each
the summum bonum of their kind

yes, i will sit as lights go out
and watch the world fade on to black,
and know that one more day is gone,
another view that won’t be back —

but i have seen this dusk, and so
i saw the truth before
it had to go


“hailaJ” (normally spelled “hyleg” but I’m using a spelling supposedly closer to the Persian original)

(This is the a-to-z challenge, and I’m using the last letter of the words rather than the first. Clearly, I wasn’t thinking ahead to “j” when I made this choice. For those of you [and you know who you are] who have accused me of using obscure words for no reason whatsoever, I will just say this: you are often right, but not in this case — I needed something that ended with “j”, and I didn’t want to discuss British Colonialism in India [raj] or any traditions sacred to Islam [look it up yourself]. Hence, “hailaj”.)

They said the stars were ill when he was born;
The Syzygy was newer than was full —
Ascendants, Lot of Fortune, all turned bad,
The Sun and Moon at angles sure to pull

Him into such a life as he has had:
Disaster planned from such eternities
As meant no chance for one as poor as he,
A member of the lost fraternities –

His hope lay in an undiscovered world.
A landscape he would walk within his dreams:
As life turns sour, he retreats into
The interstellar waste, the cosmic streams.

For there is hope, and there is hoping past –
There is misfortune that will not abate —
Though stars may cast a cold light down upon us,
There will be those who won’t succumb
To fate



(I’m doing the a to z challenge this year using the last letter of the word rather than the first because letter order is an arbitrary social convention not grounded in ontological reality. And because I’m capricious. – S.B.)

Do you still dream of who you thought you’d be?

Or is to quasi-be, indeed enough –

Do you still feel the first time that you felt?

Or have the nerves been worn away with rough –


For smooth were once the edges of your hopes,

And pure was once the life you thought ideal;

The minutes slip away into the void,

And soon you feel you can no longer feel —


There was a time that touch was everything.

The world you’d touch, the one who would touch you;

The little touches in the art you’d make

And how you’d keep the best up close, and true —


The hopeful and prosaic worlds diverge,

A quasi-life, a semblance, all that’s left:

And even though you have, you yet have not,

And find yourself, not lonely, but bereft


You stare into the silence and the void —

Your world a fading, aging Polaroid —

The spring new come, just one more time to fall —

And wonder why you ever dreamed

At all



(I’ve decided to do the a-to-z challenge by using the last letter of the word rather than the first because… well, just because.)

A fourteen year old,
Listening to songs about things
I wanted desperately to feel

Back then, we used music to
Try to imagine how it would feel
To be in love, and have somebody

Then the day came, and
I had someone there, and
I was in love, and
Music just made it all that much better

Radio playing on the river bank, as
We sat out on a branch
Just past where the tire swing was tied

She was blonde, and
She wore sunlight like other girls did clothes

The dappled light through the trees
Across her face and the river
Below us; picking leaves out of each other’s
Hair and jumping in when the mood struck

Songs were playing that I would probably
Think were maudlin, except they
Were our songs, and they fit our feelings, and
Feelings are realer than anything else —
Once you’ve felt them

I can smell the water, and
Her scent, the perfume she always wore
A hint of, and
The sloshing sound on the bank;
Someone was grilling steaks nearby, and
Past the sound of the Commodores on
The radio we could hear lawn mowers

A million little details, each
Insignificant, but
Adding up to everything

Or maybe

The branch we sit on when
The world seems