Once, people believed in mythological creatures as strongly as we believe in science. If these creatures were real, and alive today "ONCE" would be their message to America. Written as a series of persona poems from the point of view of these creatures, Once, takes a stand as an examination of fear, belief, culture and technology. Published through Lulu, Once is the print copy of my Senior Project in writing. Available for $7.50 + shipping. Cover Design by Sarah MacDonald.
Pulse fire sound, strings and pipes
wash over my bones, percussion
echoes in my lungs, the drums
nourish my soul like ambrosia
and wake my sleeping heart.
I stand beside casualties of retail,
while the band rattles our teeth
with gutter anthems on highland pipes.
Camaraderie is found in a chorus
seven hundred voices strong.
I stand beside strangers who laugh,
dance in the tempest of sound.
In this packed theater I feel free,
nerve memory recalling my childhood
as thunderous drumming carries my feet.
He asked for my opinion of his poetry, (bad)
I told the young man he had a lot of potential.
I told the truth, or at least part of it (as is custom)
and he never asked again to get the rest (always ask thrice)
I told him he could be better, with some inspiration,
that I could show him things to help him (truth)
open his mind to things never dreamed of, (nightmares)
all for a small, almost insignificant price. (delicious)
I told him there was a price for all things
but he never asked what it was. (foolish)
Children these days, aren’t taught
how to make deals with our kind. (it’s almost unfair)
So I sent him to Egypt and stole his bags. (cheep)
I sent him to Spain, and stole his inhibitions. (worthless)
I sent him to Rome, where I stole his heart, (given)
but it was on Irish soil I took my price. (worthy)
He wrote of the pyramids, grand over poverty,
of the hot Spanish nights and beauties,
of Italian fountains and roman gods,
and of Irish pubs and open laughter. (all lies)
He spurned his early work, knowing better,
he wrote to make the angels weep. (in pity)
When my price came down, he didn’t flinch
as his red blood stained my lips in payment. (sweet)
But Sidhe deals are never even, never over. (truth)
He begged for more, as inspiration exhausted,
he’d run out of ideas and needed more, (always more)
and I provided, always for the price.
The boy grew famous, sold books, and got thin,
the dreams I sent him shaping his work,
until one day he plateaued, reached his peek.
He was no longer any good to me.
He came to me and begged, offering it all, (tempting)
every last drop for one last poem,
one masterpiece to end the whole career,
his lifeblood offered, as one final payment. (delicious)
His blood obscured the last words he ever wrote.
They found him clutching a soaked piece of paper,
once, it held the words that would have made him famous
if he’d only had the patience to find them on his own.
Because we work in whispers, be still;
we give our gifts to those who listen closest.
Athenian youths hurried through empty streets
playing games in the hopes of my attentions,
hoping for a glimpse of my hair, a whispered word
that would set their names in history.
Then came the wars, invaders, I was carried away
by refugees seeking a new land, a new empire,
larger than the one before, greater in history
and I was given a new home in Rome proper.
I adapted, but when Rome fell to invaders,
divided over the validity of a foreign god,
I went into hiding with my sisters
waiting with them while mankind forgot our names.
Renewed, we heard our title called.
Our names passed beyond memory,
nothing is left but a vague idea of our purpose
and imposters roam the streets like whores.
Seduce us and we will bless you, charm us with your skill,
prove yourself a worthy vessel and we will fill your voice.
Test your lungs and let yourself be pushed beyond your limits
because only the best talents will ever hear my voice
but all who hear your voice will feel my presence.
The musician, always the favored son of our eyes
listens to—he knows not what voice, but we sing
sweet words in his ears, chords struck in silence
as if pulled from the ether, a masterpiece resounds.
A broken hand will be useless
until a full recovery elapses, six weeks.
A broken foot will cripple for weeks
and need time to again grow strong.
A broken rib can take months to heal
each breath a fresh pain.
A collar bone takes half a year
and each moment brings new agony.
A broken tendon may never heal
permanent injury needing surgical attention,
to reconnect muscle to bone, restoring function,
but the heart is greater than all.
A broken heart, while it may take years to heal
and carries its scars till death and beyond,
craves use from the instant of mortal injury
calling out in that moment to love once more.
Stronger and harder than ever before
a broken heart demands use, and grows stronger.
With each crack and scar, each fissure and fracture
it pumps on with greater force, greater urgency.
The broken heart loves more fiercely and more true,
So one may say the heart is better for the breaking.
On The Edge
You beautiful idiot.
I’m standing on the corner, waiting while lights
flash green, yellow and red
waiting for my turn to cross, following rules
like just another old man, dead where I stand.
You strut up to another corner with your friend
maybe sixteen, maybe younger. It’s hard to tell
from my corner, at the ripe old age of twenty-four.
You look both ways, and start to cross against the light
no one coming, the light turns and I hear you scream
“Woo! Living on the edge!” with the ignorance of youth
the crosswalk flashes white, while you’re in the road
and you deflate, “aw, I guess not,” you say,
your friend laughs and you go on
“I really thought we were living on the edge there.”
It makes me sick. I start to cross, following the rules.
Crossing against the light on an icy night
isn’t living on the edge, it’s trivial and stupid.
It’s the sort of thing you’ll forget in two minutes
and your friends wouldn’t bother listening to.
Living on the edge is scaling a Norman tower in Ireland
or hanging over the edge of a 200 foot drop
just to take a photo of the water hitting the rocks.
Living on the edge is climbing a volcano
and peeking into the crater to see what’s inside,
then walking the ash fields from its last eruption.
Living on the edge is having a wrestling match
in the ruins of an ancient amphitheater in Rome
because you’re both Italian, and felt like having fun.
Living on the edge is exploring the ravine
left behind after the damning of the mad river
because it’s there, and you wanted a good hike.
Living on the edge is dangerous, and vital, it’s being alive
and doing things others might want to hear about,
living a life worthy of being written about.
Living on the edge is being the person with stories to tell
and never backing down from a new adventurous tale.
It’s making best friends with fear, rather than denying it.
I’m twenty-four. I follow the rules. I cross with the light
and work a dead end job. But I Have Lived. I exist
dancing on the edge of a slowly moving page.