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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sir - by Bob Atkinson

(c)2014 Bob Atkinson

Sir, can we sit and talk
so I can give you my concerns
about this life
and all its worth

no, not for something profound
just for my own device
to keep me centered in my life
satisfied and soothed by pride

thank you

softly, I see the scene, displays a dream
velvet in its touch, smooth, sweetly draped
across my eyes visible, told with pride
as if a work of art derived from emotion

prevailing winds keep this life
upon an edge, as if a knife
whispering go on, keep your mind
centered on your dreams

brave in your leaning
toward your constant dreaming
all arranged so elegant
from dusk to dawn visible in effect

then, during the night
dreams fold as if so frightened
afraid to show their openness
asleep or under sheepskin carpets


Sir, if you will pretend
that my meaning has recompense
can use some support
thank you for all your help

I'll sleep now

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Narrative Poem - Clayton Delaney - by Tom T Hall/ The Bus Fare Quandry - by Bob Atkinson

The Year That Clayton Delaney Died
poemwriter: Tom T Hall

I remember the year that Clayton Delaney diedthey said for the last two weeks that he suffered and criedit made a big impression on me, although I was a barefoot kidthey said he got religion at the end and I'm glad that he did

Clayton was the best guitar picker in our town
I thought he was a hero and I used to follow Clayton around
I often wondered why Clayton, who seemed so good to me
never took his guitar and made it down in Tenn-o-see well, Daddy said he drank a lot, but I could never understand
I knew he used to pick up in Ohio with a five-piece band
Clayton used to tell me, "Son you better put that old guitar away,
there ain't no money in it, it'll lead you to an early grave."

I guess if I'd admit it, Clayton taught me how to drink booze
I can see him half-stoned a-pickin' out the lovesick blues
when Clayton died I made him a promise, I was gonna carry on somehow
I'd give a hundred dollars if he could only see me now

I remember the year that Clayton Delaney died
nobody ever knew it but I went out in the woods and I criedwell, I know there's a lotta big preachers that know a lot more than I dobut it could be that the good Lord likes a little pickin' tooyeah, I remember the year that Clayton Delaney died
this is a prime example of the narrative poem
full of information on an event/subject
describes in detail what happened/feelings
the absolute emotional content of literature

The Bus Fare Quandary
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson

from ten years old to eleven
a time of fun on beaches of heaven
a ten cent bus ride, alone for the day
here in the city, on edge of bay

birthday came that summer day
early August's heat wave displayed
a Saturday in fifty-nine
on the bus for beach to ride

fare for one of ten a dime
fifteen cents for eleven's pride
should I pay the extra nickel?
stood at the bus stop in a big pickle

difference be a candy bar
enough for a show at the movie house
a ride next week to sandy shore
a soda for the thirsty soul

might have to walk if can't afford
next week's fare, no source for coins
stood there in my worn tennis shoes
a birthday boy in somber mood

what should I do
how much to pay
bus driver could care less
either way

was between myself and guilt
which fare to pay
which age to claim

keep my pride or keep my coin
a nickel means much to a boy
what do you think I did with it?
pride or cash, which did I keep?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Poem of the Month - October 2014 - Running on Empty - by Jackson Browne/The Statement of Youth - by Bob Atkinson

Running on Empty
poemwriter: Jackson Browne

looking out at the road
rushing under my wheels
looking back at the years gone by
like so many summer fields

in sixty-five I was seventeen
and running up one-on-one
I don't know where I'm running now,
I'm just running on

running on, running on empty
running on, running blind
running on, running into the sun
but I'm running behind

gotta do what you can just
to keep your love alive
trying not to confuse it
with what you do to survive

in sixty-nine I was twenty-one
and I called the road my own
I don't know when that road turned,
into the road I'm on

running on, running on empty
running on, running blind
running on, running into the sun
but I'm running behind

everyone I know, everywhere I go
people need some reason to believe
I don't know about anyone but me
if it takes all night, that'll be all right
if I can get you to smile before I leave

looking out at the road
rushing under my wheels
I don't know how to tell you
all just how crazy this life feels

look around for the friends
that I used to turn to
to pull me through
looking into their eyes
I see them running too

running on, running on empty
running on, running blind
running on, running into the sun
but I'm running behind

honey you really tempt me
you know the way you look so kind
I'd love to stick around
but I'm running behind

you know I don't even know
what I'm hoping to find
running into the sun
but I'm running behind
travel if you will with me
to the years of youth
when one comes to grips
with reality of self determination

The Statement of Youth
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson
where do I go?
what do I do?
how do I fit in?
where am I of use?

what do I need?
to whom should I plead?
where is it all going to?
am I in an endless dream?

or am I just another soul?
lost as if a soldier
facing bullets of the enemy
which can tear arms from shoulders?

do I really live this life?
or is it a side-stepped dream?
carrying duties unimagined
into that life force stream

maybe never revelations
will wander through my heart
only pleasant salutations
giving nod to what God wrought

Prarie Dawn - by Willa Cather/To Forever Roam - by Bob Atkinson

Prarie Dawn
poemwriter:  Willa Cather
A crimson fire that vanquishes the stars;
A pungent odor from the dusty sage;
A sudden stirring of the huddled herds;
A breaking of the distant table-lands
Through purple mists ascending, and the flare
Of water ditches silver in the light;
A swift, bright lance hurled low across the world;
A sudden sickness for the hills of home. 
A useless collection of tripe
which demeans
the institution of poetry.
Here we have the reason
people crinkle their noses
when the word "Poetry" is spoken.
We should delete this method
of nauseating the public
from our language patterns.
Nothing useful here.
Bob Atkinson, September 6, 2014
 To Forever Roam
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson
twelve thousand years the sun
rose on an unchanged world
soft grazing of the woolly bovine
left meat for all his purpose

wild passions next to nature
blew feathers in the wind
a knife, a lance a bow
to him his god had given

fierce struggles left some helpless
unable to continue life
fear of death ignored so long
wild violence his own respite

some lived upon the table lands
some swam those rivers wild
some found a future making children
collecting hard working wives

in camp under a fire
as they danced for three days straight
some had told of strangers
waiting at the eastern gate

how could, he thought, this be true
they only roamed this land
because it had been given
to the hand of man

no, there were no demons
out beyond where his life evolved
beyond the river wide enough
to keep him from a fall

some day he might be challenged
for right to kill sweet buffalo
but should that ever happen
good results be ever known

no need to spend much time
spitting on the stone of change
for here in the prairie country
he was the strongest man

he had the lance, he had the bow
he had the knife of stone
he had this land been given
by his god to forever roam

Friday, August 29, 2014

Poem of the Month - September 2014 - Lyin' Eyes - Poemwriters: Don Henly, Glenn Frey

Lyin' Eyes
Poemwriters: Don Henly, Glenn Frey

city girls just seem to find out early 
how to open doors with just a smile
a rich old man and she won't have to worry 
she'll dress up all in lace and go in style

late at night a big old house gets lonely
I guess every form of refuge has its price
and it breaks her heart to think her love is only
 given to a man with hands as cold as ice 

so she tells him she must go out for the evening
to comfort an old friend who's feelin' down 
but he knows where she's goin' as she's leavin' 
she is headed for the cheatin' side of town

you can't hide your lyin' eyes
and your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you'd realize

there ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes 

on the other side of town a boy is waiting 
with fiery eyes and dreams no one could steal 
she drives on through the night anticipating
cause he makes her feel the way she used to feel 

she rushes to his arms, they fall together
she whispers, "It's only for a while"
she swears that soon she'll be comin' back forever 
she goes away and leaves him with a smile 

you can't hide your lyin' eyes 
and your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you'd realize

there ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes 

she gets up and pours herself a strong one 
and stares out at the stars up in the sky 
another night, it's gonna be a long one 
she draws the shade and hangs her head to cry 

she wonders how it ever got this crazy
she thinks about a boy she knew in school 
did she get tired or did she just get lazy? 
she's so far gone she feels just like a fool 

my oh my, you sure know how to arrange things 
you set it up so well, so carefully
ain't it funny how your new life didn't change things? 
you're still the same old girl you used to be 

you can't hide your lyin' eyes 
and your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you'd realize
there ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes

there ain't no way to hide your lyin' eyes
honey, you can't hide your lyin' eyes

have seen, myself, ten thousand people standing and cheering upon hearing this poem
a sophisticated piece of literature, capturing drama and emotion, where current fare does not
the wispy mindless writings of so called "Poets" makes one cringe, and makes none stand and cheer
how can we purge the chaff from the wheat in Poetry?
good question! good question!

Wonders of the Sun
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson
time plays all around us
a saga of delight and gloom
bundled with diversity
of ever present moods

circumventing directness
we dance upon our toes
feelings lightly touching skin
a throbbing outer glow

or so, that's how it goes
when we interact our minds
sending pleasures to the surface
which then dive back down inside

here with odd simplicity
we strengthen when enhanced
by nearness of devotion
without which we can't dance

we see sentiment divided
when we go our separate ways
simple salutations buried
in the calmness of our rage

sunlight feels so powerful
light burns upon the skin
does it light an understanding
of the places we have been?

Poem of the Month - August 2014 - Get Together - by Chet Powers/ Outstretched Grasp - by Bob Atkinson

Get Together
Poemwriter: Chet Powers

love is but a song we sing
and fear's the way we die
you can make the mountains ring
or make the angels cry
though the bird is on the wing
and you may not know why

c'mon people now
smile on your brother
ev'rybody get together
try to love one another right now

some will come and some will go
and we shall surely pass
when the one that left us here
returns for us at last
we are but a moment's sunlight
fading in the grass

c'mon people now
smile on your brother
ev'rybody get together
try to love one another right now

if you hear the song we sing
you will understand listen
you hold the key to love and fear
all in your trembling hand
just one key unlocks them both
it's there at your command

c'mon people now
smile on your brother
ev'rybody get together
try to love one another right now

Outstretched Grasp
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson
we come to fear nature
when it's at our command
for in this world of evolution
we've got a helping hand

progress requires thinking
and a tender touch
else we've divided our species
into forks of man's disgust

take me now to the future
when we have aligned
all the souls who've ever lived
into a single file

take us to that place and season
where we stand up tall
finding good hope and reason
has kept us from a fall

we'll survive this journey
holding each others' hands
in step with all who walk
call it brotherhood of man

tell me if this dream's a fiction
of simple sadness, not real or true
or can we find doing good for people
produces that of which we're sure

come on people live to the fullest
care for your fellow man
take that selfish purpose
stuff it in a sack

don't let those who feel
freedom's gone and past
rise to take thoughts we treasure
from our outstretched grasp

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Spell of Language - by Bob Atkinson

The Spell of Language
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson

Webster brought an idea home
thoughts, verse, prose, tomes
should all be written faithfully
in a language with spelling honed

designed to give this nation pride
a method evolved, an invariable guide
production of all books of page
made with prideful letter placement

produced the "speller" for us all
to keep our spelling uniform
a way to say we've come of age
allowing ownership of the page

no longer centre but center stage
we go to theater, not theatre's play
with moral fiber not fibre's way
in defense produced, not defence, OK?

so if you're lax in spelling's toil
Webster didn't get your blood to boil
you have no feeling of pride involved
in separating from an island's culture

a wave here takes on the tone
works toward more union then on our own
toward connection to other men
then back toward independence again

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Statesmanship - by Bob Atkinson

(c)2014 Bob Atkinson
"... we hold it to be the first task of statesmanship to develop the stength that will deter the forces of aggression and promote the conditions of peace ..."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

here in that time of crisis
those wayward days of mud
when those who would be powerful
gain fashion with use of gun

not seeds of perfect charity
no love do they possess
just overriding purpose
by thumping of their chests

here in our development
nature has our crossroads made
do we digress to the point
where progress reverses trend

back to a time when people lived
a life so badly blessed
with slavery, toil and pestilence
given to their masters' whims

or do we define the nature
of progress to be made
a simple organizing statement
which carries to the grave

all we seek of accomplishment
all love grown for our friends
no enemies designated
we're all just mortal men

so first we can define
the void of useful souls
that underlying demon
we can't allow to grow

when some seek to gain power
by force or use of gun
intimidation, recklessness
they need to understand

society cannot fathom
such willful negligence
needs of the many for peace
herein takes precedence

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Materials of Criticism - by Bob Atkinson

The Materials of Criticism
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson
to look upon a word fixed art
for value of the whole or parts
begins a journey demonstrated
to frustrate each of five senses

do we? could we? can we?
here in the "here and now"
produce our cultural standing
by lining up words in a row

can we? do we? could we?
put value on our art
or would it suffice to percolate
ingredients in a pot

that which makes up the whole
contains some parts plus simple hope
many seeds of doubt, some blind faith
loose fundamentals warmed to percolate

boil this stew in an open pot
wander over meanings uncovered
string appetite of mind along a line
of selfish devotion to an adept mind

thus craving credentials and accolades
with independence of well written pages
try as nature creates a need
molding most to firm fixed greed

avarice dependent, an encircled fire
aspiration drawn toward life's desire
direction fielded, ego supplemented
when open rawness becomes regimented

broadcast to those who care about
this person's rage who loudly shouts
simple signals of directional flow
mixed with endless personal selfdom

all nuance transmitted within the hope
of mending what's perceived as broken
broken carries diverse meanings
when seen with eyes of different teachings

broken, to some, fits life so tight
the critic's words lie dormant, unlighted
when not in tune with rational heart
words have no meaning, a useless art

art fulfills some need of nature
to analyze for form and flavor
tenderly we read their stuff
then regurgitate our lunch

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Grounded Squirrel - by Bob Atkinson

Grounded Squirrel
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson

oh so many percolate
toward top of an open gate
a feeling proud, accomplishment
directly given true cost benefits

after all fine dust blows
settles under, between toes
form includes a spine of mush
all inclusive directed gusto

what, in meaning, here I state
why and what am I berating
nothing other than my fate
when walking on a path forsaking

all the wisdom gone before
all good feelings on every shore
purpose grand, evaporated, ignored
experience earned, quickly shelved

how can we see this without discomfort
how can we honor mass destruction
how can we find among us purpose
love of life, a determined circus

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Unreason - by Bob Atkinson

(c)2014 Bob Atkinson
"... ode to those who teach creative writing at the college level, yet have not the talent nor understanding required to produce something worthwhile ..."

to listen graciously
then turn away
feeling for the first time
wonder at his sayings

carries burdens newly minted
for my life on lumpy pavement
simply put this wreck of words
drives not my lucid statements
in fear of simple castings made
those so hard to correctly gage
find difficulty in believing
what should or shouldn't stand

feed me what to this date
has not been allowed percolation
to equate justice circumcised
against wispy thoughts berated

metaphors mixed until complete
that nonsense we all believe in
can only drive us deeply down
a path toward firm unreason

Monday, July 28, 2014

And So It Was - by Bob Atkinson

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Poemwriters: Booker, Reid, Fisher
we skipped the light Fandango
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kind of seasick
but the crowd called out for more

the room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away
when we called out for another drink
the waiter brought a tray

and so it was that later
as the Miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly
turned a whiter shade of pale

she said there is no reason
and the truth is plain to see
but I wandered through my playing cards
and would not let her be

one of sixteen vestal virgins
who were leaving for the coast
and although my eyes were open
they might just as well've been closed

she said, 'I'm home on shore leave,'
though in truth we were at sea
so I took her by the looking glass
and forced her to agree

saying, 'You must be the mermaid
who took Neptune for a ride.'
but she smiled at me so sadly
that my anger straightway died
if music be the food of love
then laughter is its queen
and likewise if behind is in front
then dirt in truth is clean

my mouth by then like cardboard
seemed to slip straight through my head
so we crash-dived straightway quickly
and attacked the ocean bed

and so it was that later
as the Miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly
turned a whiter shade of pale

and so it was

And So It Was
(c)Bob Atkinson
to stop and tell a story
to those who hadn't gone
has quick implications
being right or wrong

doesn't really matter
do we tell the truth in all
we say, do, denunciate
or do we just revolve

around those reflexed feelings
what seems comfortable today
in feeding image of self-worth
or contentment toward our graves

to set in motion accolades
and minds tuned to a song
garners ornamental tweets
allows us to belong

to a mood of indecision
strictly aberated in some way
you think it normal tuning out
some think it's moon gyrated

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Time Machine - by Bob Atkinson

Roll Over Beethoven
poemwriter: Chuck Berry

I'm gonna write a little letter,
gonna mail it to my local DJ
it's a rockin' rhythm record
I want my jockey to play
roll over Beethoven, I gotta hear it again today

you know, my temperature's risin'
and the jukebox blows a fuse
my heart's beatin' rhythm
and my soul keeps on singin' the blues
roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news

I got the rockin' pneumonia,
I need a shot of rhythm and blues
I think I'm rollin' arthritis
sittin' down by the rhythm review
roll over Beethoven rockin' in two by two

well, if you feel you like it
go get your lover, then reel and rock it
roll it over and move on up just
a trifle further and reel and rock it,
roll it over,
roll over Beethoven rockin' in two by two

well, early in the mornin' I'm a-givin' you a warnin'
don't you step on my blue suede shoes
hey diddle diddle, I am playin' my fiddle,
ain't got nothin' to lose
roll over Beethoven and tell Tschaikowsky the news

you know she wiggles like a glow worm,
dance like a spinnin' top
she got a crazy partner,
oughta see 'em reel and rock
long as she got a dime the music will never stop

The Time Machine
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson
Berry stopped the time machine
in May of Fifty-Six
telling stories of his life
and his darlin' little Sis'

piano played those tunes of ages
tradition here abouts
which stopped his flow of agitation
not letting his feelings out

those masters played without rage
a sublime performance settled
to those who found tradition kept
what mattered in their kettles

some found those past arrangements
an irritant, of no real use
because here their egos bent upon
that pole of newness used

to arrange a process in their minds
of clarity without a doubt
twinkling notes to be floated
from front to back of house

Berry found to vent his anger
he told this story well
of sister and those ivory keys
and Bo Diddley's brassy bell

for us, back in our childhood
we heard these efforts great
which fed good our self image
to new minds as we left the gate

to do this well as Chuck did
produce what could be kept
in thoughts of many citizens
putting perspective on a rail

could only begin to fulfill
desire of myself
don't know if I can do it good
but will try, oh what the ****

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sound Turned to Silence - by Bob Atkinson

Sound Turned to Silence
(c)2014 Bob Atkinson
we all, in our own way
struggle through pursuit deranged
broadcasting our thought processes
in that in life of little gain

how much snaps your memory
to where you hear my tune
and sift your own experience
to drive home my good moods

how much of who I am
rubs right off on you
am I just noise in your cabin
as you ignore my attitude

silence knifes the book pages
as if cutting sentences in half
spewing waste out through a gate
and pulling shards of glass

silence feeds the open echoes
trundles through my past
and forms that open crust
of my ocean as I laugh

silence fills my need for clarity
non-ambiguous in its tone
the world defined by nature
or total lack thereof

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

As A River That Roars - translated by: Bob Atkinson

Comme un fleuve qui gronde

Je voudrais m’endormir
Tout au fond de toi me blottir
En cet endroit
Où l’enfant est roi
Confondre ton corps et le mien
Dans un ballet où mes mains
Ne cherchent déjà plus d’autre chemin
Que celui qui semblait écrit
Au tout début du monde
Les plus beaux moments de la vie
Sont ceux où l’habit même prend sa source à l’amour
En plaintes profondes
Quand mes jours coulent dans tes jours
Comme un fleuve qui gronde
Quand mes jours coulent dans tes jours
Comme un fleuve qui gronde
Je voudrai me fondre avec toi
À l’endroit où mes doigts
Ont écrit tant de mots, tant de cris
Comment peut-on vivre en hiver
Entre la peine et la guerre
Quand l’amour seul efface les frontières
Entre nous comme entre pays
L’existence est si brève
Les plus beaux projets de la vie
Sont ceux où la vie même
Prend naissance avec nous en cet instant de rêve
Quand mes jours coulent dans tes jours
Comme un fleuve qui gronde
Quand mes jours coulent dans tes jours
Comme un fleuve qui gronde
Comment éteindre le feu
Qui brûle au fond de mes yeux
Au fond de mon cœur
Comme un grand bonheur
Ne plus rien retenir
Et dans un dernier soupir
Oublier autant d’années
À ne plus respirer
Désormais, tout me semble écrit
Comme la fin du monde
Le plus bel instant de la mort
Celui où là dit même prend au fond de corps
Ce sang qui nous inonde
Quand mes jours coulent dans tes jours
Comme un fleuve qui gronde
Quand mes jours coulent dans tes jours
Comme un fleuve qui gronde
À l’aube, aux premières lueurs
Le ciel change les couleurs
De la nuit pour celle d’aujourd’hui
Il me semble entendre le vent
Mais c’est peut-être le chant
Des hommes qui marchent maintenant
Sur le sol de ce beau pays de la mer et des landes
Les plus beaux matins de la vie
Sont ceux où la terre même
prend au fond de nos corps
Notre force en offrande Quand mes jours coulent dans tes jours
Comme un fleuve qui gronde
Quand mes jours coulent dans tes jours
Comme un fleuve qui gronde

As A River That Roars
translated by:
Bob Atkinson

I nearly fall asleep
as you turn and snuggle sweetly
shifts my thoughts toward the sensual
my inner child emerges pleasured

meld into your anatomy
dance with hands out freely
commited to this engagement
which begins as life began

during creation of our world
elegant as time and space unfurled
this softly sensual embrace
buries resistance to selfish rage

we flow our lives together
in a channel running fast
not thinking of past mistakes
conflict ebbs as fear's outcast

like a waterfall of feathers
we forget what sure won't last
our love's consummating fast
in a circumstance of delight

desire forms us together
my hands become a scribe
to document our sighs
not conflicting human minds

we struggle toward acceptance
of reality's clashing pride
softness of your body
takes my mind off of that life

sometimes cold besets us
no talk can fix this mess
but when lying in each other's arms
this war of words quietly rests