This new collection of poetry and prose by author MJR offers raw and honest insight into the poet’s thoughts. In a no-holds-barred journey that ranges from the serious and solemn to the unexpected and provocative, the poet exposes personal feelings and emotions through life experiences. From the melancholy “Sorrow” to the introspective “Weep Not, For Me,” the pieces in this collection capture the emotions of each unique situation.
I Can’t Hear What You’re Saying… seeks not only to invoke emotional responses like laughter and tears, but also provoke introspection, that we may find our own path—a personal adventure of selfdiscovery.
Evil is the entity which takesWithout compunction, compassion, nor endRarely gives, unless strategically; for theirimageUnconscious of the damage left in its wake;or uncaringCaveat emptor, business is businessWhat about me? self-centered in itsthoughtsIt walks through life, a cancer, living uponothersDevouring what it wants, what it needs, whatit takesEven when still in use, not theirs, not deadA mollusk, leaching, draining life fromothersUntil they are just too tired to fight, give upDevoured alive by the relentless selfishnessTo take, take, take, resources, energy, lovePervert it, alter its stateForever damaging the former host beyondrecognitionUntil it ceases to exist, is no moreBefore moving to the nextEvil takes
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I Can't Hear What You're Saying ...Poetry, Shorts, and Shenanigans
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 MJR
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Journey
Where are you going, son?
The youngster looked to the stranger with a shrug
"I'm traveling to where the monsters are," he answered
His knuckles tightly wrapped, white, around his imaginary
A carefully peeled and colored stick
Wand or sword, it did not matter; he meant to do battle
Where are you going, lad?
The blonde-haired boy, fierce with commitment glared
"I go to fight demons." Determination, settled upon his face
His outfit, comical, if he weren't so severe
The blending of Knight, Indian and Navy Seal
The ultimate warrior against his fantastic foe
Where are you going, young man?
The sullen teen, withdrawn from authority, bowed his head
"What's it to ya?" The angry thought. "You never keep your
His denim armor faded and patched, the uniform of his band
Fighting for individualism, though ironically the same
The lost guardian against his imaginary antagonist
Where are you going, sir?
The go-getter, rushing towards the next deal
"I'm combating Inflation, Communism, Sexism, Darwinism ..."
Scrambling for purpose; magic briefcase at the ready, shoes
pointed and slicked
His suit of fabrics, the best he can afford, to intimidate
All is the enemy, everything a fight; the fear and emptiness
Where are you going, dad?
The tired worker, dead man walking
"I have to pay the bills," he drones, shuffling towards the grind
Housecoat over shirt and tie, work boots, safety glasses, a pencil
behind his ear
Water in his mouth and nose, always present, constantly
To overwhelm, take his spirit, his fight, drown him in a sea of
Where are you going, old man?
Frightened and lonely, nowhere to go, unwanted
"I still want to fight!—they laugh behind my back, think I don't
His knuckles wrapped, white, around his imaginary weapon
A carefully selected cane, filled with memories and wisdom
If they only knew
Pennies On Your Eyes
I still picture your face, as if you were with me
Comforting my tears, only yesterday it seems
Your hand caressing my cheek; you love me
I can see it in your eyes, Mother—Son
The only way one lost soul can love another
Without love of themselves, respect of self
Your smell fills my senses, threatens to overwhelm
Chanel # 5, floating upon the breeze of a clear day
A good day, your laughter rings, like church bells
Having forsaken you; their hypocrisy stings me to this day
False promises, prejudice against troubled souls
A gentleman's club; you can come in, but you must fit the
I wish for one last conversation, now, or soon, as an adult
Your eyes twinkling as the sun reflects, beauty upon beauty
What would you say to me, your son? I have made so many
Been so human in my travels, so base in my wants and
Though I didn't stay, I didn't burrow or settle, always pushing
Out of the nest, on to the next challenge, journey, addiction,
Career, hobby, course, class, book, discomfort ...
Always on a bed of needles, to become stronger, overcome
Tax myself, on my way to a better man, a learned man
A disciplined man, a leader of men, self-sufficient—with
Honest—with myself, uncaring of what others think or
That is not truth, only you know the truth, the real word
Left unspoken, written on the bathroom mirror
Lest, not you forget who you truly are, when you stop fooling
The others, that you try to impress, to be accepted
That you not stand out, but fit in, for the first time
With your too-short pants, peculiar bike and haircut
So individual, like all the rest, though always outside looking
Did I do enough, Mom, if I never go back
If I stay the course, fight the beasts one-by-one
Stay true to myself, the gifts I was given; so much expected
No one understands, never have, never will
The lonely path to freedom; will it be enough
To see you smile, to make you proud—when at last we meet
The dimly lit street in the rundown, mostly abandoned neighborhood had been a hotspot over the years for harvesting souls. Most of the people and all of the cops had left this ugly scar on the city for greener, more productive pastures, long ago.
The hit-and-run, unremarkable in every way, caught his attention for some unknown reason. It was not the accident itself, per se, but the sudden clumsy, though heart-felt prayer from Sherry, a lost cause, although one that pulled at his heartstrings, nonetheless. That they'd sent Peter to give her answers, confirmed he was not alone.
Her confessions of the flesh and weaknesses of the will, both spoken and reflected, touched him, belabored him with sadness. She felt no physical pain. Her ruptured and leaking husk lay broken beyond sensation, although, even if there had been it too would only be temporary, just like her afflicted body.
After so many millennium, decisions counted, battles won and lost, he still found it remarkable how a lost-one managed to affect him so. Peter felt it too, surprisingly. He gleaned the legend's thoughts as the glowing apparition knelt to comfort the girl. The magnitude of Peter's love and compassion enveloped, then overwhelmed, causing a shutter to ripple the whole of the universe that every soul would experience, if only they would open their hearts.
His proximity to the outpouring of love that emanated from Peter left nothing outside their exchange. Every nuance of sorrow spoken and suffered between the two came unfiltered, hard-wired to his every sense.
Forgive me ..." Her voice sounded so lost, afraid, pathetic ...
"Sherry, honey, we've heard your prayers, and I've been sent to explain." It was these words from Peter which tipped him off to which way the scale was leaning, which judgment was coming down the line.
The girl, Sherry, had never realized he was there, watching, a witness to her final exit from this place. Pete simply ignored him. Not from rudeness, that was not his style, more familiarity if anything; after so many eons and millions of souls, The Keeper was no more intrusive than a shadow.
Peter continued, "How do you expect to get along with everyone there, when you were so filled with judgment and prejudice while you were here?"
He sensed her last breath wrapped in fear, loss, sorrow, regrets—too many to count, wisp from her lips. All her impulses of thought and feeling, intertwined, with the love and sympathy which radiated from the still kneeling Peter, as he stayed to comfort her final breath in this world.
It always seemed to end the same, so sad ...
When she was gone, Peter arose and left for home. His last thought, "If only you'd loved one another ...?" reverberating through The Keepers mind. Or had it been a question? He was never truly certain. Then, shaking his head as if to clear his thoughts of the emotions swimming through them, The Keeper ticked another checkmark for the side of sorrow.
The hero never raised his hand
Said, "Pick me, I want to die"
For the cause, save the day, the woman, the child
Rushing in, to burning buildings, to rescue the others
Terrified, paralyzed in body and thought
Their minds frozen, immobilized
The panic, palpable, in their eyes
Victims of circumstance, disaster, happenstance
Wrong place, wrong time, darting about
Their eyes, their minds, their souls
Praying for a Hero to arise, as if magic, from the coals
Materialize like a phoenix, to save them
From themselves, their silly situations
Where they swam too deep, too far, didn't look before they
From the cliff, off the bridge, their eyes on the horizon
Looking for a Hero, who never knew, as he walked to work that
Took a new path, a short-cut, the long-way, the wrong-way
In, the sun, the rain, the pain in his neck and the detour to the
When he caught a glimpse of the burning building
The crying child, an injured animal, a sorrowed soul
The Hero never raised his hand
Not that morning, nor any other
He simply stopped, thinking of himself
In your hour of need
In a life of so many options, choices
Obstacles to overcome
Animals to save
People to lend your helping hand
Kind words to give, hearts to touch, smiles to spread
Comfort, care, compassion in need all around
The love and fulfillment you receive
Enrichment for a job well done
The challenges you faced, overcame
For yourself, for others
Stretching your horizons, pushing your boundaries
Setting new goals, giving of your new-self
Sharing a romantic night, witnessing birth, life
Youth of spirit, optimism, heroism
A flower, a bird flying beyond sight
The rain, washing the stains of yesterday, away
A choice, to be kind, to give, to be, more
An example to those around you
Even when they're not about, to see; especially
To open your arms, embrace life
Live outside your house, make a community
Be true, to others, to yourself
To your soul, dreams, goals
Flex your wings and let your inner halo shine
A light, a beacon for the lost, the needy
The less fortunate
For there is always someone in need
Of you, if you choose to see
Wish to see
Open your eyes to opportunities
That abound, exist, present themselves
Every moment of every day, week, month, year ...
Life is that chance; life is to live
To stretch your wings, to fly, soar, dream, live, do, be, become
Live to its fullest, create your paradise
Is that not heaven
Evil is the entity which takes
Without compunction, compassion, nor end
Rarely gives, unless strategically; for their image
Unconscious of the damage left in its wake; or uncaring
Caveat emptor, business is business
What about me?—self-centered in its thoughts
It walks through life, a cancer, living upon others
Devouring what it wants, what it needs, what it takes
Even when still in use, not theirs, not dead
A mollusk, leaching, draining life from others
Until they are just too tired to fight, give up
Devoured alive by the relentless selfishness
To take, take, take, resources, energy, love
Pervert it, alter its state
Forever damaging the former host beyond recognition
Until it ceases to exist, is no more
Before moving to the next
False prophets, telling you how to live
Right from wrong; making their living off, the word
The ignorance, the hope, the faith and desperation
Of the weak, the poor, the sick and the sinners
Who cannot stand the wretched odor of their souls
The pain that throbs, pulsating rhythms of anguish
Sorrow so real, so vivid, they beg forgiveness
For an end, will do anything, so vulnerable
Evil preys on those who have nothing left
No fight in them, spent, after years, decades of battle
Putrid sores buried deep, festering, puss oozing
Bargaining, accepting, anything to end the suffering
Not with gnashing of teeth, not with fire nor brimstone
No trident, no horns, no writhing agony lay about hoof-ed
Deceit is so much subtler, a warm handshake, a strong
A shoulder, the smell of Old Spice and pipe smoke, a warm
A twinkling eye and the promise of better days, forgiveness
If you believe as we believe, all will be right; if not now ...
Portrayer of goodness, a true believer, a messenger
Follow me—us, not him—them, they are wrong
They are evil, they are not believers, not the children, not the
Not the right country-smell-language-color-belief-parents-
They are not us; then, what are they?
With the power to inspire so much fear, prejudice, hatred ...
Killing, taking the life of another, in the name of?
Stories, fables, tales, lessons in narrow-mindedness
Discrimination, chauvinism, bigotry, intolerance, racism ...
How many words for hatred?—where do they come from
Who are the teachers of us?—what of our children
The spreaders of evil, of sickness, fetid-offal for bread
How can truth and love and kindness and acceptance and ...
Become so twisted? Where are the guardians of right?—
It was you-me-us-we-mother-brother-sister-father-aunt-
It is time—to learn, open our hearts and minds to differences
Expel the nonsense, the twistings of evil
Cast out the false prophets
Once I Was Blind
Gathering, acquiring, displaying our substance
Puffing-up importance, impressing others
An ever increasing bundle
We drag, push-pull; it clings, holds
Chains itself, becomes dependent upon us
We're addicted to the opinion of others
The machete swings, slicing cumbersome knots
We tied them ourselves, pretty bows
To surpass rivals, the nodding heads
All wishing they had ribbons of their own
Chains; ridiculous commitments to nothing important
By-products of low self-esteem
Dancing with our healthy self-image
Our freedom of stuff
No ties, other than the ones to our true-self
Our inner music
Notes which need nothing more than melody and freedom
To sustain, to grow, to transform into something
More beautiful, more wonderful, more one with the universe
A butterfly, evolving, bursting from its self-imposed cocoon
The confinement of matter
Of competition in areas which have no relevance
Our race against imaginary foes
No longer trapped within our self-imposed silliness
All tethers to belongings, our former egos, snapped
Now nonsense, strewn haphazardly about without care
No longer us, our true self, emerged
Mind freed, unbound, cholesterol free, infantile in its eagerness
No knapsack of baubles to weigh us down
We soar; the wind blurs images of the others
Our former peers, now uncovered, exposed
Deluded posers, pulling their wagon of bricks
Each block, placed upon another, building their walls,
With self-imposed blindness, a condition we recognize
The past, our former selves, pitying, holding out a helping
Only to be scoffed, laughed at
Laughing With the
Within the chasm
Is where you will find me
Laughing with the crux
Your final moment
Your finest moment?
Held within a breath, a flash
A pause for thought
Time eludes, giggling madly
Now gone; the moment of choice
The opportunity for change
Learning, growth, living, life
No remorse, no compunction
No guilt or compassion
Time doesn't do do-overs
Doesn't give ear to shouts of "Not fair"
It does not grant—"Time out"
Is rather amused, and not
At your audacity, finite ideals, heroic chivalry
Pathetic excuses of: if only
It is you, not time
Who steal the turning points from youth
The moments that make them, mold them
Forge them into more
The fire white-hot
The master blacksmith's hammer at the ready
The elements of space, time, chance ... in line, perfect
As one propitious mold
The perfect place, opportunity, instant
Given, now gone
Laughing with the crux
A pat upon the back
Congratulations for a job well done
Backed down the teacher, the coach ...
The moment designated to alter fate
Probably didn't need that part anyway
Who really needs algebra, manners
Confidence to believe ...
Is it better? Were your parents wrong
To let you fall, scrape your knee?
Never mind, you will likely turn out fine
Like everyone else, forever waiting
The perfect moment in time
Never laughing with the crux
Mark: "Did you see the game on the weekend, buddy?"
Dan: "No, I was a little too busy for television."
Mark: "Oh? How the hell could you be too busy for Pittsburg and Baltimore? The Steelers man!"
Dan: "I'll tell you how. I got fired, that's how. Marge was a bloody wreck all weekend. I couldn't seem to get her to stop crying. You know we've been part of this company for twenty-seven years now—this community. Hell, Marge even volunteers at the Gazette writing that book review column for the paper."
Mark: "What are you talking about?"
Dan: "What do you think I'm doing here packing these boxes—redecorating my office? I've been fired. They've decided to go in another direction. Get a more 'youthful' perspective. I've gotta be out of here by ten, which leaves me less than half an hour to finish. So, if you don't mind?"
Mark: "You've been let go? I can't believe it."
Dan: "As I said, I'm kind of busy here."
Mark: "I could help. I mean, I've got about forty minutes before I have to be in a meeting, but until—"
Dan: "Let me guess. Stevenson called the meeting?"
Mark: "Does it matter?"
Excerpted from I Can't Hear What You're Saying ... by MJR Copyright © 2012 by MJR. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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