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I Can't Hear What You're Saying ...: Poetry, Shorts, and Shenanigans

I Can't Hear What You're Saying ...: Poetry, Shorts, and Shenanigans

by Mjr


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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 takes
Without compunction, compassion, nor end
Rarely gives, unless strategically; for their
Unconscious of the damage left in its wake;
or uncaring
Caveat emptor, business is business
What about me? self-centered in its
It walks through life, a cancer, living upon
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
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
Until it ceases to exist, is no more
Before moving to the next
Evil takes

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475950878
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/16/2012
Pages: 188
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.43(d)

Read an Excerpt

I Can't Hear What You're Saying ...

Poetry, Shorts, and Shenanigans

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 MJR
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-5087-8

Chapter One

    The 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
      promises anyway"
    His denim armor faded and patched, the uniform of his band
      of rebels
    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
      grow within

    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

    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
    Evil takes


    False Prophets

    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-
      class-not-no-n ...
    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-
      cousin-papa-gra ...
    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
      to fly
    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,
      surrounding themselves
    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
    Too long
    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 materials—present
    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
    Disaster averted
    Backed down the teacher, the coach ...
    The moment designated to alter fate
    Never fret
    Probably didn't need that part anyway
    Who really needs algebra, manners
    Self-image-discipline-satisfaction-awareness ...
    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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