issue four

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(670 words)
For A Time I Could Hardly Sleep
A poem by P.H. Madore
In your hearts for a second
I sparked passionate flames
Which stretched almost into a week
Or two wherein the future held a
Chance we might never have to kill again
Might never have to starve again
A new page in this maybe-ending story
Dubbed society, wise-cracked civilization
The dawn of an era we'd be proud of
Yes no radicals needed to apply
No blood needed to be spoiled
To join the revolution we had
Only to jump headlong into love

Control freaks were ready to sob
& our owners were ready to croak
I saw this with my tired eyes --
Cloaked just barely in our masks anymore
Folks were getting smart & wise
I saw this with my tired eyes

So excited for a time I could hardly sleep
We were strong
& brothers
& unified
As I can imagine Revere & Jefferson et cetera
Must've been & no longer was our kindness weakness
No longer were our voices wasted bull
No longer was our success cut-throat by necessity
No longer did we lie to ourselves
Or each other

For a whisper in history
We were all clear

Then in cowering tones
You fucks crushed the dice
& re-stacked the cards
Against us even as our lives
Belonged to us
& our dreams realized themselves
Even as our wrenches solved our problems
& no longer kept these machines
In perfect murderous order

I saw this with
The same tired eyes
Which have seen death
Lose at chess
& success rise & fall
In one day, in one week
Just two months after
An adult birthday

The bosses were fearful
In anger they proved so
& in words only they denied it
& did we not work together
Respectfully choose not to bicker
& were we not alive
For the first time since birth?

Somehow, though, the monsters scared you
Or instilled fear in you
Or bought you -- & I asked
& I begged you
In whispers & shouts

Because the stakes are as real
As the game is rigged
& it's never been as much about
Right, loss, victory, or wrong
As much as realizing that
We were meant to live
& being proud enough of ourselves
To quit lying & laying
In & about these troubled times
Of our prime

Well, my disloyal friends -- right now
It looks as though my means
Have lost their solid ends
The chips have fallen
I've got three bucks
Some food, some words, & some silly smokes
Which I pathetically burn & write
As if tomorrow fell off the calendar
Because it seems to me
It just may have
& I'll be damned
If I accept another loan
Underpaid if paid at all
Without even a lover
To whom I can offer so little
Besides love & attention
& today I'm feeling like a communist
With less faith in myself than
I had in October
& the situation ruling me
Not the inverse
Like a spit in the ocean
Or a coin in a fountain

If I stand my ground
& use a BiC lighter
To set my homeland on fire
Starting with this shitty poem
Will you desert me
& turn my ground into an island?

& I'm delirious maybe
Ran out of coffee grounds
& want a suture for my mind
But I'd probably not be as inspired then
Drugged & melancholy
I'd be just like you
& I keep thinking about the world's most beautiful woman
Who gave me a book of poems
Better than this
Before she left a mark on my mind
& Georgia altogether
& I'm thinking the days aren't
So magical anymore
& I just came back from
Another weekend writing bender
Because I've seen with these tired eyes
These troubled times
& the nightly news is
One more distraction

So rest assured that
These letters are
For your god --
please tell him
we're trading up
& cashing out.
For L. E. C.
(All copyrights reserved.)
Photo by Harvey Finkle