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Selected Poems

2013-2017

By Rori O'Keeffe

Copyright © 2017 by Rori O'Keeffe

Smashwords Edition

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The poems in this volume were previously published at Smashwords by Rori O'Keeffe, © 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017.

Table of Contents

The Persistence Of Tunnel Vision

Emerging Love

The Choice

We Are The Beginning

Love Poem 1

Death Poem 1

Chaos Poem 1

Death Poem 5

Chaos Poem 6

Admittedly, A Nerdy Love Of Mine

Altered Design

Once

Peach Tree

There's Plenty More

Weeds

Love's Nest

Cheap Vase

Natural Lovers

A Spectacle Within

Telescoping#less is more

The Pretty Poem

I

Expressions Of Living

Less Is More

The Enemy Thrives Within

I Feel I'm Being Watched

A Decision To Bide My Time

Baubles On The Tree Of Life

By Day And By Night

A Better World

The Bard From The Sea

I Bite

The Bitten

A One-Time Friend

The Rewards Of Loyalty

United, We Stand Shoulder To Shoulder

I Toil Not

Logical Stuff

An Apple

The Third Wall

The Cult Of The World

The Astronaut

A Little Anarchy

Embrace Ambiguity

Let Me Become

My Decision

The Others

How I Love You

I hear the news...

Cruelty is strong...

She is a masochist...

It is not her child...

They toy with us...

Silent Wind

Poem To A Guileless Lover

Monster

Spirits In The Trees

Gary

How We Got Here

Boadicea

Ghosts

An Equation

Rori O'Keeffe at Smashwords


Selected Poems

2013-2017

The Persistence Of Tunnel Vision

When they saw slaves twisted in bloody heaps

Under the fallen rocks by the pyramid's side,

They turned and said,

It is not that I don't care, but I am busy with my tasks.

***

I suppose, long ago, flames licked their tongues at the agony

Of my ancestor's dying flesh;

It was good, said some, to burn a witch;

Others, less imbued with divine authority,

Could but watch, and return to their tasks -

Their world narrowing with

Each harrowing desecration

Of humanity around them.

Peace at last, they found in the grave.

***

When many among us

Make good for themselves

By the desecration of human beings far away,

It is as though they are of no concern;

They are not known to me,

So their suffering is but illusion to me.

Besides, I am busy with my tasks.

***

We ever fail to hear the screams,

Until it is Mother, or Brother

Screaming out to us.

As the screams of the world rise,

Threatening to call us out of our personal worlds,

Our tunnel vision protects from conscience,

Or action,

Until, as the story goes,

They at last come for each of us -

And then the screams are felt

Not just heard.

***

Destiny is what may be achieved

With will and love and unity.

Fate is what befalls those who have come to believe

In their own immunity

From the scourge of the ages

That has plagued each life

Since we left paradise

Long, long ago.

Emerging Love

Over the years of my life,

I have watched that scotch pine

In its ascent through the air,

From sapling I plunged into the soil,

To the green spire

That now crests

The old home's chimney top.

How many gales has it withstood?

What of it's calm presence in winter?

Though it's beauty enraptures my heart,

I yearn for a pyre

To consume it with flame.

***

I roll and loll about in my bed at night

Wishing in dreams and under baleful moonlight

That you would return

And carry my heart away;

After all, it is your rightful trophy -

Or, perhaps, a notch on your little black book.

I succumb to a vision,

Or a fond hope, perhaps

Of you lying dead, a knife in your chest,

Finished off by a virago that found you at last.

I believe it is likely, however,

That you are off on a cruise ship

In the Sargasso Sea

Where we met so long ago

In those still waters.

***

None have compared to you

And your turquoise eyes;

Nor your lilting trills

As you carried your prize;

Why must I recall you in each

New man's face?

Why do I teach them -

Beseech them -

To learn your embrace?

After all is said and done,

You cut the bloom off my flower

And replaced it with a brooch

Meant for weddings

Though without an engraving.

***

How the years have passed cruelly

Since you abandoned me at sea,

To find a firmer ass

In some other woman's cabin.

Does it matter to you

That I have drifted off course

And find myself alone on the

Isle of Old Maids?

I counsel myself to yearn for

The flesh of a woman -

In the hope that love would become

New again in a kinder bed mate.

I caution myself against desperate

Chance-taking

On the wheel of fate

That is the dating service.

I tell myself that, in time,

I will no longer want a love

To place by my side,

For does not desire flow,

Then ebb as the tide?

***

I have been placed in the tomb,

A premature burial,

While a raven calls out

"Nevermore."

I still see myself in the moon's orb,

A dead ancient world

Scarred by age and melted rock,

Until it now has a companion in me.

My life was changed forever

By you

Under that tropical moon,

And though your kiss infected

My still growing spirit

With your blight,

The sea turned vicious on me -

The price I've paid

For having you

One night.

***

A storm raged around my home

All hours of the night;

The hail bullied the roof into submission

And bolts' light captured the sight

Of a sinuous wind cloud

Snapping the trunk of that old scotch pine.

Nothing will ever be the same

In my old neighbourhood -

All has been moved,

Turned about as omens

Are ironic, yet not perverse.

That fine old tree is now dead,

And I can never now summon the will

To plant a new sapling -

And so my heart will ever be still.

Peace at last

Can now fill my being,

As I walk in my garden

No longer in the shadow

Of that old scotch pine.

The Choice

So it was written,

As though into my heart,

That all are born free,

And it is noblest, best,

To always be so.

I staved off the ruins

Of another age,

That lay claim upon each soul,

And declared that the lot

Of the peasant

Is duty.

Truly, I set off to the stage of the world

With banners unfurled,

Just a little girl,

And made myself free.

Free for the taking;

Free for lovemaking;

Free, above all,

To do as I pleased.

Fires fell about me,

{From heaven, I wonder?}

And great floods swept my dwelling

Off its rickety stilts.

I was beautiful as Narcissus,

Gazing into the bowl

Of my misgivings about

What I had become.

I was free of it all,

And all of them -

Children were but a ghostly

Alternate reality -

Science fantasy to one such as me;

I had no faith in myself,

Yet, somehow,

I would be free of them all.

Children, parents, and in the end,

My notably wicked friends,

Who made no friends of their own.

Some envied me,

Others pointed to the precipice,

Which at last I have come to,

And so, without hesitation,

I am now jumping to my death,

Where, I have little doubt,

I will at last be

Absolutely free.

This I have chosen to become,

For the life of duty

Is undignified;

Though, I now perceive,

With salt's bitter taste on my lips,

A life with duty in it

Has the charm of being

Relatively happy

Compared to what

Mine has become.

Absolute freedom awaits me

At the bottom of this precipice.

Farewell.

We Are The Beginning

No one has watched that tree grow,

As moss was strewn about its lower branches;

No one was there to water its roots

Or prune its dead shoots;

No one but I, who have within me,

The memory of what I have been -

That tree will fall, and no one will hear the sound

Of a spirit taking flight

Back to its beginning,

With the hope of standing in the soil of the earth

Once again.

Love Poem 1

She was held to be the most,

In all ways of beauty,

In her village, built on the ashes

Of the Celts' old town.

She was Saxon, and as of old,

Trailed fine golden ringlets of hair

Across the chests and faces

Of her lovers.

It was in a field of barley,

Under the silvering moon,

Still worshipped by many,

That she showed a suitor her flower,

Nestled in gold between her thighs;

He came to her and went in

On his own.

He fled the village two moons later,

When she began to show

The gift that she thought she had

Been given by he.

"What of it?" said an old gentleman,

Widowed for years with children all grown;

She jumped at the chance to marry into cropland;

With a good stepson's support,

She might again have the chance,

Under a silvering moon,

To coddle a man between her thighs,

And find what love there was

To be had,

In this world.

Death Poem 1

Sundry oaths fly about

In parlours and homes

Across the globe;

Insipid lies are often told,

Then not retracted

By some so bold;

The best of mates,

The best of friends,

Are not told of the passing;

How is it that at the end,

So many make a Hellish mocking

Of a heavenly one's joy of life?

Bitterness makes the

Talking dead

Rage with envy

At the death, and the life,

Of ones who truly lived.

Be wary at the wilting of ones you love;

It is when villains take their vicious revenge

On those they found to be fine, and worthy.

Chaos Poem 1

Whatever moon they choose to come by,

They can be heard in fields and yards,

Near and far, and those in between;

Some are speckled black on orange,

Some are a lyrical iridescent green;

Still others are black, and some brown.

They rise, it seems, in unison

For the sky - then in a trice,

Some plunge while some hold high.

On it goes through their lives,

At times soaring, sometimes falling;

They were put on earth for a simple reason -

That they might live,

Live badly and learn;

That they might live,

Live well and have a turn

At glory;

And on they go,

Age after age of the earth,

Some rising,

Some falling,

All for a while,

Until they die,

And we are sated by

The spectacle of life.

Death Poem 5

Here lies a woman,

From the worldwide slum,

Known to be a slut,

A seller of smut,

The sort the haughty

Denounce as scum.

Much loved she was,

For she was kinder than

Sleep at the end of a day -

She was wiser than those

Who are paid to say,

That all is well under the sun -

Except for those people

Who come out from the slum.

She had no need of death

To put her heart at rest;

Peace, she knew, and gave it

From her breast.;

Leave her alone now,

Keep your petty oaths

In your mouths.

Her final wish,

Was for you to find out,

That death is not what

You think it is,

And life is about things

Not dreamt of in

Your worlds of power.

Chaos Poem 6

Balls kicked about like meandering rivers

Guided by foot and knee;

Little capricious girls selling stories

That just might not be;

Games not played by the rules,

Though none are cheating;

Whispered swear words,

Spoken like secret adult codes;

Vivid colors, sounds,

And the aromas of life;

Each touch felt, and

Committed to memory.

The textures of life

Still anticipated;

The fabric not yet stretched and torn.

A fight breaks out,

Though no one is hurt -

Soon it's forgotten,

Like a penny in the dirt.

Ants are fed, without cruel intent,

To waiting spiders -

Premonitions unknown

To them yet;

Dancing, swinging from bars,

Singing off key,

Though in harmony.

What care should they have,

Apart from growing?

Then the bell rings,

The children go in -

And chaos begins.

Admittedly, A Nerdy Love Of Mine

There is no other I would put before you,

When the night has wrapped me in a desirous warmth;

Marriage, it seems, hastens ahead of me -

I cannot catch what I cannot see.

So, my lover unparalleled,

I will find myself slipping beneath you

Again, and again.

What world could be crueler than the one

We are held in,

That gives to us a spire of joy,

Yet without true love dangled from its height?

I have a dream of being stranded somewhere,

Perhaps a frozen tundra with beasts about,

And only you there to guard me and feed me,

Within a cave where I tend the fire.

One day soon,

I may yet sink to one knee,

And beg of thee, beg of thee,

To enter wedlock with me!

If I do, silly child I can be -

Send me away, for you only offer

Strength and stamina,

Curves and breasts -

Enough to please me night after night,

But what empty days would follow,

Knowing that one such as you,

Could never more than care

For one such as me.

Love, as I want it, would not fill your heart,

And spill its dewy sweat upon me.

You have overpowered my being,

And so, please do not make me a bauble

Of a wife -

Leave me, sated, but forced to carry on

With my life,

Without you.

Altered Design

What if I came to know,

That some sort of pixie or elf

Planted seeds in my mind -

Changing how I might see myself?

Could it be that my sleep is troubled,

As night brings danger in the wild,

Because I have been split and doubled,

Since first I was told I am a bad child?

Once

I had a nutshell once -

I dropped it here, or perhaps there;

Nothing grew from the empty shell -

Nothing could, for I did not care.

Peach Tree

Fuzzy smells and succulent textures

Make this fruit the prize of all;

I might yet go to the farmers' market,

And grab a ripe one from the stalls.

There's Plenty More

Shapeless friend, why do you gaze

Into your dream box day after day?

Have you no pity for celebrities?

Their lives are hard, and full of hairdos.

Why not join me for a ramble in the park -

Up by Lusk we'll go into a watery cave -

There in the void you will feel powerless

To stop the world from containing more

Than you have ever dreamt;

And if your hand should then touch mine,

Home we'll go and ponder that dark cavern;

If you desire, you may then have of my dreams,

In my bed, by the fire, with tea on the stove,

And we'll take turns becoming the other one's cavern

Of unbounded possibilities, in the dark,

By the dying embers of the fireplace,

With tea etching the pot, forgotten on the trivet.

Weeds

Creeping charlie finds his way in,

Dandy lion feasts on my catches;

Honey clover is welcome to stay,

But you, old friend, have got to go.

(The life of a weed is most unbecoming a man.)

Love's Nest

Here in the corner of my shadowy abode,

I find in good repair an old spider's web;

I will make of it what use there is for such things:

I'll place in it a hex on the next who comes in.

Clairvoyant I am, born on the Harmonic Convergence, 1987 -

Under a Hazel Blue Moon, in room 13.

I have eight sisters, 9 in all we make;

And we care not a bit if we burn at the stake.

Some witches are good, and pray to Almighty God;

But others like me are born to be free!

Yes, it's true, I have a yew growing in my garden,

And I have a ewe on tap for All Hallow's Eve;

But the sacrifice I need to appease my Lord Darkness,

Is a man who steps in the web as I deceive;

What I'll do is give him all that he wants,

And then I'll give the techniques that will haunt

His every hour with any woman of his choice;

When he calls out "I love you!" he'll yearn for my voice.

For I am the lover of the ages,

And no men, no priests, nor any sages

Can explain the cruel magic I am known for -

Waste your breath now, and denounce me as a whore!

Your men are mine, in their boyish hearts,

And you, my sweetie, could well fall under my spell,

If I so chose to give you a taste of my Hell.

Now, enough, at last, on the bedroom arts -

Save that I'm known, at weddings, to both kiss,

And to tell.

Farewell, my sweeties, go off to your pious homes,

Live like saints and make your prayers good;

But a pagan woman has stolen your dreams,

Of loving like no others under the Hazel Blue Moon.

Cheap Vase

You adorn my living room with such a simple shape,

And I hold you close as there is no other like you;

I find within you a feather that got there somehow -

Perhaps kind winds brought it aloft just for you.

They said when I found you that you were of a foreign land,

Though you're more like a knock-off than any Don Juan about;

I don't brag that I have you, you've just become part of my life,

And I cannot bear to leave you unsteady, near the edge,

For you are the priceless, found for a farthing, that cannot be replaced

By any manner of high-end vase, or museum piece -

None other will do;

You are my cheap, priceless, clay vase.

Natural Lovers

The fish entwine beneath the wavelets;

Under a moon, gossamer threads hold spinning slugs;

Spiders beat out a perilous dancing rhythm,

And birds kiss on the beak before feathering their homes.

Blankets enshroud what may be best,

A kiln lit up over the taste of fresh hardwood;

A pillow knows the teeth of the wolf as she champs,

And lovers kiss with carnal force,

As feathers float about.

All the world shrugs at this common sight,

Save for people, who find in love

Passionate reverberations

That seem evil to ones who have

Come to fear Nature's might.

A Spectacle Within

I suspect the first thing I felt

When I heard the beating of hearts

In that ancient sea,

Was love for having been conceived,

And a want for loving all I encountered

And so I kicked with joy.

Troubles roiled around my head,

Though I had not yet taken to my feet;

I could not pull down all I desired,

And so vexed I grew and demanding I became,

For love is so precious, we grow hateful without it.

Still, I saw within a want for love,

And I leapt to my feet with joy.

My first love was a tender and shy boy,

Who opened his heart to me,

So I could see all the love within;

I travelled the world with this man,

And gave myself to him with the hope,

That something of the love would never die.

Rocking chair on my veranda,

Mint tea and tulips at my side;

I'll leave this world one victorious day,

With still my eyes open wide,

And all the love I was born with,

Still there for the taking, inside,

As the spectacle of living gives way

To the hope for another home,

Where love within is gamely embraced.

Heaven is a place

Closer to you.

Telescoping

Fused quartz amused the courts,

And so they made the defendant pay;

His defence was to blame the judge,

Whose spectacles were there to stay.

Magnifying a fact, keeping it intact;

The truth looked on in dismay,

As fingers unfurled at the accused,

When he intoned, "A year and a day!"

Of course, the man did it,

Broke the judge's sacred law -

However, he couldn't help it:

That's what the court never saw.

The Pretty Poem

Abstract orchids swirl in their pink,

Ready to blossom at the roadside;

Intrinsically, I am drawn in -

I will see, unless I am shut out.

Kids canter along a schoolyard fence,

With keen eyes penetrating surfaces all about;

The priests of this world,

Concealing the blood-stained altars,

Dismiss what the children do see,

With throats strangled,

And tears in their eyes.

Those who lord shout to every child:

"Do not see this, do not see that!"

A veil is placed over pretty eyes,

And those blessed with sight are knuckled under

By those with might;

"You'll have no voice if you can see,

And you'll have no rest if you must be -

Surrender to the selfish maniacs,

And blind you will be -

And, maybe,

You'll grow up to be President.

I

Venomous truth slithers underfoot:

Time goes on without me,

Endlessly.

I look up at the stars and see

That I am nought but a gnat

On the back of infinity.

I will assert, to those who differ

On the consequences of logic,

That, perverse as I might seem to them,

I matter.

***

I love

I care

I give

I take

I struggle

I show

I tell

I ask

I wonder

I invite

I surrender

I carry on

I come

I go

I grow

I could go on

With countless ways

I am perverse.

***

I am alive.

Expressions Of Living
Layla simply extracts maximum pleasure from life,

Never heeding the nodding forest

And it's rueful counsel.

Off down a weathered bluff,

Never following, for there is no path there -

Stumbling against knotted roots,

That languish in the pools of predictability.

Neither dice to be thrown,

Nor a plan to be executed,

She sees in life only the opportunities

Found in spontaneous combustion -

She has flamed in Hell,

And danced in the clouds,

Yet the morose forest trees,

Rooted as they are in macabre duties

To refrain from spontaneity,

Only pray that Layla trip on their

Knotted roots,

So they might sway their leaves

In laughter at the impetuous one.

Yet, for all the supernatural silence about her

At the end of the crag,

She has suffered no regret

For having committed the sin

Of making mistakes along the way

To a life lived as an

Expression of her being.

Less Is More
Those boys down by the levee,

With their polyester shirts

And plastic plates

Filled with chicken stir-fry

From Frannie's up the highway,

Don't have a clue what the world is

Outside their blissful partying with

Wild girls and weed and boom boxes;

They drag on civilization, weakening it's foundations,

For they do not know the sins of their ways;

Tethered to the boondocks as they

Might as well live in caves,

According to the sages of the cities.

Living less in the dreams of the civilized,

And dreaming that life has no gods,

They know what life is,

In wordless powers of being;

Though they know, as they gaze upon

The mirthless pursuit of happiness

In the cities,

That all dreams

Come to an end.

The Enemy Thrives Within
A tree toppled in my yard,

Dappled in autumn hues;

Within, it was hollow, eaten away,

Left without a center, without substance.

Some blamed the winds of approaching winter;

Others the capriciousness of a god;

Still others blamed the Vandals,

In their cloak of night -

Though they were nowhere near the tree.

From the roots up, it was chewed up,

By something that was always within.

_________________

They were the ones who climbed ladders

That sprung up among the throngs

Of people too busy to watch above.

Some of them had galaxies of wealth;

Still others preferred the power of the sun.

They knew not how this world was made,

Though this very world they set spinning,

Gyring to their own purposes.

They had the Luck of the ages -

Put in charge of things they had not built:

Could not build on their own,

For they hadn't seen the blueprints

Of civilization.

We made not of the wisest our leaders -

We have left that to reckless men

Of golden beds, and altars of power,

Who lead us nowhere, and now, soon,

The tree will topple,

And it will be seen,

As we gaze in horror,

That at the center

Was a void -

And tricked we were,

Upon its boughs,

Into believing that

All was well

With the tree.

They dance in moonlight

By the altar of power,

Clear of the tree that

They have hollowed out;

They cast blame

Upon the weak

And the powerless -

For it was they who demanded

Most of all,

That the land be led

With wisdom,

And not the wintry desire

For the warmth of

Power and money.

_________________

A sapling will grow come spring -

Make its center strong,

And wise -

And behold a tree that will last.

I Feel I'm Being Watched
My sofa groans that I've gotten heavy;

Floorboards creak out that I approach;

You wait in the woods beyond my window -

A fearful eye that casts a reproach.

I have, as we say, been there, done that;

I have lived, I insist, without regret;

You have cowered in shade counting rules,

And seem to believe I owe you a debt.

I look in your hollow eye, and I hear:

The whispers you have sent about my ways.

A rascal, I am, in your deadened dreams,

A villain's hurly-burly I cause in your plays.

You, of all people, who wish not to be seen,

Might turn on a heel and let the living walk free;

Still, {oh!}, you return with your standards,

And prey on the hearts of tramps such as me.

Are you gripped with paranoia, my fitful one?

For fear's under my skin when our meeting is done.

A Decision To Bide My Time

Placed in a vice, in a public place,

My heart was wrenched from me,

Inspected, rejected, proclaimed foolish;

And so, child I was, I kept it hidden

By my pillow, writing my diary on it,

In scribbles of what I yearned to be -

Until it was forgotten by me,

Save for the pounding in my chest

When love looked askance my way -

And so, unknowing, I have waited for you,

Faithful to you, for no other has been

Privy to the words of you

Written on my famished heart.

Baubles On The Tree Of Life

One was a brilliant man,

Bespectacled and interjecting;

How could I not swoon for a mind?

Another was bashful, aloof,

Long of hair and poetic;

We lay in the fields entwined.

Some were pretty baubles,

Seducing me for I willed it;

There's no shame in love of beauty.

A few were friends

Who stayed a little too late,

And friendship knows its duty....

By Day And By Night

My home is cluttered with

The accumulations of a lifetime

Spent in the vanity of wishing to be;

But with you, my best of friends,

I feel no knickknacks staring back;

My bureau holds no secrets;

The walls, bless them, have no ears -

I find in your presence the warmth

Of atmosphere;

The play of light on inquisitive eyes;

The tricks of gravity as it pulls me

Across to where you are -

You are a new law of physics to me,

And I reflect on these equations

With each meal we share -

In a home that was once so cluttered.

Night arrives on the wings of the owl;

"Who {is in love?} I fancy it hoots to us.

I share this secret joke with you,

And we smile each time the owl calls.

Before long, we will languish on our bed,

Wondering if we have the time,

The energy,

Or the inclination to make love;

We will smile as we drift off to sleep,

As the inquiring owl

Asks in the glow of light around

This home,

"Who {is in love?}"

A Better World

There's not a thing we can do about

The sullen march of history;

Let us, instead, be in love,

And, for a time, make a better world.

What if it's a girl?

What if it's a boy?

The pleasure of giving a life its name.

Ah, I've been such a heathen -

Pagan, practically -

Would the only true Power-That-Be

Say we defile a church with our vows?

Oh, what a quandary!

Just in time, you have come to save a world,

My superman -

And so my heart is well again,

My soul has hope lighting its way,

And I may yet be saved -

I pray that our love is so

Valuable to you,

And makes for you, as well,

A better world to live in.

The Bard From The Sea
I said at Luxor that it was all doomed -

As is the line of Pharaohs,

Gambling in their dens under the stars,

Acrimony spreading under the spell of

Monumental stupidity.

It was at the beginning of this course

We set out on, long, long ago

That the world was flooded

For its new ways of wickedness -

And the bard was born:

She who could plumb the depths

Of humanity's agony -

Such searing pain that it is submerged

In the bitter waters

Of shared memory.

Sage, dignified face of the feral human -

Look at what has become of your kind:

Paradise was lost when the world came

To be crowded,

And shoulder-to-shoulder,

Under the yoke of fantastic discipline,

Men and women have come to suffer

The fate of those lost in a land of strangers:

Neither trusted, nor trustworthy,

We make merry of the plights of those

We rend from happiness -

Wicked is the world that has happened,

And the flood waters grow even

As we turn our eyes skyward.

It is the fickle hand of Nature that has

Placed within our reach the resources

We need for each Age's way of living;

And each Age finds its end in the destruction

Of those resources.

Make a dollar, kill a resource;

Kill a resource, make a dollar -

The dollars will run out when

The resources are gone,

And so another Age will end

In the acrimony of bitter flood waters.

That men of little wisdom rule still,

While masses of the ruled ferment

Dissent for the laws and ways of

Those ignorant few,

And when the ill-gotten gains of the rulers

Spoil their lands with the stench of failure -

It is not the greater mind of the many that

These rulers turn to;

Instead, the mass of the ruled are placed in prisons,

So that the criminal rulers may remain free

And carry on in their wicked dementia.

I have dredged up these memories from

The sea of our shared suffering

One more time,

And I advise the peasants

To gather while there is

Still moonlight,

And plot to take their lands from

The ignorant few who have spoiled so much

In so little time -

Take a moment to bridle your passions

To a feral beast that lies within us -

Anger,

My friends -

That most disdained emotion,

Is your only recourse

If the flood waters that civilization

Brought to the world

Are ever to abate.

Your land, your laws;

Your votes, your cause.

Give your leaders pause,

Make democracy

Humanity's last great hope -

For there is no other.

I Bite
Nothing restrains me now.

I have slept through the day of laughing children

And well-tended gardens;

I have slumbered while lovers made love,

And the blue sky beckoned to those with life.

Now, the sun is setting,

And I stir anxiously in my tomb,

Thirsty for the blood of the billions

Who now dwell on this world,

Awaiting the Great Darkness.

Thank you, Osama,

And thank you, George;

Thank you, to all the people's chosen leaders.

I told your ancestors long ago

That I would be back.

Allow me to reintroduce myself:

I see all from my vantage point in the sky,

Flitting about, spying on you;

I stalk you as you go about, knowing every place you've been -

A wolf in the fold;

I am an aristocrat,

With more power in my gold-laden finger

Than in the halls of your Congress;

And, my dears, I have no conscience at all -

Do you not feel my breath in the wind?

Fattened by supersized burgers and fries,

Sweetened by colas and beer -

And sleepy from a hard life

Of distractions,

Your blood will be more delicious than ever.

You will discover that I have risen

Just after you have watched the sun disappear,

And an oppressive mist descends on the land -

You will find the night painfully familiar,

As though drawn straight from your nightmares.

The Bitten
I have been impaled by one with no regret

For the suffering he creates;

I have watched the fires crackle around cities,

Towns and houses,

While inhabitants hid inside,

Silent with fear.

I have been bitten.

I serve my Master -

He's your Master as well -

With punctuality, efficiency,

Observance, and relish.

I cannot wait for his signal to me

To pounce

On you.

I may drain you of life,

And leave you dead on your lawn,

A sign to others of what may befall them,

Should they peer out of windows

At the wrong time;

Or, perhaps, you will be seduced,

And instead of dropping to the ground,

You will rise again, now bitten,

And loyal to Master.

A One-Time Friend
I trusted the people I voted for;

I admired those I enriched;

I idolized the spies and soldiers;

And when they turned on you

And your freedom-loving friends,

I feigned shock, dismay -

As though I thought things were looking better those days.

Now, I hear your screams next door to me,

And know that your blood is flowing out

From your living body;

I feel a tinge of sorrow,

For I once supped with you at

Neighborhood barbecues -

But you thought you were so smart

With your gentle children

And your wild ways -

I always hated you,

But kept you close,

So that I might turn you in

When the troops spread through the streets,

And they ran with blood.

Now, I hear a knock at my door -

You always said that I lacked foresight,

Comprehension and empathy.

I suppose it must be a colonel, here to

Thank me on Master's behalf -

Or, more likely, as I hear a cartridge clicking into place,

They have come for me, as well.

Who would imagine that someone of such pristine

Outward manners, as me,

Could have enemies?

The Rewards Of Loyalty
With loyalty, I may find friends,

For I will prove to be discreet in all ways;

With loyalty I will find love,

For I stand with my own for all days.

With loyalty I will forgive,

For life is not without its betrayals;

With loyalty, I will be forgiven,

For my flesh and spirit are soft and frail.

I may dance out of your life for a time,

But as a true friend I will return;

I can be preoccupied with my own business,

But an eye is kept on you, you will discern.

I want to know what is in your heart,

For loyalty beckons me to understand you;

I love to gaze upon your face,

For memory is a vital and lasting glue.

Each friendship is as a shared life,

And our loyal ways will keep it alive;

For what you bring me with steady eyes,

Allows our friendship to always thrive.

And when one day I lay me down,

My thoughts will turn with concern from above,

To you, my friend - how could I not care?

For we made loyalty the rock of our love.

United, We Stand Shoulder To Shoulder
Without loyalty, we will not know unconditional love;

And, when we are untrue to each other, confusion will reign;

A home without loyalty is, sadly, but a den of snakes;

And when we embrace with trust, we begin, finally, to feel what is sane.

Without loyalty, my world would drain empty of meaning -

For there can be no touch of the heart when we are adrift;

I would not know the oneness of family or a group of friends,

Nor would I look up to see a hand when I'm in need of a lift.

Without loyalty, I would not find my center, or know it exists -

I could not weather the storms of this ever-changing Universe;

My love of freedom would be but futile and self-mocking,

And my life would be a progression from bitterness, to even worse.

I cannot see the human behind the face if I am not loyal -

Loyal, at my core, to all those millions I will never know;

I might love a flag or my country's name instead of what it stands for,

And I may see the sad day that forgotten freedom finally has to go.

I Toil Not
Dancing on clover,

Waiting for the bee to come

With my honey;

Nothing smart comes of endless work,

And no work is good unless it is smart to do.

The azure in my eyes tempts me to climb,

But I'd rather spend another day down here;

After all, toppled castles are the price of hubris,

And life is lustrous enough for me.

A wise man lies beside me in this field,

So all I need for now is here:

A cup of honey, my lover and my shield -

They shelter me from what I fear.

Logical Stuff
A teacher of mine made no sense -

She read from the textbook

Like it was her gospel;

Nothing could surprise her,

As she couldn't sense the absurdity

Of it all.

Complete works waited in the gallery;

Patrons gobbled goodies like

Hens taught to peck at symbols;

Communication was cut off by

Shrewd analysis of the sculptures -

They had to be felt to be understood.

I have a cat that mews in conversation with me,

Moreover, she talks at length;

I wish I could understand the world

Like she does:

It just is what it is,

And no more.

An Apple
A road leads from that place, where there were once no roads at all -

Were it a knowing nod that sent us so, and not a blind fool,

We could say - "What an extraordinary journey!"

But, without maps or astrolabe, we find ourselves back in the same garden,

Wondering where things went that were once there, in abundance -

Could it be that several tons of the shame we have felt

Got loose and lay waste to our ancestral home?

Or is it merely the trundled garden of those fools without maps,

Who hear not the crying sparrow, the wincing trees, nor the laughter of children?

The Third Wall
It sits still in a corner,

Yet moves my inner compass.

It glows like a fire,

But lights nothing in me.

I tell myself, "It's just illusion,"
Then I am drawn to it again,

And again, and once more,

Until all my hope is gone.

I wither away, lifeless, and vanquished.

The Cult Of The World
By magical incantation did they come about,

And by some sorcerer's tempting they went astray;

They lived in lands of visions and phantoms,

And knew better and more than those weaned on science;

And so, they became more gripped by the words

Of their prophets and messiahs -

Until, at last, God Spell fell away, and their lands

Were left without magic -

As they had always truly been.

The Astronaut
Away from here, on high somewhere else,

I float when asked what I'll be -

It's a game of sorts, saying what I'll be

When I finish growing,

Though, truth is, I don't know

And hardly care.

I want to play with my pals

And Mary next door,

And I want all those older people

Gone!

With their impertinence

And put-downs,

And insults meant to teach me

My proper place.

Down I go when amongst them,

So my cunning answer to them,

Cryptic with meaning only a child would know,

Is that I want to be an astronaut-girl,

So I might be away from this world

And all its problems

I can already see.

Floating away, floating away,

I might never return.

A Little Anarchy
A fine place to make a little anarchy,

I whispered to the wind

As I drew a circle in the sand

By my new castle-in-the-wood.

You cats shall be my friends,

And the goldfish my children;

The yard will be my savannah,

And the roof shall be treetops.

Off with the yoke!

(I tell people I listen to jazz and orchestral

To throw them off -

But I really love rock'n'roll and reggae.)

Here, at this moment, was Kevin;

Over in the kitchen was Robbie;

Kyle, John, and Benjamin

Sat on this very couch with me -

(To all the men I've loved before,

Did you know you were dating a whore?)

A special spot for Karie,

But I don't speak of her.

Pots in the bedroom,

Cushions on the kitchen floor,

Television unplugged,

Radio in the bathroom.

At least, my friend,

People come alive

When they enter my

Castle-in-the-wood.

(Anarchy forever!)

My soul is a survivor,

My breath is warm,

My lips are in love,

The cats purr away defiantly,

The goldfish know not what they do!

I am free

And alive,

In a world that envies my kind.

(So be it.)

Embrace Ambiguity
You cannot love another, without embracing ambiguity.

Sometimes, she says, I want for me, sometimes I want for you;

The kindest lover's touch has also spilt blood in this world;

Our teeth are pretty and sharp.

The hue of the sky sharpens my desire,

To float away across the sea,

To another isle where a new love awaits,

Even while I embrace the one with me.

I am happy with my life,

Though a thousand others I wish I could also live;

The things I may want, but not want, are perplexing to me,

And beguiling and ghostly to you.

I am a pacifist;

I am a killer.

I love,

I hate.

I build,

And be warned, dear lover, I've been know to destroy.

The living cannot but twist the flesh of others,

If one is to truly live;

Broken bones are found within me, and I've known the touch

Of a sadist;

From him I learned cruelty -

My last and only weapon should I be scared.

Let Me Become
Purple is the color of my choice;

Destiny is the silver of the moon.

Lonely are the stars,

For they do nought but shine

In a heavenly sphere;

And they do not know love:

Such is vanity.

The Galaxy has arms which embrace me

On my roof at night;

Do you also wish to fix me with eternal light?

Come up with me,

Make your love by multicolored starlight,

And you will see that most of love is too faint to see;

We cannot describe the myriad ways that we glow

In the arms of another.

Can every atom of my body speak?

I cannot tell you how I want you

In the infinite time left to us -

How I want you time and again -

Around me, within me, upon me,

Beneath me:

Passionate with me, always.

My Decision
What is true, if we ourselves are not?

In my circle, I saw Jerry proclaim -

I am an atheist, despite my family's wishes.

Marie said she believes an animal's life is

Worth as much as a human's.

An aspect of Lawrence made itself known,

When he cried at the spectacle of violence.

Sondra carries the woes of the world

On her shoulders,

And we all whispered,

Conspiratorially,

This is not democracy,

Nor are we free.

In the company of such

Brave men and women,

How can I not leave the ghost behind,

And step out as I am.

I did not decide to be a lesbian,

But I did

Decide to become brave.

The Others
They're as cold as ice,

Those that would sacrifice others.

"For my God, I will deny your true nature,

And deny you happiness."

"For my kind, I will hate the skin you're in,

And deny you justice."

"For morality, I will despise your ways,

and deny you inclusion."

In the end, they spill the blood of others,

So that they might fill their empty hearts

With that blood.

I am proud to be one of the others,

To them that are cold as ice,

For I would sacrifice my life before

I would sacrifice my humanity.

How I Love You
You have the finest bouquet, and the quietest way

Of reading what's sent, and not meant to say.

I could reach for a star, though it wouldn't be as far

As the place you're from, so come to my yard.

You've always been near, though I trembled with fear

Of reaching for you, when it's true you were my dear.

Till the end of our mile, when dark flags are in style,

I will be your true love, and above the sun will still smile.

In the back of my mind, you're all I can find

To make this life real - I can feel you in kind.

At the end of our days, lovers will all leap away -

They'll hold on to what's true, and with you, I must stay.

Shooting stars will fill the sky, tyrants will tell their terrible lies,

Seers will say good has won, when one sees so many who wish to die.

You, I'll hold up as my own, and together we'll sit upon the throne,

Two lovers who conquered forces of hate - it's not too late to cast the stone.

I rebelled to have and to hold you,

And for you I will fight to the end.

I hear the news;

It is chaos again,

Out of this order

They have promised for

Ten-thousand years.

It is imperative for them

To draw all into the corral,

Place us on ranches,

Where we are tamed by

Their brutes.

Meekly, we agree,

War is good;

Heroes who kill are great;

Such men are the finest

Civilization has to offer.

And the news again -

Chaos.

Cruelty is strong;

Kindness is weak.

So the mad son preaches to his sons

And daughters.

His daughters, then,

He raises to be cruel;

And a cruel woman

Is akin to a

Weak man;

But a kind man is akin

To a strong woman.

Our sons will grow strong,

If we but raise them to be kind.

Flowers for our sons.

She is a masochist,

She who desires to be dominated.

Sickness will follow her

All her days,

And no one to thank her -

For the obedient gain no favor

From their masters.

She may not discover her sickness

Until the very end,

When she is tethered to a shopping cart,

Alone and disabled

By the fists of man.

It is not her child

To do with as she sees fit,

Rulers and mad men say.

It is within her, of her, to be fed by her,

Though, most truly so if it be a son,

He belongs to the tribe.

Not so, whispers she in the forest,

Not so.

They toy with us

Middle class women,

Letting us become a little stronger than our men.

The reins of power are held by them,

And they will not marry strong women.

Progress, to a point -

Then slapped down again.

Always, their chaos.

Silent Wind
Emptiness has returned with its sallow cheeks,

And bones protruding, ready for chaos

In the darkness.

A statue for the age gazes blankly,

Suddenly unable to shield her masses

From the coming wind.

The deathly rattling of a civilization issues this breath,

And those who listen, hear:

“Despair!”

An array of lifeless battlefield automatons,

Fighting for the wilting of the flowers,

Stand ready to play their trump card,

And bring about the glorious reign of numbing empire.

A whisper can be heard,
Wending with a wolf's wile

Down desert streets:

“You,” it says,

“Stand in the way of mighty empire.”

All tremble in its wake.

Birds fall lifeless from the sky

That is stained with the smoke of living so dangerously;

Newborns look at an inverted world,

Not knowing what they have entered into.

There is no life left in the fold -

Relentlessly tracked and harried from above.

God's self-anointed children play their Devil's

Ruddy game, as the boot heel of Satan

Descends upon the anguished face of Freedom.

The wind carries a burdensome stench of failure,

As layer upon layer of dying humanity writhe

And slip silently into the growing wind.

They found themselves naked and prone

When they rejected the dreams of equality.

Now, a storm approaches from the land

Of holocausts,

And, wearying from the harassment of

Those with the billions,

They have grown ready to succumb,

As the beast from the thundering clouds

Prepares for the final exploitation of their weakness.

A child cries out,

“Am I not human?”

And the wind around her stays silent.

Poem To A Guileless Lover

A cavern moist with anticipation is where I find you,

Lover who has lost her way in these lands of mine.

Love, you knew, can liberate – little did you think that lust

Would trap you up in a snare, fed on by she

Who promised a moon, a star, and a sun, and no less.

I cannot put up a front of indifference to your sad predicament –

I intend to pontificate on blind desire in a poem most shrewd,

And shed an easy tear when your name is brought up.

My wile, my vices, and the signs I placed pointing to love –

They have all served me well, as you beckon to me

For more of my practised affection.

Do you know a maze when you are in one?

Do you feel that I have led you here,

To the edge of conjugal dreams,

To the brink of proposal?

Down on your knees now,

And the words of betrothal come

Like blood from your pores.

Sometimes, my foolish friend,

Love is freeing when it is let go of;

Out!

Do not return here,

For I may yet place a ring on your finger,

And spend a lifetime writhing in the clutches

Of your fantastic charms.

Monster

Mist rolls down the hillsides where it meets the loch in a clamour of thought;

It is in such places that I find fossils, of sorts, that tell a tale no teacher ever told.

Nothing of the flesh is left here, only rain-bleached bone, protruding from

The concrete laid by ancient giants, godlike in their ether.

Why I winter here, I can’t say in all truth;

I can’t speak the obvious truth –

My fascination with –

This obsession of mine that wrecks the spirits of so many.

I’m waiting for a dark object to surface, and approach me,

And tell me why I am so –

No, I can’t say.

I’ll let the bones speak –

They can tell you what I fear most of all.

Spirits In The Trees

You were planted here, in my forest,

In the sunniest of spots, so that I might

Watch you grow in my heart as the years passed.

A marvel it is to see what you’ve become,

Though you are dead and sitting in moping silence

In a closet somewhere.

You’d be glad to know I’ve loved you so,

Pruned away the barbs, nurtured the flowers

That give such nourishing fruit.

Only those tired of fearing, fleeing, fighting death

Can succumb to its cornucopia of virtues.

You are more alive now in my forest than ever,

Though I confess, I sit under your boughs

And dream that just once more I could hear your voice.

Gary

Gary never was much of a child –

More like a man waiting to die.

His father was gone and he didn’t speak much;

His mother was a drunk so he never cried.

I saw him one day looking at the ground;

Kat and Sylvie tried to cajole him;

I never saw him laugh, come to think of it.

The Sunday school teacher locked him in the boiler room –

Told him, That’s what Hell is going to be like.

He became a rider, all dressed in black,

His hair flying free at last in the wind.

He rode away, until it was all behind him,

And drove his bike straight into a concrete support.

Gary never was much of a child,

And for that, they said, he must be forgotten.

How We Got Here

Hiding love is a fault,

There is no doubt of that.

The silent heart stirs no one,

The world goes cold and flat.

Abuse of the child kills her,

Only hope can save her life.

A girl becomes stupid,

When she's told to be a wife.

High ones and lower ones,

False belief in the great;

Hierarchy breeds illness,

And favours those who hate.

Each is born to reason,

Yet some are mired in lies.

Superstition rules one,

When truth is in disguise.

Show your love to others,

Now is the time to be.

Make your goal equality,

Know you are born so free.

Hope is not action,

And gods have no eyes to see.

Nothing good comes with ease,

So dispense with vanity.

Boadicea

These ancient lands, enshrouded in mist,

Have yet to see her pummelled down;

She's sheltered in a corner of the maze musing -

What wrath the marauders have yet to feel.

Honour her, honour her husband and her tribe;

Do not bow your head down to any equal.

Savour the astonishment of the rulers,

When, at last, they scurry from her swords.

Caesar tells her a woman is not right to defy -

If she might grasp him by the throat -

She is a queen of all she surveys,

And menace glances off her sinewy will.

Halls above were painted by such as she,

In the mirrored palace upon the hill;

She wears the crown made for the mighty,

And to the stars her enemies will flee.

There is a well that springs by her abode,

And the rocks within bring her good health;

She flings them at fools who cross the line,

And summons good warriors with her word.

The men who would mute her daughter's voice,

Like blackened souls from the Underworld,

Make lies of the ways of her hallowed people -

Mad rulers crazed by the straws of fame.

She loves all and all are welcome;

None are cast out from her encompassing realm.

Fools throw themselves at her lance -

The conquerors must meet her furious might.

Ghosts

Sentinels cannot perceive them;

Diggers for gold know them not;

They are sisters of ours, over time -

Hearts crushed, flesh that was bought.

Simple men make simple rulers -

Beware the dolt that holds the mace;

No good comes of denying truth -

It lights the crooked vandal's face.

Empty hearts make the weak despair;

The thirst for power betrays the wolf;

Mighty am I,” says the Mouse-King,

When he feels the trembling underfoot.

Hear the words of ancient women,

Crowding our lands as armies of ghosts:

Do not let them retake your freedoms,”

And, “The fist is but a powerless boast.”

An Equation

Misogyny is the hatred of life,

The frustration of nurturing,

The disdain for one's wife,

It is torturing, and nothing less.

Rori O'Keeffe at Smashwords

There are forty-one books in the Memorable Verse series, and you check those out, as well as Rori's other works, at smashwords.com, by using this link to her profile page:

Rori O'Keeffe's works

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