Distant Caught

Caught Hard

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1

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dull dark day

desperately dawns

clinging coldly

to night clouds;

little mists of mares

floating doggedly

over murky dreams

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I am fighting,

fighting so hard 

for an empty room –

a glass trophy

it can’t last,

it mustn’t last,

this fighting alone,

on the dew-wet grass

so close to home;

with the fleshly born

morning sunrise

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just by being here

to see the fight

you become the fight;

another shadow-boxing affair

reflected from bottles

reflecting across walls

fighting for each word you speak

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I am dying

that everyday death

we each die

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fighting in only

the best of surroundings,

soundings & singers,

all dying in fighting –

fighting off fits of laughter

I feel exploding

each inner pondering


like a sledge hammer

smashing each happy stone

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returning sensations

of pleasure

white in the night

feeling close while

coming to an end

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caught hard

up in the air

without a handful of  much

just loose strings of things

of other satisfied things

to keep me for giving in

to consuming everything

in one final bite

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2

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I’ve heard the hangman

many times today;

why do I feel so cold

a-sway in the summer sun?

swing peacefully

in the hangman’s hot breath?

he’s trying to melt me down

so I can be sold

in bits

and

pieces

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3

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many times,

screaming inside

he cannot bear

to have me sway

to any breath

but his:

up the stairs

up the stairs

no one cares

except for the hangman

filling his pockets

with meltings

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I am free

to fall

I am free

to get up

I am free yet feel so lost

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if I am not a fossil

why do I feel so old?

if I am not reincarnated

why do I feel so unborn?

tiny & afraid

summer sun waiting

for someone to touch

if I am not wisdom

why do I feel so foolish 

out of these words?

am I the end of time

drizzled with smiling sun

in your early morning suddenness?

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if I am not dynamite

why do I feel like fighting

every time I think of you?

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the sun cannot melt

through to the middle

yet I feel myself slipping

up the stairs

up the stairs

away from the sun

that needs me melted

so we can start winter

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4

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the hangman has seen me crying

the hangman has been free dying

to reach out & cut the rope

to end my all-day dangling

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if I am not a hanged man

why do my feet

never seem to touch the ground?

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if there is no rope

around my neck

what holds me in place

keeping me from falling?

Jan71/Jan73/July74/June76

Welcome to alliteration 🙂 All those d’s, c’s, m’s are perfect for waking you up in the morning. Looking back now I see how this piece reflects some of the anti-materialist hippie counterculture of the early 70’s. People fed up with working hard for nothing – employee of the month with no real sense of satisfaction. Hearing songs about that by pop stars who became millionaires.

I was/am not a particularly pugnacious guy so all this boxing/fighting imagery seems more like masculine bravado. There was some inner turmoil often both fuelled by & hidden by alcohol: “another shadow-boxing affair/ reflected from bottles.” The turmoil was creative: what can I write to make me rich; it was also sexual – the fight to express myself & not be judged. 

This piece moves with a looping of repeated images that eave in & around each other, the hangman, the sun, melting, fighting in different combinations as it literally fights to find cohesion & meaning. I see it now as the struggle for identity – to find one in the world around me. 

‘your early morning suddenness’ seems to hint of a romantic involvement that didn’t exist at that time. Fear kept me emotionally frozen, this is what was to be melted so I could enter the world with the cold mask of creativity to protect me.

All these rhetorical questions spring from the hippie search for self – where you going Billy? How many roads must a man walk down? The hangman makes a return here but in a less playful way. Then in that last verse we get rhyme! Something that I generally avoided then (& now). 

The piece is stitched together from various pieces as the dates at the end indicate. I had them in note books & felt they resonated with each other. The ’74 take was when I pulled them together. ’76 was the final edit for the chapbook & I resequenced them for flow & to create the illusion of depth.

https://topoet.ca/2019/04/26/caught-hard-1971-76/

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Distant Winker

Winker

the hangman is a compulsive winker!

(or is that a twitch?)

I think he’s trying to con me;

he wants me to think the rope is silk,

that the drop is sweet & short,

the pain is faster that nightfall,

that the end is cleaner than rain

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knowing better, I wink back, coyly;

I’m trying to con him into thinking

that my only fears is that of heights,

that my knees aren’t shaking to fall into prayer,

that any fitful gesture could save me

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I’m letting him know I know

this final trick of his trade;

that slipknots are for fast get-a-ways

(I’m ready to be freed)

this criminal is a compulsive escaper

July/74

Some poet once said ‘All poetry is about death.’ So wether one wants to or not you end up writing about it. This is an ironic, sort of blackly humorous, look at death. It is also a list poem in which I go through the various aspects of the hanging – the rope, the knot, the drop to discount, in a way, the seriousness of each of them.

It is a romanticize take on a horrible fate – the gallant highway man laughing in the face of death, giggling on the gallows. A type of masculine bravery & bravado that I certainly lacked but admired. A bravado than only existed in movies anyway – which is where too many of us learned to be men.

I suspect that pop music played a role in this piece as well. Led Zeppelin’s Gallows Pole, Spooky Tooth’s Hangman Hang My Shell on A Tree; & of course the Incredible String Band’s The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter. Songs that in their way glorified the gristly. At one time homosexuality was a hanging offence. 

There’s also a loose plot with the exchange of winks, the slipknot – the escape was planned. What was the relationship between the criminal & the hangman? Winking has a sexual flirtation connotation – is this the way we flirt with death? Flirting to numb the fear & possibly lessen what pain there may be when that end comes. No one escapes.

But this is told from the pov of the to-be-hanged man. In Tarot the Hanged Man is the 12th card of the greater arcana. It is the card of sacrifice for a greater good – of animal nature to duty – a change of attitude toward life. So is the escaper saying no to change, saying no the change the hangman represents? Perhaps saying yes to escape is a change. The next card in the arcana is Death.

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal below along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet