Archives for poetry

Walmart Shopper

Why do I expect the best from

those unfortunate souls who work

for Walmart, or abusive employers

allied with them to keep pay way below

what it takes to eat.

 

I go there for an oil change only to

have threads on my oil pan stripped

away by an employee who doesn’t care,

because

all he has to lose is minimum wage.

 

I listen to those selling phones and am told,

“Call Straight-Talk. They’ll hook you up with

a cheap phone service at low cost.” I call and

to where it goes, I’ll never know,

 

but the people there speak English in a way I’ve

never heard before. I should’ve known better than

to participate in conversations with people who are

demeaned and probably work all day

 

for less than what I pay for a cup of coffee or tea.

By being cheap I’m contributing to the self serving

behavior exhibited by the rich. So I get what I deserve

for patronizing companies that benefit from people

who are almost slaves.

 

Walmart-open today-Closed tomorrow, I hope.

Time to Quit

Minimum wage is more than I’ll ever make

for a written page. No matter how hard I work

and persevere, the money just isn’t there to pay

me for staying up all night to type out a morning

glory of a story that’s flowing through my brain.

 

Is it time to call it a day, when, “Not for me,’

or “Thanks anyway,” is all I hear and when I

do get a, “We’ve accepted your story for publication,”

there’s never a check or cash award. Should I be

happy with that?

 

I’m not the only one working day and night without

compensation,  publication, or recognition. What’s our

condition when we submit our prose and poems over and over

to those who suppose they know if what we write during the days

and nights is good enough to appear this year in print or in an ezine.

 

While watching the birds go down to drink, I think of what Albert Einstein

said, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different

results is insanity,” That concludes that what writers do is lunacy, and it must

be contagious because there’re so many of us that are tired of repeating the required

process of submitting to those folks who think they know!

A Doggy Kiss

The sun hid, the wind blew, and my
feet complained when I explained
I had to pad them for being bad by
putting on my running shoes.

My first uncertain step sent fire shooting
up my legs and my feet were mashed like
the yolks of a dozen eggs under 200 pounds
of pounding weight.

My brain hadn’t received its hormonal feast
and almost became deceased from eating
at a midnight meeting, and was in dire
need to achieve some uplifting endorphins.

I trudged on regardless of the burn and despair
because I learned to survive when I’ve been in
serious pain and deprived of the love hormone
known as ocytocin.

Out of nowhere came a ball of brown fur with
a deep throated bark, causing the hairs on my
arms and legs to defensively rise as it surged
toward me.

I couldn’t go back, so I braced for an attack,
I came to a stop, and got ready to drop the hound
in the first round with a powerful punch at the fur-ball
that rushed at me.

Not understanding why the universe sent a dog to get
me like some branch of a star it wanted retrieved.
Standing at the ready, I yelled, “Come on. We’ll soon
see who’s going to win.

The brown dog ran as fast as he could toward me.
I went into a crouch, ready to kick, when to
my surprise, I saw the dog was only an overgrown pup
that leaped at me and kissed me right on my lips.

Instantly my oxytocin started to flow down below.
The sun came out, the wind ceased to blow, and
the burning fire in my veins vanished like yesterday’s
sun.

To be loved by an unknown dog that wanted to run
with me, was a gift sent from somewhere, and I say
thank you for the taste of joy and for letting a dog
kiss me with only love in its heart.

Colors We Love & Hate

A tree as twisted as an electrified snake,
grew from green slime coated water,
displaying glowing red and orange flowers,
emitting wave lengths with enough strength
to vibrate throughout my brain,

compelling me to get close to the incomparable
colors that only a true artist could have created.
I prayed that I’d be brave enough to venture
into weed filled water where glowing eyes
brighter than flowers floated above the water line.

Beneath the eyes were mouths of predators, big and
small, waiting to dine on me like I was a fine wine.
Undeterred, my prayers were heard, I continued
my quest and hoped to pass any test by using my
eyes to absorb every radiant color reflected by swamp water.

My skin became arranged and changed to the flower’s colors
and forgetting my fears I had for years, I stepped into the water
and lost a leg, a hand, and then an arm to a gator that wanted
lunch. My blood shimmered in brighter colors than those of the
flowers until it stopped when I willed it too before I dropped.

I hugged the tree and we became an inseparable pair.
Our life’s blood colored everything near and far. Where
we lived became a magical place and in our space even
Van Gogh could never have begun to match and paint the
colors we love and hate.

Jim Natal reading poetry at the Prescott College’s Sam Hill Art Museum

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Memories

Like dealing with the Devil, or being under a

witches’ spell, I’m compelled to know how many

memories can be held far down in my brain.

 

If they’re lost, I’ve got to know where they

go. Did they saddle up and ride away, like a

cowboy drifting across the range for a change?

 

Are they only out of mind for a while to ride herd

over memories that have strayed? Will they all one

day come riding back and fill the corral inside my head?

 

Or have old memories escaped so there’d be room

for new ones to take up residence because there’s

only so much space inside my head for them to live?

 

If they’ve escaped the inside of my head where’d

they go and how? Wouldn’t I feel a memory escaping

through my nose, or maybe my ears?

 

Have I pissed them away? Did they mix with something

I ate and become shitty memories? Can they escape

through my pores when I sweat, or in my voice?

 

Do memories take up space? My memories of any evil

I’ve done can escape and make me happy, but ones of

those I love and ones I enjoy, I never want to lose.

 

When the day comes I can’t recognize your face, I’ll

know memories do disintegrate and leave behind an

empty space that’ll never be filled with another like you.

Orders From Above

I did what I did because I was ordered to,

said the Spanish in Cuba,

said the Americans in the Philippines,

said the English in Africa.

 

Nazi’s in Germany learned from them,

and natives in Bosnia and Rwanda thought

to kill like they did was okay because

the orders came from above.

 

 

Can it be true that humans perceive they

must follow commands put in their hands,

or do they try to lay the blame on someone

from above and say they came from love?

 

Can they be tried and convicted for the

wicked  they’ve done? God told Abraham

to kill his son and if he would have

sacrificed him as he was told,

 

in our modern times, would he get the

electric chair? Would the soldiers God

ordered to kill civilians, including

women and children be sent to jail?

 

If the answer is no, why do we have so

many locked up who have done harm

because God told them to? It’s written

in stone, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

 

But who chiseled those words? Are they clear?

Kill is a four letter word and is easy to spell and

easy to do, but when told not to, how many obey?

Doesn’t “Not Kill” mean what it says?

 

If we follow orders from above, we’ll no longer

kill a bug feasting on us, or a cow for

dinner, nor will we kill creatures who live

in the sea.

 

How will we survive if we don’t kill to eat?

Maybe if all killing came to a sudden stop,

we’d receive a message from on high saying,

“Sunshine and love is all you need to survive.”

 

 

#Is it all a dream?

“He’ll be sorry he’s so disrespectful by

not showing any fear when I came near.

 

Shoot him in the head until he’s dead,”

Gary said.

 

I pulled the trigger and one .44 slug left my

gun in flames with murder as its intent.

 

Why’d I do that I asked myself as I

pointed the gun at Gary’s head and said,

 

“You’re insane.” Pulled the trigger and the

fiery bullet didn’t have his name on it and missed.

 

I hid my head in shame when the gas pumps

erupted into flames.

 

Lit by flickering flames, Gary’s face began to

stretch into an evil grin as the pumps exploded.

 

Heat in waves rolled over our car and Gary’s smile

melted right off his face.

 

Happy to see him die, I fled the flaming car.

Who put me in that car and who gave me a gun?

 

I’ll never know, but I was certainly there in the midst

of despair and thought it wasn’t fair that I was there.

 

Though afraid, I killed a man and because it all happened

in a dream doesn’t mean I’m not guilty, I think,

 

because the world I dreamed in, is as real as  this one.

When I sleep, will the police from there come for me?

 

If I’m sentenced to the electric chair and the clock strikes

the time for me to walk the last mile, will I die there and here?

 

You don’t Care

 

 

You don’t Care

 

I don’t have any pride, it died when I

pawned my god damn ring. You tell

me that ain’t right and I almost faint

when you say, I’m not your friend

and can’t even spend the night.

 

Baby, I say absurd things, like, you know

what suffering’s like from needles, and poison,

gas. You’ll go back to Chicago if you mistreat

me one more time and you’ll never find any gold

in their stinking cattle yards.

 

You tried to put me down, but I turned the tide.

Call me to ball when you’re feeling lowdown,

cause I’m not going door to door along the shore,

or through the woods searching for an invitation

from your heart that I’ve already got.

 

That’s all right if your greed uses up all my

empty cups. I’m your priceless friend to the end

because you got the buzz that I need. I’ll sell

another ring hiding behind my door, so I don’t have

to worry about your pride, envy or greed.

 

When I’m walking on down the street, my poor

heart skips a beat and I’ll never look again, until

I get that bad, bad feeling that in the name of love,

tears roll from the doorway of my heart, making it

stop when I don’t receive costly repairs and you don’t

care that it’s the end.

 

 

SEE

See

Open your eyes to see the silence

surrounding my old blue jeans.

See the words pouring from my mouth

and hear the colors I’m applying on our

walls that scream in protest because they

don’t like the sound of pink.

 

Listen to the rising sun and eat the heat

from the sun’s rays. Step upon one of its

beams and walk on it until you hit a window

pane that will melt when you expel what you

just ate. Grab a handful of air and sculpt a

design or anything you want.

 

But be careful of the ideas you may disrupt

that float in every handful of air you take from

the sky, and be careful not to cut your hand on

sharp colors that are invisibly there and only

taste the colors you’ll never see and don’t worry,

because you’ll only be acting like a tree.