It could happen to you, p.1
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       It Could Happen to You, p.1
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           Daniel Hargrove
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It Could Happen to You
"It Could Happen to You"

  and Other Poems

  by Daniel Hargrove

  Copyright 2015 Daniel Hargrove

  Cover art copyright 2015 Daniel Hargrove

  This book is published for anyone's enjoyment. Authors retain the copyright to their work. Users may read, copy and distribute the work in any medium or format for non-commercial purposes, provided the authors and the journal are appropriately credited. The users are not allowed to remix, transform or build upon the published material.

  Table of Contents

  1) It Could Happen to You

  2) Sudden Fruit

  3) Under the Watchful Eye of the Sun

  4) Staircase

  5) Fair Warning

  6) The City

  7) Scared 'Em

  8) End of the Song

  9) To the Uninitiated

  10) An Easy Moon

  11) A Hard Moon

  12) Guilty Moon

  13) (untitled)

  14) Decay

  15) The Widowed Morning (w. Sophi Zimmerman)

  16) The Blanks

  17) Sleeping Through the Storm

  18) Up

  19) A Show of Anger

  20) An Able Slap

  21) Swear

  22) Turn

  23) Sit!

  24) Jostle Town

  25) Old Records

  26) Of the Wrongness

  27) Dark Red Wine

  28) Sole Survivor

  29) Go

  30) (Three untitled poems)

  31) Once Upon a Wish

  32) Lover

  33) In Hours or Years

  34) (untitled)

  35) Grade

  36) The Tryst

  It Could Happen To You

  Stories within stories, within stories

  Identities within identities

  Extra-nominal light spills into confluence.

  Harmonic convergence

  finds its inner paradox

  and inertia finds mobility

  in its friend and neighbor

  or its worst enemy.

  Efficiencies within efficiencies

  within inefficiencies

  at the pulsing of history

  and enumeration passes focus

  in a heartbeat, even quicker

  and ecology opens wide

  even while economy

  crunches our dignity.

  Where one meets the forces of the struggle

  another meets an ending in

  the null conclusions of myth.

  From one treadmill to the next

  we make friends in our foibles and follies

  and find inspiration in overcoming.

  In the media circuit, contrast meets nothingness,

  the nothingness of mutation

  and then finding traction with the fishy smell

  of the imaginary merry-go-round

  that is the cycles of the seasons these days,

  a brief rendezvous with a time away from time.

  Sudden Fruit

  Flowering, vibrant

  the blossoms came to head quickly

  a spring of cadences

  if wishes were horses

  Nothing kept the creek

  from winding through the woods

  bubbling, rushing noisily

  to the tongue of the doe

  if wishes were horses

  The high peak of ecstatic vision

  in the blush of fevered dreams

  fears all conquered

  and brides all drunk

  if wishes were horses

  Lighting followed in seconds by thunder

  a torrential rain in the desert

  and every seed awash with life

  if never parched again

  the lynx drinks deeply

  if wishes were horses

  forever trapped in amber

  Under the Watchful Eye of the Sun

  And the light gets away...

  it is plotting its return

  through the cycle of the seasons

  upstream, like a salmon

  back to where it spawned

  to lay slippery eggs.

  I recognize the difference

  between heretofore and wherewithall,

  between ass-backwards

  and forward, march!

  Slips away into the water

  reflected in the snow,

  frozen like a

  long, tall, cool

  drink of water,

  curling up like a sprout

  in the gravity of

  acres and acres

  of black Louisiana gumbo.

  Focus hard

  as the pyramid crumbles around you...

  watch your watch, heel to toe, heel to toe,

  as the compass spins out of control.

  Staircase

  Step after step

  climbing higher and higher

  up the long staircase

  Long, slow ascent

  Air getting thinner

  A step at a time

  Where does this staircase go

  you wonder

  Further and Further

  Time passes slowly

  moving ever upwards

  plodding along

  Fair Warning

  The sign said "Stop"

  and I didn't go past it

  fearing the dire consequences

  of such brash behaviors

  The sign said "Do Not Enter"

  and I didn't go in

  knowing that inside was

  something I shouldn't see

  The sign said "Employees Only"

  and I didn't trespass

  because whatever was in there

  shouldn't matter to me at all

  The sign said "Beware of Dog"

  and I paid attention

  rather than get bit

  for lack of proper caution

  The sign said "No Trespassing"

  and I didn't go past the fence

  because I didn't want to be shot

  which is the cost of being illiterate

  The City

  The boxes of the city,

  the traffic of the city,

  the garbage of the city,

  the noise of the city,

  the pollution of the city,

  the chatter, chatter, chatter of the city...

  if all adds up to a caustic mess

  that eats away the living soul of a person

  and turns them into a walking corpse.

  Tradition means nothing to the city,

  obscenity means nothing to the city,

  beauty means nothing to the city,

  holiness means nothing to the city,

  love means nothing to the city,

  books, art, music, nothing,

  depth means nothing to the city,

  and breath means nothing to the city.

  The city is a scar on the earth.

  The city is a racial slur.

  The city is a bad nightmare.

  The city is a mass murderer.

  "On your way!" say the city,

  and "Never arrive!"

  Scared 'Em

  The shrieks and howls began

  as soon as

  they had opened the door

  Reflexively, I jumped back

  and ghosts began pouring out of

  the doorway

  around Connie.

  She was too frozen with fright

  to move

  Stopping at this house

  was a very bad idea

  The luminescent spirits

  flew around her,

  darting in to nip her arm

  She
screamed a heart rending

  shriek of total fright

  and holding up her arms,

  ran in my direction.

  The ghosts followed

  howling

  like the high wind

  End of the Song

  With the sun in my heart

  and the stars in my soul

  I plumb the story I know so well,

  and it tumbles down into the sea

  the sun douses out with a hiss and steam

  the stars are swallowed by inky water

  The glorious heavens have not opened yet

  the promises I believed have not come true

  With a sparkle in my eye

  and a song on my lips

  I ask the questions I've asked before.

  I am frozen by the winter

  in my place, like a statue,

  and the last red of the coals dies out.

  No one should know better than I

  how the life of the spark disappears.

  To the Uninitiated

  Spell out the words slowly;

  write them down, one by one.

  Raise your voice; explain the obvious...

  or they will not understand you.

  Step on the red scorpion

  with a hard boot, hard.

  The children are playing;

  it doesn't belong here.

  Light the fire well before sunset;

  when the chill sets in, your fingers,

  too numb to strike a match,

  will fumble with our last hope.

  Spread the word, far and wide;

  the time is well upon us,

  to warn of the tide of militants...

  murderers and jackals, all.

  Paint a picture in blue

  with a slow and steady hand.

  Color me not with red.

  Study it for long hours...

  An Easy Moon

  The moon takes no prisoners

  Holds its breath

  for days on end

  It does not shout...

  nor whimper...

  nor groan.

  The moon asks easy questions

  with very long answers...

  it counts the days

  between new and full,

  silvers the bluejay.

  "The moon", said my mother

  "does not stamp around and raise a fuss

  when it's time to go to bed...

  does not pull the cat's tail...

  does not question me

  when I tell it to eat its peas."

  When the moon dies

  many years from now

  it will leave behind a ghost

  that will haunt the sky.

  We will bury it at sea...

  throw roses on the ocean...

  and the sun will cry

  for a very long time.

  A Hard Moon

  Trading words

  with the man

  on the moon...

  Old dusty smile...

  Eyes like craters...

  On your walk on the moon

  did you find

  anyone home?...

  anyone smiling?...

  a warm fire?,..

  a comfortable bed?...

  Hard words

  Just a disagreement

  About

  which face to show

  and which face to hide

  The sun is an easy lay

  O moon...

  A pretty lady...

  A sly question

  O moon...

  With the sun in your bed,

  and the the earth at your feet,

  have you conquered the night?

  Guilty Moon

  I told on the moon

  Gave it away

  and at the trial

  I testified

  while its victims cried

  It hid its face.

  The moon is in jail tonight

  The moon has betrayed

  all we stood for

  It looks hollow tonight

  An anonymous prisoner...

  if it escapes...

  where can it go?

  Behind a cloud, perhaps

  Into shadow.

  A good moon gone bad

  All we had taught the moon,

  all the lessons,

  and morals

  were forgotten on that dark night

  when the moon killed a man

  So many lessons are forgotten,

  so many dark nights,

  now that the moon is a prisoner

  (untitled)

  They took my poems away

  and put them in

  their lonely box

  never to see day.

  They wouldn't give them back, you see,

  they took them all away from me.

  They took my love away

  and locked it in

  a lonely room

  to slowly turn gray.

  They didn't have an answer there

  when I asked the question, "Where?".

  They took my dreams away

  and made my night

  an empty place...

  why, I couldn't say.

  My hopes were all that made them live

  and loving all I had to give.

  Decay

  This Webster's dictionary

  is sopping wet

  and this copy

  of Roget's thesaurus

  is worm eaten

  and missing half the pages

  this poem

  is oil stained and grimy

  and this sentence

  is full of logical inconsistencies

  This prison

  has no bars on the window

  and the door is not locked

  this noose

  is made of Kleenex

  and will soon fall apart

  these handcuffs

  are made of tinfoil

  easy enough to break

  but this cop

  is made of muscle and brawn

  and he can break you

  The Widowed Morning (w. Sophi Zimmerman)

  Dawn came gray, like some old woman shuffling in her slippers

  A workingman's ethic lay forgotten and covered with dust under the bed

  He cast a sullen sleepy eye to the shrouded morning

  Part of him crawled out of bed; part lay still

  Sleep, not rest, last night, a fish bowl of ideas

  Money lay scattered about on the floor in heaps

  Papered with regrets, the walls hum-drummed familiar excuses

  while he trudged back into a hazy dream sleep

  He sauntered down the boulevard, a wallet heavy in a pocket

  A shambles on the sidewalk, tin can, got a quarter, mister?

  Reaching into his coat he looked down into his own face, greasy with the street

  He gloated with pity and pulled a twenty from his fat wallet

  He extended a hand with the money, and saw that his destitute self had no arms

  With skillful diplomacy the tin can was lifted up with bare calloused toes

  Suppressing a grin, he put the twenty in the can

  With a clunk, the can was lowered to the sidewalk, coins clanking, the 20, silent

  He began to walk on, then curiosity turned him back to the mangled mendicant

  The very personal question came out in a miserable croak

  "Gone," came the answer - "Gave them away"

  Stirring in the bed he muttered apologetic words of pity

  In the hallway, the pay phone rang again, an echo of coins on tin

  The gray sheets wrapped around him like gauze bandages

  He thought of the struggle to rise, then sank deeper in the bed

  then the sun broke the window into a million splinters of glass

  The Blanks

  Grime and sweat on the construction site

  a twelve pack on Saturday night

 
ten years in prison

  He did something

  Thirty-thousand dollars a year

  a wife and a loving family

  stench of malt liquor sleeping under a bridge

  He must be broken

  Soulmates and close friends

  love burning bright inside

  an equitable divorce

  They were really in love

  Smart as a whip

  asks all kinds (underline all kinds) of questions

  crying and angry red butt

  Kids will be kids

  She's always full of smiles

  always a kind word

  hating herself for her weakness

  Everyone makes mistakes

  We lead pleasant lives

  work hard, make money

  get married, raise children

  grow old and retire

  Sleeping Through the Storm

  Thunder cracks, stirring my blanketed form...

  sheets of water drop from charcoal skies.

  The night is deep within my lidded eyes;

  dark are my dreams while sleeping through the storm.

  In my mind, my clothes are rags, dirty and torn...

  my wife is here, I listen to her cries.

  We live in an alley, filled with trash and flies,

  and in this sooty place a baby is born.

  Outside, the storm rages on. The lightning tries

  to rouse me from my nightmare's sullen glare,

  to no avail, I have cut my earthly ties.

  In my arms, the newborn babe is wet and warm;

  his eyes are black as the night, his skin is gray...

  my wife beside me weeps, pained and forlorn.

  Up

  Top dog on top;

  one of many kings;

  big bold braggart ...

  heart made of sand.

  You are cold, cold company;

  maybe you will lend an ear.

  Oh, yes I am uppity ...

  hop over, lie atop stone.

  Maybe you are IBM;

  maybe a pimp with a stem;

  maybe you are a TV preacher;

  maybe you are the mayor.

  You just thought the odds were small ...

  don't cash in your chips early ...

  at least you have respect ...

  at least you have her ...

  Have fun, stiff.

 
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