Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Cliched Existence (Bloody but Unbowed)

caught lightning in a bottle
a tiger by its tail-
         somehow, someway
this race has run its course; this ship has set it’s sail;

you could smell the rat,
you could hear the dropping pin,
his days are numbered—got him dead to rights,
his fat is in the fire, on this cold, cold, darkened winter’s night

sheltered from the sun—
imagination runs riot, off the beaten path, for miles and miles,
improving each shining hour; in full cry—
every inch the king—a dream awoken from and by

it’s not all beer and skittles though, but this to you, I need to tell. Still, even so, I do understand, I get the pointed view:
“It’s all wool and a mile wide,” as is with the cost of life, the way it is one must take pleasure from the simple things—yet, please provide me a word edgewise, take it for what it’s worth, but I’ll call it advice, “gather ye rosebuds as ye may, but don’t count your chickens before they’re laid.”

what once was deemed old hat
death has since warmed over; that well’s run dry,
all things weighed in the balance
and found wanting time and again

it costs a pretty penny here and now
the world’s gone astray, off the wall and down the hall,
no longer a bowl of cherries; no longer simply left to chance,
too many ill gains for some—while for many—
the fattest calf’s since grown thin

but these memories I’ve since forgotten—the good times, the bad times, and all the mediocre sections in-between, I am who I am at this day in time, no future self to ponder, no past tense to plunder the present me away. I’ve bided time, I’ve waited, I’ve prayed—instead of direction, instead of guidance, I’ve been graced with idle chitchat
composed of weasel words.  It is now, I understand, things must change!

I’ve been the drawer of water; I’ve been the hewer of wood,
yet I’ve also hid my light under many a bushel—both being paths that led me to the same old sight

I’ve stared deep into the face of dismay; I’ve found pearls before swine, been cast into outer darkness, but only once have I ever had the privilege of sitting in the catbird seat, and that time is nigh.

…and there’s the rub:
snares and delusions often appear, well before the shoe fits the other heel. Hell is paved with good intentions—this I all too greatly understand.  When will that crow come calling? When will that ship set dockside?  When will the answers appear?

I wait and I wait, forever and a day; the hour is upon me now, a decision’s due—and as every schoolboy knows, what’s here today is gone tomorrow. No need to live them drowning in sorrow; no need give pause again.  I’ve done all that’s been asked; I’ve been the good soldier—taking each task to heart—yet the only response I’ve ever received, are those notes passed by the tolling bells, the kind that always played so well.  Tonight, however, in part because, I refute their song, no longer will I play this part, no longer will I be solely made of the dove.

bloody but unbowed
the time is ripe:
to take a tilt at the windmills
to bear the burden and the heat of the day
to run roughshod over all that comes
to ring down the curtain
to rip it to shreds
to greet the rising tide
to bear the brunt of what may be
to find that red letter day
to beard the lion in his staid
to live, for once, a life that’s alive; unafraid
to live a life that’s free
to live the life that was meant for me

Join me over at D’Verse for another installment of Open Link Night, where some amazing poetry will be on display.  While there, share a piece of your own as well.  Doors open at 3:00 PM, See you there.


  1. to live the life that was meant for me.. that's sums up your journey just perfectly...we all go through different phases of life...and learn our lessons...lose some feathers on the way and find diamonds...loved it fred

  2. Wow great story feature today at your bay, the transition had come to pass and no longer would he do the work of an ass, a donkey that is. Like the rift on the chickens line and yeah hell is always paved with good intentions, but somewhere the pavement runs out and the good intentions no longer flutter about.

    1. do beer and skittles go well together...would think that rather nasty you know...smiles...i am all for living the life alive and bearding the lion you know...smiles...a little lightning in the bottle is not a bad trick as well...it is a decision made

    2. Thanks guys. Yeah, figured a cat would like the chicken line lol

      Brian- I have no idea where the beer and skittles cliche came from, but I have a couple dictionaries on cliche, and I believe that one came from the English version, quite a bit in there I haven't heard outside my brief stint in London, so i'm guessing many in that book stem from that side of the pond. I don't drink anymore, but I do love skittles though, so hmm…very interesting combination nonetheless. Thanks again.

    3. Skittles is a game, isn't it? Thusly beer and skittles is sort of an 'adult childhood' remark--or so I've always thought, which would make it fit with the candy rather well. I love this Fred--you've mined every cliche for gold, made it work for its dinner, and I could go on but it would be wrong. ;-) It rocks that my poem reminded you of the fishmongers in Clash of Kings--I remember that scene well, in the war-ruined neighborhood with the lost princess turning into an arm of death before out eyes...anyway--love those books--was amazed to find them as good as all the hoopla.

    4. ok i was envisioning a grape or lime skittle in my mouth with beer and it just did not taste that great so thanks joy for clearing that up just a bit...smiles...

  3. This reminded me of a Shakespearean works. Lovely tale. We have a long journey before we even begin to start to understand who and what we are, don't we?

    1. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the piece. Love Shakespeare, but wasn't consciously going for that, but emphatically proud his work crossed your mind while reading this, a super compliment for me indeed. Yeah, a long journey indeed, completely agree. Thanks, glad you enjoyed the piece.

  4. Great play with words, cliches, and structure. This was so well put together and thought out. The way the cliches string together come so naturally, it's almost possible to forget they're cliches. One stuck out, though, not sure I've heard it before:

    longer will I be solely made of the dove

    Where does that come from? A great read, in the best avant-garde tradition!

    1. Thanks, was hoping to get that cohesive feel to it. Oh, I made that one up, I did a couple in here, but almost all the lines are cliches though- you caught one of the two I did make up- great catch. glad you enjoyed it

  5. I love love this ...specially the last stanza. This piece resonated with me ~

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the piece and that it resonated with you- means a lot. Thanks. Yes, that last stanza was fun to write, really liked how it came to be-was going to keep going with another prose stanza, but thought it perfect to end right there in that style. Again, glad you liked it and thanks.

  6. Your work with the cliche's is fabulous. They are there, purposeful and yet lose some of their commonness in your presentation. I'm pleased that I'm finding my own way through life. That's how it is meant to be. Much enjoyed.

  7. even through all the cliches, i think in the end we all live the life that was meant for us.

    fantastic job with this!

  8. hey fred - clever, interesting and a well explored premiss; you really pushed it thru and i agree it becomes its own thing and therefore serves as a duel within its own frame which is V.cool...

    beer and skittles - i'm in a skittles team... a sunday evening pastime played in alleys in pub gardens, think
    ten pin bowling meets dickens...

    cheers fred
    nice work - all the best bro :)

    1. Well Fred, Arron beat me to the definition I dredged out of my Olde Englishe reading above--and @Arron, it so figures you would be skittling in the back alleys, sir.

  9. the time is now. it is always now. but there's also a development to get to now. this is what i feel from your piece. and renewal, progression, self-discovery. lots of sentences i really liked, such as the drawer of water and hewer of wood... sheltered from the sun... and the entire last stanza.

  10. That was great fun, thanks :)

  11. Fred this was a really clever and well thought out piece of writing! I guess for me the cliches represent the hackneyed life--and I never wanted that--so it is the last stanza that gets me and fills me with wonder--great write!

  12. I love the way this piece pumps so much new life into those tired old sayings. And that last stanza, what a great declaration of independence! I think we can all take a lesson or two from that. Loved this!