Hashtagging

Hashtagging

I must have been cross-eyed and unsatisfied
When I was born: an outlier, but I’ve tried
To Like the Facebook posts that fill my feed
With endless lists—ten things that I can’t miss,
A video who’s end I have to see,
Another puppy pic, go team, click this,
Click that, and Like this thing if you agree—
But selfie pictures only make me wish
That I was living in their background space:
Pastoral fields passed over for a face.

Among those meadows made of grass and muck,
I’d leave behind my high-top Converse Chucks
To feel the brush across my tender soles.
I’d pull the earbud plugs from either ear
So i could hear the wind across the knoll
Whose bushes’ foliage sings ever-clear
That leafy crackle: knowledge true, but old.
I’d pick a fruit from branch-bred chandeliers
Whose taste would be too good for one; I’d share,
But by my side, I’d find no others there.

So those discarded shoes would clasp my feet
Like black-thread mourning garb, or funeral sheet,
And I would turn back on my darkened phone
To check the texts I’d never seen, but missed,
And see the friends I’d gained while so alone.
I’d take its camera with an angled wrist,
Positioning the wold behind just so,
And capture it in picture form to list
Top ten Edenic places one must go:
Hashtag blackberrying, hashtag Thoreau.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Kisses on the Rhine

I sometimes miss those kisses on the Rhine,
The Europe trips, our sips of corkless wine,
And penny-flips, with which you’d slap your wrist,
Hand over fist, and say “guess which it is!”

I miss those laughs you used to gasp, the croaks
I used to call them, giggles caught in chokes;
You’d flash your teeth, though not quite perfect white,
All mostly straight, save that one to the right.

I miss those nights we’d share, the sights we’d see,
But never you, yourself, dear Charity:
It seems sometime while lost on memory lane,
You slipped away, were never seen again,

But you were present there much more, before,
When reminiscent missing still felt sore,
And present-me would drag behind the past
To ask what part about it couldn’t last,

Though not so now; it’s turned periphery,
Like so much else I’ve lost to memory.
I sometimes wonder if you think of me
Those times I almost think of you.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Published in: on September 3, 2014 at 11:17 am  Leave a Comment  
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On Work

I work too much, I think. My nine-to-five
Seems sometimes like nine-to-infinity,
And time off-clock is eat-some-sleep-some-drive,
Then walk-in, clock-in, productivity.

I even dream of being on the job:
An endless stream of “hey do that, do this,”
Subconscious tasks impossible to solve,
Self-employment impossible to quit.

But sometimes friends invite me Friday nights
To live a bit, sit barstool for a few,
And I just might, though always to my right
I hear “what’s up”–“not much”–repeat ’til two.

Dull? Sure, but I’ve had dreams of work before
While unemployed, and woke to wish for more.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Workplace Camelot

Their hands began by brushing her behind—
Those brigand bands and lusty male minds,
Whose banes were wedding bands and maidenkind:
The fruits sans seeds, or worse yet, still with rind—

And thus they touched that firm, but lovely pear,
A pair of knuckles first, but soon she’d wear
A brace of fingers for her underwear
And sooner still, they’d steal the maiden fair.

“I will not stand for this, unhand the miss!”
The noble Errant Knight would often hiss
For justice, honor, and a courtly kiss,
But brave Sir Knight, your chivalry was missed,

For when Sir Knight would ready out to ride
With righteous indignation at his side,
Then “what was that you said!” those hands would cry,
And “nothing, sir” a gelding would reply.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Bouldering

I’m merging with the wall;
I’m ivy-climbing up the stone,
And every pull is one more push; a groan
Of fissure-falls, the backward skies, the tooth-strained calls
That cry back “next time, next time, one more try!”
If bones are whole and joints are spry,
I’ll face off with the problem-stone;
Its face will be my own.

However, hours hence,
I’ve fallen down, since up an inch
From where I was, there is a finger pinch
That makes me flinch; a move I haven’t managed since
The flatrock flayed my fraying fingertips
From every time I’ve tried to grip—
My joints and bones are both still whole,
But health is not my goal.

I’m waking up to walls
Of sterile, flat, and smoothed with white;
They say that I have been there for the night,
Alright, but downright lucky for the speedy call
By hikers—those who heard my painful cry—
Yet thanking these kind passerby’s,
I have to ask, as far as they could tell,
Was it a victory yell?

~Michael Danger Caskey

The Burn

You try to clench your teeth and steel your cheek,
You’ll brace your bones and fortify your feet,
But when the tempers spark and fighting starts,
There’s no defense against the punctuation mark.

Of course, you’ll shield yourself with clever words,
Riposting well, but nothing goes unheard.
Your wit’s deferred what since has left its mark:
There’s no defense against its punctuation mark,

And just as new brands have a phantom burn,
Alone and late at night you’ll toss and turn
And squirming, find that something found your heart
With no defense against a punctuation mark.

It’s singed its symbol that you still can feel,
Since burns are scars that only time can heal,
Although it leaves a hard and calloused part
That may fend off another punctuation mark

That shares its shape, but bear this well in mind:
A brand may never show a second time,
But it still burns, a permanent remark
That there’s no pain like punctuation marks.

 

~Michael Danger Caskey

Graduating from Sewanee

This inland-isle of Innisfree, for but a fee could be
A resting place of carefree dreams and rocky mountain streams
That bubble in-between a probable infinity
And down into the sacred river Alph, or so it seems,

But this is not for some: I see the waters tugging on the rocks
And wind against the leaves, but seeing these, think “why not me?”
And maybe soon that stream will carry me past inland lochs,
Those nine beanstalks, Past Alph, toward sunsets and the sublime sea,

And when I leave this Innisfree to wine-dark briny folds,
A wish will raft me, goodwill waft me wind to guide me home,
For here, I thrive, but my heart lies past these pastoral wolds,
So staying here but one more year, I may forever roam.

The clouds colliding show no sky above this troubled tide,
But even with the stars obscured, a friend’s a better guide.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Something

“There are no greener pastures, gents: this here is all there is,”
He said addressed to us, but to the wind he turned a cheek–
A wet-streaked shield against the rain, his ox-eyed gaze amiss
And out of focus: Atlas bound by worldly critique.

We looked above us, from the field and to the folds of sky,
To rolling clouds, arranged like one hand clasped around its mate
And squeezing out the drops of life: the heaven’s falling brine
That sometimes graces grasses growing on the hardened slate

Which bears the carvings of our time. Yet as we turned to him,
I half suspected something more beyond the misty shores
Of grey above dear Cain’s rejected grain, and on a whim,
I checked again, around his constant-cawing Nevermores

And saw
We walked once more beneath the stars.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Published in: on March 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Amaryllis

How can you be so tense and serious,
Dear Amaryllis; don’t you know the only way to bloom
Is not with shoulders up, hands balled, arms trussed,
But through two far-flung arms like sunlight’s starry plumes?

Just as a flower may reveal its face
And spreads its light into a soul-lit place,
It opens in a field of blackened space
To wrap it all into a bright embrace–

All but the bud. No light can reach inside
A fist of folded arms and face cast into stone
And overcast with shade, as if to hide
The very thing that should be shown and should have shone–

Oh Amaryllis! much have you abused:
Aurora’s gift of beauty never used,
Prometheus’ sacrifice refused,
Apollo abandoned–you stand accused

Of killing off the very thing you are,
Like weeds that choke the life from their own sprouting seeds;
Some suicide, self-fratricide, bizarre
Oblivion, the price of which is paid by me,

The one who wished to witness that beauty,
The one who always dreamed what it would be,
The one who only just wanted to see
Your flower blooming, petals light and free.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Love Lies Bleeding

There is something breeding, Love-lies-a-bleeding,
Says I to the dead Amaranth,
For I’m not misleading, but I feel a breathing
That’s wrapping my neck with romance.

For something is breeding when Love goes pleading
For feeling embraces again,
But Passion is leading, her dewdrops are beading–
Men die when she’s all that remains.

But something is missing, Love reminiscing,
Says the hangman to the headman,
For you say I’m wishing, but I say I’m kissing
The lips of fair Death as deadman.

For something is missing in Amaranth’s string,
When she’s tugging him up from the ground,
But that’s not dismissing the way hangman’s hissing
With drooping black hood at her frown

There’s something completing, Love-lies-a-fleeing,
Says Death through her red velvet lips,
For lies are in meeting, and lies are in greeting,
But Love-lies-within earthen hips.

For something’s completing when Death comes defeating
Her friends and her foes all too soon,
And hangman is cheating, but it’s only fleeting,
For everyone hangs in full bloom.

~Michael Danger Caskey

Published in: on October 11, 2012 at 7:14 am  Comments (1)  
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