poem

Free Form Poetry

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A Game

A boy becomes a man.

Along the line,

life grabs him, rattles his innards

like a wooden roller coaster catapulting him into the jaws

of a treacherous society.

As this becomes clear, a reality,

a game if you will,

one he cannot win no matter the effort

or how sly he’s become, begins.

Only then does the risk

become the fuel to survive,

to win.

–C. L. Swinney (c) 2017

Free form poetry.

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Rope

It hangs there, the knot fashioned neatly, calling me

like my mother did when I was out past sunset

running with the fellas…even a few girls.

We played in the street, living free then. But those days are gone.

Forever.

Each shift, negative contact, complaint, or

snide comment from those I serve

draws each loop tighter, choking away what little air that remains.

I cannot be sure anyone would bother to cut me down.

A lone truth that stings.

What is it that brings me back each day?

Much to live for, sure, but for the others, not me.

Is that really true?

Blasts from my past, from lives I watched expire,

swing the rope back and forth, gently at first.

An evil grin

on my weathered face

grows impatient…

hoping the wooden beam

the rope is affixed to

cannot support my weight.

–C.L.Swinney (c) 2017

Free form poetry.

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The Shallows

I can’t turn away, let my eyes drift with the sea.

The beauty, her complex levels,

her almost letting go completely,

yet close enough to be rescued pulls me deeper.

In the water, on land, wherever my weary heart travels,

she is there. Bubbles mingle with timeless boulders,

intertwined like new lovers, drawing me into the current.

My heart, a ship searching for land, and comfort,

somewhere to throw an anchor, somewhere to finally settle down,

swells. Today, right now, I’ve finally found the courage

to tell her how I feel.

(c) C. L. Swinney 2016

From my upcoming chap-book: Gloves Come Off

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Real Talk

 

Your tainted mouth kills

my ears, my heart, my weary

soul and words have failed.

(c) C. L. Swinney 2016

He’s there when you look away.

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He’s There When You Look Away

 

In a pool of his own urine he sleeps,

homeless, scared, and lacking food or shelter.

Then along comes the law, this sight he weeps.

People turn away, all helter-skelter,

while the rest of us throw most of our scraps

away, cast long and menacing sharp glares.

For what? What does your heart see as he naps?

Your soul and heart should burn wild like flares.

Pretending he is not there, no answer,

but strife. Remember he is still a man.

Most fought to protect and came home with cancer.

Some fraud, not he, looking for an open hand

and I’ll be damned if I didn’t get involved

while you sit there…a conscious un-evolved.

(c) C.L.Swinney 2016

free form poetry

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Policing a Community

A salty policeman struggles to hold a

stranger’s hand. Spirited skateboard park

meetings force him from the comfort

of a cruiser along an uneven path through

downtown streets- wearing muddy boots

that crush his aspirations. They can

manage the stress, but where trust once

existed media stripped completely away. Recall

when police risked their lives for “strangers,” yet

you knew them and they knew you, back when the

word “neighborhood” held meaning. You’d call us

during an emergency and wouldn’t dare to ask

me to raise your kids or scare them straight for you.

Civil disputes between childish adults tear

at the very foundation of our society.

Yes, we’re wired for scary things: to

hunt active shooters, protect the innocent,

and enforce the law- no matter how antique.

But, integration hoping to crush robots lies

in another galaxy. Handle your human problems

and we’ll chase then confront evil, head-on,

so you can pretend it does not exist.

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At 30000 Feet

The air is clear up there, they said.

Big becomes small, drama left behind, they said.

But what of the terrified child,

the one who’s never done this before?

But what of the foreigner,

the one who needs deodorant, like right now?

But what of the business man,

the one who’s talking over the safety spiel?

But what of the obese man,

the one who’s rattling my brain with his walrus tongue?

But what of the distracted stewardess,

the one who’s hips slam my not-so-funny bone?

And closer to home, what of the two boys, the ones arguing

for technology with rolling eyes like Vegas slot machines?

Charlie Brown’s teacher mumbles something, then we descend.

Wheels search, then grab, pavement. I crave coffee. Its embrace

obliterates the lousy flight, and instantly I’m grounded once again.

C. L. Swinney (c) 2015