poet

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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Policing a Community

 

A salty policeman struggles to lift his hand

to the hand of a stranger.

Community meetings force him

from the comfort of a cruiser.

He walks along an uneven path

through downtown streets

leaving muddy boot prints,

each one crushing his aspirations.

Stress is part of the deal, but where trust once existed,

media has stripped completely away.

The pride once gained by risking our lives for strangers,

is gone. “Stranger” never meant what it does today,

like it did back in the day.

Back when “neighborhood” meant something.

Back when you didn’t ask police to raise your kid,

or scare them straight because they embarrassed you in public.

Back when civil disputes were handled by adults,

when simple things wouldn’t tear at the very foundation

of our society.

Yes, we’re wired for scary things.

Yes, we hunt active shooters

and run toward the gunfire… the evil you pretend

does not exist, that which looms in the back of your mind daily.

Why I risk everything for people who want me dead

is my own mystery. One for me to work out on my own.

My sisters and brothers will continue to protect the innocent,

enforce antiquated laws, and do what we can to crush

the stereotypes.

So we’re far from simple nuts and bolts,

robotic if you will. Strip away the badge and the gun.

Beneath the pain and suffering is a man or woman,

same as you. Nothing too fancy.

Beneath a ballistic vest and forty-pounds of accoutrements

we want the same thing, and we’re prepared to make

the ultimate sacrifice to obtain or provide it.

-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

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

Haiku Poetry

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Break Up

I thought watching you

walk away would bring closure.

Clearly, I’m a fool.