Showing posts from July, 2017

House of the Blood Lotus, Ch 1

It burned within me, though it wasn’t as consuming as it had been in the past. When she was by my side. “You can’t kill- hell, you can’t even hurt someone with your a piece of computer paper.” But the words left my mouth much sooner than they should have. He wasn’t an ordinary assassin. He was a Dragonmancer of the House Blood Lotus. All he needed was a piece of paper. His grin twisted into a gnarled root, and he shook the ground with a guttural laugh, black tentacles of energy snaked from his back, and he was enveloped in a sheath of shadow. His fingers worked quickly on the paper, folding and folding and folding, luminous flashes shooting from fingertip to fingertip. His eyes ignited in a blue flame and the dragon he had been folding leapt from his palms. The movies have battle all wrong. There’s no clever tete a tete, there’s no reparte. There’s no exchange and dances, no evading by bounding off walls. There’s shouting, and desperation. No one wants to die anymore. Not since the o…

Messages to the Youth

the bristling waves
of the sun's gracious heat,
our children will search in silence

As the
midnight cloud rode
on the warm ocean currents,
the orca bit at the shark, ready
for more.
-JR Simmang

Grandpa stood by,
cigarette burning to the cotton,
because he liked to roll his own
and his doctor knew he would never quit
so he at least conceded cotton,
watching as I threw the two- by- four
to the ground,
shouting obscenities like the ones he taught me
because my parents never would,
and kicking the dirt until
the dirt even grew angry at my insistence. When I asked him why he was so calm
knowing that I would never finish my 4H project,
he said,
"Measure twice. Cut once."
My car stalled on the highway on my way
to financial peace.
My eyes spread along the details work,
the last of my pennies in an effort
to console myself against the aging
dollar bills in my pocket,
and I balled up my fists.
I was too old to kick and scream and spit,

Pennsylvania Avenue

If a tree falls in the wood, and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?
- George Berkeley, c. 1710
Stand there, young one, with your hands
cupped around your mouth and band
arm in arm with revolutionaries
lined up like clipped-winged canaries.
SHOUT, you yell, SHOUT! SHOUT!
BARK! BARK! BARK! foam all about
your mouth. Are your legs tired
from constantly being mired in the thick and fetid molasses,
the ignorant and -ist masses?
The winds keep blowing, blowing, blowing,
and you're showing, showing, showing, your creaks and cracks, and lip smacks,
your teetering, tottering fronts and backs,
your noise and toys and crocodile tears
hidden in the foliage of your fake fears are going to topple you over, kid.
And in the streets, they'll make their bid
carving you up to shove you in
your coffin stretched out over your skin.
A tree will fall in the wood, and crush
the ant, the boar, the stream and brush.
A tree that stood for countless ages suffers not from false out…

If You Need My, I'll Be On Kypton

As I sat in Mrs Cameron's 4th grade classroom,
staring out the window at the yellow sun,
I pretended I could fly around the world
and stop trains and shoot lasers from my eyes.
Who didn't want to be Superman? I wondered.
Who wouldn't want to be able to outrun a bullet?
Who wouldn't want to catch bad guys?
Who wouldn't want to save the world?
Krypton was a real thing, after all.
It was as real as the oxygen we breathed.
There it was: certain, indisputable proof
that Superman could be me.
My eye spied that giant Kr nestled
underneath the Ar,
sidled up against the Br,
and the word NOBLE
drifting over to me in waves,
crashing into my white knight complex
and filling my lungs with the sweet oxygen.
But, we don't breathe oxygen, as I learned that day.
The air around us is mainly nitrogen.
It's colorless.
It's odorless.
It's invisible.
And, when it bonds to oxygen, it
makes us dizzy, makes us vomit, makes us sick.
And oxygen!
It's colorless,

The Least We Know

We’re Jewish. Well, most of us in Poland are, and the ones who aren’t aren’t Jews. I’m Alter. My wife, Dalit, is a baker sometimes. Other times, she is a woman and mother. God gifted us a child while we were late on in our years. We named him Eitan, though we knew he wouldn’t survive the winter. I had heard from my mother that her sister died before she celebrated her 6th birthday. The doctors call it Canavan’s. It must run in my family. “Alter, my brother!” my neighbor shouted as he burst through the door. “Gershon! Knock next time.” I shouted at him from the dining room. “Sorry, so sorry, but we must leave.” “Leave?” I stood and walked around the corner. “They’ve come for us.” I looked over to my wife, who put down her bread knife, wiped her hands on her apron, and glanced to our son. He was in a wheelchair, his legs never learned to walk. He made a burbling noise, and she caressed him with the back of her hand. “We’ll need help carrying him down the stairs.” “I’ll help,” offered G…

Lover's Moonset

-A Golden Shovel dedicated to Georgia D Johnson From "When I Rise Up"-
Will you remember the time when
you, your hopes and fears, and I
sat and watched the East Texas sun rise
by reaching its golden arms up
and p-u-l-l-i-n-g itself, inch by inch above
the horizon? I know you noticed how the
warmth called to the Earth...
But, I
I settled my body into my
reclining chair, and painted their wings
into the scrapbook of my mind, sketched them upon
the fragile vellum, and silently said a prayer to the
God of the water, ground, and air
while I pulled you close again for the first time or
for the last time, and pretended to be tranquil
or started to believe the lie.
-JR Simmang

House of the Blood Lotus, Prologue

Late summers in California were the quintessential excuse to not go to work. I was supposed to meet up with an old friend of mine in the Haight, someone I hadn’t seen since she left our junior year of high school. We all change so much over the number of ups and downs and tumbles through the years, but when she wandered through the pavilion, covered in satin and sunlight, I knew it was her. I wondered if she would recognize me, hot dog in my hand, mustard smeared on my cheek. “Cothran!” she blurted and rushed over. “How are you?!” Amelia was always so chipper, annoyingly so sometimes, but her bubbly personality didn’t stop me from making friends with her in middle school. We were alike, she and I. Alone. Alone and gifted. She hugged be while I sat, arms around my chest and her cheek resting next to mine. A symbol from my past, one that I'd cherish. “Perfect,” I said and gestured toward the seat across from me. “You?” “Oh, you know, just flitting through life on my wings of light.…

City of Lights

The world’s gotten on so long now, that nothin’ should have shocked me. People been prepping for world-wide devastation since people learned how to pack stuff in bags. For them, for us, it’s been the same: Somethin’ comes, people die, people rebuild. If they’re rebuilding, I ain’t found none yet. And, my leg been hurtin’. Been hurtin’ somethin’ fierce. She was a pretty thing, the first I’d seen in months. They roamed wild now, the stallions. Seems like once they was unpenned, they found their legs and ran, ran down to the wild streams and drank like the first time they drank their mother’s milk. To be there again, to be in that place where the wind was a cousin shoutin’ back ‘come play out here, Sam, come out here and play’ I would give my good leg. But she was too wild. Thought I’d take her so’s I could take a load off my feet. Turned out to be a wrong choice, and, well, horses don’t like to be cornered. Same’s with humans, too. She took a swing, came down hard on my leg, and raised…

So, What's Next?

Have you read the new poems lately?
Good news is, we can stop. There's a trick, come to find out,
that worries about the revolutions of the world,
that reveals the great chasms of the world,
that subdues and reignites the passions of the world,
that lets the blind see the sunrises and smell the small dew of the world. And the algorithms that can reassemble our minds
can spit out a poem.
Come to find out, we can be reduced to numbers and if/then statements
(tell me something I don't already know),
but I suppose that's something we already knew. If we see the light through a butterfly's wing,
then we write. If we see the darkness creeping along the ground
-both metaphorically, and literally, as in a moonrise-
then we write.
If we love, or lose, or cheer at a football game,
then we write. It's as simple as that. So, then, I have to ask:
What's next?
Now that we can finally rest
and let the poems write themselves,
what will you do with
all your free time?
-JR Simm…

Short Poems About Love

You reminded me of the time we
danced in the boozed halls of Wimberley.
You in your boots, me in my pinstriped suit
that I put in your box of mem'ries.
In the sure
silence of black space,
you will not
find a sun-
rise. Up, and around, though, you'll
see a thousand more.
A Shadorma HEY (NA) KU Beginnings
remove the
need for goodbyes.
Calligraphied words whispered through
rose petals, candles and a kiss,
cheek-to-cheek dancing, love so true,
we found love's arrow won't miss.

But, soon we forgot how human
we can be. That for this union
the love must be holding you still
when the body has lost its will.
-JR Simmang
A I have no idea what type of poem

The Art of Wrinkling

These are my eyes,
once keen and sharp
as the sunrise.
Stewing, they sit now,
in the holes of my head. These are my ears,
once intent on bending,
sifting your phrases as
I sat upon your knee,
dear Earth.
Do you still work on your opus? These are my fingers,
once justified in their limberness,
embarking upon a journeyman’s voyage
into the wilderness.
This path is crowded.
Can you feel it? This is my mouth,
once filled with teeth for biting,
once filled with incandescent words,
once savoring the spice of
life. This is my mind,
once acutely aware of
our hidden catacombs
beneath each of our
and puzzled by the ignominious
finger twiddling and farce.
Now, acutely aware that
my body
seeks its respite, eyes to no longer see ears to no longer hear mouth to no longer speak so that
posterity may be kept
posterity’s sake. -JR Simmang What happens to us as we age? I see there are two possible roads: either we get wiser, or we pretend to get wiser.