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VERSE-A-TILITY by Gene Myers

Article Posted: 11/26/2010
Article Views: 2135
Articles Written: 209
Word Count: 1638
Article Votes: 6
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Writing poetic verse does not come naturally to me. Yet when I want to express myself with a little extra portion of passion, but slightly in the abstract, nothing gives me more satisfaction.

Story-telling, on the other hand, is easy. When I recall a memory or have an idea, words fly off the keyboard as if by magic. With verse...well, not so much. First, I have to feel "something", which I cannot explain to anyone, including myself. The feeling is rare.

I led off "LeaderTrip" with a poem about (of all things) a factory. See, I had an experience that was so transforming that the rest of my life has been a search to find it again. In "Songs from Lattys Grove", I included a poem in a chapter to help explain the untimely demise of a character. Other unpublished verses include viewing my daughter through a father's eyes as she grew into adulthood; and the winsome smile of the prettiest, peppiest cheerleader in high school after seeing a photo of her decades later.

The verse in this article was inspired by some extremely unhappy people; the kind you cross the street to avoid; the kind who have bumper stickers that read, LIFE'S A BITCH, AND THEN YOU DIE! Being a joyful person who is appreciative of the rare gift of our relatively short span of life, I avoid those downers like the plague--if I see them coming. One I did not avoid was a classmate I knew in former days who changed from balanced and optimistic to miserable and crabby in 30 years. He approached me with a half-sneer and pessimistic tone, "You probably don't remember me. (I DIDN'T) Hell, nobody does..." then proceeded to hold me captive for 45 minutes as he railed on-and-on about his wretched life. (I bought him a cocktail--figured he could use extra depressant to keep the mood going.)

Being a writer, and a nosy one at that, I tend to watch and listen always hyperaware of what's going on with people around me. I try to capture another facet of the human experience for my own selfish use. And so, when I left my former schoolmate I tried to understand what makes people like him so depressed, so negative, so unappreciative about the gift of life; a gift that must be given back.

With that in mind, I attempted to channel those unfortunate souls and put myself in a state of self-hypnosis to tell their story. The verse that follows is dedicated to all those people who hate life. Submitted for your perusal...


Dank, bleak darkness fills my empty soul whilst a church bell peals a funeral's toll. / On this frightening, restless eve I toss and turn wondering of my final fate-- / Then when nodding off almost sleeping, I thought I saw a phantom peeking. / As someone eagerly seeking--seeking one whose life was late. / "Begone, ebony wraith," I pleaded, "we have not a meeting date-- / "Go darken someone else's gate."

That night I'll always remember was a thunderous September, / And each flashing, crashing trembler filled my chamber with imagined hate. / Prayerfully I rued my fate, knowing my petition was too little and too late-- / To save my wretched, wicked soul from being cast into Sheol / Among other unworthy souls--souls who spend endless days untold-- / Cast into a demon's mold.

The dreadful apparition's power grew stronger each passing hour. / My imagination (was it?) ran wild; filled me with terror and dread, / So to keep some hold on sanity in hopeless faith I pled, / "Dear Lord, don't let it (who or what) take me into the place of living dead." / But no answer forthcoming the spector grew bolder and said, / "Mortal man, come away with me." / "Never; not ever!" I said.

Long ago one glorious morning, a bright and shining day was forming. / A warm summer day gave birth to laughter and happy sounds came forth. / A mother her infant to bear, a boy who would receive special care. / His engaging visage she thought quite fair, one the world would see had worth. / The little boy was me; I was coddled and loved with tender warmth, / And around me spun the earth.

Years passed and brought confusion with new directives in profusion. / Maybe life is merely illusion; perhaps a temporary state. / They said pursue (with vigor) education, and find greater purpose through meditation. / Bow to a Holy One in supplication--supplication (it's said) will bring appreciation, / And shelter from worldly hate.

While in that state of mind one year, the unwelcome presence did first appear. / Undefined was its form yet (I sensed) filled with evil intention for my fate. / Why must life take such an unwelcomed turn? Why this intruder? / I willed the spector to leave, remove from my sight its aura of hate. / "I am LeMonde," it said. "I will wait."

Thence I saw each new day clearly, though I became guarded and wary. / I sensed a new change taking place within me, felt intolerance abound. / Energized, I swore and cursed; wished my fellowman the worst. / With each new profane outburst, I suspected those all around / Of conspiring against me and with my foes together bound. / LeMonde a mortal host had found.

Patience with others became tiring because I knew they were conspiring / To condescend and mock my efforts; all that and so much more. / So pretending not to care, I withdrew into my lair, / And cursed the favored persons LeMonde seemed to adore, / Then accepted my position among those called profane and obscure.

Bestowed to me upon my birth, a gift to render untrue worth. / Blessed with a special talent, an endowment for others to perceive, / A flair to sound glib when speaking, so they came to me when seeking / Knowledge of a certain needing, a leader to believe. / But silver tongue and half-truths imparted false wisdom to receive, / From one who meant not (completely) to deceive.

Without a plan to misinform, nor mislead, betray and do harm, / Smooth oration led followers, peers, and superiors to deem / I was a true, able leader, a prophet, seer, and world beater. / But time uncovered the ruse by which I spun my selfish dream. / Alas, I am rarely what I seem.

Along the way I found a wife, a sweet helpmate to share my life. / But t'was mere folly; for she easily discovered truth concealed-- / That all my gay, cheerful glitter was submerged in envy bitter. / And that my essence shared with her would not fit her living zeal. / In horror my bride hastened to escape my bizarre world surreal, / And left behind a wound time can never heal.

Ah, but just to have a chance, to have a life with some romance. / At least for once I took a stance though LeMonde took my love away. / That rogue phantom left me burning with a painful, bitter yearning / Of a young life before learning--learning that the screw was turning / To scatter fond dreams astray.

Memories of pain still at hand, with stealth I fled to a distant land, / Where strange people and customs allowed me to start anew. / The shadow of my soul has taken its leave, but always searching / My old, bitter foe (who or what) relentless and diligent / Already knows my hearts intent.

Soon, yet again, I am found; for to my nature I am bound. / For one can scarcely change his essence without giving up control--/ Of ones own desire to master destiny sans doctor or pastor, / Which can only court disaster, lest one bares his troubled woes. / But me--I need no spiritual intruder to make me whole-- / I am the only skipper of my soul!

Caught; snared in self-deception, a noose of my own invention. / Alas, my bitter foe has found me! There is no escape from fact. / Despair that (who or what) portends will surely work to cause my end / For I can no longer pretend my good sense is intact. / Reality is an illusion; alternate shades attract--/ Now, there is no going back.

LeMonde shadows me relentless, knowing now I am defenseless / To shelter my soul from falseness, a struggle in best of times. / Glibness and style is the mask; truth and substance left in the past / When innocence aside was cast--cast among honor and veritas. / Epitaph etches veiled lines.

And now precious time has flown; it's time for me to sleep alone / With neither sight nor sound nor senses to comprehend my corruption. / Too late I rued a life so squandered; too late in years I pondered / The penalty for witting blunders (of my complete intention). / Awaiting me is eternal damnation!

The final visit from my foe. There is nowhere to go. / Acceptance. LeMonde has come to collect, "Where is your soul?" / A form lies still and lifeless with vacant stare. Unattached, I see! / A final gesture; my pointed finger to where I once stood, / "In the fallen body of Edmund Drood."

Copyright 2010 by Gene Myers


Author of SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE (2010), PublishAmerica, Baltimore, MD.

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