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Scott Crain

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Gurnee, IL, US

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Answers

by

Scott Crain

Can you hold in your hands
the keys to your existence?
What if you have no hands?
Can you establish with your voice
the you youíve always wanted?
What if you have no voice?
Can you create with your mind
that which validates the suffering of life?
How many obscure introspective questions can I ask
before I return to the fetal position?

But my confining perspective commands me
to communicate my heartís aches.
Forget communicating the beauty
of trees, birds, and bullfrogs!
Forget putting into unique diction
the everyday habits of everyday life!
Forget all that which makes the girls giggle
and the boys chuckle
and everyone echo a resounding "hm."

Yes! Lets go for the stuff that makes people tremble
like a child scared to enter the "deep end."
Lets pose thoughts that allow everyone to react to me
as a dog reacts to an answering machine:
- with puzzled expressions that look around for help.

Lets put aside practicality
and all become philosophers for awhile!
Let us seek our purpose in Godís grand scheme
and seek to know ourselves to further it.
Do you dare? Do I try?
Let us push away the voices
that cloud us with over-used socio-cultural ear-candy buzz words,
and listen to the voices that tell us more
than the butchered art of our tongues ever could.
Those voices that teach us we are not empty accidents.
Those voices that tell us we are more than monkeys
who were cheated out of ignorant bliss
by evolving into this social hell
out of which we try to achieve lives.
Listen to those convincing voices
that tell us all is not as it should be.
Those voices composed of the heart and mind,
and not one or the other.
Those voice that tell us love is real.

They speak in a language we all understand.
They ask the questions that people donít like.
Answers to which are formulated and catalogued
in the rational mind.
Some place them on a shelf
to be looked at for reassurance,
some place them in a holster
just waiting for the next shootout.
Answers that solidify their presence and security with time,
growing heavier and decaying along with our bodies.
For when challenged by the transcendent still small voice
in a moment of weakness,
the factory-made answers
display the cracks and fissures
in their temporary glory.

And soon the digging for our own buried treasure
becomes a lot more difficult and unsteady
without an axiomatic hand to fall back in weariness.
Because manifesting our own self worth
is a very wearing task,
for we can never do it to our own satisfaction.

But there is a place; a spiritual condition,
where the questions are not asked with life threatening weight,
where the verbal daggers donít strike so deep,
where the value and specialty of every life is proclaimed,
where even those with no hands and no voice
are satisfied.


Judgment

by

Scott Crain

1.

A Stain has blossomed on the ceiling,
a hurricane of rainwater,
swirling destruction
in the satellite picture of my eyes.
The forces of nature always win.

I feel the heat of your stare.
Our fallen natures
circling like drunken boxers,
fists held ready, visions blurred,
feet unsteady on shifting sand,
the foolish builderís wreckage,
-beneath us.

I refocus on the desk before me,
the wood grain -- overlapping winds of a sandstorm.,
I long to sink into them and disappear.

Your pronouncements do not pass through me,
as my disinterested gaze might suggest.
They sting, they cut, they slice, they fester.
My blood loss is so great
I grow too weak for rage,
too weak for rebound.
Disoriented by misplaced accusation.

You have kicked-in the door to my mind,
knocked over my chairs, my lamps, my expensive toys.
My clothes and books lie strewn across the floor,
my furniture broken, my dishes smashed,
my walls defiled by graffiti . . .
I can find nothing in this mess.
My fondled axioms, rationalities,
creeds, memoirs, pictures,
my voice.
Lost to the whirlwind of your judgment.

I offer up empty resistance,
use my body language
to show Iíll take no more today, and,
secretly mulling over myself, my shame,
we part.
Off to build more natural walls
to keep the other out,
and ourselves in.

2.

Can you see a contrite heart
in the eyes of another?
So certain are you
in the pictures youíve painted,
that all words mean the same.
Did I ever have a chance?

Out of the overflow of the heart
the mouth will speak,
and, please understand,
my tongue recoils from the bitterness.
For with my cliched heart in my cliched mouth
I gnaw away at the ties which hold me together,
unresolved anguish amputating potential.
Guilty.

Yet, were you to taste my heart
youíd spit it out in terror.

Can your grand wisdom,
which so eloquently cut me in two,
solve the revealed twists and writhings of my insides?
. . . . I doubt it.

I am weighed, measured, gauged.
A pig to be sold at market,
a meal for starving ego children.

So you have bought me, killed me,
fed yourself with me,
been gorged on criminal meat;
meat basted in the injustice
of true crime laying hidden
while trumped-up charges make headlines.
My true sin is lost to your angry mob nose.

And I will not succumb to your ideals;
unexplained, untempered, and bristling with teeth.
I will sit in the shadows and lick my wounds
while you emerge the victor
of a holiness war.

My fear is of dying
from deprivation of the Son,
not of being rejected as moral conscience,
of failing the everyday scrutiny test,
of stepping from the limelight
to feel the cold in my veins,
of coming down from a soap box
to know the pressure of thicker air
and no longer looking down to only ants.

Do not let your ears be swallowed by your mouth.
Trust me, my brother, my double,
I have to regurgitate every day.

Now excuse me while I pack my things,
Iím off to the penitentiary of your mind,
my life must stop, my progress must die,
for it seems you hold the gavel that shakes the world.


Burning Words

by

Scott Crain


I poured coffee down my throat
as if trying to burn away the words.
The words that were clawing and fighting their way
from my gut to my mouth.
Injected with the steroids of anger and the coldness of reason,
they shook of the fire that sought to quench them.
These are words of resentment and bitterness,
nurtured and fed
until I could hold them no longer.
Lethal and opulent words,
built with the metal of truth,
armed with the acid of lie,
and bristling with connotation, denotation and accusation.
My eyes searched for another target
but always they found only you.
I siphoned caffine and heat into my mouth
as I vainly hoped for a subject change.
Or better yet,
some other insensitive prick to voice my own sentiments.
But bypassing the blockade of food,
fording the river of heartburn,
and pressing on toward destruction,
that determination would not be stifled.
There was no going back,
only preparation for the aftermath was left
as the predators perched on my tongue,
prey in sight,
craving satisfaction.
Anxiously they sat, my breath held,
until your heart was laid bare.
They flew with the speed of sound and precision of a bullet,
ripping your countenance to shreds and piercing your heart.
Dismay and confusion bled from your body,
betrayal and shock poured from your face.
Your eyes, windows to anguish deeper than flesh and blood,
to a wound of emotional gore.
Eyes congealing into a mirror of my own
as indignation clots the flow
and the tourniquet of rage prepared,
and victory is a corpse,
rotting and maggot-covered in purging heat,
the stink of decay on my tongue.


The Valley of Lies

by

Scott Crain

All hail the power of our inverted eyes
to fuel the slave trade of treeless plains that surround.
We might get dizzy in this valley of lies.

I bow, the sovereign of my endless skies,
while brown grass sways over the next beaten child drowned.
We live and die in freedomís pale disguise.

My sin cracks the whip, though my tongue denies
all sense of self to the empty hills near and around,
soon to make me dizzy in the valley of lies.

To feet losing purchase, the chains surprise,
and eyes finding dirt cause questions to sound
about stalks that whip and slice in freedomís pale disguise.

Too late, the heart will go out of my spinning cries.
No master, all to slavery are bound.
Time passes, not dizzy in the valley of lies.

Unsure how long the sun will refuse to rise
Iíll wake one day and only know the ground,
consigned to die under freedomís pale disguise,
no longer dizzy in the valley of lies.


Masked Man

by

Scott Crain

Whose words are these that run from my lips?
Surely their origin is not
in rational thought.
What is this spell of retardation
I have subjected to?
Did you hypnotize me as you entered the room?
Conditioning my responses to that of a fool?
Have I been trained to degenerate
At the presence of those sparkling eyes,
Those full red lips?
You intoxicate me with the spirits of possibilities,
The wine of romantic scenarios,
And the heightened awareness of my own loneliness.
My longing to touchcaresshold that special person
Is teased by our mere proximity.
Youíve replaced the me I thought I knew
With some one I donít understand.
-Like a teenager taught to shift on automatic,
thrown into a standard
with his dignity hanging in the balance.
Why did you replace the good old me
With a man whose controls are a mystery?
Your presence demands,
Demands a confident, self-assured me:
A sensitive scoundrel
whose humor commands your smile,
The philosophical barbarian
who inhabits all your fantasies,
the artistic jock and the passive aggressor,
the humble leader and the simple sage,
the inventive sex-machine and the unshaken oak,
the loving provider and the spontaneous clown,
who will fight for you rights
and yet keep you in line.
An amalgam of dozens that are just not me,
Become the me you inspire.
And when the glow of your face
and the sway of your hips
has departed back into the clutches of the competition,
I wonder:
Who was that masked man?
And why didnít he ask for her name?


The Concert

by

Scott Crain

Butternut jazz band groves
on my ground floor.
A Bittersweet opportunity
from armchair-comfort starting blocks.
Magical temptation,
sirens from covetous rhythms.

Conscientious rule-book fear
vs. overriding blasphemous courage.
My Blind step forward
is led by a musical seeing-eye dog.
The resultant new movement
is an unforgettably driven first spike,
knowing abandoned stagnant comfort
and open door excitement.

Bass professor,
Treble sage,
-body test progression.
Same world,
New eyes,
-audio soul ascension
Brazen flowing movement erupts
from Glorious dancing wings.


Crying Streets

by

Scott Crain

Outside, the streets are crying,
tears washing down gulleys and drains
like so many plans for a sunny day.
Under the cover of night
the storms have raged against us,
unable to get through our aluminum siding.
So we rest in our security,
knowing our strength in the whirr of the sump pump
and the snap crackle and pop against the windows.
My cereal talks to me.
It tells me that Rice Crispies can kill me,
can leave me without a mother and father,
can wash my dreams down a storm drain
with the tears of the street.


The Poet

by

Scott Crain

Ideally, . . . the poet writes from the heart.
He releases, in the form of words harmonious,
a flow of all that fires and sighs,
all that is welled-up inside.
Mind and emotion meet,
completing each other in a blaze of self proclaimed brilliance.
New windows of perspective open in the poetís mind eye,
and so striking is the view that he must write it down,
he must set it free,
free to roam through the imaginations of all who would hear,
free to leap from the lips of those who would read,
free to say to the world:
take time to open your mind to me so I can help you grow.
The poet takes a piece of life
seen through a lens that no other knows
and makes it tangible for those
who wish to feel a little more,
who wish to think a little more,
who wish to add a little more
to what they themselves can give.
The poet might not edify,
the poet might offend,
but the poet who puts sincerity into action,
broadens any who do the same.


No Dancing Allowed

by

Scott Crain

These bones are dry,
these hands are empty,
Words fall heavy onto this unseen ground,
catalogued, stored, and ignored.

Feet fear to tread where they must trust
in the guidance of one unknown.
Risks will not be taken for one unloved
and faith will not be given to one unheard.

Reality, once crumbled, now lays ahead
in nostalgic, but frightening, possibility.
Why cannot the voice of the most powerful being
conquer the fear of the meek?

Is it a fictitious life that is strived for
by so many with regularly teary eyes?
Can it be a self-deluding hope
that brings power to so many who stand tall?

Why canít everyone and no one
be just like everyone else?
Why must eyes see and ears hear
the struggle of souls pouring out questions?

Lives once new, now in decay,
wander with self-hatred hidden behind delusion,
falling prey to the standard of common wellness
where no one is as dirty as you, so hide.

Can we admit our sickness
without fearing judgment?
Can we change without being victimized
by otherís pride?

Seeing the social nature,
fear traps us in our shell.
While the call stands alone in the desert,
promising eternal rewards.

But is it simply an illusion,
with no real life force,
if weíd rather hold to what will die
than live for truth?

Perhaps there are just two sorts who pass
before the second outstretched hand:
those who prefer preliminary pre-requisite grace,
and those who are different, wanting more.

I feel I stand with the goats,
with the downcast brood.
Am I not made of the stuff
of those who take greater steps?

Have I not the faith love hope courage
that it take to decrease?
Or have I the selfishness ruination fear
that it takes to increase?

Condemned by self to feed the worldís views,
to have breaking heart and immobile foot.
May we know surrender
before we are burned by the light.

The bones do not dance,
the hands remain in pockets,
and a freezing wind blows
across an untrod land.

for Scott Johnson


My Muse

by

Scott Crain

My muse is a vapor that slips through my fingers,
tickles my earlobes, and fondles my brain,
lighting a candle in the dusty attic of my imagination.
The light shines through locked windows
but the heat cannot be felt.
Sometimes she leaves me feeling trite.

My muse plays a song that I have never heard
and each note is a unicorn, a most precious design
that runs away when I get too close.
What remains is a longing
lodged in the chest.
Sometimes she leaves me beating dead horses.

My muse is a dealer who hides from the client,
leaving needles of rage, sorrow, and frustration
as emotive substitution, for I am the shivering junky.
Needing a cold shower for the urge
that has nowhere to go.
Sometimes she leaves me whining to the deaf.

My muse runs and I chase her around corner after corner
in the convoluted maze of my mind.
She whispers and I struggle not to curse at the wind
Striving to retrieve the leafy scraps
blown across my barren inspiration.
Sometimes, just sometimes, I get lucky . . .
. . . I think.

I guess I wonít know until she leaves me anthologized,
which I guess I wonít know until she leaves me dead.


Wait

by

Scott Crain

Into an abyss of fatigue I fall,
if I could bring myself to speak
would you hear my call?
Does the beauty of the dawn outweigh my lack?
Iíve lost a time of healing
I can never have back.
If I give you the truth for which you ask,
would you run away
from the resulting task?
If Iím drifting away on a tide of seclusion
do you have what it takes
to maintain your intrusion?
Are you willing to learn how I count the cost
of when love treasured
becomes love lost?
My eyes now close under the weight of my need.
Iím not sure you should be here
to watch me bleed.
But as the healing of release must be postponed,
So must your desire
to comfort the disowned.


The Citadel

by

Scott Crain

Have you seen the citadel at sunrise?
Have you ever saddled up a dream and ridden all night?
Have you seen the eyes of peasants grow wide
at the possibilities in your coming?
They look up, look down,
holding to the work of bent backs,
unwilling to entertain a healthy posture
for the sake of your galloping recklessness.
After all, there is a war on.

But what are battle lines to you?
You have bred a mighty steed,
expending all you have on this beast
now flaring its nostrils, pushing geysers of steam,
muscles flexing and stretching in time,
creating the wind.
You know what it is to groom, to feed,
to cultivate a sleek mold of success.

And now you know the pressing on
against towering black forests,
now you know the endless thunder
of hooves beneath and war-drums behind,
the swirl of charcoal clouds
unsplit by pinhole lights,
the tugging weight
of the sword at your side,
the blur of the immediate
against the unseen goal countless rises away.

Will you ride all night?
Or will you wake to the furtive exchanges
between prisoners of war,
your horse plowing fields
at the hands of a bent man?


Solace

by

Scott Crain



His hands have seen more years than my eyes,
experience displayed by tanned, wrinkled skin,
perpetually laced by calluses and soot.
Hands that have lived to get dirty
once the daily business suit is discarded.

As with engine, computer, or earth,
his hands work deftly
on the mass of knotted fishing line.
Untangling my amateur folly.

Speeding cars press air into our backs,
but our lines remain undisturbed.
The murky lake water reflects a gray sky,
Clouding any sign of giant lake perch assault.

Before an audience of rocks and trees,
on the altar of cement overpass,
I lay an offering of "Why?" before my granddaddy.
"Why am I the butt of the life that you never see?"

Disturbed from peaceful reverie,
the blue eyes snap upward.
"This place, this here, this now,
keeps your butt alive."