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John Fox

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Rodeo, CA, US

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Caffeine Addict

by

John Fox

This very morning when I awoke, I thought someone had played a joke. I checked the pot, it was bone dry. I checked the pantry and started to cry...no coffee.

So I got dressed for work, real slow. I had no drive, no pep, no go. I drove to work, barely awake. I wanted to stop but I was already late...no coffee.

I parked the car and walked inside, and when I got the news I almost died. The vendor had taken the machine away, and it damned sure won't be back today...no coffee.

The boss said that we should not worry, he'd send for caffeine in a hurry. But when it arrived, in thermos bright, it seemed to lack the usual bite of coffee.

No Columbian or Kona Blend, or even French Roast dwelt within. It was a mix--exotic flavors, that only yuppie scum could savor...not coffee.

A mocha-chino-berry stink that no one in that crowd would drink. That morning dragged incessantly, and no one acted pleasantly...no coffee.

When lunchtime came we fled the scene of the luke-warm, slurpy, berry thing. We marched down to the restaurant and told the waitress, "all we want is coffee."

By end of day no one was tired. The caffeine high had everyone wired. I've learned my lesson, oh so well; without coffee, life is hell. And I'm an addict, monster, fiend, and slave unto the coffee bean...yeah, coffee.


Don't Talk To Me

by

John Fox

Don't talk to me--don't say the words you always say; don't talk to me.
Don't make it sound like I'm giving in...you know, inside, that you can't win, but you feel that you must try again, don't talk to me.

Don't look at me.--don't roll your eyes and shake your hed; don't look at me.
Don't glance my way and back once more...ot take a chance and close the door...then advance to me across the floor, don't look at me.

Don't come to me.--don't put your hand upon my face; don't come to me.
Don't lean up to me oh so near...and whisper words I only fear...words that say, "I love you dear...", don't come to me.

Don't make love to me--don't kiss my lips and caress my breast; don't make love to me.
Don't fan fires of love's eternal flame...promise love we cannot claim...for there's another bears your name, don't make love to me.


Welcoming the Loneliness

by

John Fox

The moonlight trails I walk now fade behind me...
so many paths I've never trod before.
Still, they seem to greet me like old friends,
and without them I'd be a lonely man.

Empty spaces that never felt a foot-fall,
but this I seek for these are lonely lands.
No patch of green or blue of pond to draw an eye,
and I welcome the solitude in which to wander.

In daylight, shadow comes from scrub brush canopies,
and coffee in the evening is the daily prayer.
Dead sleep from noon time heat is all the rest I need,
but the night time breezes bring the memories again.

Old memories that should have stayed in the past...
becoming one more fugitive not wanted anywhere.
Avoiding human contact, and existing in my prison,
and walls as large as fear still hold me in.

So on I trod, to lose the feelings that vex me...
to take the sharp and twisting turns to shake them loose.
But nothing makes this curse of mine stay put,
and tonight I'll wander over one more fading trail.


The Vets Are Here

by

John Fox

We thought the vets had all come back
io live in principality.
Instead we find that many vets
cannot discern reality.

We thought the vets would all be home,
inside their homes with family.
Without the need for deadly dreams
or the use of vile profanity.

Though many of the vets came home
to live in clear neutrality,
several more make up the core
of the nation's criminality.

Some are hiding out the hate
they feel for blatant fallacy.
While others hide out in the woods
untrusting in totality.

At intersections you can see them
begging in humility.
And mostly we just treat them all
with utter incivility.

A few have died while on the street;
the headstones mark finality.
While some, I know, are far away
locked up in their insanity.

The dead, the living, crazed and sane
make up our new plurality.
We meld in with the mainstream
of today's mixed up society.


A Christmas Lost

by

John Fox

I still recall the Christmas when I lost my boyhood years.
It was a time for growing up, and fighting back the tears.
I was not home that Christmas day to see what Santa brought,
but a Red Cross bag hung from a wire above my metal cot.

Inside the bag were little things that showed that some still cared.
A soap dish and a toothbrush, and a comb to fix my hair.
A deck of cards for poker, and a book to read alone.
A short note from a little girl that wished we all were home.

So much time has passed since then; so many holidays.
To think I've lived this long and still I think about the days
when we were our own family, and with each other shared,
and prayed to make it back again to be with those who cared.


Alone For Life

by

John Fox

Lonely once, and lonely twice,
My realm of lovers dwindling.
Caught stealing kisses from a third,
but is it really swindling?

Like candies taken from a box,
not all are so enchanting.
I sample, nibble, and even bite,
but I never left them wanting.

Yet time has passed, and I'm alone,
just memories to dwell on.
They linger, but do not provide
a moment's clear reflection.

Denied, by me, a life of love,
so little left to squander.
I find myself in no ones arms;
I have no cause to wonder.


My Life Is Cast

by

John Fox

The best of worlds do not provide
a cure for defects that I hide;
a cure that has been long denied
the essence that is me.

My essence, molten, poured in sand,
with defects caused by careless hands,
has hardened, but now life demands
that "perfect" I should be.

The future of my life has passed
this way before, but now, at last,
the die, imperfect, long since cast,
shows cracks that all can see.


Where's The Logic?

by

John Fox

Where is the logic of love in this world--
what universal reason?
It follows no rules that nature prescribes--
it blossoms forth in all seasons.

What is the logic of love in our life--
to share a common dream?
A dream is but a thought, a wish,
but I don't know what it means.

What is the logic of love in our lives--
to keep the feeling alive?
Does love equal life in our everyday living--
is it that for which we strive?

Then what is the purpose of sharing a dream--
of sharing our everyday wishes?
To try to exist in the eyes of another--
to try to climb out of our niches?

The answers elude me, excite me, perturb me--
and leave me a trifle uneasy.
For I've no one to share all the dreams I stopped having
ever since she decided to leave me.


Bridges

by

John Fox

Where I once was, I long to be again.
Where I felt so free,
and I liked being me,
and knew how it felt to have a friend.

Where I am now, I'd like to change.
Here, I feel so scared,
and often quite impaired,
and would like my life to rearrange.

In my early life I never worried so.
But while my life evolved,
my problems were not solved
by always doing just what I wanted to.

Now I spend the countless hours of every day
like clouds that float,
or an unmanned boat,
willfully going with the stream, first this, and then that way.

So, when my life ends, I'll not be concerned.
I'll depart this useless tomb,
to enter yet another room,
and smother fires on bridges not yet burned.


A World Away

by

John Fox

By it's very nature it is romantic and inspired. It sends out a message to snuggle ever closer. Thinkers are blessed by the lack of distraction, and dreamers are, now and then, prolific with it's abundance.
It's arrival is a security blanket for poets--an inspiration for their moods. We are those that let it do our running from the hum-drum of the ordinary. No other force in nature is so powerful, so all-encompassing, so awe-inspiring, and so kind. Unwanted forcescan only penetrate the veil temporarily, fleetingly, then disappear from sight and sound.
It's appearance is unstappable and, for us dreamers and poets, most welcome. Dreams are real if but for a moment. Differance disappears, as does sameness. A million tiny get-a-ways are your for the seeking; minute worlds populated by one or two.
I cherish these moments of arrival for it covers the real world and seems to balance nature. When its task is done, it departs slowly, cautiously. It is gone, but it lets you know it will return and diminish your problems once again.
Hurry back, fog...hurry back.


I Used To Feel The Pain

by

John Fox

In wondrous spirit I entered onto life's earthbound plain.
For eighteen years I learned of life's unending truths.
Youthful running, burning candles...sucking up the flame,
and never seeing past the window of my youth.

Then from afar so swiftly came the sounds of anger burning.
A small mess in a land so far away.
No need for me to be concerned, in months it will be over...,
that's what I heard the politicians say.

Then came my turn for signing up, but how'd it go so long?
Those "months" were years ago, it seems.
Now I'm back in comforting arms, but Lord it still seems wrong,
and down the road I'm havin' awful dreams.

I used to feel the pain, I used to feel the rain.
I thought I'd know how far I had to go.
I told my friends and family that I realy was the same,
but they can tell much better than you know.

Again I joined that monster that put me in harm's way.
It was my way of dealing with the dreams.
For sixteen years I pushed it back; I kept the wolves at bay,
but then I started to unravel at the seams.

I let my mind take over, never sure if I was right,
and I bled my heart to someone more equipped.
For eighteen months in counseling, by myself, and then with others,
I began to bare my mind, my heart...all of it.

I'd been wandering, aching, longing for a pathway to acceptance,
and I felt that life was just another mirror.
I whispered that I was just the far side of deliverance,
but my whispered shouts refused to bring me nearer.

I used to feel the pain, I used to go insane.
I always thought no one could understand what pushed me on.
I never wanted pity, just to be left to my indifference,
but indifference only left me wanting to be gone.

Now the time has passed to memory, looking back to "other" days.
I've learned to resolve old nightmares, and daymares, too.
That haunting cry of silence that I spoke with every breath
is the cry you heard when finally I broke through.


Where Would We Be

by

John Fox

If nature was, as was intended,
'til man stepped in and tipped the scales,
then where would nature be right now
instead of where it is?

If nature never meant to change,
but did so just to counter man,
then where would nature be right now,
if now had never come?

If we believe in nature changing,
changing to exist tomorrow,
then we accept that nature changes
to accomodate today.

But nature, never fooled, demands WE change,
or give in to a lost tomorrow...
for man nor beast has no lasting effect
on nature changing, anyway.


A Time To Recall

by

John Fox

Such a long time ago when we went to war
across the beautiful South China Sea.
We flew into the fray with conscience yet unborn;
my ticket, Flight F2C3.

Our duties, quite different from those stateside,
put us often in moments of stress.
Though the incoming rounds were often outnumbered
by the boredom and sheer loneliness.

A typical shift was long and tiring,
observing from gun bunkers and towers.
Or perhaps walking K-9, or riding patrol,
we kept each other awake and alert for hours.

From town patrol to "shakedown" control,
from mortar pit, maintenace, or QRT.
From flight line "ramp-rats, and those three man SATs
to the flight chief, and don't forget CSC.

Occasionally we'd escort convoys and provide safe passage,
a questionable break from routine.
But the memory most droll was on clearance patrol,
when aiming stakes were too often seen.

But nothing that good lasts forever,
and sometimes the bad guys would hit us.
While we mostly kept old charles at arms length,
we could never quite make him forget us.

Both seasons would pass (hot and wet / hot and dry),
and the creatures were all out for blood.
Through venomous spiders, and most-deadly snakes,
and leeches that lived in the mud.

From rice eating beetles, and flesh-eating rats,
and lizards that kept you awake,
to centipedes, scorpions, mosquitos and ants,
sometimes it was too much to take.

The inclement weather could well last all season,
while bringing the wind and the wet.
The poncho you wore could keep out the downpour,
but you ended up drowning in sweat.

The sandblasting monsoons arrived with due force,
eroding once elegant facial features,
but what the sand didn't take, and the sun didn't bake,
was attacked once again by the creatures.

Yet we answered the call, and it wasn't a ball,
but we managed to walk through that door.
Though no flags were unfurled for my trip back to the world,
I'll salute you, Flight F2C4.


Have I Changed

by

John Fox

What gives you cause to say I've changed...in any direction?
You have known me again but a short time.
Who is to say that our first meetings were not a show--a put on?
I tried to correct for my having been away.
I used manners and customs I had previously known, but have used very little.
You see me now as different, less clean, non-habitual.
Please, look at me. See me...reliant, caring, loving.
I may no longer be your idea of well-bred, but I am sensitive and particular.
I want the best, or whatever it is that will satisfy me.
I am human and cannot expalin all things, especially one person to another.
Not me to you.

San Pablo 18 Oct 1971


Can You Feel It

by

John Fox

Can you feel it, can you move,
does your mind reflect this motion?
Will you give what you receive,
or does your heart cast out emotion?
Is it simple to survive,
can you tell yourself to forget?
Did your love make you want to live,
or have you tasted it, even yet?
When the world resolves this notion,
saying who should live or die,
tell them you should go on living,
all your life is only giving,
and that alone should be worth saving...
you should live, not I.
I have found my peace, you must still try.

Nha Trang 14 Jul 1971


Brass rings

by

John Fox

Brass rings don't fit my finger, and that ride won't fit my style...
I'll stand on the sidelines and watch for a while.
Play it safe and fake my story, hum the parts that I can't sing;
I don't have to worry, my telephone won't ring.
Still, I find my story suits me, pointing out my greatest fear--
reality, all the people there around me cannot hear.
So my story, as with other's, has no value but to me.
In each story is one's being that no one else can see.

Tan Son Nhut 22 Jan 1971


Do You Know

by

John Fox

Do you know from where I've come
to reach this far and distant land,
whose shores have beckoned me,
but how or why, I do not understand?
Why such a people needing help have come
to greet me as a man to lead your wild,
unruly mob (although I claim a layman's
fame to nothing but a decent job),
against aggression, fiercly spread,
by enemies of your own kind?
No matter...the end may be a friend
and bring us all some peace of mind.