Poetry and verse Fiction

POEM: The pragmatic romancer meets the grinning taboo

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Image by David Geib via pexels

This poem is an *IA Writing Competition (fiction category) entry.


I’m dirty on words that lie as they’re spoke
They make subtle feelings an elaborate joke.
(I think its a farce ... hope it’ll pass),
But can we converse
Without a curse or being terse
A fireside chat that perhaps is in verse?

I’m on the quest of a good idea;
Shadowed by the unknown fear
That paces with stumble and stride,
And manifests wherever I hide my pride.
Yet the quest earns a passion
And a prize that comes crashin’ every time it glides within reach.
I’d sooner eat a peach
Than waste my time in reason and rhyme
Then see it accused of some Freudian crime.

I been here an’ there an’ seen my share
Of whacky human schemes;
But I got a dream (that’s yet to be seen)
And a way to find the means.
We’re youngsters yet, an’ we can’t be impatient
To rip a hole in the can;
Our ears are still wet of what is latent
In the space between a woman an’ man.

So... such vague ideal may seem unreal
To one locked in carnal dreams...
But I’m bettin’ that you know what’s true
              Like, things just ain’t what they seems.

You an’ me, if I’m guessin’ right,
Have a muddlesome beast of a brain.
Our life’s a struggle ... some call it a plight
We know the meaning of pain.

(Now don’t make derision, it’s not your decision
To be a judge of my condition.
For me it’s all a part of a bigger, better Plan.
Where living is seen as a Work of Art
So we do it as best as we can).

Still, I implore, don’t get lost in my poetic bent
There’s more to be said for altruistic intent...
And, if you are so inclined you might consider this existential;
But let me remind that labels are blind
When they hide untried potential.

            They devise and divide on a variety of bases;
            Giving rise to creeds and races
            That collide with pride
            When seen in the crowd as just one of the faces.

Where this one scowls, and that one smiles
And the wise one calls for a choice;
Opinions are sought and the majority reconciles
With the one with the loudest voice.

             (You maybe want to suspend this side discourse
             Because it doesn’t agree with your catechism;
             And, it’s oblivious to tactics of power and force
             That fragment like light right through a prism).

Listen now, to the beat of your heart,
To your feelings for old Mother Earth;
Then, if you think you value your art...
You can tell me what it might be worth.

When we see like a Child through the Eye of the mind,
We need never be riled or destroy our own kind.
We create good and bad with the thoughts in our head
We can be happy or sad or living-but-dead.

We design our society by our sense of propriety
But we live in fear of drawing too near.
We dwell in sorrow of what may happen tomorrow
We’re made blind by desire – burned in the fire.

Again... Actions and Words fail to impress
And the quest for a good idea nudges support in this time of distress,

And the planets of fear slowly orbit the brain
As the image comes clear, of their mental domain;
And all the demons of timeless years
Acquiesce to the turning tide...
As the pioneer’s thirst for new frontiers
Uncovers the land in which they abide.

And a part of the unknown meets up with its answer
In the imaginary eye of the Pragmatic Romancer;
And ignorance merges into understanding
Like darkened winter becomes dawning spring.
           (Does this string of words seem too demanding?
           I swear I’m only thinking of the cash it’ll bring!)

Then again, I hope you’re following this plot,
You recognise some of the words;
So you have a shot at untying the knot
Of a sailor with a headful of birds.

            But check yourself in this headlong flight
            Through the dubious ways of a quarrelsome mite
            On the quest of a good idea.
             It’s seldom that things are what they appear
             ... as the impetuous rush of sycophancy
             Blinds the mind to the source of the fantasy.

                           I’m trying to suggest
                           That there’s wealth still untapped;
                                                    A realm unpossessed,
                                                    Roads still not mapped.

It’s not reason or feeling, or high-handed dealing.
No guru can give it, no trader can sell it:
No robber can steal it ... no-one can spell it!

             It’s a product of living, receiving and giving;
             Of smiling and styling and wist-away whiling.
             It’s satisfying, relief-like-crying
             It’s trying and sighing
             ... and death-defying.
             It’s a gardener growing, reaping and sowing
             ... or all the above... it’s knowing.

Now I may just be a raver, a blue-eyed star-gazer
But I peek into corners through windows of light
And I toy with equations of humankind’s plight.
The chords of my songs are honed like a razor
... and I slice through reason in foolish delight.

Or, to put it another way, I’ll always have my say!
I hold the pen and scribble with zeal
On the quest of a good idea
...  in pursuit of the common ideal.

I’m just like you; I eat, sleep and drink
I obey the patterns of civilized bliss;
But I begin to wonder and start to think
Surely... we amount to more than this!

While uranium’s energy is as yet unresolved
It may meet resolution from alchemists of old;
And the economy’s juggernaut speed
Has a direct correlation to greed;
And the so-called crisis of unemployment
Can be a subtle and fruitful source of enjoyment;
And it’s true that the cure to any disease
Is to remove the cause and replenish the ease;
Where pressure and tension and pain
Can be rinsed away like the falling of rain;
And the next time you reach for a hit or a drink
Just remember... you are what you think.

It’s my chain of thoughts depicted here,
The mischievous state of my point of view...
You may read it through and deeply relate
To the things that have happened to you
In this tightrope existence between love and hate.

But apart from the politics of words in a row,
Do you think you could ever know
The times I am forced to pause
And reflect on the void the words omit;
In which I must equate with my Cause
Lying beyond the bounds of logic or wit:
Where morals and ethics are dissolved into Fact,
And where quality, as concept, is forever intact.

            So, can I transcend literary merit
            Whose hallowed traditions inherit
            The weight of dead generations
            ... to confuse and benumb all soular sensations?

                         The sentence, then, is that you be willing to accept
                         This usage of words to express the precept
                          Of a World given meaning by the presence of Life
                          In the constant sway of comfort and strife,
                          Of a world that dies with the end of feelings
                          ... or the instinct to know the fruit from the peelings.

* Full IA Writing Competition details HERE.

Dermot Daley is a fourth-generation Australian living in Victoria, who is now retired from construction project management​​​​.

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