Join the Neopoet online poetry workshop and community to improve as a writer, meet fellow poets, and showcase your work. Sign up, submit your poetry, and get started.

What Have I Lost?

I finally told him,
sitting in
inevitable bar,
noisome with the
ever-present stinks
of spilled beer
and cigarettes,
the stale musky scent
of listless dancing women
thick upon the air.

He sneered at me,
eyes vacant,
mind stained black
by decades
of drink and hate
and said
“You can use her,
you can fuck her,
hell, you can
even love her,
but don’t you ever
bring that nigger
to my home.”

A decade down
the shining path
I chose to take
my life along
my father passed away:
he died alone,
afraid,
regretful,
as befits
one of his kind.

The vultures
of his family
all asked me
to attend his
wake and funeral
then pay for it as well;
I answered:
never speak to me again.

Two decades and a half
from that divergence,
only memory is left,
my hate and bitterness
all burned away
by deep abiding love;

I think about
my children and the woman
who bore them of her body
sleeping softly
beside me now,
I look down at her
and ask myself
what have I lost?

Nothing.
Nothing at all.

Style / type: 
Free verse
Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Last few words: 
Well, I'm back. Found a tiny little misstep in this, so I fixed it. Hope you enjoy. New members, if you read this...it is the product of leaving my ego at the virtual door, and doing what the many fine poets here told me to do...I am a product of this site.
Editing stage: 

Comments

I recuse myself from crit on this piece, too profoundly affected.

cheers,
Jess, Neopoet Directors
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

Give it some time, then critque!
This is from the old site, Ann (Nordic Loud) inspired me to re-post it.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

This is superb and ends marvelously. Also, it does my heart good to see a poet use "noisome" correctly. Way to go.
wesley

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program
http://www.neopoet.com/mentor/about

I am glad that you enjoyed it.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

beautiful

May I make a small suggestion instead of the word stink( although you may prefer that) what if you used stench

A plethora of emotions are rolled into one poem

Chrys
Let your mercy spill on all these burning hearts in hell(Leonard Cohen)

Welcome back, you were missed.
I originally had "stench" instead of "stinks", but I changed it, because "stench" denotes a horrible, sort of charnel ordor, to me, while "stink" carries the connotation of sharpness and intensity, without rot and decay.
Thanks!

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

I agree with Chrys, stench does sound best. But it doesn' stop this being a poem of great worth. Stunning even. Regards Roscoe...

Roscoe Llane,

Religion will rip your faith off, and return
for the mask of disbelief that's left.

for your enjoyment and criticism.
I don't like the word "stench" for the reason I gave in replying to Chrys. But I also happen to enjoy those smells in a nudie bar, or at least, I did when I was young.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

I can really identify with the choice to abandon a toxic relative. I have only one suggestion that might smooth the reading a bit :
Adecade now
down the shining path
I chose
to take my life along

but powerful in the emotions displayed as is..........stan

Thanks man. Turning from a toxic relative is very hard, even in this circumstance. Difficult, but neccessary.
My original had "now", but I took it out when I realized that it was the last part that needed the immediacy.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

This piece touched me profoundly! I can relate to it in a similar way. I won't go into it here, to spoil the effects of your fantastic poem. You've lost nothing by making the right choices of your life. I LOVE THIS POEM! Only you could have done the story justice.

I have no suggestions as I think it is perfect.
always, Cat

When you fling poo, some of the stink sticks to you!

"The Book of Styx" can be ordered and purchased on line at:
http://eddystyx.mythramuse.com/

Thank you for you enjoyment!

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

to assimilate this and respond.

I like fuck better than screw.
[smiles]

Still love this poem.

cheers,
Jess, Neopoet Directors
Neopoet is a workshop. Poets take the time to read and think about your work and offer suggestions.
There is no obligation to make any changes however please acknowledge critique and comments.

Knew you would, brother. Its on the paper original, and I read it, then decided it should be here.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

obviously a moving work, a successful work, very hard felt, and accessible to any reader. I'll try to detach from the emotional presence of the poem, a few comments.

I like the simple mention of cigarette smell in the first stanza, as it dates it to that time decades ago, One image can create a whole scene from an image.
In the second stanza pounces because it uses the taboo N word as it was/is used today, among certain people. Its so rare to see it, everyone's so fucking sensitive about it...but it part of culture,
and should be used as used here, to expose the vulgarity of the user.
In the next stanza I don't think the redundancy is needed "passed away" then "died alone"
Following I don't know why his family members were vultures, what that means exactly. were they fighting over any spoils he might have left? Would not a son normally be expected by family members to cover funeral costs? Unless they were aware of the uncompromising distance between you...But the poem is about your father, I'm not sure we even need that stanza. The poem works very well without it the same.
For a moment in the next stanza I sense you have found some reconciliation as hurt and bitterness have turned to love...for an instant I thought that was towards your father. I might
say "love of her" or something to not even tempt the reader down that track.
I love the last stanza, and end, love it. Just question the word "of" her body, as opposed to "from".
I do know more than a few people who have had disastrous unreconsilable relationships with a parent...my wife and her mother, for starters. I'm glad for you that you have survived it, and can finally detach from the past.

Eumolpus
I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

Hey Hi thanks for your criticism. I must be fast, I am at work!
Cigarette smell. Funny, but it's the stink of naked dancing women, that has the same effect, for me!
"Vultures"....all of those things you thought of, can be applied. That was my intention, to make the reader think of the reasons. Poetry should lead the reader into paths of emotion and thought implied by word and cadence, where possible.
"Of her body"..."from her body" is on the original paper draft. I do not use it because it implies that we are separate entities, that I am taking something from her, and that we are not the parts of One that we really are.
"Deep abiding love"...it is the love that is important, not who it is for, but I think who it is for becomes clear. The reconciliation that is implied is in reality only the scar tissue healed over the wound to the point that it and its pain are irrelevant.
Thank you again, Eumoplus. You have made me think, and appreciate, this true thing that I wrote so long ago.

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment

back

Its been a while

Respectfully, Jim

"Laws and Rules don't kill freedom: narrow-minded intolerance does" - Race-9togo

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Race_9togo

author comment
(c) Neopoet.com. No copyright is claimed by Neopoet to original member content.