you can’t help them all…

way far gone

i’m actually pretty comfortable,
if you don’t believe any of this.

so many mouths;
lips, teeth, tongues.
even strangers wear familiar
sardonic smiles.
it comes to me later;
they might not
care, or maybe
they do care & wry smiles are
coin of the realm, possibly a
tongue foreign to my ear.

these congenial characters
plead for attention & assistance;
equally deserving of more
than tossed off gestures,
fledgling muscle spasms &
uncontrolled ticks. all-
impressive artifice,
even if it is a charade;
it scares
the shit out of the tourists &
some of the locals &
makes me sad.

pissing across our divide or
over the queen's english;
screaming back at each other
despite our grins & laughter;
laughter
so desperate it could
mutate into tears without warning.
i'm not sure i can risk it; or
maybe i don't have those
kinds of guts anymore.

i swear i see
soap-scum sadness
grafted to every smile. i
want to help so badly; yet
how could i, without
something stronger than
steel-toed empathy
when the needs are
greater than my meager gifts.

sometimes i flee for some
other place. free-for-
all warnings ignored, &
i knew what's coming.
benzo-withdrawal,
thirst, detox,
shudders & whole body
shakes & night-sweats.

i offer back
whatever remains; so
far from giving away
what i've taken for so many
years with no other choice.
tomorrow
i expect riots despite my
continuous pleading.
i can help,
i wanna help;
let me help, please,
help me too.

i’m actually pretty calm, assuming
you don’t believe any of this.

——————————————
Sorry for the length, just a first draft and was hoping for some help eliminating the weakness of the poem. Any ideas? They are all most appreciated.

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5 Responses to “you can’t help them all…”

  1. i belive you… good mix of old and new…
    cheers!!!

  2. Amazing poem, really kept me hooked. Very profound message you’ve got there.

    These lines in particular caught my attention:
    “pissing across our divide or
    over the queen’s english;
    screaming back at each other
    despite our grins & laughter;
    laughter
    so desperate it could
    mutate into tears without warning.
    i’m not sure i can risk it; or
    maybe i don’t have those
    kinds of guts anymore.”

    You really have a way with words.

  3. Thanks for the comments. To be honest, I’m still not sure what to make of this poem. Guess it is one more thing to puzzle over.

  4. belladonna23 Says:

    i defiantly really like what you have so far…..i could only make one suggestion: your poem paints a theme in our head, but what exactly is it….”to let others be, and to just be who and what you want to be” or could it be “to just accept things for the way they are”…?
    very curious, and i like that

    • Thank you for the compliments and I can see how you might have gotten the idea of “let others be” from the poem. One thing to consider is you might be mistaking the thematic concept of the poem for the imagery/symbolism used to establish the theme. I wrote it trying to examine my own connection with the world outside my own skin and putting into the context of all the people I see living impossibly difficult and soul killing lives. I want to help people in such pain so badly but am unable to escape my own confinement in the same circumstances to do so. Does that make any more sense? Not sure if I am getting it to come out right, gah! Thanks for reading,

      crb.

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