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The record plays on
while thoughts escape the prison
of the prisoner/
Sad cold sundowns
seeping into darkened rooms
through halfdrawn blinds
filter perfumed sidewalks of scented mist,
the long, island nights of summer,
homeward bound with no home to return to/
Broken thoughts, flashing red warning lights,
memories, the lonely semaphores, sickness,
clanging bells of grade crossings, letters,
the low drone of the diesel horn,
the smooth clatter of steel on steel
as the train moves from station to station
under twilight's cloak of the island summer/

Winter had once been kind
with sun and clear afternoon skies,
but summer, with its oppresive heat
and sultry evenings, branded the images
of places, faces, time and emotion,
and the record plays on, somewhere,
lost forever to the loser/
It's no gain to the finder
for the mirrors of time flow with old poems,
and reflective moments lose their meaning,
only to be recaptured in fleeting snatches
in the air of heavy darkness/
Gold and purple are the places
and the people clouded in memory of an island,
a jaded island of pearl
where a sparrow perched high
sang taps to the end of a beautiful day,
awakening a dream that had somehow
lost its way on the non-existent gravel path
of blue eyes and gentle lips/

The tomorrows are now yesterdays,
and a hero has been savagely beaten,
turned in by his own kind,
but he never noticed,
too enchanted with the eyes
set so perfectly in an angel's face,
hardly reflecting the thoughts in her mind,
the failure of her hero/

Epilogue:

Warehouse, waterfront, freight and ferry,
city streets deserted on a winter afternoon,
coffee for a dime in some unheated snack-bar
with a "go home, you're not wanted here" silence,
everything in contrast, especially the girls
who faded back into those island nights of summer/

The invalid drummers claim to know
all there is to know about the girls,
the city, the market, the obituaries ---
but the country hills of green and gold
are unknown to them, unknown to most,
except to the defeated hero
who has tried to seek refuge there
from the drummers
and from the quiet blue eyes
and soft warm lips,
only to be expelled from his shelter
by himself,
alone/

- James D. Young

Copyright 1967 Sequoya
Copyright renewed 1995 Sequoya


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Comments

The following comments are for "SHADOWS OF REALITY"
by JamesYoung

vivid
I found this worth reading six times .. or more. Why did you use ... / .. instead of a period or is this another font translation problem?

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 22, 2011 )

Typesetters & the Slasher
Pen, as originally written, I used a one-time stylistic slash so that additional words could be printed at right of same line. Unfortunately, the eye of the one who set the type didn't see more material on those same lines. After it was published, I moved the missing words/phrases to the left, but inexplicably retained the slash. Had I thought more ahead, should've changed 'em all to periods. So, for this poem - and this one only - here's the new "poetic" equation:

/ = .

( Posted by: JamesYoung [Member] On: February 23, 2011 )





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