Tag Archives: abandoned

FROM MUSCLE SHOALS TO BAKERSFIELD

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FROM MUSCLE SHOALS TO BAKERSFIELD

 

From Muscle Shoals to Bakersfield familiar vagabond spirits I meet

torch of knowing burning through opened eyes

we know what’s it’s like to live on the other side

to exist on the outside looking in

we know why others find comfort dwelling inside another’s’ dream

and why we choose a life

chasing freedom

 

From Tacoma to Portland, Maine

I recognize their kind

essence of life dripping like sweat from the tip of our nose

committing sins as if sins are our daily bread

forgive us father for we have erred time and time again

attaining knowledge from our trials

forgive us father if we have grown so much wiser

than the fearful kind who have faced no trials at all

forgive us father for we have sinned

time and time again

learned from our mistakes and moved on

aware that experience may darken the soul

light dimming with the passing of years

but if we allow wisdom to blossom from failures

there’s a special kind of light that burns

when we conquer our fears

 

From the harsh winters of Fargo to the tropics of Brownsville

we move on down this road with a song in our hearts escaping

these weary travelers disconnected

from mechanisms of society intended to control us

disconnected from those desiring to lord over us

to own us

we cut the puppet strings and paved our own road out of here

this song in our hearts escaping

our severed hearts finding a chorus to hold on to

these vagabond souls singing all the time rejoicing in

Whitman’s Song of the Open Road

Slumlord

 

 

Reworking my resume, tripping through previous job experiences:

 

 

craftsman porch

 

Where businesses are boarded up the body bled

on tree lined streets dreamers have fled

small wooden homes line avenues in decay

and those who can’t dream are condemned to stay

 

On a craftsman porch ghosts of forgotten children playing

hear the tinkle of keys drifting through open curtains

in the background of memories piano concertos wafting

while down in the streets

real children with guns play a dangerous game

between gangsta-rap beats instigating

 

A row of cars circle a house on the corner

prison bars on windows and doors

on the porch a man in a suit of armor studies

broken concrete sidewalk weeds rising through cracks

where junkies stand in line waiting on snow

and I’m here seeking my fair share of the dough

inside a card table and folding chair for décor

paid in sweaty bills from the pocket stash of a whore

 

At another house not far away

I arrived without delay

Neighborhood Association busted down your door

stole your crystal and so much more

dried crimson streaks across the floor

evidence of the final minutes for you and your girl

indescribable horror screaming

in the silence of a stain

indescribable horror still screaming

as I helped the King’s Men fill out the report

 

On another street not far from here

earning my pay while admitting no fear

three months had passed without word

so I put your worldly possessions out on the curb

trick of irony you appeared

as the last of your things walked away

snarling teeth spitting in my face

would have killed me if you could

the duties of my job you misunderstood

Leaving (revisited)

side mirror

Leaving

 

Said goodbye to the road

open highways and miles and miles of empty space

bid farewell to my country home

isolation and peaceful contemplations

buried my business and my way of life

buried the man I used to be

buried it all six feet in the ground

left behind everything I knew to be right

sun moon and stars

fresh air and Natures’ masterpiece

left it all behind in my rearview mirror

hit the road and headed north

made my way to the city

where men have little pity for the honorable kind

inserted myself into the mainstream

reunited with my brother and sister

reunited

with the children of the hive

Exit

Dirt_road_towards_the_east_by_the_windmill_of_the_Ndara_Borehole_in_the_Tsavo_East_National_Park,_Kenya

 photo by CT Cooper

Woke up this morning, everything was wrong

took to the dirt road and left you in the sun

walked to the horizon, empty sky overhead

thinking about all those things you said

so many lies that fill my head

this city of deceit sprawling across the land

want to burn it’s dogma down, burn it to the ground

find my way to some new town

Pavlov’s Dog

Aspiration-ad-image-001a

Found a new religion on the silicon prairie

theology born from psychedelic minds

of Ventura Highway refugees

gospels of semiconductor devices deciphered

by silicon valley high priests preaching

quantum physics to screw with the mind

Keepers of the faith

caretakers of this new knowledge

stationed in outpost churches on a new frontier

dwelling in pulpit cubicle caves like shamans of old

speaking Latin to a congregation naive

strange tongue of engineers educating factors of production in efficiency

I was tutored by a Hell’s Angel in high vacuum technology

Knowledge of ancients purged, brain reprogrammed with

A/C, D/C, digital devices, and Boolean Algebra

balanced with chemistry, biology, and trigonometry

learning to speak the language of Engineers

solving mathematical equations deciphering mind of god

Higgs Boson valance shells and free electrons

the more I learn the less I know

awakened neurons igniting tiny fires burning tissues of brain

constant whispering in my head as knowledge spreads

same below as above, same below as above

and I get it now

On the fabrication floor soothing hum of magnificent machines running

properties of the sun replicated in machines striking plasma

hidden state of matter shining like truth

unrecognized as it scorches lives

hardened targets melting Al Ti and platinum

laying down microscopic metal interconnects on silicon plates

where electrons flow like a river

Boron atoms shot into silicon altering conductivity

of devices spun

atom by atom creating high technology

electron microscope revealing blueprints of a city once unimaginable

electric pulses opening gates switching analog devices

off and on off and on off and on

discovering the universe is one giant algorithm yet defined

In pyramids rising across the globe

architectural monuments of this new technology

high priests train slaves to serve agendas of high priests rising

as demigods delivering

high powered hand held devices of functionality

distracting feeble minds

who declared the new boss is the same as the old boss

and nothing ever changes

so I earned a degree

and the engineers laughed and set me free

I am Pavlov’s dog, the one he let go

searching for a new master

Candy Man

From The Evolution of Disconnect:

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A sea of people in the streets with nowhere to go

homeless crack heads winos prostitutes and bums

colored by despair

tones of charcoal grey filtering

hope a distant light generated

from some other far away sun not reaching this world

dreams deflated by reality

so many dead eyed men surrounding

closing in

smothering

an ocean of charcoal grey tones storming

wave after wave crashing down

Deep into the concrete forest I ventured

graffiti on ramshackle shacks warning

bars on windows and doors symbolizing

desperation of men wanting

this territory of men forgotten

deep into this concrete forest I ventured

this place the king’s men refused to enter

heard the report from the shotgun blast

saw your soul splattered on a chevron wall

hung my head and whispered a prayer

down in the streets praying a sinner’s prayer

When the flood came you had my back

warning of plots from the graveyard hoard

those dead-eyed men conspiring

as the river crested over urban streets

.357 at a beggars head

clinging to the final dime-bag in your hand

ten-dollar whore on her knees behind a drugstore

overworked lips cracked with sores

cheat a man at dice over on Pine and you’ll get a pint

upside the head

liquor store pavement stained red

by the blood of a man who tried to make a difference

but Satan is the wind whispering your name

‘cause god already fled this scene

and I’ve witnessed too much to ignore the code

when another man has my back do what I can

to satisfy his needs for reward

so I offered up a square

and he walked away dancing without remorse

Down the road beneath a charcoal grey steeple deeply scarred

bars on windows and locked doors

providing safety from beasts roaming the hood

children found shelter

good people fulfilling a mission

to preserve the light in children’s eyes for as long as they can

anxiously waiting for my truck every Wednesday at two

and when I entered the room with hands full

all the children smiled and cheered

the candy man is here!

the candy man is here!

Broken Highways ch1

Those who danced were thought insane by those who could not hear the music

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

1.

August, 2011.

 

I’ve fallen off the grid.

 

Forgotten highways and dirt road backstreets are my lifelines. Cow pastures, turkey barns, and asphalt parking lots in old, abandoned towns are my homes. Removed from the white noise of the city Earth’s heartbeat pulsates through the skin, recalibrating an emerging soul. Silently I dance a dance of chaos to the rhythm of a dying sun.

 

From the doorway of a converted school bus parked behind a turkey barn I sit on a step and watch as the sun sinks into the earth. An explosion of colors race across a deepening blue sky, reflected back into the universe from my eyes. Scent of rain hangs heavy in the air as storm clouds retreat in the distance.

 

Engulfed in emptiness I’m all that remains of a congregation that once gathered here for a weekend each month. Voices of ghosts echo inside the head. Closing eyes, a thousand faces stare back but the connection is gone. Energy has ebbed. Love has evaporated. Path fades in a diminishing light.

 

This is my church, my religion, my spiritual awakening. In the distance trees congregate to meditate. Flowers bow heads in prayer. Silhouetted against the horizon, mesas rise up to witness the ceremony. Stars emerge in the east, twinkling brightly with anticipation. Wind carries a sermon and I lean forward to listen. Eyes close and a restless spirit is soothed by the words. Weightlessness consumes the body. Mind is set free to roam the countryside, soaring across land and water, across space and time to a place where the lines of reality are blurred, a place where boundaries and labels can’t exist, into another dimension where limitations are not known. I am but an illusion in the physical world, just another soul trapped inside a host.

 

Everything is a symbol.

 

I am a child of the Earth, born of the elements, grounded in the soil. My soul was born from a seed planted inside this host and took root in the consciousness of the universe. I am the darkness and the light, the rising and setting of the sun and everything in between. My soul has merged with the force that sparks life into everything. I feel all it feels as it fills all of me.

 

Opening eyes, sun is a tiny red orb sinking over the horizon. Lightning from a distant storm illuminates the sky and I pretend it’s a thought passing through God’s mind. Scent of rain remains but storms have passed without releasing a drop. Fields have dried up. Vegetation is scarce. Ground is hard, deeply scarred by cracks. Ponds, creeks, and rivers run dry. The path abruptly disappears into the charred remains of the land. There is nowhere further to go. This is the end and I am but a symbol of something yet to be understood.

 

Everything is a symbol.

 

My name is Jason Powell and I was shoved off the grid.

Broken Sky

It’s not unusual for my works to range over a wide variety of topics. What is unusual is for me to cover such a broad spectrum in a single effort, but that is the point of this poem.

 

broken sky

 

Hit the natural world bathed in mother’s blood and bodily fluids. First thing you feel

is a gloved hand slapping your ass. First lesson learned is that this world exists

to break you

 

Shine a bright light on a spinning mirror ball. Choose an artificial light

from an artificial sun because your family methodology is a prism

bouncing off a wall

 

Take a punch in the mouth from a kid up the block, spit a tooth out. Kid laughs

and says brother, if you wanna survive you’re gonna have to learn to fight.

Lessons learned at age five

 

Witness the mark of the beast branded across our foreheads. Implanted ideologies

burned from the inside out thanks to mommy, daddy, religion, and public school.

Branding iron has been passed to you

 

In the pulpit snaked eyed men are busy crafting life preservers with wizard words.

Salvation or damnation, the choice is yours but beware, these life preservers have

no rope to pull you in

 

Went to the garden to find Mamma a rose but the garden was a desert as vast

as the universe. Flowers I found were withered and dead so she placed them in

a cracked vase in the darkness beside her bed

 

Politicians selling us out in back room deals to machete faced men dancing

pirouettes on corporate cred. Life ain’t worth living if you’re not on the edge

and I got a time bomb ticking inside this head

 

Some think this is sane, this age of men pissing on one another for monetary gain.

Concrete foundations erode and crack with age so I’ll slip through a crevice and

make my escape

 

See the cracked rainbow in the sky? Romantics lament about better times but romantics

got it wrong. Those halcyon days are a lie and down in the streets poets die,

shredded by the debris of a broken sky

Damaged

 

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I was born a blank slate, the byproduct of the proletarian class

birthed into a superstitious clan, the socially awkward kind

Saints on the wall and ghosts in the machine to explain away

things they could not understand, holding on to empty dreams

and addicting medications to soften damaged minds

We are the vehicles broken down on the side of the road

vehicles to carry the load

vehicles improperly maintained

not enough fuel in our tanks to deliver us where we want to go

We are desperate dogs sleeping beneath park benches in need of awakening

with razor sharp teeth capable of ripping

flesh from bone

caged animals never biting the hand that feeds

We are replaceable cogs in a machine that keeps rolling

disposable people eking out an existence in a disposable world

nothing of substance in our lives, nothing to connect to

and when knowledge is spawned through grief

only the damaged grow aware

Cello Heart

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My heart is a cello tuned in perfect fifths

take your bow and gently caress these heartstrings

coax from me dark emotions once latent

deep mournful sounds of an artic caribou searching

frozen woods for a lost lover no longer earth bound

with your bow play my heart, scratch this soul

evoke images of ruinous times

swirling grey smoke of smoldering dreams

crumbling brick on scorched black terrain

on my cello heart play the lonely song of a sperm whale

searching for companionship in deepest seas

play the tears of an orphaned child in some foreign land

hopelessness of a junkie lost in a roach infested dive

hot needle piercing the vein

with your expert bow play this cello heart

tithe my allegiance to your cause

tithe my time to the cause

tithe my pay to the cause

tithe my blood to the cause

tithe my tithes to the cause

play this cello heart