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some nights my soul becomes rigid,
staring blankly at the walls,
the paper, the pen in my hands,
like a revolver, one of the older
models. i used to be a killer,
a murderer, but now with the
gun in my hands, i’m trembling,
too scared to pull the trigger.
what if it misfires?
what if i am no longer strong enough?
do i sit here and feel remorse
for the poems i’ve written?
cemented to this
chair while outside
i can hear sirens.
my muse is being stabbed
to death in one of the
back alleys of this dying city.
she’s stumbling out of
bars, slurring my words,
they fail to impress me any more.
i should
let it rot
and fester until
some other poor soul finds it’s corpse and tries to
raise it from the dead, dance with it
like a mannequin wearing
thrift store clothing
until someone is gullible enough
to believe that deep down,
at the very heart of it all,
underneath the whiskey breath,
the veneer of nicotine stained lungs,
the barely legible signature of a junkie,
that this is really art
and the only reason
we’re starving is because
i spent all my time gambling away my good fortune
when i should have been out at the market,
buying your love.

pay no mind to the burning
tanks in the intersections,
their symbolism is only aware
too fools and lovers of
fine excuses.

pay no mind to the music,
it’s just punk rock
to and for the masses
like my words are for public consumption.
please buy in
so i can cash out.
preferably with a pension, benefits
and a ’79 buick century i can drive into the gaping maw of the sun.

– r.f.g

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the patterns in my life criss-
cross and tangle and wrap themselves up
in great, terrible calamity before
falling upon the floor in a jumbled mess
waiting for me to trip up on them
again, careening towards the wall
where i smash my head against the fireplace
and crumple into a heap of wasted
potential.  and these are the same
whose whispers at night
haunt the very fabric of my dreams,
lining the linen of my mind
with these tiny thoughts that maybe
i never really did have a chance and this
is playing out the way it’s supposed to:
hallucinogenic and suicidal.
for i was given the fires of Prometheus
and i chose to put them out, douse them in alcohol
and stamp on my grave until my foot gave
way and i stumbled into the nearest ditch,
a tired, broken old fool.
and then an armada approaches.
i can hear the ground rumbling as the panic attacks me
for a third time this week
as i smash every ligament against
every solid surface until
either my body breaks or my soul finally retires,
but the latter is too graceful
for a plebeian such as myself.
no, I am set for the fate of mangled corpses
dressed in sickening polka-dot patterns
as my life is doomed to repeat itself
in such the catastrophic way until i finally say enough
and free myself, be it the gallows or the gun.
the blade, or the pen to write myself
into a box, to tie my cement shoes and cast myself
into the river ankh. only to
realize that i’ve been alone and honestly, i used to perfer the company
before i showed up and ruined things
with all of this talk about dying.

– r.f.g.

the apollo landed in
my back yard once when
i was eight
and then again
when i was sixteen. the
second time i
got really drunk
and passed out
in the cockpit and
pushed buttons
as my body sprawled
across the dashboard.
when i emerged
and exited
the shuttle
i fell from space back to earth
and
just landed
in my back yard
and to this day
no one believes
me when i said that
on the way down i died.

;

she spilled her drink
atop the marble stone universe
and sighed, a heavy
sigh. winds bellowed in it’s
after math; the earth quaked
and suddenly there were
tears streaming across her
beautiful, war-torn face.

a little boy with a gun
in his hands held firm
the notion that the world
was going to end
and indeed,
his childhood
fantasies would soon appear
and dance amongst the living.

;

Purge

woke up hungover, my head is a trainwreck in motion
a million times crashing over and over and over
until the sun rises and sets all cyclical and mocking.
and these days all blend together
chasing each other’s skirts and licking each other’s lips
until they catch up and explode, their parts and functions
spilling all over themselves;
a case of mistaken identity. i’ve forgotten who they are
until she reminded me: “days only have names
because we gave them names”.
and then i named them after stars.

woke up tired and afraid. afraid of the sidewalk
afraid of the monuments
afraid of the silly way your eyes
divert from mine
while i’m shuffling down the
alley way, to the taverns, the campus grounds,
the workplace boxcars searching for a fix.
and i know that it seems strange but i’ve
come to love my new found vices like a dear
friend i’ve discarded and then picked up again when
no one was looking.

time moves in patterns, the same kind of patterns
that you make with your fingers across my back
and you set me on fire
so i purge the flame.

;

My Friend, Chuck B

i’m losing myself
to pornography.
sometimes i think
its to make
bukowski proud.
i wish i didn’t
know better.

;

i woke up this morning and
set my hand on fire again
for a moment
then put it out
before i went
about my day.

by lunch time i’m drunk
and singing loudly
to myself
about the time
i fought a schoolyard bully.
I lost, but it was my
only true moment
of glory.

cigarette smoke
escapes the confines
of my jaw and i punch
myself in the head
again for not keeping guard.

“so it goes.”

– r.o.a

Listening to: Blacklisted – Everything In My Life Is For Sale [Album: No One Deserves To Be Here More Then Me]

It’s difficult to start a blog, then suddenly drop it out of a lack of time, care, effort, etc. I’ve been trying to avoid depending on posting older poems to keep this thing active, mostly because I don’t think it’s a fair representation. I don’t write all the time. The words aren’t harassing me, begging to be injected to scrap pieces of paper so that I may intravenously show the world how “good” I am. I write for me and for the soul purpose of salvaging the remnants of my soul, nothing else. I go long periods without writing at all such as periods like this and I begin to wonder why it is I have this thing running.

That being said, I haven’t forgotten about this site and I do plan on updating it eventually. Bare with me, oh singular person who reads this. There might be something good coming your way.

– r.o.a

take my hand and walk with me
through these burning streets of athens,
this labyrinth of hazy dreams
and misinformed circumstance.
lets shake off the dust and dizzy this planet
until we are spinning.
lets pull back the covers and chains until
we’ve exposed this world for all it’s wondrous malfunctions
and we will sparkle.
lets run
faster, farther anywhere until
we fall off the earth and into the universe,

floating among ten thousand suns and stars that glare like sparta.

we can fight them all
one by one
two by two
and blank the pages of history
with our pens, turn space into a vast ocean of ink
and rewrite constellations into paragraphs,
manifestos and songs to sing at the top of
our wheezing lungs.
and then
we kiss, we embrace, we light fires and torch
this city in jubilation. we dance and find the rhythms
confusing, slightly off beat but we
step to the music, feet first, tripping on
our sentences.
we’re drunk off this madness
but we will sparkle.

your voice is as loud as a passing meteor
rushing by my head, ringing my senses
like church bells
and its choir of echoes
leaves ghosts in my wake;
slowly waltzing behind me.

– r.o.a

Listening to: Neko Case – Polar Nettles [album: middle cyclone]

sometimes, i’ve
been known to sit
and stare at the ashtray
as it stares back
at me, like we’re waging
our own silent war.

i feel bold and patriotic,
staring at the smug, self-satisfied
nazi bastard as it stares back at me,
coughing, ejaculating black ash
whenever the wind hikes up it’s
teasing skirt and bares its gustly fruit.
i swear to you, the couch, the front porch,
even the goddamn balcony becomes stalingrad
when this happens.
the lines are dyed in red paint and we touch
our toes on the other side
with machineguns in hand, maybe a few granades;
chomping on cigarettes, swallowing the nicotine
like gin, always staring each other down
with that menecing, hate filled
stare. it knows too much
and i have been ordered to kill it,
for the good of the fucking world, i need to end it,
make it bleed in eternity,
make it fear me for all the times i have been told to fear it.

the war is fought, bullets are spread,
the war is mine,
but it shot me in the leg,
looked me deep in the eyes
and punctured my lung with no remorse, laughing.

no, cackling.
it fucking cackled madly before it perished
into nothingness.

– r.o.a

Listening to: Cave In – Big Riff [Album: Jupiter]

The world is smoldering
the heavens lay gently
beneath my worn feet
and I am still walking.
My diary has been exposed
in the form of tears and
distant cries for help,
but I’m fine with that.

I’m also fine with these
words and what they do
to me, what they turn
me into: hugging tearful,
rage-soaked syllables
in the middle of three am;
softly carving lines of
poetry into my arms with ink
trying to fine meaning in
such a romantic fashion.

And yet everything continues
to burn like a forgotten
cigarette during a drunken
meeting between
mournful third-world
leaders.

This place remains ugly
and callous;
young hearts are trampled
upon and discarded
with the passing winds

Sinners, I guess. Religious
zealots, Nazis, Saints,
they’re all the same: they
all believe in God.
I don’t, but maybe
that’s because I’m too
afraid it will send me to hell.

– r.o.a

Listening to: As Friends Rust – Home is Where the Heart Aches [album: the Fists of Time]

and three am again, but we’re here
talking about poetry, language, love, passion
as if we were one and the same, not
seperated by the distance of minds shackled
to our dictatorial pens and papers
who scream in esctacy; wetting themselves in
spasmatic glee in antcipation for us
to take that one, deep plunge
and let the words flow out from
within us
planting themselves
in dirt and soul and grass
and growing like a tree
of adjectives jutting out
from branches of misplaced
sentences and leaves
of puncuation.
its roots hold the grammar
together, tightly knoting
around its thighs
and we shout

” timber! ”

(and it echoes)

as we axe that
tree to start over anew
for we are the ones who extinguish life
from this forest
with brutal tongues
and quickly scribed words
before trashing them
in search for
a better discriptive
language. one where i could say
“i love you” with out the words
mishapen, appearing contrived
and useless as
my every poem before,
or “my madness becomes me”
before i fear that
it is all so true.

” timber! ”

(and the echoes wane)

and we strip the bark for its better parts
to find the words to print onto landscapes
and mountain summits
to shout beside the face of god
be cause we
laugh at the sides of other poets
who think they
own their pens and their hearts
and their minds
when it is they who
become slaves to the words
shackled by an
evergrowing need
to flourish and bloom
so that when the time comes
they may sign their names
into the oaks
and redwoods of history.

” timber ”

– r.o.a

Listening to: Forfeit – Something Against Me [album: the lower depths]

You know, I forgot how much I liked Strike Anywhere. Really, I did.

For the uninitiated, they’re an American Melodic Hardcore band, but they were definitely near the forefront of the whole scene (i.e. before it became cool). Smart, political, angry and wordy, they were kind of band that you could listen to if you liked Rage against the machine, appreciated the things they were talking about, but hated their fan base (this guy right here). What SA had though was this underlying sense of unity that made them even more important as a band that many imitate but few actually succeeded. Even if you’re not politically/socially charged, they made you think while you’re shouting along thanks to the openness of vocalist/lyric writer Thomas Barnett.
I’m convinced it has to do with dreadlocks. Dudes with dreadlocks are able to just rebel against things so passionately.

As a band it’s almost sad to see them now. Especially in the world of hardcore, a band has a life expectency from a couple days to a couple years at max. Strike Anywhere has been at it since the late 90’s making them the old guard of their sound. Watching them tour with younger bands – scratch that – open for younger bands, especially bands who’s fanbase were barely alive when SA dropped their first album, sadly it seems like they’re a bunch of old dudes preaching to a bunch of preteens.

I remember the first time I heard Change is a Sound. It blew my mind. It was amazing. It almost felt like the band was infront of me and shouting along the lyrics to Sunset on 32nd street “when they broke down your door and put their guns in the face of your wife and child. and when they pinned you to the floor did you say “officer, I am not resisting you!“. Very emotional.

Interest in them sort of waned afterwords. I found that after repeated listens the music itself could get stale, even though I could hear Thomas shout the words “too many lifetimes wasted, how many words did it take? and when was the first time it struck your heart with fear?” and not get tired of it. I found the same thing with their following albums: Exit English and Dead FM. They were good but didn’t even have the lasting power that Change did and even that one got boring after a while.

Thing is, every now and again I get an urge to listen to them that I don’t even get for bands like Refused or even Dead Kennedys or other politically/socially charged bands because few speak with as much conviction as Strike Anywhere.

They’re now on the smaller Bridge 9 record label (Were on Fat Wreck for Dead FM. Jade Tree for the others) which may be a step down for them, but a step up in now they’re in a label among their peers. They released a new album recently entitled Iron Front and it’s really angry. I highly recommend it. It’s a return to form for them. I still remain them to be the quintessential Melodic Hardcore band. And one of the most important socially conscious bands to every exist.

I’ll leave you with this:

Before we forget who we are: lift up! Our souls in union!

– r.o.a

Listening to:  Strike Anywhere – Failed State [album: Iron Front]

there’s a ticking sound
coming from
my chest and it
doesn’t ever shut up.
never.
and my mouth
is open, hanging agape
like hooks and barbed
wire upon some old
cathedral doors.
and i’m talking
again, (you fool)
and i’m saying things
again
and again
as i always do.

who is the murderer here?
who is the victim
and where is the
crime
being portrayed on
late night
television?
because i’ve
got seasons tickets
to watching the flowers
grow and wilt and die
all over the fuck
on your body, pal.

and i paid a lot.

and i’m collecting.

– r.o.a

Listening to: Touché Amoré – Honest Sleep [album: …to the beat of a dead horse]