What It’s Like to Leave

The damp dirt soothes my soul
as I walk to my Jeep through damp grass,
pouring rain.
Go get gas.
Come back to me.
I choke, tears roll.

I swallow, it’s easier to quickly bail.
The pedal dictates my forced escape
trapped in a mobile, ironic jail.
My journey just now taking shape.

Darkness descends desperately
surly skies sulk
cigar clouds cumulate
enraged emotions ejaculate
belittling bellows balk.

crying, cool, creepy. 

Hands gripped on the wheel
and my heart.
Eyes on the road
never on the goal.
Burning gas and burning time.
Coffee, tea, Swisher Sweets, and the grind. 

    Hello

is so much easier than goodbye.
It doesn’t take a fucking poet to figure out why.
She needs me, I’ll take the pain, accept the crying.
Nothing concerns me, not the eye-rolls not the sighs.

I start my ignition,

to do it all again.  

 

 

I’ll Carry You

When you can’t feel your hands,
when you can’t weather the storm.
I’ll Carry You,
back into familiar lands,
back into the warmth.

When your legs tremble,
when you cannot stand on your own
I’ll Carry You
until your strength assembles
and your name the world fears
and your name the world knows.

Yes, I’ll Carry You
when you’re yellow, when you’re green and when you’re blue.
When you’re healthy, when you’re sick,
when you’re ornery, when you’re ticked,
I’ll Still Carry You,
It starts with an “I Do”.

But much like my gold,
I’ll get spent, I’ll grow old.
I’ll Carry You
with a broken back, one knee
and a smiling face.
Like Depends, my bladder might be a maybe
I’ll Still Carry You

Much like this song,
soon I’ll be gone.
I’ll Still Carry You
when I’m laid to rest,
do not fear, do not fret.
I’ll Carry You
through our daughters and our sons
in my arms, in your love.

I’ll sit with St. Pete,
He’ll lean into me.
He’ll ask, “how did you get through life?”
I’ll say, “If I can bum a smoke and light,
I’ll tell you it’s alright.
You know what? It was kinda easy.
Because I had a great woman,

who carried me.

The Worst Thing Ever: LoveBookOnline

As I have been contributing to this little writing project of mine for the past year and a half I have also been thinking about the name, Soapbox Stories. Admittedly I had named this project as such as I thought it had a nice ring to it and never thought much about the implications. Soapbox Stories implies an outcry, a message that must be heard with a hint of self-righteousness. While my poetry has plenty of that, I feel that it would be fun to increase my writing output (and self-righteousness) with an occasional opinion piece.

This is why I am proud to present “The Worst Thing Ever”, in which I will finally get on my soapbox and rant about the things in life that irk me, annoy me, and that I generally see asininity or pointlessness in. Be advised that these are my personal opinions and that I will NOT be covering anything on politics and religion. Facebook is basically all people who have no idea what they’re talking about getting mad about politics and religion, I suggest that you go there if you want to see that.

That being said, it should come as no surprise that the first source of my documented contempt comes from that soulless website of normies and relatives that you are the only kind of lukewarm about. As I was scrolling through the wasteland one day, I stumbled across this ad. Usually, I can shrug off personalized ads well enough but this one insulted my intelligence and basic human dignity with such a vengeance that it has permanently burnt into my psyche. Naturally, I must pass this assault of decency, courtesy of LoveBookOnline, on to you:

asininebook
Romance is real, ladies.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, imaginary person who I think is actually reading this. You’re thinking, “This doesn’t seem that bad. What’s the big deal?” Let’s begin with the major sticking point in this atrocity, look at the writing on the book to the left. “P.S. Can you please read this book if we ever get it in a fight? That way, you will remember exactly how I feel about you and hopefully, forgive me more quickly :-).” Am I the only person who can see what a sneaky and manipulative move that this is? It’s not even like it’s a sneaky move that takes a lot of effort such siphoning her funds through small increments. That is sleazy, sure, but at least that takes much more effort and intelligence than this shit. This tripe that LoveBookOnline actually sells for real, human money is about as romantic and likely to end in sex as pulling out a Diva Cup. The laziness on both the creator and buyer’s part of this is on par with the loveless, 50-second missionary sex that will ensue while she’s thinking about what flavor of yogurt she’ll be bringing to lunch the next day.

To reiterate, if I get into my fight with my fiancée here are my options:

a)  Try to understand why she is upset and apologize. Then grow as a person and act less selfishly to change the ways that I act that upset her.

b) Go out to get a jug of milk and a pack of cigarettes.

c) Buy a personalized book with a transparent cop-out so I don’t have to do any of the work mentioned in a).

Let’s push aside the stupidity and obvious toxicity of that quote alone for a moment and concentrate on the concept itself, again. When I was six or seven years old my aunt and uncle bought me a personalized book about a boy that had to team up with a bunch of farm animals to find a rooster. While I appreciated the gift, even at that age I could tell that it was cheesy. Could you imagine gifting an adult person that you pay bills together with something on that same level? A person who seriously believes that this is an appropriate gift for someone who’s presumably seen their genitals has to be the kind of person that throws dishes away because they don’t want to clean them. Like who is the target audience?

Look, there’s nothing wrong with treating your significant other with gifts and gestures that are corny. There is nothing wrong with writing them a cheesy poem every now and then, getting them a dumb stuffed animal because you were thinking about them or even doing the chore you know that they hate (for the love of God though, don’t make them an IOU coupon book). If you love your partner, then why pay some asshole to tell your story for you? If you were dead-set on making you partner a little personal book to remind them of why you care for them so much, wouldn’t it be a lot more intimate and special if it was something that you made completely from the heart? It won’t matter if you can draw well or not, as if the cheap drawings would be hard to top, something that you wrote by yourself would be far more meaningful than this shit. This pandering, lazy and phony faux-romantic gesture is both an insult to corny romance writing and to romance itself. At least you can write your own message in a Hallmark card. An evening of watching your boyfriend scratch his balls and sniff them after every time while he plays Call of Duty would be more romantic than this. R. Kelly’s cell is more romantic than this. I have a higher standard for my love life than something that you can cut-and-paste, and I hope that you do, too. This is why this is the Worst Thing Ever.

Soapbox Stories Presents: Beyond Shattered Dreams: A Journey Through Grief to Self-Empowerment – A Book Review

“Beyond Shattered Dreams: A Journey Through Grief to Self-Empowerment”
by Gaylene Guillemin
Published by Gaylene Guillemin
Reviewed by Ben Charles
C$16.99 ISBN: 9781775220404

“Beyond Shattered Dreams: A Journey Through Grief to Self-Empowerment”, written and published by Gaylene Guillemin can be best described as a powerful and tender guide through the inescapable sorrows of the human condition that are grief and loss. Guillemin has a wide variety of expertise in the field of loss as a motivational speaker, an angel card reader and from formal education with a certificate in Death and Grief Studies. However, it is not from her studies or her energy work that Guillemin draws from to speak on her experiences with loss but from the tragic loss of her late husband in 2014, Mervin Guillemin, whom she affectionately refers to as “Merv”.

The book begins as Gaylene discusses her relationship with Merv. She had been married to him for twenty-two years and from her descriptions of their family and life together the reader can easily see the deep level of love that she still has for him. Gaylene goes on to discuss Merv’s declining health, and the challenges that losing mobility, being in and out of hospitals constantly, and the potential of organ transplantation bring to a family. Through Guillemin’s beautiful, poetic, and vivid writing the reader is truly brought to her world to see the good times and the bad. The reader gets to experience what an honourable, loving, caring and kind man that Merv was and how much he meant to those around him. After the passing of Merv, Guillemin describes her experiences with themes such as accepting loss, allowing grief, finding identity, and facing new days with optimism and hope.

The subject matter of this book is certainly a heavy one and I would recommend that a reader eases into it with an open mind and the discretion to read at their own pace. The start of the book will resonate with anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one or is currently experiencing a loved one’s declining health. That being said, I truly believe that there is a plethora of wisdom and insightfulness that will help a person through these issues, even if they are hesitant to experience the emotional weight of it at first.

Death is not an easy thing to even think about, let alone talk about and write about. I applaud Guillemin for her bravery and her transparent selflessness that is this book. When life brings tragedy, it is far too easy to become embittered by it, blaming the world for your sorrow. Guillemin instead chooses the altruistic option of helping people that are going through similar tragedy that she has gone through. It seemed fitting to me that I began this book in tears and closed it with a smile.            

THIS BOOK IS AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE OR FROM WWW.SKBOOKS.COM

Fishing

The water is calm and careless
as virgin glass
shimmering like countless diamonds.
Nothing is wrong,
emails and deadlines and phone calls are nowhere near to harass,
aluminum beer cans stashed in an aluminum diamond,

glistening in mounds.

Rocks are weathered, wise and smooth
from the constant caress of the shore.
My brother swears, can’t see the beauty
only sees a chore.
As he misses the forest for the trees,
I admit that they are impossible to miss.
An oaken, birch and pine army watches on,
Tall, dark, and legion.
A stoic reminder this world is not mine to do as I please.
Winds whisper news from the Arctic, they sway and they soothe.

With a flick and a plop
my line hits the water.
In this waiting game I pop a top,
light a cigarette, sit back and relax
to talk meaningless trivia and pop culture facts.
Did you know that the Biebs is engaged to Stephen Baldwin’s daughter?” 

Bended urgency cuts riveting conversation short!
An aquatic wrestler writhes and convulses
guilty of only following instinct and a yellow 5 spotted lure.
I cuss and swear, it is becoming a chore.
C’mon, you dirty fuckin’ whore!”
The line is up, my reel whirs, I cannot hear it over a rapid pulse
Flashes of silvers, emerald and a torpedo contour
I am aided by the closest helping hand, through netted support.

Stripped from the water, a rude awakening like birth.
The wrestler becomes a gymnast
bending, leaping, contorting to impossible angles
to escape the anglers, scorching in the sun, or drowning on the earth.
In the plastic box it goes. A live well, a death row cell.

Back to shore we clean, filet, cook, then celebrate.
Eat as we have been eaten by mosquitos and gnats.
Our hearts full of love, our heads full of joy, our bellies full of beer and fat.
Off to bed in bunks, ignoring sounds of buzzing intruders and death rattle snores.
The sun’s curious oranges peek over her celestial fence.
She is excited, too impatient and tense. She does not know her own strength
her radiance pours.

Steam from black coffee rises from porcelain and sand.
One more cast off the beach then I’ll go for breakfast, I tell myself.
As I cast off again and again.

Goodbye, Copper

Hello, readers.

Thanks again for viewing my work and all of the likes and great comments I’ve had on it so far. I will be adding a new, exciting portion to this blog that I hope all of you enjoy, as well.

But right now I want to share something a little sad. Recently, my parents had to put their dog down. He was a beautiful coonhound/bloodhound mix and a super affectionate, loving dog. Unfortunately, he was also an anxious and scared dog, which caused him to bite people unexpectedly, myself included. I was incredibly sad not only for his loss but also for the loss of all of the joy and companionship that he gave my parents, who now live alone. I hope that you enjoy this poem, and I hope it expresses how I feel adequately. My plan is to revise and edit this in the future but knew it was important to get my feelings out.

Thank you,

Ben Charles

 

Goodbye, Copper

by Ben Charles

I remember the day I first saw you
peeking to the open fields on my iPhone screen.
You were in my father’s arms, full of wonder, content in his plaid jacket.
You were mischievous and devious and new to life,
impatient to unravel the mysteries of all you could see.

Tiny and nimble, you tore the world asunder.
You had new friends to make, new foods to eat and a coffee can that always needed a thrashing.
You were sweet, you gave love and were loved to bits, even when you spazzed and threw fits.

“Cute little bastard, isn’t he?” My brother asked at the Christmas party.
He was right, but you cared hardly.
You had a village of a family, a belly full of junk, and a heart full of joy.
My eldest brother mourns you the most, you were his entire world.
I smile remembering the days he’d bring you fast food and toys,
you had him wrapped around your paw, he knew it and he didn’t care.
He told me he has nothing to look forward to at home, now that you’re not there.

I wish I could have saved you, and please know that I tried.
I wish I could have told you how serious biting is, that you could understand.
The seeds of doubt were planted when you bit my hand.
Then you bit the drunkard and my mother cried.

Anxious and afraid, you chased ghosts and delusions.
While the townspeople whispered rumours, theories and illusions.
Some were true, most were false.
I loved how happy my parents were to have you,
their decision was not on impulse.

Do not be anxious, do not be afraid of where you lie.
When my mother went through with it, she cried and she cried.
I will always remember you, Copper. You left imprints in my heart and on my hand.
I hope that you find the peace that you never had in life.
I hope that is an end to your suffering and strife.

Goodbye, Copper.

IMG_0294

Poetry Belongs

Poetry.
What is that? It is all, it is nothing,
it is deep, it is trite, it is to be cherished and preserved like a precious wedding ring,
it is an archaic, irrelevant, dainty art
it is shite, it is smart.
Poetry is a dead dream.
Poetry is alive and well, if you’d only care to see.

Poetry is the shit, poetry is ass. It depends on who you ask.
Who does poetry belong to? To whom does poetry belong?
It depends on whom you ask.
Poetry belongs to the teenage girl.
Barely older than fourteen, Heartbroken, destroyed and broken by the love of her life. She pens her tears, her fear, and her petty smears.
She is certain that she will never find love again.
The poet has had love and lost, Her voice is found in loose leaf despite rolling eyes.
They do not understand, they cannot critique,
What this boy meant to her that she dated for two weeks.
Is poetry pretentious? Does the best work only work for the best of us?
It depends on who you ask.
Poetry belongs to the spoken word poet in Vancouver or Seattle,
the mumble-rapper, the modern beatnik.
Armed with stones and sticks, legends of their own minds, ready for battle.
They provide the fuel this world needs in the energy crisis.
Refraction of self-satisfaction.
Perpetual motion of the ego drives to resolve the plagues of the earth, to be the scourge of evil.
The perpetual engine exhausts a smog of smug, echo chambers power the poet’s societal upheaval.
Is this all there is to see in poetry?
In 14-year-olds and $14 cups of coffee?
It depends on who you ask.
Poetry belongs to those who need it most.
To those who have no voice or to those who need to boast.
It belongs to the farmer, the working man, the average Joe.
It belongs to jealous, the sad, the glad and the mad.
Any poetry written is serendipitous- even if it is lame, limp, self-righteous and insipid. Any poetry written is within the collective soul, whether it is hidden or for show.
It belongs to those who are always talked over, interrupted, and never given speech. Silenced by family or by government, countless stories are never given release.
It belongs to the pure and the corrupt alike, it belongs to the straight, the gays, and it even belongs to the …
Sike!
But there is a place for that too, in this oddity that is poetry.
As is with all, poetry must end,
That is the only fact certain to be true.
Please do not jeer, please do not boo.
For I am a poet, my psyche is much too fragile to defend
this laughable cliché I pass off as insightful thoughts, my friends,
that poetry belongs to you.