OWED.

OWED.

By Ben Charles

    I am owed happiness.

Says who?

                                                                 I am owed love. 

Says who?

                                                                                    I am owed sex. 

Says who?

                                                                          I am owed L I F E.

Says who?

The rolling rock gathers moss,
mankind resentfully collects and counts her cost,
while mothers weep and mourn her loss.
Divine demiurge or celestial chance,
depending on who you ask,
gathered us all here to today.
Either impossible odds or omniscient god
They gave us everything and nothing.
Gave us the night, gave us the day.
Odds of fractions to the trillions
Gave us bare feet on the grass,
gave us love shortlived, lifelong and past.

Is this owed to the simians?

Perhaps,
Every existence per hapless sap,
Spits in the face of reason,
We’re God’s Laws’ treason
searching El Dorado without a map.

So here we are.
What’s left to do?
We demand more, we demand respect.
We need a better nose, we’re owed a newer car.
I am owed an expensive vacation if not 2 or 3 on a yearly basis
I am owed paper featuring dead men’s faces.
I am owed all this, plus a wife and a bigger house than you.

I am owed.

 

I am owned.

Sour Leaf Prelude and Thank You

Hello Reader,

I wanted to write a short but warm thank-you to all of my readers as a prelude to the poem “Sour Leaf”, which will be posted shortly. Sincerely, thank you to everyone who follows me so far, likes my work, or even just stumbled on me for the first time. I write and post because I love doing so, but it is humbling to think that my work may brighten up someone else’s day. Even more so when “someone else” happen to be writers far better than me! Even though my following is small, I appreciate the Hell out of it and out of anyone reading.

As I have started this writing project only about a month and a half ago, all of this is still incredibly new to me. I am still learning and experimenting with different approaches, writing styles, post engagement, etc. I have learnt that when it comes to my poetry, I often do not provide a lot of context and dive right into it. I intend to keep that consistent as I believe any media in which the imagination creates the context and fills in the blanks is by far the most rewarding. I know that I also keep saying that more short stories are coming, and I promise, they are!

Anyway, to break up my status quo and give a little context of the poem to be posted, “Sour Leaf” is a poem that details my relationship with weed (or marijuana for the squares in the crowd) and my thoughts on the grass. I decided to write this poem as I live in Canada, and we are to fully legalize and decriminalize it this October. I have mixed feelings about this as weed brought a lot of negativity into my life when I used to smoke it (I have not smoked in 4 years now give-or-take), but at the same time understand that my experiences do not speak for everyone else’s. I am a firm believer in bodily autonomy, but also believe that weed is not as safe and chill as many people make it out to be. As you can see, my thoughts on it are not simply black-and-white.

Complex thoughts and arguments of the self are not best expressed via clunky essays, however. We all know that they are best expressed with poetry and written emotion. I hope that you enjoy reading this poem as much as I did writing it. Again, thank you all so much.

Sincerely,

B. D. Charles

P.S. Thank you to my lovely girlfriend who designed my website. It would not look even half as good if not for her.

Hidden

A surprise you will never find
is a discarded cigarette pack with one left inside,
nor the last swallow
of a suffering man’s bottle.

Always on the defence, building a wall.
Always on the fence, to love or to maul?
Parrying and fencing, the dance must abide.
Parrying and fencing the questions, the love, the attacks!

An “I’m Ok” reprised,
another empty promise compromised.
Love drowns.
Clawing, gnashing, thrashing
desperately through the ice.
It does not sink silently into a frozen goodnight.
Echoes escape, corroded and hoarse.
Love battles through unfathomable fathoms
through a sunken, bloated corpse.

Monkey on the back, something on the chest.
Cackling black hounds tear flesh asunder.
Tears too precious to fall, the damned dam them under.
No life, no rest.

Guilt-ridden, heavy becomes light as feathers.
Bottled, trapped like rats, as thieves hidden.

Modern knights awake all night, safe as houses.
Baring teeth bore in armour.
Invulnerable, impregnable.
Safe and sound in steel, brick and leather.
Yet clinging to the sword and the shield.
They live as statues, slower and sleepy.
Invulnerable, and unable to see past the mask they wear,
unable to strip the heavy armour they bear.

Silent screams swallowed.
Bottled battles are eaten as broken glass.
Scars, scorn, frozen disdain.
Once a rich vessel, now a shell husked and hollow.
Fire, ice, water and the serpent clash.
Black hounds lick their lips, gnash teeth.
The soundtrack of sleepless nights
becomes a cacophony of their perverted laughs.

Parrying and fencing the questions, the love, the attacks!
The body gives, cold steel cleaves the back.
One hand outstretched, a finger seeks who is to blame.
The other clutches his hilt, unaware of where the blade resides.
Like an impatient Damocles, the knight chooses not to see, chooses pain.
Invulnerable, hidden.
Struck. Stuck.
Not by the dagger in the back.
Not by the questions, the love, the attacks!
Imagined enemies draw closer, they fester and seethe.
As his own sword remains in his foot, he is frozen and bleeds.
Here the blade resides, black hounds cackle and chide.
Frozen and bleeding, yet the dance must abide.

Home Away From Home (I Love You, Man)

Warm lights glow, warm friendships grow.

This is home.

Spent all day invisible, I spent all day on my phone.
As a nobody to everybody.

But not here.

Here, your entrance elicits a standing ovation.
Hoots, hollers, and laughter fill the room on your arrival,
Here, all of your words fall on intent ears and sincere consideration.
It’s warm lights, warm people, and chilled beer,
It makes it all worthwhile, it’s an episode of ‘Cheers’.

Here,
All pretention is gone, nothing or no one is better in another’s eyes.
You can lower your shield, shed your disguise.
Life is pretty damn good as a barfly.

Come, all ye desk jockeys, scholars, rig pigs, hillbillies, the old and the young.
Come, here we are legion, here we are one.
No one’s too good for anyone, nor is one too classless to be here.
Hell, it’s not even cliché to my fellow patrons that twice I rhymed “Beers” with “Cheers”.

You can have a seat, get away from the grand workings of the world
That you’re too tired to understand
Not that you care, as you’re not part of the plan.

But here, on elbow floors of oak, you are king, jester and knight.

In great halls, in stoic stalls,
In the land of marble, basins, and waterfalls
Friday philosophers clash wits, anecdotes, and intellect.
On all matters of utmost importance
In life, death, religion, and politics
Clear messages of heated passion battle through slurred speech, twisted tongue, hiccups
-and interruption.

But here,
It’s all in fun, it’s to stimulate the mind
To explore new ideas, or just pass the time.
We’re all speakin’ the truth, with just the right amount of uncited sources,
And just the right amount of lies.

We may not agree but respect our loud, distorted discourse.
And just love the company, love to be heard.

WHAT!? BUT!? I’M SUCH A NICE GUY!

An open relationship with nobody,
irate from idle, nonexistent rejection.

He curses the world,
He curses the girl,

Monogamy to the self, an entitlement to everybody,
baffled that no one sees inner perfection.

I Don’t Tell You Enough

I don’t tell you enough
That I love you
I don’t show you enough
That I care
When you need someone to lean on
I don’t show you enough
That I’m there

I don’t tell you enough
How beautiful you are
I don’t notice enough
When you do something special
With your outfit or your hair

I love you in a million ways
I want to find the light to show ’em
With more than a kiss a day
And a cliché poem

I don’t know how to tell you
I can’t offer a perfect life
My credit is bad, my bank account is sad,
And loving me can feel lonesome

I can’t tell you enough
That I want to spend my life with you
I’m a little mad, cracked I may add
But I’m cracking mad about you
Mad about who you are
Cracked for the things that you do

These things you do amaze me
They are why I have penned
This embarrassing gush
I write this bad poetry
In hopes that you will see
How much I love you

I don’t remember enough
How lucky I am
To somehow deserve the intensity of your love
It frustrates me too much
To know I cannot be the best man
For that is what you deserve
Nothing less will do

You Don’t Know What You Lost

The Selfish Fool, The God of Weakness
Run, run away
Run, run away
Run, run, run away lest what you create

Grows

Grows to bring light to existence, light to humanity
Light to fate
Bring light to your fate
But you prefer the dark
The dark-  hide where it is safe
Where you can hide from failure, hide from human spark
Hide where there is no need to fight

Hide, hide away
Hide from the one
Who would starve to death
To give a meal to your son
So that he may live another day, take another breath

Hide, hide away
Hide, hide away
Hide from your greatest gift to the world
You do not know what you lost

God left his only son
For the sake of mankind, for the sake of the world
A lighted faith, a fighted Death, a lamb to the slaughter

The God of Weakness
Left his only daughter
For the sake of himself, for the sake of retreat
A coward’s fate: a weakling’s life, and a girl without a father
The God of Weakness
He couldn’t accept the challenge of life, he is too pathetic for even basic feats
Like Gestas on Golgotha, he does not have the strength to endure any stress
He’d rather take the easy way, the coward’s way
To deny, to run, and to hide, to never suffer defeat

Run, run away
Run, run away
Light cannot blind you when your back is turned
This light is too bright for you
God of Weakness
Lord of Cowardice
Had you opened your eyes to see her, given them a chance
Perhaps they would not be burnt and blind
Had you let yourself feel her shine, the warmth and the bliss
Perhaps you would be stronger, perhaps you’d have her first dance

I,
God of Weakness
Am too strong to run, run, run away

I,
Lord of Cowardice
Embrace the light, I will not hide, hide, hide away

I,
The Disappearance
Am much stronger than you
I will have her first dance

Her light does not blind me
Clearly, I see
I see, I see
I see her kindness, I see it deny wickedness and evil
I see her tenacity, I see it care for the injured and ill
Are you lost? God of Weakness?
These are not qualities of a coward, nor are they found in a bottle
Therefore you would know nothing about them, slink away
Find your glass neck to throttle

I see, I see
I see her see injustice and face it with a fist and shout
Does that frighten you? Lord of Cowardice?
It does not frighten me
You have sacrificed nothing, you have fought none of life’s brawls or bouts
You will never know her, nor understand all that she can be

I see, I see
I see her cry
Cry to the plight of strangers
Cry to simplest of joy
You don’t know what you lost
When she cries, her tears are always to the beauty of life
Life emerald, ruby, and diamond- where her tears are where beauty is
More precious, as her tears cannot be corrupted by greed, anger and strife

Lord of Cowardice
You don’t know what you lost
Lord of Cowardice
I don’t know how to thank you, thank you for us both
When you ran, ran away
Slithered without a spine
She was lost and betrayed, she did not know her worth
When she became mine, I will help her find this
That is my trial, that is my oath

I saw, you see, what you could not see
For I am not a God
I am a man

I WILL LIVE AS A MAN
I WILL DIE AS A MAN
Like Dismas on Golgotha, I see greatness- but not of mine

I fear death, Lord of Cowardice
You fear life, God of Weakness
You do not know what you lost, nor do you care
I can admit that I do not appreciate the true worth of who I have found
You ran, ran away
Your pathetic legs making not a sound

I WILL LIVE AS A MAN
I WILL DIE AS A MAN

I will live for her
Die for her
Fight for her

I have faced death, I have endured, God of Weakness
I have seen unemployment, poverty, addiction, and every kind of bump and slice
I have survived suicide twice
Tragedy, death, hunger, and strife
These no longer frighten me
Fortune, fame, a fat belly and an easy life
These no longer appeal to me

The fires of passion and life
Have tempered me to stone
There is (No Vac)ancy for you, God Of Weakness
There is (No Vac)ancy for you, leave us alone
Though tempered stone I am, I am her rock
For her, I can withstand, I can endure, and can fight not flee
Your cowardice, your ignorance, your inability
I am glad you keep it far from us,
Glad that it will not corrupt

For our children will fight, they will endure, they will be strong
They will fight, fight towards
A future more bright, a past worth record
You, Lord of Cowardice, this is your last poem
Drunk, weak, and blind you will perish
To a bored congregation, and to apathetic hymns
Run, run, run away
To die as you wished to live
Forgotten.
To die as you wished to live
Forgotten in speech, text and song.