Category Archives: my writings

Unnecessary Risk: The Original

Author’s Note: when first I wrote Unnecessary Risk, I could have sworn I had already written a poem by that name. I didn’t find it, so went ahead with it. But I stumbled upon the first one recently, so here it is, unedited, almost exactly seven years later after I first wrote it.

The thrill of unnecessary risk
Flows through my mind quite brisk
I can hear you now saying tsk-tsk.
Into my life I fold it with a wisk.

From the height of the stairs I leap.
But the landing angle’s too deep,
So I catch the concrete, sow then reap.
My knees are grated, but my speech needs no bleep.

The scar from the incident, seven years later.

I roll, my “ouch” uttered, pick up my hat.
A quick check of my knees; blood does not yet mat.
I look around and find no one around —drat!
I’ll be the last on the bus, so I fly like a bat.

© 2021 H.K. Longmore

Google Maps Place Reviews

Dear Google,

No, I do not wish to review the place I went hiking this evening. That’s why I ignored it the first time you asked. I don’t care if I’m in the top 20% of Park reviewers. I don’t care if I took pictures that no one else has in your prying algorithm’s eyes.

It’s my relative secret. I went to two other hiking trails, and they’ve become so popular there was no place to park. I don’t want this trail to suffer the same fate. True, the relative difficulty of the boulder scramble discourages many.

(Note that this portion is not required to get to the waterfall)

And people who aren’t familiar may lose the trail, never making it to the waterfall.

Sure, other people know about this place; it’s not a true secret. But I prefer to reserve my knowledge of it for close family and close friends, and only to impart it by hiking it with them.

A little pūkana to show I’m serious about wanting to keep this my “secret” 🙂

So yes, I’ll review it on my WordPress blog, where it will dwindle in relative anonymity, and have little chance of blowing up. I know, this won’t help me increase my ranking above the top 20% Park reviewers. Please see above.

Happy surveilling,

Henry

Apples

Apples crisp crunchy
Apples
Apples are my friend

Doctor’s bane
Totally sane
Crisp crunchy apples

Crispy crunch ’til the skin is no more
Crunchy crisp straight through to the core
I think I’ll have one more

One more
One more
One one one one more more more more

Apples
Watch out for those cyanide seeds

©2021 H.K. Longmore

Fetal

Curled up in a ball
Wrapped up in a hammock
Swaying in the salty breeze
Saline stained cheeks turn salty red
Red ball dips below the water line

Or, buried in the sand
Naught but head
Protrudes from mock grave
Sand a bearable weight of being
Brings calm to anxious limbs
Deepens once shallow breaths

Huddled ’round a 55 gallon drum
Fire burning low
Fingerless gloves the compulsory style
Company sells tragedy cheap
But Rails sing a compelling song
To be part of the wave

Buried in thoughts of death
Unbidden
He seeks new life

©2021 H.K. Longmore

Iago: Ambushed

Dark the night sky,
Fell, the foul zephyr.
Brackish black water
Broken by two beady eyes.

Iago has returned.

Creeping up the coast,
He seeks to insert himself
Where least welcome is his self;
They’d prefer him to roast.

He hears a patrol
Coming down the lane,
Hides among barrels of petrol;
They’ll not have his mane.

The patrol stops,
Blocking his intended path.
To avoid the cops
He’ll have to subdue his wrath,

And take an alternate route.
Sneaking down a back alley,
He has no time to dally;
When bright lights remove all doubt:

He’s been followed.

Spinning ’round,
He sees the patrol closed in behind;
In front lie the hounds,
He sees he is confined.

“Welcome to my table,”
Greets the queen,
Gesturing to that of fable,
Round and now white and green.

Ambushed.

At the Siege Perilous,
Sits formidable foe:
Sir Galahad looks ready to row.
Iago takes a seat, voice querulous.

“At this table, all you have to say is heard by all,”
the queen instructs.
Iago’s face falls:
This rule his scheming obstructs.

“You are now cursed to always meet at this table,
Every time you set foot upon our shores.
Think not that you are able
To remove this curse from your core.”

His vitriol laid bare,
He tells the reasons
For despair;
But it’s not his season.

“So you have naught but speculation
To lay before this confabulation?
Each of your points in turn countered?”
The queen sees his plan has foundered.

“Then you are dismissed,
Thank your for your time.
Now back into the brine,
Return to the abyss.

You’ll not be missed.”

©2021 H.K. Longmore

Wild Goose Chase

Lucy Goose on the loose,
Chasing mother and her deuce.
Mother picks up twins,
Determined goose will not win.

Goose gives chase.
Mother picks up her pace.
Gaggle left behind,
Lucy continues chase unkind.

Mother tires with her load,
Sees what could unfold;
Sets down upon the grass
Each sweet and darling lass.

Turns about to confront
Lucy Goose’s cold affront.
No longer on the run,
Mother with goose is done.

Instinct ignites:
Lucy Goose will get a fight.
Verbal sparring first begins;
Sufficient scare: mother wins.

©2021 H.K. Longmore

Iago, An Interlude

Wounded, I limp back from the shore
Where Iago and I dueled a week before.
Though I see no scabs nor scars,
Infection festers under my skin.

Simple suggestion,
Not banshee wail,
Was his effective weapon.
What cure is there for my ail?

I sought an answer from the sea,
But there was no reply.
I requested knowledge
From the rolling hills,

An answer faint
Floated away on the breeze.
The city streets I pounded,
Pleading for release,

But it was temporary,
Ill effects of Iago’s dart,
Wolf pack of lies
Still closing in around my heart.

There are labors to perform,
So I gather my strength;
Wounds mention but not at length,
Mostly I ignore.

Floating o’er the ether,
Slipping through the speakers,
Dulcet sounds envelop the space.

No siren song luring away,
No piper’s call to come and play;
No healing light in which to bathe.
Naught but work and banter.

Yet it’s what I needed,
It seeps inside;
Finds the wolves,
Turns the tide.

I’m ninety percent there
But the day is done;
I try again the city streets.
Still no cure, but I quicken my pace.

Almost home, bits become current,
Current transduced into a familiar song;
Strength taken from the bridge:

But if you’ve got the angst or you’ve got the ardor
You might faint from the fight but you’re gonna find it
For every challenge could have paradise behind it

Blues Traveler, Stand

Elation finds me
And takes away
The remaining tinge;
My skin feels whole again.

© 2021 H.K. Longmore

Iago

I don’t need a friend turned foe
To spoil my peace of mind.
I have my own Iago
Residing inline.

Over analysis
Takes all that is fine,
Turns it to paralysis
Or removes the spine.

A message viewed,
Then changed just one line,
Becomes a mental feud,
Of relationship fey a sign.

“Especially on days like today,”
Gone from the vine,
Iago says, “You overstayed,
You should just resign.

“Ignore the compliment that still is,
Without that last bit, it’s in decline.”
And with these words of his,
I carve apart some writing time.

Put pen to paper,
Fingers on home row align,
Turn to vapor!
This foul cancer turn benign.

What was skimmed
Weakened the line,
‘Tis why she trimmed:
For a better shine.

Parry, thrust, stab, and slash,
Make Iago withdraw into the brine.
Final push, and with a splash!
Iago’s gone—until next time.

© 2021 H.K. Longmore


Author’s note: I wanted to end this on a positive note, but TBH, Iago will be back. I’ll have to do a part 2 sometime; maybe that will have a happier ending?

100 Reasons

Message wishing well
Remained without reply.
There could be a hundred reasons why,

But only time will tell
Which holds and which are pared away:
Sunny day, she went out to play.

Hearing a bell,
Afraid of for whom it tolls,
She hid beneath a stack of bed rolls.

Still unwell,
Too sick to move,
Too far removed from her daily groove.

Flames to quell,
House now ash,
Batteries drained too fast.

Riding atop a tiger through a dell,
Durga at her side,
She went into the fray and died.

Boarding, she fell;
Now wearing a cone,
Paramedics lost her phone.

Sulphur smell,
Evacuated in haste;
Neighborhood in natural gas encased.

Going through hell,
No desire to talk,
At communication balks.

Overdosed on kale,
Her face turned pale then blue,
The Heimlich no one knew.

Heard a cowbell
On a mountain side,
In pursuit still, ’tis why she hadn’t replied.

The story Occam’s razor sells:
Far less glamorous,
Nothing cadaverous;

Internet is unwell,
Or notifications don’t show
Due to settings overflow.

© 2021 H.K. Longmore

Consignment

He takes the skeleton key from his pocket,
Inserts it into the ribcage,
Rotates the door on its hinges;
Pulls out a treasure.

A beautiful flower
Or a diamond,
Sometimes in the rough,
But always his treasure.

At her request,
He hands it to her:
Leaves of carbon-pulp
Stitched together;

Or bits and bytes,
Traveling o’er wire and glass,
Made visible
By electroluminescence.

She turns to examine it,
But not yet;
There’s a journey ahead
Before she can assay.

He can but watch
As she turns to walk away,
Holding in her hands
His softly beating heart.

© 2021 H.K. Longmore

Unnecessary Risk

Musical pharmacopoeia,
Not available this hour.
Not wanting to turn sweet grapes sour;
Emotions—need to cope with ya.

Powered sled,
Rev the throttle;
Caution fled,
No time to dawdle.

Maximum set
At a hundred and twelve;
Into the snow sled delves.
On myself make a bet.

Minor risk to longevity,
Reach speeds in excess
Of seventy;
Fly over convex sets

Of flakes pressed down,
Softened since dawn.
Purring loud, engine sound
Reveals I’ve left the ground.

But not to fear,
Bring your heart near:
‘Twas sweet gravity won
In my fun in the sun.

I fear I’ve been
Misunderstood;
‘Til clarity is found again,
And all made good,

I cope by taking on
Unnecessary risk.

© 2021 H.K. Longmore

Not pictured: the times I was going over 70 and getting airborne.

Donuts in an Empty Parking Lot

“You seem hesitant.”
The words echo in temporal space.
From squamous to sphenoid,
Thoughts race.

“Go away,” spoken to a notification.
Stirs up memories vague.
Emotional power of the plague,
Positives lean toward negation.

A fact shared
Or omitted—
Scale tared,
Over-analysis committed.

Grief Tantalean
Becomes grief obsess-ean;
Grief Promethean.

Relief
Requires efforts Herculean.
Answers Protean.

Seize seal shepherd
From behind; hold tight
While shapes shift for fright.
At last a voice heard:

“Son of Atreus,
What do you want from me?”
From mental prison to be freed,
To know what will be.

“Son of Atreus,
Why ask me thus?
Better for you not to know,
Not to learn what my mind holds.”

No future glimpse,
No respite from second guesses.
Seek out Tantalus,
Offspring of Zeus and nymph.

Parched tongue and lips
Inquired why, hands on hips.
Swift reply
With heavy sigh:

To drink, and not thirst;
To eat, and be sated.
“Me first,”
Tantalus waited.

Hands a scoop,
Water-soup
Brought to lips;
Fruit of bough
Into mouth slipped.

“You want to do donuts in an empty parking lot,
You want to put an end to over-thought;
To heal from childhood fears,
And teenage years,

“To not have your confidence
Stolen by the thief
Of yester-years’ defeats,
Nor drained by consequence

“Of verbal wounds, real;
Inflicting damage still;
Wounds that change perceive,
When only perception changed, self-deceived.

“You’ll have to wait until it snows.”
But there is another way I know.

© 2021 H.K. Longmore

Tantalus Lookout is to the left of this picture; as in, Diamond Head is visible from Tantalus Lookout.