The HyperTexts

Jim Dunlap

Jim Dunlap's poetry has been published extensively in print and online in the United States, England, France, India, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand. His work has appeared in over 90 publications, including Potpourri, Candelabrum, Mobius and the Paris/Atlantic. He is the co-editor of Sonnetto Poesia and and is serving as co-editor of a new sonnet anthology currently in production, The Phoenix Rising from the Ashes. He is also the chief proofreader for the On Viewless Wings Anthologies, published out of Queensland, Australia. In the past, he was a resident poet on Poetry Life & Times and the newsletter editor for seven years with the Des Moines Area Writers' Network. You can download an e-book of his poems, The Spirit of Christmas in Poetry, by clicking on the hyperlinked title.

Betrayal Hymn Of The Republic

                    (a collaboration between Julia Ward Howe and
                      Harriet Beecher Stowe)

They're singing out the practices of bigotry and hate.
They know you crave security. They hope you can relate.
They're masters of deception, they are thralls of switch and bait.
The truth is nearly gone.

Glory, Glory, they will screw ya.
Glory, Glory, they will screw ya.
Glory, Glory, they will screw ya.
The truth is nearly gone.

They'll kill the Constitution, rip the Bill of Rights to Shreds,
They'll bring the wrath of God himself to swirl about your heads.
They'll scare you to incontinence, entomb you in your beds –
The truth is nearly gone.

******* Chorus *********

Bush has lit a bonfire that could yet engulf the Earth.
He damaged hope and murdered love, and did it all in mirth.
A pack of lies are just the tip of what his soul is worth.
The truth is nearly gone.

******* Chorus *********

They aim to kill off Medicare, and serve their poisoned brew;
the poor and senior citizens are those they aim to screw,
and when they've done them dirty, then be sure they'll come for you.
The truth is almost gone.

Glory, Glory, they will screw ya.
Glory, Glory, they will screw ya.
Glory, Glory, they will screw ya.
The truth is nearly gone.

Christopher Reeves, Man of Steel

"You can't be superman", I thought,
As your wheelchair slowly spun around;
But the crowd ate up the words you brought.

The frustration and the pain you've fought
Made quicksand out of solid ground―
"You can't be superman", I thought.

The attention of the audience was caught,
Though you didn't exit with a bound―
The crowd ate up the words you brought.

The understanding that you sought
Relaxed you, as the night unwound―
Still, "you can't be superman", I thought.

Your gallant words won't go for naught;
We'll search until a cure is found ...
The crowd ate up the words you brought.

The lesson that your courage taught
Grows stronger with each spoken sound.
"You can't be superman", I thought;
But the crowd ate up the words you brought.

What Is Love

Love is an ambiguous term, as I’ve found
to my regret. Only once has it called me,
but I’ve learned that false choices abound.
When love comes calling, it requires empathy
as well as physical attraction. But life
tends to throw us curves. Perfection is never
attainable and beauty's not bound by sex.
Propinquity may rule, or simple chance sever
a bond that changes lives. Love is complex,
a thing that cannot be defined, only felt.
A lesbian friend has just married a man.
She’s far from voluptuous, far from svelte,
nor is he an Adonis. They’ve proved love can
overcome obstacles that society creates.
She’s pregnant and happy. He’s ecstatic.
No rulebook binds them. They have proved love negates
societal standards, whether phlegmatic
or arbitrary. Any two humans may
share coitus. No obstacle, physical,
even societal can stand in their way.
One could say love is metaphysical.
No matter one’s gender, it’s just empathy
that thrusts past lust and decides when love will be.

Woodland Winter

As the equinox nears, days grow shorter;
the earth lies fallow, frigid, brown—
winds hiss and shriek and give no quarter.

Snowflakes fall on farmhouse, field and town;
no sound competes to break the solitude,
though Jack Frost winks and plays the clown.

In places bushes and small trees extrude,
immersed in sweeping waves of white;
a regal hawk soars, scavenging for food.

A rabbit darts away in futile flight—
destined to be that majestic hawk’s meal.
A blur of wings, and weakness yields to might.

Small creatures shudder at the victim’s squeal;
Nature’s implacable law brooks no appeal.

Snipping the Threads

Talking to you yesterday, I realized
that love never really dies, at all ...
and that, although you empathized,
you’ve moved on, far beyond recall ...
while I’ve kept the embers fanned,
and still see you in nightly dreams.
The chasm truly can’t be spanned,
nor time embroidered at the seams.
We’re rather different people now,
though to me it seems just yesterday.
Our last goodbye became a vow,
and your black and white, my gray.
I've gathered threads I cannot sever:
see you on the far side of forever.

To No Avail

The staccato tap, tap, tap of raindrops,
as they march in multitudes across the roof ...
the vacillating tenor of their starts and stops,
like stampeding, tiny horses on the hoof—
the soothing cadence of the rushing waves
of water pirouetting down the eaves,
to drought-dry, dusty earth that craves
the moisture that caresses and relieves:
yet all these soothing, natural aids to sleep
appear of no avail this winter's night—
the hours and minutes seem to barely creep;
behind clouds the moon is extra bright.
Although the words seem rather lame,
insomnia has won the game.

Reminiscences of a Lost Love

Over a quarter of a Century’s passed,
and still, there’s an ember burning—
the residue of a love I thought couldn’t last,
and now I see, as the millennium’s turning,
that predicting the future’s a canard.
No one can ever anticipate the results
of a lost love, behind a door long barred—
yet the heat radiates through and insults
my senses, brings memories of hot flesh
pressed against me, of long blond hair falling
across my face, the welcoming crèche
of your arms and legs: I hear you calling
even now. And even though you lied,
the pain has only ... only ... intensified.

Frissons d'au revoir *

I've shopped around for something that suits
your natural elegance and style—
something which enhances, not dilutes
your unctuous demeanor and engaging smile.

         flower shops
             by the
                    score ...
                    in colors
                        and tints,
             the search
                           a chore;

though fate was perhaps dropping hints.

The blossoms varied from carmine to mauve,
carnations were gorgeous, but roses passé;
I chose only the best for someone so suave;
in the end, time only still stood in the way.

My eyes fell on an orchid—and then I just knew
it was right. Black as midnight: in the light cobalt blue.

* Mafioso, black orchid

Symbols in Flight: 1941

I'd have loved to see the bluebirds fly
above the white chalk-cliffs of Dover—
and as they were blithely soaring over,
immersed in thought I'd lie
in calm repose upon that beach,
admiring their swooping forms,
evanescent, in fleeting storms,
like ballet ... far beyond my reach.
Frisking, fragile, carefree birds,
symbolic through intrinsic meaning—
like sterling hope and freedom's words
light English springs, forever greening:
while England fought the bitter fight
to hold at bay the 'fall of night.'

L’Amour En Rêve, Reveries Of Love Poem

I toss in strangely troubled dreams
of rolling hills and woodland streams—
of soft, pale skin, so smooth and fair,
and moonlight glancing off her hair.

What can I say? What can I do?
Sad to say, she’s just not you.
True love calls …"Come, please be mine …
we’ll drink to good Saint Valentine."

And if, perchance, you choose to stay,
we’ll leave her there and go away,
to roam the world, to wander far ...
beneath fair Venus, morning’s star.

For fate could never put asunder
bonds of love, entwined in wonder …
though our souls should dare to brave
a bright new land beyond the grave.

Why waste one day, one minute more?
Let’s bite the apple to the core,
and while the years and seasons fly,
our love will grow … and never die.

Van Gogh: Man of Myth and Mystery

From a peaceful, quiet field in France,
a gunshot echoes down the years—
whether cold precision ... or terrible mischance,
mired in myth, truth fades or disappears.
The gun, the easel and the paints, not there
when the gendarmes arrived on the scene,
tous évoquent un air de mystère *
which Sherlock Holmes might find ... routine.
Yet could even the great Holmes deduce
what truth lies cloaked by misdirection,
or feel his way down winding paths, abstruse,
unravel rumor, myth, prevarication?
No matter — Vincent's short years, rife with strife,
still render him legend, larger than life.

* all evoke an air of mystery

A Call from the Clouds

A missed phone call, can it redefine life?
It was mid-morning-ish, that fateful day
I was tired, sleepy, missing my wife.
What a price I'd eventually pay.
The phone rang and rang, I covered my head.
Voice messaging could answer the call.
At last, I arose from the clutch of the bed,
And fumbled my way to the john down the hall.
Then I entered the code, put the phone to my ear,
And nearly collapsed from the shock.
Mary's soft voice shrieked, alive with fear,
As I glanced at the time on the clock.
Goodbye, my darling, we'll meet in Heaven.
She died 2001, 9/11.

Sonnetto Poesia, Fall/ Automne, 2005

Just Imagine

It's been some time, but we'll never forget
the man and his lyrics—"Let It Be"
wasn't really his game—the John we met
could "Imagine" much more than we'd see.
He believed in justice and dignity,
fought for the down-trodden poor and oppressed,
worked to eradicate all bigotry,
and brightened his age—we were blessed.

Imagine no religion, hounding men to hell,
no prejudice marring humanity's rest,
no darkness embracing the blasting knell
of evil, destroying our khaki-clad best—
imagine the peace love's practicing yields—
envy John, sleeping in Strawberry Fields,

forever ...

The Pentagon Version of "Onward Christian Soldiers"

Mistletoe and holly, turkey, pumpkin pie,
Candied yams and all the trimmings,
Don't speak to us of Christ's beginnings—
How we've gathered here—and why.
The clouds of evil hover near us,
But we choose to disregard, because
We're anticipating Santa Claus,
And the world has cause to fear us.
Such good people surely can't do wrong—
God is on our side—they'll finally learn;
Or their cities, and their souls, will burn.
So, why not relax, and sing along?
   "Onward Christian soldiers, flay them—
   If they're not like us, go out and slay them."

Date Rape Dandy

No one would believe a word she said:
the whole school knew the dumb broad was a whore—
he still could not believe how much she'd bled—
he'd been sure that she was "doing it" before.

His hungry lips had smothered her protest;
his ardor grew with every stifled "Please!"
His hands left black and blue marks on her breast—
he thought he'd really fixed the little tease.

He'd never once imagined she'd say no—
he really only gave her what she wanted.
He was hot and shaking, head to toe—
and couldn't bear to feel his manhood taunted.

He'd risked a lot for just a piece of tail—
he'd risk it again—once he got out on bail.

Writer's Digest top 100 rhyming poems, 1994

In Search of a Chalice and a Pentacle

dedicated to Dan Brown

Proud Venus shines on a knight vainly searching
through lonely days of rain, snow and hail—
in desolate wilderland, honor besmirching,
sealed to the trail of a dream, and a Grail.
He knows full well that the end may be dreary,
his hopes unfulfilled, the ending uncertain,
but still he plods on, fatigued and bone-weary—
the future a mystery, a nebulous curtain.
Yet golden light glinting as day draws to close,
beckons him onward, through trials and grief.
He yearns for a taste of the dew on the rose.
and envies his Lord's final words to the thief.
Still he knows, though his plans lie in tatters,
that life is, itself, the journey that matters.

Challenger International Quarterly, June, 2004

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