Counting the Stars

by Darryl Price

Everybody's trying to just not get killed. Cut flowers. It's 
an illusion. The grand smell of our deathly beauty. They 
were so afraid of the ghost dance once upon a 
burning time that they decided on murder to get it 
to stop. Those were the days. That's how these folks 
think to react, but it goes to show you the 
people power of small simple things to effect change. Everything 
has some power in its being. Sometimes it's a lot 
or enough. Use it wisely. Shooting people simply because you 
might want their land or their resources is murder. Those 

were the days. A young John Lennon pissed on the 
unsuspecting head of an old German nun walking just below 
his window. He would later change the world with his 
wondrous rock songs. Those were the days. We make mistakes. Everybody's 
trying to just not get run over by civilization. The 
allotted days and nights fly by. We fade because new 
people do not see us clearly anymore. They are close 
to the fire. We look like smoke to them. Everybody's 
trying to just not get God mad at us again. 
The garden was a great place to live. Now that 

we've got the whole planet to ourselves it feels kind 
of cold and lonely out here. Why do you think 
we keep looking for something in the sky besides clouds 
and stars? We need someone to talk to besides ourselves. 
The cave walls said as much. Stonehenge was an early 
morning telephone call that kept on ringing throughout the centuries 
with nobody answering. And now we're spirits trapped in a 
completely pixelated screen dream of our own device. Machines would 
laugh if they knew how, deeply and deliberately. Still there 
is such a thing as ice cream. That's the rub. 

For every stupid and petty crime there is a kind 
person who saves another with a hug. There is someone 
who makes you laugh in spite of your serious demeanor 
telling you to do otherwise. You know you want to 
play frisbee, tell the evening news to go eff itself. 
After all, everybody's still just trying to find out how 
to love and be loved. And that's pretty cool stuff
I suppose. Someone's writing you a poem just because they 
can and they want to. These are the days. Everybody's
got a tattoo of a soul just below the heart.

Bonus Poems:

Alone Among the Trees

by Darryl Price

Please don't help them to manifest 
a sick and sad world anymore. 
Don't help them turn butterflies into 
ugly wanted for murder posters. The 
only thing that matters now is 
you being not that. We need 

plain human beings who can let 
all beings be happy even while 
sacrificing everything. Don't help them nail 
the helpless wings of bugs to 
the unable to resist bark of 
weeping trees for a  hearty laugh. 

The animals are scared enough as 
it is. And now the women 
are finding it hard to speak 
up again. Please. Don't help give 
dreaming clouds the electric chair. Please, 
don't help them to put their 

phoney money in your lover's mouth 
and pull the trigger. Remember the 
absolute good feeling you had when 
you were kind and generous in 
your youth? Don't help them to 
sell whatever it is they have 

manufactured too many of in order 
to keep you from finding a 
hidden possibly lovely way out of 
the hole. For yourself. And the 
ones you love. Please don't forget 
what you said you would do.

Please don't help them to make
hate the normal approach to living
on this earth together. Please don't
excuse their vulgarity for playful interaction
among friends. We need you now
more than ever. Please don't wait.

Unseen Birds by Darryl Price

The ones who fear everything 
are teaching the children to 
fear everything but a glorious 
bright death. But we pray 
love no hate, we pray hate no 
kind of love. You can bury 
anything you want in your 
opening mouth, but something 

always returns in the form 
of a new flower to ask 
you why. Why did you do it? 
Did you even know you were 
doing it? Are you still, still 
doing it like a beautiful 
day in your head? Why am 
I here? I don't want to be 

your scaredy cat ghost. But you 
are certainly mine. We made 
this exploding body move 
together, bliss out of stone. 
It's frozen now, but it's not 
over. I mean look at them-
still marching as if they were 
not living in burned out holes
in crumbling cities. As if 
they were only dazed on the 
foggy battlefield from too 
much of a good thing. Their hot 
helmets on sticks driven through 
their blackened hearts. And the small 
sad animals come out of 
their hidden doors in the leaves. 

Their cold whiskers twitching. This 
is love. This is love. This is 
love. But it doesn't always 
heal the sick. We know. We know. 
We still believe. We still look 
up to see clouds. If it's a
proper fight we are ready
to add our own fur and claw.

Rectangles of Yellow Light

by Darryl Price

If it's all the same to you 
I've seen that velvet hat swearing traveler 
before. Now I'm just more familiar with 
the terrible facts about certain broken people 
who never come out to play anymore. 
They think we are hypnotized by the 
perfectly painted stars in their hammered reflections,

like eggs in the nest, but we 
were never that hopeless, shivering ones looking 
for a hidden money trail among the 
bright shiney sidewalks on parade day. We 
were always willing to accept a beautiful 
day turning into a beautiful night without 
equal pay. I suppose you can't draw 

a straight line between silent dreamers all 
around you and all your own lost 
and broken words now. That used to 
be the beginning of all your baddest 
lovesongs. One day has come. You are 
sadly captured. Your brain has been wired 
to a bunch of other wires. They 

are feeding you in waves. You are 
floating in tears. You are waiting to 
be eaten by the very thing you 
have imagined to be a mindless monster. 
Let me put it to you this 
way. You are in a cage. You 
are an experiment. Everything you taste is 

a wonder drug. Everything you feel is 
another electric charge. They are not your 
best friends. They'll bomb you. You are 
a weaponized tick. You are in a 
play. Everything you recognize is a tape 
recording of a birdsong or a river. 
Wake up. Because you want to. Because
you can. Because I'm asking you to. 
Because I miss you. Because we used 
to have such fun together. Because I 
want to kiss you. Because this poem 
is a magic spell. Because you are 
not alone. That's a lie implanted under 
your skin. Time to dig it out.

Crossed Fingers

When I get there--wherever it is, this 
hidden secret place that I've been going 
to all my life--I hope it wasn't just 
for a stupid cosmic joke. Gray Angels 
slapping each other on their feathery 
backs and grabbing their honey knees in fits 
of holy laughter. When they tell you the 
journey is the main thing that seems just as 
unlikely to make you feel anything 
like better as the rest. I mean if there 

is no point except the point of motion 
forward what are we doing with all this 
awful pain filling up our hearts? Aren't the words 
I was hoping to speak to you but they 
are the words that spoke to me. Maybe yours 
can say it in a much different way-- 
that will actually matter to a 
special someone. I hope so. I don't want 
you to be misunderstood. When I get 
there I hope you're there too, but I'm betting 

you probably won't be. More likely be 
dining with Saints in sandals who are all 
regaling you with wondrous tales of time 
travel and adventure, all in hopes of 
seeing you crack a small genuine smile 
without meaning to, because, after all, 
loneliness is the most universal 
of universal languages. When I 
do get there I hope to see great gobs of 
free and wild butterflies again and the 

joyfully trumpeting elephants and 
lots and lots of people mingling around 
the sun-drenched streets together and to hear 
many loud choruses of laughter and 
good-hearted play, not the sound of one hand 
clapping. You don't understand. When I go 
there I want to be glad I made the hard 
sad journey through the poem and over 
the crying hills. I want to see the blue 
ocean again returning as a friend.