THE MEANING OF LIFE

He came with love in his heart for every living thing. His innocence had been untouched and his light force shone so bright that crowds gathered to see him but, more importantly, to feel his warmth. By gazing upon him they were somehow changed. “Was this the Messiah?” they mumbled to each other in hushed tones lest they be deemed blasphemous by some. For some can find darkness in every hope, every wish, every prayer.

And when this man spoke it brought some to their knees, others to tears. It was as if the calmness in his voice could heal every hurt and fear that had weighed them down and they were now somehow lighter.

The taking away of such anguish even brought back sight to the blind. As if all they had needed was to believe in something and were being granted the ability to see the world anew. Men who had walked too many lonely dead end loveless roads and were now crippled, found that they could walk again. And after those first awkward unsure steps they inched closer and closer to him growing more confident and accepted with each one until they were in his arms, and the safety and strength  of unconditional love made them sob for the joy of each precious moment. Time that they had, until now, misinterpreted and cursed for their burdens, and wasted, was now rediscovered and rejoiced over. All things were possible again.

In his face they saw no judgement, no impatience, no pity, only love. And his love became contagious among the people and they sang his praises.

He had not come to destroy the Romans, or hand out weapons, or preach hate. He was here to give meaning to our lives. What was the meaning of life? Love. For love opens the door to joy. And its light extinguishes all shadows.

But there were those, the shadow people, who were angered by us learning the meaning of existence and saw that this teaching could undermine their power over us. For they ruled by fear and threats, both of which were rendered insignificant when the masses walked proudly in the sun again unchained from their own mental limitations.

So they arrested this man, this dangerous man, beat him, whipped him, ridiculed him and his suffering, and sentenced him to an agonising death for the crime of telling us to love and forgive each other.

And in his final conscious moments he forgave those who had plotted his death, and the ignorant who had killed him. To this day it remains the greatest triumph of the human spirit.

Perhaps he was drawing evil into the light so that the world could recognise its face?

 
(C) Frank Howson 2019

Painting by Frank Howson (c) 2019

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WE DO WHAT WE DO

We turned the jungle
Into Park Avenue
I remade my face
Till I looked like you
I killed my brother
Now I bear this scar
We know everything
But who we are

It’s none of your business
What’s it to you?
We follow orders
We do what we do

We praise the traitors
And we rendezvous
We exchange secrets
And call it a coup
You broke my spirit
When you stole my heart
Now where do we end
And why did we start?

It’s none of your business
What’s it to you?
We follow orders
We do what we do

We burn our bridges
And we kill our fire
You have trashed my name
You make a good little liar
I have your photo
Here beside my grudge
You were my jury
Now I be your judge

 

(c) Frank Howson 2019

artwork by Frank Howson (c) 2018

THE ACTRESS RESIDES

She could’ve been a star but she sold too short. She gave easy access to the bottom feeders and the psycho time wasters. People whom she thought had a name. Trouble is, their names only opened doors for themselves. Philanthropic enterprises were not on their radar. Only the unveiling of what everyone else had already seen and widely circulated reports about. She grew to get off on the feeling of being humiliated in such a way, and so, it continued all the way down.

Soon she was the name on everyone’s lips and didn’t care that a snigger followed it and then a derogatory remark. After all, she was famous, wasn’t she? Well in some circles it was true.

She began expanding herself into diminishing returns and thinking she was making ground. Love, or what she could make of it, became opportunistic and as reasonably priced as the discounted dress she could manipulate some romantic fool to purchase for her. It was a good life as long as you didn’t look up and see that you were actually going backwards.

She could fake sympathy but not loyalty. She was continually shocked that people thought she’d betrayed them, but the truth is it never crossed her mind. She also had difficulty playing characters as she was already playing herself, and it was difficult wearing two masks at the same time.

She thought Empathy was a boring village somewhere in France. A place she had no interest in visiting. Why? What was in it for her?

Each day she checked her face for any signs of age, that dark angel that waited in the wings to signal her demise and herald the harvest season for the new crop of pretty young things.

She feared that her destiny was to play the cynical boozy floozies a la Gloria Grahame. She began weeping at sunsets.

Life was cruel when you thought about it so she ceased thinking about anything other than herself. In her mind she was already a legend and had convinced herself the whole world was waiting to see her next move. In reality they had no idea who she was.

To further take her mind off things she’d fall in love with crude men who played supporting roles and would abuse her. But she always kept a longtime, long suffering romantic male friend to run back to and hide the shame in his arms that she’d been exposed to the spotlight of her circle.

As the years of the same rolled by and her ability to be noticed when she entered a room diminished she became more and more erratic and her tantrums grew larger and more devoid of any valid logic, causing bemused onlookers to suggest, in whispered tones, that she needed to be in an institution for the insane and creatively gifted.

But instead she chose to be stripped naked by big rough men in the back seats of second hand cars. They would calm her by whispering beautiful lies in her ear that she was safe and still beautiful. Each one of them murdering her a little more.

To those who truly cared about her, or more accurately, the person they thought she could be based on the evidence of zip, it became too painful to watch her downfall.

So, they looked away.

The story went on but this is where it ends.

 

 

(C) Frank Howson 2019

THE STREETS OF SHAME

One day we’ll be safe
Haunted no more
When the oceans tide
Turns away from the shore
And the bars on our windows
Have been torn away
We’ll wake to find
A brave new day
You’ll say you love me
And I’ll say the same
And we’ll never walk again
These streets of shame
Take me far away
Where no one’s to blame
And we won’t have to walk
These streets of shame

 

(C) Frank Howson. 2019

I DIED AT 3 AM

I woke up this morning
To find I’m dead
I switched on the TV
And some nice things were said
But one of the papers
Got some details wrong
They said I was Fred
And was born in Geelong
They printed a photo
The one where I blinked
And said Bin Laden and I
Were somehow linked
It’s a funny world
When you think about it
It’s either Champagne and oysters
But mostly shit
I met a lot of c–ts
Who taught me not to care
I’ll die if I reach heaven
And find them there

 

(c) Frank Howson 2019

I HURT YOU TOO

I’m so sorry
For who I was
There were reasons
Not just because
It’s convenient
To blame my youth
It takes a lifetime
To accept the truth

I was drowning
Myself inside
That secret place
We choose to hide
And like a broken child
I threw my hurt at you
You hurt me once
I hurt you two
Yes, I hurt you too

We can’t go back
And mend the breaks
We forget the good times
But not mistakes
It’s the price I pay
For losing you
The ties the bind us
Any fool can undo

I was drowning
Myself inside
That secret place
We choose to hide
And like a lost child
I threw my hurt at you
You hurt me once
I hurt you two
Yes, I hurt you too

There was a time
When I was almost home
But then I opened my mouth
To find I’m all alone
I feel I’m in a prison
For my father’s sins
A place you can’t get out
Once you’re in

I am drowning
Myself inside
That secret place
We choose to hide
And like a broken child
I threw my hurt at you
You hurt me once
I hurt you two
Yes, I hurt you too

 

(c) Frank Howson 2019

LOVE ME TO DEATH

I’ve been holding out
Thinkin’ you’d let go
But your shadow tails me
To faraway parts of my heart
In those dark rooms you call home
Me? I’ve stopped waiting for our Messiah’s return
And watch the football
As well as all the moves you make
In your quest to break me with jealousy
But haven’t you hurt me enough?
Don’t you feel pity?
Sometimes?
For your pathetic victims
Whose only crime was trusting you enough to love?
You could’ve warned me
But I guess you didn’t love me enough to do so
Or perhaps it’s more fun
To see a fool stumble
Fall
And get up with nowhere to go
His dignity in tatters
As you snigger at his back
Don’t you know I can’t go home anymore?
My parents are gone
There’s nowhere I can turn
No unconditional arms to hold me
When I break
No comforting whispers in my ear, “It’s alright, darling…It’s alright”
So forgive me
If I’ve become tough
And distant
And my eyes glaze
When you want them to connect
I just fear that one tear
Could burst the dam
And I may not be able to stop
And that would be embarrassing
At any age
Don’t you think?
I remember every word you ever threw at me
I wear them like scars on my skin
Each stab wound
Designed to teach me
How mortal  I am
You almost loved me to death
But it’s cool
I ain’t complainin’
The crops look good
And it’s rainin’
Nothing to fear
Unless it floods
I just watched another cowboy movie
To get my mind off you
But it came out all wrong
And reminded me of us
The good guys got away
The credits rolled and they played a song
A cheap one
And I got to wondering
Just who the savages were
History is written by liars
Then over-written by Hollywood hacks
And this is our foundation for everything we hold to be true
Thus
They have rendered us insane
Born into bullshit
Then fed it on a daily basis
Our judgements and decisions
Are bound to be inadmissible
But that doesn’t stop us
For our skin is white
And superiority is thy name
Although our house of cards is crumbling
I don’t blame you, baby
You were poisoned at birth
Just like me
We just got it all wrong
That’s all
And sometimes when the surface noise dies down
And I am calm enough
To reach inside of me
And find the best of who I could be
I still love you, baby
I still love you
And care
For you

 
(C) Frank Howson 2019

 

photograph by Vanessa Allan