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Author Name: FreeLen 32 Comments
Date Added: February 24, 2007 09:02:21 Average Score: (Needs 2)
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Category: Philosophy Add To Favorites | Text Only
~Mirrors, Smoke and Dreams~
Blue smoke swirls across checkered table tops
like cloud-ribbons of forgetfulness,
blanketing half-empty steaming cups of dark coffee
The outcast children of society
gather in this solemn place of apathy
The faces change from day to day
Their beaten, tired  look, universal to them all
"Hear our words and understand," they say
"See the futility of shoveling sand
against the unrelenting tides of progress"
Bongos mimic the pounding of my labored heart
The cat on sax
lays out his polluted life
for all to hear
A song of sex and degradation
A song of dire folly
The story of a world
lost in its own consumerist chaos hell
A clarinet joins the mournful song of isolation
We sit, staring with blinded eyes
into the bottomless void of espresso eternity
We mumble our words of wisdom
which we neither understand nor care to
"It's the beat," a poet cries
"All is found within the beat
If you can feel the beat
you can beat the heat"
So I turn my face to the stage
immersing my soul in mathematical, musical mystery
I feel the beat
I listen to the cat on sax as he flies his polished ax
all the way to hell and back
The seekers, crowded around sardined tables
feel the message, born in the horn
of the lost musician describing his pain
Pumped into our empty souls
we feel the bongo fever rise
as the clarinet lies its truth in somber melody
All truth is suspect
and subject to change
I look across my table
to a cat wearing shades and a gold-capped smile
He says, "I've been there, Jack
If you could see inside my eyes
you would never in this life go back"
I pondered the messiah
with his skin glistening, smooth and black
I said, "Tell me of hopes and promises
Tell me of bubble gum and flying machines
Tell me the meaning of a sunrise"
The cat with the sax plays the blues of the river
The cat on the sax is stoned
but he's blowin' truth with every note
Bongo Boy plays it soft and low
The skins were cryin'
'bout the sorrows only he and the river know
"It's simple," said the black messiah
"The opposite of up is out
The opposite of down is in
You see, my friend,
all you see can only be 
as your needs would have them be"
I sat, sipping thick, black liquid
drinking in the sounds of the notes laid down,
one on top of  another
like the words of a too familiar story
The story of me
A story of a lifetime
where everything I knew was wrong
The brass ring is shiny
When I clutched it in my hand
I wondered what to do with it
and why I thought it so important

"What you see will only be
what you've been told that it must be,"
said the black messiah, with a smile
He removed his shades
I gazed into his deep twin holes of nothingness
He said, "The answers to your questions
are as pointless as your need to ask
The wisdom which you seek
you will only find
in mirrors, smoke
and dreams"
Author's Notes:

This goes back to the Beat Generation of the 50's when certain coffee houses were gathering places for modern poets to share their thoughts to the backdrop of bongos and espresso coffee..

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'~Mirrors, Smoke and Dreams~' Copyright © Leonard Wilson
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Comment By: FreeJonathan Payne on October 27, 2008 02:22:21 AM Report
This is really good. I was taken in by your exciting use of musical metaphor and sub-culturist imagery to deal with such large and harrowing ideas. Thanks for being the first good poem i've found online. I think it will be hard to top. Many kudos.
Comment By: FreeCathy on June 29, 2008 06:35:29 PM Report
Well I have to say you really out did your self on this yep could hear the beat loved reading this amazing write every word of it Congratulations on the award you worked hard for it and truly deserve it

Comment By: Freeoliver michael barrett on June 24, 2008 06:08:51 PM Report
just those three words were powerful.

mirrors, smoke, and dreams.


i was real into this piece.

it was very deep.

and i myself imagine this shit.

i love to look at things with diffrent meanings.

why is it that way.

what makes it that way.

but i feel wisdom comes with thought.

the world never would advance without those who look to deeper meanings.


"the skins were cryin,"

i know exactly what your describing.

i play the drums.

and i know how it feels to slip into the music.

even with a drum set, or bongos, any instrument really.

you alone make the instrument.

how you play, your style, and your attitude all come into effect when you perform with a guitar, piano, whatever.


i like this piece, well worth the award.


i wanted to find something to critique but i just couldnt.

very well thought out.





Comment By: FreeAmy on June 18, 2008 04:17:57 PM Report
I dig it, man. The imagery was spot had me feeling I was there.

This was most deserving of the award.


Comment By: FreeSteve on April 17, 2008 11:22:17 PM Report
Like...crazy daddy-O I really dig what you're saying.....The "Beat Generation"  started   the social revolution that exploded in the 1960's. Len you have captured the voice and feel of that time.  Ginsberg would "Howl" at this. 
Comment By: FreeJosephInEgypt on November 21, 2007 06:15:07 PM Report
Fascinating,...interesting reflection.  Good write!
Comment By: FreeRobin Constantinou on June 27, 2007 09:27:07 PM Report
awesome poem, love your work, bravo on the award

Comment By: Freenoah count on March 24, 2007 01:00:27 PM Report

As you sometimes say, "miles of style", but no, let me upgrade that for you to, light years without peer.  "Dire folly", will also stick in my craw for awhile.  Is that a picture of Dylan or Winona Ryder, or both?  be well, noah 

Comment By: FreeThe Bag Lady on March 23, 2007 03:31:21 PM Report
Awesome, Sugarplum~!! 
I could see it all.....have seen it all.....been there.....
You bet, my friend, all mirrors, smoke and dreams.....
I stand in ovation for this brilliant piece of visuals and sounds.....

The old bag lady, who snaps fingers, and lifts a two-bit lighter with a flickering flame in applause.....
Good work, and congratulations.....
Just me.....

Comment By: FreeStarr on March 21, 2007 03:55:01 PM Report
You can see and hear the beat. Awsome!!!



Comment By: TrialAnn on March 19, 2007 08:41:18 PM Report
Hey Len! Great poem...congrats on the walk back through time...snapping fingers...Ann

Comment By: FreeLady Dragonwyck on March 19, 2007 10:22:19 AM Report
Hi Len.....and the beat goes on and YOU  win a Feature Poem Award...see, Life is Fair !!!!


Lady D

Comment By: FreeAdri on March 19, 2007 01:57:23 AM Report
Ooooooooh Mr. Cool!!!!  You poet you!  You are a master of words and phrases!! 

Congratulations on winning the Feature Poem Award for this AMAZING piece Mr.Cool!!! 
Adri x

Comment By: FreeSilkinTears on March 18, 2007 09:21:02 PM Report
This is one fantastic write Len. Congratulations on a well deserved award.

Comment By: FreeQuiltingLady on March 18, 2007 07:48:20 PM Report
I liked this the first time I read it and I am so glad it won the Featured Award!  I could almost smell the smoke swirling around and taste the coffee.  :o)   Congratulations!


Comment By: FreeHannah Mae on March 12, 2007 02:45:38 PM Report
Wow. Really fantastic. I've been to live poetry readings, but they didn't quite go like that. I loved the description. Great write!!


Comment By: FreeEmil on March 11, 2007 12:58:52 AM Report
Well there is no doubt about your talent. You do show it quite readily with this write. Reading it seems to draw you into the story completely.

What terrific write


Comment By: FreeJoe Petro on March 4, 2007 04:37:39 PM Report
Did you wear a black beret while you wrote this? I guess inspiration smacked you in the head with this one. You've captured the essence of the beat generation perfectly. I truly enjoyed this. Read it while I took  a few tokes, sipped a large mug o java and snapped my fingers. jp
Comment By: FreeChuck on March 3, 2007 11:55:03 PM Report

WoW... you took me back to a time I've never been to and made me touch something I've never felt... That's some amazing stuff right there... this one has to be one of your best ever... nicely done.

Comment By: FreeJames Lagoski on March 1, 2007 07:46:51 AM Report
Dear Leonard-
Once again you have proven why your power of description
is one of the strongest on this site!
As I was reading through this, I completely visualized the scene
that was so aptly detailed and this further enhanced the picture-
Yet somehow I knew by reading the title that I would like this one!
Best Wishes to You and Yours My Friend~

Comment By: FreeLast Temple Knight on February 28, 2007 01:47:22 PM Report
As I read this I could hear that sax blow it's soulful soul-stirring flow...  makes me want to get a cup of espresso my friend.
Comment By: FreeThe Mystic Poet on February 28, 2007 12:21:09 AM Report

Oh cant be said too much, you have talent, you old hack you.

Comment By: FreeRon Miller on February 27, 2007 09:01:48 PM Report
Snap Snap Snap
Man this is some really good writing buddy...Ron

Comment By: PremiumMelanie on February 27, 2007 07:44:43 PM Report
Not only have you captured an era perfectly, this is thought provoking and very insightful.
You have carried me away to another day in time.
Thanks for the trip.

Comment By: FreeCindy Bendel on February 27, 2007 04:49:52 PM Report
Holy hell! this is good Len. Going to my faves...truly an amazing work. You are so cool!


Comment By: FreeFLETCHER on February 26, 2007 05:35:35 PM Report
Snap! Snap! This poem is a Gas! Freak Me Out!
Can Ya Dig It

Comment By: PremiumVizualEnsemble on February 25, 2007 08:57:37 PM Report
BRILLIANT write my friend! Only you......sure wish we had such a

place here.....nice work.


Comment By: FreeSharon Jorcil James on February 25, 2007 08:26:24 PM Report
We've got clubs over here similar to your coffe houses doing the same thing.......the recital of poetry to drumology is called "Rapso" in Trinidad and the wider Caribbean. A fine write my friend.


Sharon JJ

Comment By: PremiumJoe McNinney on February 24, 2007 05:43:27 PM Report
There is such a coffee house here in my neighborhood and Wednesday nights are open mic nights. Its fun and a great learning experience. Nicely done Len, Joe
Comment By: FreeBarbara Demasson on February 24, 2007 03:21:55 PM Report
Wonderful penning Len.  "All truth is suspect and subject to change"...excellent, so simply put and yet it speaks volumes! I loved the way the instruments coveyed the messages and corresponding emotions.

"All you see can only be what you've been told that it must be" ...we believe what we have been told, often without question. (I prefer to question everything.) "all you see can only be as your need would have it be" is so much easier to accept the answers we want; those that suit our needs. The truths we seek are as changeable as our minds...the stuff of smoke and mirrors - only true if we need it to be. =)) Excellent post Len! Loved this!


~Barbara~ *wowed*

Comment By: FreeLady Dragonwyck on February 24, 2007 10:46:46 AM Report
Len:  great write --  "and the beat goes on".....


Lady D

Comment By: PremiumMary Lou Allen on February 24, 2007 10:04:40 AM Report

I remember.  I don't know if there are degrees of authenticity.  I think you're either authentic or you're not.  If that's the case, this is authentic.  If there are degrees, this is very authentic.  Well done, len.  ML


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