Toast To The Host

Title art, “The Favorite Game”, by Hannah Lemholt. Click image to visit her studio.

Toast To The Host was written in April 2019 and has remained unpublished until now.

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Zorba The Greek “Sirtaki”

I raise a glass in toast
To the ghost of yesterday
Feel that I should make address
Before it gets away from me

Just cause to do this playfully
To focus on the winning smile
A pick-me-up to fix me up with reasons to be cheerful
Perhaps I’ll give myself that earful
While I’m acting out disgracefully
And all the while, defile the thoughts that led me here ungraciously
How could I be so severely suited up as nearly man
Clearly I was under false illusion
Prodding at contusions with a stick of Brighton Rock
Time was ticking round the clock and tock was not invited
Stuck on loop and soundly duped by swooping guilt and angst
Not a soul proposed to hear my rant
Slipping through the pavement cracks, my saving grace to reenact each crime scene I had factored into fracturing my rapture

Playing catcher day-by-day
As irate burden grew too great to bear
Appeared privy to market share
Declaring not the half of it
Party to the voice inside my head, dearly departing from the dead zone I condoned to turn into a full-blown craft fayre
No more here than there as everywhere was going nowhere fast
Advancing to the part where broken hearts play game of chance and lose
Singing blues so evergreen that it would take a miracle to ween
Needed an epiphany, regardless whether bittersweet
All thoughts were nitroglycerin, Hiroshima was imminent
Giving in could be forgiven, given unforgiving odds
Living on a wing and prayer, with wilting flowers in my hair
At odds with even going there to cultivate the harvest
Perhaps this was my cross to bear for wearing robes of artist

If woe was indeed me and I conceded
Then that would mean this bleed had me emphatically defeated
Static buzz of nothing much to lead me back in touch with me
So much ado, yet nothing much of such to do productively
It sucked to be me in this moment
Had tucked my chin so far within that I could see the guts of me
I could see them twisting, writhing
Couldn’t have been better timing
Had I left it longer, then I would have just prolonged my fate
Set adrift from bliss next time the tide’s in
Provided with the time and space to face my inner demons
Chase away my inner demons
Maybe play with inner demons while my odds were clearly evens
Lock away these thieving demons
Toss away the key

Mattered not to me how I proceeded
Anything to stem this heavy bleeding
Needed that epiphany, literally yesterday
Thus I raised my glass in toast
Howbeit, not to holy ghost
No time for sanctified verbose as close calls get no closer
With every last dash of composure, I made my address
Impressed upon an audience no less than ever present
Yet, never one time since the years of tenderness been tendered
Fender bent and damn near spent
I ventured to the fire pit
With quill ablaze, my destiny was never far away
Seemed no better time or space to write it
Excitedly, my soul enrolled to bankroll this lost cause
Inviting me to pause the dwindle, choose to kindle flame

Time had got away from me
Distastefully, I have to say
Reluctant both to make or break
Designs upon my soul to take
Been fast asleep while wide awake
With eyes wired shut and daybreak broken
Gestured token of a night depriving light to open wide again
Only this time, second sight supplied the third eye to my soul that kissed it briskly back to life again
Frisking hopes and dreams long since undone of tongue and seams

I raised a glass in hearty toast
My soul then raised its very own, reciprocating host
The ghost of yesterday embraced tomorrow in the present
Has been some time now since my last confession
And every time I pass a mirror, glance at my reflection
I raise a glass to all things passed and mastermind the ceremony
Only ever lonely when the soul is paid no alimony
Inner children seen, yet never heard
Found the grounds to hope profoundly, live out loud and ever proudly
Dared to dream a little dream and see it all around me
Always was within
The very same in every one of you
From host with most, I hereby close with toast of absolute
To rise, from fall
From soul to soul
I bid you all


Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

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