Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 3



Anthony P. Martello


The Carrot Dangler

We desire to collaborate
Its policy corporates
We are obligated to earn
Its tendency is to spurn

It dangles carrots of many colors
until the donkey treads the ground
Sufficiently and Excessively
Meeting forecasts in the sky
Near the silver clouds
Evaporating spontaneously
As if painting a show for the gods on Wall Street
To please their splendor drafted
In the game of hopeful gains

And lost forecasts
Where the blame falls on
the worker digging
in the ground
seeking saturated soil
for the man in the tower
peering down on
the lesser steed,
sniffing and snorting
sensing years and years of petrified
zooplankton
enriched in black goo and refined energy
an enhanced maple syrup
for our hotcakes
steaming on the table of ours and our kin,
and kinship that leads to kind-ship
and in Hawaiian-a KineShip

A play unlike the natural tides of the earth and moon
Where surfers glide the surface
And dance on waves
Of mother nature’s gifts
Bestowed to us
Gravity in a box
Unraveled and Opened up for us
To enjoy
A present from the Maker

We rely on the farmer
And his crafty hand
To nurture the ground
Let water flow
And sunlight bless
Nature’s bounty
And harvest the crop
For us all

They rewrite the rules
As to balance the scale of production
To skim the cream from the crop
And bury the rewards
Often enticed by
The Officers will…

Under him, EGO grows

Expected Gains
Greater Goals
Over-Reach

We strive to partner in groups
To obtain our goals
For our own incentive and that of
The larger group-the community

They conspire to own the partner
The group and the goal
And to feed the ass
That chases
The carrot of various colors

When we work, we go to gather
carrots for the pot
To cook with butter and brown sugar
for the relish of our family
a strong sense of identity

One must ask,

Am I Dangler?
Am I Farmer?
Am I Worker?

Shall we sow these seeds of toil?

When you get beat down and tired,
Stop and observe nature
I urge you to watch Dragonflies mate
For when they join
Their shape is inevitable
Invincible
And most victorious




Our First Song

At first, we are cast out
into the wild sea
Hopeful that mom and dad won’t flee
But choose to attach us to their boats
That float and drift and drag along
Searching for land

Once ashore, we anchor in sand to mature and
yearn our shadow’s purpose
In the garden’s light
we stand
barefoot, where we toil
Scraping the sacred ground

Stuck by thorns
We mettle with nettle
Numbing the pain
We must endure
Until harvest time




Respire

Collaborate with me
As a whole body
Like a green organism breathing
Respiring…
Integrated with a cerebral halo
Reverberating above and around
Approaching homeostasis
Our branches reach out with
Stems and leaves that relay info
From one cell to the next

Where our ciliated leaves expire oxygen
our nose inhales a mystical vapor
our sporous chin protrudes
Breathing in and out
sipping bubbles from carbonated suds
That pop and float above the soil

We must chlorophyll our whole brain with a light transformation
Into glucose
A sugary delight
That signals every leaf on every branch to open up
And capture vibrational light
converting more energy into inspiring the whole tree

A sweet sap for the bark, branches, and phloem
Layers of chloroplasts stack a pigmented bunch of sponges
Absorbing rays attenuated to serene green

The halo of waves bouncing off our cerebral screen
Resonate an invisible aura that our eyes can’t see
But our sense of healing can overcome
When we respire as a whole
Our vitals infuse us with life sustaining
Elixir that drugs alone cannot provide

Approaching balance, we
Function as one, supporting every leaf on our tree
Fueling life, perpetuating wonder and pleasure at
a constant pace toward healing




Swish & Soup

At home:

On the corner of Noriega &
The Great Highway, the younger brother plays, stuck in the shadow
of his big brother, Aaron, a basketball star.

So, he takes to gaming-day and night,
setting up in the basement below,
putting on his own virtual gaming show.

He is surrounded by a shroud of fog
Condensed from a sea of an ill society…

Hovering in a haze-his face reflects flat purple-
off the screen’s bright display.

Little brother punches the keyboard
click, clack, dat-ta, tat
Da, da, click, clack, dat-ta, tat…

shooting to score points of mundane matter
raining back down on his empty platter.

But the points he scores are fuzzy
while the numbers are high, they read 33,126
Pixels fade, then radiate; fade, then radiate glow

Icons flip on
screens that snicker as light bulbs flicker.

He jerks the joystick left,
right, and straight.

He keeps on it-right, left, straight,
the score calculates…

Pixies play above pixels
Icons tower over top scores
Emojis smile, frown, and surprise
They groan, distort, retort in bright display
They dance on the screen, well, not really dance
But shift and blink and flash over and over again

On the court:

playing for the Dons, Aaron shoots, Swish, and scores!
Shoot, swish, and scores again-making points count!
Dons: 36, Spartans: 21
Rumbles reverberate from the roar of the crowd
Society cheers, jumping up and down
Wooden floorboards rattle, announcing to the city by the bay
a small civil-celebratory quake
is in play-escalating Aaron’s status to lord of the Dons

While-

Back at home, his little brother nibbles on Cheese Nips
Sitting safe and sound
Tapping the keys underground, twisting &
Clawing to tame the virtual beast
That bestows him by day and into the night

Little brother reaches for the joystick-but where is the joy?
Big brother shoots and scores some more…

Lost, he:

He swims in a social soup-

A whirlpool
Surrounds him…
Sending him friend requests
Warm and fuzzy, in theory.

He dips his toes in
From time to time
Swirling his feet in the psylicon-sand
Info-bytes bubble up
Unscrambling the code of the ocean

Virtually-

Rocking the mainframe
Causing tech-tonic shifts
Sending tsunamis across cyber continents
where societal storms blow across the surface, squalling
Wind waves of wonder

A cauldron of opinion travels swiftly
Comment to comment
From the rebound of the second information age
From the forest of the mainframe
Toward the tides of tyranny
Into the spam of software worn scandals
Eroding into pixie hard drive dust

Where gold assets are left behind
And Bitcoins pave the way
The glitter of silver and bits of gold construct its interior
But lose its value in the digital madness of zeros and ones
Where transmission sizzles hot…

Then Evaporates
To form precipitous clouds
Storing bytes and bytes
Of vapor
raining back down on the
Mad Hatters that catch the crazies
On their platters

Will he be ready for the wave?
Will it lift him up and throw him on his back?

Marking his individuality with a number
Branding his digital religion
Pinning him to a concrete metric-an infinite algorithm that never ends-like pi
An eternally repeating decimal,
Jack’s beanstalk in the sky

He will keep his wit-coins about him: personal, health, and financial
He won’t let it be his whim, but yours!

He cherishes his magic beans
So they may sprout in his sandy garden
With ice plants and beads of dew
Settling on salty ridden air-searching for
real soil and weeds that climb to his porchlight

He centers his CPU
Where its servers cook up big ideas
And spit them out like taffy

Chewable
Undeniable
Exposed

Will he have chips or wafers for lunch?

We urge him to drop the joystick
And take up surfing
Along the wispy shores and sandy dunes

He waxes up his board
With his viral shield and rides it out
into the frozen ice cream headache waves
Salty and swirly, sand saturates his hair
As he gets thrown onto the shore and into the dry sand

With numb fingers and an icicle nose, he realizes
He is not cut out for surfing waves in the ocean

So, he returns to his basement
To thaw out from the cold and escape
An unforgiving Pacific shore
Over OB’s dunes he shuffles home

He returns to drink that familiar grog with crunch wafers
And blue-green ribbon-strip jerky
He takes a sip of the that-oh, so familiar techno soup-feeling right at home.




KineShip

KineShip is
Hawaiian kine
Cali kine
isle Man
mainland
Wahine
bikini

a shakka sign
a unique design
two hands shaking
ship to ship

one of many cold sails
another curved and designed
for warm waves

above Mano
below Akua
with the wind
a mind bridge
sky surfing
a flat rainbow
C & H style
California beets
island cane sugar
sprinkled
on my cereal

Volkswagens & rusty Toyotas
road trips around the island
up and down the poppy coast
a golden blanket warming
mother nature’s bright bed spread

awaken our senses in spring time
waterfalls carve ridges into your
jagged volcanic mountains like
grooves in a giant chocolate Hershey's kiss
with ridges flaking off we watch them dig
back down to Pele's inferno
in the oven of the Pacific
a giant cauldron of coco
magma and lava
bubbling up forming
new earth every day
in nature's unstable
belly-button
where Kilauea
flows to the ocean

to chill Cali-style on the
Big Sur coast in a field of wildflowers
or to talk story wit da braddah's
at Pinetrees

watching the waves
roll along the beach
telling da kine and da
other kine
hello, Hibiscus,
all pau Poppy
Until next time Mahalo!




Mauna Kea

on her navel’s peak
they turn the lens around to
keep the Aloha



Anthony P. Martello: "I am currently pursuing my Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. Before this, I worked as a healthcare business executive, promoting medical devices to hospitals and served as an expert witness for the U.S. Dept. of Justice on the topic of patient safety devices.

"I write poetry and short stories as my hobby. I was homeschooled in Kauai and spent many years surfing Hawaii and the California coast. I earned a Biology (Pre-Med) Bachelors degree and a double minor in English & Psychology at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1998. Much of my inspiration in writing stems from my struggle with two different forms of arthritis and overcoming both of them in different ways. I am a surfer, a writer, and a dedicated family man with a wife and two daughters.”




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