Excerpt for Rhetorical Wanderlust by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



Tara Lynn Hawk

Copyright © 2018 Tara Lynn Hawk

Cover photograph of Fort Ross State Park

copyright © 2017 Tara Lynn Hawk

Neahm Private Publishing

San Francisco

All Rights Reserved.

Written and artistic work included herein may not be reprinted or reproduced in any electronic or print medium in whole or in part without the consent of either Tara Lynn Hawk or Neahm Private Publishing.


“Cassandra” originally published on Anti Heroin Chic

“Fire” originally published in Idle Ink

“Like I Give”, “Sologamy”, “Penultimate” and “Luna” originally published

on Midnight Lane Boutique

“Overworked Medical Examiner’s Assistant”, “Discordant Adagio”, “The Night So Bright Future (Currently On Hold)” and “On Viewing The Liffey At Midnight With The Ghost Of Modigliani”

originally published on Rasputin

“Tragedy” originally published on the Cabinet Of Heed

“Nimbus Jettison” originally published on Occulum

“Namaste” originally published on Wanton Fuckery Poetry

“Walk Of Light” originally published on the Journal Of Compassion

“The New”, “Talking In Italics” and “Lost Wonder” originally published on Poems & Poetry

“Step Away” and “Thames” originally published on The Poet Community

“Circus”, “Fear and Compliance”, “You Don’t Get That”, “Embellished Fate”, “A Legacy Too Late”, “Insatiable”, “Asylum Cemetery” and “After” originally published on Social Justice Poetry

“Lakota’s Death” and “On Consideration of Some Minor Suicidal Tendencies”originally published on Excavating The Underground

“Swerve”, “The End, Baby”, “Stairs of Stars” and “Cake” originally published on

for Kelly Jean

“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself”

Jim Morrison




On Viewing The Liffey at Midnight With The Ghost Of Modigliani

Lakota’s Death

On Consideration of Some Minor Suicidal Tendencies

The Silk Edge of the Wayside - for Lou Reed


Overworked Medical Examiner’s Assistant

Opiate Indolent

Discordant Adagio

The End, Baby

The Not Bright Future (Currently On Hold)

Stairs of Stars

Fear and Compliance




Nimbus Jettison

Step Away

My Second to Last Temptation

Time Management in Hell

Talking in Italics

You Don’t Get That





Like I Give


The New

Asylum Cemetery




A Legacy Too Late

Lost Wonder


Embellished Fate

Walk of Light



Perhaps You Should Shut Up


Symptom or Cause

Lost Years



Unmitigated darkness

Does not prevail

For very long

It being a mere apparition

A false fear

That the new light eventually


Our lives

We Merge and separate

With a hazy, almost mystic rhythm

A magick of no description describable

Each seeking

Something other

Than the other

The blood always wins

In the end


When the dark falls

Cassandra has left the building

Now you are on

Your own


Death is mountaineering

Traversing up my spine like Half Dome

With a heated desire to sit on my shoulder

And whisper into my ear

If only I knew ahead of time

How it all will flow

This experience

The necessary transition

Great unknown expanse

My soul swallowed

And then spit out

Onto another reality that may or may not be that real

My divinity intersecting the not predictable magick

The path of the sought out maybe eternity

Human deer in the headlights


And again

On Viewing The Liffey At Midnight With The Ghost Of Modigliani

If only he would push her in

Filthy water always runs


And it’s going, it’s going

it’s gone


Oh yes he knew

how to paint them

All blue and black

Lakota’s Death

They wanted me to believe she died peacefully

That it was her desire to slip

Out of this world

And into the next

Whatever that is or may be

The last great mystery

But I know better

I had known the Lakota of stark naked reality

The one behind the smiling mask of mediocrity

She wore with regret

Every time she went out into the messy mass of society

And I cry every night

For the treasure I have lost

Gone from me now forever

For I do not believe in the silly, dogmatic slavery

That so many find comfort in

After it’s pushed down their unquestioning throats

Again and again

I know that this here, this now

This mess of a planet when have manifested for ourselves

This is it

On Consideration of Some Minor Suicidal Tendencies

Do not tell me your evidence is clear

That these pills you throw at me

Are only 12 percent sure to compel me

To walk off a cliff

Proof given on a the endless white sheet of paper

Enclosed with many tiny words

I will keep my mood swings

And my pulse

The Silk Edge of the Wayside, Redefined

For Lou Reed

Shape shifter

Undefined ballet in smoke and clouds

Rocky edge of a softer shard

Sheathed in glossy hide

Beckons us

Slow inch forward

Language reinvented

Sharp and burning

A siren’s wail

Force of elegance and



You have to forge your own path

With at times painful introspection

Before you can declare it your truth

And then

Proceed to follow it

The lazy alternative being

Falling in with the rest of this ill society

Where buying some unnecessary thing

Is perceived as

An encounter divine

The worship of someone else’s name on a label

With an attached price tag

To boost their ego and bank account

They get out their little plastic cards

And present themselves like a worthy apostle

Claiming not to be confused

Which, I guess, is more or less true

Such things are easy when one does need to read the news

Not knowing what the hell is actually going on

Ignoring their addict neighbors

The homeless Vet with the sign on the boulevard meridian

Abandoned cats and dogs and destroyed wetlands

As long as one gets a decent parking space

And the Direct TV is working satisfactorily

Overworked Medical Examiner's Assistant

We are always shorthanded here in this

cold, dated building of tile and

sterile stainless

Made for function not visual harmony

Daily I see the unnecessary cruelties inflicted by one being onto another

Often for no reason at all

than the a rumpled twenty

The so-called “natural” deaths much fewer

I photograph mottled bruises and gaping wounds and pilfer

the blood from the cadavers

Not so meticulous tissue sectioning and the spending

of much time moving my work around, in and out and

around the fridge where some

unwanted bones stay for years

From the long window I see the park outside

Birdsong permeates these walls as formaldehyde

does my violent, intimate tasks

Life goes on amongst all these mortal cells in

slow decay

Last fall they cut the tall golden spruce down

Diseased, they said

Dead trees felled, dead

bodies incised

Opiate Indolent

The blood wedding complete

We lie silently

Next to one another

I more than a little proud

Of this conquest

Now being silently overshadowed

By reality waking

From its languid daily nap

Taken in a cave

Mouth offered one last time

More tart than inviting

You walk away

Discordant Adagio

I am a bit overwhelmed with suicide bombers and harp seals

clubbed and dog meat eating festivals and women stoned to

death for falling in love with the “wrong” man with homeless

veterans….or homeless anyone for that matter, kittens taped

into a box and thrown on the side of the road my family thinks

me a nut with my

hippie clothes and

library of beat poets

At least I am not that woman who locked her kids in the trunk

of her car so she could go shopping

The End, Baby

After they found her

They said she was such a nice girl

So helpful, so kind, pure

But I knew better

She would shoot up behind the gym

And sell a bit after

Wear no panties

Cakey, unwashed hair

Nails bit off in hasty grief

She’s watched “Sid & Nancy” a hundred times

She would go all the way

Would caress you but you could not

touch her

After she would be the

first to tell

She gave me the finger one afternoon

After I asked her how

her day was going

Sharp as a dull and dirty knife

In search of all attention somewhat dangerous

All her moments were madness

One can find a million reasons

To exit stage left

When you are lonely, marginalized

After and all the way till

the end

The Not Bright Future (Currently On Hold)

They will not admit us so we remain abandoned

and unclaimed

We’ll go ask the Church of Saint

John Coltrane to take us to the river

of Babylon once removed or some other river or stream we don’t care

Campfires to dance around in a mummified haze of indifference

Spines tingling, nail beds raw

Yes we will fit in

We have to

Stairs of Stars

And it’s another ten steps to the door and

I break apart, again

I rethink the situation


Give me some options not more bags

of useless items

Gathered in your haste to remake yourself over

in the image you painted

Late one night in light rain

Cats howling with the winds

Fear and Compliance

With a rage unmatched

In our lives

Until now

We sit back and watch

Too afraid to speak out

They tell us

There is beauty there for us all

In the television

In the magazine

And we believe it

Too afraid to speak out

Lost in the crowd

After all there is safety

In numbers

We take our daily run

On the wheel

Too afraid to speak out


My reverie reversed and my

Nervous breakdown erased by benzos and

Too much sleep

Our spiritual intimacy ended

By a more literal metaphor

You feel your drugs more legit

As they are housed in amber plastic

This package you place before me

I have had before

Take it back

Enshroud it with it’s own

Best case scenario


I tell her she is

Wasting her energies on non-specific enemy

thought processes

And she acts like she does not know what I am

speaking of

Plays all these silly games

Over and over


Now I am tired of her and her constant

barking at a false moon

Oh let’s do lunch

Claim no divergence

You feel yourself the genius no one wants to

break bread with

You are wrong


This street

Now quiet

All the fires having been

Put out

People dispersed

The smell of ash and dirty water

Now all over my toes

I feel lost and

Without a county

And I wonder

Will tolerance ever prevail

In my lifetime

Nimbus Jettison

With great intended care………,

let me start again

In hand shaky haste, I slid the package,

all that I had left,

through the slot in the cloudy glass.

That chunky glass they want you to think is bullet proof.

Behind the barely transparent smudge wall,

the man scrutinizes it with a jeweler’s loupe.

Taps it with a small file, snaps at it with his teeth.

“Not interested. Gold plate”.


Are you kidding me?

All these years I so zealously protected it.

Tenderly placing it in it’s velvet storage box.

Cleverly hiding it in a basket of dirty laundry

whenever I was going out of town.

I had held onto it for so long, cherishing it as

my most precious of possessions.

Keeping mine whilst my friends and associates had long discarded theirs.

All this time and effort, to find out it is just

base metal and gold paint.

F#*king halo.

Step Away

With loss bundled into my being

I exile myself and my Ovidian soul

Singing the songs of time as a burden

for those without a muse

As it fades


Into the cosmos

My Second to Last Temptation

This struggle I have put aside

Your created sin of the quasi divine and my somewhat

blasphemous backlash

Love, equated fear and death in sublime haze

Your god betrays my sensibilities

With credit card apostles

Seeking my repentance with

a high percentage rate

This profit being the most

elevated of holy pursuits

My free will and

your judgement thereof

Time Management In Hell

Just keep looking at that fucking plastic clock

The hands barely move here in this hell hole

Would you back off if I asked you to?

Time hides itself, yet we know it moves on

And leaves us all behind

We bought this bill of goods

We paid into this whole mess

Now we are stuck here


In desire of some wandering fulfillment

Talking In Italics

We speak now only in italics

Passing each other throughout

the day a hundred times

The familiarity, the recognition in habit lies

there underneath as it echos back to us

Our false tender mercies and shared memories

Not so clever distortions

Uncommon grounds

One of these days you will not

come home

And the cycle will begin anew

You Don’t Get That

Your own street number, front door, gate, garden

View of something other than piled trash, dark alley

A sanctuary, a nest, a home


You don't get that

Room to stretch out, companionship of a cat

Freedom from fear at 2am

You don't get that

You are here to cook our burgers, clean our floors

Shelve our groceries

We need you in a constant state of want and desire

It’s good for you, gives you something to aspire to

Work harder, be thrifty, do not drink

You should of stayed in school

Should of never fallen in love, had that baby

Dared to dream

Should of listened, done what you were told

Maintained your subservience

It’s your own damn fault, because now

You don't get that


On the threshold of a home

Well, I think not as I am

Still waiting, seeking in restless wandering

A Home sweet or not so very sweet needed as

I walk not alone but in isolation

Already a minor shaman lacking psychopomp on parade

Day to week to month

Lacking any entheogens

Weary and tired, I wish

Charon would float by and

Give me a bit of a ride for

At this point I fear that

Death may indeed be

The first, and last home

I will ever have


The beauty of the thing

Is that is it’s awful ugly

But you still cannot keep from looking

How can time

Be anyone's friend

In this time of passionless violence

And strategically placed, inherent terror

Choose your own side if you like

All that is on offer

Is a cage


The pressure

Imposed upon my sanity

Tires me as I

Watch the others

Gasping for air

As they try to tell

Their truth

For the very first time


I was never offered

A ride on the neon iguana

Now I am too tall

To ride that ride

Instead I toss dead stars

over the cyclone fence

Toast marshmallows with

a cigarette lighter

And wait for the bombs to start flying

Like I Give

Like I give a shit

About your gel pedicure

Hair extensions

Facebook friends

And that stupid purse with someone else’s initials on it

Fuck girl

Go on home

Read some Kerouac


Lucretius tells us that

all particulate matter swerves from

its presumed direct path

And brings into being all that is

Till it tires and


From time or disaster

As our own bodies dissolve

into the dark ground

With all other living entities

There is no grand design

No all encompassing plan

of some lofty, know-it-all being

Only the delicate unpredictable patterns

of atoms

Dancing about in ecstasy

Awaiting their rebirth

The New

Long hikes


Eat well

Show compassion towards animals

Spend less

Give unused things away

Reach out more

Clean out the junk drawer

All these things

The long lists

Goals, desires


But what

What are you doing right now

The Asylum Cemetery

Endless rows of cement circles

Number after number

The shut away, the forgotten

The undeserving

Society’s trash


Given no name after death

Only a hole in an unwanted piece of ground

Dug by his brothers

The only family he had

At the end


I grasp your hand as we

head to the river

Down Duke’s Street, through Trafalgar

We stay silent, side by side

The cold settles on us

Such a likely metaphor

As we both silently acknowledge that this will be

one of the last times

And it is, and

has been

well done


To the expansive flow third eye Go Pro mat I go I go

in pursuit of the path or road to the path the one with no toll but

to be just in this place right here under me right now at this time since that’s all I

really ever really have anyway right or hold or have right now.

Wake up. Expaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand.

I have organically acquired multiple gurus as that is or was

my intention whilst I eagerly manifest the truth that being my truth and

am in slovenly pursuit of my inner self in a kind of hatefully wonderful bipolar way.

My limits are non quantifiable along with my inner thoughts which are

most of the time collected in my decaf subconscious (at least the experienced side) as I

am rorschach shadowing the HOV lane of the eightfold path that in actuality only has ONE path the rest being ladders and chutes and elevated highways and is

that someone’s cell phone ringing?

My shared prana just one drop in the ocean of the transformed manifestation as I

breathe hold release inhalation exhalation and thought awareness releases cleansing

my spinal energies and it’s rooted and well established and

why is always so f#*king cold in here it’s like a hospital!

Now be a little taller the intention being to lengthen the spine expand

and open up and breathe then return to the breath follow it in and out and in out in and

oh my God look at her feet dammit girl get a pedicure!

Pushing the breathe into the back and cycling down and

you surrender to the moment to the now to the process

in honor of my divinity and those whose divinity came before ours

and seriously where is the instructor this pose has gone on for way too long my

hair is in my face is it over yet holy crap where is she?

Transition slowly now to your favorite side and take two breaths here gently gently pushing up through the chakras as the breath exhales over your heart honor this time honor the self and the teacher in all of our energetic collective connectedness and Namaste it’s 6:15 hell yeah that means forty five more minutes of happy hour prices!


Caring to know

Little to nothing

Aspiring only to cake

Free beer and a ride down

The highway

Using the dogmatic conception

Of heaven

As pharmaceutical


A Legacy Too Late

The good disappear

And no one speaks of it

A type of sanctioned poison covers it

Waiting to be released but for the key of a syllable

Hearts burn quick and minds stay numb

They shuffle back and forth each day

With buried acknowledgement

There is no comfortable silence

It screams and moans with sweat and abuse

Then leaves them to die in loneliness

With no solemn bagpipe accompaniment

Elusive relax evades the tourniquet

The new normal

Lost Wonder

Each day a life

Trapped but breathing on

it’s own

Faint lines drawn on the perimeter

Dust a tulip trees grown

In the ash and wild

Haze precedes the dark

The lines no longer visible as

you step out

Further along

Grateful for the created distance


Silently stepping out

Into the this world each morning

In sleep rumpled clothes and with

An expression intended to

Ward off all takers

A tiresome daily ritual

Unwanted but necessary

There exists a rather

Infinite sorrow that hangs

About outside

Like a toxic cloud in search

Of its own forever home

Enveloping crash values

I reject

We proceed to show ourselves

But only for a minute or two

Before retreating back

Into the tiny bricked up

Private havens we created

With bare hands now

Wrinkled from the sun

And distress

Mourning the loss of

Our naked heart companions

Forests of well aged trees

Cherished books and

The spontaneity of a pure life

Lived through art

We await for our turn

To join our friends

Embellished Fate

These things

They insist on referring to as


Germinated and formed in your

own mind and with

your hands

They seek to take a piece of and

tax in some medieval manner

Leaving you in turn with nothing

Leaving you to your fate

Presented to you on some gold

colored platter

An unwanted gift from the court

of Agamemnon

Send it back

Walk of Light

I will take off my boots and place

my bare soles on the earth

In a restless gratitude

For all that has passed and

All that is on promise

A softer walk

From now on

With all beings

A shared life energy

Know how much I cherish

How I hold amazement

Every waking moment

This my path

To be shared


We spend and hoard

Ourselves into blind oblivion

Take a pill for any minor discomfort

Seek the product that will make us new

Beautiful, acceptable


Disregard our mortality

Aspiring permanence

Take more than we need

Realizing too late

Our legacy in

the young


And when you fall

Seeking solace

Then you will remember

my phone number

I will not answer

My loyalties now exist

On a different plane

Free, cherished

Perhaps You Should Shut Up

How freely you swing

On your verbal trapeze of

Hypothetical justifications

Headlong into the blind fissure

Of the unknown and your unknowing

Such effortless movement

Quiet cool swoosh

I feel the breeze of your trail of

Desperate forestalling

On my forehead

As I turn away


As the words disperse

In a slow staccato

Onto the page

Each being a little death

I suffer willingly

My mind clearer and more relaxed

Now resting in an ecstatic state of

nebulous dreaming

Symptom or Cause

Is hate the cause

The symptom

Obtuse restlessness and violence

The turning away of those marginalized by

the frustration on the crest of a wave

Harsh tidal current in choppy, perpetual motion

Lash and strike

No fluid elegance

Those who build riotous curtains

of self imposed ignorance

To protect their private worlds

Keep their cores pure and untouched

Discernment in the storage cabinet

No more Heroes required here on this, the longest road

of inherent separation ever built

Restrictions, evictions, sets of numbers

Letters strung out, grouped

Using a false science created

To keep those in charge

In charge

To feel wanted, included

Of value

Is that the symptom

Or the cause

Lost Years

When I became

Reborn, new, free

I stopped crawling and looking away

My subservience I discarded and

I forfeited my compromised,

in some eyes, character

Three years gone

In a place toxic and starkly uncultivated

The lunatics running the asylum

They tried to compromise my person

Make me weak and tired

And unwilling to fight

Full of fear and never ending regret

When I walked out the door

On my own

And my mind

had more acquired knowledge

than ever

I never looked back

You see

the shame

No longer keeps me from anything

My heart has grown

A liner of cement

And you can

Take it

or leave it


You can keep

That manufactured peg self you have inside you

The one that fits all of the holes

They tell you to fit into

And now

You try to force me

To jettison my sensibilities

So you can be more comfortable

Now I will

Light myself on fire

And walk away

The ties undone

For I have experienced the others

The ones with deeper expanding

Minds ablaze with ideas nonconforming

From the library of God

And no set of rules

There is no schedule

To our convergence

The mystical is at play and adds to our psyches

Even more desire and longing

Our futures are ours alone

Fate our friend

Time our handmaiden

Tara Lynn Hawk was born in northern California and has traveled and lived in Europe, the United Kingdom and the western United States.

Her first chapbook of poems, The Dead, was published in 2017. She focuses on writing contemporary poetry in the free verse, confessionalist tradition. Her varied influences include Lew Welch, Ginsberg, Montaigne, Rumi, Baudelaire, Sexton, William Carlos Williams, Lucretius, Shakespeare, Elliot, Wolfe, Yeats, Heaney, Patti Smith, Blake, Panayotopoulos, Akhmatova as well as many of today’s active poets. In addition to poetry, she writes flash fiction, humor, critique and film treatments.

Rhetorical Wanderlust is her second volume of poetry.

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