Cry Freetown

a poem in three parts

by Todd A. Pownell


Part 1
Frozen Tears – dried & forgotten


Carbon, beginning of life

Crystallized elements calls out to you

Oh sad & affluent

Calling, crying, screaming from the mouths of children

Frightened and feared both

Fuel for the flames

Gasoline for a bleeding Freetown


Oh, but light dances & flashes within your stone of love

While bullets pierce the skin of the living

And knives sever hands


This magic carbon is indeed expensive

And why not

When your hunger is a social value

Cost becomes an ingredient

An empty status, unsatisfied


I ask, what is love

If emotions are bound up in carats

Is it petty perfections of angle, or urine yellow

Or stagnate abstinence


Go ahead, wave that hand

Let the brilliance of your symbol sparkle

Symbols all


I see hearts like bort, dead and opaque

Twisted, hardened, harder than that diamond itself

Useful only as a tool

Incompetent to reach the whisperings within its own breast

Let alone screams from across the sea


So, cry Freetown, cry

Give us those expensive frozen tears

They dazzle our aging bodies, make us laugh

Help us to forget our own



A dry ice

A hypnotic veneer luster

Coating our sorrow

Like goodbye kisses blown to the condemned

Worthlessness in drag, made up to look worthy, genuine


Your home

A city enslaved by fear, calling itself Freetown.



Beginning of all life

All that's left of us at death




Part 2
The Mechanical Artist's Dream


And who or what am I, to say this?


Salesman of science and value

Giving oil to the gears of the wretched machine…of misinformation


Oh no, no! – I don't give out lies

I never lie

But with ease, I can allow low and simple truth

To slide your way

With a smile… just doing my job… always with a smile


A cog in a mechanical wheel

Blending in



The difficult and higher truth

Just too much damned work



If I reject its motion

I am crushed between the gears

And so, I rotate, fluid, safe

Bending, blending

My small piece of inertia

Adding unto the whole


Excuses, stupidity

I am well learned in these

But far below my words

I am nothing but


A mechanical artist

"no-thing" worse than that


Although, since spoken

I'm partially broken


Maybe one day I'll crack free

Dream chance

To break free, to just slip away

Like grease squeezed from between the gears

Of a machine so larger than I

Still intact




Part 3
Redemptive meltdown – Dream cup of coffee


The great lie moves on

With chewing & crushing power

This grinding mill turns


Mixing forgetful laughs & enslaving fear

Into today's special blend

Flavor of the day

Our freeze-dried tears


Hand-picked, each bean & bullet

Each life valued

"Two-months salary"

Get yours today


So, let's brew some up –

Let the real meltdown begin


I'll take mine black as blood

With no laughs or fears –

But please, fresh and hot as sorrow


Tears – caffeine for the intellect

Suffering – smack for the soul

Let it seep into my vein

Redemptive mystery / handicapped joy


Release it, wash from our eyes

Open it up & let it flow

For god's sake



Cry, cry, cry & again cry


And mourn, mourn, mourn

Enslaved affluence


Weep for yourselves

Until freedom drips

So that you can smell the aroma of remembrance


Let the adrenaline rush of pain

Pave your ascension

Your tears proving the existence of a soul

Your torture reclaiming enigmatic decay


No more mechanical rationalization

Only confessional artistry remains

Bitter & good – blood and carbon – life and death


Best cup of coffee I ever had

For all that remains

Black grounds in the bottom of my cup

Carbon, beginning of all life

Carbon, all that's left at death



text ©2000 Todd A. Pownell, Feb-March 00'
illustration ©2001 Richard W. Hughes



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