The Exits of the Ikea

The exits of the Ikea

Have been theorized but never found

In its halls

The moans of the forsaken

Make such a mournful sound

Yet when I see

Lingoberry preserves

I find joy is all around
Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

When Spring Overwhelms Me

The rain the sun

The bud the pollen

The flower the leaf

The fruit the seed

Spring undeniable

Again in its glory

Winter’s toll taken

The fallen both recalled

And unremembered

Now is the time of

The unencumbered

And new responsibility

Awakening comes slow

Then sudden

Like the flood of the

Mountain stream

White and cold with

Anger and breakneck

Speed, ice no longer

Controlling and slowing

Its pace, What did I

Believe yesterday?

It seems so distant

I am who I was, but

There is the reckoning

That maybe I was wrong

Believing the cycle broken

And the world to be colder

Than it once was

Winter is nothing if not

A capable illusionist

Claiming things broken and

The cycle ceased

Yet it comes again

The rain

The sun

The bud

The pollen

The flower

The leaf

The fruit

The seed


Just in time

Overwhelming me

Gene G. McLaughlin 2014

Gatsby Develops Android Apps

Gatsby develops Android apps

In the modern day

Daisy has a reality show

That’s a career in a way

Tom is the son of patent lawyer

Who went to Duke to play lacrosse

Nick is still choking on whiskey and words

As his body pays the cost

The world still glitters in the distance

The LED screen cuts down on the glare

It all seems so charmed

Until you finally make your way there

Nostalgia fills the empty

Where music fills the night

I’d say I saw them dancing

But the word fleeing seems more right

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

I Went Looking For A Story

I went looking for a story

Amongst the oceans

Sands and dirt

Instead I found

A world so overwhelming

I barely see it still as Earth

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

The Beat Knows My Name

The beat knows my name
Earbuds almost shake loose
Tonite the street knows
I ain’t going to stay the same
Going slip my neck outta this noose

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016


Worst thoughts of my mind

Suddenly arrive uninvited

Attempts to ignore only tightly loop and bind

Slowly making it harder to fight it

In the end I find

I must acknowledge it not losing sight

That which comes unbidden

Cannot be ignored away

Attempts to keep it hidden

Invite a longer stay

When the mind is twisted and ridden

Your rituals have no sway

Speak of it

Do not run

They fade away

When faced with light and sun

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

For those whose minds get away from them sometimes.

A Black Blindness

I awoke to a black blindness

In my bed

Fevered and sweaty I was

Filled with

Growing dread

Yet what I found

Was my cat sleeping

Upon my head

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

A Positive Attitude

The train passes a massive amount of blue lights lining both sides of South Boulevard.  I stare out at the cop cars as a large group of people are lined up outside an apartment complex with their hands in the air.  They fade in the distance as the train speeds on.  I look down at my phone.  The train slows up and stops at the Archdale station.  People exit and board.  As the train begins to move I look out the window again.  There is someone looking into my eyes.  It is a man running next to the train with a colorful soccer jersey on.  His face is heavily tattooed.  He looks at me with a slight smile as he keeps pace with the train.  After a bit he can no longer keep up.  He winks at me, makes a big smile and gives me a thumbs up. I look back and see two policeman running after him in pursuit.

“You know that guy?” a young woman asks who is sitting facing me on the train.

“No, don’t know him,” I reply.

“Well I sure like his positive attitude,” she says nodding seriously.  “World needs more positivity.”

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

Bless Your Heart – Then and Now

I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1998.  I had never lived in the South before and I quickly learned the phrase ‘bless your heart’ could mean any number of things both positive and negative.  It was the inflection or the timing or the smiling or sad face that accompanied the phrase that mattered more.  Often later there might be a moment that whoever spoke the words ‘bless your heart’ to you pulled you aside and spoke in a more intimate manner, clarifying their feelings or checking on yours.  Sometimes a quiet discussion was the best way to challenge someone or to console them.  1998 was a strange moment in Charlotte.  It had been a city forced to change by its own residents, by companies that moved there, by the Supreme Court, by all sorts of factors.  There had been far fewer quiet discussions, much more yelling in the years that preceded it.  From Julius Chambers presenting arguments for Swann vs. the Mecklenburg County Board of Education in 1971 to Pat McCrory fighting with theater director Keith Martin on Good Morning America over the NEA funded Angels in America in 1996 just two years earlier, the region was always in flux.

It’s been almost 20 years since then.  People rarely say bless your heart in Charlotte now and the city is ground zero for a battle over a law called HB2.  I don’t miss the phrase much, I never really figured it out.  I do miss people who spoke quietly and considered their words though.  They were skills that those people had learned the hard way.  They witnessed the failures of yelling.  People don’t hear you when you yell. They only hear the volume.  There is yelling everyday now. Sometime in the next few years we will acknowledge the fact that the yelling did us very little good.  We will still have LGBT people and evangelical people as neighbors.  They will still live some parts their lives differently than us and it still will not effect our lives much at all.  There will be times where we understand that treating each other with respect and dignity is for the best.  It will be agreed that all people are entitled to equal protection under the law. We’ll calmly iron out the details.  Those will be good times.  Then we will forget again.  We always do.  Then we will yell.  Bless our hearts.

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016

Devil In The Details

The devil is in the details

Yet God is found in the mistake

And the best laid plans of man pales

To when evolution and conditions awake

Gene G. McLaughlin 2016