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Leland Waldrip

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Member Since: Aug, 2001

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Popular Poetry (Drama)
  1.  Life on Earth

Tokens Of Life
by Leland Waldrip

Saturday, July 12, 2003

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With some folks, violence is just beneath the surface.



On a lonely street late one summer’s night,

A man caught up to me under a streetlight.

“Your money or your life!” he gruffly said,

Brandished a knife, nodded his head.


“You can have it,” in my voice a trepidation,

I handed him my wallet without hesitation.

But haltingly said, “Money is a man’s life,

Sort of. For example, take your knife —


Someone spent time the ground to explore,

Another spent time in a hole digging ore,

Hauled it raw from where it was mined,

Smelted iron, and with carbon combined,


The steel foundered into integrated blade,

Handles attached and polished for trade,

Then someone bought it and several more,

Hauled them on the road and put in a store


Where you admired it, made it your own,

Paid the owner, then he paid on his loan.

All these people gave a bit of their lives,

Just so you could have one of their knives.


Time is money, and also is life’s essence,

One for the other is one of life’s lessons.

So, that’s what money is, a dollar or a dime,

Your life you trade for a token of your time.”


The man paused, looked at his shiny knife,

Said, “I really didn’t know that money is life.

I’ll give back your wallet and the dollars too,

But for time spent listening, I’ll take a few.”


He removed a bill, I could see it was a ten,

Returned my wallet, still his knife glistened.

He hesitated. I could see his jaw line bulge,

Then he sighed aloud, a thought to indulge.


“Won’t need this again, whatever life brings,

You take the blade to keep with your things,

I’ve decided not to cut you with this knife,

“So treasure it well, it’s a token of your life.”


He walked, happy for the ethics lesson.

I waited, fingering my Smith & Wesson,

Thought, how ironic, his trading me the knife

For a lousy ten dollars, the token of his life.


Rappahannock Books
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Reviewed by OnepoetGem *the Poetic Rapper 7/15/2003
S&W works everytime. maybe this wasn't suppose to be funny but at the end I laughed. There have been many times that I was facing fear from another but the other didn't know the fear I had waiting on him. I too had my hand inside my pocket, finger on trigger hoping I wouldn't have to pull it. Moving and funny at least to me. G-ism/
Reviewed by jude forese 7/12/2003
when i was younger a similiar scenario happened to me... with a knife to my throat, i talked him out of it... he then returned my money...
Reviewed by Zenith Elliott 7/12/2003
Leland, this was awesome I am speechless! GREAT WRITE!!! ~Z~
Reviewed by E T Waldron 7/12/2003
What a great write ,with twist of deadly recompense!! Wow, Leland!;-)
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 7/12/2003

i am in awe of this...what an unexpected twist! well done *clapping*

(((HUGS))) and love,

karla. :)
Reviewed by nevine Al Seidi (Reader) 7/12/2003
So alive, dramatic like a one-act play complete with poetic justice.. amazing, Leland!
Reviewed by Gwen Dickerson 7/12/2003
Nice, interesting write Leland, full of insightful tidbits. Enjoyed!
Reviewed by Robert Blackwell (Reader) 7/12/2003
Wow...what a plot twist. It's too bad that ciminals have yet to learn that lesson, though.
Reviewed by Andy Turner (Reader) 7/12/2003
I never point my wepon less I love her:)))

Great write, we can't have knives or guns here..
Reviewed by Christine Morell 7/12/2003
A very gripping story, Leland, written to your usual high standard. Excellent.
Reviewed by Lisa Hilbers 7/12/2003
WOW! This was far more than exceptional. I was crying and didn't even realize it until my tears hit my hand. Wonderful lesson in this, beautifully written. Thanks Leland,,~SH~
Reviewed by Boukes Tinka 7/12/2003
Okay OOOpsie it should be "Always...remains
Reviewed by Leland Waldrip 7/12/2003
The real punch lines are buried. In case anyone missed them.
So, that’s what money is, a dollar or a dime,
Your life you trade for a token of your time.
Reviewed by Andre Bendavi ben-YEHU 7/12/2003
I could see the live images as I read through the "Tokens Of Life". It was like a motion picture all through the reading.

"Tokens Of Life" came to reconfirm that this twenty-first century is becoming Poetry's best crop.

Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 7/12/2003
What a lesson.... wisdome....saved you!!
Just shows you by talking tooo much can also get you OUT of trouble......but in my case I always get INTO trouble!! because I alway say the wrong thing......hehehe...But this reains a very good write Leland!!

Reviewed by Trish - The Trickster 7/12/2003
Wonderful story!
Reviewed by Bianca Boonstra 7/12/2003
Reviewed by Kate Clifford 7/12/2003
Great story!
Reviewed by Katy Walsvik 7/12/2003
Oh, my! Not til the very last word did I realize how completely glued I was to this.. well, yes, the meter and rhyme are finely done.. and the thoughts, the story, held me rapt entirely.. what a smashing write! katy.
Reviewed by Ted Sheridan (Reader) 7/12/2003
I kept waiting for that punch line, I never point my weapon at someone unless I am prepared to kill them, and I was a Boy Scout.
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader) 7/12/2003
Wild ride here, albiet a bit fanciful. In real life you would have most likely had to use that little Smith & Wesson.
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