Monday, 31 March 2008

Jeff Tweedy- lonely solo in the dark

what became of him

What Became of Her (mystery in verse)

I wondered
what became of her
she left without a show
and if she meant
to leave that way
and where she had to go
the house is on the way
she'd be sweeping every day
and one time waved hello
like someone that I know
I wondered
what became of her

I saw it on the front page
her family had no clue
they offered up a ransom
for the whereabouts of Sue
So Susan was her name
and sweeping was her game
and without another thought about
the fortune or the shame
i made it my intention
to find out
what became of her

they boarded
up the windows
and posted not to go
into the house of mystery
along this busy road
the path out to her mailbox
she swept clean when it snowed
I couldn't help but ponder
was it taxes that she owed
and wondered
what became of her

The brightly colored awnings
had faded over time
the swing that kept it's secrets
was caked with soot and grime
the front steps creaked apologies
the porch was less than kind
it swallowed this unwelcome guest
but left the clues behind
and lying on my back
beneath the rotten shack
recovering my breath
my sweeping brush with death
I discovered what became of her

This was not her body
and this was not a bone
for down there in the darkness
quite sure I was alone
back on my feet I felt
the sudden urge and knelt
and prayed a prayer of thankfulness
that I had not a welt
but knew what had become of her

I grabbed then for my cellphone
and dialed 911
I knew that Sue was resting
where dialing is not done
that she was in a 'better place'
than where I had my knee
otherwise, the swing above
would surely be dirt free
and that's what had become of her.

I broke it to the family
said not to be depressed
She's "somewhere else, a better place"
but they were not impressed
they billed me for the porch repair
and sued me for the rest
I could not argue for my side
that Sue would not agree
but understood their pain and let
the burden fall on me
I'd guessed what had become of her

Still I'd wonder what became of her
and where she laid her last
and was I right in thinking
the ghost of Sue had passed?
And then one day, I heard that
she had surfaced in Toledo
she'd gone to meet a relative
who's name was Cousin Vito.

She'd fallen for the butcher there
who owned a nice estate
and there they made their fortune
putting meat on every plate
And back home folks were stunned
that sidewalk sweeping Sue
would live to find another life
Ohio then, who knew
she'd chosen what become of her

So I was right, then, all along
a better place would do
a home with love and laughter
a path to sweep with Rue
and a porch which welcomes everyone
with a swing which carries two
Toledo's bestest butcher
He was swept away by Sue!

And that's what had become of her.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Tift Merritt- Stray Paper

Tift Merritt- Supposed To Make You Happy

Tweedy - Bob Dylan's 49th? Beard

Wilco- Someday Soon

Stevie Wonder- Overjoyed

drama in artificial life

She's screaming at the top of her lungs. Blood curdling Rage. She HATES him, she screams. She doesn't hate him. She hates that he lies and ignores her when she needs him. "I don't know WHY do I even BOTHHHHEER WITH YOU"? My question for the past 4 months. He had told me he didn't HAVE a GF. I suppose that's how he feels. She's not his GF. Not the way he sees it. She should ask what am I to you? Not that she doesn't already know. That's where the scream originates from.

That's it. Disengage here.

From my own experience and nothing else I have concluded that a woman who throws tantrums with the force of a two year old, must not have received the usual demonstrative symbols of affection in infancy and toddlerhood and beyond. While it could be the result of all kinds of mental or emotional disturbance brought on by chemical imbalances, PMS, alcohol, drugs....Hungry angry tired lonley, I think there's a root of bitterness in this kind of thing. A very deep painful wound which is reopened when love is withheld. Even if just perceived that way.

There is a certain awareness a girl develops when she grows up watching her father treat her mother well and visa versa. Obviously children learn what they live. There have been numerous studies which conclude that babies need to be held in order to thrive. To grow physically, they need to be held and hugged and kissed and spoken to with loving words. I believe this extends to the mental, emotional and spiritual growth as well. As for little girls, as they grow they need all this AND special words and memorable experiences with the first man in their lives. And if not from Dad, from some man or men. They need to learn what is normal and acceptable. Otherwise the jackasses of the world will confuse them later on. Take em for a ride and throw em off a cliff emotionally. Same thing for boys. Somebody's got to be there to point the way, and not just with words. Loving Interested Actions.I guess that's what fathering is about. Guidance and direction and example. Sad that sometimes the Dada can be the Jackasses.

Of course I could be wrong. I recognize that there are all kinds of other situations in which little girls grow up ( fatherless daughters, part-time dads, abusive or silent dads) and in each family there are dynamics which affect the life long patterns of response and clearly a girl who has to deal with men in life benefits from having a healthy baseline of information and experience.

Anyway, I am talking about 'Nobody's Princess' here, and how we will try to fill that void for the rest of our lives, and sometimes come to a place where we just give up!
The fight is still in there...the needs exist but you just won't allow a man to get that close. If the woman could just read a couple of books on the subject, such as " He's just Not that Into you, or Make Up, Don't Break Up, or The Blessing" she might be able to gain some understanding into the reason for her pain. Learn how to avoid these situations. Stop being so dam furious when she is turned away. I could be wrong. I am wrong a lot, but there is something about going home again if at all possible, to get that blessing which hopefully will restore emotional freedom. Otherwise, the next guy has to be able to give unconditional love or at least be able to calm and convince the damaged little girl that she is loved beyond words. I believe the tantrums are wearying. Red lights flashing. Train is coming. As a imperfect person but someone who considers herself a Christian, I can be just as nasty. I've got ALL kinds of miserable baggage and the scriptures to support my side. But that's a two way street if you are with a bible believing man. For example, there is a proverb in the bible: "Better to dwell on a rooftop than with a contentious woman."

I've heard that one before. Men who are well versed in the Bible have the 'good wife' scriptures ready and in position for the launch. It's usually in defense. To me, any man who whips out a scripture, which conveys my failure as a woman, is a monstrous jerk. Proverbs 31 for example. The virtuous woman. I TRY to be virtuous. I DO! Or Ephesians 5, for the married couple. Telling a man to love his wife as his own body, and the wife, to see to it that she respects her husband. It's really beautiful. But in a fight, especially during PMS,I can see myself saying, "How convenient to minimize the part about loving the wife as your own body..." That would be followed by some derogatory name like ' you little worm' or 'peabrain'. This is why I am not WITH anyone. Who could stand me? Well, it's not all the time. And I am genuinely sorry. But scripture ought never be shot like an arrow or dagger from your holier than thou back pocket.

So it goes on. I find the most distant area upstairs to get away from it. I hate hearing this. Meanwhile he's heard this all so many times that it means nothing. He knows how to quiet her down. Just another fight. Muffled voices. Doors slamming. Sudden silence. Taking it outside. Good. After several months I get it. This is the norm. But I don't want to live this way! Look, guy downstairs, I just want to live in peace and quiet. Happy noises are OK here, but this screaming her brains out is tiring.

that's it. the rest is just me over thinking about marriage. Feel free to disengage.

So this is what it's like in those 'dysfunctional relationships'. Oh old life. This is a babbling brook of a post. A stream of consciousness without any direction but leading out to Home Depot hopefully before it gets dark.

I guess where emotions and cycles of abuse are involved it's hard to end things. Worse to let em drag on, but this is how some couples live. I used to live in a similar situation, only married, and from the inside, you can't really see your way out of it. I would tell him I was going to leave one day and he would say, "WHEN? You keep telling me that. Come on, I'll help you pack." And one day, he did. I can laugh about it now.

I had been saving up items from yard sales and off the side of the road and putting together a room down in the basement which I referred to as 'the cottage'. It was my therapy. A place of refuge and hope. Maybe it gave him hope that I would actually leave one day because he never complained about it. Actually complimented me on my little 'Irish cottage' down there.

Looking back I laugh because I had put it in front of the washer and dryer where I could have some peace from the tyrant upstairs while doing laundry, which is always a comfort. Since moving out of there, I've had to haul laundry to a laundromat. As for my ex, he moved back home with the folks and is situated right near the washer and dryer and is very content in his 'Italian Cottage' basement.

We all learn stuff about ourselves from each relationship and my marriage taught me that I am a pill to live with. A regular pain in the ass. Disorganized. Lazy. Somewhat Anti-social. Creative. Friendly. Non demanding of depth. Superficial and unreachable romantically. Maybe. Funny in a strange way, and virtually unaware of what it takes to reach a man emotionally. Not a clue. I have some ideas from books. Like Lincoln. But the main thing I learned was that I needed someone who had very few expectations and lower standards so I could far exceed whatever they were and succeed as a wife. I also need warm conversation, affection and to be appreciated for my cooking and nesting skills. That's it. Anyway, we're friends now (after 3 years he came through financially during a very severe crisis thank you), but back then I would lose patience with his behaviors and become a screaming banshee, soon reduced to tears, and scratching my head, wondering what the heck he wanted and why I was with him.

I'd run off to heal, but always come back and try again but each time there was more distance and less trust. It became clear within a few months that we were in trouble. One insulting and humiliating episode after another without love. After a period of a few years I sought help from counselors and therapists. We attended a marriage seminar. Useless. I owned several marriage books but had no desire to read them. There was no music. No color. No hopes or dreams or anything. It was just an empty desert of pain and misery with bursts of thunder and lighting and a lot of rain and then nothing. I blame myself for pushing for marriage based on our friendship, without realizing how lame I actually was at deeper relationships. He just made it easy to avoid depth, because he didn't require anything more than what I am. He accepted me as I was and that was that. Let's go to a movie. Unfortunately I had NO idea of what I was getting into. We really do much talking, the man and I. That was fine by me. I talked to people all day. Give me a break. Anyway, when things weren't good I would leave the scene. I always did run away from noise and when I was rejected or treated badly, that was my way. It still is. Hello Goodbye. Never bond and you never really hurt, as I later realized.

I don't want to discuss our faults here. We were both sorry for the way we treated each other and realize that we were just not a good marital match. Not so sure how one goes about determining these things. Sure would have been helpful to have some premarital counseling prior to making that decision. It was my decision made during a time of duress and he just went along with it. I tend to create smoke screens to keep from dealing with life's anxieties and the wedding was a nice example of that. I had no knowledge of the dynamics of my own choices. You just do whatever you know at the time. I tend to stay in the mediocre for so long and then get bored and either run towards the unknown or perceived change or flee from it. Nothing big that happens in my life is gradual. It's always a suddenly thing. I don't go out with someone for so many years, get engaged and plan a wedding like most people. I wish, but seem to become impatient. He had been hanging around for a few years ( knew him from the age of 15, we had dated on and off until I was 25) and thought he loved me. I felt the same way. Romantic notions? There were no romantic feelings. We weren't involved physically. The lack of interest should have been a sign but I tend to miss the big ones. Love is a strange thing I had yet to realize. People I knew thought this this ultimate fairy tale. "He's always loved you!" For me, marriage was a sensible thing to do. 35, single. Nothing else going on. Why not a husband, sex, memories and children? Seemed right to me. It's like I was Dr. Spock of the Starship Enterprise. Logical, Jim.It's not like I didn't like the man. I liked him very much. He was my date on date night and never thought i was fat or ugly. I liked the way he cleaned. And raked my leaves! What more could a girl want? Of course I loved him. He was good to me. Respectful. Kind. Generous.

And so, we went along with it. Rode that tide right up to alter, not knowing much about how it would be. Seemed right. Who needs passion? What is it anyway? Strange how I had lived most of my life not knowing what I needed, or how to get away from what I didn't need. An emotional crippled idiot. It's like letting a drunk drive. People who can't feel stuff shouldn't be jumping into marriage because it's's gotta be THE ONLY THING YOU CAN DO BECAUSE YOU JUST CAN'T STAND TO BE APART and you just gotta BE with that person. Oh the grief we caused each other is a sad thing. Divorce is a sad thing, though we didn't seem very upset at ours. He took me out to Friendly's for lunch afterward. The whole 2 years we were separated there were no scenes, no asking me to come back. He had taken a roommate in who never offered him a dime, and still no tears or fits. 5 months after the divorce he blew a fuse over my dating someone. I chalk that up to his male ego. Of course I was supposed to remain dateless forever.

I guess it happens in some of these arranged marriages, right? Couples who don't know each other fall in love.

But you know, even when it seems right, couples still have to learn to get along, to learn how to fight constructively, to look past certain personality traits, and to know when and how to confront behaviors which can kill a potentially good thing. There's gotta be something there. Passion. Trust. Humor. Touch. Communication. Shared experiences and common interests. Gentleness and understanding of differences. Helping to lighten each other's load. You know, being good to each other. Putting the other guy first. At least half of the time. Blessing each other. Sticking by and having each other's back. Anyway...

Here is interesting thing I learned recently and actually from a guy I met. The more understanding and tolerance you have, the more the other person is supposed to love you, right? Wrong. Actually he told me that the more you give a person, the more you love them. The more they give, the more they love you. You can't GET love by loving and doing. Love is never bought with gifts time affection or assistance, though we each have our needs and to meet them is important as doing so builds trust and respect. Right? And a certain love comes out of respect. But to try to use understanding and meet needs in order to GET love is simply manipulation. You can't force anyone to love you. Why would you want to? Maybe because it's a desire we all have and sometimes we think we know how to get it.

I recently read that in order to find an emotionally available person to connect with, you have to be emotionally available. Otherwise you hook up with emotionally unavailable people, and push them into these pseudo relationships.

I guess if you are happy with that sort of person it works well. You can actually fall in love with a person you can't reach emotionally. It can work fine if you can't be reached either.

What happens when enough people hurt you and leave you feeling bad about yourself. You lose faith and trust in Human love and fall into idolatry of various types which counterfeit relationships.

I like the idea of friendship. It allows for coming and going without the expectations, and has a chance to grow into something more.

I think it's a good starting place but without and that special chemistry which can spark into something passionate and exclusive, it's just a friendship. Without communication which is able to resolve the inevitable conflicts in a respectful healthy way which draws the couple closer in the end, it is best left right there.

Friday, 28 March 2008

what to do

I called the management. The carpenter, Joe answered. He said there were landscapers all over the place yesterday and seemed shocked that anyone would bother to let themselves into someone else's apt. He said the owner was coming back from Florida on Monday and that I should call back then to discuss my concerns as well as the leaky bathroom ceiling. If he can't do anything to make me feel more secure, I think I am going to move. That's alright. It'll all work out.

you know you're losing weight when...

your underwear leg holes are all stretched out and you think you've been putting em on wrong...or someone else has.

Crack Dealer's Testimony

Thursday, 27 March 2008

someone's been here...

I used to think my neighbor was a tad paranoid. This was someone who lived across the street from my old house. She lived alone and one day came over to ask if I had seen anyone around her house while she was at work. I told her that I had not, and asked for details. She told me that she suspected that people were coming over to her house when she was not there, breaking in, and partying. Partying? Yes. Nothing was missing but a clasp on one of her necklaces was broken. No other indication, though the knob appeared scratched, it could have been done with her own keys. No real evidence of tampering. Hmm.... I told her that I would keep an eye out and let her know, but doubted anyone had been over there. After all, who would go into someone's house just to hang out and try on jewelry?

Well I had a strange experience today. I came home and in my latest routine, left my shoes at the door and slid down the hall in my socks. I figured this would be less noisy for the neighbor who sleeps down there. Nice man. I don't want to bother him more than necessary since he already told me that he can hear EVERYTHING up here. He works nights, so chances are he was asleep just under this room. I slid down the slope into the kitchen ( the house is very old ) and dropped the mail on the table, had a snack before heading to bed. I've been taking naps after work lately which is really nice because usually I just keep going until i drop off at 11 or midnight. So I woke up and went into the darkened bathroom, and nearly fell into the bowl, as the seat had been left up. Geez Louise, I'm running a truck stop. Ah, I don't like this. If they were in my bathroom, they could have been in my bed! Rummaging around in my drawers! Ew. Some old creepy dude in my stuff. I am genuinely creeped out.

I sure hadn't been cleaning any toilets this morning, and wondered if the manager had been in the apt. Last time I had some problems with the toilets, I had permitted the guys to come in here to fix it but would never expect anyone to be in her when I am not home otherwise. I might have to move out of here. This is too weird. One guy can hear everything and now this. Toilet seats being left up.

So then, I came in here and turned the computer on and discovered that the speakers weren't working. I checked the wiring and the one in the back had been pulled out. I fixed it, but still couldn't get them to work, at which point I checked the computer and discovered that the sound had been muted.

All vely vely stlange...indeed. I'll change the locks tomorrow.

Ken Lee

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Forest Grump

"Take these out to the woods, DJ. Throw them out there for the deer." My mom, his grandmother, handed my nephew a pile of greens, romaine lettuce which I had used as a bed for the antipast.

DJ hesitated, not wanting to be bothered with a chore on Easter.


"Come on, DJ". I pushed him to come outside with me and show me the 'arrow' he had discovered in the woods beside his house. I took the lettuce from my mom and started for the door.

"Nah. The arrow is too deep in the forest."

My 8 year old nephew had taken a picture of it the day he spotted 'the arrow' and put it on the framed computer screen. I think the arrow was nailed there years before and pointed the way to something yet to be discovered.

" Oh come on. Besides," I lied, " I discovered something out there the other day you might want to check out." I had no idea what I would find out there but I was sure I could find something in the woods which would be new and exciting to him. For the past couple of years I've noticed the kid developing a certain smugness, an attitude. This kid could use a fresh new discovery.

" What... What do you want to show me? I know everything out there."

" It's a secret."

So he grabbed his shoes and jacket and we walked out to the side of the house, across the driveway and into the woods. We were not far from the house when we tossed the lettuce out for whatever animals would come along.

"We're getting deep into the woods. I don't go this deep."

" DJ, look, you can still see your house. You're not that deep into the woods."

" Okay, but what did you want to show me?"

I had no idea, but decided to walk a little further into the woods just to prolong the element of adventure and discovery.

" You know, actually, there's spider webs out there Aunt Gina. Lot's of spiderwebs.
and I don't go this deep in the woods!"

" I'm sure there are some big spiders and all kinds of bugs and beetles and mice, rats... and probably a lot of tics. Good thing you don't hang out here too much. Make sure you are checked for tics if you do."

" There's nothing here. I'm going back."

" Wait...listen. Do you hear that?"

" Just the cars on the road."

"Hey, Deej, you know what? Long before your house or the road was here, there were Indians living around here.This land is ANCIENT! These trees look old but they are young compared to the ground which has been here since God made the earth. And the pine needles here are at least a couple of feet thick. Now look, There's a rusty old soda can and a beer can someone threw back here a hundred years ago..."

" Yeah, so what?"

Useless information. I was losing him. He was expecting something big. An actual artifact. For some reason we never considered looking for 'the arrow'. I guess he thought it was deeper into the forest than he wanted to go at that moment. I don't know but I was on a mission here.

"Litterers. It's not good. This would make an indian cry (I didn't actually say that but I should have) Somebody changed the way it looks back here. Polluted God's Country. Yuck. Always bring your trash out of the forest."

" I KNOW, but come ON. There's nothing BACK here!"

" ...and here is an old Birthday Balloon that someone had a long time ago. The wind got a hold of it and blew it into the woods. Can't really blame that on anyone. It got away from someone. Now it's decorating the woods."

" Yeah, so what? Big deal. It's garbage. I knew all that. Come on I don't come out this deep. I'm going back. There's NO treasure back here, Aunt Gina. "

"Hey. Your house is right there. And there's the road. You are not lost in the woods. I would not allow you to get lost in the woods. Wait....Hey....see the bottom of this tree?"

Two feet of the bark from the ground up were missing.

" Yeah."

" It looks like a bear ate the bark."

" Right. I don't think so, Aunt Gina."

" Something ate it. It's GONE. But where? Look at the wood under there. Sompins been eating at it. Check it out...this old tree here is dead. Dead as a doornail. But still standing."

We looked up and could see that it was clearly dead. Long gone. It was about 50 feet high but most of the branches were gone.

" DJ. This is what I want to show you. See this dead tree? It's not safe for it to be standing here. It could fall on a person. Or an animal. I'm gonna push it over."

" NO way!"

" It's coming down. Yeah, move back toward your house. Keep walking back until I tell you to stop."

I waited until he was a safe distance away before a started pushing on the trunk.

"Okay. Stay right there, DJ. This is gonna be quick."

The tree gave way without a struggle and began to fall...with a loud crack followed by a thud, it hit the ground and a branch came down beside it.

"YOU'RE CRAZY!" I could hear the kid shouting this while the tree was falling.

" Maybe. I just wanted to show you how easy these dead trees go down and how dangerous it can be if you are leaning on one or if you are out in the woods during a windstorm. Don't you be pushing trees over. They could fall on you. You have to know which way they are going down. Too dangerous for a kid."

" You're so crazy, Aunt Gina."

" Uh huh, but careful too."

" I'm telling my dad what you did."

" That's fine."

" I'm telling him that you almost killed me when you pushed that tree down."

" Now don't be making up stories."

" I know but I just want to tell him that."

Sure, scare the old man, make him doubt my sanity and never trust me with his children again.

" Just for the fun of it, you mean? Shake him up?"

" Yeah... So do you want to see the arrow?"

" What arrow?"

" You know, the arrow I found in the woods."

" Oh right. Nah, not now. I'm freezing cold. Some other time, Kid."


He ran in to tell his dad.

I am thinking that the world should be an exciting and adventurous place, where you can at least learn a few things out in the wild. Even if it's the woods right next to your house.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

The Park

You just got this feeling that a bad element had taken up residence. Eyes were watching from the woods. Much like the witch's house that Hansel and Gretel were drawn to, the Park seemed to be waiting. Lurking? Luring?

As a child I remember walking home from school every day, and somewhere around the half way point, having to make a decision: Whether to take the long way around or to risk the short-cut through a wooded path which led to The Park.

We called it 'The Park', though I remember feeling great ambivalence. Disappointment, as it was hardly what I had envisioned as a true park setting. In fact, the 'Park', was to me, not much more than a cruel joke. An afterthought. A mockery.

It was set in a sandy area, somewhat isolated, surrounded by scrub Pines, with one dirt road in, and a narrow path on the other side. 'The development' we later came to know as Ramtown, had thrown up basketball and tennis courts, a couple of swing sets and a slide. Of course we called it 'The Park'. Out of view from the main road, not well lit or patrolled, the Park seemed doomed from the beginning. No one seemed to take ownership of it and as much as I wanted to feel comfortable on those swings, my visits were short. I was always looking around, preparing an escape, just in case. Without parental supervision, we were vulnerable.

I suppose I owe a great deal of my fear to the many warnings I used to get from my mother, who always told us to come straight home after school. She needed to know where her children were, and you could go back there after you got home but it was never strongly encouraged. She'd rather have us in the yard or with kids on the block, than at the park. Something was wrong with that place and she knew it. Still. Those swings would lure me and as long as there were other kids around, I felt relatively safe...but never truly secure.

One day I walked over to the plastic horse shaped swings and found that someone had taken the time to pour acid on it. So sad. An ugly hole right through the body of this poor horse. And there were other indications of evil doers lurking about. Graffiti on the backboards. Filth. Over the years the park was completely destroyed by vandals, "rotten kids", as my dad called them. The teens of the 60s and 70s, 80s... really didn't have a decent supervised place to hang out. Some used to hang out at the 'Parish Center' which was nice, but most of the kids were were congregating on street corners, some actually sitting in the streets, which always aggravated my folks.

By the time I was 9 or 10, my mom had arranged for me to have piano lessons from her friend, Jan B, whose house was conveniently located along the side of the path. I could stop on my way home from school and then take the long way since it was unlikely anyone would venture through alone. I remember around that time, My mom telling me that if I was ever in trouble, an example, being chased by a bad man, that I should run straight to Mrs. Butler's house.

I was relieved that we had a place of refuge and because of that began to feel less preoccupied with potentially bad situations. For some reason, maybe because I was older, I began to feel less concerned about people being IN the woods, and sometimes would venture into the denser areas to find a quiet place near a stream to just relax alone. I became familiar with a few trails and enjoyed exploring the 'pristine' territory, as if no one had ever been there. I was still nervous about the park itself but found solace in the woods for some reason. Weird kid.

So around that same time, I was starting to fall in with/for a couple of the boys in school, though I could NEVER admit it. I had become known for the speed in which I could outrun these boys and it seemed that we would be walking home from school, not together, of course, but for some reason, I would stop at the swings and we would somehow meet up there and these boys would get to chasing me. I would scramble through the paths which wound all around the perimeter of the park. I could never be caught, but eventually would tire and run out of the park and on to home. I remember one such instance, running out of the park and as I ran, looking down at my bright red pleather crinkle side-zip boots, and seeing I had torn one on the side. My favorite boots! I remember I was wearing red white and blue flowered jeans. This must have been 1969. The summer of love.

One day, I was with my 6 year old sister Laura. We decided to cut through the park. She wanted to play with some friends on the swings and slide, while I sat on a swing and kept an eye on her. Meanwhile the boys showed up. Before long, I was working up a sweat out-running the 3 of them. Eddie, John and Kenny. Kenny lived next door to us. I just didn't trust him much. I was in the deep of the woods and started to sense that they were gaining on me. I remember stumbling on a root and losing time. Remembering my mother's advice, that I if I was ever being chased by a bad man, to run to Mrs. Butler's house.

I cut through this one path that led straight to her backyard. Somewhere in my mind, as I ran, I reasoned that these were not bad men but playful boys, and that I ought not have to made a huge deal out of this. Perhaps I could just run into her shed. So I did. She was out back sweeping the porch and did not see me take cover. The 3 boys came running out into her backyard and approached the shed. I could hear them just outside the door and felt my heart racing as the sweat was pouring off my overheating temples. I hear Mrs. Butler yell out for the boys to beat it. Scram. I pictured my piano teacher raising her broom.

Then silence, followed by the swish of her broom on the porch. There I was in darkness. I remember thinking that I would have to get out of there and it seemed like forever that she was sweeping that porch. Finally, I could wait no longer. I decided that on the count of three I would bust out and run around the side of the shed. I counted slowly to myself and then followed my plan. I remember hearing Mrs. B screaming, " Hey, what are you doing in there. Who are you!? Get back here!"

I ran all the way. Upon my arrival, mom asked " Where is your sister?" I had left Laura on the slide at the park! I freaked out. My 6 year old sister at the park. I thought for sure the creeps would take her and I told my mother I was going back to get her. " Never mind. I am going over to Jan's. You come with me and get Laura."

I ran down to my room and changed my clothes and washed the sweat from my face. Back at the Butlers, I ran into the park to get Laura. She was fine. I remember going back into Jan's house and hearing the story of the kid in the shed. The whole time I wondered if she knew it was me. I decided not to say anything.

This year I ran into her daughter at church on Christmas Eve. It felt good to get it out in the open. We laughed about it. She told me she'd tell her mother.

Eventually tragedy struck. A 13 year old lost his life in a minibike collision and there were other incidents which I shall not write about which were less than favorable to the Ramtown's reputation. I have not been there in many years, though I know that the Park is now home to the Ramtown First Aid. I should really take a walk down there and check it out. See if still creeps me out. There is a much nicer park now off of Lakewood-Allenwood Rd. Sometimes it takes a few generations to get it right. They meant well.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Evermore- Never Let You Go

Hmm...enough here to push you right over the edge. Life ought never be this intense or complicated. But it can be. Tragic and Beautiful. It's a nice song though. A good song. I played this for my 17 year old nephew who is Senior Class Prez and he chose it for his class song. I guess that's one of the perks!

Saturday, 22 March 2008


[Reprinted from the book: On A Hill (Too) Far Away, by John Fischer.]

Part 1

The wounds on his hands bled slowly. Pressure from the weight of his body held back the flow. If there had been no other sounds that afternoon, it probably would have sounded like the slow, steady drip off the eaves of a mountain cabin on a damp, foggy night.

But there were many sounds. Taunts from the soldiers, weeping and wailing from the women near the feet of Jesus, even careless laughter from children playing haphazardly around the perimeter of the crucifixion hill, oblivious to the significance of this particular execution. Small dark puddles would gather briefly under the top beam of the cross, only to be covered by the shuffle of a guard's feet. And then it would start in again: drip … drip … drip – little droplets seen but not heard.

Mary saw them. She stared at the puddle through her bloodshot eyes while his life flashed before her, and it seemed to her that the earth swallowed his blood as if it had been created for this. As if it were drinking its fill and would thirst no more.

Then she slowly turned her eyes up to his face, and her breath failed her. He already had her in the grasp of his eyes. It was the first time he had looked at her from the cross, and suddenly it seemed as if she were falling into a bottomless abyss. She looked until she could bear it no more and turned her eyes away so she could catch her breath again. Once more her gaze went to the small puddle in the dirt, and it seemed now that she, and only she, could hear the droplets landing, loud enough to shut out all other sounds.

Then she heard his words spoken to her: "Dear woman, here is your son." And to the disciple he loved, "Here is your mother."

Soon after that, the dripping stopped, right after the earth shook and Jesus cried out with a voice that nearly shut down Mary's heart for good. And all was still except for the sucking, sporadic breathing coming from the other two criminals.

"This one's already dead," said one of the guards. "Can you believe that?"

"No need to break his legs, I guess," said another.

"Well, just to make sure …" One of them approached the dead body of Jesus with his spear, and before Mary could scream out, "No!" he thrust its tip up into the torso of the Son of God just under the ribs. Her scream and the sudden flow of blood and water came out at the same time.

Disgusted, the guard wiped a few drops from his face and walked away, oblivious to the fact that these were drops of blood that could set him free forever.

Part 2

The sun rose that first Easter morning on an entirely different world than the one that had existed hours earlier. For most people, to be sure, it was the same. Birds twittered as they usually did in their pre-dawn revelry. Lazy dogs barked at the sound of the first early risers. In his penthouse in downtown Jerusalem, Pilate rolled over in bed and moaned at the mockingbird making a racket on his veranda. He could feel his wife's stiffness next to him. He didn't even have to look to see her wide, sleepless eyes locked on a crack in the ceiling for fear of the dreams that might come back if she closed them.

In the nearby barracks, a soldier snored on in thick oblivion. Soon his comrades would wake up to wicked hangovers, a usual Sunday morning experience. Things were always quiet on the Jewish Sabbath, so Saturdays became party time for the Roman soldiers.

Out in the courtyard, roosters crowed, and Peter, curled up next to a stone wall, was sure he heard every last one of them. He hadn't been sleeping, either. All those great plans and dreams for himself and his nation had vanished with three denials and two rooster crows. Roosters had been rattling and cackling in his brain for two nights. They wouldn't let him sleep, and they wouldn't let him forget that look on the Savior's face that left him frozen in his betrayal.

On the edge of town, three women made their way quietly through abandoned narrow streets, clutching vials of sweet-smelling perfume. In the hazy light of early morning, they were headed for Joseph's garden, where the remains of the man they pinned their hopes on as the Son of God laid without proper respect. There had been no time on Friday to anoint the funeral wrappings, and such activity was forbidden on the Sabbath. Nicodemus and Joseph had done a credible job with limited time and little preparation, but it fell to the women to complete the burial requirements – as much for their own sake as for the sake of the custom.

Just when they started to wonder who might help them move the huge stone over the face of the tomb, they found, lo and behold, that the stone had already been moved away. The soldiers guarding it shifted on the ground in a deep sleep; the wrappings that should have been around the body lay limply on the rocky shelf inside. And an angelic being, bright and glorious, asked a question that would change them and the world forever: "Why do you seek the living among the dead?"

May your Easter celebrations be filled with the same joy and wonder these women experienced on that first Easter morning!


Belle and Sabastian- Funny Little Frog

Thursday, 20 March 2008

The Ancient Rhythm Of Ebb And Flow

Eb pulls back, he holds his peace
he's done with Flo, he's wined the beast
and as it's said, 'don't tread where sands are shifting';

the ebb and flow, they come and go
ebb draws us out, the tides are low,
but as we yearn, return, and stop our drifting.

i stand on rock, alone at last
and mourn for what is done and past
but still, with broken heart, recall the surges;

the times when you were out at sea
and when you finally wrote to me
I laugh at how you satisfied my urges.

The words we shout from distant shores
the ones which fall on heavy oars
which make the trip back home far less than pleasing;

far better are the words on wing
which land with olive branch and sing
a song of love which keeps the flow from freezing.

but even in the closest knit
where scarcely will the piece not fit
there's comes a rhythm known as ebb and flow.

and marriage is a special bond
and Eb and Flo they looked beyond
and understood the way it had to go.

and through the laughter and the tears
and late night dances,sharing beers
they always knew the highs would lead to low.

and now Flo waits on lonesome shore
for time apart was forced before
his time would have it, 'twas Eb's time to go.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

whining eyes

he waved her down to where he stood, but lost her in the neighborhood
of several hundred thousand other people
and by the time she found him there, his drink was lost, she couldn't care
she stood there drenched in sweat beneath the steeple

those whining eyes,
like her mother
she never knew it, but she cries
like no other
he'll see her through it
'til she dies
oh no~

sometimes it takes you years to learn the smartest way is not to burn
though some folks like to hang out in the trenches
next time she will plan ahead and carry her own banner head and wave it high above the other wenches

those whining eyes,
like her mother
she never knew it, but she cries
like no other
he'll see her through it
'til she dies
oh no~

and never mind the dusty ground with legs to watch, and Stanky Brown
is dragging through his medley, nasty fella
next time, carry her own chair and iced cold water, put it there
a shady spot, not hot, beneath the 'brella

it's better now, she doesn't care, he'll find her here, or meet her where
the mist is cool, and nearer to the porties
she only wants to find her place, a laggard in the human race
and rather cold, she's old, for in her forties

those whining eyes,
like her mother
she never knew it,
she cries
like no other
he'll see her through it
'til she dies
oh no~

Tragic. They must figure a way to keep these things cooler. Maybe solar operated fans in a screened top, to draw out the heat and fumes.

For No One- Beatles

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Wild Is The WInd - David Bowie

The Self-Help Cure

I saw Him first or He saw me
and fear struck lonely at the knee
and I did stumble, but then caught,
'Compose yourself', the guru taught.

Still the urge to run and hide
lest someone see what lacks inside

I took 6 steps and then back 3,
this war between self-help and me.

and He took nine from where he stood
the other way but that was good,
the farther off, the less the chance
that lonely would be asked to dance.

Now hidden in the second aisle
my strength returned and I could smile
and feel the heat come to my face
and as I looked, my heart did race.

for he too lingered in this aisle
the other end and for a while...
perusing through the magazines
should I be wondering what this means?

I tried to think but drew a blank
what to do...then my heart sank
around the corner came his wife
with 4 small children, yes...his life.

Of course, you fool you can't be thinking
every guy that tics is winking,
stop the nonsense, get a life
count your blessings drop the strife

don't be waiting on the show
'cause when it's meant to be, you'll know
get a dog and take it out
and don't forget, you're kind of stout.

Drop the weight and get some style
feeling fat? An extra mile~
Take your fear out for a ride
drop it off the other side.

Bound by lonely just get free
kick it in the other knee.
Take your self-help to the bank
get some money fill the tank.

pack a bag and take a few
drive all night to somewhere new
find yourself and lose those two,
fear found lonely in the brew.

but self-help, where're we going to?
Time is short, you cannot stew...
but why the running, why the haste?
Why, can't you see? Your life's a waste!

I took that ride out to the cliff
and wondering, then what is the diff?
I've spent a lot of time on these
and burned my eyes right down to peas

trying all this new advice
on the rocks, or hold the ice,
i just can't fix these strange new drinks
and I don't care what that one thinks

and so I opened up the door
and took the books out, from the floor
and threw them off the cliff that day
dust to dust, or come what may

to the woods, from whenst you came
before your words would cause me shame
before they bound you into books
and scarred your spine with font and looks

you had no say in what was done
but someone gained a pretty sum
and all well meaning, surely so,
but in the end, a heavy snow...

And spring has come, and all things new
I'll try not to remember you
but hope to God that come the thaw
I'll not be sought out by the law...

for dumping is illegal here
and though my conscience, fairly clear
at least I saved another soul
from thinking self-help makes you whole

when life, is just one smaller part
of whats to come, what's in the heart
and how you act and what you do
the evidence of what's in you...

As human being, we tire and fall
and need the strength of someone tall
but not a man, a loving God
who knows just how our feet are shod.

Who bore the sin of all mankind
who wore the shoes and walked behind
and took the beating for the worst
the ones who hated, those who cursed.

And asks us just to trust in Him
to wash the stain of human sin
to let Him carry, be the Lord
a Savior we can all afford.

Whose perfect Love cast's out the fear
the lonely hearts club band is near
he wrote the music and the words
and knows the pain, he's led the herds.

the sheep can't really help themselves
out on these cliffs, we're just like elves,
but when we trust in Jesus Christ
he gives us all the BEST ADVICE!

Beyond Control

In my box, with rictus grin
they could not straighten with a pin~
I lay before my friends and folks
and seemed to smile at silent jokes~

and some did wonder, what was planned
but little could they understand
how I looked on from up above
and hovered over those I love~

and it went off without a hitch
the Biker said I was a 'bitch'
and with that word, the Motley Crew,
they blocked the doors so none passed through~

They dimmed the lights, to set the mood
and turned the music down to 'brood'
and every guest then took a seat
and fanned the stink of sweaty feet.

The biker wiped his eyes, and said,
"It's very hard to see her dead,
but it should come as no surprise,
that Nagi, with her smiling eyes,

made this request of all her friends,
and here's the list, and there's some pens.
She'd like you all to listen, while
her written works are read "in style".

And if one title strikes a note
of relevance, is what she wrote,
then jot it down and pass it to
the one beside you in the pew.

and at the end of every row
stood someone with a basket though
it wasn't clear where this would go
my friends and family had to know

the basket filled to overflowing
you read the one you picked, not knowing
I was watching from on high
and busting out, my old laugh-cry

'Twas several hours that had passed
and people dying to be gassed
Could this one be the very last?
the final poem that Nagi cast?

The friends and folk of my rich past
applauded, it was done at last!
and headed for the open air,
and as they reached the doorway there~

a book was handed to each guest
My dying wish, you'd all be blessed,
and finally you would have, to own,
a coffee table book, a tome

And every poem I ever wrote
contained within the pages, note
the title, it was all my own
'The Forced Readings of
Nagi Ramone'.

Friday, 14 March 2008

mother and child

you are just so beautiful and even with the drool
and every time I look at you I feel like a fool
it's not that you were made by me, but how can I resist?
sweet child of mine, I love your whine,
continue, i insist.

I don't think you should stay up late
you need to get your rest
we'll talk about your bedtime
but it's time that you got dressed.

and you can wear that funky shirt
but just not every day
please pick yourself another one
or it might go away!

Of course, I'm only kidding
and I know just how you feel
my poor old Floppy lost an eye
and then one day, for real...

i couldn't find him anywhere
he was my closest friend
and then one day
my Mom said he had
made it 'to the end'.

and where, you ask
would be 'the end' for
things we love on Earth?
our favorite blankets
precious things
we loved and had since birth?

Well I don't know,
I think it's true
that everything we love
has a place within our hearts
a shelf, I'm thinking of

where we can put our memories
and almost touch the thing
and smell the freshness like the day
and make it new like Spring.

and though you might not
have that shirt for years and years to come
take a picture, make it last
like Double Bubble gum

and when you're tired
you'll spit it out
and bag it if you must
and give away
the things that you've not worn into the dust.

but always keep your heart in check
and watch the stuff you keep
remember you're God's precious thing
and you'll always get to sleep.

and then, my child, when I am old
remind me, I was cruel
but tell me that I'm beautiful
and even with the drool.

In The Hood

Misery has no upside
and the company's not good
what won't come out in the wash
are gonna come out in the hood

yellow tape is like a torch
which leads all eyes to stare
what exactly happened here
who what when and where

we'd like to think it's not the norm
while cops patrole the streets
we hope and pray somehow, someday
the crime rate will decrese

So where's your little brother
well today's his day in court
Kelvin likes to ride his bike
but peddles drugs for sport

Never knew his father
and hates his mother's men
the gang he's in
are more like kin
and faithful to the end

Kelvin was elected
to shoot a brotha dead
whose crime it seems
was wearing jeans
not blue, but crimson red.

The boy, he could not do it
I ain't nobody's fool
He'd sell the drugs
he told the thugs
but "rather shoot some pool".

Granny's on the front porch
settin' out to sweep
The bullet whizzes past her
and on a pathway to disaster
cuts through wood and plaster
to find the child in his sleep.

Kelvin's little brother
could not tell the time
he barely knew his numbers
but could rap a nursery rhyme

They buried little Winston
and Gram's not doing good
his swing set is abandoned
and it's quiet in the hood.

No one really plans
a lowly life of crime
to drop out of society
and soon be facing time

So go ahead and spray paint walls
decorate abandoned halls
break dance, shoot your basketballs
skateboard parks and crowded malls

Encourage all their hopes and dreams
lead them out of evil schemes
'cause all is not, what it all seems
when there's quiet in the hood.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

my private road

I stood before the town folk, who were all revved up, in gear,
" I'm laying claim to 'Yonder Road', which leads to my lot there".
And as I spoke, I found my voice~ "And I, G Clair, it is my choice
to take it back" and dared the few, who looked me in the eye, and knew
they'd met their match but here's the catch,
I took it straight, right down the hatch...
The road's not mine to take.

"We must decline. It's on the line, the Powell Township County Line"
~So half of it is theirs to sell? And so I'm thinking "What the hell?"
I never planned to buy the land, which leads up to my pile of sand,
and half a road? That's just a load of cock-a-mamey crap and toad!

Not one spoke on my behalf, that half-a-road was just a laugh,
but secretly I knew their game, to share the road, and to their shame,
I'd have to buy the township out, if private is, what it's about.
And so I kept my peace of mind. "I'll pay for Yonder, rob me blind!"
"And all in favor, just say 'Aye'" The room went silent. Then a cry~
from down behind the furthest row, an "Aye" and then the rest in tow
and everyone you would have thought, would die before the road was bought
and on that day, the vote was wrought, and ALL for one road to my lot.
the road was mine to take!

And as I drove on down my road, I wondered, if it ever snowed,
if they'd still plow a private road, or leave it to the one who owed
the price of owning graveled lane, which cut in two, by grassy mane
and wondered if I'd have to mow the place which pulled like undertow~
which drew the settlers through the plain, where nothing grows in fitful rain
yet wagons, traveling there in vain, would lose a wheel, and what a pain
and one last thought to keep me sane:

Those drivers who had lots to gain
whose hearts were heavy, just the same
from weary rolling over rocks
in untilled pastures, void of flocks
who held the reigns in calloused hands
and prayed while sweat dripped from their glands
to make it to their promised lands,
would LOVE... a road... like mine.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Sarge

Bend the ear of a wise old man
tell him what this place is;
over and over, you'll waste your time
just shouting empty phrases~

He won't read lips, he's never has
he's spent his life just is he as
He's all mixed up and all that jazz
the words, his mind erases.

And yet somehow I never fail to communicate frustration
it's always clear and never lost, a visual translation~~

Guide him gently down the aisle
He's got a limp, it takes a while
overlook the caustic tone
Commanding was his station~

Now take the time to softly smile
mind your manners, walk the mile;
Don't patronize, but recognize
he thinks you're Gomer Pyle.

He speaks of friends he lost at war
and thinks his kids are only 4
incontinent and up all night
prefers you called him Sarge.

Sit beside him, don't you worry
let him eat without the hurry
let him lead, and listen well
you'll come to love The Sarge.

You never know how it'll be
if you reach that golden 93
you hope your mind will last as long
but there ain't no way of telling~

They say that it is in the genes
but who knows what brings down our beans
if we lose our ears and minds
let's hope there's no one yelling.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Unfinished and Coming Undone

a million pieces of my heart
in all the things I start, but never finish
and every thing that's left undone
is just a sign I'm on the run, lest I diminish

and if I stop to take a breath
and contemplate my hour of death, I'd have to wonder
what then would be my last request
to sit with winners I detest, or rather one more chance to be a blunder?

Like that worm
who never made the hook
I slept too late
and never read the book
the early bird
was out cold when you came
I knew the plays
but snoozed before the game.

I dabble in the partial arts
in tasting wines and shopping carts with shaky wheels
and all the prizes never won
for half baked pies, and smiling eyes and flaky deals.

time will tell if this gets done
though time is never on the run, nor one for waiting
no matter what you do or choose
or what you keep or what you lose, that sunset's fading~

Like that worm
who never made the hook
I slept too late
and never read the book
the early bird
was out cold when you came
I knew the plays
but snoozed before the game.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

the second slice is free

time to let the stink out
of the locker room
inside of here and
open up the windows of the hall;
let the dust balls fly away
'cause everything I do and say
is nothing less than pride before the fall.

take away the chains which keep me
tied to what looks beautiful
so I can just decide here on my own;
open up the doors and set me
free for I can't stand to be
cooped up beside this keyboard and the phone.

And If you must type anything
then make it quick or call
and sing the words, I wanna hear, I'll wait around;
let's enjoy the hours outside
and wade into the rolling tide
and smell the sea and hear the pleasant sound.

if you must
get serious
I'm happy to go with you there
but please don't ask for lyrical replies;
and if you need to talk
don't tell me everything
too soon
for I will balk
and think you're packin' hooey lies.

Hey, I never said
that I could write a book here
and yet look here I can throw it out
cause I'm the queen of throw;
up and down the Avenue
a literary genius, you
are taking me too seriously though.

I just got out of prison and I'm
trying just to listen and
it's way too soon to speak of love for me;
Best to take it slow
I feel your hunger pains, let's go
and get a pizza, 'cause the second slice is free!

Creation's Love Song

There's this music that's playing
deep down in my soul
where the wilderness beckons
us all to be whole~

from a faraway place
it calls like the loon
it was written for us
and it's always in tune.

In tune with the weather
as clouds, rolling in
bring the music of thunder
and the rain on the wind.

In tune with the valley
as I climb to the peak
yodel lay he who goes there
to the echo I speak

sunlight cuts through forests
and glistens on streams
and pine needles carpet
the throne room which sings

the birds do not worry
they have no concern
they're singing the song
that I have yet to learn

Still it flows down the creek bed
and the rivers grow wild
rhythmic waves on the shores
where I walked as a child

and the breath I exhale
like the one you breathe in
keeps us all in this lifetime
how strange it's all been

the natural world
truly awesome and wild
and the worst things can happen
and take down the child

the smallest and delicate flower
of life
snatched up and the music
is bitter with strife

and the tone of my song
is of pure aggravation
and way out of tune
with the whole congregation

and I just can't relate
to the choir and organ
and I wander alone down to
Stanley and Morgan

Distracted by life and in
wanting much more
I've lost time with the singers
and forgotten the score

I yearn for the song
which brings faith to the living
love to the lost
and joy in the giving.

born for a purpose
not just to survive
to walk certain of hope
while we're all still alive.

And in search of a God
who can touch my heartstrings
in sickness and health
through the questions life brings

Who in still quiet places
or noisy train stations
in subways and alleys and
the worst situations

speaks Peace in the midst
overriding my brain
adding fuel to my fire
and I'm drawn back again

and sitting alone
somewhat stuck in the mire
I remember that Psalm
and it stirs my desire.

' As deer long for the water
my soul thirsts for You;
You alone, my desire~
and I'll just worship You.

Yeah the simplest Psalm
sung alone or along
nature's voice to God's ears
creation's love song.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Tell Me Nothing

I walked away

It's never my intention

to be rude or to offend

but they stood around and spoke of

what I could not comprehend

of all of the evil in the world and all the whys

and then my friend spoke up and much to my surprise~

said "Tell me nothing!

Tell me nothing sick and horrible

It's gotten out of hand;

the misery's so sad, you see

and too much should be banned~

maybe all things work together for the good, I understand

but please just keep it to yourselves

and leave my head here in the sand

just tell me nothing".

They were appalled

and so they walked away

and left him there

in what he needed most

and so I prayed in my own quiet way,

to scare away the ghost

of all of the evil in the world and all the whys~

then my friend spoke up

and much to my surprise

said "tell me something

tell me something good and funny,

make me laugh until I cry

you know there's something good in laughter

though I cannot tell you why~

maybe good news is on order from the Lord

and that's a far cry from the sadness

and a cry I can afford

and though I'd like to know that God can hear our cries

but otherwise~

if someone dies

please tell me nothing."