Breaking Words Episode 5


Again, I apologize for the mix up in episode numbers. With that being said, Episode 5 is out today! Even though when you listen to it I say it’s episode 4. Here are the pieces you’ll hear:

Breakthrough Story

I made spaghetti today. When I finished, it looked like a bomb had exploded on the stove. Sauce sprayed in a blood splatter pattern, noodles and bits of hamburger like scenes from a horror movie. Unfortunately, it often looks like this when I cook. I think of children in countries where they don’t have enough to eat and feel guilty writing about my food exploits. But I do it anyway. We do a lot of things we shouldn’t, and justify them in various ways to feel better about ourselves. Just another day in the life.

What if being human is a mental illness? What if all of us so called “normal” people who go to our jobs, raise families, and cook our dinners are mentally ill? Maybe we were shipped here from some distant planet, some place where they decided to rid their society of their less than desirable people. Like the British did when they sent boat loads of people to Australia. Maybe we are the descendants of the worst of an alien society that now enjoys life without people who routinely blow up their stoves at mealtime. Are they watching us, do you suppose? Are they wondering how long it will be before they have to intervene to keep their refuse from infecting the universe?

I scanned the radio dial this morning. I heard conservatives screaming about liberals. I heard Nirvana songs. Lots of talk about the environment and children in cages. I heard Hip-Hop music. I turned the radio off and went out and stood in the rain. But the radio still played. Lots of sounds and voices and screams. And music. Country and Rock and Rap. And more voices telling me what I didn’t want to hear. I longed for the sweet sounds of water lapping at a shore and the calls of loons across the lake. Life is like a radio that never shuts off. And half the time there’s too much static to discern what I’m hearing.

So I cleaned up the stove, and ate my spaghetti. I used fresh Basil from my little herb garden. Turned out pretty good. As all these words started swirling around in my mind I knew I was on the edge of a breakthrough book or at least a prize winning article. I sat down at the keyboard, electricity tingling my fingertips. I felt like Edward R. Murrow about to break an earth shattering story and then what came out was this. A story about exploding my stove and the guilt of writing about eating. Who are we, anyway?

The First Time

There has never been anything
quite like a boy’s first slow dance
with a girl. The feeling of her breasts,
pressed against your chest.
The warmth of her body, held close.
Her breath, tickling the hairs on your neck.
And the lovely smell of her freshly washed hair
filling your teenaged senses
with indescribable feelings.
The song you danced to didn’t matter,
and it was over way too soon.
And the only thing you could
think at that moment was that
you wanted to do that again.
And again, and again.
No, there has never been a feeling
quite like that.
And there never will.

Distraction

The cat, in the field, concentrating ever so diligently on the small mouse hiding under leaves and dry grass, is annoyed by my footsteps in gravel on the side of the road. As I stop to watch this Scottish version of the common house pet, her ears pitched forward toward the mouse, I notice that she doesn’t look Scottish at all. Not that I would know what a Scottish cat is supposed to look like, but when you’re in Scotland well, everything is Scottish. Her right ear, the one closest to me, suddenly pivots toward me as I take a step and the sparse gravel beneath my foot crunches loudly in the still, evening air. I stand still, and just as suddenly, the ear twitches again and returns to it’s former attentive position. Her body tenses, her head lowers and, I take another step. This time her head turns, she focuses on my face and I am the recipient of an evil glare that seems to say, “I know where your hotel is. Later I will find you there, and I will kill you in your sleep.”

Watching Life

I cut my finger on the
dulled and stained
edge on the blade of my
pocket knife.
The blood runs quickly,
bright red as gravity
pulls it to the white sheet
of paper that lies on the
table, dark, almost black
as it is absorbed into
the carpet beneath my feet.

Thickly flowing from my
finger, I stand mesmerized
as drops splatter on my shoe,
the carpet, and the kitchen
floor as I finally move to
the sink to let the blood
drops mix with water on
the bottom of the sink fresh
from the tap that I ran
moments before cutting myself.

The blood joins water droplets
and begins to flow toward
the drain mimicking a river
who’s water finds the easiest
path. I stand and watch as
my life seeps out through
the hole I created at the end
of my finger. Platelets rush
through my blood stream and
work to stop the flow, keep
the life inside.

And I do nothing but watch.

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Breaking Words Episode 2


Episode 2 is out and ready for you to listen to. There are three poems on episode 2, A House, Nine Pelicans, and She.
I like old houses. The architecture is amazing, and maybe it’s because of my childhood but I think old houses have a more homey feel to them. Here are the words. Also, if you haven’t heard it, the new Minnesota song and video is really great. Alex Frecon got tired of the misconceptions about our great sate and decided to do a video, clearing some of them up:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H31bBU4EL44

A House:

At the end of a dirt road with corn fields on each side and woods behind, sits a house.
Shingles are missing, windows are broken and the gate hangs by one hinge.
It’s been like that for some time now. Empty. Alone.

The house was built 100 years ago by a young man and his bride. With trees cut
from the property, love and care, a home was raised. There were 10 children. And
happiness and sorrow, laughter and tears, Christmas’s and birthdays and funerals.

And many years later, times grew hard and a Great Grandchild lost the house to the bank.
It sat empty for a time and then a young couple came along. There is a picture of them
in a broken frame on the floor. Two women and a young girl, their daughter.

And they made this house a home. There was happiness and sorrow, laughter and tears,
Christmas’s and birthdays and funerals. The daughter grew up and went across the country
to college. The couple moved to be closer to her. And the house has been empty since.

Until just this very day. A car was seen driving up to the old house. A man got out with a
SOLD sign in his hand. And also out of the car came a women, three children and a dog.
And there will be Happiness and sorrow, laughter and tears, once again.

Nine Pelicans.

I take Sophie, my Husky, Malamute cross dog for a walk every day. We walk along trails along the river. There is lots of wildlife there like, pelicans, geese, ducks, deer, beaver, eagles, etc. We see them all the time and I have a habit of anthropomorphizing them because they sometimes really look like they’re thinking certain things that humans would think. If only they could talk to me!

Nine Pelicans:

Standing along the river bank,
dignified in their ungainly grace,
nine pelicans stand or sit and watch
like some prehistoric judges
as the river parades slowly past.

A little further along the bank
geese, flapping, fluttering, and
stomping in the mud, voice
their discontent, loudly, as if
the river is wholly unacceptable
in its proceeding and stance.

A deer, on the opposite bank,
lifts its head and observes
both groups, with measured
indifference, as it chews something
it found among the weeds.

One pelican raises its orange
bill in the direction of the deer
and then away, as if to say he’s
bored and determines this river
to be insufficient for his needs.

But he cannot align himself with the
unruly, peasant-like geese, he
being, after all, a pelican of
some standing, among his peers.

And of course, there’s “She.” I wrote this one because of the sadness of losing my wife Ann, to cancer. I have a 4 episode podcast about that called, “A New Life.” (anewlife.libsyn.com)

She:

And now I sit alone,
with reminders of her everywhere;
rocks and pictures and paintings.

And now I sit alone,
not lonely, but sad.
Sad at the loss of her,

who shared my life
and sang with me in the car.

She who shared my bed,
and my most intimate moments,
is gone now, forever.

She, who’s laugh made me laugh,
who’s tears made me cry,
is gone now, forever.
I don’t sing in the car, anymore.

Breaking Words


Episode One of Breaking Words is finished! When I have three episodes, I’ll release them. This is going to be a weekly poetry podcast. I’ve been writing poetry seriously for about six years and now you’ll be able to hear me read them all on this podcast. I have found that I really like doing this, and I’ve got enough material for about a years worth of podcasts. So that means I better get writing if I want to keep up. I haven’t been writing much since Ann (my wife) died. Not sure why other than her passing has occupied my mind completely since then. I’m coming around now, slowly, so it’s time to get going. As always, I’ll post everything I write here. Each post for the podcast episodes will include some photos and the words to the poems on that podcast! Enjoy!

A House

At the end of a dirt road with corn fields on each side and woods behind, sits a house.
Shingles are missing, windows are broken and the gate hangs by one hinge.
It’s been like that for some time now. Empty. Alone.

The house was built 100 years ago by a young man and his bride. With trees cut
from the property, love and care, a home was raised. There were 10 children. And
happiness and sorrow, laughter and tears, Christmas’s and birthdays and funerals.

And many years later, times grew hard and a Great Grandchild lost the house to the bank.
It sat empty for a time and then a young couple came along. There is a picture of them
in a broken frame on the floor. Two women and a young girl, their daughter.

And they made this house a home. There was happiness and sorrow, laughter and tears,
Christmas’s and birthdays and funerals. The daughter grew up and went across the country
to college. The couple moved to be closer to her. And the house has been empty since.

Until just this very day. A car was seen driving up to the old house. A man got out with a
SOLD sign in his hand. And also out of the car came a women, three children and a dog.
And there will be Happiness and sorrow, laughter and tears, once again.

The Trees And The Sky

The bare trees of Winter like ancient hands
with gnarled fingers, reach up out of the earth,
reaching for what they cannot grasp,
and observe the Sky above.

The bright blue sky taunts the trees, saying,
“Look at me! Look at my clouds and wind.
They can go anywhere! While you,
rooted to the ground cannot move.”

And the trees reply, “Our roots
grow deep and we are a part of this world.
Children play in our branches and leaves.
And you, can only observe.”

“Alas, it is so,” said the sky. “But without my light
and warmth in spring, you would not grow leaves and
would wither and die. What then?” said the sky.
“Where would the children play?”

“It seems We need each other” said the trees
and sky together. “So I shall go on,” said the sky,
“providing you with warmth and rain so you
will live, and children will play and grow.”

“And we shall grow and live,” said the trees,
“giving leaves and life and shade so people
will thrive, and you sky, will have
many things to see and care for.”

And so the sky and trees work together,
making sure that the world goes on.
But they need our help to succeed.
And these things we must teach our children.

1:00 a.m.

At 1a.m. because he couldn’t sleep
he sits at his piano
cigarette in the ash tray
smoke curling up
trying to decide what he wants to write
what he wants to say, what he wants to play.

At 2a.m. the ash tray half full
his elbow rests on middle C
chin in his hand he tinkers with the keys
an F a C back to F
it’s not coming.

At 3a.m. he naps on the couch
the ash tray is full the room in a haze
eighth notes dance in his mind
like a playground full of children.

At 4a.m. he is hammering on the keyboard
the ash tray emptied the windows open
his mind is clear but he’s not there yet.

At 5a.m. a cigarette in the ash tray
smoke curling up, the notes are coming now.

At 6a.m. it’s done, he has it, and he sleeps.