C of E

Posted: March 4, 2019 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
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I had a fascinating conversation the other day with a friend. He was talking about a book he had read at one time about Feng Shui. He was wondering if I had ever heard of it. It is very interesting. Feng Shui is used to determine the orientation of buildings and things in relation to the stars and later the points on the magnetic compass. It has a major component “Qi” that is either a positive or negation life force which has a role in the energy that objects reflect.

Feng Shui….. I don’t know very much about Feng Shui, but I do know physics. Within physics there are laws and in the laws of physical science there is the law of conservation of energy, C. of E. I call it. According to Wikipedia (my current speedy authority) “The principle of conservation of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, so this energy does not disappear.” Hm m m… that sounds a little like Qi.

Also the laws of energy states that we turn one kind of energy into other kinds. For example when we wind a clock, watch or a main spring we’ve converted our chemical energy into kinetic energy of motion and stored that same energy in the tightly wound mainspring as potential energy. If I could turn the clock off and keep it from running, my energy would be stored inside that clock as long as that spring was never unwound. Hm m m… sounds like Qi in Feng Shui.

Think about the other chores we do that stores our energy as potential energy which never or only slowly is released. Driving nails to hold boards together with a hammer, riveting to hold metal together with a hand squeeze riveter or pushing back untamed un-managed rose-bush branches to train them to climb a trellis. Our houses, hobby projects and other handmade things are bursting with our energy or the energy of those who built them. It is a scientific fact. Wikipedia says so. If we could see the energy that has been stored by us or others who built our homes and vehicles, it would be causing them to glow very brightly as they sit stationary in our neighborhoods and parking lots.

Maybe that’s the personality we instinctively feel in ships, airplanes, cars, motorcycles and cozy little cottages. That may be what sparks the urge to christen them and call them he or she. They should be very familiar to us because they are our energy, they are what we put into them, they are us.



The teachers are leading the way. This is wonderful, perhaps as E.E. exclaimed; the most wonderful life on earth.

I’m retired now so I can speak freely. I’ve belonged to almost 4 unions in my work history. All very early in my career. The 60’s and 70’s. I say almost 4 because of an incident that I may explain later. I’ve gone out on strike once. I have been furloughed from a job due to a seniority issue once. And I have had my tires punctured with an ice pick due to a disagreement the company I worked for had between the electrical workers union and the teamsters union. That was my almost 4th. But my experiences with unions in spite of these incidents have been good and I still believe in the benefit of labor unions.

I reminisce of this because of the activity of the teacher’s unions of the last couple of years. I know what it feels like and I know the courage it takes to participate in organized dissent.

Things have indeed changed in the last 40 or 50 years.

The news used to be full of big burly coal miners, auto workers, teamsters, air traffic controllers and electricians throwing down their tools and lunch buckets and really walking out. All Striking for better work conditions, benefits and pay checks. Whether you belong to or even believe in labor unions or not, the wages, the benefits and work conditions you enjoy today are there because of the courage, the beliefs and the hard work of those old burly men and women of 40 and 50 years ago.

And now the courage, the beliefs and the dedication of who once were the quiet, mild-mannered teachers are throwing down their lunchroom lunch buckets and educational tools and asking for the same better way of life just like their grandfathers, grandmothers and mothers and fathers have done. And because of that, everyone will benefit. The union and non-union workers not only of makers of autos and washing machines but the workers forming the minds of the children and grandchildren of the same union workers of the past.

Oh! The sweet sound of organized dissent! “The most wonderful life on earth”.  Or is it sound of descent?



We can call it Experimental

Posted: February 6, 2019 in Creative Riveting

It is just about done. What’s been keeping me busy and perhaps missing some sleep.


John and the Crew

When the green shot glass fell and bounced to the linoleum floor, the room grew sober and silent. He’d had enough of the shouting and swearing of the Alabama boys with their blustery threats and pigeon lies. It wasn’t their success that was being celebrated that night. Only by the aimless wandering bar hopping had they come upon this place, this place of stale smoke, spilled Jim Beam and soft skin perfumed women. Their loud mouths weren’t wanted, neither were their rolls of ill gotten money.

Gerald Watswigger had made a lot of ill-fated decisions in his short life but this one had irrevocable consequences. A 9 millimeter bullet at close range makes a perfect 9 millimeter size entrance wound in any part of the human body but on exit leaves a massive hole emptied of flesh, blood, pain and life.  Gerald had placed one squarely between the eyes of the man who had threatened him with the heavy end of a snooker pool cue. Once again he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Gerald would pay for it the rest of his life down so deep in the Alabama State Prison that they would have to pipe daylight to him.


(This is of a series of the flash fiction life of Gerald Watswigger. The life of a troubled and unfortunate man. Search his name for more stories.)

Last year I  was watching and oddly actually listening to a TV commercial. It was a car commercial. A Volvo car commercial. ….. I don’t own a Volvo. ……..  I’m not interested in Volvos. ……..I do not plan on buying a Volvo. But the voice and the audio mix for that commercial struck a poetry chord as I listened. They were using the words and verses to a Walt Whitman poem that I loved the first time I read it many years ago. I knew immediately it was the words of Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” .


So I wrote a post about its use in the commercial.

Find it here:


Sometime last week I was watching CNN, they must be sponsored by Volvo, and my poetry chord was struck again by the latest  and newest Volvo advertisement. I probably had my Earworm alert, open and ready to catch the words of this latest commercial as soon as I recognized it to be one for Volvo. Sure enough.these words were inserted into the mix :

“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”

I yelled “son-ofa-bitch! That’s e.e. Cumming!! And then the commercial ended with :

“It’s the most wonderful life on earth.”

Yes, e.e. Cummings for sure. I had to look up the exact title. The words are from a poem in his book “E. E. Cummings: A miscellany revised”. I had the book in high school in the late 60’s. I wish I had it now, the original hardback goes for $250 on Amazon. My copy was plundered from my room by my nephews after I left home and became married . 

The poem’s title is, I think, but I can’t find the complete verses, “Advise To Students”. I did find a YouTube.

Search E.E. Cummings Advice for students.

Here is the commercial:


So thank you e.e. Cummings!! Thank you Volvo! But at least you,Volvo, (a billion dollar company) should give credit to one of our most celebrated poets of the 20th century. Or at least gift me a new car for recognizing your “plagiarizing” .


****  All quotes, poems, and car name identification added here only for educational value and common use.



New Year Resolution Rewind

Posted: December 31, 2018 in writing

From Dec. 31,2014

What is this inherent need we feel each new year to think we need to be so resolute that we can change something about us, make a resolution. Such a word to use. Sounds serious, determined, resolved, single-minded, so serious. We are so resolute that we don’t just make one resolution but a complete list. When it comes to resolutions I don’t ass around.

This year, I’m being resolution realistic, I just have two:

Resolution number one – I promise to keep my pickup, clean and looking like new.

Resolution number two – Do my part in bringing world peace.

Although it is number two on my list, there is a better chance that I will bring world peace than there is that I will keep all of my half full McDonalds coffee cups from collecting in all of my cup holders in the pickup. There is a one in a billion chance for world peace but at least there is a chance. Coffee cups thrown in the trash, not a chance. I will feel guilty about not doing that all year.

And world peace, I’m being realistic this year, I probably will not seriously start working on that until the Sunday night before next New Year’s Eve. Oh, I will have a partial outline that I will make up on January 5th. The usual line items,  first go talk to the Israelis,  next the Saudis, then go see Henry Kissinger and perhaps Jimmy Carter and ask for any notes they may have. I will check the web for the best airline ticket prices to the Middle East. The usual pre-peace-talk legwork. I’ve made this resolution before, I know what’s involved.

But after all of this is collected and all of my yellow legal pads are scribbled full of my own thoughts, they will languish deserted on the console and floorboards of my pickup for 10 or 11 months, collecting circles of spilled coffee cup stains as a constant reminder all year of two things I need to get back to. After all, I am resolute in seeing to it that this world peace thing is worked out before the end of the year and I’m making a resolution for crying out loud! Time’s a wasting!


I do hope you’ll have a Happy New Year though. Sorry about the world peace, maybe next year.

Such is the life of John

Southern Windows

Posted: December 29, 2018 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
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When the morning Sun shines through Southern windows
and the Winter leafs first cover with sparkling frost.
We cover tight within our quilted sewn blankets
And warm our feet against our lover’s flesh.
I exhale curling breath onto the frozen window
and scratch the new frost by my nail to etch
our names within an arrowed heart throbbing
and watch the Sunshine melt
our new Winter’s sculptured breath.




To all those that are celebrating spiritual holidays of this season and to all those whose spiritual consciousness do not require these observations, The Distantshipsmoke Gang wish you peace, love and a fruitful and safe new year.

To all my readers, thank you for including  our words and poems into your daily lives.

John and his many ..


The Forgotten Man

Posted: December 10, 2018 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
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The ways of the forgotten man
the scratch and twine of solitude
No dressing for dinner
No give and take discussions
of the latest U.N. Resolutions
or disagreeable conclusions
of foreign  led decisions
Just a soul of a man that wakes early,
checks the morning’s wind direction and temperature,
makes a fresh cup of coffee
and feeds his waiting tail wagging dog.
Some say simple life
but many want nothing to do with it
as they meet their own day’s grind,
rut, fortune or failure.
playing the cards dealt them that day.
But he, the forgotten man,
thinks of no destiny, future or past
and lives in the now
of writing  in an unread personal weather reporting  journal,
computing coffee prices by the pod and concerns
of well-balanced hound diets.
All very complicated subjects
for a man of age with limited access
to current study material.
The forgotten man is not lazy
only perhaps vastly misinformed
or maybe just a poor interpreter of the fine print
of very old articles of scientific theories.
He really believes he must get out of the house more.
The forgotten man is very happy.
But no one asks.



Remarkable Walk

Posted: December 4, 2018 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
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We are on a remarkable walk.
From death to Birth
we march with bare feet
bare heads and sunburnt shoulders
protected from man and sun
only by flip-up, clip-on plastic sunglasses

We try to be cool
armed with our 12 gauge Levis
but the Carhartt Tee-shirts only
let us down, hot and sweaty,
telling – who we want to be
but not who we are.

October and November
pass with little rage.
only a few men down,,
misplaced children lost,
and few hundreds turned away.
This…. the end of our remarkable walk