Heavy Metal

Posted: August 8, 2016 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry
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Beneath the soft stretched fabrics
are the hard bodies of youth’s firm human frame,
Judged by fast changing clocks
and watchers and lovers of perfect style and form.
They win or lose by hundredths of seconds
or fractions of subjective points.
On podiums they bow their heads with broad white smiles and joyful tears
To begin wearing medals as heavy as the egos of their national anthems.
And to be known forever as having the heart of an Olympian.


No more days left in the month. One last chance to document the only July 2016 I will ever see. What a July it has been! I found myself following the banks of the Columbia River of Washington and Oregon, the inlet channels of Houston, Texas and the steep climb of I-35 up the shallow slopes of the ancient mountain range of Oklahoma’s Arbuckle Mountains.

I have only cried twice before at the site of something new, both occasions were the first sight of my newborn children. The third time was three weeks ago, as I rounded a bend and after my first 10 minutes of awe, the sight of the Columbia River. The rocky cliffs of her banks, the clear blue of her water and the wide shear expanse of her width from shore to shore. I promise myself that I will go back again  to explore more than just the glancing blow of this first encounter. Soon I hope.

Houston, I must say there is no crying there. It is a hard work town of tall buildings, tall bridges, tall cranes and geodesic domed 350,000 barrel oil storage tanks. She ties energy to and from the USA and the world. We either love her or hate her but at this time we can’t live without her. She has provided me with a good living from a number of visits this year. Thank you Houston.

The ancient mountain range of the Arbuckles, what can I say, they are just old and beautiful.  Not at all as intimidating as the brute force height and sharp turns of the Rockies. The Arbuckle range only rises to about 1500 feet above sea level. Just a 40 mile stretch of granite that dates back at least 1.4 billion years. The oldest rock formations between the Appalachian and the Rocky Mountains. Water falls, caves, caverns and rich in dozens of minerals. Water oozes from its rocky cracks. The most diversity of minerals found in any one spot in the United States.

My work involves a bit (a lot really) of travelling. But where I go I must work. Little time is allowed for sightseeing, although I do see the sights, but only glancing blows , as I call it. As I work, I can look up and through a window see Mt. Hood, the Houston Space Center or perhaps the St. Louis Arch. I can be surprised by suddenly coming upon Devil’s Tower and saying to myself, “jeez! glad I came this way, didn’t realize I’d be so close.” I’ve passed the big green “Mt. Rushmore, Next Exit” sign a half a dozen times but waited until on vacation to exit once. And I have worked within miles of and spent nights at Sturgis one week after the Bike Rally ended, twice. But I do buy the Tee-shirt. As I am driving in, I meet hundreds of bikes moving out.

I’ve driven by, without stopping, the world’s largest ball of twine and the world’s largest pecan. I have passed by the Automobile Stonehedge in Nebraska. And I have passed, without a blink, Big  Brutus, one of the largest in the world coal digging  Bucyrus-Erie model 1850B electric shovels, with only catching from the corner of my eye its shovel that is large enough to park a school bus in. Without a flinch, I have passed by these amazing things.

Gulf o' Mexico

No, I’m not a truck driver. My main conveyance is a white Chevy Silverado pickup or if need be, an Airbus 320. I work in a business that doesn’t give a shit how far I have to travel or what sites I have or have not seen. What the business knows is that while this or that black box is not installed or functioning, they are losing money and the longer it isn’t functioning the more money they have lost. So I am basically on my way home at the same time that I’m leaving my drive-way. I sort-a don’t have time for the picture takin’ or the visitin’ with the Denny’s Restaurant waitress. When I’m at a hotel, I’m probably sleeping or taking a quick shower. A Jacuzzi takes way to long to fill and warm up and there’s probably no Jacuzzi anyway, but on those few occasions that I have one, after checking that I’m in the right room number, I usually have crashed on top of the bedspreads and sound asleep before the damn thing even starts circulating water.


But I do see a lot of country, from 150 miles off shore in the Gulf of Mexico via helicopter to the bowels of northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, via 6 wheeled mule. My company frowns on its employees blogging about what we do for them and to keep any publication of what they do funneled through their own professional communications department (that makes sense) and I respect and I understand that. So I must only give you the same glancing blow accounts of the glancing blow views that I’ve seen.  I am retiring in a few months. Someday I may write about them. And maybe a few pictures, too.

And I do plan to go back to those places and take the time to at least fill up the Jacuzzi.

Such is the life of John




Well today is Friday! How many years have I lived for Friday?

While I was a child, too young to work or for school, I even looked forward to Fridays. Many things happened on that day. If Dad was working away that week, he would be arriving late that night from his trip home. There was an air of anticipation in the house. My older siblings who were in school would be energized too. It was the end of the week, no school tomorrow. We all looked forward to the coming Saturday. Saturday was a wonderful day for us all.

town  You see I lived in the day when Saturday was the day to “go to town”. Everyone went “to town” on Saturday. We lived on a farm, went to country school, and it was many miles “to town”. You just didn’t “go to town” on a whim. After all, it was seven miles of gravel roads to travel. So the weeks seemed long.

Most business evidently was conducted then, on Saturdays, I didn’t know what but I felt it in the air. Major decisions and transactions were done on that day.  Groceries were bought, any other needed supplies from chicken feed to coal deliveries were arranged for. If it was Spring, you may even be sharing the back seat of the car with a cardboard crate full of peeping baby chicks that we picked up at the hatchery. Saturdays were what we were excited about on Friday.

Today, this Friday, it is me working away and I’m planning my escape for home. I also will arrive late tonight as my father did. I feel the anticipation he must have felt. I hope there is excitement in the house looking forward to my arrival. Our Saturday has no particular plans but the possibilities are endless, we may even “go to town”.


Swiftly Alone

Posted: July 6, 2016 in poem, poet, poetry
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The coming and going of the ones in our life
One day they are there
the next they are gone
They move on in their travels
as I do and they say the same of me
None of us really knows where.
River of life is filled to its banks
with the flesh and souls of the ones we once knew
Family tied together by thin threads
Others appear as strangers one day
and we are carried by the currents together
trying to stay within reach with heads above water
attached only by our weak grips and wet string
but swift and deep waters slowly move us apart
Pulled from the last touch of our finger tips
we can only raise our hand in good-bye
yelling of places we will meet just around the bend
watching and listening until we lose sight
and each other’s shouts are no longer heard.
we are left moving swiftly alone.


We the People

Posted: July 3, 2016 in poem, poet, poetry
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We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”  Thomas Jefferson

I allow myself to be patriotic, nationalistic and idealistic for one, maybe two days a year. The 4th of July is one of them. And for at least one day I must. I must remember that I do indeed come from “we the people”, as do you. Have a great celebration of our Independence Day!


We the People, we who remember.
We are the pushed, the shaken and the torn.
The good are taken from us,
some taken to lead,
some to do our bidding
some to succeed,
some to die.
We the People, we who remember.
We are the hard-working and the builders,
the unspoken, the wholehearted.
We the tolerant, the patient, the taken advantage of.
Quiet with ideals too hard to express,
We the People, we who remember
the good of every man, of every good cause, of every dream.
We, the Children of the Mother of Exiles *,
the mother who stands with silent lips.

DSS  7/4/2011

*The words “Mother of Exiles” quoted from the famous poem “New Colossus”.

Olympic Art

Posted: July 1, 2016 in poem, poet, poetry
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The arch of the foot
the curve of the back
the lines of the thighs
The smooth feel of the torso
Determination in her eyes
the placement of the arms,
The tight form in erect rolling motion
to the splash-less submersion.
The dive of 10 meters.
Poetry in motion.
Olympic art.


How Hard the Life

Posted: June 29, 2016 in poem, poet, poetry
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What have I to say?
I can say the sweet things, the accepted things
the heart warming, precious things.
Speak of love and the expected things.

But how hard the life?
The road of bumps and gravel dust,
of roadside weeds and ungated railroad crossings.
And always forgetting to look both ways.

The life of pebbles that break windshields
and jiggling of toilet handles to prevent a flood.
Watching dimly lit gas gauges on E
and quickly mown lawns with untrimmed edges.

Oh, to notice the perched hawk, saying hello to him and following his stare as I pass
Wanting to remember the first days of the new seasons
and to watch the Sun and the Moon
and to know when and where they will rise and how full it will be on my free Sunday.

How hard the life to forget these things?
How good the life?
To want these, to have hope of these.

I am as much as the beetle stranded on his back.
For even he struggles to right himself and live.
If he, then so will I.



This is the first poem that I posted on WordPress in September of 2013. But one that I wrote so many years ago. I think it is time to dust it off and give it a little light once again.

Between the Blinds

Posted: June 27, 2016 in poem, poet, poetry
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Staring between the slots of the Venetian blinds
looking beyond the tasseling corn stocks
toward the towering 20000 foot clouds
painting the blue sky background into my memory
cutting audio grooves in my mind of the birds
the frogs and crickets.
the 70 degree morning clears of its mist
and the sun shines.
The wind is still.
I am peering between the blinds.



Risk of Blindness

Posted: June 25, 2016 in poem, poet, poetry
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As we gaze out into the morning’s early start, it is predawn twilight. The Sun will surface very
soon, but for now its only evidence is a lighter sky and crimson horizon. The Orange Orb
will peek above the earth’s rim, through the lightly layered clouds, at first slowly. But with a
squint and blink of the eye, it will appear to pop to the surface as an air filled buoy rising
from the Atlantic’s depths. It will be a perfect Orange Circle with sharp defined edges.
For just a moment, we get a glimpse of the Sun with the naked eye. For just a moment,
as it rests in the distance, we can see its round completeness. We are allowed only that
brief moment before it turns into a bright burning point of light that for the rest of the day
we are forbidden to stare at for risk of blindness. This is how our days begin.


Turning his head only briefly as if saying good-bye or perhaps “Geronimo!” to his nest mate, he jumped from the rim of the nest and frantically fluttered his half hair , half feathered wings. There was very little air cushioning under him. He landed hard on his ass, but he somehow managed to hit the ground running. Looking confused he ran to hide under the first clump of grass that he came to. I once again witnessed a youngster’s first jump into the slim promise of life’s thin air.

Each year since we’ve lived here, a robin has build her nest on the top of our spring season wreath that hangs from our front porch light. It must seem hospitable in the spring, the wreath being made of green woven grapevines and fake broad grapevine leaves. How she knows how to build a nest fascinates me each year. It just seems to appear from nowhere overnight. One day there is nothing, the next, we notice that the nest has been made. She must work feverishly through the night being careful not to be noticed and hoping it will not be attractive to the curiosities of other beasties that frequent our porches’ shelter.

Last year was a very hot spring. We had a 100% morality rate. The nest was expertly made, 3 eggs laid, 3 birds hatched but one by one each was evacuated from the nest only found dead on the hot cement below. But this year, four eggs were laid, two birds were hatched, two eggs were pushed from the nest. Mother and father both supplied bugs, worms and bird feeder morsels and the two survived.

This weekend the nest is empty and mother is only seen occasionally as she continues to provide food to the demanding fledglings hidden securely somewhere in our backyard hedges. We will see them soon after they begin to fly. They will see mother or dad as they graze in our yard and flutter their wings, mouth opened, begging for food as they did in the nest. The parents will responsibly share their food with them there on the ground, well into adulthood until we won’t be able to distinguish parent from child.

Later in the summer, we will feel fortunate to be able to again see mother and child meet, obviously recognize each other  and watch as grown adult child’s mouth opens and mother shares her meal as if she still sees it as the helpless, weak fledgling still in the nest.

How different from the birds are we?