Archive for June, 2015

Day Break Run

Posted: June 30, 2015 in free verse

The joggers jog but can hardly walk
with Ace bandages pulled tight
arms high, shoulders bent forward
and shoes scuffing the asphalt

Men’s shirts eschew and women’s tits bouncing.
asses bound tight in light yoga pants
and men in their Lycra compression shorts.
For god’s sake man, get a jock..

Pumping the heart, watching the pulse
and breathing at least 20 times a minute
Don’t forget to breathe and
Very important, keep the heart beating
Please remember that.
Especially while you are in front of my house.


Shanondowee Shores

Posted: June 27, 2015 in freeverse, poem, poetry

The other day I went to the Shanondowee shores
to learn the ways of the Shanondowian man,
how he carved his moose and deer and eagle figurines.
But I could only watch and listen.

If I had the blade I would have carved it well
But I only watched the eagles fly and studied the deer hoof tracks
and listened as the moose mourned his song.
Down on the banks of the Shanondowee.

Maybe I’ll get that blade and remember this day
And carve like the man of the Shanondowee.

Of how the eagles soared, the deer cautiously pranced
and the out-stretched neck of the moose’s mourn,
There, on the shores of the Shanondowee.



Posted: June 21, 2015 in Fathers

There were 5 kids in our family but the oldest two kids were 10 and 12 years older than I, so I hardly knew them until I became an adult. My mom worked as a Registered Nurse.

My Dad did just about everything. Amazingly talented in many fields but he could not stand working for anyone so he was self employed his whole career. We had many ups and downs, life was not easy but he was a very interesting character. His interests ranged from owning a Donkey Baseball Team to building military camps and airfields during WWII. He spent his time while I lived with him hunting, fishing, flying, farming, drinking and occasionally building a new house for someone, in that order. He could throw knifes and stick them where ever he wanted and I saw him throw one within inches of another man, “just as a warning”. He could walk the tight rope, ride two horses at one time with one foot on each and he drank Jack Daniels from a jelly glass, straight, eight ounces at a time. He died without much monetarily but was very wise and had a thousand experiences. But I think he, like a lot of dads, really just wanted to run away and join a circus. But instead, he stuck with us. What more good can you say about a man than that?

Such is the life of John


Posted: June 20, 2015 in poetry, Seasons
Tags: , , , ,

As I write, the Earth is tilting to its greatest angle toward the Sun. Tomorrow there will be 24 hours of sunlight north of and within the Arctic Circle. The Sun will appear to rise and set at its most northern point on the horizon all across the Earth. Although we reference this mystery by watching the Sun, it is not our great star that is moving, tilting, almost wobbling through space, it is us, the Earth, that is speeding around the Sun  approaching this first day of summer.  It is the start of astronomical summer in Earth’s northern hemisphere, winter for its southern occupants. Tomorrow is our summer solstice, first day of summer. And we can only observe it from our point of view from each of our own tiny spots on the Earth. When I’m home, I can watch the sunrise this morning from my north windows.

There are so many scientific facts and phenomenon surrounding summer solstice , it makes my mind wonder more today than any other day, of this longest day of the year. Since the beginning of tribal man there is evidence of celebrations on this day. So I know I am not wondering alone.

Celebrations should be in order this weekend. We, tribal man, should be doing something…tribal it seems. I don’t think a Weber gas grill is appropriate on a day like this. A day like this calls for a fire, a real roaring fire. And if I was on a coast, tonight at dusk, I would at least be taking a long piss in the ocean. But I will have to settle for my backyard, facing the waxing crescent moon.

But if you were the Earth, how would you see this solstice from the Earth’s point of view in space? I can only throw away the bare facts and understand it poetically. That is what poetry is for, to help us understand, understand the wonders of our slightly elliptical orbital existence in this solar system we call home. This yearly summer poem is my attempt to not explain the facts of this day but to only understand them.


Of God, Love and Arnold

Posted: June 14, 2015 in free verse, poetry
Tags: , ,

You soon run out of poems
if you don’t speak of love or God.
Both mysterious things.
No mystery or awe speaking of hammers and nails
or horses or cats or birds named Arnold
Not all of these things or all birds
just one bird named Arnold
A story much too complicated to discuss here.
Although he does make a very good poem.
But speak of a God named Arnold and ears perk up.
God Arnold is a mysterious heavenly being
Full of love and blessings but with a very bad temper
You don’t piss off God Arnold he’ll drop ya in a New York minute.
Not like other Gods we could write poems about.
Interesting Being,
Books and scrolls could be filled with poems about God Arnold.
Poems that speak of love
and forgiveness before he throws you down a drain pipe
with a garbage disposal at the end.
Centrally located  somewhere in Kansas.
Because, He will drop ya in a New York minute,
For you that are not familiar with New York, that’s very fast.
God Arnold’s love is like that you know.
But he can be bribed
If you let him have all the fun
and you live on bare floors and eat nothing but dry shredded wheat.
Arnold the Bird has a much better life.
And you know, he makes for a much better poem.


Saturday Blues

Posted: June 13, 2015 in poetry
Tags: ,

It is that day.
The seven day week is past
Back to the beginning again
to Saturday blues.
Beans and wieners
A late trip to town
Grocery sacks, gas tank fill
and strawberry pop.
For Saturday’s pay


The Yard

Posted: June 9, 2015 in creative writing

Every morning I look out into the backyard, scan the perimeter for whatever may be visiting that day and wonder why this is so fascinating. It certainly may be the landscaping. I’m very proud of it, crab grass and all. Much more proud  than I was a few years ago.

You see, my yard 18 years ago was an impeccably groomed fescue lawn. Not a yard, a lawn. A big difference. A fescue lawn, at my latitude, requires fertilizer and weed killer twice a year,  insecticide to prevent grub worms ( June bug larva actually) once a year and a very large quantity of water, .75 of an inch every 2 days to be exact. I had all of the equipment to provide this, everything. A Scott’s fertilizer spreader, rakes, plastic lawn bags, even an underground automatic sprinkler system and of course a 22 inch self-propelled power mower with a big bag on the back to collect all of the grass I was cutting one or two times a week. And I had a garden shed to store it all. And all of this lawn grooming must be done on a predetermined schedule. Fertilize in the fall, fertilize and weed killer mid year, anti – grub worming third week in May, water first thing in the morning at sunrise and mowing on weekends and maybe Wednesdays.

Are you bored yet? Sound like work? Have you figured out how many gallons of water that takes. And what the hell do you do with the grass clippings? (haul them across town to the community compost pile). What else does that insecticide kill besides grubs? What the hell is in the fertilizer and weed killer, I break out when I spread it. How many hours a week does this take? Are you bored yet?

There are at least four things I hated about that lawn. Wasting water, killing bugs and anything that eats them, hauling grass, grass for christ’s sake! from one end of town to the other and goddamn it, I have better things to do on my time off from work.

Well, I put up with it for about 4 years. And frankly, I got sick of it all. My home looked good, the grass was green, the sidewalks were edged straight as a string. It was a postcard of suburbia. But I was sick of being a slave to it. I did not enjoy gardening, mowing, fixing sprinkler heads or grass hauling and killing broad leaves and bugs. Maybe I will when I’m retired and feel I need something to do around the house. But I doubt it. This is ol’ ShipSmoke you’re talking to.

Today, I follow the 30 minute rule. No more than 30 minutes a week are spent on the yard. No automatic water wasting, none. No fertilizer, no weed killer, no bug killer, no grass hauling. Just a quick mowing on a riding lawn mower at full speed and keep things neat. I do not collect grass, I mulch it all. Bermuda grass has taken over and buffalo grass is volunteering in the back yard. Dandelions have their way with me for a few weeks in the early spring. The yard looks pretty good for 4 or 5 days a week, a little shaggy for 2 or 3. Bermuda and buffalo require no watering. They are both native to this area. Without rain, the Bermuda turns a little brown but it bounces back after the next rain.

Everything is on its own now. I may be the scourge of the neighborhood. I have them all,  the grass, the crab grass, the broad leafs, the dandelions, the bugs, the yard, the wild flowers, the clover, the rabbits, the squirrels, the mourning doves, the blue jays, the cardinals and the juncos and house finches. We never had any of those when we had a lawn. We do now since it turned into a yard. They hang out at my house. And all for just 30 minutes a week on a riding mower at high speed.

Yard work!! Phooey!!


Found Food

Posted: June 8, 2015 in poetry
Tags: ,

What would the rabbit say
As he finds his sliced red apple
and sweet bird feeder seeds
Long ears risen
ready for a quick bound.
It is only easily found food
And he never talks with his mouth full


Morning Hour

Posted: June 6, 2015 in poetry

Awake for this morning hour
Listening to the quiet
peering through the predawn veil
of neither day nor neither night
the distant call of birds
and faint bark of a lonely dog
The wind’s indecision between breezy or calm
Behind the cloud shrouded red horizon’s dim mosaic
the Sun’s determination to either be shown
or not revealed today
I and the dandelions wait.