Narrowly Understood

Posted: February 22, 2018 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
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We were led to the decision
to not support
The yelling voice
from a distant class
that knows no empathy,
has no tears or sorrow
only blame spewed
in all directions
for things that are narrowly understood
Knowing only blue eyes, fair skin
and bleached wheat bread feasts
Spending all of the energy struggling,
struggling to undo past years of goodness.



“There ain’t no sin and there ain’t no virtue. There’s just stuff people do. It’s all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain’t nice, but that’s as far as any man got a right to say.” Grapes of Wrath

I’m getting very tired hearing that anyone that uses a weapon and kills 10 or 60 men , women or children did it because of his mental health. They are promoting the thought that guns don’t kill people, mentally disturbed people kills people. You might as well believe that people with heart disease kills people. Yes, Bull Shit!

I agree with Steinbeck and Preacher Jim Casy, simply like Jim said “And some ain’t nice“. There are evil fucking people out there and those evil bastards shouldn’t have assault weapons. And we should try to keep those weapons from those evil people. If you are a nice person that John S. and Preacher Jim knew and we all are acquainted with and are talkin’ about, then more power to ya, get a gun but admit it, you want that gun because of those evil  dumb asses that “ain’t nice”.  Stop blaming it on the mentally ill and mental health.

Evil people? Its hard to tell whose going to be nice and who won’t be but you may know who they are. Remember that older cousin or neighbor kid you grew up with that bullied you around, that juggled baby kittens, kicked dogs and grew up to deny healthcare to the young and aged, begrudged food stamps and refused to debate gun laws in Congress. Learn to recognize those evil bastards and keep assault weapons out of their hands.  They ain’t nice!

Such is the life of John.

(Grapes of Wrath is the book that awakened my social conscientiousness. If you haven’t read it or you did and didn’t like it. You may not be nice.) 

But It Feels Like

Posted: February 13, 2018 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
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Have you ever felt the chill
the wind chill of a voice
the “feels like” of an unscented letter
The real low heat of a quickly written note
The freezing temperature of  ‘no or maybe’.
Her warmth was 98.6, how could it feel like Arctic air
Red thermometers said it was cool
but it felt like she’d soon be gone.


What is it about the weather? Every local television station has “Armies” of weather men and women. And it seems that each are trying to be the first to report the lowest temperature, highest wind, the most rain, the least rain, deepest snow, worst drought and you get the picture. I call them the “miserables”, not the weather-person, but the weather conditions they report.

But lately they are hung up on “It feels Like”.

On this month of Valentines and Presidents
Waxed snow skis and sleds and polished blades,
Men and women with clear rose cheeks
take gasps of sharp cold air and fogging breaths.
Racing on frozen lanes cut by flexing smooth legs
and taut chiseled thighs.
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 win or lose, to be known forever as having the heart of an Olympian.



I Should Have Been A Ski Jumper

Posted: January 5, 2014 (Since I wrote this in 2014, A movie was made on this subject)

Funny how you see something and you try to remember back so many years to the ’88 Games and how little you remember.
A while back I spent a week on business in Calgary, Alberta. What a beautiful place it is. The Canadian Rockies I saw are what you imagine as sheer cliffs of rock with much less vegetation than the Rockies of the US. The Banff area is a great place to spend a few hours or a few days if you have the chance. Traveling back into Calgary you can still see the sites of the 1988 Winter Olympics. The Luge, Bob Sled runs and the 70 and 90 meter Ski Jumps are still there and still used today. Amateurs (I should say Newbies) can go down the Luge but must start only half way from the top or bottom depending on how you look at things. If you instinctively say “from the bottom” you probably shouldn’t try it.

But even I, the usually disinterested sport spectator, can bring to mind the most famous athlete of those Games. I only know of one. Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, ski jumper. He really didn’t soar like an eagle. Eddy was a former wall plasterer from England who had never ski jumped in his life. But he had always wanted to ski jump and seized on the opportunity to become the only ski jump entry from England. Eddie did not have a sleek physique, he wore Coke bottle glasses and had been dubbed “Mr Magoo”. But he had somehow met all of the requirements and was accepted on the team.

The pre-jump press hype was great, some thought Eddie would be the next opening scene of the ABCs “Wide World of Sports”. Most believed he was going to really be hurt taking those jumps, if not killed. Some were just making fun of him for the way he looked and doing such a stunt. Some thought he was crazy for trying. Me? I was really rooting for him. I always go with the underdog. And I really think Eddy was doing something that he felt he really had to do. I couldn’t wait to see him compete.

I’m not going to say Eddie finished last, he finished 58th in the 70 meter and 55th in the 90 m. Not bad 55th and 58th in the world of a few billion people, most of whom didn’t even try. He landed OK and wasn’t hurt too much. And Eddie made the Games exciting for me. Eddie, Mr. Magoo, the Eagle for a few brief days inspired.

And you know what? I have no idea who won the medals for those events so many years ago. But I remember Eddy. I’m not much for saying there is a moral to any story but there must be a lesson to be learned from this somewhere.

Such is the life of John


A Stolen Soul

Posted: January 14, 2018 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
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What becomes of a stolen soul
One left to weep with no console

Or shoulder near to rest upon
to cry a cold tear for will be gone

To only face alone its chilly night
Flood the dark with one’s only light

No magic pill to cure the grief
Nor inter-strength to catch the thief



Posted: January 9, 2018 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, sleep, writing
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Posted first: February 26, 2014 

I was told by my friend Carl about the Sleepyman
The long legged Sleepyman, 2 AM slumber preacher
Wide awake provider of the thousands of fence jumping sheep
Planter of sequential thought patterns
and soother of unpleasant dreams
He works nights, the 11 to 7 shift
When we feel the urge to toss and turn he’s the guy prodding us
He’s where the blankets and sheets go when we feel too hot or cold
The guy that messes up our hair and imprints wrinkles in our face
He laughs as he works but not too loud.
The Sleepyman, Shhhh! I think I see his shadow.



I know, I know, December is the month of only Christmas expectations. But as we travel about from mall to store to online shopping literally and figuratively pushing our rattling, child pissed on, flat sided squeaking swivel wheeled shopping carts, we really need to pause and put life a little more into proper perspective.

Not only have there been “big deals” at Walmart, Macy’s, Best Buy and Amazon, there have been Real Big Deals that happened in the world between December 15th and December 25th in history that most forget about and fail to pay proper December homage to.

So put away the wallet, the credit card, Amazon Prime login password, your and your children’s selfish shopping list and pause a couple of minutes to remember what other things happened on these ten days approaching this holiday of whatever religious Christmas you celebrate. These are real human events, nothing mystical about them. Please just pause for a few minutes.


December 15, 1791 – The Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution) became effective following ratification by Virginia.

December 16, 1944 – During World War II in Europe, the Battle of the Bulge began as the Germans launched a big counter-offensive in the Ardennes Forest along a 75-mile front, taking American troops by surprise. There were an estimated 77,000 Allied and 130,000 German casualties.

December 17, 1903 – After many years of experimentation, Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved the first powered, controlled airplane flights. They made four flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the longest lasting about a minute.

December 18, 1916 – During World War I, the Battle of Verdun concluded after ten months of fighting in which 543,000 French and 434,000 German soldiers were killed.

December 19, 1946 – War broke out in French Indochina as Ho Chi Minh attacked the French seeking to oust them from Vietnam. This marked the beginning of a thirty-year conflict which eventually led to heavy U.S. involvement and ended with a Communist victory in April 1975 after U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam.

December 20, 1956 – The Montgomery bus boycott ended after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling integrating the Montgomery bus system was implemented. The boycott by African Americans had begun on December 5, 1955, after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white man.

December 21st – Winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere today is the beginning of summer.

December 21, 1846 – Anesthesia was used for the first time in Britain during an operation at University College Hospital in London performed by Robert Liston who amputated the leg of a servant.

December 22, 1783 – Following a triumphant journey from New York to Annapolis, Maryland, George Washington, victorious Commander-in-Chief of the American Revolutionary Army, appeared before Congress and voluntarily resigned his commission.

December 23, 1888 – Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh cut off his left ear during a fit of depression.

December 23, 1947 – The transistor was invented at Bell Laboratories by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley, who shared the Nobel Prize for their invention which sparked a worldwide revolution in electronics.

December 23, 1987 – Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager set a new world record of 216 hours of continuous flight around the world without refueling. Their aircraft Voyager traveled 24,986 miles at a speed of about 115 miles per hour. They were in the air without landing for nine days of these ten days before Xmas.

December 24, 1968 – Astronauts Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr., and William A. Anders orbited the moon during the Apollo 8 mission, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed 10 orbits, and the live TV broadcast became one of the most-watched programs in history.

Now do ya get it?


( Merry Christmas from all the Gang, even E.  He sometimes slumps to a seasonal low this time of year.  John )

For E’s last year’s post.



Posted: December 11, 2017 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
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The town has a well-groomed courthouse square
surrounded by uneven red brick streets.
Like most towns, 24 times a day,
the bell tower clock strikes the hour and old men check their watches,
As if they have places to go and appointments to keep.
But they sit on the green donated park benches
that have names engraved in brass.
They watch the fall leaves fall
and sit to feel the fall breeze against their faces.
Some whittle, some stuff their tobacco pipes
and some spit into throwaway cups.
And everyone knows the name of the town dog
that runs free, unchained but friendly,
that searches with wildly wagging tail,
sniffing at pant legs, pockets and shopping bags,
Everyone knows that in this town
only the Police Chief’s dogs are allowed to run free.
As the fall leaves burn and the smoke rises
And the old men only sit and whittle,
smoking their pipes and spitting into throwaway cups.
Nervously checking on appointments
that they have never made but they all will surely keep.


DSS wrote this in September 2013, there may be a couple of people who haven’t read it yet. 


November 26, 2014






Bringing fine wines in straw lined baskets
wine aged in casks for few or many years
Bottles containing the labor of earth
As the new, refreshed and the aged
the sparkling, fermented and clear

They run as the fluids in our veins
the whites of our sweat, the reds of our blood
the champagnes of our ideals
Our bodies as the tinted, the clear and the opaque bottles
containing the zest, the sparkle and clarity of life.

We open our minds and souls
to release the bouquet
the bouquet of our thoughts
and the taste of our wisdom
Released to the palate of our worlds

Gathering on these days of Thanksgiving
we join to mix our flavors
to sweeten our dryness
and to heighten our senses
Taking comfort in the robust feelings of each other’s love

Such is the life of John

Enjoy our day of Thanksgiving.

Wrong of Heart

Posted: November 13, 2017 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing

I know the ways of your scheming heart
that squeeze the muscle those fired sparks
The thoughts the food that feeds its force
of blood that follows its deceitful course
Not veins but lies that spread caustic cells
into the minds of those, those hollow shells
that need a cause to relieve their plight
of life, of fate, of their racist nights
to release their rage on all thought wrong
Provoked and nettled into a repetitive song
Of threats and violence of fiery, fire and fight
making what’s not wrong into what’s not right