Because friendship is laid in layers
and thickened of loves and tears.
One day, how thick will be our strata
with many memories captured between the years.

Not long from now we will awaken
and will still be but alone
we will peel back a layer of our memory
And remember the morning we lay before the dawn.

When we only lightly touched and softly spoke
And judged it was wrong but yet
We only made sweet hugs and said good-bye
Adding another layer to our regret

Because friendship is laid in layers
and thickened by many years.
One day, how thick will be our strata
with many memories between other loves and tears.



Able to see the thinnest of silver linings in the darkest of threatening clouds.
No longer.
Wishing will not make it true.
If you’re lucky there will only be rain within that cloud.  John, 2017

Exclaiming openly what you believe is a very serious business in the United States. We indeed have First Amendment free speech rights. The Supreme court even ruled that we can  gather millions of dollars of contributions of any amount and form a PAC and support any political person or stance that you like and do it anonymously under our free speech rights. Because of that anonymity there are no repercussions against you for “taking that stance”. PACs do not have to reveal their contributors.

But if you are an individual and you alone take a stance against  a cause such as racial inequality, even if it is as little as not standing but kneeling peacefully on knee (as in prayer) for 49 seconds during the national anthem, you can or will lose your job and livelihood. I’m not sure that the NFL is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. I think this is unfair. Under the Bill of Rights we can openly express our opinions. If an employer is suppressing that then they are violating our rights, it appears to me.

That is why I ask anyone in my family to not patronize businesses such as Hobby Lobby, Chic Filet, Home Depot, Papa John’s and Walmart. I’m adding the NFL to the list. Any companies that have all expressed their political views and pressed those views on their employees,  I will not shop at any of their locations. Give me the names of businesses that are in a PAC or  are candidate contributors that support political views opposite of mine and I will not deal with those businesses. If you are just an individual with an opposite view, no problem, I respect that. I may have a different feeling about you but I’m not going to treat you badly because you have a different view. But if you are a business, serving the public and advertise for my support and patronage then you will not receive my financial support if you contribute to an opposing view of mine.  Simple.

Now, if PACS are operating under protection of Freedom of Speech, as the Supreme Court has ruled, they should be forced to list their contributors. We could then treat them the same way that they treat their employees.

If enough people would do that, PACS political support would very soon change or even disappear.

Oh, don’t worry, the title of this post has nothing to do with what I have just written. Sue me.


In a world full of Kims, be a Janis.

The Sun peeks above the horizon, hesitates as an orange half round orb, allowing a loitering hawk to pass in front, and then slowly continues it purpose of dawn.  Another new day is being created.

A few light layered clouds seem to dodge the Sun’s rise and heat, not ready to let loose their mist, not yet, but for just another few short moments to cast their long transparent shadows on the lakes and ponds and fields and fall leaves below. An autumn Thursday begins.


Today reminds me of this line.

The Sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older.
Pink Floyd’s “Time” 


This leather couch
I have sat in this leather couch
nearly 10 years
Is there anything more comfortable
than a leather couch
You don’t sit here
you sink in and lounge
Your butt becomes lower
than your knees
You must rest your feet
on the old coffee table
The hollow of your back is filled
by the generous cushion stuffing
The narrow gap of space
between the soft armrest
and the cushion allows
potato chips and pencils
and quarters to easily pass through
to the floor.
This leather couch.
It is for grandsons and old men
to fall asleep on.



Posted: October 16, 2017 in free verse, poem, poet, poetry, writing
Tags: , , , ,

Love it when I clean up the shop and get everything in order. I just want to turn up the CD player and listen to Van Morrison and enjoy the beauty of it all. The tools are where I can find them, the bench is cleaned with so much space to work and the floor is picked up and swept. I drink a cup of coffee, sit on my ass for a few minutes, absorb the music. But then I realize it is just pretty, I’m not getting anything accomplished. It makes a nice picture but it is too clean and organized, it is sterile. I liked it better messy I think. As I start working, once again it all becomes balanced.

I’m thinking – which is better? An idle neatness or a constructive mess?

Such is the life of John.

Well I did it again. We received an E-mail informing us that I am offending another one of our readers.

My images of women’s bare backs and beautiful asses were found of poor taste, hopefully you have noticed them in our picture gallery side-bar of the DistantShipSmoke blog page. There are three of them. And as you all know, we do love naked women, all parts of them. But I guess, just to be tasteful or perhaps more teasing, I only display images of their backs and usually covered butts.

I am showing restraint. I don’t know, it must be due to our early Methodist upbringing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the frontal parts and other details of the female nude (preferably in person in the flesh) as much if not more than the soft smooth backs and buttocks but I just leave those wonderful frontal images for myself, so I can view them in private, with heavy mouth breathing, in front of the light and silvery glow of my 21 inch wide-screen high-definition computer screen.

The only thing as good as a nude picture is a nearly nude woman in lingerie, I do love (preferably in person) the images and pin-ups of women in lingerie. I used to collect them but we just didn’t have enough storage or hard drive space. Terabytes can be quickly eaten (heh.. eaten)  storing the high res lingerie and pin-up jpegs. We had clunky ol’ programs like Outlook e-mail, Office 2ooo, Excel worksheets, Cad drawings and Wire Shark data to maintain. We were constantly forced to make trade-offs between Rita Hayworth, Ava Gardner, Veronica Lake, Zoe Mozert, Jane Russell, Vargas Girls, Bettie Page, Betty Grable (the list goes on) or the complete set of Cad drawings for the Houston Oil Storage Tank Terminal. The decisions were dizzying! But I was the conscientious employee (most of the time) and work always won out, maybe a couple of times, Zoe.

So my dear reader, please don’t stop reading our stuff just because I find Vanessa Marcil’s and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s perfectly placed Dimples of Venus on their smooth soft backs beautiful and worthy of sharing (preferably in person). Not to mention Vanessa’s perfect ass in 86% nylon and 14% lycra string tied bikini or Julia’s perfectly placed U.S. Constitution. (I know, John Hancock, didn’t sign the real document). We are really using more restraint  than I would myself prefer. And I find them both beautiful and intriguing and titillating and fun. You surely don’t want to rob a man of a little fun? Do you? The images are staying but please keep reading. But we do not want to hear another bad word from you of Pink Floyd’s six wonderfully placed nude body paintings of possibly the world’s six most beautiful albums.



Thoughts and Prayers

Ya, that will do it, thoughts and prayers. Prayers from those that are religious and thoughts from those that aren’t. I hear both after any catastrophic event. Those that will just think about the dead and their relatives and those that will just talk about the dead and their relatives with a make-believe fairy or elf or omnipresent mystical being. Yep, that really has been working for us. Thinking about it and talking to ourselves earnestly, making everyone believe that we are thinking and talking to ourselves really, really hard.

Love that phrase “Thoughts and Prayers”. That pretty much covers it, we don’t have to do much of anything else after we say either one of those. We are pretty much covered under the etiquette of Anglo-sexton social mandates. That covers us real well, thinking and talkin’ to ourselves until the next catastrophic event happens.

I’m an agnostic so I only say “Thoughts”, I prefer just thinking about what happened and who it happened to. I have family and friends that prefer “Prayers” to their silent god.

It doesn’t matter which we do, one gets as much done to prevent it from happening again as the other. The Congress, Supreme Court and even the President have been great about spewing out the “Thoughts and Prayers” to the dead and their families the last 20 years or so.

We seem to have a lot of “Thoughts and Prayers” happening out there, and seems we just don’t have much “Doing” going on. It’s the “Doing” that is hard for us.

I think that’s why we Americans like foreign wars. We find it natural and easy trying to keep assault weapons out of the hands of the foreign enemy in, (pick any mid-eastern country) but find it impossible how to keep assault weapons out of the hands of the enemy right here in the “good Ol’ U. S. of A”.

Maybe we should do a little more “Thoughts and Prayers” for the fighting overseas in the Mid East. It would be a whole hell of a lot cheaper and would work just as well as it has been working right here at home.

Thoughts and Prayers, how’s that workin’ for us??

(Next time I post this, I may throw in more “Moments of Silence”. Ya, Moments of Silence, we have had years of silence.)


I am thinking of the bird’s nest built on the spring season wreath that was hanging on my front porch at home this summer. I thought the eggs would surely be hatched by the time I returned. Perhaps then the young birds, mouth wide open, would still be begging a meal from mother robin and stealing a bug or two from their nest mates. Or maybe if I was long coming  home, they would have flown the nest, placing their trust in the thin air as I am today traveling far from my home.

It is always sunny here on top, above the clouds. As the wisps of mist turn to thin clean air, we break into a hidden world above the cloudy day. Towering columns reach high but try as they may they still are beneath us. Our earth thousands of feet below is now only white vapor and rain and clouds covered by sunshine.

One hundred and five minutes, that’s how long it will take to travel what would take my four-wheeled conveyance eleven and a half hours. I’m traveling seven times faster but there is no breeze to my face or rumble at my feet. And as far as I know, no one on my bumper, to the left or right of my lane or rambling too slow ahead of us. How can others sleep while I am wide-eyed. I have traveled 12700 miles by air this year so far. I have never kept track of the miles in earlier years. Tell me, how many miles does it take until a guy is able to read a newspaper, play a computer game or sleep while being 35000 feet in the air and traveling 535 miles an hour? How many miles until you are deadened to the marvel of it all? Keep the orange juice, forget the pretzels or peanuts, don’t bother me, I’m looking out the window and wishing I was up front.

Nothing better than being on the way home. Check your bags, who cares if you’ll never see them again. No reason to drag your dirty laundry with you in the tightly packed, neatly tagged and tiny wheeled canvas Samsonite. Sure, keep the computer and camera but pack the little black bag so you are traveling lightly. You need at least one hand to drink the Tim Hortons or Starbucks. Worry about balancing the coffee and watching the scenery, not balancing two bags and keeping sight of your replaceable possessions. Don’t waste your time and energy protecting your “stuff”. You are miles from home and seeing things that you may never have the chance to see again, even if it is just a pretty girl or a set of 4-year-old twins each carrying a complete boxed set of Matchbox cars that Dad gave them on his way to war.


* From 4 years ago.

fading pencil

Posted: September 16, 2017 in poem, poet, poetry, writing
Tags: , , ,

Some leave with their words kept safely in tightly bound books
with slick covers and pictures of black and white pensive faces
Books that might be bought, autographed and read or perhaps not.
And some poets die with their words only kept on yellow legal tablets stacked in metal file drawers
only as dreams written by fading pencil lead or blotted ink,
written but waiting to be found.
Some die and are remembered
Some die and are discovered
We seldom meet poets or seek them out,
Only after we hear their well-worded tributes
by well-meaning newspaper obituary writers
and read a few beautiful verses of their perhaps long forgotten work
that is vaguely familiar but remembered
do we say, “damn, he lived among us, did we notice”?
How fortunate we have been to have heard the voices of Frost, Sandburg, cummings, Kerouac, Angelou and Ashbery,
Poems and their poets, like music, are meant to be heard.


We drove into the rain last night
followed skies lit by lightning strikes distant miles away.
We were sprayed by rain raised from the lanes of giant trucks
with bright red and yellow tail light eyes
that streaked across our faces in time with our windshield’s electric rhythm and beat.
And we reminisced of other stormy nights
and recalled long forgotten birthdays and road trips
that may have also been our best of better days.