Sunday, May 29, 2011

One Storm Was Different

Time after time I observed beautiful storms,

Wanting to see differences, wanting to see norms,

Usually they appeared suddenly, lighting up the sky,

And I would watch with wonder as they passed me by,

But one storm looked different, just a little odd,

Its profile dark and menacing, its shoulders wide and broad,

The storm moved quickly in from the west,

Its eyes flashed angrily and it spoke loudly with zest,

I could see its determined look the closer it came,

Then a funnel descended, and it called out my name,

I hid in my basement, away from the destructive wind,

It was out to destroy me, I knew it was no friend,

My home was gone, the storm took all I had,

But I had evaded death this time; the storm was really mad,

Time after time I weathered marital fights,

Wanting to know who was wrong and who was right,

Usually these arguments would flare up fast,

But I didn’t want to listen until my anger was past,

One fight seemed different, just a little odd,

Her words were mean and icy, but my shoulders were broad,

The quarrel continued, I felt tightness in my chest,

Her eyes flashed and her words continued with zest,

I could see the fury in her face, the closer she came,

My pride was punctured as she called me some awful names,

I hid in silence, away from her angry glare,

She was out to destroy me, no longer did she care,

Along with my heart she took away my pride,

But I still had lots of love bottled deep inside,

When she left I had to face life once again,

With little to lose this time, but much more to gain,

I’ll continue enjoying storms as they roll into view,

But this time I’ll be aware of the destruction one storm can do.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Man in the Saddle

Tom studied the picture closely.  The Duke always rode tall in the saddle.  The Duke was a proud man, tough and rough, eager to fight foes and friends, especially the ones who mistreated a lady.  But then, The Duke’s method was to be firm, show a lady who’s in control, and expect her to like his methods.  Tom remembered one of those manly westerns when John Wayne gave his lady a few whacks on the bottom, tossed her over his shoulder, and marched off to the applause of the crowd. 

Tom wondered if he could actually do that.  His wife, Amy, seemed out of control.  If he didn’t meet her demands and whims right away she pounced on him like a cat on a mouse.  She would get in his face and call him every vile thing she could think of.  Tom didn’t like confrontations, especially those in front of his friends or her friends.  There weren’t any that he could call their friends.  When Amy lit into him he always acquiesced and tried to please her.  Her friends scoffed at his consternation and his apparent weakness.  His male friends were embarrassed and refused to talk to him for days.  

Tonight he just couldn’t face Amy and her friends. He asked the bartender for another double.  He needed to be numb or get enough courage to see her without flinching.  “If only I could be like The Duke, brave and proud,  standing up for myself or others.”  He heard himself saying, “Bartender, one more double.”  That didn’t sound like him.  He hadn’t asked.  He just said it like it was supposed to be.

 He barely had time to reflect on his new strength when he overheard a couple arguing.  He glanced to his right.  “What are you looking at?” a man snarled. “This is our business, not yours.”  He slapped the woman hard.  “You’ll do what you’re told!”

Maybe he’d had too much to drink or maybe he was tired of being pushed around himself.  “Don’t hit her,” he said in a low voice.  “You shouldn’t hit a lady.”

 The man chuckled.  “Did you hear what he called you, Janee?  He called you a lady.  Isn’t that funny?” he slapped her again, knocking her to her knees.  He turned to Tom and said, “Didn’t I tell you to mind your own business?”  He was muscular, at least six inches taller than Tom and forty pounds heavier. 

“Now is the time to back away and go home,” Tom thought.  But what would he be going home to?  Just Amy and her insults.  Tonight, his level of concern was numbed by the drinks.  “What would the Duke do?” he asked himself.  “Would the Duke turn his back and let a woman be mistreated?”  He already knew the answer.  “Never hit a lady,” Tom repeated.

The man stepped towards Tom, grinning at the thought of plastering this stranger.  Another step, and that’s when Tom exploded.  The man was not prepared for Tom’s catlike quickness.  Tom’s foot hit the man’s chin, and his fist hit him again when he tried to get up.  The man looked puzzled, unsure what was happening.  He lunged at Tom and was sidestepped and shoved into a wall.  He sank silently to the floor, unconscious for the moment.

Tom looked at the woman and offered his hand.  “You can stay here if you want, or you can go with me,” he said quietly.  “I’ll take you home or someplace else.”

 She smiled a weak smile.  “I’ll go with you.  I’m tired of being beaten up.” She was staring at him intently.  “You’re the first brave man I’ve seen that would stand up to him.  And you’re so quick and strong. You remind me of someone I saw in the movies but I can’t remember his name.”

“Janee, would you mind if I took you someplace where we could eat and talk?  I haven’t had a chance to talk with a real woman in a long time.”

 Janee was pretty, a brunette with plain features, but when she smiled her whole face radiated and she became beautiful. She belonged in a library or in a school, not being beaten in a bar.  “I’d love to,” she said, smiling as if he was the only man in the world.

 They talked for hours while they nibbled on hamburgers and drank cokes.  Janee was intelligent, well read, and a poet and she was delighted that Tom wrote poetry, too. Tom and Janee discovered they had much in common and they were soon fast friends.

 Janee explained that she had come to town with friends and they had gotten separated in a crowd.  She had run out of money and the man had paid her tab. But then he led her around like he owned her. Janee had already overheard him making plans for her future.  She had no way to escape.  She was terrified and she didn’t know what to do. Tom happened to be there just at the right moment to rescue her.  She looked at him coyly.  “Are you alone?” she asked.

Tom knew what she meant but he said, “Yes, I am. I’ve never been more alone than tonight .  When I met you that all changed. I don’t feel alone anymore.”

 He did not want to go home.  He would confront Amy another day.  Right now he wanted to enjoy this moment, this feeling of content, the feelings that Janee stirred within him.

  He drove to a motel.  Without questioning she followed, willing to be with him, willing to be with a man who showed bravery and kindness. In her heart a fire was beginning to burn.  She already loved him and he would learn to love her.  Already she felt heat rising within her.

 “What was the man’s name that played in the movies?” she thought.  “He treated his woman with kindness but clearly was in charge. That’s just like Tom.  I know what Tom needs.  He needs to prove his manliness and I’m ready for him.”

 Tom kissed Janee slowly and tenderly at first.  As his kisses became more demanding he felt Janee shifting and moving against him, hardening him into steel.  “What would the Duke do?” he asked himself. 

But the Duke no longer mattered. He only had thoughts of Renee and what she was doing.  He was Tom, brave and proud, who had stood up for Janee and won.  Now he was in control, slowly letting her heat rise like a volcano, waiting for the fireworks.  He was a changed man, sure of himself, and she was his woman, ready to support him in whatever ways she could.  Tonight they would discover how each fulfilled the needs of the other. Two hearts beating in unison. Two smiles joined forever. Tomorrow they would start their new life together.

Accidentally on Purpose (Part 4)

Career Choice #11

Never having enough,

Life was really tough,

But at twelve I was ready to see,

What the world had in store for me,

With the art of sales I came to grips,

Because newspaper subscriptions won trips,

Competitive commissions rewarded my work,

I didn’t need much for my perks,

Then on to bigger, better things,

Selling of tractors, diamond rings,

I sold items the customer didn’t really need,

I was caught in a whirlwind of my own greed,

The three I’s, Income, Independence, Impact,

Make something happen, a salesman’s facts,

I sold dreams well because I was bold,

But I felt in danger of losing my soul,

So I sold out, didn’t hesitate,

(Of course later I sold real estate),

Career Choice #12

Sculpted and manicured, bushes and lawns,

 As a teen I used my brains and my brawn,

Met with clients and nursery personnel,

They could trust me, things were going well,

Lined up my customers for weekend spots,

A very rigid schedule, right on the dot,

My business was complicated and vying with sports,

I was earning a reputation as a businessman of sorts,

There were several men working for me,

Until off to college I went, the world to see,

I’ve often wondered what might have been,

But I’d make the same choices all over again,

I left preparing the grounds for preparing my mind,

But I enjoyed working outdoors, I couldn’t leave it behind,

Career Choice #13

A sting operation was in store for me,

Little did I know I would be handling bees,

When I helped a beekeeper they got under my skin,

What a precarious occupation I soon found myself in,

It was outdoor work which I enjoyed,

Nature surrounded me and I was self-employed,

More than a hobby, beekeeping was still part-time,

But I made more income than teaching full-time.

I rented out bees for pollination every spring,

Then queens and package bees became my thing,

Honey was the least profitable part on my list,

My three phase business was angel kissed,

The bee business survived flood and drought,

It was humming along until divorce snuffed it out,

But then I had time with my children to play,

I could leave queens and things for another day,

Career Choice #14

There were careers I said no because I had doubts,

I could have made money, so what was that about?

My career selection became a matter of the heart,

Becoming a teacher was the best place to start,

Teaching students to live life abundantly became my fate,

I didn’t need fame but I wanted my students to be great,

I won’t know if they were successful in living their lives,

They’d be too occupied adjusting their inner drives,

Someday when our lives merge on some busy street,

What will they tell me when we chance to meet?

I hope they smile and point at me with pride,

And say, “Your class was great, I enjoyed the ride,”

From lower grades to middle, on through high school,

They knew if they tried, failure was against my rule,

And those who pushed for the higher grades,

Could pick and choose college or trades,

For careers were not mine alone to choose,

In this game students could win or lose,

After many long years I gave up the daily grind,

I didn’t want to be searching for my long lost mind,

Career Choice #15

Writing is something I would do in shade or sun,

It was therapeutic, calming, my idea of fun,

I was painting a picture, only with words,

My stories would wander about like tipsy birds,

I wrote news articles, short stories, even two books,

Not much would sell, editors wouldn’t look,

But words kept oozing out my pores,

And I kept writing poems by the scores,

Life was crazy as I was dragged through life’s dirt,

I tried to keep busy and laugh when I hurt,

Single parent and lonely, occupations galore,

I decided to write about life and forget keeping score,

I have a website shopping mall along with my posts,

I get to write poems to draw visitors and I am the host,

And books?  I hope someday to publish a few,

My writing is my life that changed as it grew,

Poetry and stories are waiting to be told,

I’ve got to release them, I’ve got to be bold,

It’s my final frontier that I’ll have to face,

There are so many stories to write I’ll have to race,

For a writer with stories that he just has to tell,

Will drive him insane, as you know quite well.

Accidentally on Purpose (Part 3)

Career Choice #7

I had a burning desire to be,

 A fireman with little concern for fame,

 But I would have chances to control,

The roaring fires and dancing flames,

The excitement of saving property and lives,

Blaring sirens down the street,

I didn’t think I’d need anything more,

To make my life complete,

The daily routines of clean and polish,

Continued practice of life saving skills,

Nerves on edge waiting for calls,

Cool and calm between the drills,

A gruff lieutenant got on my case,

He wanted my learning faster to be,

But I had a sensitive side,

And I didn’t like him barking at me,

I flamed out and lost my cool,

I wasn’t going to be anybody’s fool,

A jack of all trades, a master of none,

I hadn’t settled down, I was still having fun,

Career Choice #8

I was still thinking music,

And learning piano and guitar,

I had messages of love to give,

I hadn’t thought about being a star,

Yet the stage was pulling me,

I could be an actor strutting about,

But my acting was soon questioned,

And my stuttering left no doubt,

As an actor I didn’t get far,

I was just another example,

Of a brief shooting star,

Career Choice #9

I was a guest on a radio show,

For newspapers I was a hit,

Perhaps I could be a newsman,

My career—I had finally found it,

I covered fires and crimes,

Sports stories were very easy,

But one thing bothered me a lot,

Deadlines made me queasy,

In smoke filled rooms an hour to write,

I rushed to get my stories in,

But wait! When a new story was breaking,

My stories were shoved aside again!

When my articles were completely done,

I would proudly hand them in,

An editor would slice them up,

No point arguing, I knew I’d never win,

When I had a better understanding,

Of what I needed to do,

My articles were allowed to run,

And I had a byline too,

But like all good things,

This finally came to an end,

The local newspaper folded,

And I lost my editor friend,

This career path I enjoyed,

But now I was unemployed,

Career Choice #10

Shaking hands and kissing babies,

I never knew what would ensue,

I wanted to tell voters what they wanted to hear,

Instead of saying what was true,

When I thought I wanted to be a politician,

I forgot my problem with lies,

I just couldn’t keep a straight face,

The truth was there in my eyes,

PAC’s, voter blocs, all wanted an exclusive promise,

That I’d vote for their particular sin,

They wanted a promise that I’d love them forever,

Before campaign funds would start trickling in,

People everywhere think there’s no use,

When politicians don’t even seem to try,

But if politicians tell the truth they’ll have no excuse,

It’s much easier to defend a lie,

I missed my chance for office and fame,

I was told I should play the game,

But I’d rather be poor and unknown,

And still be proud of my name,

(To be continued)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Accidentally on Purpose (Part 2)

Career Choice #4

I wanted a career that let me work alone,

Just let me do my task,

An occupation that was really appreciated,

Was that too much to ask?

With a few classes I could be an electrician,

With a few years of training I’d be set,

It was shocking what I discovered,

So I wasn’t ready to commit yet,  

I’d learn to be a responsible apprentice,

For maybe four years or more,

The idea was simply electrifying,

It thrilled me to the core,

I could be a great conductor,

Giving electricity a special path,

But I’d have to be extra careful,

Not to feel its burning wrath,

Then I found crawl spaces too small,

For my claustrophobic bent,

And spiders and snakes were not on my list,

Of things that were heaven sent,

So farewell to blueprints and colored wires,

And all things electricians do,

So circuit breakers and transformers,

I decided we were through,

Career Choice #5

I could handle deposits and lend out bucks,

So banking was a job I thought I could do,

What were my qualifications?

I looked good in suits and loved money too,

Interest on loans is a principal source of revenue, 

So can’t you see me sitting behind a door,

Trying to find ways to raise the interest rates,

Counting currency and saying, “More, I want more,”

There has to be continual communication,

Between customers and banking employees,

So financial needs are met with services,

As long as the bank gets its fees,

Secrets kept me from being a banker,

For there were records about payments due,

I had access to confidential information,

And I refused to divulge what I knew,

Career Choice #6

I thought about becoming a heart surgeon,

Oh, how important I would be,

If I could replace a worn out heart,

Wouldn’t everybody just envy me?

Well trained, dedicated, and extremely skilled,

Some of the requirements for medical careers,

The pay is good and I have a few weeks to spend,

Wait! You say after college there’s six more years?

I would work long hours if the nurses were cute,

But clinical rotations and residencies I’d be on,

By the time I was ready to start my practice,

Half of my life would be gone,

I guess I just didn’t have the heart,

To even start,

So kiss thoracic surgery goodbye,

I won’t even try,

(To be continued)

Friday, May 20, 2011

I Became a Writer Accidentally on Purpose

When I was ready to make choices concerning my career path I was surprised to find that some choices were chosen for me, based not on what I could do, but for what I couldn’t do. 

When it was time to make a career choice,

I had to decide who I wanted to be,

For each occupation has its own voice,

And I wanted the spotlight shining on me,

Career Choice #1

I loved languages and I took great pride,

Spanish, German, and Latin were on my list,

If I said I was diligent in my studies, then I lied,

But I enjoyed language structures, and I insist,

That some of the sounds tangled my tongue,

Until the day I ventured into the language lab,

When I heard the teacher describing to everyone,

(My recorded voice was booming and I felt his stab),

He remarked, “He’s terrible with his pronunciations,”

I had other career choices, this one wouldn’t be missed,

So cross off language translator from my list,

Career Choice #2

I often woke up excited about the new day,

Songs would be bursting from my lips,

Carpe diem! It didn’t matter work or play,

The whole world was at my fingertips,

Perhaps singing would be a great career too,

But that thought was soon nipped in the bud,

When my career in singing all fell through,

Ostracized and disgraced, my name was mud,

In mid-song the choir director brought us to a halt,

She loudly announced, “Someone’s off key,”

“We can’t sing this cantata because of someone’s fault,

I wasn’t worried because I knew it wasn’t me,

Then she said, “That voice is on this side,”

She put us in groups to narrow it down,

Finally she was next to me, and I couldn’t hide,

She said, “I’ve finally located that awful sound,”

I could still sing for part of my everyday fun,

But I knew my singing career was totally done,

Career Choice #3

Like many high school boys I was ready to perform,

I wanted riches and fame, my name up in lights,

I did very well in sports, I was ahead of the norm,

I knew what was expected, I’d even wear tights,

My teams weren’t exceptional, although we did well,

One championship or two, the stats weren’t great,

If I would go to the next level, only time would tell,

But I found out the results of my professional fate,

“Son, there are a few factors holding you back,

“You need to be bigger, stronger, faster, just for a start,

And if you had a lot more talent the money we’d stack,”

So, no pro sports for me, just break my heart,

Choice number three was out of my league,

I was tired of losing but I wasn’t fatigued,

Career Choices (To be continued)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"I'm Not a Madman!"

“ I’m Not a Madman!”

I was convinced it was a tremendous act of fate,

When assigned an interview that would air at eight,

I would interview a murderer as his doctor studied him,

But he watched me as he addressed his doctor’s latest whim,

The recorded interview went as follows,

As he tried to prove to us his words weren’t hollow:

“How can I convince you that she is there in my dreams?

Either I’m a liar or a madman it seems,

But wait! Didn’t I just tell you about your uncle, Dr. Thoreau?

Where do you think I got that information, I want to know?”

“The woman in green told me about him and others too,

She travels in both worlds, even if you think that’s taboo,

Whispering in my ear until the break of dawn,

Rarely do I sleep, you see how my face is drawn?”

While she’s in your world would you find her and talk?

Ask her to stay out of my dreams, no longer should she stalk,

Yes, I think she’s beautiful and I’d like to sample her charms,

But she only smiles and teases me, never in my arms,”

“You’ll see, you’ll see, that’s all you ever answer me,

If you don’t believe me, how can I ever be free?

I’m not a liar, you know I always tell you every fact,

Don’t shake your head, you know that makes me react,”

“You think these bindings will hold me if I choose to leave?

Dr. Thoreau, if I broke loose you’d have so much to grieve,

Do I need a sedative so I can finally get some rest?

I’m afraid of the woman in green, what else do you suggest?”

“You’ll consult with the other doctors and hear what they say?

You’ll post a guard outside my door to watch both night and day?

You think someone is crazy, and for once we finally agree,

Wait, you’ve got this wrong, the crazy one isn’t me,”

“I see the woman in green at night when she checks the fluids bag,

I pretend that I’m sleeping, I’m good but I won’t brag,

One of these nights she’ll stop to whisper in my ear,

 I’ll leap up and grab her, and her eyes will show fear,”

“Her days of walking in a shadowy world will be done,

And I will keep her as my proof of a trophy won,

Dr. Thoreau, you’ll be surprised to see that I don’t lie,

And dreams that are real to me can sometimes die,”

“You’ll know for an instant that a madman I cannot be,

Then you’ll join the woman in green and I’ll be free,

Hiding in shadows, waiting for someone alone to sleep,

In the middle of the night, by her bedside I will creep,”

“Whispering in her ear until the break of day,

Waiting until she wakes and asks me to stay,

She will love me forever to see I’m not a dream,

Unless she’s a madwoman and decides to scream,”

“I’m not a madman,” he told me confidentially,

“After you’ve heard my story, I think you’ll agree,”

He waited for my opinion, watching my eyes,

“Just tell me the truth, I don’t want to hear lies,”

His bindings appeared secure, he couldn’t lunge,

Without much hesitation, I took the plunge,

“No one will tell you because it doesn’t matter,

But you’re crazy all right, crazy as a mad hatter,”

He coughed, then grinned, and began to cackle,

“It wouldn’t take much to get rid of these shackles,

One of these days I’ll find a way to be free,

I’ll leave you alone because you are honest with me,”

“I don’t trust Dr. Thoreau, he hides behind words,

Or the other doctors, who are like angry birds,

Neither do I enjoy the shots that make me dream,

That’s one of the reasons I dislike the woman in green,”

My time was up, I had recorded his views,

I had everything I needed to make the local news,

“So long,” I said, “Just stay out of trouble,

Every wild thing you do makes your time double,”

I was out of the parking lot and onto the street,

When the radio station called me about a disturbing feat,

A dangerous man had escaped the cell he was in,

Did I know where he was going? Or any of his kin?

I thought without asking, the man on the loose,

Was looking for vengeance while avoiding the noose,

It all happened so quickly he couldn’t get far,

But I hope you thoroughly check inside your car,

My interview will be aired for all to see,

He’s considered armed and dangerous, even to me,

Police are swarming like bees from a hive,

His picture is shown with the words, Dead or Alive,

He’s not a liar if you believe what he said,

But his lies are true, and they’re all in his head,

He might tweet you or Google his brother,

Use his mobile device to contact some other,

He’s got a few quirks, and he’s just a little mean,

I don’t think he likes anyone who’s wearing green,

A master of disguises, he’s hard to describe well,

How long he remains free, only time will tell,

He might leave the area and rebuild his past,

He might find love with a marriage that lasts,

Become an outstanding citizen that everyone knows,

Live on a street with trees lined in rows,

I’m only guessing when I predict his life,

 I’m hoping he will change from violence and strife,

But he’s a liar and a madman, he can’t change a lot,

Unless you believe a leopard can change his spots.

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