Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mixed Messages

Don’t be messing with little girls now,

They’ll be running, they’ll be crying, they’ll be telling,

Stop! Don’t! Leave them alone!

Don’t be kissing little girls then,

They’ll be running, they’ll be smiling, they’ll still be telling,

Don’t! Stop! Leave them alone!

Don’t be messing with big girls now,

They’re not running, they’ve been changing, now they’re waiting,

Stop! Don’t! What are you thinking?

Don’t be kissing those big girls now,

They’ll do the catching because they’ve been scheming,

Stop! Don’t stop! What were you dreaming?

If those kisses you wanted turned out to be teasing,

And thoughts of tomorrow are delightfully pleasing,

Don’t stop! Don’t let her get away!

You’ll be caught by one you thought you were chasing,

Captured by the mixed messages you were receiving,

Don’t stop!  Your world is just beginning!

Start! Don’t stop! Love keeps the world turning,

Don’t stop loving!  Don’t stop living!

Don’t stop! Keep on giving!

Don’t stop!

"It'll Come For You!"

“Tell me a scary story, Papa,

One that won’t let me sleep,”

“Okay, child, I’ll tell you one,

That will be dark and deep,”

“Papa, is it the one about a toe,

Where the monster seeks revenge?”

“No, child, this one is scarier yet,

And you’ll be in the middle, not on the fringe,”

“Papa, tell me true,

 Is it something that happened to you?”

“Yes, my child, once when all was locked tight,

I was writing a story in the midst of night,

When out of the corner of my eye,

I saw a movement, then a shape in the moonlight,

I turned but not fast enough,

For only a shadow remained in sight,

Then it, too, was gone in a flash,”

“My mind is playing tricks on me,” I said,

“I think it’s time for me to go to bed,”

“Papa, is that the end of the story?”

“Be patient, my child, for there is more,

I went into my room and closed the door,

But I could feel , yes, feel, eyes fixed outside,

Wanting for me to open wide the door,

And so I did, expecting nothing but my fear,

But there was a man standing there,

I guess he’d been there for awhile,

Looking at me straight on with an evil smile,”

“Papa, were you scared, what did you do?”

“He wore a cloak, his eyes were red,

I closed the door, stayed awake in bed,

Waited until the dawn’s first light,

To see if I was alive or dead,

He was standing in that very hall,

Now go to sleep, if you can sleep at all,”

“Papa, I’m scared, is this story true?

Did this really happen to you?”

“Child, it happened night after night,

Your mother couldn’t take it,

Always mumbling about an awful fright,

Eventually it scared her enough  and she took flight,

She’s living in a home for those disturbed,

Claiming she’s okay and not perturbed,

She claims my story is quite inane,

And I’m the one who’s really insane,

My story is not long, but it is true,

Now go to sleep, my child, or it’ll come for you.”

With a Kiss

Your kiss turns me inside out,

Curls my toes clear up to my knees,

I’m not sure why it does what it does,

Would you give me another one please?

One small kiss tastes like nothing,

Nothing I’ve ever had before,

I’ve been waiting here for samples,

Won’t you please give me some more?

If we are parted by some twist of fate,

Until I return you’ll be in my heart,

I’ll remember the moments we’ve shared,

 But it’ll always be with your kisses I’ll start,

Write me a letter of love if you will,

Say while we’re apart it’s me you miss,

Stain it with tears so I’ll feel sad,

Before you send it, seal it with a kiss,

When I return to hug you and squeeze,

I want your kiss to mean what you say,

So eloquently tell me what you mean,

With a kiss that thrills me in every way.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Coin (Parts 7 &8)

The Coin  (Part 7)

Derek stepped quickly from the elevator in an attempt to elude Vanna but she took his elbow as if he was a gentleman escorting a lady.  Vanna smiled smugly at everyone as they passed. She knew all eyes were on them and she wanted the whole office to know she was there.  Whispers and gossip filled the void as Derek rushed onward.

He led her to his office, closed the door behind her, and offered her a chair. “Do I know you from somewhere?” he asked.  “You look familiar.” 

“Don’t you think you would remember if we had met?  We’ll have time to discuss that later.  Right now the clock is running and the thirty minutes I gave you is now down to twenty.”  Her gaze was unwavering and Derek felt chills running up his spine.

He had to act fast.  He didn’t even consider arguing with her.  She sat there smugly as if she held the perfect cards and deep inside he knew she wasn’t bluffing. But the terrifying part was the understanding that she was backed by someone or something powerful, someone who could crush him in an instant.  He needed more information.  He would ask about that later, if he dared.

 There weren’t many big offices that fit her specifications.  The owner of the company had the biggest office.  Derek, the CEO, had the most impressive one.  Five large offices belonged to other important executives, and one smaller office which the owner’s son frequented.  Derek had always considered the owner’s son to be an unnecessary appendage, someone who got in the way and impeded progress.  Taking that office would mean war with the owner, but what else could Derek do?

Derek led Vanna to that small office, hoping to appease her.  “I’ll have his things moved right away so you can move in.”

She took a quick glance around the room.  “No, this room doesn’t satisfy my needs.  I’ll tell you when I see the one I want.”

Derek was flustered.  Vanna was being uncooperative.  He would have liked to send her away. He didn’t want to be forced to do things but he had no choice. Something was making him do whatever she asked.

Derek and Vanna went from office to office, interrupting private conversations and meetings.  He knew this was not how to run a business but at this moment everything was out of his control.

 Beads of perspiration were on his forehead and Derek dabbed at them with a monogrammed handkerchief.  All the rushing about and she had not claimed an office. He seemed puzzled at her silence and her reluctance to choose.

 “Okay, now what?  You’ve seen them all.”

“There’s one more you haven’t shown me.” Vanna had that intense look again.

“But that office is mine,” Derek sputtered.  “You can’t have that one.”

Vanna smiled sweetly and said, “I only wanted to see it for comparison purposes.  Now that you told me I can’t have it, I’ve changed my mind.  It’s a woman’s prerogative.”

Reluctantly he led her down the hall, past the receptionist’s desk and through the doors with the large gold initials, D. G.  He walked around a large desk and sat down ceremoniously.  Seeing him seated in a position of power might calm her down. He leaned back in his chair and braced himself.  “Who are you and what do you really want?” he snapped.

“Don’t you recognize me, Derek? We spent hours together.  You tortured me endlessly and gave me no mercy.  Didn’t you think I would find you?  Or did you even care? You thought I was disposable.  Easy to get rid of.  I’m not going to be a victim any longer.  It’s your turn now.”

Derek had a wild look in his eyes. The veins on his forehead bulged.  His hands were opening and closing as he stared at her throat.  Perhaps he could have made one quick move and his tormentor, Vanna, would be lying in a heap. Instead, his face violently contorted and his hands clutched his chest.

Derek pitched face forward and fell at Vanna’s feet. “Help me,” he pleaded. “I’m  having a heart attack.”

Vanna went around his desk and sat in his chair.  She looked out at the city below.  “I would have enjoyed this view every day. It’s a pity it was wasted on you.”

She sat there a few seconds before she got up. She hesitated next to Derek, just in time to hear him gasp, “Please help me.”  Vanna stooped down and whispered, “Revenge is sweet.  You were just the first.  There are three of your friends I still have to see.” 

As she entered the elevator someone yelled, “Call 911!  Mr. Goodman had a heart attack!”  By the time she got to the ground floor the building was alive with people running in all directions.  She tried to look concerned as she waited for the next bus. 

At precisely at 12:05, the next bus pulled in.  “I’m sorry, folks,” the driver said slowly, “I had to wait for all the emergency vehicles to clear the area.  I guess somebody important died.” 

He seemed impatient to make up lost time. Then he noticed Vanna, waiting on the steps, blocking the line of people. “What do you want, Miss?”

“Does this bus go by the Superior Court?” she asked sweetly.

(To be continued)

The Coin  (Part 8)

Four huge impressive pillars at the entrance of the Superior Court almost stopped Vanna from entering the building.  She passed people in suits, men and women in police uniforms, and a variety of others in more casual attire.  She asked herself again, “What am I doing here?”

She was not a risk taker and had never wanted to be one.  She was just Vanna, daughter of a preacher, who made a habit of doing what she was told.  She had stayed out of trouble all her life, was called an “over achiever” by her teachers, and made the Dean’s list in college before she was forced to drop out in the middle of her third year . 

“Don’t get even.  No revenge.”  She could almost hear her father’s voice admonishing her. “Your life should not be ruled by hatred or fear.”  These words had been taken to heart but they were high ideals in an imperfect world. Two months later he had been shot in front of his church trying to thwart an attempted robbery. What good were his words then?  And where was God when that happened? 

Vanna had been disillusioned and angry, but kept her feelings tightly contained. She decided she would take charge of her own destiny but her life continued to unravel.  Two months later her mother died from a brain tumor and Vanna dropped out of school, taking charge of her four younger siblings.  Her almost perfect life had taken a nosedive into an abyss.

Jobs were scarce, but Vanna found a job working as a maid.  She would rush to her job, rush home afterwards, and then help her sister and brothers with their homework and listen to their personal problems.  Vanna was overwhelmed by it all but she was determined to keep them all together.  She thought they were doing well until she learned Karl, her 14 year old brother, was hanging around the wrong group. She worried constantly, “ What could she do to keep him out of trouble?”

Now as she moved about the court building she had the sinking feeling she would be back, perhaps to keep Karl out of jail. She wanted to turn and run but the coin was vibrating against her breast, overriding any thoughts of slipping away.  Her world had changed and now she had no choice but complete her mission. 

Several policemen stood in front of one set of doors.  They admitted a few sharply tailored lawyers carrying briefcases and stacks of papers.  “Miss,” one of the policemen said, “you’ll have to wait down the hall until it’s time to come in.” 

Vanna didn’t need to stop there because the coin was urging her on, up the stairs to the second floor.  She walked past the room designated for the jury pool and noticed it was filled with people.  Some were pleading with the clerk that they had hardships and could not serve, others were sitting quietly, and there were a few who seemed eager to be selected.

 As the coin vibrated, Vanna sat down in an empty seat and waited.  A clerk held up a paper and began reading a list of names.  As their names were called, people got up and headed to their assigned courtrooms. Vanna rose with the second group and followed them down the hall and into a room.

 When the group was seated the lawyers began the selection process, which Vanna thought was ridiculous.  She stifled a giggle as she imagined what the lawyers might be thinking as they began dividing the group. “You take one and I’ll take one, and we’ll find all the jurors who have emotional links to the victim or the defendant and toss them out.” She straightened up and listened intently when the prosecutor asked a young man, “If you believe the evidence leaves doubt as to whether someone is guilty, could you vote for conviction?” “I could,” he replied.

 After the jurors and alternate jurors were selected, the rest of the group was dismissed.  Since Vanna was only pretending to be a juror she went out into the hallway. While she was at a vending machine she overheard the young man talking in the hallway with another juror.  “I’ll vote “not guilty” if the rest of the jury decides against him.  Women lie about being raped all the time.” Outraged by his irresponsible statement,Vanna glared at him but still said nothing.

This seemed to be a waste of time.  The coin had not led her to her attacker, nor given her any clear directions.  Just when she was ready to give up, the coin started humming and Vanna returned to the courtroom.  The jury was seated, the lawyers were in their respective places, and the bailiff was stationed.  The bailiff said formally, “All rise while the Honorable Judge enters.”  A man in a flowing black robe entered and sat behind the Bench.  The bailiff faced the audience and said, “Please be seated.”

Vanna looked around the room searching for someone she recognized.  When she looked at the judge her heart began to pound wildly. He was one of her attackers! She knew it even though she had no evidence to prove it.  She stared again at the judge, expecting some sign of recognition.  The judge did not notice her behavior or anyone else except for one. His gaze swept the courtroom and rested on the jury, then on the young man in particular.  A slight nod and then the judge declared the court to be in session. 

Vanna was shocked.”What had just happened? Was the defendant going to be declared innocent because of a judge that couldn’t be trusted? Indignantly she willed the coin into action, expectantly waiting for the judge to topple over with a heart attack.  Nothing happened.  The coin was allowing justice to be trampled on. Her anger rose quickly, and she almost stood up. “Kill him,” she thought.  “Kill him.”

 A lifetime of inner restraint caught her in time. “What was she doing?”  The coin was vibrating softly. Then she realized it was working against her!  She glanced quickly around the room.  A pair of black glittering eyes glared menacingly at her.  A cold shiver went up her spine! Reggie! What was he doing here? 

Her hate. His hate. A battle was going on inside the courtroom without anyone knowing.  They were mentally sparring, jab for jab, blow for blow. No one was winning.  Reggie sat there grinning smugly knowing the coin still responded to him. Vanna was furious yet contained. Suddenly she remembered one of her father’s sermons. “The only thing that can conquer hate is love.  Love is more powerful than hate. Don’t let hate win.  Love more and hate will flee.”

Love was not something she wanted to think about.  She wanted justice and revenge, not love.  But slowly she focused her thoughts on her parents, her sister and brothers.  She let her compassion flow to the rape victim and then to the young man in the jury.  Reggie appeared confused.  He rose and hurried from the room.  The judge, seeing Reggie leave, tapped his gavel on the bench.  “There will be a thirty minute recess,” he announced. Then he disappeared into his chambers.

Vanna sat there with her eyes closed, still thinking about people she cared about.  When she thought about people who had mistreated her, and how she forgave them, she could feel the coin’s power growing.  This time it was following her lead. 

The Honorable Judge Hudson never returned to the bench.  An announcement was made after an hour that the judge was sick and a new judge would be seated to take his place.  The jury was dismissed for the day but they were told they would reconvene the following day.

Vanna waited outside the court, wanting to get more information.  She thought she saw Judge Hudson rush away, almost as if he were escaping inner demons.  The coin hummed and then fell silent for a moment.  Vanna hurried outside, trying to get one more glimpse of the judge.

Outside a crowd of people were gathering by the street.  Someone called out, “Call 9-1-1”.  Most of the crowd appeared stunned and distraught.  “He just stepped in front of a taxi,” a woman wailed.  “He didn’t even look at it.”  Vanna knew it was the judge but wondered why he had done this.  She had already forgiven him.

 (to be continued)

Three Love Letters (of a different kind)

Dear Sir:

Your love account is overdrawn and all privileges have been withdrawn.  You have six days to bring your account to a positive balance in order to remain in good standing.  We do appreciate your business but please understand that future attempts at love will be rebuffed and returned.  If you have any questions or want to share your views, please contact us quickly.


 The love gurus,

 Venus, Cupid, Eros

Dear Love Gurus:

I tried to explain that my love life,

Had been filled with failures and strife,

After several relationships were done,

I thought, “I’m not having fun,”

Struggling with my own misconceptions and love wary,

I decided to write a book titled, “Love is Scary”,

Who better than me to write about what could go wrong,

Accepted and rejected, and suffering for so long,

I knew how to build walls around my hardened heart,

Allowing no place for new love to ever start,

My book would have many chapters to write,

So don’t expect me to finish it in just one night,

But if I ever open another account to share,

Please be advised I’d have love to spare.



I received another letter today, and it’s plain to see that things might go my way. This time I’ll pay attention to things that matter, because I don’t want another love to shatter.

Dear Sir:

We understand your recent relationship has gone sour,

 But we’re prepared to make an offer this very hour.

 If your old love is still in good condition,

And you’d like to upgrade to a current edition,

We have just received trade-ins we selected,

They’ve hardly been loved, perhaps all have been neglected,

 All with very low mileage and require little maintenance,

 To get back into the game, this is your chance,

With a fresh coat of paint and new trim,

She’ll be revitalized, also sleek and slim,

These models are spotless, so much cleaner,

They’ll all be parked where the grass is greener,

Now as for you, in order to get your price,

You’ll have to do some of your own sacrifice,

Work out and get yourself in shipshape form,

Bring yourself up to the loving norm,

Treat her well, better than a friend,

Because if you don’t, she’ll trade you in.


The Love Gurus,

Venus, Cupid, Eros

Their last letter gave me reason to ponder, perhaps I could learn to be so much fonder, if I turned my heart loose and let it fly free, love might choose to stay with me.  It’s merely a thought, a dream or a hope, but it’s a chance for love to thrive and cope.


Trouble in Paradise

They were a match made in heaven, it wasn’t by chance,

The first day they were perfect, the second day there was a dance,

The music was incredible, both of them had a ball,

But later Eve was cranky, poor Adam couldn’t win at all,

Adam: “Eve, really, you were the prettiest woman there,

No, I wasn’t looking for a woman with whom to compare,

And yes, I also think you were the best dressed,

If I tried to think of someone else, I’d be hard pressed.”

Eve:  “Adam, you’d better be telling me the truth,

Are you sure you didn’t slip off to see someone called Ruth?

Oh, sure, tell me again that I was your first,

Well, honey, I’d better be, or your bubble done burst!”

Adam: “Eve, you’ve been jealous right from the start,

But don’t you know from the beginning you captured my heart,

I was so happy when I saw you in the morning mist,

You were beautiful and I thought you needed to be kissed,”

Eve: “Oh, Adam, you were all over me because I was nude,

I stitched those leaves together not because I was a prude,

Out of sight, out of mind, you finally left me alone,

Now you won’t listen to me and I can’t find a phone,”

Adam: “Eve, I’ve got a question for you, I stepped out awhile,

When I returned your cheeks were red, and you had a smile,

So tell me the truth, the whole truth for goodness sake,

While I was gone that short time, were you seeing that snake?”

Eve: “Oh, don’t be suspicious, Adam, just because he’s a snake,

Don’t be thinking everything that crawls is always on the make,

He gave me a gift, some fruit that’s all, nothing else in mind,

It’s a platonic relationship, he’s very lonely and trying to be kind,“

Adam: “I’m not sure I like him, the way he slips around,

He sneaks in very quietly, he doesn’t make a sound,

And when he talks, he persuades with a certain ease,

Since you’re my one and only, stay away from him, please,”

Eve didn’t like choosing between Adam and her friend,

She was tempted to tell Adam that this was the end,

But knowing Adam was angry, the snake had taken flight,

But he still shows up in Eve’s dreams, almost every night,

You might have heard a different tale, one that was true,

This version was passed down, now I’m handing it over to you,

Whether Eve was wrong or right, it’s up to you to decide,

One of her descendants told me true, unless, of course, she lied.

The Magic of Nature

When I was a child I might disappear for awhile,

Looking for places that were deemed worthwhile,

The top of a tree, Inside a fortress of hay,

To observe the magic of nature just for the day,

But I didn’t want to be late for dinner,

Southern cornbread, fried potatoes and beans,

Tomatoes, onions, pokesalad greens,

If I was hungry come and get it while it’s hot,

If I had to be called twice, I guess I’m not,

But I had to see the speckled eggs in a bluebird’s nest,

Stop to watch the piglets feed at Mr. Joe’s Barn,

Stoop to throw a rock at snakes that could do me some harm,

Count the circles the hawk made as she searched for mice,

Wondered if the crawdads would still be nice,

Listen to the frogs croak at the edges of the pond,

Take one last look and wave my magic wand,

“Stay there,” I would call, “I’ll don’t want to be thinner,”

And off I’d race to get part of dinner,

Mom would be exasperated, “What kept you?”

I’d hang my head, “I had things to do,”

Then when I finished my chores,

I asked if I could go outdoors,

For the sun was hanging at earth’s very edge,

Splashing red and gold on trees and hedge,

And then as it slipped away from the day,

Darkness descended so animals could play,

Scissortails and bats flew around with flair,

Snatching mosquitoes and insects out of the air,

Nocturnal shapes and all kinds of beasts,

Appeared from the shadows ready to feast,

Dinner for them was life or death,

The quickest, the strongest, the ones out of breath,

Huffing and puffing or slipping around,

They measured their foes by fang or by sound,

I watched and waited for a deadly dance,

Marveled in nature’s way of living by chance,

Then with starlight to guide me homeward I sped,

Where I could sleep soundly in my own safe bed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Call Me Number Five

If I didn’t have siblings,

I wonder how life would be,

What names would Mom,

Have called me?

She seemed to forget,

Which name did I get?

Was I older or younger,

It didn’t matter, her ways were set,

It became an endless game,

When she couldn’t remember my name,

What meaning did I derive?

Mom, just call me number five,

Sandwiched in between,

I was hardly ever seen,

Six siblings that did everything right,

So of course I had to fight,

Whatever your name is, come here,

You shouldn’t have been scrapping there,

Like a bee from a busy hive,

Mom, just call me number five,

Throughout life I fought for fame,

Tried to get people to remember my name,

But to the inner circle of family and friends,

I was, you know, that one, the one that grins,

Six great siblings all with names,

Always around for credit or blame,

Each of them worthy to note with pride,

Their names all shining, none to hide,

So if you ask me I’d say I was special,

Probably one of the luckiest men alive,

If you can’t remember my name,

Just call me, you know, number five.

"Why, oh Why, Am I in the Who's Who?"

I breathe, I sleep, I eat, I find ways to exist,

The world has too many good things to list,

I see the rich running at a frantic pace,

How can they enjoy the world they face,

 I get questions from those in the know,

As I travel my path going to and fro,

“Why are you here, from where did you come?”

“What does it matter if I follow my own drum?”

Whatever I asked for, (You might think this is funny),

There was nothing to be shared in this land of milk and honey,

I didn’t have a roof over my head,

“You can’t sleep here, hit the road instead,”

So off I walked from town to town,

Nowhere was I allowed to rest and stick around,

“You’re looking good, you’re so thin,

Tell us your secrets you keep within,

We’ve tried everything , the latest fad,”

I said, “Don’t eat sometimes,” and they went away sad,

When the world told me what to do,

I didn’t listen because I was just passing through,

When their sails puffed up with pompous air,

Should the rudder listen or should it care?

The same flowers are there for all to see,

Can that beauty be kept from you and me?

And the wonder of the glorious sky,

Is there for all who have an appreciative eye,

All my needs each day are met,

Can’t you see the humor yet?

All the tech and all the toys, all the cutting edge,

The gossip, the drama, the rich person’s wedge,

I was thrown in jail for having no visible support,

My space was limited with no place to cavort,

A committee was formed, my case to review,

“I know,” said one, “Let’s list him in “Who’s Who”,

He’s a philosopher, a poet, a religious freak,

A traveler, a health nut, his experiences we’ll tweak,

He’ll be a hero to the downtrodden throughout the land,

But even better he’ll be off our hands,”

A penniless traveler will be on the marquee,

A bum that’s footloose and fancy free,

Rubbing shoulders with the filthy rich,

What a hoot!, The thought makes me itch,

The wealth of the world is the beauty I see,

And the earth shares it with the “Who’s Who”, and me.

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