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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Vociferous Verbocity

I had to share this - came across it tonight when I was looking for something else.  I had forgotten all about it - wrote it in 2012 to cheer up a friend who was sad that I was leaving the office where we worked together.  It's a fun, lighthearted, poem of silliness that's designed to put a smile on your face.

Vociferous Verbocity

by Karen Reese

Alliterative animals amusingly anecdote.
The bovine bounces by breakfast.
The chicken clucks like clockwork.
The dog destroys DST.
The elk envelopes existentialism.
The ferret farts fallaciously.
The goat gawks gregariously.
The hippo hissingly hornswoggles hoodwinkers.
Ignominious ibis involuntarily illuminate.
Jetsetting jackalopes journey judiciously.
Kickboxing kangaroos kip kidnappers.
Luxuriating lemurs lounge lasciviously.
Masticating moose maul mammalians.
Nonsensical noxious nightcrawlers nibble newts nefariously.
Obstreperous orangutans originate obsidian.
Pontificating platypus practice propriety.
Questioning quail quintessentially quit.
Ridiculous rhinoceros repeatedly replicate.
Seafaring seahorses surreptitiously surrender.
Titian tinted tarantulas trepidatiously traverse.
Undulating unagi unwittingly unmitigated.
Vociferous vultures victimized vehemently.
Wandering wallaby waddle on Walkabout.
Xanthic xanthareel xenophobically Xerox.
Yankeefied yeti yearn yearly yet yodel.

Zoo-stricken zebra zap zany zookeepers.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

On why I don't write

My stories feel like a green banana
Waiting in the shipyards
For spider spray
And ripening.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Answer

The answer came crashing down around me
In the shower
As my 20 year younger self stood there,
And I wrapped my arms around her in love.

The answer came crashing down around me
As I saw her helplessly cave to his coercion
Ceding her power for approval
Trading her strength for fear
Dashing her dreams for domesticity
And I wrapped my arms around her in love.

I sobbed and I sobbed and I sobbed
As all of us do watching innocence injured

My arms held her tighter, my embrace loved her harder
And somewhere inside...
The healing got started.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Chapter 3

            “I'm sorry sir, but we're sold out of general admission tickets,” the ticket agent intoned nasally. 

            Joe’s heart slowed down so much he thought it was going to stop beating right there in front of the ticket agent’s gilded cage.  Sold out?  No, there must be some mistake.  With the color drained from his face, Joe stared blankly at the ticket agent while she blathered on about how popular the concert had become since being announced on some national syndicate television show.  After a while he realized the woman had said something important, and he stopped her mid-blather, leaned in toward the ticket window and asked breathlessly, “I’m sorry, what did you just say?”

            “I said the only tickets we have left are for the VIP balcony area.”

            Exhaling loudly with relief, Joe replied with a grin, “I'll take one!”  Beaming with happiness, he quickly slid his credit card under the gilded bars toward the ticket agent before she could change her mind.  Pacing nervously back and forth, Joe was jittery with the same adrenaline that only moments ago had threatened to stop his heart completely.

            With impeccable efficiency and slight amusement at Joe's reaction, the ticket agent swiped his card, stared at the machine, then looked at Joe and said, “I'm sorry sir, your credit card has been declined.”

            “WHAT?” Joe shouted before he could stop himself.  Gaping wildly at the ticket agent, his mind whirled with hysteria and the room started to spin.  Trying to calm down, he took a deep breath, let it out shakily, and said in a much quieter voice, “There must be some mistake.  That card has no limits – it can't be declined.”

            “I'm very sorry sir, but this says that your card has been declined and I am to keep the card.  Do you have any alternative forms of payment this evening?”

            Joe's jaw dropped and his mind raced.  What was happening to him tonight?  First that kooky altercation out on the street, then the lost ticket, and now his credit card wasn't working.  Was this really the downtown theater or had he just stepped into the twilight zone?  Shaking his head in disbelief, he reached for his wallet, peered up at the ticket agent and asked, “Will cash be acceptable?”

            “Certainly, sir,” the ticket agent replied, her nasal tone ebbing ever so slightly.  “That will be $50.00.”

            Joe just about choked.  Fifty dollars for a kids' recital?  Shoving the money at the ticket agent, Joe thought that this was highway robbery and he had a good mind to speak to the director of the Young Players Guild about it.  He certainly hadn’t paid all those membership dues for the past seven years to be fleeced at the ticket booth on the night of his son's debut! 

            Almost as if she could read his thoughts, the ticket agent smiled and handed him his ticket.  “Here you are sir, thank you so much for your patronage and I hope you enjoy the show!”

            Muttering about how he could only enjoy the show once he actually gained admission to it, Joe turned away from the ticket booth and almost ran into Reynaldo, who had appeared in front of him out of nowhere.  “Where did you come from?” Joe asked curiously, looking around for a door nearby.  Almost as soon as he said it, he felt the ticket in his hand and said quickly, “Never mind. I need to get to my seat. Can you help me please?  My son is going to be performing any minute!”

            “Of course sir,” Reynaldo replied confidently, checking the ticket in Joe's hand.  “This way, please.”  Steering Joe over towards the VIP staircase, Reynaldo unhooked the golden clasp of the dark red velvet rope that hung across the bottom step and ushered Joe through the opening.  Clicking the rope shut again behind them, Reynaldo turned and said, “This way, sir, I'll take you to your seat straightaway.”

            True to his word, Reynaldo scurried away toward Joe's newly purchased seat and Joe hastened to keep up with him.  Taking the stairs two at a time, he finally got close enough to Reynaldo to ask him to please slow down.  But Reynaldo paused only for a moment before resuming his quick pace.  Joe did his best to keep up, regretting his failure to utilize the expensive gym membership his wife had gotten him for Christmas.  He reached the top of the stairs just in time to see Reynaldo pull down on one of the antique lamps hanging on the wall.  As he did so, a secret door creaked open and Reynaldo motioned for Joe to follow him.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015


A common response I get to "Call of Cacophony" is, "Does this come with a dictionary??"

And yes, I will admit, there were a couple words I had to google to make them fit what I was trying to accomplish (like xenomorphic xesturgy!).

So - here are definitions to some of the most troublesome words contained within the poem:

  • Erudite :  adjective - characterized by great knowledge
  • Obsequiously :  adjective - characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning
  • Obstreperous : adjective - resisting control or restraint in a difficult manner; unruly
  • Pedantic :  adjective - ostentatious in one's learning
  • Quixotically :  adjective - resembling or befitting Don Quixote; impractical
  • Surreptitiously :  adjective - obtained, done, made, etc. by stealth, secret or unauthorized; clandestine
  • Umbrose :  adjective (obsolete word) - shady; umbrageous
  • Undulance :  adjective - wavelike in motion or pattern
  • Viscosity : noun -  the state or quality of being viscous (sticky, thick, adhesive)
  • Xenomorphic :  adjective - in an unusual form; having a strange form
  • Xesturgy : noun - polishing, as with stones
  • Zenith :  noun - a highest point or state; culmination
Here is a reprint of the poem:

Call of Cacophony

Alliteration allures always
Beckoning beseechingly
Cunningly calling continuously
Demanding dedication -

Echoing endless erudite.

Forming frenzied feeding
Gobbling gobsmack greedily,
Honing hodgepodge hungrily.

Illustrating infinite  iniquity.

Jarring justice judiciously
Keeping Karma kindling
Loving language lasciviously.

Marrying marvels meticulously
Noting novel nobility.

Obsequiously obstreperous
Peddling pedantic pompousness.

Quixotically querying quackery
Resonates ridiculously restfully.

Succeeding surreptitiously
To tangle tawdry tapestry

Unwittingly umbrose undulance
Voracious verbal viscosity
Wearyingly wild wordsmithery

Xenomorphic xesturgy

Yearning youngsters yodeling

Zealot zooms ZENITH!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Keepers of the Night - Chapter 2

I've been slacking on daily postings, so I decided to share a little bit more of the story.  I also adjusted the chapter breaks a little bit for more natural breaks.  That means part of the other posting has been placed here, as Chapter 2, and the next section (ie NEW part!) has been added.

Chapter 2:

            Sitting in Josh's favorite booth at the local pizza parlor, about two hours before his show was supposed to start, Jillian and Josh were playing a video game at the table while they waited for the pizza.  When the screen went dark in demand for another quarter to be inserted in the timer, Josh turned to Jillian and said, “Mom?  Do you think Dad will make it in time before the pizza arrives?  I ordered our favorite – pineapple and mushroom!”

            Jillian knew better than to get Josh's hopes up.  There were just too many times that Joe had promised to be there and ended up working late or going the extra mile for an important client of the firm.  Bracing herself for Josh's disappointment, Jillian replied gently, “No, sweetie, I don't think he's going to make it for dinner tonight.  But he promised he'd be at the theater in time to see your performance.  He's really looking forward to your debut!”  Jillian tried to sound upbeat and cheerful, ending her little pep talk with a great big smile, but Josh was inconsolable.  Crestfallen, he stared down at the game controller in his hand, his lower lip trembled, and his shoulders slumped in defeat.

            Jillian's eyes moistened with tears as she tried not to cry.  Her own powerlessness to fix the situation made Josh's misery that much harder to bear.  For her own sake as well as his, Jillian looked around for something to distract him.  Her eyes fell onto the scenic background behind the clear plexiglass window at the end of their table.  The center of the window had a knob at the bottom which opened up onto train tracks running alongside all the booths on that side of the pizza parlor.  The picture featured a carnival scene, complete with rides, game barkers, and happy children running amok with cotton candy on a stick.  Josh's father had promised to take them to a carnival like this one day, and ever since then this booth had become Josh's favorite.  As luck would have it, the train with their drinks was rumbling noisily down the tracks and squeaked to a halt at their table.  Relieved, Jillian exclaimed, “Look, Josh!  The drink train is here!”

            The drink train never failed to bring a smile to Josh's face, and tonight was no different.  His eyes brightened a little and he came alive at the sight of the toy-sized train that was parked in front of their table with two large cups of his favorite root beer.  But even as he reached for the paper cup from the back of the train, Josh's demeanor and motions were still very subdued.  The train would help distract the pain for now, but the hurt had not dissipated, and the disappointment would not easily be forgotten.


            A few hours later, Josh peeked out from behind the plush red velvet stage curtain, searching the audience for his dad.  This was his fifth time doing so in the last twenty minutes and each time he peeked out to look through the audience for his dad's face, he pulled back even more dejected than the time before.  This time he dropped his hands and slumped his shoulders so low that his violin and bow were dragging on the ground.  He couldn't believe that his father would betray him like this.  He'd been chatting about this concert for weeks at breakfast and each time his father had promised over and over again that he would be there; that he wouldn't miss it for the world.  And yet, here it was, 8:00 pm, time for the concert to start, and his father was nowhere to be found.

            “Monsieur Josh!  Mon dieu!  What are you doing to your precious instrument?”  Josh's violin teacher, who often broke into his native French when he was startled or upset, hurried over to Josh and lifted his violin and bow off the ground and out of Josh’s hands to inspect them for damage.  Peering around the child-sized violin, Pierre caught sight of Josh's face and halted his inspection immediately.  Putting down the violin and bow on the chair beside him, Pierre crouched down to Josh's level, lifted up his chin with one finger and said, “There now, my little protégé, what on earth could be so troubling to you on this night of your glorious debut?”

            Josh tried to muster up the courage to tell his beloved teacher that he couldn't find his father in the audience, but all he could manage to do was fight the tremor of his lower lip and blink back the tears that threatened to fall down his fiercely bravado face.  

            Taking a deep breath, Pierre rolled back on his heels and slowly stood, motioning Josh to sit on the chair next to the one where his violin was lying.  Pierre then picked up Josh's violin and bow, and sat down on the seat next to him, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees and looking thoughtful while Josh's bow and violin dangled from his hands.  They sat like this for a few minutes, Josh deep in his own personal misery, and Pierre sitting with a contorted look on his face, as if he, too, were deep in his own personal pain.  Leaning back in the chair with a faraway look in his eye, Pierre slowly brought the violin to his chin and raised the bow to play.  Soon the sad, moving strains of Chausson's Poeme echoed quietly in the backstage area they occupied.  Josh looked up, startled to hear music that matched his own mood.  After he had played for a bit, Pierre put down the violin and bow and looked at Josh, who was now staring at Pierre with a curious look on his face, wondering if perhaps Pierre really understood more than he was letting on.

            “I'd like to tell you a story, mon amie, of a time when your Pierre was very young; not much older than you are right now, if I remember correctly. Times were tough in France and it was not an easy place to make a living.  My father worked night and day to provide for us, and it was not until my own debut performance that I learned just how much he sacrificed so that I could learn the violin, my greatest dream in life.  It was the night of my debut performance, the time that I would first showcase my talents to the world, or at least to the people of my village on our tiny little town square stage.  Several other talented young children went before me, and while they played I searched the crowd for my father.  Seas of heads seemed to be standing around the stage, but nowhere could I catch sight of my father.  Certain I had just missed him, I stepped forward when it was my turn and began to play Chausson's Poeme, the song you just heard.  I put my heart and soul into that music and by the time I was done, there was not a dry eye amongst any of the townspeople.  Thunderous applause rang in my ears, but all I wanted to do was find my father.  The show ended, the townspeople slowly wandered back to their homes, and I was standing there, alone on the stage, with no one to congratulate me or tell me what a great job I had done.  My mother was at home with my brothers and sisters and my father was supposed to be there to watch me and take me home afterward.  It began to get dark, so I wandered home alone and found my mother waiting there, worried sick about me, as Father had come home from work and I was not with him.  Sending me into the main area of the house, I found my father sitting in his chair, looking so worn and crumpled that I could not be upset with him.  As I approached him with my violin still in my hand, my father began to sob, telling me how much he had wanted to see me play, but that he had been unable to get permission to leave his work early.  His foreman had told him the only way he could leave early would be to leave permanently, and so he had to choose between being able to hear me play or continuing to pay for my violin lessons.  He chose his own heartbreak so that I could pursue the dream within my heart.  That night, in a private concert just for my father, I played Chausson's Poeme with more feeling and passion than I had ever played before, and my father's eyes were shining with pride as tears streamed unashamedly down his face.  Your father is not unlike my father, and if for some reason he is unable to make it to your performance tonight, I doubt it is for lack of trying or want.  The long hours and hard work he puts in at his office are all so that you, too, can pursue your dream of becoming a concert violinist one day.”

            Josh was very pensive as he listened to Pierre's story, and his eyes opened wide at the ending.  “You really think my father works all these extra hours just for me?”   

            Pierre nodded slowly.  “Indeed, mon amie, indeed.  My violin instruction does not come cheap, and your lifestyle is not exactly lacking,” he said quietly, pointing out Josh's high end clothing and top of the line violin.  “I would not be surprised if your father put everything he had into building a life for you and your mother, without much left for himself but work.”

            Josh had never thought of his father's absences this way, and the more he thought about it, the more his disappointment ebbed away, replaced with a firm desire to go out there and make his father proud, no matter what.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Bells are Calling

The Bells are Calling
It's Sunday morning.

     Love thy neighbor
     Peace to all men.

The Bells are Tolling
Hungry man walking.

     Spurn thy neighbor
     Grief to all men.

The Bells are Calling
A world is in need.

     Love thy neighbor
     Peace to all men.

The Bells are Calling
The Bells are Calling
The Bells are Calling

Will you answer?