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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?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tweetable Poetry

Tripwire glistens in the morning sun
Spider's snare for the unaware

Revealed by drops of dew.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Keepers of the Night - Chapter 1

4/29/2015 - This is mostly the same content, with a little bit of editing.  I'm also adjusting where the chapters break for a more natural stopping point.

This is Chapter 1.  More is provided upon demand, so light up that comments section if you want to know what happens next!  :)


              Joe glanced at the glowing clock on the dashboard as he pulled into the dimly lit parking garage.  He was late.  Again.  Quickly pulling into the nearest parking spot, he thrust the car into park and leaned back into his seat, sighing.  When had his life become such a rat race that he couldn't even manage to make it to his son's first recital on time?

            He snapped off the engine and pulled the keys from the ignition.  Reaching over to the passenger seat, he quickly grabbed his suit coat and Josh's present, then threw the car door open and got out.  Slamming it shut behind him and unconsciously pressing down on the locking remote as he hurried out toward the street, Joe heard the familiar beep echo throughout the parking garage.  Peering at the darkened street signs as he exited the garage into the moonlight, Joe headed left towards Main Street, where the historic Lucis Theatre had stood for more than 150 years, keeping the occupants of Raystown, IN entertained on a nightly basis since its humble beginnings in 1859. 

            Picking up his pace as he approached the corner, Joe was startled when something bumped into him out of the darkness and knocked Josh's present to the ground.  Time seemed to slow all around him and then stood perfectly still as he looked up and saw a large, dark spirit hovering between him and Josh's present lying on the sidewalk.  Just as the spirit's eyes began to pierce through his entire being, time started up again and he was suddenly surrounded by so many of these dark spirits that all light was blocked from his view.  Even the moonlight that had previously lit up the night sky above him had become dark and unrelenting. 

            Before Joe could figure out what was going on, a light suddenly appeared out of the darkness and a scuffle ensued amongst the figures around him.  Without warning, the box was thrust back into his hands and he suddenly found himself being guided around the corner into safety.  He blinked his eyes, glancing around, but all traces of the altercation were gone; as was his clandestine usher.  Dazed and a little confused, Joe stood there, eyebrows furrowed, trying to figure out what had just happened.  But as he turned and looked up and down the street, even peering once around the corner surreptitiously, there was nothing but moonlit blackness of night greeting him in return.  Puzzled, Joe scanned the area once more, and then caught sight of the theater ahead of him.  Josh!  Quickly coming to attention, his mind propelled his body towards the theater, brushing all memory of the recent incident completely out of his mind.

            An usher opened the large outer door to the theater, allowing Joe inside to the lobby area, where he was greeted with bright white lights and gilded crown molding everywhere.  Looking down at the deep red carpet and blinking rapidly as his eyes adjusted, Joe checked his pockets for the ticket.  He checked his suit coat, where he had last remembered placing the ticket, and when he couldn't find it there, checked his pants pockets as well.  Standing in the lobby with Josh's present in one hand and a puzzled look on his face, Joe was approached by a young man in a dark maroon uniform with gold piping whose name tag displayed “Reynaldo” on it.

            “May I help you, sir?” he asked kindly, giving a slight bow and looking up inquiringly. 

            “Uh, yes,” Joe stammered, as he continued searching his pockets in vain. “I seem to have lost my ticket for tonight's show.  Is there any way I can purchase another?” 

            “Certainly sir, right this way please,” said Reynaldo, turning around smartly and leading Joe to the ornate ticket booth on the far side of the lobby.  As Joe silently followed Reynaldo, he couldn't help thinking of the consequences if he couldn't get a ticket.  What would his wife say?  Josh would be crushed!  Being late was bad enough, but missing the show because he'd lost the ticket too?  Joe shuddered at the thought.

            “Here we are, sir,” said Reynaldo brightly, gesturing to the ticket booth in front him.  “Jayne will take care of all your needs.”  Quickly peering into the gilded bars that separated the booth occupant from the general public, Reynaldo leaned in and whispered, “Take good care of him now, Jayne, he's a keeper.” He winked at Jayne, turned his head and flashed a big grin at Joe, then disappeared around the tall red velvet curtain hanging next to the booth.

            Shaking his head in disbelief, Joe looked up and inquired as to the availability of tickets.