Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Jambalaya Of Love

The Jambalaya Of Love

We all have friends in life, and I guess we have enemies as well. I don't think that I have ever met anyone who has purposely meant to do me harm, but I know such people exist. I know that some of you have encountered people who, for whatever reason, decided they didn't like you and, worse, decided to make your life a living hell.

Now, I can remember feeling that an ex-girlfriend or two betrayed me, but maybe that's different. Breaking up a relationship, whether it be three months or years in duration, is like jambalaya — everything gets so mixed up in that pot of gumbo that it's as impossible to sort out the shrimp from the chicken as it is to differentiate the sense of lingering loss from the need to move on. So, yes, I may have harboured some angst toward one or two past loves, but for the most part, I have always been able to walk away with my dignity intact, or at the very least, feeling fairly indifferent to the whole scene.

I guess we would all like to be "perfect" lovers and maybe even "perfect" past lovers. It would be nice if, after all the jambalaya is scraped from everyone's plate, we could then be "perfect" friends or companions. The sad truth is, however, that the very spiciness of that jambalaya has a tendency to create a unsavoury gas that sometimes comes out as a belch of stinky remorse, if not of downright hatred.

Sometimes, it may be hard to fathom what one will do after all the wondrous moments are gone, but there is life after a lost love. Of that much, I am certain.

Simply scrub out the pot, and find a good recipe for Irish Stew ...


Monday, April 29, 2013

Don't Mind My Cough ...

Don't Mind My Cough ...

I have to admit that I'm no fan of insects. I know they are a part of our eco-system, but ticks, spiders, mosquitoes ... I think they're all just a bad hangover from prehistoric times.

When I was a kid living in Winnipeg, the mosquitoes were so bad that the city used to run these fogging machines around the streets. A truck would pull this contraption up and down the streets and lanes, and clouds of who knows what would billow into the air.

The weird thing is that, whenever the fog machines showed up, every kid in the neighbourhood used to jump on his or her bike and ride in the fog. It was sort of a mysterious adventure as we disappeared into the fog cloud.

How good could that be for young lungs? Man, the things we didn't know.

Our parents should have kept us in the house, where we could enjoy the clouds of their second-hand smoke ...


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Teach Your Children

Teach Your Children

Last night, I talked to my son on the telephone for a while. It always amazes me how these children of ours grow into young men and woman who, like it or not, step outside the relationship we once had with them.

My son and I have always been close, and we continue to be that way. Still, things have changed. He has a wonderful family of his own now, and a beautiful young two-year-old daughter. He has new responsibilities that define how he lives his life. The days of jetting off to Europe together or cruising upper New York State to follow Bob Dylan on tour are behind us. Now, whenever I talk to him about how I plan to travel here or there, he gets something of a hitch in his voice. He remembers how it used to be, and then he remembers how it is.

I am not one to hang on to my children, to either my son or my daughter. I think that these young men and women, who find themselves a life outside the relationship they have with their parents, should be encouraged to make it on their own. After all, you can only coddle them for so long.

What's left is your chance to love and support them in a new way, not by hanging on to your hopes and dreams for them, but by hanging on to the hopes and dreams that they have for themselves.


Saturday, April 27, 2013



I wonder whatever became of Superman. It has been ages since I read a comic book. I do know that, at one point in the 80's, he died, but was resurrected somehow. When I was a kid, I loved reading DC comics, and Superman was always my favourite. The thought of being invincible and able to fly was too thrilling for words. And all those super powers ... what I wouldn't have traded for the ability to have x-ray vision ... hmmm ... imagine the possibilities ...

My young years were full of super heroes. There was Batman, of course, but I was never sure what his super power was. Maybe it was having money, or at least enough money to buy all those fancy electronic gizmos.

Then there was Spider-Man, who zipped around the city by flinging spider web silk everywhere. I never really bought into the spider thing. It just didn't seem possible even to my wild imagination, but I did like the movie versions of Spider-Man. Tobey Maguire is a great actor, and Kirsten Dunst is very easy on these tired old eyes.

Of course, another favourite was Wonder Woman, especially as played on television by Lynda Carter. The TV series and my leap into puberty sort of coincided. As I watched her run, leap, and bounce around in her skimpy little costume while she battled crime, I was having all kinds of wonderful experiences under the comforter in the front room every brisk and wintry Saturday afternoon.

Well, I guess that, at some point in your life, you leave your superheroes behind and work on becoming your own superhero. And maybe, just maybe, we all have a super power, even if we don't recognise it in ourselves.

I think my super power must be patience, because all my life I've been waiting for love to come and stay forever.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word

Love Is Just A Four-Letter Word

"I love you ..."

Have you ever wondered how many times you have said those three magic words? More than once, surely. More than a hundred, probably. More than many thousands, possibly.

I must admit that I have difficulty with the word, "love."

The thing is that love is love. It's a single word. It should have a specific, single meaning, but like so many words in our language, it has all these variations. And what crazy variations.

Love your dog or cat? Of course. Love your children? Of course. Love your mother and father? Hopefully. Same feeling in every case? Of course not.

"Love ... " A simple four-letter word, and yet so imprecise because it has so many different meanings in so many different contexts. One moment it defines one feeling; the next moment it defines another feeling. And on and on it goes.

So, when you say, "I love you" to your lover, what are you saying? When does that word, "love," suddenly become more than what it meant when you crooned, "I love you, Booboo," to your cocker spaniel or your calico pussy?


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Another Hopeful Heart

Another Hopeful Heart

in the kitchen
she's humming a happy tune
and making breakfast for two
scrambled eggs, i think
with hot buttered toast and maybe blueberry jam
served with a full cup of the coffee i like
i guess she doesn't realise
that i'm already gone
another hopeful heart
i've had to leave behind

she tells me stories
underneath the covers
giggles at the absurdities
of her past
before she falls asleep
and dreams of the future
just before i slip out of her life
already gone
another hopeful heart
i've had to leave behind

on the ferry to the island
she wraps a thick blanket around me
and worries that i'll catch a cold
from the wet north wind
and warms my face
with the soft touch of her cheek
without guessing
that i'm already gone
another hopeful heart
i've had to leave behind

sometimes i watch the river flow
and wind its way to the sea
more lazy it seems
on a hot summer's day
when the water catches twigs and leaves
that bob and swirl along the shore
as aimlessly as my thoughts of you
the one who exhausted all of my love
before i became another hopeful heart
you had to leave behind


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Living In Unreality

Living In Unreality

Yesterday morning, I was up early. Yeah, I know, what else is new? The thing is that, when I woke up and started making coffee, I realised that I was out of milk. So, I threw on some sweats and headed out to the all-night convenience store. I bought some milk for my coffee, and a bag of these little brownie things, which were on clearance — half price — so who could resist?

So I'm eating a brownie for breakfast. Well, it's not a brownie, really. It's one of those brownie bites, or whatever they are called. I have no idea why I bought them. I'm not a big fan of cakey stuff or chocolate even. I'd offer you one, but it could only be a cyber brownie, and I'm not sure I can whip up one of those for you.

Funny what we do on the Internet. We shop, we chat, we blog, we research things, we read news, we watch videos ... all manner of stuff. And here I am, pretty much unable to offer you a brownie.

Damn the limits of technology. There's something to be said for real life, after all. If you were here in real time, we could eat the whole bag of brownies and have tea or coffee together, before I kicked you out ... so that I could get back to my computer and get completely unreal again.

I love my unreality ...


Uh ... 'cause you're here ...


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

You Are What You Eat

I Shouldn't Have Had A V8

You Are What You Eat

I never eat fast foods anymore. I eat slow foods instead, I guess, foods that I prepare, foods that take more than a microwave minute to cook.

In fact, I can't remember when I last ate at McDonald's or Burger King or Wendy's. I think the closest I've come to those types of restaurants was at a Subway a while ago. I like Subway sandwiches, but still, I prefer to make my own.

There's an old saying that "You are what you eat." I have never been sure what that really means.

If I eat a peach, am I peachy-keen?

If I eat a strawberry, am I a little bale of straw or a berry happy fellow? Should I be looking for a bit of shortcake?

If I eat a banana, am I, uh, a banana split?

And what if I eat a duck? Do I become a fowl, or am I just inclined to act somewhat foul for the rest of the evening?

Yeah, I don't get it.

I do get that nutrition is important, and that we should all stop eating as much as some of us do. Too many of us simply eat too much. Too many of us have eating patterns based on a sugar addiction which we inherited from our parents who thought that candy was dandy and sort of a Ritalin that would stop us from "acting up." So now the chocolate bar generation is suffering from diabetes or other nutritional diseases.

These days, we have the younger "organics" generation, who believe that eating "natural" foods is the way to go. Again, I guess natural is good, but I'm really not sure that from field to mouth is all that healthy. I mean, shouldn't your broccoli be checked for wormy little critters? Shouldn't your steak be checked by somebody for things like "mad cow disease"?

Some days, I think I'm mad, but I have never imagined myself a cow.

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Under The Bed

Under The Bed

[The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.]

Shhhh ...

I'm hiding under the bed.

Why, you ask?

Well, you see, it's not completely my bed. Oh sure, I was in the bed, not more than a few minutes ago, and to be honest, I was just about to fall asleep, when I got pushed off the bed and told, "Quick, hide under the bed. My husband's home early."

What's that all about? It seemed like a very rude thing to do. I mean, who shoves someone off a bed and tells him to hide under the bed? Especially at my age? I was bloody well surprised that I even fit under the bed. But here I am, hiding here as silent as a louse, or is the phrase "as silent as a mouse"? Well, who knows? It's definitely a lousey thing to do to me.

I must say it's a bit creepy under this bed. A couple of inches to the right of my ear is a pair of underwear that appears to have been discarded and left here some time ago. Not my underwear, I assure you. These are a kind of faded purple and twisted into something of a nasty knot. No, not mine, I swear. I don't own any purple underwear, unless you count the maroon pair of Hanes that snuck in with the whites and got a little bleached out in the wash. I almost never wear that maroon-bleached-to-purple pair anymore, except when they are the last pair in the drawer, and even then I shudder when I pull them on. There's something weird about encasing your "junk" in anything vaguely the colour of purple.

It's a mystery to me how anyone could ever think, "Well, purple is sexy, or purple is romantic." Purple is neither sexy nor romantic when its holding up the boys. It smacks of an geriatric condition in an area where you want to be full of vim and vigour. Red, sports car red is a good colour. Smells of horse power. And black. Black is the colour of black magic, sexual taboo, and horrendously long male-members, you know, the kind every woman re-members.

I have no idea where my underwear are. I think I wore my tighty-whiteys today. I don't see them anywhere. My shirt and pants are down by my feet, and my shoes and socks appear to have been tossed under here right beside them. But, my underwear? No idea. I suspect they are turned into the covers somewhere, and I guess that might be embarrassing at some point, unless I somehow manage to retrieve them.

Wait. The dog. Oh great, that little Shitsu has them in his flat, smelly mouth. I can see him by the bathroom door, flipping them from side to side, like he just discovered some form of fresh roadkill. And he's making these awful moaning sounds. "Mmmmph-mmmph, mmmmph-mmmph." Oh, that sounds far too familiar — far, far too familiar. Damn, I told the old lady not to buy a dog.

Maybe if I call him quietly, he will bring them to me.

"Psssst, psssst," I hiss in a whisper.


In fact, now he appears to be humping my underwear. Oh that little piece of Shitsu. He's thrusting at warp speed. Arrggghh, now he's stopped and is resting right on top of them, panting and drooling slop everywhere, his tongue hanging out and licking at the air. At any second, he'll probably light up a smoke and say something stupid, like, "How was that for you, my little Fruit Of The Loom?"

Well, so much for that pair of underwear. I am not inclined to swap DNA with a Shitsu, no matter what the circumstances. Now, I just wish I had actually worn my maroon-bleached-to-purple Hanes after all. For all I would care, that mutt could have humped them all the way back to maroon.

Aha! I can hear voices in the other room. So far, no one is screaming. I'll take that as a good sign. If some kind of screaming starts, then I am definitely coming out from under this bed and dealing with this matter mano-a-mano. I may be at a disadvantage because I'll be naked, but who knows, my nakedness may add some comic relief to the whole situation, before we decide who is going to punch whom in the eye.

None of this is my fault, you understand. I swear that I was going to spend a quiet afternoon watching the baseball game on television, but the game got rained out, so somehow, I must have become bored or edgy or something, and presto, I wandered into my current dilemma.

Voices again. A little bit louder. No, not louder, more like crooning loud. Oh God, feet. Two pairs of feet. Feet shuffling and twisting around one another. Yep, there go his shoes, and with a thump right above me, the feet are gone. Oh dear, this is no good. The box spring is starting to shift and creak this way and that. Are you kidding me? Seriously, are you kidding me? Did she forget that I am under the bed?

A hand. Her hand, dangling down from the mattress. What's she doing? No, oh no, no, no. She's giving me the thumbs-up sign. Really? Really? She leaves me under here while she's going to have sex? Really?

Ack! Knees. Her knees on the carpet between his lumpy feet, his turned-up toes still tucked into the most hideous blue-striped, athletic socks I've seen in years. She's kneeling at the side of the bed, and I'm guessing she's not saying a quick prayer to Jesus. Even if she were, that prayer wouldn't have a chance of being heard over his ridiculous cooing and whimpering. Such drama. He's really putting on the A-game. C'mon, buddy, I've been where you are, and to be honest, it's good, sure, but it's not that good.

What's that? Dirty talk? Dirty, dirty talk? Hey, I never get the dirty talk. In fact, when I tried to use a little dirty talk as encouragement one time, well, all I got was a hand over my mouth and a pretty insistent, "Don't!"

Enough. I've had enough. C'mon you two, let's get this over with. All the slurping and smacking sounds are making me hungry, and I want dinner, sooner rather than later.

Wait. There. Was that a moan or a sigh? No, it was a groan, and I don't mean the kind you make when the dentist says that you're going to need a root canal. No, that was the groan of groans, sort of like when you get a sliver out or have an epiphany of some sort. He's done. I'm sure of it. He's done, and I can tell by the rustling around up there that this little scenario has reached its climax. Now, get him out the door, so that I can get out of here.

There. Feet. Feet walking away. Finally.

Huh? What's that? A letter? He's dropped a letter and somehow managed to kick it under the bed. No, it's not a letter. It's a bill from Mastercard. What the ... ?

Hey wait. Wait just a second here. That freakin' mailman!

This bill isn't addressed to her. It's addressed to me ...

Smartass ... when the pizza guy was here, he never slipped a slice of double cheese with pepperoni to me under the bed.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Want To Dance Naked

I Want To Dance Naked

i want to dance naked
want to rip the clothes from this failing body
and pirouette once or twice
through the evening fog of love's confusion
but if i fall exhausted in the light of the lamppost
please don't leave me there lying on the ground

i want to feel the madness
of poetry and song
scribble notes on rags of vellum
and throw them high into the wind
but if i crash and burn in the prickles by the garden wall
please don't leave me there lying on the ground

i want to warble in the yellow dust of dawn
catch the chickadees by surprise
and peck at the potpourri of seeds from the bird feeder
but if i choke and faint on top of your prize rose bush
please don't leave me there lying on the ground

i want to live through the chaos of hope
and follow the path of passion until the sun begins to wane
but if i die before the end of days
i'll be long gone and far away
so please don't look for me lying in the ground


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sisyphus Revisited

Sisyphus Revisited

Sometimes you're skipping happily along the road of life, when suddenly, just around the next bend, there is a mountain you have to climb.

Now, I am not a mountaineer, but I have learned that we have to climb these mountains with the faith that, on the other side, there will be a valley with a new and easier road ahead.

Even if a nuclear bomb falls in your path, and all you can see through the smoke is a vast wasteland ahead of you, there's not a lot of sense to just stopping the journey and melting into the nuclear ash. The fact that you're still standing after such a blast should tell you something. Keep walking. When the world moves on, so must you.

Life has its moods. For some reason, it will not let us remain happy for too long. Instead, there always seems to be a rise and fall to everyone's fortunes and misfortunes. And that is how it should be. If life were a straight line, with no ups and downs, no mountains to climb and no valleys to enjoy, then there would be no challenge to living. I suppose we would all be content and satisfied with everything and everyone, but we would also be brutally bored as well as brutally boring.

I like the challenges of life. I like the obstacles that pop up from time to time. Otherwise, I'm not sure I would continue to think and grow as a person.

No, life is not a straight line. The only straight line that life offers is the straight line scrolling across the heart monitor that tells all the interested parties that, yes, you're dead.

By the way, in the event of that happening to me, there will be no song of the day for you to play. My apologies ... in advance ...


Friday, April 19, 2013

Cereal Killer

Cereal Killer

I'm slopping down a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats and dripping sticky milk down the front of my dirty white T-shirt as I type this morning. I woke up starving. Wonder why some days are like that?

I like cereal, but I miss the prizes that used to be tucked into the box. When I was a kid, every box of cereal had some little plastic trinket mixed in with the Rice Krispies or the Sugar Pops.

In our home, you weren't allowed to stick your hand in the box and fish around for the prize. I had two sisters, and my mother's rule was that whoever "poured" the prize into his or her bowl, then you claimed the trinket as your own. If I remember correctly, I used to have heaping bowls of cereal.

Now we get nothing. Well, maybe that's not completely true. I did get a Tony the Tiger toothbrush in a box of Frosted Flakes a few years back. I thought that was pretty ironic, actually.

I guess there's a lesson here. Maybe, life is like the cereal box. You hope for a prize, but sometimes all you get are the corn flakes. Sometimes, it leaves you wondering if life's prizes and surprises have all been used up.

So it goes ...


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sensory Deprivation

Sensory Deprivation

Imagine, if you will, a sudden throwback of the human race. Now, I don't mean that we would suddenly be thrust back to being frogs or whatever decided to climb out of the changing genetic cesspool when the Earth still maintained a few rain forests. I like frogs, but I'm not really keen on the slime involved in being a frog, and I have no appetite for flies.

No, imagine that we somehow got spit through the window of history to a stage in our development when we started developing our five senses.

In this whack back to genesis, imagine if the powers-that-be or simply the random chaos of DNA-in-motion somehow left out one of those five senses. We would have to forfeit our ability to see, to hear, to smell, to taste, or to feel the textures of the world through our sense of touch.

Our lives would change. This little twist of fate would leave us blind, deaf and dumb, oblivious to the urge to buy a freshly baked Cinnabon in the mall, unable to differentiate between top sirloin steak and liver, or without any sense of touch as if we were walking around while wrapped in what would be something like a giant army-issue condom.

One part of our vital sensory link to our everyday world would simply disappear.

Which of those five senses would you choose to give up?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Barely Stayin' Alive

Barely Stayin' Alive

I may have been abducted by aliens during most of the 70's. I have long suspected that, for the first six or seven years of that decade, I was on some extraterrestrial spacecraft and that I only managed to get back during Spielberg's showing of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. I returned just in time to stumble into the world of disco, which reached its peak when Saturday Night Fever was released in 1977.

Now, I was never a disco dancer. I must have been too bewildered from my extraterrestrial adventures to figure out what all the commotion was about, although, I must tell you, the first time I saw a disco ball, well, something clicked, something connected in my mind. I can't say anything more about that, because I think part of my memory was excised somewhere south-west of Andromeda. I do suspect, however, that the spaceship, the one in which I was abducted, may have had the outer appearance of a disco ball.

Of course, all this is not to say that I couldn't have been a fabulous disco dancer. I could have, I'm sure. I have great hips that can swivel hither and yon. I have great dexterity. I have had great hair, and I could have easily had it coiffed into a mullet like John Travolta. I can point my fingers in two different directions at the same time, while cocking my knee and making a very, very sexy pout. I could and did wear classy, expensive suits, with a vest ... even had a white one. I too loved Olivia Newton John, with her pert little nose, not to mention all her dirty secrets of unbridled passion.

I had all the tools, but I missed all the hubbub of the disco cultural phenomenon. I just wasn't "there." I must have been "spaced out," a technical term describing people who return from outer space adventures. The truth is that I might as well have been holed up in a fall-out shelter or drifting miles above the Earth in a zeppelin, uh, make that a Led Zeppelin with possibly a side order of Pink Floyd.

Don't you wish we could have the disco days back? Just so I could shake my tush a bit, maybe make a video, and post it on YouTube? Here, let me try ...

... oh crap, anyone got some Bengay?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bite Me

Bite Me

Come a little closer. I won't bite, honest. OK, I might bite, but it will be just a nibble for now, and I need to practise.

You see I'm planning to become a vampire.

I think I would make a great vampire, don't you? I mean, I'm not really into the whole tuxedo with tails look, but I like black. I could dye my hair and slick it back, like Dracula. I normally have bloodshot eyes, so that works. Of course the teeth may be a problem. Perhaps I could get extensions, add an inch or two to my, uh, fangs.

I must admit I'm not too keen on becoming a bat and flying around the castle, but I'll even give that a go. I trust that little transformation will work, because I'm 25 floors above sea level, and if the bat thing doesn't work, I will make a grand splat on the gardens below. I'll likely hit with such an impact that I'll sink a good six feet under the daisies, so all anyone will have to do is shovel some dirt over me and all will be good. So the bat wings better not be from Toys-R-Us.

Now, the blood thing. I know that I'm supposed to suck the blood out of my victims, but I have some issues with that. I mean, it's blood, after all. Maybe I can just raid their refrigerators. I am, after all, a sucker for leftover Chinese food.

So, come a little bit closer. You needn't worry about the possibility that I'm a bloodsucking bastard. I'm not. Still, I'd hide the soy sauce, if I were you.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Playing Doctor

Dr No-Name

Playing Doctor

I'm not so sure how good your memory is. Mine? Well, let's just say it's becoming more and more like a silent movie as time slips frightfully fast down the drain. Recent things are not so blurry. Like, I do remember having some Greek yogurt for breakfast today. Memories from the distant past, however, sort of come in flashes. No, not hot flashes, more like the flash from those little cubes of exploding light that you used to stick on the top of your Instamatic camera. Hmm, not sure why or how I even remembered that little piece of photographic history. See, flashes. Poof ... it's there.

So, the other day in one of those flash moments, I was thinking about this or that, when suddenly I remembered how I used to play "Doctor" with the little girl from down the street. Oh, I'm afraid she will have to remain nameless, not because I want to protect her virtue and dignity, but because her name simply wasn't a part of the flash. I could make up a name, if you like, but that somehow seems dishonest or a misrepresentation at best. So, no name, just a sort of generic girl.

What struck me as odd in those little escapades of playing "Doctor" is the somewhat innocent foreplay of two little kids sharing their most intimate parts with the other. I'd show the no-name girl my "dinky" when she was the doctor, and she'd show me her missing "dinky" when I graduated from patient to M.D.

From what I remember, that was the entire game, a case of you-show-me and I'll-show-you. Nothing more, nobody won, and there were no prizes at the end of the game. Just a silly case of kindergarten curiosity, I guess.

Still, I can't help but wonder if the game of "Doctor" wasn't some kind of learning experience that foreshadowed something to come in the future. When I asked the little no-name girl if she wanted to sneak into the garage and play "Doctor," was I unwittingly engaging in some weird kind of rite of passage, some kind of weird sex trade-off that would unwittingly enhance or forever damage my future sexual life?

I'm not sure.

I mean, I am pretty sure that a young man should know that, when he "comes of age" and falls for the sultry innuendo of a beautiful young "thang" at Billy McPhee's house party, he should know that when he slips into one of the upstairs bedrooms there's not supposed to be some kind of "thing" dangling down between that "thang's" legs. Trust me. No amount of smooth talking can make that situation right. So, you see, medical practice has its rewards. That childhood experience of playing "Doctor" with some no-name girl might just save a young man from an irreversible trauma and a sore anus.

Now that the memory is fresh in my mind, I must confess that one thing is certain. Playing "Doctor" was clearly taboo. If I went home and told my parents that the no-name girl has a nifty little pocket but no "dinky," I was in for a whooping. Old-style parents were like that. Anything sexual was treated like sour buttermilk. You drank it at your own risk, and when your stomach flipped over, you quickly became aware of the consequences of your actions.

These days, I suspect that the game of "Doctor" has pretty much disappeared. The difference between young boys and young no-name girls is pretty evident from the get-go, simply because modern parents seem to have no inhibitions regarding letting their children run around nude. Visiting friends with wee ones? You shouldn't be surprised if little Timmy or little no-name girl comes streaking out from the bath, unashamedly dangles the family jewels or the family safe right in front of you, and moons you to boot.

No, the world of covert medical practices by the trunk of a '57 Buick has clearly changed. Today, it's clear that the secret life of my childhood has evolved into some kind of hippie dippy policy of "letting it all hang out," followed by an anvil chorus of, "Oh, aren't they just too cute?"

Cute? Sure, very cute, I guess. To be honest, I tend to make sure that I'm looking at the 50" flat screen TV, even if it's blank black, instead of gawking at someone else's naked kids.

Don't get me wrong. I am not opposed to nudity, but you must admit that there's a huge difference between the somewhat innocuous "check-up" that I undertook in the childhood game of "Doctor" and "checking-out" someone's naked children. The former opened the door to understanding the difference between boys and girls; the latter could very well put me in prison and slam the door shut on the rest of my life.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Waiting For The Light

down the railway tracks
and across the meadow
the years melt into repeated sunsets
as time begins to bleed to black
over life's canvas
and when morning comes
a bank of fog seeps
from earth's crevices
or out from stagnant pools of memory
and confuses the eye
into believing that
night's cloak remains spread
across the dull skies
on a day full of angry clouds
until the wind at my back is
there to remind me
to step left or right
and look again

across the red desert
and down the endless highway
a flood of restless farewells
adorn the land
with temporary wild flowers
that bloom and fail
only to bloom again
in a wash of cheerful colours
a perpetuity personifying
the lasting mystery of love
unknown for days or years
then suddenly exploding to life
in a simple embrace
in a soft look
or even in just a single word
there to remind me
that we only consent to the darkness
because we are waiting for the light

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.




Friday, April 12, 2013

Summer Of Love

you gave me a flower
and assured me it was the fuse to peace
you gave me a raindrop
and called it the teardrop of injustice
you gave me the western wind
and asked if i could see it cross the sky
you gave me three kisses
and took two back
you gave me hope
and tucked it inside my shirt
just before you confessed
you were leaving for good
and so you gave me
your greatest gift of all
"Freedom," you said
instead of your love
your love
your summer love
a puff of seeds in the breeze
finding its way through an open door
and then gone forever
and for that
i am truly grateful

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Driftin' Blues

I've been driftin', baby,
Driftin' all through the night,
Been thinking about our love,
Not sure why we never get it right.

I've been driftin', baby,
Driftin' for oh so long,
They say there's thirteen steps to surrender,
Sweetheart, I'm just not that strong.

I've been driftin', baby,
Driftin' wide and far,
When you say you want to live with me forever,
It's like you're wishin' on a shooting star.

I've been driftin', baby,
Driftin' over stormy seas,
You tell me I need to take a look at the future,
But, sugah, I can't see the forest for the trees.

I've been driftin', baby,
Driftin' east and west,
Don't want to break your heart,
But, honey, it's what I seem to do the very best.

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Catch Me

catch me
before i crash
and smash
into a thousand puzzled pieces
scattered to the edges of the flat earth

catch me
in a gossamer web
of soft words
a simple smile
and an understanding look

catch me
in a net of silk
of kind regard
a moment of compassion
and a promise of hope

catch me
in a veil of stardust
on the feathered edge of your fingertips
and hold me just above disaster
before i disappear forever

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Monday, April 08, 2013

Takes You Away

there's a secret place
between the music and the quiet
there's a secret place
you may never discover
unless you should come by it
with the truest heart
just know that
it will shatter every preconception
and every lingering misconception
but do not wonder where it is
you will know it if you find it
you will know it if you find it
unless by chance or circumstance
it slips from the invisible silence
and finds you first
finds you first
and takes you away

© Copyright, Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Sunday, April 07, 2013

On Route 66 — Butchie Billie Bondar

On Route 66

Butchie Billie Bondar

[The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.]

Butchie Billie Bondar never thought of himself as a poet. He used to say that the poets you read in books were fakes. “Poetry,” he’d drawl, “lives in the wind. Real poems fall like dandelion seeds on a concrete highway, and before you can gather up the words, they blow away before your very eyes.”

opus dopus
at the one and only
Sargasso poetry convention
ridiculous Rick and sum friends
sat in bill barney’s solar-powered invention
Somewhere out on route 66

As the sun was setting
After a very hot day,
Amanda pruiit asked
“what’s the point of writin' down poetry

Donnie dougall chuckled
And started to sneer
Then cleared his throat and said
“guess there ain’t no pointyo being here”

“ain’t here fer duh poetry”
said the chubby Amanda
“here fer duh poets
cause they got sweet things t'say”

I was feeling kinda bluesy with that
'til cat Caitlin took me by the hand
and walked me round the bases
not once but twice

a bunch of musicians showed up
sometime round midnight
and they played the old songs
that no one remembered

Butchie Billie wrote that poem sometime in the early sixties. There was a different feeling in the air those days. It was like we were all waiting for something catastrophic to happen. Billie used to say that if everyone had any sense they would leave America and live in Fiji, and even when we’d tell him that there would be too many people to transport and that the island would probably sink into the sea, he held onto the idea like a steel trap on the leg of a coyote.

One story that circulated up and down the road had Butchie Billie going to San Francisco in '54 to confront Allen Ginsberg. But Ginsberg thought Billie was just a mad desert rat and wouldn’t see him. So Butchie Billie would ride some old Schwinn bicycle that he’d stolen from a schoolyard, stand outside Ginsberg’s place, and howl obscenities all night long. The story goes on to tell how Ginsberg even wrote a poem based on Butchie’s irrepressible desire to stop the publication of poetry.

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,” Ginsberg wrote in his best poem, and most of us agreed that he was referring to Butchie Billie. Only later did Lawrence Ferlinghetti, a guy who ran City Lights Publishing, figured that out and insisted that Ginsberg address the dedication and parts of the poem to some guy named Carl Solomon.

Carl Solomon was some dude in a mental institution, and I guess someone thought he would be a better representation of the insanity that plagued America than Butchie Billie would be. On the road, we all knew that the original was written to Butchie Billie Bondar. No one represented the insanity of America better than Butchie did.

Butchie Billie Bondar wrote thousands of poems in his lifetime. He’d write them on scraps of paper and then just toss them into the street. “Leaves,” he’d say. “Just like Whitman, you know, Leaves of grass blowin’ in the wind.“ Another one of Ginsberg’s friends, a folk singer of some note, stole that last phrase from Billie, but no one will admit it to this day.

Billie shacked up with a string of women up along the road. He’d stay with them for a week or less in cheap motels, and he’d never come out for more than an hour or so. If you asked what was what, the women would always say the same thing. “He’s working out a problem.” But the truth was that Butchie Billie would spend his days writing poems on scraps of paper before and after hours of sex behind the door of his hot motel room. I know, for a fact, that lots of those girls still have Billie’s poems somewhere. But no one seems too keen on giving them up. Maybe they think those scraps of paper are worth money, and they probably are. It just seems, now, like we’ll never know for sure.

When Butchie Billie Bondar stayed with me in Flagstaff for a month to sober up from a year of drinking bourbon and Kool-Aid, he left a bunch of his poetry hidden under the floorboards in the back porch. Most of them are like the one I’ve already showed you. They always seem incomplete, like they were fragments of a giant puzzle that ran through Billie’s mind.

He’d write:

flat frog
i am roadkill
lying beneath the
front whells
of an automobile
until you kiss my cheek
and say
"wake up, it's time to go"

Here’s another:

cock jockey
family time has a pattern
a ritual

oh the thunder of the ball down the alley
excites me inside my jeans so much
that i feel a gush

the only storekeeper that matters is the one who took the day off
feigning sickness or health, it barely matters

but oh how the sound of falling pins
makes my legs quiver and i feel
the urge to grab hold and ride
the white bulbous maniac to the
end of time

And here’s the one I like the best:

grateful dead
i live with corpses
the one in the kitchen
is family fresh
smells a little
but soon, the rot will disappear

i live with corpses
the sad songs
that the late night radio station
rock around the clock
be bop a lua
maybe baby

i live with corpses
pictures stapled to the wall
a dead daughter
a loving grandmother
'seems a little unfair

No one really knows what became of Butchie Billie Bondar. It’s true he enlisted in the army so that he could go to Viet Nam, not to fight he’d say, but to send back poems from the front in the letters that the GI’s were allowed to write and post for free to their loved ones. Maybe he died there, or maybe he just stayed there for the rest of his life.

No one ever said Butchie Billie Bondar was any great shakes of a poet. But he wrote from his heart, and he didn’t write poetry as a ticket to fame and fortune. He was just a guy who turned words over in the coffee grinder of his mind. I wish I could tell you more, but the last I heard from him was in a letter that he sent from Nam. Inside was a picture of Butchie Billie standing in his fatigues in front of a demolished Flying Banana T helicopter and nothing else. I got it in ’68 and I’m glad, but to be truthful, I’m not even sure how it ended up in my mail because on the envelope, he had written just one word:

The Back Story:

This is the last story in a collection of stories that I wrote about people whom I met or imagined I met along Route 66, that famous highway that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles.

I must admit that this story was written quite some time after the first six, and you can probably see a few differences between this story and the others.

The obvious difference is the poetry, which I wrote in the character of Butchie Billie, especially for the story. Butchie Billie's poetry is not what one might call traditional, and it is littered with spelling and writing errors, because I didn't want Butchie Billie to care too much for convention, especially the conventions of writing. In my mind, he was above, below, or beyond formal education (you decide), and I wanted his poetry to capture some of the chaos of the times. Above all else, he was the consummate mixture of road warrior, poet, philosopher, and vagabond.

All the details regarding Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Carl Solomon, as well as the sideways allusion to Bob Dylan, are not historically accurate — just part of the fiction.

In some ways, Butchie Billie Bondar's character is drawn from a fellow I met at university, whom I suspected was either stark raving mad or a genius and whom I came to see as the brother I never had. He was an American living in Canada during the late sixties, and he was free and clear of the draft, until he suddenly decided to leave university and go to Viet Nam. So he went, despite my repeated attempts to convince him not to go. After that, I lost contact with him. Still, I always wondered what became of him, and so I wrote this story to solve that dilemma festering in my imagination.

The envelope at the end of the story never really came to me, except as a part of this story. The idea did give a voice to my site "Postcards From Purgatory," since I have long believed that the struggle to create art is somehow connected to an appreciation and understanding of both good and evil, of both Heaven and Hell, and is created in a world sort of mid-point between the two. The Catholics call that place Purgatory, and for most of my life, I've been convinced that this world of ours is just that — a place where our souls kind of get tossed and turned like ribs on a grill until the good Lord decides whether each of us gets to take a ladder into Heaven or slides down a snake into Hell.



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