Duane L. Herrmann

MIRACLE FLAMES

Steady candle flames
did not dance
but bent horizontal
in unison,
then stood upright again,
then bent opposite
and stood again
with no wind
in closed room.

GRANPA’S HANDS

My Granpa’s hands
were always old
as I am now.
I watched him age
as I am now,
and now, too,
a grandfather
with wrinkled hands.

BIRTH WELCOME

Purple streaks across the sky,
oranges and reds,
set the autumn sun
over prairie grasses,
tan and yellow blowing,
waving under wind.
Any wonder why
I love this world
which welcomed me?

SCULPTURES OF A FORMER TIME

Tractors, mowers, rakes,
even manure spreaders,
find new homes
in retirement
by grandsons
of the farmers who
had worked them,
now resting
in the front yard!

PASSED LITTLE BRIDGE

Bridge by the side of the road
in the ditch
where road once was,
bridge remains
making the way
to small cemetery
new road goes around,
as I do too.

FINDING EARTH

We thought we
were going to the moon
but found the earth instead:
blue-white ball
suspended, alone and single
in expanse of empty space:
one home
for one mankind,
we are one together.

~~~

The work of Duane L. Herrmann has been published in print and online, in over a hundred journals, more than fifty anthologies, plus seven volumes of poetry, more chapbooks, a history, and a sci-fi novel; all despite a traumatic, abusive childhood embellished with dyslexia, ADHD, cyclothymia, an anxiety disorder, and PTSD. Duane was first featured on June 19, 2020, and again on December 4, 2020. Some of his thoughts were also selected and published in The Sound of Brilliance.

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Joe Wells

I’VE SAVED ENOUGH FOR SHADY PALMS

I’ve saved enough to go in Shady Palms,
assuming I die at the end of the week.
If I reach old age, or get dementia,
then I’m surely up shit creek.

I find it hard to understand the system,
which pays if it’s your leg that’s broke.
You pay though if it’s your head that’s ill,
and to me that’s not a joke.

I have no desire to go in Shady Palms,
to find I’m fading and walking toward the light.
I want to stay home, then one day on waking,
find I’ve gone and died in the night.

GINGER ROGERS, BACKWARDS AND IN HEELS

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
with Ginger Rogers made a pair.
Her fancy footwork always appeals,
amazing, as it’s backwards and in heels.

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
did tap with Ginger with such flair.
Moving fast as light with flashing feet,
man oh man dig that rhythm, dig that beat.

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
rehearsed for hours with no care,
No thought for Ginger her feet so sore,
taking off her shoes and the blood would pour.

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
hit the top in the floodlights glare.
Asked the secret of his success to explain,
he thought for a while then said, no pain no gain.

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
then Ginger’s thoughts did share.
My feet bleeding until dances he perfects,
I am proving women really are the stronger sex.

Hard dancing Fred Astaire,
with Ginger Rogers made a pair.
Her fancy footwork always appeals,
amazing, as it’s backwards and in heels.

JRR TOLKIEN AND THE NOBEL PRIZE

JRR Tolkien, author of great repute
was nominated for a Nobel Prize
by C S Lewis, a writer and his friend,
then suddenly came a surprise.

His Lord of the Rings books were rejected
the jury called them second rate,
poor storytelling was also cited
as the reason they met this fate.

I wonder if the author JRR Tolkien,
these comments cut him in half                                                          
but as a bestselling author,
he certainly had the last laugh.

WOKE IN THE UK

As an older fellow, I would like to reach out to the younger members of society in a vain attempt to retain my sanity going forward for there are certain expressions and phrases which are used by the youth of today which are causing me anxiety and are interfering with my mental health, some of which I have placed in bold type.

For example, starting a sentence with So punctuating it with Like talking with a Multicultural London accent emphasising any word ending with ility and now I find I’m having to contend with Woke.

I’m getting a little sick and tired of it all and would like to go back to English as a language and for modern Woke people to stop taking offence on behalf of others who are probably more capable of dealing with the situation themselves.

That’s the end of my minor rant for now but I am certain I have missed a multitude of things and will no doubt think of more going forward, sorry I mean in the future.

BACK BENCH MP’S

In Great Britain, we have numerous traditions and peculiar habits which I personally love, especially the ones that make no sense at all, an example being The House of Commons.

A person can stand for Parliament and when elected become a Minister of Parliament and assuming they continue their way up the greasy pole of Politics can become a Member of the Cabinet, an example of which is the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, or slightly stranger the post of Minister Without Portfolio, which is a post for a Cabinet Minister with no specific responsibilities.

I’m sure all this makes perfect sense to all those of you who may not live in our rather wonderful country but just to throw a spanner into the works, should one of these Ministers cause a bit of a hoo-ha by having an affair and groping his secretary and breaking the current Covid restrictions he or she will lose their Ministerial position and be banished to the back benches of Parliament, this is rather like becoming one of the naughty children on a school trip who sits at the back of the bus and causes a commotion, although smoking is not permitted in the Chamber.

There you are, the British Parliament in a nutshell, I hope it all makes sense to you!

~~~

Joe is a retired actor, author, and blogger. thediaryofacountrybumpkin.com is an amusing take on the more quirky aspects of modern life. His books are available on Amazon, the latest of which is a murder mystery set in 1947 and is called The Case of the Grease Monkey’s Uncle. Joe was first featured on The Short of It on March 6, 2020, and then published in our first anthology – The Sound of Brilliance.

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Another Year

Inspired by Sadje’s What do you see #133

the date of my birth
will soon come again

as lines on my face
etch deeper

my whole body achier
skin is drier and gravity pulls me down

the will to thrive
still exists

but with each passing celebration
the inevitable draws near

i will falter
eventually

My Bucket List

Inspired by Sadje’s What do you see #120

items on lists are meant to be checked off
yet life has its own agenda

our youth is filled with dreams
while reality wants to bend us into conformity

experience taught us to balance
as best as we could

so now…

our wants exceed the time we have left
and our needs take precedence as we age

Missed Opportunities

Xresch – Pixabay

Inspired by Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Saturday Mix & Sadje’s What do you see #102

in my youthful mind
before responsibility aged me
dreams of rich discovery carried me over mountain tops
in the direction of promising golden rays of fortune
the thrill of adventure hastening all my steps
but with a scowl i realized i was out of steam
leaving me motionless and stranded
in the middle of life

Reblog – Solitaire by VJ Knutson

How does one traverse the loss of love, aging, and loneliness? VJ may not present the answer but she certainly gives us a glimpse of how real it can get.

One Woman's Quest

Past love’s deadline
wolves no longer prowl
vultures, smelling rot,
circle overhead, plot

My essence is solitary
feather fallen between
wide-eyed expectancy
and maturity’s abyss

Abandonment or neglect
I truly cannot say…

(Tuesdays I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson. Image my own.)

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Reblog – Perspectives Shift by VJ Knutson

I feel this piece captures the process of maturing eloquently, something our younger selves would scoff at, or?

One Woman's Quest

Remember youth?
Life an adventure
heart full of dreams

Responsibility made us quartz
working machines, focus
on destination – life as goal

In the gloaming, time blurs
nostalgia and regret dance with
perspective – the irony of it all.

(Tuesdays I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson. Image my own.)

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John Grey

THE MIDNIGHT CELEBRATION

I’d rather it wasn’t the clock
that drinks with me.
I revile its stories, its jokes.
What do I care about the billions of years
it can go back
and the billions forward.
And it’s such a smarmy accent,
that “tick, tick, tick.”

But the clock it is,
on the wall, dresser,
cable box, shiny numbers
peering out of stove and microwave.

If I had my way,
my drinking companions would be
the youth turned twenty-one,
proudly showing everyone his license.
The young gun of thirty,
money in his pocket,
vice presidency in the bag.
Even the beer-gutted forty-year-old,
discussing big plans over imported ale.

It’s almost midnight,
the flat froth of another deadly day.
One bottle is finished,
another stakes out my thirst.
This isn’t the party I had planned.
I invited the times of my life
but time of year showed up instead.

WORK OUT

Hamper overflowing.
More clothes piled up at the end of the bed.
I’m in the cellar on the elliptical,
walking a mile or so in one place,

Dishes piled up in the sink,
the house is on its own.
But the man must trim those abs,
shrink that gut,
or everything falls apart.
When was the last time
the carpet saw a vacuum cleaner?
Dust lasts longer around here than calories.
My fitness machine squeaks
like tortured mice.

Windows, mirrors, lack for
a good arm wrestle with a wet cloth.
But I see myself in the bathroom scales.
I look out through how healthy I feel.
The roof is leaking.
I could be up there fixing it.
But if I’m to avoid hard work,
I first must have the strength.

ANATOMY OF A HUG

The wave’s motion.
We are moving.
Through the door in the morning.
These floors, so different from at night.
Sway with light like sown fields.
Gradually goes the soot-discharging fishing boat.
Your body leans on me for comfort.
With a mysterious whisper, I lean on you.

Today, when we clench hands,
tides roll in, those hands open up,
love is crystallized sand and grafted together. 
Almost dull but blood flows freely.

Dreaming is easy.
Crossing over into vision is not.
A daybreak frontier
when it pays to hold our breath.
Knowing is anticipation.
Acting, a risky plunge.
A naked coastline
reinforces our dependence.

When love and sea
share the tumult inside us,
a single surge
nudges our way forward.
This startling landscape.
This water. Our fear.
This earth. Our support.
Here in the harbor, I hold you inside me.
Clean anchor
where all else pulls away.

BOY

September,
a slow drift from light and heat,
apples peaking,
trees giving up the green.
your boy turns 21.

lie’s a man
just as the planet
turns its back
on its own manhood,
no longer robust and clear
but reflective,
warm when the sun’s upon it,
but chilly come dark.

He’s out with his friends.
in a bar, ordering his first legal beer.
He’ll slay out later than the moon.
There’ll be women with
more claim on him than you.

Luckily, there’s always winter.
You’ll see more of him then,
his freedom not quite warm enough
as the usual bitter winds,
blinding drifts,
driving him indoors.

For a time, an old dead planet
can’t compete with your contemporaneous fire.
Poor mother flame –
he’ll be yours again
but seasonal.  

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF IT

Let us walk forty years in the desert,
heat-struck, devastated,
forgetting to bring water.
forgetting who we are,
stumbling about
like coked-up porn queen
and impotent actor.

It gets no emptier –
just you and me,
a rattlesnake,
rat, lizard, nothing cute –
a cheap motel of a landscape,
a greasy fast-food meal
pecked apart by vultures.

We’re either bored or arguing.
So let’s reroute our lives.

Civilization just doesn’t go with our obsessions.
Too much to drink. To flush.
To rinse away dirt sins.
We need to be where it’s barren and defeating,
deadly in its indifference.
Occasionally, we’ll come across a bullock skull
from a rancher’s dream inverted.
That bone could be the two of us –
crumbling and healing.

A LESSON IN BIOLOGY

This velvet plant
venerates its stalk, its flowers,
casts off a spore to spread the word –

children skim its seed
from the fishpond –

wind thrashes it this way, that way,
from willow to mimosa –

it’s a mast with lantern
driving through November
to the unfriendly house –

faster, faster, ever more desperate,
stringing together moment and lives and fears –

a drop of dew on green apple
of breath on almonds and cheese –

then the picnic where
the ancient diva
adorns herself
with the succulent triple choker,
girdling her fleshy throne
more beautiful
for the cracks in her skin –

oh the sun – it is a jewel
she can almost wear on her finger –

meanwhile, a dream
frets itself to ruin –
too brittle for these atmospheres,
while the past she hordes like a delicate jade –

this scene suggests a dying light,
and a woman preciously inlaid.

~~~

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, Leaves On Pages is available through Amazon. This is John’s second feature on The Short of It.

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Reblog – Out of commission by Eugenia Hoffman

I feel like this is one of those pieces which has such depth of meaning that your emotions will force themselves to erupt within you after reading it. Eugenia captured youth, aging, and the inevitable feelings about mortality in this beautiful senryu/haiku. Just lovely!

Eugi's Causerie

footloose days disturbed

time morphed like a broken wing

flying fears growing

Reena’s Exploration Challenge#163

Fae Corps PAD Challenge #26

Word on the Day Challenge – Footloose

-Eugenia

image source – lovethispic.com

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