Flyin’ To Ya

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Descended stairs
to the concourse
where piano played
a moving chorus
and he brought me
to tears
with Hallelujah.
Hallelujah,
Hallelujah,
always cry at
Cohen’s
Halle-lu-u-u-u-u-u-u-juah!

The sun’s not up
this Christmas morn
yet round the world
praise, “Son is born!”
As with the teeming throngs
we’re flyin’ to ya.
Flyin’ to ya,
Flyin’ to ya,
all jammed in aeroplanes
and flyin’ to
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ya.

Though sting of tears
may mist my eyes
My heart still sings
joyous reprise:
Hallelujah,
Hallelujah,
Halle-lu-u-u-u-u-u-u-juah.

Flyin’ to ya,
Flyin’ to ya.
Not angel’s wings
just aeroplane
that brings me to ya.
Brings me to ya,
brings me to ya.
Halle-ay-ay-ay-lu-u-juah

“Love is not a victory march,”
you cleanse my soul,
uplift my heart
(Hope you knew that.)
Hallelujah,
Hallelujah,
Halle-lu-u-u-u-u-u-u-juah!

Hallelujah,
Hallelujah,
Halle-lu-u-u-u-u-u-u-juah.

Perspective and Praise

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I posted the following on Facebook:
“I can abhor Trump without demonizing his followers.”

This garnered 111 comments from friends, mostly rants demonizing the “other side.” (Le sigh!) In response to my friends’ rants I shared my poem “Base and Blind” to which my friend Tom replied, “I’ve read a lot of your writings. That may be the best.” Tom’s comment got me thinking about my writing from a different perspective, a perspective not of recording and sharing my thoughts, feelings and opinions but rather how my scribblings may be judged by others, a topic I only consider when dealing with extremely sensitive subjects. For the most part I write me with the unspoken invitation of, “Hey, y’all! Here’s what’s going through my head. Wanna see?”

Self-expression, rather than good, better, best (Or for that matter, bad, badder, worst!) is my priority, not the judgement of my readers. (Though I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I like “Likes” and LOVE comments.) Tom’s comment got me thinking about how my writings are viewed by me versus readers.

I started writing poems for friends decades ago and quickly learned that most people find poems about themselves FABULOUS! Sending someone a poem about them is almost sure to garner glowing praise but the praise tends to be shallow. They’re not evaluating the poem’s content, structure or ability to hold interest they’re just thrilled somebody (ME!) wrote about them.

When receiving praise from the subjects of my poems I try to remember a language lesson my tenth grade teacher MS Lyons delivered back in 1976. She warned of vapid, subject based accolades that do not reflect the quality of the writing but rather the predispositions and prejudices of the reader. MS Lyons explained that sometimes people who love kittens find any and every thing kitten praise worthy. Bad paintings, bad poems, horrid prose, doesn’t matter, if it’s kittens then they’re smitten. I love being told that something I wrote is good but praise based on subject rather than content, while appreciated, is given very little credence.

I try to evaluate my writing based on whether it works or not. Does it get my point across, does it keep the reader’s attention, does it put images in readers’ heads, is the spelling and grammar correct and therefore not a distraction? Throw in some fun alliterations and a few rhymes to make the writing fun and I may have written something I find praise worthy.

Last in my goals is word length. In today’s society a 500 word essay is considered long, a circumstance of which I am aware but rarely act on.

Base And Blind

Oh, we the righteous do decree
that all shall see the world as we
and if you dare to disagree
we righteous shall mock and shun thee

If you support the evil side
with widest brush we will apply
the taint from which can’t run nor hide:
We know the truth as testified

Inquisition not just old Spain
for we righteous bring back its reign
our instruments your blood will drain
as condescend and spew disdain

There are two camps, one wrong one right,
and you the wrong we right shall smite
for paradise, bombast, cordite
we know sole path from dark to light

Don’t speak to us of your concerns
contemptibles we righteous spurn
just get on board, backward slatterns
or be cast in bubbling cauldron

We know your hearts, we know your minds
your very souls are hateful kind
repent your sins, you unrefined
for all you are is base and blind

Blind to the truth of your cancer
that we can rout, we are the cure!
You are disease, you base adders
we righteous know how to skewer

We’ll call you out, though haven’t met,
for there’s no room for your dissent
and if you dare to share mindset
our wrath shall be your epithet

Oh, we the righteous do decree
that all shall see the world as we
and if you dare to disagree
we righteous shall mock and shun thee

Love of Ours

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The moon appeared in splendor, big and bold and bright,
watched her with my darling and felt my heart take flight.
Sky above Atlantic moon shared with sky of stars,
to south circled Saturn, red hued gave hint of Mars.

Sweet lovely, languid hours twilighted into night,
final days of summer, watch Selene’s arc of flight.
Sky of brightest azure transformed to smoke, then black:
Contrail pierces Luna, bleeds not from the attack.

On a strip of island gentrified beachy homes
laid out in grid pattern, dominoes wait for storm.
To everything a season, slipping into fall,
bright moon keeps on shining, reflection for us all.

No light does she emit, yet symbolizes love?
Both barren and frigid, why look we to above?
There’s love all around us on Earth verdantly rich;
warm hearts, human grappling, let souls entwine in tryst.

Selene with your magic you do naught but mock me;
ever cold and distant, yours is deadly beauty.
Beauty cold and distant? Without cal’rie of heat?
Never can compare to two hearts that as one beat.

Lover’s peaks and valleys, the heat of passion’s kiss,
these from Selene missing, let’s long remember this.
Give me flesh and sinew over a billion stars,
though reflection’s lovely rather have love of ours.

Solo Rider

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Colors of rainbow have all washed away
gone’s arco iris, all’s left’s black and grays.
Thought I had power and dreamt I had speed
left riding solo’s lonely place to be.

Longed for adventure, I needed to fly,
so I saddled up and went for bike ride.
Seems dark and dreary had entered my soul;
to cure winter blues knew I had to roll.

A lack of daylight and excess of mead
hitched my giddy-up so went out biking.
Goal was a roll with friendly peleton
alone at start line where have riders gone?

There’s strength in numbers, there’s value to herd,
camaraderie and to heights we’re spurred.
That’s all terrific but none of it counts
cuz on my group ride my solo-ness taunts.

Day was not tempting fact I must admit
cool temperatures and steady fine mist
but it’s been observed we don’t go to war
with army wanted as we roll forward.

Whether it’s warring or withering sky
weather’s the weather when time for bike ride.
The mail must go through in sleet, rain or snow
out in the drizzle this male man did go.

The wind was blowing to that must confess
a forty knot gale made my bike skittish
but I persevered and I fought the wind
as I cycled from home to ride begin.

Incredulous stares and a few horn honks
affronted my eyes as Klaxons did taunt
but I soldiered on despite wind and rain
I knew peleton would ease stress and strain.

Five miles I traveled by bike to get there
arrived wet and chilled at parking lot stared
expecting to find riders at the start
found I was alone it tore at my heart.

I shrugged my shoulders and inhaled deeply
made the decision to ride solo-ly.
Cursing the weather, resenting lost mates
I went for a ride turns out it was great.

Despite the weather, the wind and the rain
horrid conditions, fact I’m not quite sane,
ride on bicycle beats sitting around
but on next group ride hope lost mates are found.

Colors of rainbow have all washed away
gone’s arco iris, all’s left’s black and grays.
Thought I had power and dreamt I had speed
left riding solo’s lonely place to be.

Tony Kneel: “Daisy, Daisy,” part 2 of 3

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At the end of our ride I bid farewell to Jack, approached Nicolette and exchanged numbers. We agreed that I’d peruse the Potomac Pedalers rides and see which one fit best. I explained that I’d be riding the tandem solo to the ride start so we’d almost certainly do a ride that originated in Ashton or Olney. I didn’t explain that we’d have to start close by because I was carless, the reason wasn’t relevant, and Nicolette smiled while Geoff scowled as they drove away with their bikes atop their BMW 733i.

I cycled the five miles from Sherwood High to home, put the tandem away, (it was my most expensive possession) showered, grabbed some food and, since it was Saturday and I didn’t have to wait until after 11:00 for rates to go down, phoned Jean.

“Hey, baby,” I said into the phone, “how you doing?”

“Good,” she replied. “Just getting some last minute wedding details planned. You’re still planning to make lasagna for the rehearsal dinner at Marie’s, right?”

“Yep. Lasagna Florentine. Gotta Popeye it up.”

“Great. We can go shopping when you get here. You’re driving up with your folks?”

“Uhm, maybe?” I responded. “We’re all coming so I should have plenty of people I can catch a ride with. Maybe John and Brooke. Guess what I did today?”

“Heard from a school in Atlanta!?”

I exhaled heavily. “No. Sorry. Nothing yet. No. I went on a group ride with Jack on the tandem.”

“Oh. Yeah?” Jean responded non-committed. Jack was not one of her favorite people.

“Yeah. Potomac Pedalers? The bike club? We rode the tandem.”

“Cool. Have fun?”

“Yes. I’m looking forward to tandeming with you in Atlanta. Had a gal express interest in a tandem ride with me and so next week I’ll probably ride with her.”

“Oh, yeah? Somebody you know?”

“Not really,” I replied. “We’ve been on rides together, but we haven’t talked much. She usually hangs with her body-builder boyfriend.”

“Oh. Cool! Well, have fun! I got stuff to do. Talk to you later?”

“Absolutely. I should be home tonight. Call you around ten?”

“Perfect. Love you!”

“I love you, JPT. Later,” I said, waiting for her to hang-up before disconnecting.

I consulted my Potomac Pedalers newsletter and found a ride that started from the Olney Theatre and called Nicolette. Geoff answered. “Hi. Is Nicolette there?”

“Who’s calling?”

“Tony Kneel. I’m supposed to arrange a tandem-”

“Nikki!” I hear Geoff call out. “It’s the tandem guy.”

Nicolette gets on the phone, we agree to meet at the Theatre on Saturday the twenty-fourth and go about our days.

Saturday May 24th brings another beautiful not quite summer morning to central Montgomery County. I cycle to the Theatre and find Nicolette waiting with Geoff who scowls. “Hey!” I say, “how are you this morning? You have water bottles?”

We place her two bottles in the stoker’s waiting cages and we three sign the ride log. I explain the basics of being a tandem stoker and then we’re off, heading northwest toward Old Baltimore Road. It doesn’t takes long before the ride group splits into a slightly smaller faster portion, and a larger slower part. Nicolette and I leave Geoff behind in the slower part as we motor through the mostly rolling byways of rural northern M.C. With nearly twice the horsepower but almost no additional aerodynamic drag, tandems allow riders to go faster on flats and fly downhills, with the flip-side being a more precipitous slowing on ascents.

Peter’s Seventieth

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Image may contain: 4 people, people sitting and indoorWe all know of Peter and his fairy pal Tink,
and army of Lost Boys from fount of youth did drink.
Neverland far away, yet ever is it nigh,
ADA accessible, as we all can fly.

Fly away in spirit, God Father, Son, and Ghost!
My Cath’lic upbringing this play reflected most.
Not too far from Dubuque, in eastern Iowa,
is where I lived longest, tall corn and short soya!

I too am an orphan, I too am four of five,
play made me remember times long ago slipped by.
Sarah captures nicely Midwest mid-century,
Wendy, John and Michael, Jane and Hook all family.

First we lost our mother and then we lost our dad;
only one not present when our Royal Dame passed.
Ten years span of siblings, eldest turns sixty-two
all love one another; I’m liberal in the room.

Spread out cross the nation, triangle of vast size
from D.C. to Memphis hypotenuse inscribes.
Though great is the distance hearts are our winning suit
for love of family for all’s an absolute.

Known to act a fairy, flit merrily around,
though the years weigh heavy life still holds me spellbound.
Here’s to sister Peter, my John and brother Mike,
Jane’s our youngest sibling, I will Captain our flight.

We all know of Peter and his fairy pal Tink,
and army of Lost Boys from fount of youth did drink.
Fly away in spirit, God Father, Son, and Ghost!
My Cath’lic upbringing this play reflected most.

Bryan and Brian: Final of 39

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THIRTY-NINE
The Gunnarsons, the Browns and the four young men from New York threw on shirts and flip-flops and headed up Pilitas in search of a Tapas bar. The ten crowded together beneath two umbrellas at two tables on an outdoor brick patio where Zach paid for a pitcher of Sangria, another of cerveza and a single Jarritos mandarin soda with two cups for the Bryans to split, all of which Enrique ordered in perfect Spanish.

“So let me get this straight,” Thomas said, distributing the first pitcher of beer into five mugs, “You two are cousins?” he asked Mary, “not twins?”

“Correct,” Mary replied handing each child a small glass of soda and nodding. “Our mothers are identical twins but we just look amazingly alike.”

Beth said, “What do you say, boys?”

“Thank you!” Both Brians declared as they returned to playing together with Mr. Velveteen.

“And you both have sons that you named Bryan? What’s up with that?!” Jordan interjected, placing one mug of beer in front of himself and passing another to Dennis.

“Yes, well sad story,” Mary said  with a triple nod. “We had an uncle who served in Vietnam. Went MIA in 1968. Pretty sure he died as a POW but no official word. Uncle Brian was idolized by both our Moms and we independently chose to name our sons after him. Beth went with the traditional spelling but I changed the ‘i’ to a ‘y.’ Seemed like tempting fate to use the same spelling, plus this way both Bryan and Mary are spelled with a y which I thought was a nice touch.”

“It is a nice touch,” Beth said, nodding and poring sangria into four glasses, “and, in more ridiculous coincidental behavior, I thought the same thing when I named Brian Brian with an ‘i’ like Elizabeth.”

“Ha!” Mary barked. “I never think of you as an Elizabeth. You’re always Beth to me!”

“That makes sense. I always went by Beth when we were little, it’s only been since I started college that I stopped insisting people call me Beth. Joseph uses both, don’t you sweetie?”

“Ya. Just as I now go by Joe or Joseph. Before you Americanized me it was always Joseph.”

“But you got pregnant and had your sons at the same time?” Dennis asked with a feigned shudder. “That’s… creepy!”

“A little, but not so very,” Mary said. “I know of lots of siblings whose children are born right around the same time. Don’t you have cousins near your age?”

“Near!” Jordan agreed, elongating the word, “Not exactly my age. Weird.”

“It is  weird,” Zach said with a nod, raising his hand at the passing server and circling his finger over the pitchers, “but I think it is much weirder that we wound up at the same hotel at the same time!”

“¿Más lanzadores?” she asked, causing Zach to turn his head toward Enrique.

“Si,” Enrique replied with a nod, “por favor. And you guys haven’t seen each other since like the nineties?” he added, speaking to Beth and Mary.

“Well that isn’t super strange really,” Jordan said, “I mean, it is a big travel time and all, right?”

Enrique bobbled his head in reluctant agreement as Beth said, “Yeah. Saw each other, what? Twice after grandpa died? Almost twenty years now? I mean, we used to write some when we both lived in the States and then we emailed some when I moved to Iceland but things get busy. I’m more likely to hear what Mary’s up to from my mom than I am from her.”

“Ditto,” Mary said with a shrug. “I agree with Zach though. The craziest part is that we wound up here together at the same place at the same time.”

“Yeah, that’s one word for it,” Enrique said, nodding. “I got one thing to say though. One thing to the Zach-meister there. Didn’t somebody say to me how important it is to keep in touch?”

“Hmmm,” Zach acknowledged, nodding his head, “that sounds very familiar. I’ll have to remember it. Oh, hey!” he added. “Wasn’t that the same guy who told you not to kill too many braincells?”

“Just shut up and pass me a sangria. Please.”

Bryan and Brian: Part 38 of 39

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THIRTY-EIGHT
Zach dove toward the side of the kidnapper to ensure that the monster’s fall would be away from rather than on top of his son. Flying through the air, arms outstretched he saw Mary running towards Brian, fear and furry in her eyes. Though he plainly saw Mary in front of and to his right he heard her voice scream something unintelligible from behind him. Distracted from his prey the kidnapper deftly moved from his path of flight and Zach landed headfirst in the surf as Enrique, Thomas, Jordan and the fourth New Yorker cut off the kidnapper’s escape route up the beach.

“You move one inch and you will never move again!” Enrique screamed at Joseph. “Bryan! Bryan! Get up! Come here,” he added, crouching low and extending both hands to the bow who sat crying in the surf.

“Stop! Stop!” Mary yelled as she ran next to Enrique shaking her head furiously, Bryan held close in her arms. “That’s not my Bryan! And that man is Brian’s father! His mother’s right there!” she added, pointing at Elizabeth. “This is all a huge misunderstanding!” Beth surged into the surf, plucked her wailing son up from the waves and flashed vengeful eyes at the four men who surrounded her and her family. “Beth! Stop! It’s me! Mary! It’s okay! It’s okay!”

Zach rose from the water, faced up shore, saw two of his wife and two of his son and froze. “Oh, Jesus Christ,” he muttered under his breath. “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

“Mary?” Beth asked, her voice raw but ferocity receding. “What the hell is going on?!”

“I think we are the victims of the most ridiculous set of preposterous coincidences the world has ever seen. Zach? Meet my cousin Beth. Beth, this is Zach and our son Bryan, and you must be Joseph?” she added, shaking her head. “I’ve seen your picture but we haven’t met.”

Joe strode to Beth and wrapped his arms around his wife and child, voiceless sobs causing his chest to visibly sputter. “Brian, Brian, Brian. It’s okay. We’ve got you now. We’ve got you now.”

Enrique turned to his left, threw his hands out palms skyward and asked his friend Thomas, “What in the hell happened here?”

“You told us to run,” Thomas replied, arms folded across his chest, nostrils flaring, “so we ran. Jesus, guys. ‘Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?’”

Joe tilted his head to the side, completely missing Thomas’ Pop-Culture reference. He then turned to Zach and stared at him for three long seconds. “You thought my Bryan was your son?”

“Yes! I’m sorry! They look so much-”

Joseph held his hand next to his face, palm facing Zach. “And you ran after me to save your boy?”

“Yes.”

“I see,” Joe said nodding. “I see,” he repeated as he squeezed his family once more before wading into the ocean, hand outstretched. “My name is Joseph Gunnarson. This is my wife Mary and our son Bryan. It is nice to finally meet you,” he said, shaking hands. Pausing he added, “Your reputation precedes you. Bryan?” he asked, squatting low and motioning with both hands for his wife and son to join them. “These three are your cousins. I do not know who these other men are but apparently they too were willing to take great risks to protect an innocent child from harm so it would honor me to make your acquaintances?”

Bryan and Brian: Part 37 of 39

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THIRTY-SEVEN
Zach was out of his beach chair and running hard and fast, intent on saving his son, vision narrowed to tunnel focus, in a fugue where distractions and diversions did not exist. He was almost upon Bryan and his son’s captor when he heard the patter of racing bare feet beside him. In a fury his head turned, fists cocked, adrenaline spiked, ready to pummel whoever dared get between him and rescuing his son.

“Zach!” he heard someone scream. “Zach!” the voice repeated, “What is it?!” Enrique demanded.

Zach raced on, his lumbering form challenging the waves ferocity as his feet smashed step after step as he zeroed in on the man who held his child. “Him!” he roared, pointing at Joseph. “Him! He has my son!”

Enrique surged, running point of the three young men who followed in close pursuit. “Stop him! Stop him!” Enrique called over his shoulder, adding, “He’s got Bryan!” before turning his head forward and screaming, “Bryan! Bryan! We’re coming! Your dad’s right here!”

Joseph looked up from his play with his son and saw the stampede of men rushing his way. He heard voices screaming out his son’s name and saw fury in the eyes of the onslaught. “Beth! Beth!” he screamed, “Get help! Run!” turning his back to the approaching attackers as he lowered the arms that held the burden of his son, Joe flipped Brian midair so he would hit the surf feet first and then sprung into the air, spinning 180 degrees to face the human deluge which seemed intent to pour over him. Joseph, his son dazed and defenseless at his feet, stood at an angle, his body turned to present a minimal area for his attackers to strike and raised his left fist just below chin height as he pulled his right fist back, fully prepared to kill or die in order to protect his son from the deranged mob that was swarmed toward them.

Joe heard Beth’s voice scream over and over but his brain held no comprehension of her words. No matter what happened next he would protect his son or die trying. His head swept right to left, taking in the pack of human curs, his eyes reaching the shore and his head twitching as he saw Beth in front of rather than behind him.

Beth, holding Bryan who Joe knew was at his feet. Bryan who cowered in fear, his son having no comprehension of what had caused his father to throw him to the ground and turn from loving and playful Pabbi to a man ready, willing and able to use maximum force in defense of what he held most dear. Distracted by Beth for a split second he found himself ready to fight the men who split and surrounded him and Joe prepared to deliver mayhem even as he wondered how and when his wife had transported their son to safety.

Focused on the fight Joe heard Beth scream what sounded like, “Zach! No! That’s Joseph!” as the largest of the five dove low and tried to take him out at the knees.

Butt Seriously

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I have big shits, you have them too
my hopes and dreams go down the loo.
It’s not so bad, I carry on,
commiserate through screaming song.
Butt thing that burns is hemorrhoids,
vein agony my dreams destroyed.
A certain age, a certain time,
they’ll get you too: Prophetic rhyme.

The stench, the smell, may make you retch
as I destroy pristine toilet,
never again will be the same,
still have great hope merde goes down drain.
You think grotesque this trifling rhyme
till your GI works overtime.
Prayed clench of cheeks still save somehow
but this butt load through me did plow.

Apologize for rhyme crappy
but we’ve all felt sear in nappy.
So while you gag on my foul words
please say a prayer for my innards.
The innards that seem quite intent
to burst from me with force potent.
I’m calling truce, I pray for peace,
pleas, moving bowels can you now cease?

Cease and desist is fervent prayer
for I’m fresh out clean underwear.
Empty vessel must surely be,
simply no way more crap in me.
Butt thing that burns the stench, the smell,
you think grotesque, all know it well.
Though it’s damn bad I carry on
and scream my rage through shitty song.

Ben Dover’s Laughing

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Exhaustion and pain
are daily refrain
A chorus morose
of wracked body brain
There’s no escaping
the walls of my cell
for they’re composed of
DNA know well

No well, not Christmas,
no babe in manger,
excrutiation
with no sign of cure
Not sure if it’s pain
causing lack of sleep
or if it’s fatigue
that makes pain’s stabs deep

Cycle that’s vicious
a cycle sans end,
when’s Second Coming?
Need flesh born again
Rapturous glories
like tying a shoe
start by bend over
like I used to do

Ben Dover’s laughing,
man’s callous and cruel,
bend’s been replaced by
a bent body, fool
Grimace as spasm
damned Hamburglar
steals more than pommes frites
my life’s just endured

Slow, inefficient
inept muddler
fear I’m the pony
with pain as my spur
Spurs me to whinny
and spurs me to flinch
pain falls and rises
but’s ever present

Just no escaping
the walls of my cell
for they’re composed of
DNA know well
Morning and evening,
seven-twenty-four
that’s three-sixty-five
this pain must endure

Bryan and Brian: Part 36 of 39

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THIRTY-SIX
Beth, Bryan and Joe strolled north-westward on Pilitas to the beach where they scanned the columns and rows of beach chairs and umbrellas that dominated the regions of beach farthest from the lapping waves. “Busy, huh?” Joe commented. “It looks as though it was a good idea to come today rather than wait for the weekend, yah?”

“That or we need to get here earlier if we want our choice of where to sit,” Beth replied. “This is like a sea of umbrellas, isn’t it?”

“‘A sea of umbrellas.’ I like that. Very poetic. But I’m not sure what image the words would create if I didn’t have this expanse of oiled bodies beneath the sun to burn a picture in my mind. Perhaps a flotilla of umbrellas being used as pleasure boats?”

“That’s a fun image. Sailboats. With the sails attached to the handles bobbing blissfully along.”

“Blissful bobbing sounds nice but how would we steer? Where are the rudders?”

“Too deep, sweetie. Don’t go so far below the water line. It’s just a picture.”

“Ha! You just said, ‘Don’t go so deep,’ and the subject is sailboats. You’re a genius even when you don’t try. Hey, Brian? Do you know how wonderful your mother is?”

“Uh-huh. Brian knows. Love you, Mama.”

“Well that’s settled,” Joe said with a laugh. “Unanimous.”

“And I love you, sweeties,” she replied, kissing her fingertips and throwing kisses. “Beach chairs or just spread a towel out down closer to the ocean?”

“Sun’s rays are pretty strong right now so we should probably get an umbrella. Shall we reconnoiter first and then we can figure out the best place to land?”

“Good plan,” Beth said with a nod. “Brian? Let’s take off our jerseys so we can get in the ocean,” she added as she laid her bag on the ground and pulled her shirt off.

“Yah. Let’s get wet,” Joe replied, pulling first Brian’s shirt off then his own. “Brian? Want to fly in the sky?”

“Pabbi make me fly?”

“Say the word and you’re a bird!”

“Brian Fly! Fly, Pabbi! Fly!”

Joseph scooped up his son, lifted him high overhead and placed the palms of his hands beneath Brian’s hips as the boy arched his back, outstretched his arms plane like and commanded, “Run, Pabbi! Brian fly!” as he squealed in delight which in turn made both of his parents laugh in appreciation of his joy

“To the ocean, my sweet! It’s time to get wet!” Joe hollered unreservedly as he ran into the ocean kicking sand, making waves and catching the attention of the languid loungers that soaked up the sun’s rays.

Zach opened a single bleary eye and looked up from his state of semiconscious. Peering uncomprehendingly toward the squeals and shouts that wafted up from the surf what he saw made him smile and nod once before his eyes shot open in a terrorizing moment of déjà vu. The man from the hotel again had Bryan in his arms and was running with him away from Mary.

“Stop!” Zach shouted at the top of his lungs as he struggled to his feet. “Stop that man! He has my son!” he added as he sprinted pall mall through the sand and towards the surf.

Quotient Know Knot

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Farther and further it’s all uphill climb, body’s wracked with pain zero peace of mind Going on fortnight latest episode, face set in grimace refuse to explode Throwing a tantrum would lead to nowhere, twenty-four-seven palliative care Don’t tell me others have got it far worse, not competition to see who feels worst If world’s my oyster then shell I can’t shuck, no pearl of wisdom nor sweet meat to pluck Only a longing to stand without pain, return joie de vivre, feel human again

Some men have sunshine on a cloudy day, my color palette’s turned darkest of grays Blue skies you’re seeing for me fade to black, ponderous power of sick, crippled back Snaking sick sine wave where pain ebbs and flows, sometimes just niggling but mostly harrows Gnaws at my being and won’t let me be, fear never again will I be pain free Our days are numbered though quotient know not, long to live fully but that’s not my lot Past perfect future, past progressive pain, long to progress to time beyond pain’s rein

Bryan and Brian: Part 35 of 39

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THIRTY-FIVE
Zach was the only Brown who was not awash in melted ice-cream. “See?” he asked Mary, “If you’d been smart like me you would have gotten a cup rather than a cone.”

“‘Smart,’ eh? Pretty sure the word you’re looking for is glutenous. Three scoops! Three!?”

“I blame you, my love. You put the idea of rum raisin in my head and then you ordered key lime and when Bryan got chocolate fudge I just had to follow suit.”

“I’m pretty sure we would have let you have some of ours if you’d asked.”

“What!? And be one of those fathers who takes food out of the mouths of his wife and child? Blasphemous. No, no, it’s fine. You eat your drippy dribbles and lick your sticky wrists and I’ll sip my sloppy soup. Fortunately I planned ahead and ate quickly.”

“Which is why you got an ice-cream headache.”

“The wages of sin. It’s a sad story but somehow I’ll carry on. What you say, Bry? Good ice-cream or what?”

“Uh-huh,” Bryan answered, licking his fingers.

“I think all you’re left with is the cone, my love,” Mary said, shaking her head at the amount of chocolate drizzle that covered her son. “We really need to clean you up,” she added.

“Why don’t you just hop in the ocean? Easy-peasy.”

“We should have taken his shirt off before he ate the ice-cream,” she declared with a sigh. “It’s just covered.”

“Take him in with it on. Either way it’ll have to be washed but at least for now we can get the gloppy off.”

“The voice of reason. Bryan? When did Papa become the voice of reason?”

“I sticky,” Bryan said, looking at his hands.

“We know love,” Mary replied. “We’ll go get cleaned up.”

“Me the voice of reason? God forbid!” Zach said with a laugh. “If I’m the voice of reason then that handbasket to hell is an express flight. You want me to help you slip out of your wrap?”

Mary turned her head to the side and looked at her husband from the corners of her eyes.

“Ha!” Zach barked. “That too, but I meant for you to get in the ocean. You’re a big kotiro and you managed not to get any Key Lime on your red wrap.”

“Aren’t you coming with?”

“No. Think I’ll sit tight. Wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you took the long way home. Let me catch a couple winks?”

“We can probably do that. Okay, you may undress me with more than just your eyes but the bikini stays on.”

“Spoil sport,” Zach said with a grin as he lifted Mary’s wrap from the bottom up and then licked her cheek. “There was a spot of Key Lime there,” he said with a wink.

Petals Pressed

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Seems adulting leads to adultery
as over years turn backs on hopes and dreams
and endless flow of water beneath bridge
adulterates wine once sweet and heady

Pet names, sobriquets that made us giddy
no longer uttered in these sober times
continue through gray and dull existence
where fear sad reason’s replaced cherished rhyme

Beneath sweet moonbeams cavort sunflowers,
their light fancies tickled by Zephyrus
Sun worshipers, narcissistic sunflowers,
until seeds are reaped and compost become

Billions of pinpricks  from Sagan’s starlight
eons long dead far stars whose light lives on
Jane Taylor’s, Boüin’s ou Mozart’s Twinkle
we’ve no way to staunch blood flow from them all

Darkness, never ending solstice midnight,
light one-hundred-eighty degrees away
Number axial tilt same youth’s flower
God’s sense of humor’s forever triste

With Republic’s Battle Hymn of Glory
we slaves scream, “Carpe diem! Seize the day!”
Herrick’s admonition rosebuds gather
are just petals pressed in book shelved away