My Muse

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My very dearest muse,

It was with great heartache that I read your short post reflecting on 370 days of post TCR unemployment. Please know that you mean the world to me.

Reflect on that just a moment.
YOU
mean the world
to me.

You filled me with wonder the moment we first encountered one another. You don’t remember, but I do. I was auditioning for Angels In America, my second audition post 1970’s high school. My Mr. Cunningham had been three plus decades back and I was exuberant from having just been cast in an Ushers Ferry production. I could scarcely have known less about theatre or auditioning, I was so green that were I a banana you could have used me as a hammer.

I met you and Jason but had no idea how much I would learn from you both and how much I would come to love you. I’ve told you before that I marvel at our differences and at your inclusiveness. Your coaching to bring us to a higher plane was gentle and I always looked forward to working for you.

In a musical audition I watched you coach a young woman with her song. With graciousness you nurtured her to try again. I was touched by your actions. Little did I know that you would one day treat me in the same way under similar circumstances.

You were always encouraging, which is damn difficult.

I am an observer and I would occasionally see your face fall in frustration, hear the tenor of frustration in your voice, but you would push aside the pain and rise above. You, most valued teacher, are a treasure beyond measure.

I’m pulling for you. I’m wishing you well and I’m hoping you’ll rise from your hell.

Always yours,
Keith

P.S.- no acting for me since leaving Cedar Rapids but I just got on Raleigh Little Theatre’s pre-production play reading selection committee.
Hope you ascend to a place worthy of you.

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Dogs That Don’t Bite

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I’ve only been bitten by dogs that don’t bite.
Your pooch’s free wan’dring’s illegal, not right.
Your tale that he’s harmless does not reassure,
on both street and parkland leash-free makes you boor.

Just minding my business, strolling here to there,
your statement, “He’s well trained,” is flatulent air.
Seems, “Rules are for others,” is motto and creed;
at other’s infractions you’re first one to scream.

A leash of two meters is proscribed by law,
Yeah, it can be shorter, but you overdraw.
With your leash expanding you span our wide trail,
you cluelessly amble and others travail.

Your little fur baby you claim to adore
you expose to danger and then you exhort
your fellow trail users to do what you don’t;
assumed imposition great way get my goat.

And while I’m complaining I’d just like to add
that tiny yip-yapper’s yapping makes me mad.
If Fido’s on a leash you have every right
for him to join us but still he’s a blight.

Serenity’s ruined by yip-yapping cur
who ferociously barks and strains at collar.
While in public places should not have to ask
that you train your fur-rat to withhold bombast.

There’s beauty in nature, it’s great to explore
the backstreets and greenways can provide succor
to fellow travelers who long for a rest
but trekking round your pup is nerve racking test.

Resources are finite, need to get along
your ego-centrism is fuel for my song:
Self-control I muster, don’t retaliate,
but selfish trail users on my nerves sure grate.

I’ve only been bitten by dogs that don’t bite.
Your pooch’s free wan’dring’s illegal, not right.
Your tale that he’s harmless does not reassure,
on both street and parkland leash-free makes you boor.

Sexual Parasite

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He’s weak all ways and can’t perform; fear my desire’s now on the floor.
I look at him and do not see the kind of man want inside me.
His belly’s big, his member’s soft, needs Viagra to just get off.
I cannot smile, pretend to care, when I remove my underwear.

He has his needs, yeah; and so what? That’s nice tool shed, his big fat gut.
From flaccid start we do progress and when he’s done I’m barely wet.
The span of time has done him wrong, in old folk’s home’s where he belongs.
I’m young, he’s old, and truth be told his late-life mess just leaves me cold.

There is no joy or appetite as with my hand perform the rite,
the rite I swear every time is final one; no bump, no grind.
My hands revolt, my mouth says, “Whoa!” I got no hole where he can go.
The Joy of Sex is just a joke as his rooster I once more choke.

I wish him well, I truly do, but swear I’ll scream next time we screw.
“Enough’s enough! You’re parasite. I get you off, you drift good night.”
As with the drift of continents divided by incontinence.
To share a bed with such as he each night eight hours of misery.

To separate room I often go, I blame it on his snoring so,
but, truth be told, it’s so much more; I feel pity yet him deplore.
I know hindsight’s twenty-twenty but now regret mar’ing money.
My path’s unclear which way to go, one thing is plain, our sex-life blows.

A dalliance, a secret tryst, might restore me but it has risks.
I’d be content as his housemate, in separate rooms cohabitate.
Symbiosis is long since dead, may bite it off next time give head.
There is no more romantic love; man needs a lei? How bout foxglove?

Porsche

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Pulls up in his Porsche forty-minutes after close,
parking lot is empty but cool dude refused to go.
Meaning of store hours Porsche cannot comprehend;
middle-aged and wealthy with a lot of dough to spend.

Doesn’t take a genius to know that the store is closed;
ambles to our plate-glass with an ego grandiose.
Store hours emblazoned in a font that’s big and bold
Porsche’s self-absorption is a wonder to behold.

Labor in a corner, staying late to get work done,
all alone and tired I observe anointed one.
Have zero intention caving to fatuous fool,
my fuel tank is empty, and I cannot be cajoled.

Nose pressed against the glass, raises hands to shield his eyes
waiting to hear his knock and his actions don’t surprise.
He’s rapping on the glass, I keep my eyes on my work
not sure if he sees me, just know I’m tired and irked.

Life blood is customers and I love to treat them right
but I’ve reached my limit, won’t let Porsche in tonight.
I’ve been robbed at gunpoint and I don’t care how you’re dressed
solo, after hours? We’re closed. There’ll be no trespass.

Arrive at closing time and I’ll beam a heartfelt smile,
give you full attention, guide you through our maze of aisles.
Rules are pretty simple and far from Draconian;
Porsche’s rather crappy for pounding to be let in.

Plebeian the concept that any should bar the gate:
Store hours barrier to man of such wealth and taste?
Go in peace, Porsche man and please return to our store
during working hours and your presence I’ll adore.

 

Vanishing Point: One-hundred-two An Epilogue

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EPILOGUE

Caleb Ezra Morse pled not guilty and got out of prison on a technicality- technically he was dead. Caleb’s kidnapping, sexual, and aggravated assault charges fell under the federal hate crime umbrella and the federal prosecutor offered him a plea deal if he would provide evidence against the Elohim jihadist. Caleb had laughed at the prosecutor and later bragged to his fellow Elohim detainees that the prosecutor thought he could be bought with Judas’ silver.

Within a week of the offer, Caleb was found beaten to death in his cell, the hair and blood of one David Demetrius found in Caleb’s cell, along with Demetrius’ DNA on the murder weapon. What could have been damning evidence against a man who had openly fought with Caleb on the exercise lawn instead perplexed prison authorities. How could Demetrius’ DNA appear in Morse’s cell two days after Demetrius had been released from custody; a release that had been made possible via DNA evidence that eliminated David Demetrius as a suspect in his pending trial?

Caleb’s phone records and personal belongings led to one John Farmer who, faced with charges of conspiracy to kidnap, rape, torture and murder, had readily agreed to act as a confidential informant against the Elohim and his brother-in-law, Bishop Scudder. Elohim’s Army was on the run and authorities felt that Karla Karen Kisor was an unlikely target.

Caleb’s phone also held pictures of Evah Lovin, an African-American, transgender entertainer that Morse and Scudder had raped, killed and left in a shallow Mobile, Alabama grave. Caleb’s phone held a treasure trough of information that was used in establishing evidence against Scudder and his Elohim’s followers.

Upon Evah’s disappearance, a reward had been established by her many adoring fans for evidence leading to the discovery of MS Lovin’s whereabouts. Based on the evidence that Caleb Morse’s arrest had provided, the one-hundred-thousand-dollar reward went to Manny Taisto, Karla Kisor, Suzann Layher and Stacie Shannon. Stacie and Suzann attempted to give their $25,000 reward to Karla, but she refused, declaring, “Fair is fair.”

Karla and Suzann then established a 529, qualified tuition plan in Skylar’s name that each woman contributed $15,000 to. Manny Taisto, upon hearing of the generosity of his friend Suzann as well as that of her young co-worker, Stacie, contributed $5,000 to the account. “What? I don’t even know the woman. Plus, I could a been killed. Give me a fricking break, here.”

Because Karla’s residence was physically separate from Mrs. McNutt’s, the police and McNutt estate allowed her and Skylar to continue living in the tiny rented shack. The arrangement, though generous, proved untenable due to frequent, overwhelming nightmares that Skylar experienced. They were able to find affordable accommodations within walking or riding distance of Interlachen Elementary. Karla purchased a too small but much beloved Disney Princess bicycle for Skylar from Goodwill.

Sara Kohnen and Marti stopped referring to one another as “steps” and instead simply called each other Mom and daughter. Mark Kohnen, upon his wife’s insistence, reminded his wife of her demeanor when her less desirable traits surfaced. The favorable change in Marti and Sara’s relationship was marked, Mark’s and Marti’s not as much.

Fourth grade placed Sara and Skylar in separate classes but the two remained best friends. Marti frequently invited Karla and Skylar over for swims in the family pool.

Stacie Shannon’s fourth year of teaching was as heartfelt as her first three and she found her increase in confidence a blessing in dealing with fellow staff, parents and teachers. Jim Lance beat out Tyler Hinnenkamp for Stacie’s romantic attentions. The two are engaged but have not yet set a date.

Not To Worry

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A campaign, long and bloody, has warred inside of me
and from the devastation fear I’ll never be free.
I visit with my siblings inside the castle’s keep
and fear that they I worry by the tears that I weep.

My goal to appear placid and in no way express
myriad thoughts and feelings inside my mind and chest?
Refused to remain silent of crusade in my head
where battles long and epic too often cause me dread.

A hundred-thousand pictures of carnage fiercely fought
I fear disrupt assembly; dismiss them I cannot.
A furlough from fierce fighting was all that I desired
but though safe in castle’s keep eyes still behold the fire.

I cannot turn away from a war that’s internal;
vast demons that assail me draw strength from infernal.
When I evict my demons they just return with more;
in heated pitch of battle deafened by endless roars.

A helmet to disguise me, so my eyes bring no harm,
to citizens of castle who view me with alarm
is disguise I’m not given, and so the pain does show.
I take my leave of kinfolk knowing it’s time to go.

I do my best to fight them with both actions and words,
I know my ravaged visage looks haunted and injured.
With besieged shoulders drooping once more I raise my sword,
someday know they’ll defeat me for they’re an endless horde.

I shall not go quietly unto the endless night,
unto the end I’ll battle till I’ve no strength to fight.
Song, Onward Christian Soldiers, that leads as unto war?
Please pray that I find respite before I war once more.

Vanishing Point: One-hundred-one of 101

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PART ONE-HUNDRED-ONE

The noise from the living room poured into the bedroom. Skylar entered the room but, other than the blood-soaked bed, found no sign of her father or Marti. “Marti?” she asked. “It’s Skylar. Where are you?”

“Here,” Marti said quietly. “Other side of the bed.”

Skylar limped to the far side of the bed where Marti, crouched low, covered in blood, her sports bra pulled back up and stuffed with a pillowcase to staunch her bleeding, knife in hand, knelt beside Caleb.

“Is he,” Skylar began, paused and then continued, “Is he dead?”

“Not yet,” Marti replied, holding the knife to Caleb’s throat. “He’s got a pulse. I was just debating…”

“No, Marti! No! Sara needs you! If you kill him, you’ll go to prison. Prison’s where my daddy turned bad. Please don’t! Not for his sake, for Sara’s. And yours. Please?”

Marti dropped the knife. “You think Sara needs me?”

“I know she does. We all need to be loved.”

“God, I love that kid,” Marti said as the Pasco County deputies poured into the room, guns drawn and pointed to the heavens, “I really do. Thanks, Skylar.”

The cops rushed to Marti’s side of the bed, declaring, “Police! Police! Hands up!”

“Really?” Marti responded. “Really? Thanks for letting me know. My name’s Marti Kohnen and I’m the victim here, dip-shits. Me and my friend Skylar Kisor and that poor lady out there, Mrs. McNutt. Now, get us to the damn doctor. That ass-hole down there bit my damn nipple off.”

************

Mrs. McNutt didn’t survive; her resuscitation proved too large a miracle for paramedics with a defibrillator, but her death added Murder One to Caleb Ezra Morse’s criminal charges.

At Trinity Hospital, Marti pulled her gnawed off nipple from the right side of her bra, handed it to Doctor Bikerman and demanded, “First you bring me to my daughter then you get that reattached, got it?” Kay Bikerman knew just the man for the job, a reconstructive surgeon named Goldstein who specialized in post mastectomy breast reconstruction.

Manny Taisto was loosely handcuffed, hands in front, and transported to Officer Tierney Rosenstock’s Pasco County Sherriff’s District Three Office where he was questioned and released. During the interview he confided, “You know, I was NYPD for twenty-years, Pasco Deputy for five and I never shot nobody. I can’t tell how glad I am the piece of crap lived,” he left unsaid the, “for my sake,” that he was thinking.

Skylar, whose physical wounds were minor, was examined and released. “Mama, I don’t want to go back to our house,” she confided.

“Baby, I don’t know where else we can go,” Karla said mournfully.

Stacie looked at Suzann, shrugged and said, “Why don’t you stay at my place tonight. You can work this out in the morning.”

“Thank you, Stacie,” Karla replied. “You’re like an angel to me.”

“You’re the one with the wings,” Stacie said with a smile. “Suzann? You sobered up? I can take you to your car or you can sleep on my couch.”

“Plenty sober, thank you. I need my bed. Karla? I’m sorry we didn’t listen right away. We had no idea.”

“Oh, please. How could you? I’m just glad they locked Caleb up.”

“What about Elohim? What are you going to do?” Suzann asked.

“I own’t know. Talk to the police. But tomorrow. I’m exhausted.”

“Me, too,” Stacie declared. “Let’s go.”

The four females were heading for the door when officer Rosenstock’s voice stopped them. “Ladies? Ladies!” she called from a distance. Eliminating the gap between them she added, “I just wanted to say good work. I think it’s safe to say that you four plus Sara and Taisto saved the day here.”

“Hey!” Skylar said, “Don’t forget Marti.”

“As if,” Tierney replied shaking her head. “That woman want’s a deputy to meet her husband at the airport. Says if she can’t be there to tell him what happened then we need to. Talk about a piece of work.”

Itch

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She’s got no itch needs me to scratch I’m her puppet, certified fact.
I long for her, she needs me not; woebegone tale hormones have wrought.

Decimal scale I’m just a four, she sees me not as man top drawer.
She is the sun round which I pitch but in her light I am eclipsed.
No passion play, no longing for, no whispered words, “Just one time more.”
Pitiful man is what I am; declares desire? Fails polygraph.

She’s got no itch needs me to scratch I’m her puppet, certified fact.
I long for her, she needs me not; woebegone tale hormones have wrought.

Don’t know which way that I should turn, I’d walk away but for her yearn.
My sex appeal for her is naught but in her web I’m firmly caught.
Should I bulk up? Or get hair plugs? I long for her but she just shrugs.
A mortal man of modest means still has desires for girl of dreams.

She’s got no itch needs me to scratch I’m her puppet, certified fact.
I long for her, she needs me not; woebegone tale hormones have wrought.

I hate to beg, I’m loath to moan (unless the moan’s when we’re alone)
but still I’m caught rock and hard place desire for romance to taste
Seems I’m neutered, or is that spayed? In either case no chance of lei;
a ring fragrant around my neck says aloha but I’m just wreck.

She’s got no itch needs me to scratch I’m her puppet, certified fact.
I long for her, she needs me not; woebegone tale hormones have wrought.

A wreck that’s old in disrepair without her love I’m in despair.
I don’t know when, or why, or how I’ve become man so disavowed
Just know it’s true that I’m puppet she pulls my strings I get upset.
It’s maddening to need her so but as I age that’s how song goes.

She’s got no itch needs me to scratch I’m her puppet, certified fact.
I long for her, she needs me not; woebegone tale hormones have wrought.

Vanishing Point: One-hundred of 101

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PART ONE-HUNDRED

“Is Marti alright?” Skylar demanded as Manny rushed into the living room.

“Yeah, kid, yeah. I think so. A little, well, not perfect, but I think so. You’re Skylar, right?” Manny asked, sitting on the couch and checking Mrs. McNutt’s neck for a pulse. Finding none, he hissed, “Crap,” and searched for something to unbind the old woman’s arms. He grabbed a letter opener from the coffee table in front of the couch and then pushed the table aside.

“You okay, Skylar? My name’s Manny, your mom sent me. I think Mrs. McNutt had a heart attack. You okay?” he repeated, gently rolling the woman to the floor where he placed her face up.

“Yes? I think so. Did you shoot my dad?”

Manny closed his eyes, reopened them and, keeping his gaze on Mrs. McNutt and his chest compressions, replied, “Yeah, Skylar. I’m afraid I did. I’m sorry. Had to. He was really hurting Marti and… Well, I had to. Sorry.”

“I understand. I think I know why Mama told me he was dead. He kinda was. Inside I mean. Is he dead now?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Lot going on. Marti’s in there. McNutt here’s not doing good. You okay? Cops should be here any second. They’ll untie you. Sorry, hands are full here,” he paused in his compressions, checked for a pulse and exhaled into Mrs. McNutt’s mouth twice before again checking her pulse. “Crap,” he whispered again.

Skylar writhed on the chair and screamed. “Manny! Manny! I’m cramping. My leg’s cramping! I gotta, I gotta stand up!”

“Jesus,” he hissed, quietly adding, “you gonna give me anything more tonight?

“Hang on, kid,” he said, grabbing the letter opener and slicing through the tape that bound Skylar’s hands. “There,” he said, thrusting the opener into her hands, “cut your feet free! I gotta stay with McNutt,” he explained, frantically returning to his CPR.

Skylar, screaming in agony, sliced through the tape around her ankles and sprang to her feet. “Oh! Oh! Oh!” she repeated at full volume.

“Walk it off, kid. Use your hands to massage it,” he commanded, mind and body focused on Mrs. McNutt.

Skylar limped around the room, the cramp’s agony showing on her face. “Wait, Skylar!” Manny commanded as she headed to the bedroom, “Don’t go in there. Don’t go in there!” he repeated as she continued to the bedroom.

“I gotta check on my dad,” she said. “And Marti!”

“Crap!” Manny said again, just as three of Pasco’s finest erupted into the room, guns drawn, sights on him.

“Down! Down! Get down! On your belly! Hands behind your back!” they demanded.

“Wait! Wait!” Manny yelled back, “Wait! I’m a co- Damn it! I’m a good guy!” He yelled, slamming himself face down against the carpet and throwing his hands behind him.

Bobble-Headed Baby-Buddha

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          Had bobble-headed baby-Buddha on dashboard of my car, dashboard bobble-headed Buddha did a dirty-trick by far. I should not blame baby-Buddha, though he was cause proximate, for dashboard bobble-headed baby did cause me to neglect. Neglect to fill gas-tank, inaction that caused me to get stuck, which is a bit ironic as Buddha’s said to bring good luck.

          I was driving down the highway, gorgeous starlight streaming in, driving to my destination so soon know just where I’d been. Had departed from my homestead just as mantle clock struck three, ecstatic to be moving on with clear roads in front of me. Traveled general direction chasing after long set-sun, with Polaris on right shoulder knew it was westward I run

          I had as destination the city known as Mile High, with rescinded prohibition figured moniker’s just right. ‘Twas the second month of vernal, April was now two-thirds done, journey I was taking was an entrepreneurial one, I had come to be acquainted with a dude who cut folks’ grass he told me that his fescue would land all comers on their ass.

          I was unclear to his meaning, but as I’m a gardener, climbed inside my Ford Escape while bobble-headed Buddha whirred. I was no where’s epicenter when my gas gauge light did glow I could eke out forty-miles but still had fifty to go. Fifty-miles to a crossroad where I hoped to buy some gas, but fate soon had me walking so I thumbed ride at car that passed. It was a silver cargo van that responded to my thumb, he said, “It looks like you’re out of gas, what’s your destination?”

          “Well,” I answered back, grateful for the ride, “I am Denver bound, have 4:20 meeting with a man about some grass profound.”

          My benefactor chortled as we rode merrily along, he said, “You know you can’t transport that stuff; it’s against the law?” My brow was deeply furrowed because I did not comprehend why transporting grass across state lines should be prohibited. “Marijuana’s Schedule One, according to the FDA, they rank it up with heroin; don’t mess with the DEA.”

          I was flabbergasted that I had completely misconstrued connection’s use of the word “grass” for weed rather than fescue. I thanked Samaritan who dropped me at Nebraska Exxon, bought two dollar’s worth of gas and started marching toward the dawn.

          Sun appeared on horizon as I poured gallon in my tank, I restarted my engine and back to filling station shrank. I filled up my Focus, got back deposit for borrowed tank, I was feeling dejected until propitious truth sank. Seems bobble-headed baby-Buddha had been good luck indeed for in running out of gas I’d avoided illegal deed. On I-80 I retreated, eastward squinted in the sun, when I got back inside my home had a beer I chased with rum. I fear I do not comprehend and I’ll never understand why God fearing patriots ever allowed grass in our land.

          Bobble-headed baby-Buddha swings on dashboard of my car I’m proponent of law-and-order and all things astralar. Don’t come round here with your refer cuz we know that’s just madness and I can always drown my sorrows in alcohol excess.