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.

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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.

Two Nights: Part 31 of 50- a Tony Kneel Tale

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THIRTY-ONE

By eight o’clock the Hampton Inn’s dining area is full enough that I feel guilty for continuing to occupy a table. I quickly re-read my Joe and Misty tale, hit save, stand, walk to the coffee urns where I fill a new cup of coffee, top-off my own, place plastic tops on both, pick them up, place the new one back down, add one of those cardboard sleeve liners to it, bring the cups to the table where I retrieve my laptop and, holding the laptop as I would a tray, place the cups on top as I walk slowly to the elevator and ascend to the third floor using mechanical rather than muscle power. I listen at room 313, hear nothing, place the computer/coffee tray on the ground outside my room, use the key to open the door, enter, stoop to pick up the coffee and computer, lay the items next to the TV, pick up Jean’s hot cup, walk it to the nightstand next to her head and say, “Good morning, sleeping beauty. I brought you coffee,” as I place the elixir down. “I’m going to shower,” I add, kissing her cheek before placing a pillow over her face. There is no response from my beloved.

Shedding my clothes I brush my teeth far more thoroughly than I had either last night or four-and-a-half hours earlier, realize that I miss my newly acquired Waterpik, a device the good folks at Carry Dental had suggested I pick up at my last check up after some discussion about the infrequency of my flossing and grab a big fluffy from the rack above the toilet. I shake my head at the multifaceted meaning of a dental practice having the word carie in it and turn the shower on hard before stepping into the cascade of needles.

The shower is also a tub and uses a translucent curtain to keep water from splashing over the bathroom floor. I see a shadow figure pass by the curtain, hear the toilet flush and then water flowing from the sink tap as I rinse shampoo from my hair and soap from my body. Finished rinsing, I pull the curtain open to reveal my beloved standing at the sink dutifully brushing her pearly whites, clad only in her tiny “I Run Like A Girl” tee. I sigh as I stiffen and, knowing full well the displeasure my wet body pressing against my beloved’s backside will elicit, do a cursory job of drying my body before exiting the tub. Draping the towel on the rack and pressing my not quite dry but decidedly excited self against the tender flesh of my wife’s lovely tuchus she wiggles in a way I find delicious even as she pulls her toothbrush from her mouth and exclaims her displeasure. Looking into the mirror, she glares as her eyes open wide, her lips purse and she shakes her head. “You’re all wet! You know I hate it when you’re all wet,” she berates.

“That’s what you get for being irresistible,” I reply, kissing the back of her neck and cupping her right breast with my hand.

She again wriggles her bottom  left to right in displeasure thereby again inadvertently rewarding me with a push backwards that presses us even closer together. I pinch the right side of  her bottom, back away and, grabbing a small towel, dry myself thoroughly, my eyes on her loveliness the whole time. “Better?” I ask as she lays her toothbrush in our toiletry bag, slips out of her tee shirt, grabs the other large towel and turns the shower on.

“Yes. Better,” she replies, looking from me to the shower with raised eyebrows. “Well?” she asks.

“Well?” I respond, adding the age-old inanity, “Deep subject for a shallow mind?”

“Are you going to let me take a shower or not?”

“Of course. Should I join you?”

Jean pushes me out of the way with her left index finger, shakes her head and says, “No. You should shoo. Move. Go. Go wait for me, I’ll be in soon,” she declares, rolling her eyes skyward.

I manage to pinch her left cheek before she closes the shower curtain.

Oppressor’s Civility

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It was with great civility that the oppressor ruled, Dazzling Despot in fine palace was both cultured and schooled. He’d read the great philosophers from seven continents but found Antarctic treatises both cold and pedantic. An iron fist in velvet glove was view he had of self: He ruled with utmost certainty as knew he was top shelf.

On Saturdays he did invite his subjects to partake debate egalitarian- Illuminate opaque! It was with greatest courtesy discussions they were held our Prince to pauper did present discourse unparalleled. Grand Despot would wait patiently for subjects to declare their grievances and desires long as politely aired.

Our Despot listened carefully from atop his high thrown and throughout seven continents his debate skills were known. Our King with flaming phoenix quill would carefully take notes, he listened not to make amends but with his words garrote. For every single syllable of dissent that he heard he had a cutting argument that proved other absurd.

From apex of his pyramid he thought the world looked grand and gladly suffered these debates to keep his upper hand. It was with utmost certainty of Divine Right of Kings our Dazzling Despot did dispense justice through his rulings. With condescension did mete out to those who failed to see that Divine Despot surely ruled superiorly.

It was with show of courtesy our Great Prince did maintain his people quite subservient- egalitarian! Though King’s court met regularly on the week’s seventh day strange circumstances did dictate a schedule change one May. Penultimate day of the week, its date was the thirteenth, Dazzling Despot had no portent about shot from the breech.

A ruddy rowdy ruffian into King’s court did step and despite calls for courtesy continued with contempt. Our ruffian he did declare sans sophistication the perils of kowtowing to blight that ruled his nation. Our Dazzling Despot was incensed by untamed rhetoric and ordered the man burned at stake for being heretic.

When King removed his velvet glove off came all pretense too our blazing, burning martyred man was revolution’s fuel. The peasants all were revolting till King had had enough and it was then the King revealed was made of firmer stuff. The soldiers and the palace guard went on a killing spree which ended the lying pretense of flat society.

No happy ending to this tale what were you thinking, bub? That those in power are benign and hearts are filled with love? No matter great civility with which oppressors rule nor how dazzling our Despot is just cross him you’ll be  schooled. An iron fist in velvet glove in our most benign states. but if you look beneath facade most rule by fear and hate.

Words of Dividing Kind

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You may call me lunatic
but that label just won’t stick.
I see truth and I see light
know diff’rence tween wrong and right.
I don’t claim to know it all
still swear love can top Trump’s wall.
Little babies, mamas’ breasts?
Lord, that man’s immoral mess.

USA hotbed of hate,
moral compass broke of late.
Pitting skins of citizens?
Not a path to “Great Again.”
LGBTQ? Don’t care.
Should feel welcome but feel scared?
Good God what’s become of us
when we’re led by Apprentice?

One thing that is trued and tried
is power of hateful lies.
Blame the Muslims, blame the Spics:
Look in mirror then feel sick.
Sick to stomach from the red,
feel blue from the pale white death
that with bullets killed today:
Welcome to oligarchy.

Frightened children of three score
put our faith Babylon whore.
Every mothers’ child deserves
good will towards men, peace on Earth.
We’ve a lot of work to do
even those “disloyal Jews.”
Those “traitors” who voted “Mule”
“Chosen One’s” Holocaust fuel.

I can see Trump fiddlin’
like Roman Empire’s end.
How can we be led by man
who divides us best he can?
Everyone who walks the Earth
is sibling with holy worth,
but “Christians” not fed to lions
rather with their votes sup’lying.

Hold that man’s feet to the fire!
Build a nation that aspires
to have Equal Rights for all;
give hand up to those who fall.
Stop a minute, take a breath,
let’s apply a litmus test:
Are words of dividing kind
or do we spread light divine?

It’s not that the Mules are right
just that Trump is anti-Christ.
How is it that Trumpians
so eas’ly look past his sins?
I don’t claim to know it all
still swear love can stop our fall.
Little babies, mamas’ breasts.
Lord, help us pass moral test.

I see truth and I see light,
know diff’rence tween wrong and right.
Faith in Man makes lunatic?
Perhaps it’s not I who’s sick.
If you call me lunatic
know that’s label from the sick.
I have been called lunatic
but that label
just
won’t
stick.

Two Nights: Part 30 of 50- a Tony Kneel Tale

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THIRTY

Just after six the rotund and aged Jacksonville Jaguars jersey clad fan is joined at his Hampton Inn’s breakfast lounge table for deux by a similarly aged and shaped female companion whom he grunts at as she sits with her heaping plate of food. Having opened the gate to the feeding coral, couples and families begin drifting into the lounge, sipping coffee and juice, dining daintily or shoveling three-thousand calories of high fat food into their mouths while looking at phone screens, whispering quietly to table-mates or speaking loudly and aggressively to those dressed in the garb of their oppositely preferred gladiatorial combatants at nearby tables. Obviously dissatisfied with my minimal and dismissive reply to his earlier baiting attempt, Mr. Jaguar jersey derives apparent satisfaction by berating other breakfasters donned in the white and blue of the Indianapolis Colts.

I stand, unplug my laptop from the wall outlet and bring the too-small screened device with me as I replenish my coffee before slinking off to the low rent tables farther from the kitchen area and its plethora of victuals. I nod at a Colts clad, late-thirties couple and their twin sons, appreciative of the young boys’ Colts attire with its clever image that incorporates the corporate horseshoe logo with quarterback Luck’s name. Peaches emerges from the bowels of the Hampton’s breakfast area and clears and wipes the tables of  the hotel guests who believed it beneath their dignity to gather their trash and dispose of properly.

“You still good, Mr. Tony?” she asks as she directs a quick squeeze, squeeze from her bottle of cleanser onto the inn’s tables before using a rag to finish the job with a lick-and-a-promise wipe, wipe.

“Still good, Peaches. Thanks. De dónde es usted?” I add.

“Me? I am from Guatemala. Y usted?”

“Uh, currently living in Raleigh but that’s state number ten for me. I’m here visiting my son and his novia. He’s a big Colts fan so I drove down with mi esposa for the game. Guatemala City?”

“No. Almost! Villa Nueva.”

“Oh. They, they touch, right? They’re adjacent to one another?”

“Si! Do you know Guatemala?” she asks perplexedly.

“No, not at all really. Just have some friends from down that way. Been in the States long?”

“Yes. Nineteen-seventy-two. I came with my mother. We moved first to Virginia.”

“Really? Where about?”

“Fairfax? Do you know the area?”

“Vaguely. I lived on the other side of DC in Maryland. How long have you been down here?”

“Since 1999. I moved here when my husband died. I have a daughter here. I must get back to work. It was nice speaking with you, Mr. Tony.”

“Likewise, Señora Peaches,” I reply, bowing at the waist and continuing my typing of Joe and Misty Kleen’s Thanksgiving Day run.

Two Nights: Part 29 of 50- a Tony Kneel Tale

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TWENTY-NINE

Good to her word, Peaches, having added a blue Hampton Inn smock atop her white blouse, rolls three big urns of coffee on a squeaky cart to the lobby area and replaces the hours old, bitter and frigid, last night’s promise this morning’s disappointment, with fresh, reinvigorating aromatic café. “Mr. Tony?” she asks as she finishes replacing the old with the new, “Fresh coffee!”

“Madre de Dios! Muchas gracias!” I reply, walking to the coffee.

“Would you like something to eat? A yogurt or piece of fruit?”

“No, no. Thank you! Don’t bother. I don’t usually eat until nearly ten. I just sip café and type away.”

“Oh! You are a writer?”

“Ha!” I reply too loudly. “Matter of definition. If I write but no one reads I think that makes me a diarist far more than a writer. Yes, I write every day.”

“Very good! I’m sure you write beautifully.”

“Well, you’ve obviously never seen my handwriting,” I reply, the joke falling completely flat. “No, I’m fine. I’ll wait until later and eat breakfast with my wife. Thank you again for the fresh coffee,” I add, taking the hot, black elixir of life back to my table.

“De nada. You are welcome,” Peaches replies, the squeak, squeak, squeak of her cart’s wheels complementing the higher pitched squeak of her white nurse’s shoes as she returns to la cocina.

By 5:43 I have company. A rotund, balding white man in a white and teal Jacksonville jersey, his belly straining the nylon fabric, walks up to the breakfast room and tries to open the door. He exhales sharply, shakes his head and looks at his watch. “Really?!” he declares allowed, “Not open yet. Geeze.” He spies the television and, finding the remote control unmutes the TV, the sound of CNN wafts through the room momentarily until our Jaguar fan flips the channel to ESPN.

Ah, joy. My morning’s solitude is broken and I long to join Superman at his North Pole fortress.

Mr. Rotund notices me, nods and asks, “Going to the game?!”

I make eye contact, nod assent and then return to my typing hoping our ginormous Jaguar enthusiast.

“We’re gonna kill ‘em! Luck’ll be mincemeat,” he declares.

“Yeah, well, guess we gotta feed the gladiators something,” I reply, again returning to my lap-top. I hear him grunt as he sits in his seat and watches whatever inanities ESPN plays on Sunday game day pre six a.m.: The pre-pre-pre-game show perhaps? I return to story writing.

Up Scope!

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Was not some German U-Boat by which I was besieged,
not some Unterseeboot that violated me.
Herr Kapitan extended his deft periscope
and in my nether regions he did prod and poke.

T’was no Star Trek journey, as man has gone before,
butt must say preparation had me feeling sore.
Fasted twenty hours, only liquids consumed;
I soon felt the power of my bowels start to move.

First was just a rumbling beneath my navel dear
butt soon there was movement, though it was far from clear.
I’m no vestal virgin in Fountains of Dark Rain,
butt though this was my fourth trip still held in disdain.

Evacuation details I will spare you from,
butt one thing is certain I was not having fun.
Round about ninety-minutes ‘fore first round was through,
then combatants called, “Cease fire!” for one hour plus two.

Drained in too many ways, I collapsed in a heap,
at ten was awakened and ordeal did repeat.
There are fountains of sorrow, and fountains of light,
just know that my poor behind fountained through the night!

Next morning bright and early my darling drove me
over to the doctor for colonoscopy.
I was stripped and measured, both BP and heart rate,
Propofol injected, feared I’d have Michael’s fate.

There was no counting backwards before I was out.
Mumbled, “Stings a bit,” before consciousness did rout.
When I regained my senses, darling by my side,
nurse described yellow lights, I’m too old to be fine.

Thankful “procedures” extend quality of life,
growing old ain’t for weaklings as it comes with strife.
We can sit here crying or laughing carry on
know which path I’m gonna take, says so in this song!

T’was no Star Trek journey, as man has gone before,
butt must say preparation had me feeling sore.
Fasted twenty hours, only liquids consumed;
I soon felt the power of my bowels start to move.

Was not some German U-Boat by which I was besieged,
not some Unterseeboot that violated me.
Herr Kapitan extended his deft periscope
and in my nether regions he did prod and poke.

Two Nights: Part 28 of 50- a Tony Kneel Tale

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TWENTY-EIGHT

          I tip-tap on my lap-top as the hotel slowly awakens. The man at the front desk startles when he sees me at my table, coffee cup at hand as I slowly hunt and peck my way through, “Hit and Run,” my two fingered, two handed, laborious typing creating a bridge between my mind and the world, pleased that I’ve found a new avenue for my old friend and alter ego, the forever honorable Joe Kleen. (As if!)

          I lose myself writing my story about hit and run drivers and emergency responders until a woman steps up to the Hampton’s front sliding glass doors. The doors bark as they open slightly but insufficiently to allow the short, thin, elderly woman entry. Her eyes roll upward as she uses her hands to give the recalcitrant pane a manual assist and it labors even more noisily as it allows her entry.  “Hey, Ryan?” she says to the tall African-American behind the check-in desk, “That door isn’t working very well,” her English heavily accented with what sounds like a Guatemalan tint.

         “Yes, I know,” Ryan replies, his accent heavy enough for me to rescind the American from his Africanism. “I have a man coming to look at it.”

          “Oh. Okay. Thanks. Just wanted to make sure you knew.”

          “I know. No worries, he’s on his way.”

        The woman sees me, and her head pulls back perceptibly but not radically as she says, “Good morning, sir! How are you today?”

          I nod and smile in return. “Fine thank you. How are you?”

       “Running just a little late,” she replies, her shoes squeaking as she walks by me on her way to the Hampton’s kitchen. “Breakfast is not until six,” she declares, her eyebrow raise making her declaration a bit more interrogative.

          “Oh. Yeah. I know. No, my wife is asleep in our room and I didn’t want to wake her. I’m afraid I’ve reached the age where I can’t sleep in anymore. More’s the pity.”

          “Ah, yes. That is considerate of you. Are you drinking last night’s coffee?! Oh, no, no, no, no, no! I will brew some fresh straight away.”

      “Thank you! That’d be great. My name’s Tony,” I add nodding but not rising or extending my hand.

            “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Tony. My name is Peaches.”

            “Encantado,” I reply, standing and offering my hand.

        “Oh! Hablas Español?” Peaches asks, her hand shake pleasantly firm and her skin dry.

              I laugh. “No. Hablo Inglés solamente.”

            “Te traigo un café,” Peaches replies nodding once as she turns away from me.

        “Muchas gracias,” I say, sitting and noting the 5:07 time on my computer’s lower right corner. I figure I have maybe an hour before the breakfast nook begins to fill with people, many of them likely here to watch the Jaguars fight it out with the Colts, the thought sending a National Geographic image of a fast and furious big cat chasing, pouncing and devouring a knock-kneed colt to my brain. “Lovely,” I whisper to myself. “I hope that’s not what happens at today’s game, for Sean’s sake.”

Watch Over Me

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Through time and space I travel as corporeal beast
and each step negotiate thank Son rose in the east
Thank Son in the heavens who directs my every step
Sing glory hallelujah that journey’s demon swept

This Son shines on all below and blesses every day
is my way, my truth, my light that never leads astray
I’m blessed with such possessions that occupy my time
know He placed them in my hands as surely as they’re mine

My abode though humble in its thousand meters square
sits nestled ‘mongst His children who likewise have no cares
For He has truly blessed me with garden of delight
(If you’ve no cornucopia you’re not living right)

For great blessings He bestows on all who hold Him dear
Lack wonders bountiful? know your soul’s in arrears
For He truly blesses us, our Shepherd in the sky,
(Not quite moment of our birth at least once we’re baptized)

Woe unto a people that to Him refuse to bow
those who believe in Allah or sacredness of cows
With Son rise this morning He shines down upon the Earth
if you’re cupboards empty guess He finds you without worth

For the Son bestows blessings on those He truly loves
and if your life is lacking know you are at fault, bub
But good news of the Gospel is it’s nowhere too late
if you put your trust in Him you too can feast on cake!

Through time and space I travel as corporeal beast
and each step negotiate thank Son rose in the east
Thank Son in the heavens who directs my every step
Sing glory hallelujah that journey’s demon swept

Two Nights: Part 27 of 50- a Tony Kneel Tale

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TWENTY-SEVEN

I awake in darkness, flip to my left side and stretch out my arm, my right hand delicately touching my bride of three decades. Having anticipated the joys of her embrace since early yesterday, I managed to fall asleep before she finished her pre-sleep preparations and slipped between our hotel room sheets, leaving me to wonder if I would have experienced the bliss of her loving or once again been told that heartbreaking word, “Later.”

I squint at the room’s tiny alarm-clock, note the successive three, four, five of early morning and sigh deeply. Any amorous advances made toward my beloved at 3:45 in the morning will peak her heat, but it will be the heat of angry refusal and a well-deserved tongue lashing of a decidedly unsoothing and far from amorous sort. I cautiously and delicately run my hand from the bend in the back of her knee where it had landed northward and find her southern valleys covered in short pajama bottoms and her northern peaks in what I am certain is a short sleeved, “I Run Like A Girl” tee-shirt. Unsurprised, Jean is as unlikely to sleep naked as I am to wear clothes to bed, I sigh, bring the palm of my hand to my lips, kiss it, reach under her shorts and place my kiss on her round and luscious fundament.

“Well, Tom,” I say to myself as I roll away from the goddess and her altar upon which I’d hoped to show my adoration, “looks like your little quip about waiting being the hardest part is again proven correct. Thanks for being a heartbreaker,” I add, pleased with my double entendre.

Naked, I gently place a pillow over her head to shield her from stray sight or sound and tiptoe to the bathroom where I close the door before turning on the light. Relieving myself, washing my hands, and shaving, I again do a courtesy swipe of my teeth to freshen my breath before I slip out of the bathroom, light on, and pull the door behind me, leaving a narrow crack for light to pour through in our room.

I slip into the clothes I wore the day before, grab my laptop and the room key and, after tiptoeing back to my slumbering goddess, remove the previously placed pillow, and, pecking her cheek, turn off the bathroom light before gently closing the door on number 314. In the hall I ensure that the door is locked and turn right before heading to the stairwell where I also close the door cautiously, lest I disturb my fellow Hampton Inn-ians who likely feel that awakening at four-oh-four on a Sunday morning was a tad early.

I pass the empty check-in desk and set my laptop down on a table in the hotel’s breakfast nook area before walking to the triple urns of coffee that sit in two gallon thermos containers. I mute the television with the remote before grabbing a paper to-go cup, the heavy, taupe, porcelain ones being safely nestled behind the smorgasbord area’s locked doors, I pour a scant two ounces of coffee into my cup, smell, sip and scowl. Cold as the proverbially coven attendee’s mammaries and more bitter than many a divorced couple, I add sweetened “creamer” of the French Vanilla genre, fill the cup with the unpalatable witches brew and warm up my laptop as I sip, sip, sip the cold, cold joe. I’ve got promises to keep and it’ll be hours more while my mate sleeps.

Brothers Yards at Night

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It’s not the ones who scream their hate
it’s not the ones who sneer
It’s not the ones we know where stand
as they spit the word, “Queer!”
It’s not the ones who hold the sign
that declares, “God hates fags!”
It’s not the vitriolic ones,
those old heinous windbags
It’s not the Aryans so proud
who know that white makes right,
not even those who light a cross
in brothers’ yards at night

It’s not these living artifacts
of ignorance and hate
It’s not those irredeemable
who “other” denigrate
It’s those who parse and justify
the cancer in their hearts
who swear they love all equally
and amity impart
But though they wear a fine facade
bedecked in agape
it’s those who judge subconsciously
own hate they can’t allay

Those who declare benediction
for all who walk the Earth
while in heart-of-heart they’re knowing
proper order of birth
Those with sunny disposition
who know way, truth and light
who in deepest recess of souls
know just one kind of right
The white-bread sanctimonious
who introduce with glee
their dark-skinned, rainbow-loving friend
that proves diversity

The we who have had it easy
but still tend to complain
about the folks who just can’t see
how to play white-man’s game
“They just wouldn’t have these problems
if treat cops with respect
It’s with resisting boys in blue
put noose around own necks”
“You know my hairdresser’s homo
and I just love that man
They really need to get a grip
and unite our great land”

It’s not the ones who scream their hate
it’s not the ones who sneer
It’s not the ones we know where stand
as they spit the word queer
It’s those who parse and justify
the cancer in their hearts
who swear they love all equally
and amity impart
The white-bread sanctimonious
who introduce with glee
their dark-skinned, rainbow-loving friend
that proves diversity