STANDOFF, bit by bit

Standoff is a book of poetry and short stories. I will be placing posts here as I go. It is published and available at Amazon. You can also buy it directly from me by visiting one of my websites. Questions? I’ll be happy to answer them. Oh, if you buy it from me it is autographed by me to you personally. What a fantastic deal. No extra charge.


A book of poetry, short stories, and insanity.

By Gordon Kuhn

With one exception[1], this is a work of fiction. The characters and events described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or to living persons alive or dead.

No part of this publication can be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical method without the prior written permission of the publisher except for brief quotations embodied in critical reviews.

Copyright 2018 Gordon Kuhn, All Rights Reserved

ISBN-13: 978-1724853844

ISBN-10: 1724853848

Published in the United States by Poet in the Rain


Cover: Photographer Mr. Derek Stillwagon: A Mother and Her Son by permission Allison Hart

Dedication Photo of Chuck Van Durme by Unknown Soldier

Illustration on Page 2 of Mother and Child from Istock Photo

Helicopter in Flight on Page 51: Charles Van Durme

Charles Van Durme in D.C. Page 56: Ms. Brandy Van Durme


Predator Book One “Do You Know How to Fly?”

The Pelman Murders

The Widow’s Cliff and Other Poems

Rabbit in a Box


Dedicated to a personal friend who passed away June 15, 2015. In this book is his story of a night when his helicopter was shot down.

Charles “Chuck” Van Durme

Oct 20, 1950 to June 15, 2015

Two tours in Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal with a V, 16 Air Medals, and a Purple Heart.

Too soon the story of his life was taken from us. But we are left with memories of a man that we called a friend.

His story can be found on page 48.



A War Had Broken Out. 1

Imaginary Horses. 3

There Were Clouds, Weren’t There?. 4

Once a Boy. 4

The Old Undead of Poets. 5

Only the Rabbit Knows. 5

Bare. 7

She had Fame. 8

Nightfall, the Lovers’ Dance. 9

Yesterday’s Child. 10

Crushed Cigarettes Left on the Floor. 10

It’s Four O’clock in the Morning. 13

Walking with a Dead Butterfly. 14

Clay Pots. 15

By the Side of the Road. 16

Questions. 17

Yesterday. 17

Williston. 18

The Wino and Me. 19

The Tree Across the Street. 20

The Tortoise and I 22

I Wish. 23

The Never Meeting of Lovers. 24

A Long Time Ago in the Great Faraway. 25

The Locket. 27

Leave Me Alone. 30

The Spiral Stumbles. 31

The Passion. 32

Lost. 33

Time in the Mornin’ 34

Paper Kites Flying in the Rain. 34

He Let Her Go. 36

Waitresses. 37

Sometimes. 39

Undead Memories. 41

Hidden Moments. 42

Just another Day with You. 43

It’s Five in the Morning. 44

My Daddy’s  Old Ford Truck. 45

Six Years Old. 46


Shot Down in Laos: A true story of death and survival. 48

The Intersection. 57

The Confession. 68

Awake. 73


A War Had Broken Out

“Allison’s Poem”

A war had broken out between them

More a skirmish than a war, I suppose

Between a mother and her precious precocious son

Not with weapons, not with bombs, not with guns

But with thought                        

It was a standoff of sorts

Eye to eye, silence ruled

And the boy who thought he would surely win

Soon realized the ice beneath was very thin

He on his side of the table,

Sitting tall in his seat

Fingers resting on the round top

French fries on a plate before him

Or were they tater tots?

A drink beside, he was good to go

But his eyes showed surprise therein

For he had someway crossed his mother just then

Who sat across from him, hands resting on her chin

as she quietly considered the facts

—and him

Her precious precocious son

She was serious, the eyes told all

The son wondered if this war would be fun

And believed he would surely be the one who won

But it all fell into place with just a silent look

The kind that freezes a lad from his toes to the sun

She was right, but he was all in for fun

At least he thought so!

Mom would surely understand, he mistakenly believed

But she was serious minded and not in the mood for games

He foolishly felt he had the right to make a run

To see just how far he could push it

Like we all in life have done at least once

With our mothers there across the table from us

A dangerous place if she could just out and reach

And pop you on the chin

But not all moms are like that today

Sometimes it is just in a certain way

That gets the point across that it is not play

While oddly thinking such was so

And then came the look you see

The look mother’s give their sons, at times

And the room sudden turns quiet and a chill is in the air

It’s that teetering point we all have faced

The edge of the cliff, if we wisely sensed

When a certain line is crossed and the fun is sudden done

For a mother’s precious and precocious son.                                       

Imaginary Horses

I hear the pawing of their hooves

Their breathing in and out of the cold night air

As they stand close beside me in the dark

But are in hiding to my sight.

Even though I wish with all my might

That I could somehow in the dark each one see,

My imaginary horses that come at night;

And I wish I could touch their manes

And that they would remain into the coming light.

But they are there in the night when I need them to be;

And even though I cannot see them I know they are there,

Standing close beside me in the dark,

In the cold and deadly dark,

Gently pawing with their hooves,

Gently breathing in and out the surrounding night air

Their breath floats over and warms me 

My imaginary horses that come and are real to me

With their breath moving in and out in the cold night air

And the soft pawing of their hooves tells me they are there

Standing near in the dark, standing near in the cold night air

My imaginary horses that I cannot see

But I know they are there

My imaginary horses



in the cold and deadly dark.

There Were Clouds, Weren’t There?

There were clouds, I think, as a child

Weren’t there?

I recall skies and rain.

I recall thunder and lightning

I remember the smell of coming storms.

And the thud of big drops striking the ground all around

As I ran as a child seeking shelter

But I don’t recall clouds, do you? 

Once a Boy

There once was a boy who lived on a boat

The boy was small and the boat was not

Upon a sea of strange waters sailed the two

The boy and the boat until one day the boy forgot

That the boat would float and he would not

Not the end, more to come. Enjoy the music.

The Gospel Hour

The Gospel of Micah, AKA the Gospel of Enoch. Micah was a goat herder on a planet known to us as Heaven. He was a simple man but became prominent in the politics of religion when he challenged the idea that the earth was flat. “It’s not,” he spoke up in a class he was taking on Goat Herding that was required of all goat herders. “It is curved, like a woman’s breast, but not soft, hard as concrete.” 6.23.19 Copyright Gordon Kuhn, Poet in the Rain.

With apologies to the Mormons: And it came to pass that Micah was summoned forth to meet the highest council having been through the lower courts to argue that the earth was round. “You still claim the earth is round?” An aged sage sat forward and waved his cane in the goat herders face. But Micah held his ground despite the waving rod thrust up against his nose.”Excuse me, sir, but yes, it is round.” The council sat back and were grave all around. “But don’t you understand that we’ve been teaching humans for centuries that the place is flat? Then you come along and wish it to be known that this place, this Earth is round? I say to my brothers on the council, are we not in motion to send the herder down to the planet in banishment?” Whereupon God’s younger brother Phil entered the central room and to all did astound. “I am here to speak on the goat herder’s behalf.” A murmur did raise among those in the hall and one said, “I thought he had been banished or…..or locked up somewhere.” But Phil stood forth with an askew grin, “No, I have escaped and come to stand before you this day. For surely this herder, this gentleman who tends our sheep and smells like them needs defense from such plotting here.”

Constant Comment Newsletter


I have started a newsletter through Constant Contact. If you wish to receive postings like are on  here then I suggest that you write me and give me your email address for inclusion into my newsletter posts. My email is GKUHNWRITES@AOL.COM and I look forward to communicating with you.


Sincerely, Gordon Kuhn



It was early in the morning
Before the sun had chosen to rise
While in the West there was reported the coming of a storm
For the clouds were stacked up to the top of the sullen sky
Thunderheads stood out in darkness forming
Telling a sleepy paperboy to carry a slicker in his backpack
Flashes of electricity free-formed in their announcement
While the church bells proclaimed early communion
As the priests in robes of silk left their hidden dorm
Down the street above where the butchers cut up fresh meat
And one of their number walked briskly along
A hidden pair of still warm panties gathered and out of sight
Tucked in the folds of his blessed priestly cloth
An overnight present from a grateful parish member
Given freely for blessings and release from her sins
But it was the early rising newspaper vendors that set off the alarm
That Elvis was dead!
And so the lines to meet him would be shorter later that day
But curiosity was peaked about the bathroom floor
And so, the restaurant cast a statute of the man to be blistered by the sun
As it sat upon a bench with an open arm to fit around a fan
It was covered with bird shit during the day
And then stood waiting for the coolness that would come with the rising moon
While wishing for rain to wash the bird slime into the gutter towards the sea
And in the dark of the secret time
The statues in the park would be set free to dance around in glee
While others found a need to kneel and pray.

10/17/18 Copyright 2018 Gordon Kuhn Poet in the Rain All Rights Reserved

Priestly Arrives —- Ragdoll Chronicles. 1.25.18

Ragdoll Chronicles 01.25.18
“Throw him down the chute!” The five merged on Chase who was trying to get out what appeared to be the front door but it was in fact a door to nowhere. The storm he had ventured through and from which he had sought refuge by entering the restaurant was not visible through the glass——actually, nothing was. The door was locked and on the other side of the glass it was just like a giant fog had settled in blocking everything out from view.
Just as they were about to grab Chase, a mist formed in the room and when they all turned to see what was the cause they found a massive crow that stood as tall and as broad as any of them present.
“What the hell?” the raccoon shouted. “Where did that come from?”
The crow looked around himself. “Where is the pond? Where is the glen?” He stepped towards the others who were backing up to avoid contact with the bird’s sharp beak.
“Who are you?” the mouse asked while trying to hide behind the orangutan.
“Priestly,” the crow replied stiffening up quite regally. “And who might you be?”
“This has to be Runa’s doing,” the brown bear said looking around the room nervously. “We need to get clear of this or we will be sucked into this mess as well.”
“I say we toss both of them down the chute,” suggested the mouse trying his best to not be seen by the crow. “We need to get shut of this before the inspectors arrive.”
“Inspectors?” the crow asked surveying the room while stepping closer to the five who were doing their best to find an avenue of escape, but the crow, as large as it was, blocked them and held them there with the boy shoved up against the wall behind them.
“Let me go,” the boy shouted, but his voice was muffled as he was slightly compressed behind the brown bear who was pushing the mouse forward almost as an offering. The mouse, of course, was squealing with complaint and trying to get back behind everyone including Chase.
It was then that Priestly discovered a part of the ribbons that had been Nouveau were wrapped around his left leg—and, he heard a muffled voice. As a matter of fact, they all heard it but couldn’t make out what was being said and so they all dismissed it until the mouse took note that wherever Priestly walked the ribbon that was wrapped around his leg extended back to the point on the floor where he had appeared and it then disappeared into a slowly forming pool of water there on the floor.

The Restaurant: Ragdoll Chronicles 1.15.18

Ragdoll Chronicles 01.15.18
“Throw him down the chute!” The five merged on Chase who was trying to get out what appeared to be the front door but was in fact a door to nowhere. The storm he had come through was not visible through the glass, nothing was. Just as they were about to grab him a mist formed in the room and when they all turned to see what was the cause they found a crow that stood as tall and as broad as any of them present.
“What the hell?” the raccoon shouted. “Where did that come from?”
The crow looked around himself. “Where is the pond? Where is the glen?” He stepped towards the others who were backing up to avoid contact with the bird’s sharp beak.
“Who are you?” the mouse asked while trying to hide behind the orangutan.
“Priestly,” the crow replied stiffening up quite regally. “Andy who might you be?”
“This has to be Runa’s doing,” the brown bear said. “We need to get clear of this or we will be sucked into this mess as well.”
“I say we toss both of them down the chute,” suggested the mouse trying his best to not be seen by the crow. “We need to get shut of this before the inspectors arrive.”
“Inspectors?” the crow asked while stepping closer to the five who were doing their best to find an avenue of escape, but the crow, as large as it was, blocked them and held them there with the boy shoved up against the wall behind them.

RUNAWAY: Ragdoll Chronicles 01.03.1918

Ragdoll Chronicles 1.13.18 @ 0515 © Gordon Kuhn All rights reserved.
“Get away from the pond,” both Starter and Cawkin shouted while waving their wings and hopping up and down. But it was too late. One stepped up and placed a foot in the water, quite accidentally actually, but accidentally sometimes doesn’t matter and in this case it did not.
“What?” the crow called back.
“Get away from the pond,” the pair again shouted. But it was too late. They could do nothing but watch as the other crow at the pond melted away in the mist rising from the waters at its feet.
“She has him,” Cawkin said.
“Can’t we do something?” Started began to flap his wings and move forward anticipating a run to the where the disappearance had taken place.
“No. We have no idea where she might have taken him and besides, that’s just her way of teasing to come closer.
“But what about Nouveau? They found rags over there.”
“It’s a trap. She is showing us the rags to get us over there. She has him too.”
“But where?”
“God knows. I don’t.”
“Can we go after him?”
Cawkin looked at Starter for a very long moment of silence. “We can but….”
Robert made a dash to his car through the stinging rain. However, he had to stop short of the vehicle because as he approached it he discovered it actually was floating several feet in the air and at each attempt to grab hold of a door handle the car just moved higher. Finally, he set off on foot in the direction of the small local lake where he and Chase were planning on going fishing later that day.
Chase had a good lead on his father as he had already walked several blocks pursued by a strong wind that pushed him forward. Every time he stopped and thought about turning back he was slammed with gusts that knocked him down. Behind him was a wall of rain that was coming ever closer. Then, ahead, he saw the lights of a small restaurant and he ran for it hoping to get inside and out of the weather.
As he stepped into the lighted diner he was suddenly aware that he had never been there before and, actually, he had never known of this place but the smell of cooking hamburgers lured him further in. At first, it appeared to be like any other small restaurant. There were several booths and a small counter with five stools. But Chase sensed that something was odd about the place and then he saw that the people seated at the counter weren’t what you would expect. Four looked like very large animals with one human seated there and all were eating breakfast.
The opening of the door and the rush of wind and rain that accompanied Chase had drew the attention of the five and they all turned to look at him.
“Ah, look what we have here,” the man said pointing at Chase. “A human child.”
“A child? A boy child?” a very large brown bear seated at the end of the counter spun on his stool and asked staring in disbelief.
“No. Really?” a small creature resembling a white mouse seated next to the man spoke in a very low voice and looked to others for an answer. “It cannot be here. We must make it leave.”
Next to the mouse was a raccoon appearing creature and to his right sat an orangutan with bright red and long fur. The two grunted agreement. The racc00n picked up a piece of toast from its plate and, holding it between his hands, offered it to Chase, “Come boy, are you hungry? If so, eat and then, by the blessed ground hog, please leave.”
“No sir,” Chase replied softly. “I’m not hungry. I — I came in from the rain.”
“Well then,” joined in the large brown bear seated at the end of the counter, “why are you here. This is a restaurant. And, rain? You say, you came in from the rain? I don’t see any rain.”
“Uh huh,” Chase said glancing around, “it’s the strangest restaurant I have ever been in. And look at me, I’m dripping wet.”
“From what?” asked the brown bear. “Did you stand in your shower with your clothes on and then come here?”
“What’s that?” asked the mouse. “I couldn’t hear what he said.” He shook his head.
The orangutan snickered.
“Did you pour water over yourself?”
“No, it’s raining outside.”
“Outside, where outside? I see no outside.” The brown bear questioned.
“What?” asked the mouse. “Oh damn, I can’t hear either one. He turned to the raccoon as if to ask for help.
“Turn you hearing aids on you dope,” said the raccoon and slapped the mouse on the back of the head.
“I have them on,” the mouse protested rubbing the back of his head.
“Well, turn the volume up.”
“It is up.”
“Here,” the raccoon said, “let me see them.” He jerked one out of the mouse’s ear.
“Ouch,” complained the mouse. “Don’t just jerk them out. They are costly and if the queen even knew I had them I would pay dearly, perhaps even with my life.”
“Oh, for Thor’s sake, do you have to bring up the queen?” The orangutan knocked over his cup of coffee spilling the hot liquid all over the counter and his newspaper.
The brown bear raised its hand, “What’s that?”
“What?” said the mouse.
“I hear bells ringing.”
“I hear nothing,” said the mouse.
“Of course you don’t you idiot, you didn’t have any batteries in the hearing aids,” the raccoon told angrily.
“They are growing louder,” the brown bear stood up and looked around for the source.
“It’s getting closer,” the man said. “It must be the queen or her guard.
“GET RID OF THE BOY!” They all said at once.
“How,” the orangutan asked.
“Throw him down the chute!” the man said grabbing at Chase.
“YES,” the others all agreed. “Throw him down the chute!”

Chase Seeks Refuge from the Rain. 01.10.2018 @ 0312

Denise staggered to the front door in a daze. She turned the knob and the wind flung the door free of her grip.
“Jesus!” Robert stepped inside, his face contorted with anger and concern. “Where is the boy?” He grabbed his former wife by her shoulders. “How could you let this happen?”

“I had no way to stop it,” Denise went limp in his grip. “She came and went so fast I didn’t have time to react to her. I never expected her to—“

“That’s the problem; you never expected anything, not from me, not from her, from Chase, from anybody and know we are forced into a corner.”

“What are we going to do?”

“What I should have done years ago. Find her, get Chase back, and then kill her.”

“What are you nuts?” Denise turned on him with anger, spit flying. “You can’t kill her.” She pushed him away. “She has been alive for centuries and you think you, Mr. Robert Langdon, the famous do-nothing drunk from Havinerty Township can kill her?”

“Shut up.”

“I’ll not shut up. Just what the fuck are you thinking?” Denise wrapped her arms about herself and closed the front door. “You think you can just walk up and kill her?” She threw her arms up in the air. “How the fuck do you know she’s not here now and listening to you? You don’t, do you, dumb ass?”

“Well—” he started unsure of what to say and then added angrily, “Well, I don’t know what else to do. We have to get Chase back and the only way we can do that is to kill her.”

Denise walked into her kitchen and sat down at the table burying her face in her hands. “You can’t kill her,” her voice was muffled. She sat back and looking at Robert shook her head. “Do you hear me? Even if you could, and you and I both know you can’t do it. You can’t kill her.”


“He’ll never forgive you.”

“He doesn’t need to know.”

Denise stood and went to the stove where a coffee pot sat warming on the flames. “You know he’ll know it and you will cause such a stir in her world that they will come and take him and God knows what they will do to us. Even if you could somehow kill her and I don’t think it’s possible.” She poured herself a cup and stared at the stove while stirring in creamer, her hands trembling.

“There has to be away.”

“He’s her son,” Denise said softly with tears running down her face. “There is nothing we can do.” A hand swept the trail of water from her cheeks. She sighed and lifted the cup to her lips. Robert stood behind her. There was nothing he could think of to say, but he knew, he knew it was true.

Finally he put his hands on Denise’s shoulders from behind. “Maybe,” he began, “maybe she doesn’t have him. Maybe he ran out and….and had gone someplace to hide. It’s a shot.”

“Uh huh,” Denise said and lowered her head. “She’s got him.”

“Not necessarily. Look, give me time, an hour, before you start any incantations, and let me go look.”

A tremendous flash of light lit up the whole house inside followed by a roll of thunder that shook everything.

“She knows,” Denise said. “She knows but maybe you are right, maybe she doesn’t have him.” She turned and faced Robert. “Go, now, I’ll wait.”

But Robert was already at the door. “That lightning bolt told me she doesn’t have him. I think I know where he’s at.” With that he was out the door and into the rain which suddenly had grown more violent.

The Pond: Ragdoll Chronicles Cont. 1.9.2018 at 0315

“Nouveau!” the entire Murder of Crows called out. Some took to the air to scan the surrounding area as the Clowder of Cats spread out also searching.

Cawkin stood still as all about him searchers called out to the Rag Man. “The Gypsy Girl,” he turned to Starter. “Did anyone get her name?”

“Yes,” Starter replied. “And you aren’t going to like it I’m afraid.”

Cawkin stepped up to stand in front of Starter. “Is it,” he hesitated, “Runa?”

Starter moved in closer to Cawkin to conceal his voice, “Yes. I recognized her from the air, but—”

“Shit,” Cawkin kicked at the earth with his right foot. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Well—uh—I didn’t think it mattered just then.”

“Mattered? Runa didn’t matter?”

“I found some rags,” a voice called out.

Cawkin stared into Starter’s eyes. “Please tell me that they are not going to where the pond used to be.”

Before Starter could answer a startled collection of voices called out to one another, “Where’d this pond come from?”

“I don’t recall this pond being here before,” someone said from on wing above.

“Nor the river. Look at how blue and clear the pond is.”

Cawkin turned as did Starter and both shouted, “Stay away from the pond.” But it was too late, several had moved to within a few yards of the sparkling yellow sand that surrounded it.

“The ground here is very warm and I hear bells,” the closest crow called to its wing-mates.

“There are rags in the water,” another crow called out.

“And over here on the bank,” another responded.

Aleen; The Ragdoll Chronicles 01.08.2018

01.08.18 Ragdoll Chronicles Cont.

He sat up high on the hill above the city of Ilandia His six foot wingspan had been closed and wrapped securely around him more for warmth than stealth and concealment. He sat alone, disliking being near the others who were mostly newlings out for their first hunt and kill mission. They were all several hundred feet below him babbling about how lucky they had been too fly with such a master.

“Master,” he snarled to himself after overhearing one of their comments. “What do they know of Masters. They are too young to know the virtues of such as Anloch the Strong who took out a thousand Betweens on a day many called ‘Judgement Day.'” He snorted and tightened the grip of his wings upon his body.
“Still strong,” he looked down at himself, at the muscle structure of his arms. “After all these years, still strong,” he sniffed in pleasure and recalled his first mission.

“They are missionaries, not unlike us, but of different beliefs and that is the danger,” Anloch had said in a snarl, his gargoyle like face close to Aleen’s. “Kill them swiftly, little one. Surprise those of your kind larger than you. Surprise them at your strength and keep in mind,” his voice dropped low and his lips touched Aleen’s ear, “there will come a day when you will have to those you serve as well. And, yes,” the others voice was close in his ear and he could feel the hot breath on his neck, “there will come a time when you may even have to kill me.”

Aleen stiffened at the thought and then remembered watching Anloch struggle as surprise swept over the other’s face and he grabbed for the open wound on his throat trying to stop the spray of blood as it rushed up and out from the fatal slash Aleen had provided him. Aleen had stepped back from his master as the teacher died before him struggling to grab Aleen just as he turned and with a jump was airborne and slipping into the night sky. “Traitor,” Anloch shouted, his voice bubbling from the rush of blood ,and then Aleen’s teacher, guide, his best friend, died from the mortal wound Aleen had delivered.