KIRKUS REVIEW OF DO YOU KNOW HOW TO FLY?


KIRKUS REVIEW

Kuhn’s debut true-crime story shows how a violent man’s life led him to death row.

The author uses interviews and other sources to piece together the life of Delmer Smith, a seasoned career criminal awaiting execution in Florida. Smith was born in Detroit in 1971, on the cusp of the city’s economic decline. By age 14, he was convicted of raping a woman at a carwash where he worked. The 18 months that he spent in a juvenile reformatory dashed any possibility of rehabilitation; instead, he learned “how to be more proficient as a criminal” as he became “a creature without a conscience.” As a young adult, Kuhn writes, Smith carried out burglaries, carjackings, and bank robberies, which eventually led to a 15-year incarceration. After his second prison stint, he moved to Florida; there, Kuhn writes, Smith assaulted and beat multiple women—all the while leading a double life as a “wise and loving uncle” to his two nieces. Eventually, the violence led to a murder conviction. The author interviewed many of Smith’s victims and found that the women were now “desperately seeking someone or something to fully trust again.” Thanks to these firsthand accounts, readers receive a nuanced portrait of a predatory man. Kuhn’s decision to jump between accounts of Smith’s early life and present-day interviews is an effective one; by regularly pulling readers back to the present, he reminds them of the painful, enduring impact of his subject’s actions. Moreover, Kuhn shows a great deal of sensitivity when recounting the crimes, evoking deep pathos instead of graphic sensationalism. That said, the book does include some unnecessary background information, including three pages on Smith’s birth alone; it also bafflingly overuses section breaks, which disrupt the otherwise strong narrative flow.

A thoughtful, engaging account of a brutal life and the carnage that it left behind.

BOOK — TWISTED, Page Two 12.19.2015


Surrounding the valley were mountains named Desperation. They were so named for the disease that drove some of the colony members to attempt escape from the valley. These runners, as they came to be known, would leave quietly but hurriedly, turning away from family and friends and rush into the rain that pelted the mountains continuously. The mountains were all too well-known for their power to strip runners’ souls from their bodies. Men and women would struggle up the fog covered rocky slopes cutting their hands on sharp stones. Their bodies were attacked by ever twisting winds that ripped at the runners’ clothing tearing it away in some cases.

Even as these men and women desperately climbed up foot by painfully gained foot to escape the darkness that lay behind them, it seemed as if they had made no advance. For those who were able to speak later, after being found by rescue parties that were reluctant to leave the colony’s closely kept border to look for the runners, it seemed to them that no matter how high they thought they had climbed, when they paused and looked behind them, they found they were just steps from the base of their tormentor. It appeared to them that they had climbed no further than a few feet even after hours of struggle and, after a while, they would drop, drawing their bodies into a ball, and weep. Some tried to retrace and reach the base only to find that each step down took no distance away. In fact the more they attempted to go down the more distant from the base they found themselves.

GUILT – who needs it?


It is amazing to me that I can dredge up so much crap to feel guilty about! I can do it whenever and wherever I happen to be. I have absolutely NO problem with beating the hell out of myself over anything that I believe is wrong in my past including failure to open a door for someone or note helping someone with their groceries…. these are really minor but the major ones well….. I mean, let me tell you, I bet that we ALL have guilt (except those who are sociopaths) in some fashion for things done or left undone or not eve considered at the time. Stupid things. Why do we do stupid things. Why do I do stupid things. I don’t know.  Why am I writing this blog? Will I feel stupid and guilty after I publish it? Yep. I can feel guilty about just about everything including sneezing in public.

So, why? I guess that is the question. Why? And is that part of the depression that kills people that they cannot cope with the guilt that they feel and that most people would say is a bunch of bull shit or to not worry about. I don’t know. I really don’t know. I’ve dealt with depression a lot in my life. I have dealt with wondering if I was swapped at birth because my family is definitely different in so many ways from me that I really wonder how I came to be a part of it.

But, I suppose guilt can be beneficial particularly when it comes to not repeating some stupid thing that you might feel guilty about. If you learn from having been stupid then I guess that is a good thing and that guilt will keep you from redoing some stupid thing, hopefully. But long term guilt can be damaging.

I have a friend who admitted to me and several other guys that he failed to have sex with a high school love interest and that when he looked back at the night they spent together when they could have had sex that he feels stupid. I wonder how many others have shared that feeling. I know I have. So, is that a bad thing? Hell if I know, but I do know it helped him to tell us about it and I think it helped the rest of us deal with like guilt and if we didn’t connect properly to the “guilt release” then we’ll just all wake up feeling guilty about that.

KGBETHLEHEM


A blogger with a desire to help others! While he and I may disagree on some issues politically, I have to give him space here out of respect for all the work he has done in his life. You have to read about him. He tells his story well and, I feel, there is much more to come. He is a blogger, a poet, and, most importantly, a family man who loves his kids. His poetry is from his heart and from his experiences in life. Go and visit him at:

 

http://kgbethlehem.com/

or

About…

MORGAN FEESE


There are a lot of issues in this world that need to be addressed and in many cases they are covered up. This site, MORGANFEESE is one written by a survivor. I suggest you take the time to visit, to read, comment, and follow.

You can visit her site at: http://morganfeese23.wordpress.com/about/

Such crimes go unnoticed because in many cases the family circles the wagons and protects the abuser. It happens all too frequently. It is because the family is 1) embarrassed and 2) refuses to accept something that they all know is going on.

Just as a side comment, are you aware that sexual slavery is a major crime in the United States where people are bought and sold as sex slaves? Florida has a traffic route through it. Sarasota, FL. is on that route and in Bradenton, FL two safe houses have been set up. How tragic that in today’s world we have slavery going on with people being bought and sold and little is being said or done about it. How tragic.

SPIRITBATH


Spiritbath is an interesting site. It has over 2,000 followers. “We’re a group of people who believe strongly that our world is awakening to a new spiritual course. It may not always feel that way given all the pain and suffering in the news, but we see it.”

Maybe something you should check out at: http://spiritbath.com/about/

The Circled Cat


The Circled Cat
Copyright 2013 Gordon Kuhn

Dark shadows moved close
To a circled cat
Un-belled beneath a starless sky
Who sought a certain foul smelling rat
And sprang with such intensity
Fluid like landed
Upon the startled fact
That lay hidden in life’s canyons deep
Too steep for most
Frightful for those who saw
But not so for the circled cat. 11/1/2013

DRIFTING


DRIFTING
Copyright 2013 Gordon Kuhn
All rights reserved, Poet in the Rain.

I find myself adrift, alone, with feelings
Feelings that simply will not leave me alone
And so I drift in an odd cloud of recall and
Wonder what my father would have thought
Or my mother, for that matter, who struggled
With a family that left her alone in her feelings
While they blamed her for their ills and
Misunderstandings and
Misconceptions and
Then there was me
To cloud and confuse the landscape
Standing by the roadside, in the dust
Wondering if I were truly a family member or
The child of a guest who came to dinner and
Then, disappearing into the mist of night,
Left the baby in a bag by the door. 10/13/2013

Whatever is Fun?


Whatever is Fun?
A Poem by Gordon Kuhn, Poet in the Rain
Copyright 2013 All rights reserved by Gordon Kuhn

Memories,
Wish they were lost in the rain
But, instead
They follow me, and I lick the pain
I am tricked to believe
That somehow
Someway
Someday
It will all go and leave me
To be just
Me
Instead the battle grows
And I
Am losing ground, life blows
When you
Are having fun?
But then I’m done
So what is fun?
The stain
Flows deep, dark, black red
As if
I were truly, really dead
Cut me
Cut myself and see it run
See it leave
Like it was really done
Really done
Whatever is fun? 10/6/13

On the Morning of His Whisky Death


ON THE MORNING OF HIS WHISKY DEATH
Copyright 2013 Gordon Kuhn
Poet in the Rain Productions

The sky roof had lifted clear
Above the carpeted grass of bed
Where lay he naked in the falling rain
A place, in pain, this sad youth was led

Asleep, amid a restless dawn of death
Whose night before all hope was bled
The options coursed and could not stay
False hope found he as light daybreak fed

Which came upon him lying there
Adrift in nothingness, the pool
Where life, held back, had no sway for
Drink had found its simple way

To coat the man in forgetfulness
Of deeds for which no payment could release
His soul from arrows of his memory
And only peace of death might cure

The remorse he felt of prior days
When all was lost in mindless dues
As death did surround the found
Spent amid, churchless pews

Amid the night when not a human soul
Had come near, nor did stop and stare
Curious about the naked bundle
Birthed once years before to dare

Life to face and found the drape
That covered all leaving him empty
As if the world had committed rape
And not one did speak or act to intervene
On the morning of his whisky death.

July 15, 2013