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.

STANDOFF

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

PHOTO CREDITS

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

OTHER BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR

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

The Pelman Murders

The Widow’s Cliff and Other Poems

Rabbit in a Box

DEDICATION

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.

Contents

POETRY. 1

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

SHORT STORIES. 47

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

The Intersection. 57

The Confession. 68

Awake. 73


POETRY

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

Pawing

Breathing

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.

A Sunday Night Poem: Passages along with random thoughts about nothing important 2248/080617


The Peppermint Lounge, Montego Bay, 1962
By Gordon Kuhn copyright 08.06.2017
all rights reserved.

There once was a whore house in Montego Bay
Where $2 bought a pitcher of beer and 5 got you a lay
There bronze skinned ladies with loose dresses would sway
with the music until the break of day
Never letting the customers stray too far away
Ah, the booze was cheap and the ladies kept their smiles
And we never once shared our private trials
But laughed and danced and drank the night away
Until dawns’ light broke the fragile spell
When we went back to the ships with memories to tell
Our youthful hunger for rowdy times and cheap romance sated
To the ships where our rifles and ammo near our packs silently waited.

Catatonic in Milwaukee


Stiffness of mind can be a problem and should be noted to tend along with a great deal of anger. I deal with anger. I have problems with anger. I can be very un-nice with anger when it overtakes me and lately it has been  near me too much. I think it is just that the world is moving at such a strange pace and what I hope for is not actually happening but the reverse is. Maybe that  holds true for you as well. In any case being catatonic would be a problem not only in Milwaukee but in Bradenton  as well.

I wonder if people can really change or is it just backwash that we get when we think we changed and then something happens that drags us back into all the same shit. I don’t know. I just known that when looking at my life I can see too many mistakes.

Its a new day and hopefully a day where anger doesn’t creep in to my life or yours.

Oh, and I have never been in Milwaukee but I understand they brew a very fine beer there.

 

Battle Flag


Battle Flag

 

The battle flag sudden snapped and swung up to fly in the wind

Above the post on the hill that even God had not known about back then

On a hot and sticky day where boys waited amid the baking heat

All seemed to stand still in the sudden roar of quiet to those there that day

Broken by the Sergeant’s sudden shout of “guns up!” that tore the silence apart

Rifles swung up then their muzzles pointed out and down across the clearing

Where men of difference moved so quiet in the sea of grass

Then, with hearts beating hard in all the chests of those there that hour and day

Searing rounds were sent out for the human shearing

A burst returned ripped holes in the flag that flew in the wind

Blood and mud spattered, its fabric so worn and so thin

That flew above boys that day sudden turned into men

It snapped and swung up to fly in the wind

Above the post on the hill that no one, not even God knew about back then.                

6/10/13 edited 12/22/2016

FRIENDSHIPS, WONDERS, BAGPIPES, AND WHO’S ON FIRST


A friend called and asked Jan and I out to dinner. It was fun. Jan and I have not seen them in a long time.

Jean and Mike! We went to a Mexican restaurant locally (like where else would we go? oh, just thought we’d pop off in a commercial jet and wing our way to California…God help us…and get Mexican fast food) where we had eaten before. Personally I think it is all made up and kept in the fridge (a lot of restaurants do that) and just pop it in the micro when someone comes along and orders it. Anyway, it was good. I brought home my leftovers in a foam type package and we left it on the table inside the front door. Bet you are wondering where it is tonight and no I didn’t eat it.

Anyway, it was a surprise and welcome one but I am a bit of an anti-social person and I hate crowds and I always feel uncomfortable in such situations. (This morning I met with a group of fellow vets and they sang happy birthday to me. Yep. Pure torture.) On the one hand I want and welcome the attention and on the other it is like telling me that I just walked through a patch of poison ivy. I think that is part of my self-destructive nature like forgetting it was my month to buy donuts for my vet group because it was my birthday month…..hey, why doesn’t the group by the donuts for the person having the birthday and not the reverse.

I would think that is the way it should be, but I guess it all works out in the end. One of the vets there this morning was in a unit in Vietnam that suffered the most casualties of the war. In one engagement they had over 300 casualties. I find it amazing to be in the company of such men as he.
In other interesting news facts, I came across a veterans art studio in St. Petersburg. They are doing an open house on September 16. There is to be a band there, other artists, and me. I’ve been invited to do a book signing. So now the mad rush is on to complete and print the first of two books in a series regarding a true crime event. I managed to get a cover done for the book. It only took me three days. I only lost 12 versions of the artwork to the monster hiding in my computer that probably ate the damn things. When I reported my problems to the software manager/owner/developer I was informed that no one ever from the time that God made Adam had ever reported having any difficulty with their software. I guess, in a way, that was a polite way of being told, “you’re stupid.”