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.
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The Ragman Files E – 1


There once was a man who saved rag dolls, he saved them as he felt their lives were doomed, and yet, the reality was that he himself was a rag doll. As time went on the neighbors began to call him The Ragdoll Man.

MUSIC FOR READING

He had been born alone in a magical glen frequented by gypsies and elves and other such magical folk. His mother and father had been a pile of variously colored rags left by accident alongside a deeply rutted wagon trail that cut a path across the glen. As he sat there, alone, he looked about himself and at the remaining rags not part of his being and wondered at it all. He had no knowledge of who or what he was or how he had come to be. He had no knowledge of gypsies, or elves, or any of the creatures who lived in the surrounding woods or who flew in the sky. He had no idea of what it was to be alone. He simply was.

This is the opening. More to follow.

Simply hit the button on the left and listen to the music.

TOMORROW TODAY


Tomorrow came late today
It wasn’t supposed to be
But the day had come to set her free
And there she was, and all was out of the way
Tomorrow came late today
And there was no place left for her to go
Street lights turned on and began to glow
As her love packed up and set about to flow
Down the river and through the town
To the open air where she would find the wide-open sea
Where she would finally find herself set out and freed
And tomorrow came late today
When they found they had nothing left to say
She untied her boat and set herself on her way
Those who stood and saw her go
Only could wave as she turned to the sea
She was on the tide and found herself set free
With a wave, a kiss, and she was gone with the flow
Tomorrow came early today.

Copyright Gordon Kuhn 2018 all rights reserved 10/27/18

AWAKENING


I woke this morning to a different world
Everything had sudden changed overnight
When the rains came, fell, and the grass uncurled
Where I had walked during the heat of the day before
And there was nothing for me to do
There was nothing I could or would say
The world changed when I turned and looked away
For a moment, a second, a sliver of time
When I thought all was safe and secure
And so I woke with a bloody nose
I woke and I found what I thought was false
And came to realize that there was no longer within the fight
There was little desire within me to travel much further
And yet I have to move along this path
And stay on the lane wherein it is true
That life is such and nothing can be undone.

Copyright 2018 All rights reserved: Gordon Kuhn

Rain Drops


RAINDROPS

Bumble Bee sized drops
Falling with thunder sized hits
Striking the broad leaves of green bent
Beneath the sudden strikes from the sky sent
Forcing them to bow before the growing deluge
Lightning striking a short distance away
The laughter of the rain as it slips and falls to the ground
And I stand there listening and smelling the scent of a summer rain
As it comes in the heat and washes away the dirty stain
That darkens the pavement and the sidewalks left earlier in the day
By life passing by.

Copyright 2018 Gordon Kuhn

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.”

“Why?”

“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.

A Prophesy Regarding Aleen from Book One of The Ragdoll Chronicles 01.06.18 at 0307


A Prophesy

“The Great Winged Assassin Aleen sat like a large boulder perched on the side of Mount Bastion across the valley from where The Castle Ur stood. His vantage point overlooked the Sea of Rife and the Companion Halls of Medore. He took a deep breath in and listened as his leathery skin expanded and then exhaled slowly, meditatively. Then, again, a slow inhale, then slower exhale.

He had been practicing this form of breathing for years before a kill as it relaxed him and placed him in a state where little affected him. He drifted outward and inward at the same time moving away from his central core to a point where he was no longer attached in spirit. Time would pass and he would breath in deeply and then slowly allow his wings to unwrap from around his bat-like body startling those nearby at the unexpected exposure of a muscular frame hidden there concealed beneath a skin so black that he could stand silently and without movement during the night next to a victim or military guards and never be seen until he struck.

He was deeply feared as an assassin and plan for his removal had been in place for over a year, but he had struck first leaving not one council floor covered with spilled blood, but three of them. He had moved so quickly that those killed were never able to leave any message to alert others of his actions. He was a master of treachery and his intended kills sat nearby completely absorbed in a juvenile conversation about how famous they would all become in the near future. Not one realized their future would end that night.

Ragdoll Chronicles qouted on 1.6.18 at 0250


“There shall come a time when the moon has gone from sight and the sun is darkened as if in clouds. Then shall those who have slept for centuries return to take the land and the power from those who have come to be here and subjugate them with powers granted them by the master of hell.” Verse 18, 12th Chapter of the hidden book Ascension.

Ragdoll Chronicles at 0250 on 1.6.18

Ragdoll Chronicles Continued Post at 0821 on 01.05.18


Denise returned from a trip to the garage where she had a second refrigerator keeping several trays of cookie dough setting up and waiting to go into the oven. “Coffee,” she said to herself softly with a sigh as she took a small rag from her pocket and wiped her brow, “I simply need either a nap or a good stout cup of coffee.”

“Then you shall have one, a cup that is, but I need to take the boy with me.” It was a young girl’s voice that seemed to come from within every object in the kitchen including her own self.

She stopped still. Her hand went to her throat. Trembling she said, “Wha wha what? Is someone there?”

“Come now Denise, did you forget me? Has it been so long? Don’t you remember playing in the orchard by the glen near the river that crossed through and came to a small lake that was a brilliant blue and clear as the air?”

Denise stepped back, her hand tightening on her throat. “No. Stay away. You can’t have him.”

“But a deal is a deal.”

Denise felt a gust of wind and heard the sound of a hundred tiny bells ringing. Then came the touch of a small girl’s hand on her arm. Without looking, Denise asked, her voice quivering, “Runa?”

“If you recall that name. Yes. But I have many names given me over the centuries, but Runa is fine. It means secret, whisper.”

“You can’t have him.” Denise turned and stared down at the gypsy child next to her. She was fully clothed in a historical gypsy dress, the same as when Denise had last seen her. She looked as if age 12 but was far greater in age than that.

“Oh but I can and I will.” The girl smiled up and nodded. “I already have.” She pointed to where the boy had been hiding and then to the plate of cookies. Both were gone.

“NO!” Denise grabbed for the girl but she was gone. She then turned back to where Chase had been sitting. “Chase,” she shouted reaching under the table, hoping to grab onto the boy. “Chase!”

But he was gone.

“CHASE.”