Standoff Excerpt: By the Side of the Road


By the Side of the Road

Little boy standin’ by the side of the road,

Lookin’ down beside hisself in the gutter at a dirty old toad,

What was sittin’ there all covered in dust with its eyes slowly flickin’

Looking for lunch, the boy, he did so suppose,

A guest to share the moment the frog surely did propose,

some fly, might be, for itself to go on chewin’ and lickin’,

Snatch that movin’ black spot clean outta the sky.

The little boy wondered what it would be like to die,

All caught up in a gooey tangle of tongue curlin’ there and stickin’

Like a June bug buzzin’ past fat and sassy like,

Not knowin’ that old bull frog was about to strike

Or maybe a crawler with its legs all a kickin’.

What matters most, I do suppose, is what the kid wasn’t thinkin’

Why did he feel such a sense of bein’ so old

Standin’ there all by hisself by the side of the road?

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STANDOFF EXCERPT 9.12.19


Walking with a Dead Butterfly

Come fly away now gentle butterfly

Open your wings and capture a breath of wind

Set sail and say goodbye to the world below

Let not your heart in pain deny

Your right to sail the summer sky

For you are special, my valiant friend

You’ve come so far in life in so few days

And changed your coat of moldy gray

To joyfully spread rainbow colors in patterns rich

While sharing your beauty in wild, tumultuous flight

So short your life has come and gone

Come dance with me as I watch you twist and spin

Until your energy has been spent and you start to fail and fall

As you struggle with the pending doorway of death

No matter where you could have landed in the end

You somehow fell to earth beside the path

That I was silently walking there upon.

Clay Pots

How like shattered clay pots

They were when seen from close at hand

Clay pots fresh from the kiln that day

Broken when each mold was cast upon the cold

That lingered where the air was fresh and clean

And seen from heights where eagles dare soared

When they were sudden sent away amid the roar

Of surf spray that clutched the hand of sand

And layered about in nameless lots

Slowly became a collection of shrinking tired dots

Spread loosely upon the blue above the fading land

There floated they then above the heavy depth of sea

In all their fractured banquet were then to death led and bled

When thought the world had set them free

Above the green and sleeping spaces where Sightless watchers looked and not one was really seen      

STANDOFF from the book 8.31.19


It’s Four O’clock in the Morning

A light rain falls on the grass and pond outside my window to the world

It falls on the street and shines in a nearby streetlight glow

And silence is the answer to the falling soft wet mist

Swirling more like tiny snowflakes than rain in a gentle calming glide

While my mind unfolds, unwraps itself in slow and troubled wakefulness

While breaking all about me is the pure but retched silence of life

Struggling to reach the sky

While the sound of growth is smothered by the gentle rainfall’s echo

Of the rain in a mist falling about me all around

And my mind recalls the simple fact

Of other times I had found like that

When many times I sat alone in the darkness my friend

With no one or place for me to be in the end

And a light rain falls upon the grass

It falls on the pond in the clearing behind the house

As the first car this morning drove slowly past

The driver takes and grips a plastic packaged paper from a sack

And without aiming he tossed it out to land

Where it falls on the driveway just off the street

And in the morning shower’s wet it shines

In a nearby streetlight’s gentle glow

Outside my window to the world.

STANDOFF excerpt 8.28.19


Crushed Cigarettes Left on the Floor

I met her years back in a local tavern

A bar, a pub, a gin spot, liquor room

And she followed me home without speaking

Without asking, without knowing who she was or

From where she had come from or going to

Her arm draped in mine holding

A cold six pack of beer in a paper sack

Her black knee length skirt bouncing there

While high heels clicked

And left a trail of music as we walked

Then she slipped past as I opened my apartment door

Not speaking, just looking, with a wink

And made her way into the stillness of the room

And came in visit to my bed

Where we sang songs of love for hours long

Until there was no more strength in us to carry on

And we drank the beer then gone warm

From the six pack left in my dead fridge

And lit a cigarette in the dark

A cloud of smoke swirled our heads

Glowed lightly from the light of the moon

In the morning she was gone

And I was left so all alone, so alone

With the scent she left behind slightly hanging in the air

The sheets left were ruffled and wet with sweat

With empty beer cans on the floor by the bed

Where a half smoked cigarette lay crushed upon the floor

She became just a memory then for months to a year

Until she chose to visit once again

She followed without speaking and slipped past me in the hallway

Going in the open apartment door

Where she slipped into my bed in the dark

And nestled with her head upon my neck

We loved each other like it was the day before the end

Then she was gone again in the morning light

Sheets were ruffled and wet with sweat

Empty beer cans beside the bed

Near a half-smoked cigarette that lay crushed upon the floor

Left me with there with the coming of the day and just a memory of her scent

She came and went at times with my not knowing if she would ever come again

While our hearts raced and melted together in the room without any air

With a window wide open to let any breeze in to cool our naked bodies lying there

The moon peeking in at two lovers adrift in moments of sexual wonder

And in the morning, there would be empty beer cans lying on the floor

Near a bed empty without her lying there

While a still smoldering cigarette lay crushed upon the floor

Left me empty somehow with just a memory of her scent.

Standoff post 8.27.19


Two more from the book Standoff. The book can be found on Amazon or can be ordered through me at http://www.authorgordonkuhn.com . Bought through me and I sign the book for you.

Nightfall, the Lovers’ Dance

I recall the night when the rain came

And settled in bringing a coolness to the room

Where two lovers met and never were the same

In an apartment in downtown Sarasota

Where they danced to a scratchy record on a player

While drinking stale beer in a dim light

From the only bulb left working

And somewhere in the world a wall was being torn down

Somewhere a child was being born

Water dripping from pipes to the foundation two floors below

Somehow, they found each other and in a simple embrace

Shared the last cigarette in a crushed pack tossed to the floor

While singing a song neither knew.

Yesterday’s Child

Yesterday’s child was born with a patchwork brain

Filled with paintings that would never be brought to view

For a painter, a drawer, he simply could not be

Overrun with songs that would never be sung

For they melted or collapsed before being born

Adrift with poetry that would struggle to be heard

But some broke through to live a day

Yesterday’s child was born to others to view

While about him his life slowly colored with stain

His sense of security and being loved flung

To the woods where sense lived in the leaves

That surrounded and filed the world with color

Buy at amazon.com or http://www.authorgordonkuhn.com

Standoff 8.20.2019 Post


The Old Undead of Poets

And thus spake true, the old undead of poets long forgot

As the grass they stood upon withered and the trees nearby did rot

For surely they had never ever thought

Nor in this life had ever sought

The substance of less passion

For clearly was not their fashion

And this indeed was what left them freed

As the world about turned slowly to withered weed.                             

Only the Rabbit Knows

There’s a place where I go

That no one knows exists

A place so private and hidden

So tucked away from everything

So removed from the world

That even a mouse hunting cheese cannot find it

Where I am all alone, just me and my thoughts

And with no one else, no one at all.

There’s a stone floor and empty pictures on the wall

A fireplace that burns without a trace of smoke or flame

To identify its private special space

To the world, so no one knows its place

And it’s where I can sit all alone

And yet be with you, and them, and they, and it

And you’ll never know where I am

You’ll never sense that I am there

Because the place is so very secret and hidden

And it is where I go, have gone, and will go

Where I go to be alone

When others are in the room

Where I am not afraid

Where the bed is unmade

But no one sleeps in it

Where I can cry in the night, and in the day

And you’ll never know, nor see a tear

You’ll never hear the scream

Or see the bodies lying on the floor

That are all me lying there

All different ages with no pictures taken

None to hang upon the wall

The fucking wall with empty frames there

For me to simply sit and stare at

But you’ll never know

And neither will they, or them, or it

Nor the hungry mouse hunting with its nose

Because it’s a secret place

Where even a starving mouse seeking a meal can’t find

The entrance within, but —  if one did, — if it did

I would welcome it And happily feed it a piece of cheese.

MUSIC FOR YOU.

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.

Sunday heading towards Monday.


So, it is Sunday 7/21/19 and I am trying to write a short story, finish a true crime novel, submit some poetry for publication, and more…..much more….too much more. Plus, good grief, I haven’t filed my taxes yet for 2018.

So, what’s new with all of you? Anybody got a Hamster for a gift present? I never owned one. I guess as a child I was deprived as all of my friends had Hamsters as pets. Everyone except me.

My mother told me that Hamsters would eat my cat. That was curious as I didn’t own a cat.

The Church Lady & The Preacher


There once was an old lady who went church and sat at the very back. She was partially deaf but would shout out her agreement with the preacher at various times. One Sunday the preacher was talking about the sins of mankind and began by shouting out about the use of drink. The woman yelled: AMEN. The minister then began to talk about loose morals and the woman shouted: AMEN. He then drew up in total disgust and started talking about chewing tobacco and from the back of the church the woman yelled: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

2300 hours on April 4, 2019


I have no real title for this message. So I chose the time and date.

Thinking====I do that sometimes. Sometimes I don’t. When I don’t I regret it. I am sure that has happened to all of you as well.

I have a newsletter that I am posting my poetry to because I have come across notes on publishers’ pages regarding contests that rule out posts on FB pages as they claim that constitutes publishing. Really?

Anyway, I have sent of 75 pages of poetry in hopes of being published. I hope the poetry is published. That would make me “legitimate” I think. I hate being illegitimate. Don’t you?

I have to say that I have become addicted to Leonard Cohen’s music. I particularly like Take the Waltz. There is such a story hiding in the lines. You have to listen to it several times.

Well, I tried to post it here but it didn’t work.

Will write more later.