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.

Through the Eye of the Crokus

Through the Eye of the Crokus 

Copyright 2015 by Gordon Kuhn

When the earth was young and dark, for there was no light in the sky in those days, he sat upon the mountainside and watched with eyes half hooded as life stirred below him. Hunger was beyond him. Even if the desire to feed had brought him there, he was unable to do so. He had seen too much in his short life and had lost the appetite for small things scurrying in the dark.

His wings were folded tightly behind him. When open, they had a span tip to tip of over 12 feet and yet that was small for one of his clan. They would grow no more, he knew. But he needed no more growth. Too much width could be dangerous when flying sinks not known to him. A slight mistake could send a pilot in training, such as he, careening off cavern walls. He realized it was better to have less wingspan than to have too much.

A chill wind came from the valley below. It had swept up from deep within the earth and vented itself from out of the sink he had explored earlier. He flew with such grace. A ballet in the dark. A dance without music to accompany him. He simply rose and fell in the silence. His wings cut through the air bringing a spinning turbulence unexpected by the creatures who lived in the dark. They turned and rolled and looked this way and that as he passed over them. Unable to speak they simply made groaning noises at each pass. Incapable to see they were aware of his presence only by the brush of his fur coated wings and the change in air pressure as he passed close over them.

But then he sat, content with himself, with his freedom, and with half shuttered eyes he stared out into the dark. His stomach was empty and had been for days. But soon, he thought; he would lift from this place and pass by the growth of rock that one day would be called a moon to the planet he had chosen to rest upon.

But for the time he just sat and waited in the dark until he heard the sound of braking wings close by over his head. He looked toward the sound, the pace of his heart taking a leap.

He had been found!

A cold shift took place among the scales that covered his body like armor. He blinked and stared at the place where he knew another of his clan had landed feeling for them with his radar like senses. Trying to touch them, to get an idea of their size and shape. In that way, he would know them and would be ready himself to fight or openly welcome the newcomer.

“Li Sun,” a voice, deep and elegant, spoke his name from the proximity of where he knew the other flyer had landed. His heart stopped mid-beat and held as if frozen. “Li Sun. I know you are there, I can smell you.”

“We can smell you.” The voice of a large male shattered the silence on Li Sun’s right.”Did you really think that you could so easily slip away and, taking wing, come to this pile of rock without notice”

“I—,” Li Sun started to speak when a third voice growled. “I suggest we eat him.” The owner landed in front of Li Sun (pronounced Lee Soon). “What say you, Park Nor?”

The first of the three cleared his throat and replied, “I have thought on that, However, his father sent us to locate him, his father is of the royal blood, he would resent us eating his son unless he was present for the feast.”

“And then,” a fourth voice, softer than the others, female, came from behind Li Sun as a tiny landslide of pebbles and small stones slipped out from under her  as she landed with her great wings back beating to slow her descent, “there is the matter of his right to slit the young one’s throat.”