cc&d magazine (1993-2017)

a Pick for the Future
cc&d magazine
v275, September 2017
Internet ISSN 1555-1555, print ISSN 1068-5154

cc&d magazine

Table of Contents




(the passionate stuff)

Linda M. Crate it’s good to be king
risen from the grave
CEE Johnny 3:16
Drones: The Fabian Stankowicz Fan Club Reality
Drones: The Sitting Duck and Cover Reality
Aaron Wilder Allied Trade Conglomerate art
ayaz daryl nielsen language of untamed spirit
David Russell Picture 3 art
ayaz daryl nielsen twilight
Rose E. Grier Lookin Up photography
R. N. Taber Autobiography of a Light Bulb
Lines on a Carthorse
Patrick Fealey nodding on the bus
Christopher Hivner Making a Point in 2017
Peter LaBerge Acoustic photography
Greg G. Zaino When Vagabonds Sleep
Wes Heine BW Junkie photography
Shane What is wanted
David J. Thompson Lazarus
This Much photography
Üzeyir Lokman Çayci Friend, you’re not the guilty one

performance art


(2/4/17 Austin show “Exalted Love”)

Janet Kuypers Mapping the Way to True Love
Years, Centuries, Eons
Zenith of the Night Sky
just one book



(the meat & potatoes stuff)

Charles Hayes Pick For The Future
Bill DeArmond The Walking Man
Kyle Hemmings Walking photography
Patrick Fealey Good Times
Janet Kuypers eminence haiku
Dr. (Ms.) Michael S. Whitt The Bed in the Office Wall Affair and Other
Unconventional Situations in a Citrus Village
Eric Burbridge Now Again
Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz Sisters of Salome art
Janet Kuypers violation haiku
Roy Haymond They Had No Ox
David Michael Jackson Split Rail Fence art
Janet Kuypers Driving By His House

lunchtime poll topic


(commentaries on relevant topics)

CEE Beyond Freedom and Dignity,
is Denying You Yours

Note that in the print edition of cc&d magazine, all artwork within the pages of the book appear in black and white.

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Poetry (the passionate stuff)

it’s good to be king

Linda M. Crate

i’m not afraid of you
been through
too much to let a jerk
like you take me
and you wear that crown as
if you’re a king and not a
but that’s a little too ambitious
for a man of little
remember, darling, that i am the
king of this kingdom—
you are not welcome here,
and you have no power over
me, anymore;
not that little rabbit hearted girl that didn’t
want to hurt you
now i am the warrior raven with talons
sharpened for your funeral
all the wolves, coyotes, and bears are at the ready
going to use all your words against you
to wound you the same way you did
going to make you regret
hurting me
simply by smashing you in the face with all
my success,
and reaching for higher suns and moons
that will burn you in humiliation.

Linda M. Crate Bio

    Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has three published chapbooks: A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), and If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016). Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. Her third novel Centaurs & Magic was published November 2016.

risen from the grave

Linda M. Crate

lurking in the recesses
of my mind
you still feel a welcome
but i wish you would stop
haunting me;
i don’t need to see the fractured
light of your blue eyes
nor the softness
of your blonde hair or the sweetness of
your lips
even if it’s in my mind’s eye
it’s all said and done
you married
the girl you cheated on me with—
stop haunting me,
wicked ghost,
because i’ve never craved bad things
in my life and never will;
you said that we
should be strangers for my sake,
but i think you did it
for yourself
never once considering this would be harder
on me yet
there were so many things you never let me
i should warn you that i resent any man
who silences me,
and i wish you nothing but to be haunted
by memories of me forever more;
seems a fair price to me for the man who ruined
my life in ways no one has ever thought to,
the man who made me rise from the
premature grave he built me.

Linda M. Crate Bio

    Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has three published chapbooks: A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), and If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016). Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. Her third novel Centaurs & Magic was published November 2016.


Linda M. Crate

when i was
if i even mattered i remember
unfolding the note you
gave me in college
prep english class,
and i cried;
because you were the strongest
most beautiful person i had
ever known and you told me that i
had worth
as i was and no one else had ever done
that for me before—
i know i was
and shy and timid;
but you helped break me out of my shell
have always found people hard to
but you made me realize not everyone was out
there to hurt me;
you made me realize i was stronger
than i even knew—
just wanted to thank you for not giving me the same
advice the guidance counselor did
to “be normal” and “to conform”
because her words only angered me and made me
vow to do neither of these things
despite my oddities you never treated me like
everyone else, you didn’t treat me
like i had leprosy.

Linda M. Crate Bio

    Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has three published chapbooks: A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon - January 2014), and If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016). Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015. Her third novel Centaurs & Magic was published November 2016.

Johnny 3:16


If all this, This Reality
My Life
If it somehow turns out a jape
Cosmic bullcrap
Damned fine God larks,
If from the other room I hear,
“The following useless existence
Is brought to you in living color,
On NBC.”

And from that other room, eponymous
Pandimensional vortex
Of the Negative Space,
The place I’m Not In
I hear,
“Heeeeeeere’s Johnny!!”
I’ll race Doc
Race the band
Dive into that vortex
Die in that room
It could be locked stasis
It could be Tartarus
Do you have eyes, feel any pain?
Better There
Better there, than Here

The Fabian Stankowicz Fan Club Reality


Luddite loser who doesn’t comprehend
Even grasping how to build a
Giant Fusion Cannon
Automatically cancels his membership in the
Luddites of Stand Still Club
Builds him a Giant Fusion Cannon
Set to frequency,
Its got atomic batteries, turbines, everything
It’s going to “KAHBAHBLOOOOM!!!”
Every damned drone at once,
But loser geniuses are pretty generally
They’re like the dear Temperance crowd
Once the 18th Amendment passed,
“Well, Thank God for that!”, and like
The Yankees with an 8-point lead,
They go to sleep;
So, someone’s solipsism might just be
The Play, except everyone Still Exists
When not seen,
Detonation of Every delivery drone
In Every nation?
Here come the missiles,
Which is redundant of Me,
Except that This poem
Had a Luddite loser in it
And a really boss
Giant Fusion Cannon

The Sitting Duck and Cover Reality


Off it go
Wrong Way Amazon
Off Far Eastern
To poot out in front of Putin
Here come the missiles

(Thank You, Lord, for prayers answered)

Allied Trade Conglomerate, art by Aaron Wilder

Allied Trade Conglomerate, art by Aaron Wilder

language of untamed spirit

ayaz daryl nielsen

beyond wikipedia’s incompetencies
broader than libraries and web servers
the languages of our untamed spirits
soars beyond all known concepts
of times, places and holiness

Picture 3, art by David Russell

Picture 3, art by David Russell


ayaz daryl nielsen

as twilight finds my chest
white sand, wetlands, and
rolling green hills beckon
walking among memories
on grandfather’s homestead,
a catalogue of ranch-land,
hay, cattle, horses and
everyday interactions, of
relatives and memories
that sing. . . and, yes,
I will come, crossing my
old and worn boundaries
exhaling peace

Lookin Up, photography by Rose E. Grier

Lookin Up, photography by Rose E. Grier

Autobiography of a Light Bulb

Copyright R. N. Taber

I have coloured the cheeks of a child
at a birthday party

I have seen quarrels turn into beatings
and draw blood

I have watched over students yawning
for trying to concentrate

I have watched over meetings ringing
with raised voices

I have followed the progress of lovers
with delight

I am privy to secrets a journalist would
die for

I have been amused by such melodrama
as politicians love to stage

I have been moved by a significant few
brokering for peace

I become incensed by folks playing safe
for a quiet life

I despair of clerics reworking scriptures
to exonerate themselves

I empathise with poets transcending light
to justify darkness

Yet, party as I am to the whole sorry mess,
at least I can switch off

Lines on a Carthorse

Copyright R. N. Taber

Green patch, bursts of sunshine,
retired carthorse munching
contentedly away at a spread
of dandelions

Light breeze in a solitary ash
washing down a dusty heart
with tactile thoughts inclined
to haunt like romantic songs
played on your guitar dedicated
to the pair of us, could well
be now, fancying that I glimpse
a lock of red hair at the edge
of a teasing, passing cloud whose
oh, so-familiar ears, eyes,
nose, lips, turned to another

I didn’t see what was happening,
lost sight of listening, forgot
to look at what I saw, mistook hazy
infringements of personal space
for a lazy contentment, happiness
unaffected by the world beyond
that perimeter fence I constructed
with loving care, either assuming
we’d want the same things or maybe
too scared to ask, unknowingly
afraid of getting it wrong, ending
up alone

Retired carthorse, last seen munching
on dandelions by a solitary walker
shot down in a green patch by bursts
of sunshine

nodding on the bus

Patrick Fealey

nodding on the bus
the terrified forest
the full and the bored
why don’t the pills work?
i’ve been having too much fun
because the pills work
morphine beats ex-lax
the dope is going to break
where will my ass be?
mammoths at the sink
the ice is up to my neck
puddle in the street
pink, orange, parachute
he likes the vein on his hand
oh pins and needles
the narrow alley
drinking bricks and dealing sweeps
one more for pissing
i had to buy smokes
i have three cartons at home
i leave town with none
we figured it out
a bum’s life requires fifty grand
that’s with insurance
what am i thinking?
it’s not all this urban crap
my heart is smogged in
my friend will be free
my brother will be returned
time had taken him
more buses for us
the prison dies at the end
it’s world stands on stops
the sun has the game
you know it is september
just out, still in, sun
summer fruits of maine?
hit the road now for tucson?
cut out for the same?
i light a camel
because i have the power
to fulfill essence

Making a Point in 2017

Christopher Hivner

Full of holes
and downstream,
the preamble to my rant
is drowning
among the trout.
I will be heard though,
whether my voice be a whisper
or amplified through
a Marshall stack.
The speech is written
in Klingon
so no one can understand it,
even me,
but it is brilliant,
a quasar of energy
among a field of brown dwarf stars,
a clean patch of grass
in field of shit.
I will be heard
even if I make no sense.
Going live on social media in
3 . . . 2 . . . 1

Acoustic, photography by Peter LaBerge

Acoustic, photography by Peter LaBerge

When Vagabonds Sleep

Greg G. Zaino

Your preparations and sorcery took time;
served to me the main course up front then withdrew,
leaving me with a side dish of infectious rot.

A well laid trap, I’ll give you that.
Years of my life spent chasing delusion,
my pride you nearly swallowed whole

This was a man’s soul, you sautéed in rancid butter
with toadstools, wild bitter root, toothy serpents,
and of course, sprinkled heavily with poisonous intent.

Oh yes, you’d stoked the fire with occasional head,
or maybe throw a sporadic fuck...
And how I’d burn.

You hated most in others, in me,
what you feared in yourself my darling.
Your ambition to destroy fed on self-loathing,
but you never understood that.a

How you took delight in conquests of spirit,
dissecting backbone- masticating character.
Accrued antipathy towards men
you poured over me.
You attempted to stuff this vagabond’s ashes
into a funerary urn before I was finished.

To protect my balls- out I spun,
turning from your sight and tucking tail,
escaping the back door for refreshing air and liberation.

Down there, that harsh winter of consequence,
I wandered homeless, shot a lot of dope,
mingled with countless brothers and sisters,
who likewise, and fought the insanity
and traded with me
diseased observations.

I hit the rehab to escape.
To escape the icy streets of the northeast
and rejuvenated bloody flesh by licking old wounds
and fattening up on starchy foods.

The dog you chained to the kitchen radiator
drove into the spare room to sleep on the floor,
now shares his bed with another.

Your replacement likes my peculiar brand of nonconformity.
The brand, if I had a mind, that goes days without a shower,
with a soul set loose to write filthy poetry
about disturbing sex and failed relationships.
A dog at liberty to bark at the night.

She walks bare assed in my home,
tells lame jokes, and says the word “Fuck”
any damn time she feels the need...
Get it!
Life has changed.

This mutt, evacuates his bladder where he pleases,
free now to piss on car tires and, if he has the mind to
rolls naked on the neighbor’s front lawn,
because he can.

Perhaps you’ll find this impossible,
perchance a mad rant, but your whipping dog
appears to be intact and holding up just fine.

As you’ve pointed out many times my dear,
I may be an inconsequential tramp,
but despite the occasional insanity,
and an ever pathetic wallet, the waters have cleared,
the mania quieted- nightmares eased.
I now enjoy a new perception of freedom.
Ruptures of the flesh have healed nicely,
the delusion has concluded.

Stop with your text messaging
and pathetic pleas for friendship.
I don’t need to hear that you’re sorry-
that you’ve changed.

Because now,
it rains only,
when vagabond’s sleep.

BW Junkie, photography by Wes Heine

BW Junkie, photography by Wes Heine

What is wanted


What is it that I really want?
Or, what is it that is wanted?
Every FUCKING thing!
Ever lasting life nirvana heaven ecstasy Obliteration?
Or just enough comfort and sweetness
Crammed with the information that causes attention, admiration, adoration?
Why eat?
Why move or stop moving?
It’s wound up so let it go
See where it goes how long how far
Do the laws of motion work and what’s the connection to thermodynamics and Me?
I cannot list the laws of motion or thermodynamics or how they are connected, or can I?
Objects in motion stay in motion
For every action an equal and opposite reaction
Force equals mass times acceleration?
Thermodynamics: energy neither created or destroyed, right?
Next, entropy?
What next?
Easy to look up, but should I re-do physics?
Who would be doing the re-doing?
What is it that I really want?
Or, what is it that is wanted?
Or wanting


David J. Thompson

You’ve probably heard of me.
My name is Lazarus. I felt like hell
for years – achy all the time, nasty cough,
couldn’t keep food down, trouble breathing.
Add to that my two nutty sisters, Martha
and Mary, who just drive me absolutely crazy.
It’s no wonder neither of them can find a husband,
and get out of my hair, they’re too busy following
this new Jesus The Savior guy around. They brought him
by one weekend and he was okay, kind of quiet,
didn’t eat or drink too much, but I didn’t see
what the big deal was. I was really hoping
he was going to take one of them off my hands,
but he just told me he was sorry I was feeling
so bad and to hang in there, and then he was gone
wandering around again. That’s when I got a lot worse,
started coughing up lots of blood and finally, thank god,
I got to die, and I’m telling you, it was great.
No pain, no job to go to, real quiet and cool
down in the grave. Then, after only four days,
it seemed a helluva lot shorter, the next thing I know
I’m being yanked out of there by good ol’ Jesus,
and I’m all wrapped up like the mummy,
and everybody’s yelling and screaming and happy
except me. Of course, now, Jesus is long gone,
but I still feel like crap and I saw some blood
on my pillowcase this morning, so I guess now
I have to die all over again and that’s really going
to suck. I was afraid that when I die again real soon,
my sisters would run and get Jesus to ruin all my peace
and quiet again, but I heard just the other day
the Romans finally caught up with him
and plan to nail him to the cross quick as they can,
and, frankly, I don’t blame them one little bit.
Why can’t these religious nuts just leave
the rest of us well enough alone?

This Much, photography by David J. Thompson

This Much, photography by David J. Thompson

Friend, you’re not the guilty one

Üzeyir Lokman Çayci

Friend, you’re not the guilty one
My Teacher
The Day is Born of Night
Shaping Tomorrows
Istanbul In My Dreams
They Have Woven a Net Around Us
The Cell
He Was a Teacher
What is the link between troubles?
The Reasoning of the Crow
The Cul-de-Sac of The Rose
The Marketplace Still Attaches Your Ass To Money
While Waters Flow Toward It
White Roses
If there is not love
Do not touch the flowers that they may grow
Giving Form To Tomorrow
The thought of saying good day does not enter their minds
Halil İrahim Göcek
Istanbul of My Dreams
Karol ZÜmer
Becoming a human being
I’m searching for all my long-lost years
How the crow reasons
The cul-de-sac of the rose
The children of pain
With or Without a Future
Where the Lilies Grow
This is the Age of Cucumbers
Photos Make for Friends
My Little Mehmed
The Mirror
The Valley of the Culprits
The Children of Midnight
What Species of Humanity Are You?
Moving Along, One Brushes Against Spring
The Triangle of Existence
The triangle of existence
I Want to Know People
Children of Sorrow
It Is The Age of Cucumbers
I was small, only small
A Daughter-in-Law at Earth’s Table
But... How?
The Sun Does Not Stop Precisely Rising
Love Both of the Children
On the Remains of Yesterday
Ah, If One Could Change It
Third Darkness
Martial Dances
What Is Written in the Dark by War

Performance Art

facebook covr image to promote show

Mapping the Way
    to True Love

Janet Kuypers

I’ve always taken charge
and led the way. But even on my own,
I accomplished more than anyone.
I was invincible.

I was doing so well,
I quit my job as an art director
in the second largest city in the States,
kept paying for my Chicago apartment

and traveled around the country by car...
Until I was stopped at a light,
and one car slammed into me,
and then another.

      I fought for my life.

And this sounds very sad,
and I’m telling you, it was,
but this is a part
of my invincible life —

because doctors from other floors
in the hospital read my records
and called me “miracle girl”
because of my miraculous recovery.

But this was the first time
in my invincible life when I felt
alone, because the only thing missing
from my invincible life was true love.

You know the kind, ‘cuz
in this hectic modern world
it’s next to impossible
to find your philosophical equal.

So now, because I’m a journalist
forced to take the train
because my car was totaled,
I’d ask passengers questions.

Tell me something about yourself.

Because my life was almost
taken away, I wanted to learn
everything about life I could.
Let me at least vicariously live.

Tell me something about yourself.

And one man answered
in the cold of January,
while I kept myself covered
in a coat, hat, scarf, gloves.

he asked me what book
was I currently reading —
I said a philosopher’s name.
He said he knew their writing;

he had read their novels, then
he named their non-fiction books,
and he even said he read
the lexicon on their philosophy.

I stopped him. “You’re telling me
you read a dictionary.”
He said yes, and the information
comes quite in handy in his life.

And on our first date
we talked philosophy
more than half the night
when not asking each other

vague “tell me about yourself”
questions. And though we had
only known each other
for two weeks when

Valentine’s day came, he decided
to give me an expansive map
of the United States,
because I had just traveled it.

He carried the large tube
to his work on Valentine’s Day.
A coworker saw it, inquired.
When he said he was giving

his girl a map for Valentine’s day,
the coworker laughed —
“She’ll hate that. Women want
chocolates and flowers,” he said,

but when I got that map,
I asked if it was okay
if I kept it curled up
until we had a home for it.

When I look up in my office,
I see that map on the wall.
And when I walk out of my office
I see a wall displaying his guitars.

He likes that I wanted
to display his music. And he likes
that I’m a creative person
with an engineering side,

because he’s an engineering
person with a creative side.
But that shouldn’t surprise him,
and it shouldn’t surprise him

that we were engaged
four times longer than we dated.
Yes, our dating was accelerated.
Because not many people

talk philosophy on their first date,
and not many people realize,
even before they start dating,
that they can’t be without the other.

Because now that we found
each other, we want to lock hands
and scour those maps,
because we want to see

every part of the world together.
Because when you get to this point,
celebrating alone isn’t celebrating,
and living alone isn’t living,

when you could be
with your one true love.

photo from show

video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/1/17 25 minute poetry reading at Austin’s Half Price Books, with her poems “old school and high-tech monuments”, “extinct on planet earth”, “Other Souls”, “Open Book”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book(filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/1/17 25 minute poetry reading at Austin’s Half Price Books, with her poems “old school and high-tech monuments”, “extinct on planet earth”, “Other Souls”, “Open Book”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book(filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/4/17 show “Exalted Love” at “Greatest Love” in Austin reading her poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” with music (from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/4/17 show “Exalted Love” at “Greatest Love” in Austin reading her poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” with music (filmed from a Canon Power Shot CS700 camera).
Exalted Love chapbook Exalted Love chapbook View or download the free PDF chapbook
Exalted Love
with her 2017 poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” performed in her 2/4/17 show.
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/5/17 20+ minute poetry reading at Austin’s Recycled Reads, with her poems “the Fourteenth”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “the Page”, “the Flashback”, “the Muse, the Messiah”, “Slate and Marrow”, and “just one book(this video was filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video video
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/5/17 20+ minute poetry reading at Austin’s Recycled Reads, with her poems “the Fourteenth”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “the Page”, “the Flashback”, “the Muse, the Messiah”, “Slate and Marrow”, and “just one book(this video was filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video of Janet KuypersSeptember 2017 Book Release Reading 9/6/17 of cc&d’s book “a Pick for the Future” poems “eminence”, “Mapping the Way to True Love” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (Panasonic Lumix camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video of Janet KuypersSeptember 2017 Book Release Reading 9/6/17 of cc&d’s book “a Pick for the Future” poems “eminence”, “Mapping the Way to True Love” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (from a Sony camera).

Read the Janet Kuypers bio.

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Years, Centuries, Eons

Janet Kuypers

Scouring this land,
searching for meaning,
I’ve traversed the roads
to see the innate beauty
of how this earth came together.

Discovering this rocky terrain,
caressing smoothed lava beds,
studying the variation of color
in the rainforest’s bamboo stalks
has touched my soul deeply.

Years, centuries, eons
have shifted the plates beneath us.
When I left the plains near Chicago
I traversed the Appalachians,
then sky dove at the Grand Tetons.

But waiting to visit some places
‘til when it wasn’t tourist season
was the smartest way to go,
because that way no one was nearby
when I walked along the ridges

of the Grand Canyon, screamed into
the caverns to no one, before
I climbed into the orange depths
of Bryce Canyon, a rocky range
that’s eternally a vibrant sunset.

Walked miles off beaten paths
at Arches National Park, until
I could see for miles there was no one —
in all that time there only one bird.
No people. No planes. Just peace.

It took years, centuries, eons
for nature to create these
majestic, intoxicating, breath-taking
places that seem like works of art.
But this is just how the world works,

how it became the wondrous
thing we see today. You might think,
no no no, this can’t be that good,
not touched by the hand of man.
But you’ve got it all wrong.

It is possible to utterly, deeply,
completely fall in love with the world —
wholly, with every fiber of your being.
You can adore, idolize this creation —
if you just let nature take its course.

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video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/1/17 25 minute poetry reading at Austin’s Half Price Books, with her poems “old school and high-tech monuments”, “extinct on planet earth”, “Other Souls”, “Open Book”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book(filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/1/17 25 minute poetry reading at Austin’s Half Price Books, with her poems “old school and high-tech monuments”, “extinct on planet earth”, “Other Souls”, “Open Book”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book(filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/4/17 show “Exalted Love” at “Greatest Love” in Austin reading her poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” with music (from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/4/17 show “Exalted Love” at “Greatest Love” in Austin reading her poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” with music (filmed from a Canon Power Shot CS700 camera).
Exalted Love chapbook Exalted Love chapbook View or download the free PDF chapbook
Exalted Love
with her 2017 poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” performed in her 2/4/17 show.
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video 2/11/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “electromagnetism” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” at the “Poetry Aloud” open mic at the Georgetown Public Library (Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video 2/11/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “electromagnetism” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” at the “Poetry Aloud” open mic at the Georgetown Public Library (filmed with a Sony camera).
video videonot yet rated
See YouTube video from 3/18/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “kinds of interference”, “uncuffed” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” @ Austin’s Recycled Reads (this video was filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video videonot yet rated
See YouTube video from 3/18/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “kinds of interference”, “uncuffed” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” @ Austin’s Recycled Reads (this video was filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video of Janet KuypersSeptember 2017 Book Release Reading 9/6/17 of cc&d’s book “a Pick for the Future” poems “eminence”, “Mapping the Way to True Love” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (Panasonic Lumix camera).
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See YouTube video of Janet KuypersSeptember 2017 Book Release Reading 9/6/17 of cc&d’s book “a Pick for the Future” poems “eminence”, “Mapping the Way to True Love” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (from a Sony camera).

Read the Janet Kuypers bio.

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Zenith of the Night Sky

Janet Kuypers
(elaboration from “Changing Gears” 1/28/98 journal)

Once we were sitting outside
looking at the night sky.
There were no towns around us
for at least forty miles, and
there was not a single cloud in the sky.

It was absolutely amazing.

We could see the Milky Way very clearly,
and we could easily see so many constellations.

I have never seen that many stars in my life.

After staring at the zenith
of the night sky for a while,
someone finally spoke.
“Looking up at these stars,
doesn’t it make you feel so insignificant?”

My eyes must have been saucers,
looking up at the night sky
with a grin I couldn’t
remove from my face.
“Not at all. I could never think that.”

“How could you not?” he asked.

And I told him
that I can’t look at my life as insignificant.
If I did, I wouldn’t want to excel in life
and I’d have no reason to continue.
Because the line
“Doesn’t it make you feel so insignificant?”
sounds like it should be followed with
“Doesn’t it make you feel so worthless?”
And I cannot function that way...

The night sky is so inherently beautiful;
the night sky is so aesthetically pleasing.
I look at these stars,
and I fall in love.
I look at these stars
and think that this is science,
we could learn from this.
I love to see the constancy
of the stars in the night sky —
these were the same stars
I saw when I was a child
in my lifelong love of astronomy.
I love the understanding
we gain about our world
by studying other planets and stars and galaxies.
And I love the fact
that I am on one of those planets,
and that I have this ability,
this unique opportunity,
to be a part of this
scientific love affair.

But then it occurred to me,
traveling around the earth
to see the sights is one thing,
But what about — up there?
Now I know I can’t afford
a flight to outer space,
but why not take a trek
toward the Arctic Circle
to see the Aurora Borealis?

So we made out plans,
stayed in a Bed and Breakfast
in Fairbanks Alaska
with window sills eighteen inches deep
because of the needed insulation,
even sang a few sets at Ivory Jack’s,
because the best time of night
to see the Aurora Borealis
was about one thirty in the morning,
long after our concert ended.

Yes, it was bitter cold,
and I was bundled up,
but I really didn’t care...
I’d take pictures anyway,
even though no photo
could emulate the dancing
solar wind in our magnetosphere
colliding into our atmosphere.
But with that collision,
what a light show it makes.

One man who lived for years
in Alaska shared with me
that he told his family
he would leave here
when the he lost his love
for the Aurora Borealis.

I know exactly what he means.

photo from show

video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/1/17 25 minute poetry reading at Austin’s Half Price Books, with her poems “old school and high-tech monuments”, “extinct on planet earth”, “Other Souls”, “Open Book”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book(filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/1/17 25 minute poetry reading at Austin’s Half Price Books, with her poems “old school and high-tech monuments”, “extinct on planet earth”, “Other Souls”, “Open Book”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book(filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/4/17 show “Exalted Love” at “Greatest Love” in Austin reading her poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” with music (from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/4/17 show “Exalted Love” at “Greatest Love” in Austin reading her poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” with music (filmed from a Canon Power Shot CS700 camera).
Exalted Love chapbook Exalted Love chapbook View or download the free PDF chapbook
Exalted Love
with her 2017 poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” performed in her 2/4/17 show.
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video 2/11/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “electromagnetism” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” at the “Poetry Aloud” open mic at the Georgetown Public Library (Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
video videonot yet rated

See YouTube video 2/11/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “electromagnetism” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” at the “Poetry Aloud” open mic at the Georgetown Public Library (filmed with a Sony camera).
video videonot yet rated
See YouTube video from 3/18/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “kinds of interference”, “uncuffed” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” @ Austin’s Recycled Reads (this video was filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video videonot yet rated
See YouTube video from 3/18/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her poems “kinds of interference”, “uncuffed” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” @ Austin’s Recycled Reads (this video was filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).

Read the Janet Kuypers bio.

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just one book

Janet Kuypers

I wore my older sister’s communion veil
playing dress-up in my imaginary wedding.

I read my older sister’s prayer book
wondering who can hand me my answers.

But mangled in a maelstrom of religions
I was left lost, searching for salvation.

after years ticked by, it was only then when
my Judeo-Christian boyfriend gave me a book.

It didn’t quite fit in with his beliefs,
but he told me to give it a read.

Now, I remember reading books
where I’d have to tell myself to read

fifty pages a day, so I could get through it,
and after reading any passage, I honestly

couldn’t even tell you what I read.
But this book, this book was like not other,

it spoke to me philosophically
and it managed to show me how to live.


You didn’t think you could get so much
from just one book, and it’s true, afterward

I swooped up as much reading on the subject
as I could. And it still stuns me that just one book

could put me on a track to how to think
through life, because suddenly all my reasoning

made sense. With this one book I learned
how to fit the pieces together, and suddenly

my life made sense. I didn’t think
that just one book could do that to a person,

but I am a living testament to the message.
And like I’m putting my hand on a Bible

I’ll swear to this day that just the right book
in just the right hands of just the right minds

can really give the world clarity
and transform everything perfectly.

photo from show

video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/1/17 25 minute poetry reading at Austin’s Half Price Books, with her poems “old school and high-tech monuments”, “extinct on planet earth”, “Other Souls”, “Open Book”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book(filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/1/17 25 minute poetry reading at Austin’s Half Price Books, with her poems “old school and high-tech monuments”, “extinct on planet earth”, “Other Souls”, “Open Book”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book(filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/4/17 show “Exalted Love” at “Greatest Love” in Austin reading her poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” with music (from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video video See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/4/17 show “Exalted Love” at “Greatest Love” in Austin reading her poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” with music (filmed from a Canon Power Shot CS700 camera).
Exalted Love chapbook Exalted Love chapbook View or download the free PDF chapbook
Exalted Love
with her 2017 poems “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “Years, Centuries, Eons”, “Zenith of the Night Sky”, and “just one book” performed in her 2/4/17 show.
video not yet rated
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/5/17 20+ minute poetry reading at Austin’s Recycled Reads, with her poems “the Fourteenth”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “the Page”, “the Flashback”, “the Muse, the Messiah”, “Slate and Marrow”, and “just one book(this video was filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX60 camera).
video video
See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers in her 2/5/17 20+ minute poetry reading at Austin’s Recycled Reads, with her poems “the Fourteenth”, “Mapping the Way to True Love”, “the Page”, “the Flashback”, “the Muse, the Messiah”, “Slate and Marrow”, and “just one book(this video was filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).

Janet Kuypers Bio

    Janet Kuypers has a Communications degree in News/Editorial Journalism (starting in computer science engineering studies) from the UIUC. She had the equivalent of a minor in photography and specialized in creative writing. A portrait photographer for years in the early 1990s, she was also an acquaintance rape workshop facilitator, and she started her publishing career as an editor of two literary magazines. Later she was an art director, webmaster and photographer for a few magazines for a publishing company in Chicago, and this Journalism major was even the final featured poetry performer of 15 poets with a 10 minute feature at the 2006 Society of Professional Journalism Expo’s Chicago Poetry Showcase. This certified minister was even the officiant of a wedding in 2006.
    She sang with acoustic bands “Mom’s Favorite Vase”, “Weeds and Flowers” and “the Second Axing”, and does music sampling. Kuypers is published in books, magazines and on the internet around 9,300 times for writing, and over 17,800 times for art work in her professional career, and has been profiled in such magazines as Nation and Discover U, won the award for a Poetry Ambassador and was nominated as Poet of the Year for 2006 by the International Society of Poets. She has also been highlighted on radio stations, including WEFT (90.1FM), WLUW (88.7FM), WSUM (91.7FM), WZRD (88.3FM), WLS (8900AM), the internet radio stations ArtistFirst dot com,’s Poetry World Radio and Scars Internet Radio (SIR), and was even shortly on Q101 FM radio. She has also appeared on television for poetry in Nashville (in 1997), Chicago (in 1997), and northern Illinois (in a few appearances on the show for the Lake County Poets Society in 2006). Kuypers was also interviewed on her art work on Urbana’s WCIA channel 3 10 o’clock news.
    She turned her writing into performance art on her own and with musical groups like Pointless Orchestra, 5D/5D, The DMJ Art Connection, Order From Chaos, Peter Bartels, Jake and Haystack, the Bastard Trio, and the JoAnne Pow!ers Trio, and starting in 2005 Kuypers ran a monthly iPodCast of her work, as well mixed JK Radio — an Internet radio station — into Scars Internet Radio (both radio stations on the Internet air 2005-2009). She even managed the Chaotic Radio show (an hour long Internet radio show 1.5 years, 2006-2007) through She has performed spoken word and music across the country - in the spring of 1998 she embarked on her first national poetry tour, with featured performances, among other venues, at the Albuquerque Spoken Word Festival during the National Poetry Slam; her bands have had concerts in Chicago and in Alaska; in 2003 she hosted and performed at a weekly poetry and music open mike (called Sing Your Life), and from 2002 through 2005 was a featured performance artist, doing quarterly performance art shows with readings, music and images. Starting at this time Kuypers released a large number of CD releases currently available for sale at iTunes or amazon, including “Across the Pond”(a 3 CD set of poems by Oz Hardwick and Janet Kuypers with assorted vocals read to acoustic guitar of both Blues music and stylized Contemporary English Folk music), “Made Any Difference” (CD single of poem reading with multiple musicians), “Letting It All Out”, “What we Need in Life” (CD single by Janet Kuypers in Mom’s Favorite Vase of “What we Need in Life”, plus in guitarist Warren Peterson’s honor live recordings literally around the globe with guitarist John Yotko), “hmmm” (4 CD set), “Dobro Veče” (4 CD set), “the Stories of Women”, “Sexism and Other Stories”, “40”, “Live” (14 CD set), “an American Portrait” (Janet Kuypers/Kiki poetry to music from Jake & Haystack in Nashville), “Screeching to a Halt” (2008 CD EP of music from 5D/5D with Janet Kuypers poetry), “2 for the Price of 1” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from Peter Bartels), “the Evolution of Performance Art” (13 CD set), “Burn Through Me” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from The HA!Man of South Africa), “Seeing a Psychiatrist” (3 CD set), “The Things They Did To You” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “Hope Chest in the Attic” (audio CD set), “St. Paul’s” (3 CD set), “the 2009 Poetry Game Show” (3 CD set), “Fusion” (Janet Kuypers poetry in multi CD set with Madison, WI jazz music from the Bastard Trio, the JoAnne Pow!ers Trio, and Paul Baker), “Chaos In Motion” (tracks from Internet radio shows on Chaotic Radio), “Chaotic Elements” (audio CD set for the poetry collection book and supplemental chapbooks for The Elements), “etc.” audio CD set, “Manic Depressive or Something” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “Singular”, “Indian Flux” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “The Chaotic Collection #01-05”, “The DMJ Art Connection Disc 1” (Janet Kuypers poetry to music from the DMJ Art Connection), “Oh.” audio CD, “Live At the Café” (3 CD set), “String Theory” (Janet Kuypers reading other people’s poetry, with music from “the DMJ Art Connection), “Scars Presents WZRD radio” (2 CD set), “SIN - Scars Internet News”, “Questions in a World Without Answers”, “Conflict • Contact • Control”, “How Do I Get There?”, “Sing Your Life”, “Dreams”, “Changing Gears”, “The Other Side”, “Death Comes in Threes”, “the final”, “Moving Performances”, “Seeing Things Differently”, “Live At Cafe Aloha”, “the Demo Tapes” (Mom’s Favorite Vase), “Something Is Sweating” (the Second Axing), “Live In Alaska” EP (the Second Axing), “the Entropy Project”, “Tick Tock” (with 5D/5D), “Six Eleven” “Stop. Look. Listen.”, “Stop. Look. Listen to the Music” (a compilation CD from the three bands “Mom’s Favorite Vase”, “Weeds & Flowers” and “The Second Axing”), and “Change Rearrange” (the performance art poetry CD with sampled music).
    From 2010 through 2015 Kuypers also hosted the Chicago poetry open mic the Café Gallery, while also broadcasting weekly feature and open mic podcasts that were also released as YouTube videos.
    In addition to being published with Bernadette Miller in the short story collection book Domestic Blisters, as well as in a book of poetry turned to prose with Eric Bonholtzer in the book Duality, Kuypers has had many books of her own published: Hope Chest in the Attic, The Window, Close Cover Before Striking, (woman.) (spiral bound), Autumn Reason (novel in letter form), the Average Guy’s Guide (to Feminism), Contents Under Pressure, etc., and eventually The Key To Believing (2002 650 page novel), Changing Gears (travel journals around the United States), The Other Side (European travel book), the three collection books from 2004: Oeuvre (poetry), Exaro Versus (prose) and L’arte (art), The Boss Lady’s Editorials, The Boss Lady’s Editorials (2005 Expanded Edition), Seeing Things Differently, Change/Rearrange, Death Comes in Threes, Moving Performances, Six Eleven, Live at Cafe Aloha, Dreams, Rough Mixes, The Entropy Project, The Other Side (2006 edition), Stop., Sing Your Life, the hardcover art book (with an editorial) in cc&d v165.25, the Kuypers edition of Writings to Honour & Cherish, The Kuypers Edition: Blister and Burn, S&M, cc&d v170.5, cc&d v171.5: Living in Chaos, Tick Tock, cc&d v1273.22: Silent Screams, Taking It All In, It All Comes Down, Rising to the Surface, Galapagos, Chapter 38 (v1 and volume 1), Chapter 38 (v2 and Volume 2), Chapter 38 v3, Finally: Literature for the Snotty and Elite (Volume 1, Volume 2 and part 1 of a 3 part set), A Wake-Up Call From Tradition (part 2 of a 3 part set), (recovery), Dark Matter: the mind of Janet Kuypers , Evolution, Adolph Hitler, O .J. Simpson and U.S. Politics, the one thing the government still has no control over, (tweet), Get Your Buzz On, Janet & Jean Together, po•em, Taking Poetry to the Streets, the Cana-Dixie Chi-town Union, the Written Word, Dual, Prepare Her for This, uncorrect, Living in a Big World (color interior book with art and with “Seeing a Psychiatrist”), Pulled the Trigger (part 3 of a 3 part set), Venture to the Unknown (select writings with extensive color NASA/Huubble Space Telescope images), Janet Kuypers: Enriched, She’s an Open Book, “40”, Sexism and Other Stories, the Stories of Women, Prominent Pen (Kuypers edition), Elemental, the paperback book of the 2012 Datebook (which was also released as a spiral-bound cc&d ISSN# 2012 little spiral datebook, , Chaotic Elements, and Fusion, the (select) death poetry book Stabity Stabity Stab Stab Stab, the 2012 art book a Picture’s Worth 1,000 words (available with both b&w interior pages and full color interior pages, the shutterfly ISSN# cc&d hardcover art book life, in color, Post-Apocalyptic, Burn Through Me, Under the Sea (photo book), the Periodic Table of Poetry, a year long Journey, Bon Voyage!, and the mini books Part of my Pain, Let me See you Stripped, Say Nothing, Give me the News, when you Dream tonight, Rape, Sexism, Life & Death (with some Slovak poetry translations), Twitterati, and 100 Haikus, that coincided with the June 2014 release of the two poetry collection books Partial Nudity and Revealed. 2017, after hr October 2015 move to Austin Texas, also witnessed the release of 2 Janet Kuypers book of poetry written in Austin, “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 poems” and a book of poetry written for her poetry features and show, “(pheromemes) 2015-2017 show poems” (and both pheromemes books are available from two printers).

Prose (the meat and potatoes stuff)

Pick For The Future

Charles Hayes

    Pitching about in the rough waters of the Philippine Sea near the Island of Cebu, the little outrigger struggles to keep an even bottom as Carloi pulls his net aboard. Not as heavy with tuna as he would like, having come this far out, but enough to feed his aged parents and himself for a few days.
    Gauging the Sea and the heavy wind pushing it, he decides to go in with the currents past Betty Sentagal’s place.
    Making it inside the reef and out of the rough water, he folds the jib and takes the paddle for the last leg to his home, a half kilometer on. Passing the small beach that borders Betty’s home, Carloi sees her sitting on a large rock with a well dressed white man. Not even looking to sea but only to each other, the pair share a kiss that sends Carloi’s thoughts reeling.
    Stunned to see his pick for the future taken in real time, he quickly paddles by, staying out near the reef.

    Monsoon rains whip the outer edge of the crowd taking refuge under the fish market roof. Carloi and his friend William, standing near the street side of the shelter, have prepared for this time well, rehearsing just what to say. Often they have stood here, waiting, observing the arrivals of the different people.
    Almost ready to leave, Carloi sees the trisikad with its white foreigner pull up. Nodding in that direction, his excitement barely under control, he tells William in passable English, “That’s him and it is time. Come, we must get close like I told you.”
    Working their way toward the edge of the crowd and directly behind the place where the foreigner has also taken shelter, they are ready. Leading off in a low voice after a nudge from Carloi, William says, “ I tried many times when we were in grade nine and she would not do it.”
    Also speaking discreetly but loud enough, Carloi replies, “That was you my friend. I am not you. I was with her the other night at our old place after she snuck away from some Joe.”
    Pausing to let imagination work, Carloi takes a slow breath.
    “She moaned and hopped just like old times.”
    Almost seeing the ears in front of him burn, William replies with a grin, “Amigo, you are one lucky guy. Betty Sentagal was the wish of every guy in my class. No wonder your nets are never empty.”
    Almost in a whisper, Carloi spreads it as thick as he dares.
    “Ah man, she is easy. And in tune, no sweat.”
    Not wanting to lay it on so thick that the big foreigner confronts them, Carloi pulls William toward the other side of the shelter.
    “Come on my friend, let’s go have a San Miguel and watch the girls. The seas will still be here tomorrow.”

    The old Spanish church, a monolith of early occupiers, takes up almost the whole lot. Pageantry is visible throughout the grounds and robed assistants mingle about as Carloi and Betty exit the arched main entryway hand in hand and all smiles. Wearing a new laced polo barong, dark trousers, and shoes that hurt his feet, Carloi leads Betty, in her full white gown and white slippers that peek out, to the Jeepney waiting at the end of the church walkway.
    With the religious stuff over and the priest happy with the sanctity of a life long union, the celebration can begin. Carloi’s mother and father, longing to ditch their clothes, and Betty’s parents and siblings have come together to put on a show for the whole Barangay.
    Suckling pigs turning over charcoal, grilled fish, and all the other favorite Island foods await them. Tubs of iced San Miguel and bamboo canisters of tuba, or coconut wine, to serve those who wish a little zen are ready. And a new house, complete with grass roof and air conditioning, its front door decorated with bows and flowers, stands by at Carloi’s place by the Sea.
    After helping Betty into the front part of the jeepney as a crowd of others pile in the back, Carloi turns to his best man and says, “William, we did the impossible.”
    Shaking Carloi’s hand warmly, William leans in and whispers, “That we did amigo, we beat a rich foreigner out of his woman. Long lives to us all.”
    Laughing, Carloi nods and hops to the shotgun seat of the jeepney for their ride home.


    Noticing the Sentagal’s Toyota in the coconut grove on his way in, Carloi stows his fishing gear and enters his house to find several people, including Betty’s mother and father, in the little living room. All eyes briefly explore his face then return to the bedroom curtain. He looks to his mother, who simply nods.
    Pacing in and out of the small house, Carloi searches for any calming influence while they all wait. Outside again, looking to the sea and the distant grey blue outline of Bohol, Carloi hears the baby’s first cry and rushes into the house to witness a flurry of movement about the small living room. Like a freeze frame, it all halts when the curtain spreads and the midwife appears.
    “You may see your wife and son now Carloi,” she says. “But don’t stay long, Betty is very tired. A healthy baby but large. She needs rest.”
    Moving to the bedroom, Carloi edges to the side of their bed and looks down at his wife holding the bundled child. Her face tired but seemingly resigned, Betty folds back the towel to reveal the baby as Carloi hesitantly leans in and lowers his eyes. The baby is white.

Charles Hayes bio

    Charles Hayes, a multiple Pushcart Prize Nominee, is an American who lives part time in the Philippines and part time in Seattle with his wife. A product of the Appalachian Mountains, his writing has appeared in Ky Story’s Anthology Collection, Wilderness House Literary Review, The Fable Online, Unbroken Journal, CC&D Magazine, Random Sample Review, The Zodiac Review, eFiction Magazine, Saturday Night Reader, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Scarlet Leaf Publishing House, Burning Word Journal, eFiction India, and others.


Charles Hayes

    Wishing that I could just travel on out of here like the trains that run these tracks or the river that flows beside them, I trek on, two ties a stride. Or sometimes I line walk a single rail. But not much different from people in hell wanting ice water, I suspect, I know that I am stuck in these Appalachian coal digs for a long time to come. At least I’m out of the hollow for a change. Can’t remember the last time I came down to follow the river. Up there the apartness seems to grow on you until you become two different kinds, like a grafted tree. Part of me homes and takes on the aloneness while the other part is shocked at how funny the words come out when I have to talk to the mail carrier.
    Shoving my hands in my pockets it’s no surprise that there is plenty of room for them to make a fist. Or that there’s a hole in one of my pockets. Up the hollow it doesn’t much matter but up ahead, in town, I’ll have to pick my spots carefully. Money matters. Sharing my tack with the coal trains and the following plumes of coal dust only adds to it. People can smell it. No matter how much I dust off. And they become leery....especially with my balled up pockets. But I know a place. Other side of the tracks, different color, but friendly, where pockets are as balled up as mine. And when friends of friends come off the Amtrak, down from D.C. with a little money, they know the score......having once been here themselves. Good times are cheap............. even for them.


    Henry, an old half blind World War Two veteran who also lives alone, may not even be open. The Amtrak’s not due for an hour and there‘s not much going on down here around the switching yards. Just some empty coal cars parked by his nondescript old brick building. Having no other place to go, I may as well try the door. There’s no other way to know for sure.
    Pushing on the front door, I am relieved to see it swing open into a dimly lit and deserted bar, the only light coming from some liquor and beer neon signs and their reflections in the long mirror that backs the mahogany bar. At the far end of the rich dark wood, eating a plate of what smells like refried beans, fried chicken, and cabbage, sits Henry. My long perspective down the bar, like looking through the big end of a hand telescope, shows Henry squinting back at me through his thick glasses. The separation it emphasizes, Henry having his meal and me fresh off the tracks, is unavoidable. Figuring that he can see me well enough but in a hurry to add my voice to his senses, I say, “What’s cooking Henry, think you can start me a tab for a meal and some drinks?”
    In his cantankerous way, not being a slight, just his dislike for the niceties that he considers a useless drain on his remaining years, Henry pushes himself up, goes over to his Warm Morning and returns with a plate of cornbread, beans, and cabbage. Muttering to himself as if self directing, he places it atop the bar a few feet from where he is sitting. Getting back to his plate, he finally speaks to me.
    “You smell like cinders.”
    My first bite of cornbread already halfway to my mouth, I pause and watch him sit back down.
    Eyes averted, grinning at his plate while his bald head slightly shakes, Henry is having a little fun.
     Certainly not the first ribbing I’ve experienced, I smile until he looks around and sees that he got me.
    “When the tracks are all you got to grace your place from,” I say, “that will happen.”
    “Yeah, I know,” he says while mopping up his plate with his last bit of corn bread. “Ain’t no chicken left. I ate the last piece. Eat up, I’ll carry you.”
    Standing and taking his dishes to the sink, Henry reaches into the cooler and comes out with a bottle of Stroh’s, opens it, and slides it over by my plate.
    With an ear for the Amtrak, I finish my plate and nurse my beer while Henry putters around the bar, chuckling and muttering about the smell of cinders.


    At first light, back on the tracks going upstream, feeling hungover and tired, I almost piss myself when a muskrat streaks out from under the rails, crosses my foot, and goes over the river bank. My lethargy suddenly gone, I wonder at the wild poverty of this land. Maybe having little to nothing just comes with the territory and all things are as they should be. Trying to get my mind around this thought with miles yet to go is difficult. But as the sun finally breaks the ridgeline and the leafless limbs begging from the sky, I figure that after all that is, my poverty is not cowed. I am just poor.

Charles Hayes bio

    Charles Hayes, a multiple Pushcart Prize Nominee, is an American who lives part time in the Philippines and part time in Seattle with his wife. A product of the Appalachian Mountains, his writing has appeared in Ky Story’s Anthology Collection, Wilderness House Literary Review, The Fable Online, Unbroken Journal, CC&D Magazine, Random Sample Review, The Zodiac Review, eFiction Magazine, Saturday Night Reader, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Scarlet Leaf Publishing House, Burning Word Journal, eFiction India, and others.

The Walking Man

Bill DeArmond

    3:07 PM          Corner of Park and 10th Street          Mikey Shermer
    Hey, guys! There goes that old dude I was tellin’ you about. Every day, like clockwork – rain, snow, whatever – he’s out on his stroll.
    I hope I got that much energy when I’m that old. What is he? 50-something? That’s ancient.
    What do you think’s drivin’ that guy? Probably was a runner once. Kind of gimpy now – a bum leg – some kinda accident, I bet.
    I gotta give him props though. Man that’s know what I mean. I’ve never committed myself that much to anything...except nailing Mary Sweeney.
    Maybe had a stroke or somethin’...has to do this to stay alive.

    3:22 PM          Corner of 10th and Evergreen          Mad Miz Dubois
    There’s that prevert again! Trampin’ ‘round those houses – sneakin’ looks inside – tryin’ to catch people doin’ somethin’ nasty.
    I mighta knowed. Here comes the school bus. That’s what he’s awaitin’ fer. That old fart! Watchin’ them little kids. Conjurin’ up some preversion he can do on ‘em.
    Look at him just standin’ there – starin’ at that little boy all the way to his door. Plannin’ some secret perversion, I bet. And what the hell’s that look on his face? He’s almost cryin’ – like he can’t wait.
    This time I’m gonna call the cops.
    Stop him and his preverted eyes. Damn old fart! I’m gonna turn him in.
    Sure will do it.
    Right after Opry.

    3:37 PM          Corner of Evergreen and 19tth          Tony Roach
    Here comes that homeless guy again. I guess he’s homeless. Seems to wander around town all day. It’s all aimless – he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere – taking his time – not much aware of what’s going on around him.
    I wonder what’s north on Evergreen? He’s always coming from that direction. Never the other way.
    And he never carries anything – ever! It’s not like he’s coming from the store.
    He’s probably not homeless. He’d be pushing a cart or carrying a bag or something. Wouldn’t leave his stuff where somebody could steal it.
    Clothes seems too clean for a bum – even though he always wears that beat-up old black leather jacket – that stupid beret.

    3:52 PM          Corner of 19th and Park          Marshall Mathers
    Marshall Mathers was also a creature of habit. He always got home from work at 3:30 – to a house empty now these two years since his Marsha had passed away.
    He’d always spend that first half hour or so puttering around in the garden, preening the flower-lined sidewalk. Marsha’s pride and joy. Her only conceit.
    Marshall never thought about why he spent this time trying to keep it all neat and trim. He just did it – not really knowing what he was doing – mimicking things he’d seen her do. He barely watered the shrubs – just enough to keep them going. As long as they survived, somehow her memory did as well.
    Had Marshall bothered to glance up from his meditation, he’d have noticed a man in a worn jacket pass by. Had he met the old man’s eyes, he would have seen a common sadness there. Maybe they would have talked. Maybe each would have found a brother.
    But Marshall kept his attention focused on the earth – pulling weeds that would be there again tomorrow.
    And the moment passed.

    4:02 PM          1472 Park Street          Emily Brewer and Nelle Harper
    “I see George is back right on time again.”
    “You mean that old guy in the funny hat who wanders all over town?”
    “Well, he doesn’t drive anymore since the accident.”
    “What accident?”
    “You remember that car that went over Bright’s Cliff up on the summit?”
    “I remember something about it? A couple years ago?”
    “Almost four actually.”
    “And George was involved?”
    “He was driving. With his wife and son. They all survived the initial crash. George managed to climb the embankment even though he’d dislocated his shoulder, badly sprained his ankle, and had suffered a bad gash on his leg.”
    “What happened?”
    “George hiked four miles back down the road. It’s so isolated up there he didn’t run into anyone on the way. Nobody lives up there either. When he finally located a house, it was vacant. He broke in and called 911. By the time the rescue crew got to the scene, his wife had died. They boy lingered another day or so before he passed.”
    “He didn’t have a cell phone?”
    “It was crushed.”
    “And he hasn’t driven since?”
    “He never replaced the car. The police repeatedly assured George that it wasn’t his fault – a worn brake line that suddenly blew – but he blamed himself. And so he walks wherever he goes.”
    “But why this trip? Every day at the same time?”
    “Every afternoon he walks a square exactly one mile on each side. They went over at 3:03 PM. It took him exactly an hour to make the four miles to a phone.”
    “And why is he doing this?”
    “He’s remembering.”
    “Is that the truth, Emily?”
    “Maybe, Nelle. Who knows? But it sure makes for a good story.”

Walking, photography by Kyle Hemmings

Walking, photography by Kyle Hemmings

Good Times

Patrick Fealey

    I made love to his girlfriend in his dried blood. I know he would have been happy for us. His cock was in a ceramic urn in her living room, so he was helpless and he knew we were the best comfort each could have had.
    Katz and I spoke on the telephone every night. I would be on a pay-phone somewhere, maybe sweating in the sun in the Mission district in San Francisco, maybe Narragansett Pier or the Seaman’s Church Institute in Newport, standing in 20 degrees while he sat in his warm house drinking rum and Tab and stroking his cat Willy. Our conversations were mostly at night and lasted hours.

    “What’s it like there?” Katz said.
    “A lot of hot chicks. It’s always hot in the Mission. At least eighty. The rest of San Francisco can be under a cold fog bank and it seems the Mission is always sunny.”
    “Why’s that?”
    “I think it’s the hills to the west. The fog doesn’t make it over them.”
    “It’s typical November here, raining and forty-five.”
    “That’s the worst. Of course doing laundry is the worst too. If it were not for the women coming in and out of the café next door, I’d be in a coma.”
    “Good-looking women, huh? Not like around here. The most beautiful girls I’ve been around were in college in Michigan. Blondes. One was so beautiful I married her.”
    “You were married?”
    “For five minutes.”
    “Why do you wait seven years to tell me you were married?”
    “It wasn’t a big deal. We got into a fight on the way back from the honeymoon.”
    “Over what?”
    “How low the windows should be rolled down. I knew then it was over.”
    “You’re so tolerant, patient and good at compromise,” I laughed.
    “There were many other options. My friends and I chose that school for a reason. We looked up the school with the highest women to men ratio. A lot of men had been drafted. I think it was fourteen to one. I once dated two roommates and neither of them knew about the other.”
    “Maybe they didn’t want to know.”
    “May be.”
    “’My boyfriend has a big dick.’ ‘I bet you mine’s is bigger.’”
    Katz laughs.

    Katz and I had been friends for ten years and I considered him my best friend. His death at 58 threw me off the wagon. I had been sober for seven years and needed to be for my health, but the night I went to his house I found blood on the bed and Champagne in the fridge and rum on the table and drank the whole bottle in celebration of his sad victory. I know he bought the booze for those of us who would be there. I did not consider his suicide an out; I considered it treatment.
    That was 13 years ago, and six months after my lover Mimi had fatally overdosed and my housemate Mudslide, a fisherman, had drowned when he fell off the dock drunk in February. My closest friends were wiped out in 18 months. I am solitary and it was not easy for me to find friends like them.

    “What’d you do today?”
    “I walked Sandra’s dogs,” Katz said. “Took them out to the beach.”
    “Walking the dogs?” I laughed. “What’s the latest with the banker at Mensa?”
    “I showed her how to administer the test to others on Saturday. Afterward, I asked everyone if anyone wanted to go out for lunch. She was the only one to say yes. I said, ‘Okay, nobody wants to go out for lunch, I’ll see you next time.’”
    “You fucking blew it.”
    “I know. Did I?”
    “What do you think? She wanted to go to lunch with you.”
    “ . . .”
    “Now she thinks you’re an asshole.”
    “I don’t know what I was thinking.”
    “You’ve been talking about her for two months. Now you wreck it?”
    I had been hearing about this woman. She was in her forties and quite attractive. To hear Katz turn down the woman he was obsessed with? It was a symptom of a decline in confidence. He was getting older. He had lost his hair and muscle and was an alcoholic. But she knew these things and after so much time around him wanted to go to lunch with him. How could he lose his nerve? With someone he already knew? Because it would become a date? Because he was losing his mind and knew it? I did not know, but to me lunch would have been an ideal move.

    Katz and Sandra had been through for several years and they remained close friends. She had spoken to him two nights before he did it. She had just had pelvic surgery and told him not to call her while she was recovering. The same night Katz and I were in our first fight. I launched against him for transgressions he had committed and I had overlooked with effort earlier in our friendship. I called him a fucking asshole and prick. I should have explained to him why I was angry. I did not know he was so fragile. He was a brawler who watched the fights to relax. His last words to me were “peace out” and then he blew his brains into the Atlantic.
    His favorite character in all of literature was Pursewarden, a cynical journalist in Lawrence Durrell’s Justine, the first book of the Alexandria Quartet. It may have been his favorite book. Katz was a cynical journalist who had put the governor in prison and Pursewarden had committed suicide.

    I slept at Sandra’s house. Her beach cottage with sun-bleached grey shingles had one small bedroom so we shared the bed. It was never suggested that I sleep on the couch. It did not seem romantic but what else could it have become? She was working on her computer one night and I came from behind and massaged her shoulders.
    “What are you doing?” she said.
    One night I reached over through the sheets and searched for her breasts.
    “What are you doing?” she said.
    “ . . .”
    The next night I found her breasts and we kissed and I moved on and took off her pajamas. I felt good about her. She had an incredible body. She was 49 and the oldest woman I had ever been with. I was 35 then and am 48 as I write this.
    Sandra climaxed orally. She climaxed quietly. I knew by her subtle movements and the release of her breath and relaxation that followed. My climax was elusive. She was reluctant to give me head and acted as if she did not know how. I did not know whether to believe her, but with a lack of proficiency and an unwillingness to go down on me, the sexual relationship deteriorated. I could make her come but she could not make me come unless I fucked her furiously for 20 minutes. I would always go down on her and then fuck her. I would get myself to come sometimes but it was a lot of work and she showed no interest in learning how to give head. She would try weakly for a couple of minutes and then give up like she did not want to do it, like she found it degrading. It was difficult for me to imagine Katz tolerating this.
    We helped one another through Katz’s death. We needed the comfort of skin to skin, the heat and the oblivion, the different place, the connection it created in our souls out of bed. I had not met her until after his death.

    She felt badly that she had told Katz not to call her.
    Sandra: “The detective said ‘It’s common to feel bad, especially in cases of suicide.’”
    My mother brought me his obituary and said “I thought you should see this. Is this your friend?” I read the obituary and did not believe it. I had just had my first disagreement with him. I looked up Sandra and I wrote to her about Katz’s fiction, which was somewhere in his house, long abandoned and needing to be saved. She came right over and I heard a woman shouting my name outside my window. I tore his house apart and within one hour found a collection of short stories and an incomplete novel stuffed in a cubby behind the refrigerator. He had abandoned his literary work years ago because it had been rejected by publishers, but had saved it, hidden it. I have had one of his short stories published posthumously. I was the only one in the world who knew he wrote fiction.

     Sandra was calling my name outside my window. It was fortunate that I lived on the first floor of the huge rooming house.
    “Hi?” I said.
    “I’m Sandra. I had to come right over. I got your letter.”
    She was compelled by the existence of his art.
    “Come around to the front door.”
    I went out onto the porch.
    “It’s good to meet you. Katz talked about your dogs all the time.”
    “I didn’t know he wrote fiction,” she said. “He never mentioned it.”
    “We have to find it and get it out of there while we can still get into the house.”
    On the first day, I checked her out. Her body was fine, but her face was strained. Her face had been strained for a long time before now. She was arranging a memorial for his friends. She was talking to Katz’s sister, who was the next of kin. His sister was a staid and moneyed publisher of Christian textbooks and unhelpful, more concerned about Katz’s finances and hiding the cause of his death. Katz had despised her for chaining him to the radiator when he was a child. She would not unlock him when he needed to urinate. He wet himself and she and the babysitter nicknamed him “tink.” It was a humiliation he did not share with me for eight years.
    Katz compartmentalized his life. I would not have known about Sandra if he did not walk her dogs. Sandra would not have known about his fiction had he not told me. As I said, he confessed he had been married seven years into our relationship and on the phone in San Francisco. This was also when he told me how he had dodged the Vietnam draft. It was the smart thing and the right thing, but my father went and it destroyed his nervous system and agent orange would claim his life by brain cancer. Growing up, I had a diseased madman for a father.
    I had read one of Katz’s short stories, “All Fours,” when we put out a magazine called MARROW. His short stories had been rejected and there were long passages missing from his novel. I read some of his novel and it was flat, but his short stories were brilliant. I would describe them as magical realism with sex and satire, Marquez meets de Sade. Of course, Marquez was a variation of Hamsun, who won the Noble Prize 60 years before Marquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a resetting of Hamsun’s Growth of the Soil. Both books move very slowly through generations of isolated peasant farmers. In a chest in his bedroom I found rejections he had saved and taken too seriously. One disgusted editor wrote him a ranting lecture on misogyny. I had never seen an editor put so much energy into a rejection. Katz was a beautiful man and had been with many women and had been through torturous relationships but at the end of the day he loved them – and kept his soul at a safe distance. His short stories about women and sex read true. He described semen on the lips of a vagina after orgasm and so he was banned. The editor with rabies was from Boston.

    At the University of Michigan, Katz met the Nordic goddess he would marry. The relationship came to an end on that drive back from the honeymoon. He moved east and worked for a newspaper and then went back to Michigan to see her. At the airport “Her beauty reminded me of why I had married her.” But it was not enough to compensate for the bitchery. There were many beautiful women.

    In Michigan, Katz and his friend Mike were drafted. They had thought they were safe in graduate school, that’s why they went to graduate school, but the Defense Department needed men and officers and it knew the scam. They were called up. Mike, a chemistry major, concocted a formula and rubbed it on his face. It created a temporary and sickening deformity that the draft board rejected. Katz claimed he was gay. He admitted to me that he had told the government he was gay while I was on the phone in San Francisco outside café Que Tal. Seven years and distance seemed to bring out of him confessions. He also may have known he did not have long to live.
    “I told them I was gay.”
    It is an easy statement for an intellectual who does not want to be caught up in the homicidal interests of the military industrial complex. I suppose it was a tough admission for an alpha male who loved women as much as Katz. But I felt despite all the women, he wanted more than friendship with me. I have been attracted to men, but to me it was not how I thought of Katz and how I wanted our relationship to be. I would only later consider my bisexuality. I was as close to him on intellectual and spiritual planes as I have been with the great lovers. I do not know what politics sex would have introduced to our equation but given our connection it might have been a foregone next step or a disaster.

    One of my greatest regrets is that Katz and I were in a disagreement when he died. I had attacked a man who for the most part had been a good friend. It was only his one-time greed and the time he sabotaged my relationship with a woman which cut me to the heart. Dante wrote that the worst sin is betrayal and we have all committed it. I believe what the great prophets have said. Usury is the worst sin because you are profiting off the blood of your brother and many have committed it with varyin degrees of success. Betrayal is a form of usury. And Katz used me and my writing for money when he low-balled me on the payment, while insulting a girl I was trying to bring in one day when the two of us walked past her. I had been talking to her on the wharf before she went to work to waitress and she knew I was there and heard Katz say: “She’s just a lunch waitress.” Her back was to us and she had seen me and may have thought I said it. She flinched. I was cock-blocked by my best friend.

    Sandra was an elementary school librarian for many years. I was a starving writer living on Social Security, which did not pay me enough to eat and drink. I received $579 per month from the government, no foodstamps, and my rent was $500. I walked a dog for food money while writing novels. This is the place where the nymph Ashley would move in with me. Sandra’s cottage was waterfront and had been appraised at $1,000,000. It was the land that went down to the beach. It was not the cottage, which was beautiful, but small. She could have dramatically improved my circumstances if I had stayed with her, but she became too old and I wanted better sex, though it would take me a year to find the 16-year-old wayward ingénue Ashley, one of the best girlfriends I ever had before she went off her psyche medication and birth control without telling me and demanded a baby.
    Ashley was living in a state-run house for girls who did not have homes and soon was climbing in my window and crawling into bed with me in the morning. Eventually, she moved in to my two rooms in the rooming house.
    Ashley had quit high school and was essentially illiterate, which I had to weigh against her entertaining and dynamic personality and the outrageous sex. She was also unemployed. As a writer, I had a hang-up dating a girl who could not read. She was incapable of appreciating a lot of me. I tried to teach her how to read starting with cartoons. She was slow. Bright personality. Beautiful. Socially adept. Everyone loved her. Intellectually compromised. When she demanded a baby, I saw the end coming. Her tearful implorations made me pity her. Then she had a miscarriage. She had lied against me and gone off her birth control. We were living together and I broke us up. I went to live in the subsidized hotel and found her a house subsidized by the local mental health organization. I moved into the hotel and she moved into the house two days later. She stayed with me the first night at the hotel and the second night she determinedly said she was going to stay in the women’s shelter downstairs instead of with me. She could have stayed with me a second night.
    “You don’t have to do this,” I said.
    “I may as well get used to it,” she said.
    It was unnecessary and afterward she spread the news among our friends that I had abandoned her to the women’s shelter, to the streets.
    I had coerced the mental health clinic into giving her a place in a house. They did not have many houses and a place for her was unavailable. But I pushed it. I had power over my counselor because she was in love and disliked Ashley. She was jealous and happy to see us splitting. I told her I was not moving into the hotel unless she found a place for Ashley. It worked out, but Ashley needed to spread that rumor about me. I ran into a man we had lived with, the man whose dog I walked for fifty dollars a week, and he was curt and wouldn’t look at me. Ashley had endeared herself to him because that’s the way she was while she was being good. When I split us up she stated “I have tried being good and it didn’t work. Now I am just going to be bad again.”
    Ashley and I continued to see one another for a couple of months and it was good but I did not come over often and this was our break-up period. Men started coming over to see her. She did not pursue them, but was too naïve to discourage them. She was sure to tell me about them. Her housemate was a whore who fucked three men a night. I had seen her at work. I suspect they were paying. She was white and morbidly obese and devious and the train of men were black. The girls were not allowed to have guests stay overnight and one night after Ashley had ridden me to god I stayed and the obese whore ratted us out to the mental health clinic. My counselor threatened us.
    One day a drug dealer named Todd arrived with blunts and continued to arrive and one night he raped Ashley. He was also black.
    “I told him never to do that again!” she said.
    Ashley had a tolerance for rape which most would consider absurd. She had been gang-raped in high school and was promiscuous. Every time she left the house for girls, a counselor gave her condoms. She dressed as unattractively as she could until she was going out with me and I demanded some fashion sense, like blue jeans. Then she fucked Rob some more and she dumped me for good and had his child. Ashley wanted children more than she wanted a good relationship with a man. She respected crime and violence.
    Today she has three kids, the one by the black drug-dealing rapist, one by a Puerto Rican gang member, and a third by another. She got a dragon tattoo on her shoulder blade when she was with me and now has more, a big elaborate one on her face.
    A gang of African Americans stabbed me and gave me a concussion in the street a few years before. They almost killed me because I was just walking by and I was white. They almost killed two more white kids after they stabbed me and attacked another before me. The first attack drew the police, but they let the assailants go. After they attacked me, the police and I caught up with them down the road and I identified one of them as the one who set me up. He had approached me from the side and walked beside me saying, “It’s cool, it’s cool, it’s cool” before I felt the pain and saw one white star. I was struck in the back of the head with a running punch from his accomplice, an all-state football player. The one I identified was the son of a doctor and a prominent family. Their ancestor was the first to be freed from slavery and everyone knew the name. I did not identify the one who had hit me from behind and stabbed me in the face, though I had seen him well enough under the sodium vapor, because when the police caught up to him he had tucked in his shirt and hid his dreadlocks under a baseball cap, which I had seen one of the others wearing during the attack. He was the biggest of them and I had seen his inflated shirt and hair flying when he attacked me. The police put the one I had identified in the back seat with me. I got out of the car. The police let them go and the wilding gang put the next two kids into the hospital with broken ribs and fewer teeth. A black man raped my aunt Mary while she was jogging in Central Park. She was a virgin. She was studying nursing in the city. A black gang attacked my father also in New York. He punched the leader in the face and they all ran away. The blacks attacked women, men when they outnumbered them, and from behind. They did not stand up and fight, but were wilding, an African American pastime throughout the country and captured on film. The victims are inevitable white and age is not considered. Wilding is an attack from all directions by running assailants who strike you as they run past. They do not stop and face their victim. I stood with my fists at the ready and was stabbed by the passing football player. He came from a family of criminals and would later be arrested for attacking someone else. He was never arrested for attacking me and the others. His brother had been a drug dealer in Providence and he had been murdered. A cop told me the younger brother “will end up in the river.” Instead, The University of Rhode Island gave him a football scholarship. His criminal record was public knowledge and someone at the university had reservations. A retired Providence Police Chief came to the university to satiate the mass need to accept him into the program. He told of a good kid who had grown up disadvantaged. Then a black raped Ashley. It is difficult not to take it personally and form opinions when you are saturated in your own warm blood and African Americans have raped your family and girlfriend. Rarely in my life has an African American shown affection for me, including co-workers, one of whom later apologized for his racist attitude. My father’s mother’s family are among the founding fathers and they had owned slaves. The blacks’ response to me appears to be one toward a slave-owner. I had blue English blood in my veins. I share the family resemblance. As a journalist, editors had sent me into black communities because of my liberalism and accepting nature. I was open to everyone and the all as well as a warrior for individual freedom. I got along splendidly with the black officials I interviewed. I also wrote about a racist public housing authory director who used racial slurs on the job. He was fired and died weeks later when he choked to death in a bar.

    Ashley lives on Social Security for manic-depression, a process I put into action, and welfare for the babies she has had. She had a good white-trash plan of baby-empowered womanhood and never took her psyche meds again. One night several years later she called me when I was living in California to tell me how great her life was. She had gotten a driver’s license. She had a Mitsubishi Eclipse she had wrecked. She had a new boyfriend and three children and all three fathers were under her thumb. She explained why she broke up with me.
    “Todd got daps,” she said, referring to her rapist. I did not command the type of respect she sought. I was a loner and artist while Todd attracted many with his drugs.
    Once she took a baseball bat to the head to protect Todd. In the town park he had jumped into the path of the swing meant for him. She came over and showed me the cut, which needed stitching, and assaulted me verbally for eight hours before I called the police to take her away because she refused to leave. I pushed her toward the door, but she fought back and I realized I was assaulting her. She was out of her mind. The cops asked me what took me so long to call. I suppose it was love and hope.
    So we talked on the phone, Fall River to Humboldt County. She bragged about being a guest on the Jerry Springer Show as an abused woman. Apparently, Todd the drug-dealing rapist with “daps” deserved to be beaten with a bat. There in Los Angeles they discovered she was smoking crack including while she was pregnant with the babies she had to have and Springer put her into a very expensive southern Californian rehabilitation center. He probably cared because she was the most charming girl he had ever met. The night she called me she was clean, but mentioned that one of her sons was slow and did not talk. She said she did not know why. She talked the way she always could and her flood of words rolled over me. I was quiet for a long time and she said she would say goodbye. The next day she left a message asking me to call her boyfriend, who apparently was jealous of our conversation. She said he suspected she had met me when she was in Los Angeles. Of course I never called him. Ashley was still trying to play me off other men and them off me. She started this game before I kicked her out and it was a betrayal. Playing men off one another is destruction. She learned it from her mother who once had strung along nine members of the East Coast Motherfuckers. And this woman called the police on me when she found out her daughter was dating an older man. We went down to the police station and met with a detective and answered some questions and he concluded that all was well with us and told her mother to essentially fuck off. The day I met the woman who looked much older than she was, she acted like she wanted to borrow my cock from her daughter.
    Ashley was comic and socially adept and everyone she met loved her, but we never could have lasted. She was inexperienced and unwell in the head and I was at fault for pursuing a relationship with a teenager. The mental health clinic moved her to a better house with better roomates, but she could not tolerate them. She wanted to live with me. One night she slit her wrists when I was over there and said I was not going to spend the night. She bawled and begged and I rode away on my bike and she wound up in the hospital. The next morning, she and her friend showed up and she apologized. I was not going to be manipulated. But in the end I gave in to her unhappiness with her living situation and allowed her to move in with me. We shared two large room and a common bathroom and kitchen. One guy, a pizza maker with whom she shared a mutual admiration and attraction, started coming to our house and playing cards with the dead-beat, wife-abusing, crack-head, former Navy boxer and now school bus driver. He crashed his bus twice. The pizza maker did not talk to me. After Ashley moved out, she became an erotic dancer and he would go to the club and pay her for lap dances. One of the last times I saw her was in the morning in Newport, long after our relationship had ended. She was arriving at the pizza place before it was open. She was wearing all black, an overcoat that went to her ankles, back to the high school goth look.

    Sandra was intelligent, literate, and Irish. Sandra and I had good times walking the dogs in the waterfront neighborhood, shopping, going to the beach and cooking together. I appreciated her quick jokes, but in the bedroom things were not working out. And she was very thrifty. She would actually drive to Fall River, Massachusetts to get gasoline for five cents less. And she drove a Honda which got great mileage and she worked at the elementary school in town. So she drives to Massachusetts to save one dollar on a tank of gas for a car that gets 32 miles to the gallon? There was no value in it; she was fooling herself. After we broke up and were friends and I was detoxing involuntarily she would loan me twenties. I paid her back, but she soon resisted my requests. She was never obliged to give me a cent and I had broken up with her so she could have said no easily, but I asked and she loaned me the money for a few weeks.

    Before Sandra and Ashley, there was Katie, who was my lover soon after I was stricken with manic-depression and my family had marginalized me and left me on my own, sick and unemployed and destitute. I was diagnosed as manic-depressive, rapid-cycling, mixed state, schizo-affective, with seizure absentia, otherwise known as Plato’s Seizure. I had the worst form of manic-depression, according to the literature, my Harvard psychiatrist and the Mayo Clinic. But the disease reaps artistic benefits every day you manage not to kill yourself. While I suffered, my family thought of themselves. They had plenty of money and lived 10 miles away but let me go without food. They never invited me over for dinner. They were paranoid about their own minds and I had become a pariah. Bipolar disorder is inherited and both of them would go mad resisting treatment. My father would actually receive Social Security Disability for his mental problems. But mine belonged to me. Our family had three suicides on both sides. My parents were not well and would not admit it until it was too late. My mother is still alive and has been tricked by her doctors who recognized her denial of mental illness. They prescribed her what they told her was a sleep medication but is truly an anti-schizophrenic. She is doing much better. So my sick folks let me rot, walking a greyhound-pit-bull mix for $50 a week so I could eat while I was writing two novels. When I had been a newspaper reporter for The Narragansett Times and The Boston Globe, I was a star; they were so proud. When I was sick and recovering and was working on greater things they could not see printed every day, they did not want to know me. On Thanksgivings they spent two days with my sister and brought leftovers to me and visited for one hour. My sister did not invite me to Thanksgiving dinner at her house because she said I drank too much. After a year without food I got scurvy and eight teeth fell out. I still have the belt I wore from that time. I had to cut four new holes in it as I shrunk. It is a reminder of hard times and my family.
    “Great men succeed despite their families, not because of them.” Charles Baudelaire.
    The mind is the last organ to admit there is something wrong with itself. I experienced this as I descended into a suicidal state without ever knowing I was going down. I could not admit I was sick and it was not voluntary. My mind blinded me from its condition. Once I became paralytic I did not call a psychiatrist, even after my boss suggested I do so simply by looking at me. Eventually I looked up psychiatrists in the phone book and never called them. I lived as a sick and crippled man for months knowing something was wrong but resisting treatment. I did not improve and finally called my mother and she sent me to her psychiatrist, who was treating her for clinical depression. She considered my bipolar disorder my own dreadful affliction that had nothing to do with her genes or the fact that she was a manic and spent $1,000,000 on clothes and shoes and was a germaphobe and paranoiac.
    Her shrink misdiagnosed me as just another serotonin-depleted drunk. He gave me the same medicine he gave my mother. Prozac.
    Prozac helped but I experienced wildly shifting moods on a daily basis. I started to mark on the calendar how I felt each day. Good Monday. Okay Tuesday. Bad Wednesday. Okay Thursday. Good Friday. The cycle from high to low was three days. From high to high six days. I noted the days on my calendar and charted a graph before my second appointment and showed it to the doctor. It looked like an EKG. He said, “That’s rapid cycling.” I was also experiencing mixed states, where you are depressed and manic at the same time. It is excruciating. Your head is twisted and you are suicidal. Intellectually and spiritually I was breaking through to the other side and what I saw there was death. It would take medication and time, as well as the fact that I had tied a philistine rope to my ankle to get back. This first doctor prescribed an anti-seizure medication, Depakote, used for epileptics. And it helped and changed everything like a gentle rain on my taught brain but he did not prescribe enough. The cycling was diminished, but remained. I called him.
    “Just stay on what I gave you.”
    I called my father and he called his brother, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, and he called me and gave me a thorough examination. He asked me more questions than the psychiatrist ever had and then called my shrink to tell him to give me more Depakote. My shrink got the message and without calling my uncle back, called me twenty minutes later and said:
    “We need to increase your Depakote.”
    Manic-depressives do not usually walk into the office, but this doctor was ignorant and burned out but he tried to take my bipolar rapid-cycling graphic away from me because he had misdiagnosed me and put me in more danger by prescribing a bipolar patient a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It was about liability. He was a better lawyer than physician. I was not just another depressed drunk as he had underestimated, I was afflicted with a disease poet Theodore Roethke called “nobility of soul.” The psychiatrist’s attitude toward me changed to respect and even awe. I was vicious and he took it. I moved and left that doctor and found another in southern Rhode Island who had been a Harvard Fellow and was a commander in the U.S. Navy and was moonlighting against regulations at my local mental health center.
    Dr. Fitzhugh read Thomas Mann and listened to the stories about my brilliant sex-pot girlfriend Katie, a newspaper editor and probable nymphomaniac who would blow me and blow me well on the spot anywhere in the world. Katie was Italian and we had dramatic fights and Fitzhugh and I laughed through most sessions. I had plenty of stories with Katie and wrote a novel about her. Fitzhugh would tell me about the cases he treated on the naval base, like a radioman who was convinced aliens had contacted him. The most important thing that Fitzhugh did was lay all the bipolar meds on the table for me. He prescribed them all and let me go home and experiment. He knew I was very sick. He knew I was very intelligent and wanted to get well. He trusted me. Each pill has its own effect. Each pill interacts with the other pills, for good or bad. I went through months of experimentation. The result was a rare cocktail of six medications that made me approach what felt like normal. Clear, calm, stable, not as depressed or manic. I remained somewhat depressed, but not suicidal, except for philosophically. I have had to defend this cocktail from several psychiatrists who believed one illness, one pill. I have used the analogy of the cocktail of medications they prescribe to HIV and AIDS patients in defense. No one pill saves a life, but liberal-minded chemistry saves lives. Fitzhugh saved my life and enhanced its quality. Most of the psychiatrists have agreed with him, but whenever I move, I do not know who I will meet. Here in Maine I do not go to the mental health clinic because they tried to take me off the medications I had been successfully on for ten years. The first thing my doctor there did was claim he went to Harvard and my previous Doctor Fitzhugh “does not have a good reputation.” This Maine doctor almost killed me. Interestingly enough, my internist said to me “If you have any problems” with the mental hospital, I will prescribe your psyche meds. He does.

    I made nachos for Sandra and me.
    “These are based on Yesterday’s,” I said.
    “These are fresher than Yesterday’s.”
    “It’s a good restaurant, but I caught them refrying the fish for lunch from the night before.”
    “They also don’t give you enough salad dressing.”
    “I’ve always thought that. They used to have live jazz.”
    “Now it’s a tourist trap.”
    “They kicked me out on New Years Eve for ordering a drink. Said I was drunk. But I looked like a wastrel in torn jeans and a t-shirt with wild hair.”
    I was booted from Yesterday’s because the owner said I was drunk. Babs, a prostitute I had fallen for, had ordered food to go and I went in and sat at the bar to wait. I ordered a whiskey. The bartender did not pour the drink. I inquired. “I was told not to serve you,” he said.
    “I want to talk to whoever told you that.”
    The owner confronted me. He said I was drunk. I was not drunk. I had had a few drinks earlier in the day, but then Babs and I had fallen asleep for a couple hours. I was refreshed and sober. He and a bouncer led me to the door while I told him I was not drunk and he called me a “fucking asshole.” One bouncer apologized for him as I left. The truth is the owner did not want people like me in his restaurant. I was poor, not well-dressed, and did not fit into the tourist destination vision he had for the place. He must have guessed that I had come from the Section 8 building a block away. A short time later a newspaper editor asked me to write a review of Yesterday’s. Such fortune! I wrote a fair review for 120,000 readers and shut the restaurant down. They closed doors after 30 years. I don’t know my role in its demise, but felt it could have been poetic justice.

    Hiking through the forest, Katie says “Do you want a blow-job?” We were standing on a rock outcrop in an opening in the forest with a view of the hills and trees and turning leaves, an autumn day that was warm enough to make you sweat. I leaned back into the stone and she was on her knees. She sucked me off in no time while I watched a jet fly overhead. I came sharply. She swallowed and I put my deal away. I thought about the people on the plane.

    Katie: “Do you want to put your cock in my ass?”
    “Not right now.”

    Watersports with Ashley I win. It is easier for a man to chase down a woman and piss on her than it is for her to piss on the man. She had to be clandestine and catch me when she was straddling me in moments I thought was romantic. I knew when I felt the warmth. We never laughed so much, except maybe when we were wrestling on the bed. The goal was to throw the other off the mattress. I always won, but she always fought like she was a winner. She was strong and it was not easy to get her off the bed. She brought me back to a youth I did not know was left in me. The childish laughter. She was a punk angel who brought joy until she secretly went off her psyche medication and demanded a child.
    From behind when I withdrew on the outstroke, Ashley’s pussy clung to my cock and came out of her body. Her flesh on my cock was one of the most exciting things I had ever seen. After bringing her to orgasm in the missionary position or her on top, I took her on all fours slowly, stroking slowly so that the ecstasy up to the orgasm was deranging. One time we were in front of the window with the shades up and I heard and saw people in the street looking up at me working and they shouted and applauded outside an Irish pub. Ashley was one of the best lays in my life, but she was illiterate and conspiring. She was just too young and did not know what we had. She destroyed it thoughtlessly by skipping her pills and demanding a child at the age of 17 when we could barely feed ourselves. She betrayed me and had a miscarriage. But the ten months we had were one of the best times in my life.

    Sandra found a new boyfriend in his 50s who was worth less than her. I thought of him having to go down on her every time to satisfy her and what he thought of the pussy Katz had left us all. He was not getting good head. He was not getting a good fuck. He rented his Newport house out for $30,000 a summer and lived with Sandra in her cottage. Pretty convenient. I have written to her, but she does not answer. I think I owe her sixty bucks.

    Katie had been in hypnosis therapy for more than a month. Before then she only remembered the shoes coming down the basement stairs. She had been told to go down there and wait and the shoes were coming down but she never saw the man’s face. In hypnosis, his face was revealed. Her rapist was not her uncle as she had thought, but her father. She cut off all contact with him and she was good, more psychologically healthy, but then he called and called and finally she talked to him. He wanted to give her $10,000 and a new Jetta, filthy money as far as I was concerned but she considered it. I said, “You are going to take a bribe from the man who raped you? Incest? Wrecked your childhood?” She threw things and screamed, worse than all our other fights and I walked out the door and never called her again. She never came to my house. That was the end of a love affair that I had wanted to keep. We lasted 10 months and were ruined by a man who had raped his daughter, who was a child model, for years. She took the money and the car. She went to graduate school. Began teaching creative writing and quit the newspaper. She could write a short story. She was also published in MARROW. I learned never to come between a woman and the father who raped her.
    Katie reconnected one day three years later and we went out on a day date in the car she had accepted from her rapist. I was a little ambivalent and while we were at Starbuck’s I went into the men’s room and shot up a good amount of heroin and was high and walking self-consciously when I returned to the table. She did not notice I was high and I did not tell her. We stopped at an arcade and I played some games while she got bored, but the heroin had destroyed the conversation and my sexual impulse. She seemed let down because I was not spontaneous or interactive or attracted to her. I was in the dead zone. Why I did it is because I did not care about her enough and I was an addict. We drove back to her place and sat on her couch. She told me about a male writing student and I imagined her fucking him. She made tea and we sat on the couch talking. We did not discuss our past, it was like a beginning, but I had a girlfriend, a diagnosed borderline 19-year-old red-head who lived two blocks from katie. It is important to point out that Katie was more beautiful, experienced, and much smarter than Mimi, who was very smart but young and sick and unstable and the worst girlfriend I ever had. When I told Mimi this, she smiled proudly.
    So I am on the couch drinking tea with Katie and I notice the bedroom light is on.
    “Would you like to come into my boudoir?” she asks.
    A good idea, but . . .
    I was too high to want sex and I had Mimi on my mind two blocks away and I had never cheated on her despite the fact she was psychotic and we had broken up at least nine times, times during which she had been with other men and I had not been with other women. Mostly it was the heroin that kept me out of Katie’s bed and she was okay with my reticence. Maybe it was too soon to jump back into the old days. And she knew I had a girlfriend. In retrospect, I should not have shot the heroin and should have fucked Katie the way I used to love to with her screaming while upstairs people were having their cavities filled at the dentist’s office. Heroin is as close to death as you can get while you are still breathing. Sex does not enter my consciousness. Katie drove me to the end of Mimi’s street more politely than I expected. She acted like we would see one another again. I got out and said goodbye and walked to Mimi’s sister’s house, where my reception was cold and indifferent. Mimi sat watching TV and hardly acknowledged me. Minutes before I had been in a bright model’s house with a woman who wanted to go to bed and here I was feeling prostrated and low. What I should have done then was walk back to Katie’s house, dumped Mimi for good, and renew love with Katie. We had a foundation and a sanity Mimi could never grasp, yet I was under the young girl’s spell. I gave up the perfect woman my own age to be with a teenaged bitch. What does that say about me? What does it say about love?

    What killed Mimi and me was drugs and distance. We had both been evicted from our places in Newport. We tried to stay in contact and I would visit her by bus. She would not drive her car to see me because it was now unregistered. It was another extended split; I had realized how futile it was to date her. I did not want to have anything to do with her and dropped her for good. Months passed and she finally wrote and said she had “gotten her head straight.” I did not believe her. Could she ever be stable for two consecutive days? It had been bad. Drugs, break-ups, reunions, break-ups, affairs, and finally . . . HIV. She was diagnosed. I did not have HIV and had never shared a needle with her. I urged her to get tested again because those tests err on the side of positive, they are conservative, but she was apathetic and believed in her HIV. Her drug use was an environment in which the disease was available. She accepted the news without surprise. She complained to me that she was not getting proper treatment by her doctor, but also said she had no symptoms of the disease, her viral count was virtually nonexistent. After she later overdosed on oxycontin and died in California, the coroner tested her and said she did not have HIV. I don’t know which test to believe. I guess I believe them both. I guess I believe none of it. Her belief in the disease lowered her life instinct to the point where she killed herself very simply and commonly by a very small margin.

    Katie is married to a Samoan and has two sons who she puts on Facebook. In photos she looks great. She quit teaching writing and became a yoga teacher. She looks like she is 25 at the age of 46. We have corresponded and we have admitted our past love for one another, though in our time neither of us stated it. I should not have rejected her decision to accept her father. I should not have argued against her taking the money and the car. After all, it was his abuse which had created the perfect whore I was in love with.

    Katz went out with so many women in the 1960’s and 1970’s, a big-time reporter in the era of free-love. He was as handsome as any movie star who ever showed his face on the screen. He went with more women than anyone I had known. He would explicitly discuss women and the widely varying sizes of the clitoris. He mentioned one black woman who had a large clitoris that was easy to find and please. He liked a woman with a large clitoris. Hunting down a tiny clit is as challenging as swallowing an enormous cock. Katz had a cock. I saw it at the beach one day running down his leg and almost out of his shorts. He was sitting on the seawall opposite me while I sat on a bench. It was surprising for a man of five feet, six inches, who weighed 150 pounds. If Katz had a Napoleonic complex it one specifically focused on the eradication of evil. As a reporter he investigated and wrote about corruption, had toppled administrations and put political crooks behind bars. I never saw him act egomaniacal. I knew a short megalomaniac with the smallest cock I had ever seen on a grown man. He was humorous, but a megalomaniac when it came to his writing abilities. Vinny.
    Katz was a genius and that is how we became best friends. We could understand and handle one another without feeling superior or inferior. He was Mensa. I had a tested IQ of 195. We were both former journalists who enjoyed many of the same writers. He was one who encouraged me not to give up on Celine after I had read his novel Journey to the End of the Night. So I read Celine’s next novel, Death on the Installment Plan. Celine, a physician, is one of the best novelists I have ever read. He is one of the best writers I have ever read.
    One curious thing about Katz is that he looked like the father of French romantic poetry, Charles Baudelaire, who died in poverty after writing the seminal The Flowers of Evil. Les Fleurs du Mal. I disagree with the translation of “Mal” to “Evil.” Mal also means sick in French. The Flowers of Sickness. English translators have imposed a darker title upon one of the most aspirant writers in history. In a way they are still trying to ban him 160 years after his death. The Flowers of Sickness. Baudelaire was sick with the way man chose to live his life. He envisioned something better than greed and war. It is natural to be sick with what man has done with the gift and Baudelaire wrote about what was and the beauty that existed and could be. A strange thing happened when you photographed Katz. The photo would come out blurry and he looked like a ghost. The first time he went to Paris he knew all the streets. He did not know how he could. It surprised him. He accepted it, but considered it extraordinary. It was extraordinary, but I had pinned him as a reincarnation of Baudelaire long before I told him. Baudelaire was a flaneur, an alienated intellectual who roamed the streets of Paris at night.
    “You know who you look like?”
    Katz laughs
    “You might be him. You have led the life of a Baudelaire.”
    He laughs.
    “Keep laughing, Baudelaire. You’ve been banned and censored as much has he was.”
    “That’s true, but I think Rimbaud is a fraud and I don’t write poems.”
    “No, you took the fight to the street.”

graffiti image cpoyright 1988-2017 Janet Kuypers


Janet Kuypers

you’re the eminence
of hopes and dreams, strength and drive —
you fight the good fight

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See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers reading her haiku “eminence” that led into her two poems “Zenith of the Night Sky” and “Unique Noise” 2/11/17 at the “Poetry Aloud” open mic at the Georgetown Public Library (this video was filmed with a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
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See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers reading her haiku “eminence” that led into her two poems “Zenith of the Night Sky” and “Unique Noise” 2/11/17 at the “Poetry Aloud” open mic at the Georgetown Public Library (this video was filmed with a Sony camera).
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See YouTube video 2/19/17 of Janet Kuypers reading eminence”, her haiku poem in the intro performance to the Austin “Kick Butt Poetry” open mic (this video filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
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See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers joining people on stage and reading her 5 haiku poems “soul”, “eminence”, “oceans”, “violation”, “exterior” and “earth” in the intro performance 2/19/17 to “Kick Butt Poetry” in Austin (video filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
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See YouTube video of Janet KuypersSeptember 2017 Book Release Reading 9/6/17 of cc&d’s book “a Pick for the Future” poems “eminence”, “Mapping the Way to True Love” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (Panasonic Lumix camera).
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See YouTube video of Janet KuypersSeptember 2017 Book Release Reading 9/6/17 of cc&d’s book “a Pick for the Future” poems “eminence”, “Mapping the Way to True Love” and “Years, Centuries, Eons” in Community Poetry @ Half Price Books (from a Sony camera).

Read the Janet Kuypers bio.

The Bed in the Office Wall Affair
and Other Unconventional Situations in a Citrus Village

Dr (Ms.) Michael. S. Whitt

    Fifty year old Bradford Paine Blake chuckled as he drove his truck along Lake Clinch down the hill from his house. He was going to his construction site to the west. In Polk County Midland, the village where Brad lived, there were many lovely lakes, as there were in the county at large. Lakeland is the largest town and one of two that could be classified as a city. The other, Winter Haven, is the home of Cypress Gardens and its water ski show. The other communities were either villages twenty-five hundred or less; or towns of twenty-five hundred one to fifteen thousand. Polk’s nickname, the ‘Imperial’ County, indicates millionaires make up a larger portion of the population than most counties. Many of the fortunes were built on orchards. Polk County is on the Ridge, a narrow raised area of land that is around ninety miles long and extends from fifty miles south of Silver Springs to a few miles south of Sebring. It’s the second best citrus growing area in the state.
    Brad owned a building business he and his brother, John, inherited from their dad, when they returned from serving in the Navy during World War II. Brad’s chuckle was tinged with sadness.A close friend had recently died of a heart attack. He was sixty but looked ten years younger. His face was smooth and his blue eyes sparkled in a youthful way. His hair was nearly white, an inherited trait, but his body was firm and slender. For almost a decade Lawrence Hamilton’s home life had been filled with great stress. His second wife was a cold, bitter, and meanly puritanical woman.
    Lawrence married too soon after his first wife, a lovely woman, died from Lupus. Lawrence could barely function for several months after Beatrice’s death. This temporary disability made him worry that without a mother the adopted twins, Leslie Maria and Jonathan Andre’, would suffer. The twins were perfect for Lawrence and Beatrice. After Bea died, it was obvious to everyone close to him that he was terrified of being a single parent. Every time he had to make an important decision about them he worked himself up into a panic.
    Brad and Lawrence had been friends since they were twenty and thirty respectively. They were friends for six years before Brad married his wife, Laura. Lawrence was with Brad when his son, Justin Charles, now in tenth grade, was born. Brad was in the Philippines with the Navy Seabees when his daughter was born. Amanda Rosaleigh did not see her father until she was nearly three.

    They first met when she and Laura went to Charleston when he was sent there after the war’s end. A few weeks later, he was sent to Midland. Initially she called him Brad. He was a somewhat unwelcome intruder in her world. She soon discovered that he had a gentle, loving, and creative nature. He showed her this in many ways. The most memorable were the pictures he drew for her. They included characters like a walking stump, a car driving cat, and a flying carrot. Soon Brad turned to Dad and hesitation to love.
    Since He studied architecture at the University of Florida, he was good at drawing. He was told by two doctors that the Essential Tremors he inherited from his dad made it dangerous for him to be an architect. These Tremors were evident when he drank a glass of fluid. His hands shook badly enough he needed both to prevent spilling. The doctors told him he needed more physical activity than he could get as an architect. Otherwise, he would be too disabled to work by around age forty-five. Disappointed, he decided to leave college after his sophomore year. He would use the knowledge he gained to draw and read blue prints and other things that augment a building business. Lawrence and Richard Hamilton were business partners. Richard, two years older then Lawrence, was tall, wiry, and attractive with curly, white hair. The two owned more than a thousand acres of groves, an amount that made them millionaires. The Hamilton’s roots were in the Southeast. They were different from their counterparts. The brothers were generous in loaning money to youths for college expenses, paid their workers top wages, maintained with their employees the most democratic relationships possible, and were civically minded. They expected to pay more taxes than people who had less and supported labor unions, public education, the feminist and civil rights movements, and other progressive causes.
    Brad, a Massachusetts native, had lived in Midland since he was ten. He moved there with his parents and two siblings in 1921. Some of the paternal side of his family came to Florida years prior to his birth. His grandparents moved from Connecticut in l885 when Brad’s father, Justin Burleigh Blake, was ten. Granddad Varnum Paine Blake had not regained his health after fighting for the Union Cause. Varnum had refused to stay out of the war until his wounds were healed. This and the cold winters kept him in semi-poor health.
    Doctors told V.P. that he might regain his previous level of health in a warmer climate. It was still unsafe for northerners to travel in the former Confederacy twenty years after the war’s end.The Blake’s were at risk since Varnum and his wife, Katherine Elizabeth Burleigh, worked for the Underground Railroad before and during the Civil War. The Blake’s opted to travel by sea from Connecticut’s to Florida’s coast and by wagon to central Florida.

    V.P. began regaining his health within a few weeks. Justin was the only one of four children who went back north as an adult. He met his wife, Sarah Jessica Morse, when he worked in Rhode Island. She moved there from Nova Scotia when she was eleven. After Sarah graduated from school at the end of the ninth grade, she worked in a hat shop until she married Justin six years later.
    J.B. and Sarah lived in Worchester, Massachusetts for twenty-five years before they moved with their three children to Florida. J.B. worked for Streeter and Sons, a firm which did infrastructure work, He was their civil engineer, millwright, and executive vice-president. He ran the business as the owner’s family did not possess the necessaryskills. In his early 40’s he began to suffer from Lumbago during the winters. The pain was severe enough he often had to run the business from his bed. J.B. and Sarah decided they needed to move.
    Brad had a rich and unusual background. His ancestors included abolitionists, who were also feminists, champions of free public education, and a few democratic socialists. They warned against the greed that plagued the U. S. and was a major cause in creating economic oligarchies, which weakened capitalism. Brad‘s ancestors were free thinkers affiliated with no organized religion, or who belonged to churches in which god was immanent in human reality. God is both within and outside of humans. God is the energy behind universal human creativity, and is a democrat on the side of all of the progressive causes. Brad’s ancestors were artists, teachers, journalists, intellectuals, and craft persons. They were adventurers who struck out into the unknown. The most famous of them were Thomas Paine, an Englishman who favored the American Revolution, and was a gifted writer, pacifist, and an abolitionist; and William Bradford, a passenger on the Mayflower and Massachusetts’ first governor.
    At sixteen Amanda read a speech by her great-grandmother. The most memorable parts of it were the lines in which she takes issue with some reactionary educators who insisted that a major educational goal should be to break the child’s will. Katherine argued this was a terrible idea with undemocratic ends. It leads to cringing sycophants, when what were needed were civically conscious citizens. Sycophant was a new word for Amanda. She was bright and imaginative but ignorant due to the poor education she received. Her curiosity was not reduced. She looked up the meaning of sycophant. She found it referred to persons who were in Amanda’s words cowardly ‘ass-kissers.’ Sycophants groveled before those who had enough power and influence to help them compensate for their inferiority and cowardice. Amanda was impressed by Katherine’s vocabulary and writing style.
    Brad was happy Amanda was interested in his ancestors. He realized that the progressive heritage shaped him and Amanda giving them strength of character. Amanda rarely studied and made high grades. Her intelligence only partly explained the ease with which she sailed through the public school. She realized this when she read Katherine’s speech. She came from a family whose members for several generations were literate, well read, skilled at public speaking, and competent in various forms of writing. These ranged from published poetry to academic essays, much that were published; others were used by other thinkers as data for their research.
    Most Villagers did not know what had gone into producing such strong, honest, and fearless people, but respected and valued the Blakes. When Amanda was three the family considered leaving Midland. After Brad and John took over J. B.’s business, they were bankrupt in two years. Times were changing and not in good ways for small businesses. The corporations were entering the building business. These oligarchies were throwing up houses that were not nearly as durable as those capitalist artists like the Blakes built. Things worsened later when prefabricated houses appeared. John and his wife, Lynda moved to Bartow where he became an S and L association appraiser. She established a progressive daycare center for prekindergarteners.
    Brad and Laura thought in a larger community more work would be available. Amanda raised cane. She was clear why she was acting stubbornly. She did not want to leave her grandmother, who lived across the clay road that ran between both houses. Amanda could talk to her to deal with frustrations, clear up confusions, and share dreams. Sarah also known as ‘Mom,’ understood her granddaughter better than anyone. Amanda knew she needed Mom to grow and develop properly.
    Amanda might say, “I hate the old lady!” And much less often. “The old man too, Mom. What dorks they are. Would you believe . . .?” Mom would give a nonjudgmental response in a way that was fair to Amanda and her parents. She’d joke Amanda into a better mood.
    Mom would make remarks as, “I’m glad you think they’re dorks,” she would giggle, “I can see why you feel that way.”
    Mom filled in some of Laura’s lacks. Her childhood had been rough. She was orphaned shortly after she turned five. Laura and her younger sister Mary were adopted by the moststraitlaced and cold of her mother’s eleven siblings. Amanda and Laura were often in conflict. With Mom to fall back on, Laura’s faults had little effect on Amanda. The older she became the more she stayed away from home. When Laura took an over dose of pills, stomach pumped, it had little effect on her, but twelve year old Justin wondered what he did to cause it. The neighborhood women heard him utter those words. They tried to assure Justin he was innocent of any wrong doing. Amanda wondered if the efforts helped. She did not think of this until they were grown, but after this when she observed some unhealthy patterns in their relationship, realized he was not assured.
    Brad was glad Amanda balked at the Bartow move. He knew that her happiness and success as an adult might be imperiled without Mom. She was also a positive influence in Laura’s life, giving her the warm love of which her stepmother was incapable; Brad wanted anotherchance to make the business work. People were learning that corporate housing deteriorated rapidly. Many people in Midland were alarmed about corporate control spreading. They did not want central Florida controlled by ‘Big Brother.’ These people set about trying to change the couple’s mind. A group of them met and discussed the problem. They made plans to increase Brad’s business. They went to him in small groups and spoke with him about their desires to keep him in Midland. They valued Brad for his small business, building skills, and his highly developed character. These civically conscious people knew that he had a strong service orientation toward the community, especially with youth. They promised that they would do all in their power to see he had work. After that Brad was rarely without work. He became known as an excellent builder with an architectural education and an honest man. He was hired to build schools, churches, government buildings, and houses locally and in larger towns such as Winter Haven, Bartow, and Ft. Meade.
    Laura contributed to village welfare. She was the best accompanist in the area. She played for talent contests and other musical entertainments, weddings, funerals, and churches services. She was the accompanist for the Englands, who taught tap and ballet dancing for six years locally and in nearby towns and villages. When Justin started school, she began giving piano and organ lessons in her home. Fred and Madeline were trained in New York. They were excellent dance teachers. They had been professional dancers as young adults. When they reached forty, they were weary of the pressures of their profession. They wanted out of urban sprawls. Amanda was a natural at dancing. She got her first toe shoes in the first grade, the second year she took dancing. Since Laura would accompany her, Amanda could practice anytime. She loved the dance and was heart broken when the couple decided to move to St Petersburg after she finished the fifth grade.
    Amanda was beautiful in early childhood with a mass of golden ringlets atop her head. She continued to be beautiful in her youth and adulthood. She inherited the best physical attributes of her parents; she was small boned, slender, and had a firm body. Unlike the other Blakes, Amanda was tall for woman then. She stopped growing at fourteen when she was five feet, eleven inches. The other family members were mainly of medium height, except for Laura’s two sisters, who were a shade less than five feet! Amanda had her Dad’s turquoise eyes and fair, rosy skin. After age four, she developed thick, dark brown hair with red and blonde highlights in her natural curls. Amanda had high cheek bones and the members from her mother’s family all had unusually smooth, dark complex suggesting she had Native American ancestors.
    One project provided by the Hamiltons was an office buildingat one of their groves edges. Lawrence asked to meet with Brad before his crew began building. It had to do with his erotic relationship with the new office manager. Lawrence often had to meet his sexual desires outside of his bedroom. Now he was in an ideal situation with the hiring of Lilly Stevens from Avon Park, a citrus town with a population of ten thousand, ten miles south of Midland. She was an attractive woman with a good figure. She knew how to dress to show off her lovely form, and her medium length hair was attractively styled. Her husband, Walt, was a supervisor at the local citrus concentration plant, owned by Senator Allen J. Harris, Jr.
    After she accepted the Hamilton brothers’ job, there was sexual electricity between her and Lawrence from day one. Lilly soon told Walt about the attraction. Walt was an unconventional man. He told Lilly before they married that he did not believe in mechanical monogamy. Each of them might have a lover at times. They both must be certain that any person they related to respected their marriage. Total honesty with each other about their extra-marital sexual activities was a must.
    Lilly was fond of these ideas. She was a desirable woman with a strong sex drive. With no outlet and experience other than him, their relationship might founder. Lilly had no sexual experience before marriage. Those were the days when society disapproved of women having premarital sex. Lilly, like many women, allowed her desires to be controlled by social conditioning, but later she discovered she needed flexibility and excitement in her relationships even though she loved Walt deeply. Walt was most concerned with promoting her growth and preserving their relationship. She was the only woman he had ever loved. He did not want to lose her. Walt told her to act upon her feelings if she felt it would increase the love and promote growth in all those involved.
    Soon Lilly and Lawrence were erotically involved. Walt knew Lawrence was an honorable and loyal friend, with no designs on their marriage.Walt was self confident and would have loved to watch them make love. He knew that would be difficult. Lawrence was raised in a more conventional home than Walt, and he was nearly twenty years only was not put off by the idea, but her lack of experience made her shy.

    The summer before Amanda left for the University, she, her friend, Delores King, and Walt, became close. The three confided many things to each other. He was erotically attracted to both girls, but would not come on to them since their young ages made them vulnerable to erotic hurt. They would have to make the first move, and he fervently wished one or both of them would. Both girls were fascinated with what Walt told them about his marriage and Lilly’s relationship with Lawrence.
    Amanda’s curiosity was increased by some things a boy with whom she had become close in high school told her. Their relationship developed when they were in library science together. Amanda wanted to take Spanish One, but the period it was offered was the only time algebra II met. The choice was between a boring study hall and library science with the Senator’s son, A. J. Harris III, who was happy she was in the library. He had been attracted to her for months. Intense sexual feelings developed between them. They went out together several times that school year and summer. The feelings finally became too strong for them to handle. The two remained close friends for the rest of their high school years and Amanda’s first semester in college. When A. J. flunked out of the University again, their paths diverged.

    The summer after A. J. graduated, he and three friends went to Vero Beach. The boys ran into Walt and Lilly at the beach. They talked a while with them. Lilly looked beautiful in a tight one piece suit that was bare in the back down to her waist. Her royal blue suit was low cut in the front. Views from back, front and both sides weren’t missed by these horny but shy teens. They did not say anything for fear of offending Walt. The boys liked, admired, and respected him.
    Finally Walt said, “I’ve never seen such ‘Casper Milk Toasts!’ You’ve a gorgeous woman dressed in one of the sexiest suits here. None of you has said how good she looks or that she turns you on. I know she does.”
    ‘We all agree that Lilly is one of the most beautiful and sexy women we’ve ever seen!’ exclaimed Allen Montgomery. ‘’We still don’t know what is proper in these areas and you’re unusual. Many men would be jealous and offended if we commented on how sexy and beautiful their wives are.’
    ‘I guess you’re right,’ Walt agreed and sighed as though he thought that was a terrible shame, which he did. “Remember though I’m different in that way. You can say what’s on your mind to me.
    “Okay!” I exclaimed.
    Lilly said, ‘Thanks guys. Persons can’t get enough compliments on their looks. No one is getting any younger.’
    I said, “Walt, with his arm around her said, ‘You’ll look gorgeous when you’re ninety.’ You could feel the sparks flying between them.”
    “Thanks for sharing that. Walt has become Delores’s and my friend. He has confided lots about their unusual relationship. I’m interested in the extramarital relationship she has with Lawrence. She is honest about it with Walt, who approves.”
    “You must be close if he told you about that relationship.”
    “We’ve been spending much time with him.”
    Although Richard’s wife was a serious Vodka alcoholic, he loved her deeply. Amanda and Laura liked Eleanor Hamilton. She often invited them to swim in her indoor pool, and they frequently accepted. It was inside a virtual gymnasium Brad built for her. Not long after Amanda received her undergraduate degree, Eleanor died of Cirrhosis. Laura and Amanda were sad. Richard took it harder than most expected. They saw only the alcohol problem, and missed the profound love.
    A short time later the husband of a couple who lived close to Richard and had been good friends with him and Eleanor, died of cancer. Rosemarie Chapman and Richard consoled each other when they became widow and widower. Gradually as their pains abated, romance began to bloom in the relationship. Everyone was happy for these two nice people. Two years after the death of their spouses they married. Richard moved to Rosemary’s house, and his daughter’s family moved into his bigger house. Janice had four young children. All houses were on Ready, a little farther from town than those of Lawrence’s and the Steven’s.
    True to Walt’s intuitions, Lilly’s lack of erotic experiences made her restless. She began feeling that she had missed something. She and Lawrence came together at the right time for them both. Their first sexual experience happened on the only couch in the building. There was no place in the office where the two could comfortably make love. The twins were too young to understand the relationship. Their knowledge of it could be terrible since the only parental love they received came from him. He did not want to do anything that would injure those relationships.
    He and Mrs. Coldfish, as his friends and family called her, had been married for eight miserable years. She thought that anyone who engaged in any kind of love making, other than missionary position in darkness, was a sick pervert. It had been a long time since he had genuine sexual fulfillment. This was the first quality relationship he had since Bea’s death. Walt had taught Lilly to be a sensitive and confident lover. Her casual and generous attitude toward giving and receiving sexual pleasure was a delight to Lawrence.
    They had to meet somewhere neither the twins nor Coldfish would go. They had been going to a motel in Lake Wales. They were plagued by the worry that Coldfish would go to Lake Wales to shop at places Midland did not have, see one of their cars, and put two and two together.
    Lawrence decided the best idea was a bed built in the office wall. At first he wondered if his idea was preposterous and silly; that Richard, Brad, Lilly, Walt, and others would laugh at it. At length, he decided it was not a bad idea. When he ran it past Lilly, she confirmed it. The room he had in mind was for storage, except when clients needed to meet with one or both brothers privately.
    Lawrence did not know how Brad would take the request for the bed. He was straight himself; he did not drink, womanize, or gamble. His philosophy seemed to be live and let live. He believed people should stay out of other’s business. He was quiet, unassuming, and free of pretenses. As Lawrence mulled over the possibility of speaking to his friend, it occurred to him that Brad was wise and hoped that he would see his idea of the bed as wise.
    Lawrence chuckled when something Brad told him came to mind about his relationship with Amanda when she was beginning her sophomore year. He had a talk with her when she was disgusted to be the victim of regular gossip. For the third time that year, it was rumored she was pregnant. This time the rumor was insane. Her two good friends and close neighbors were also ‘in trouble.’
    Brad said, ‘I told her, ‘Honey, these are ‘sickos.’ The best way to avoid the gossip disease is to believe nothing you hear and only half you see. Don’t let these resentful dolts bother you. Ignore them. There is no better way to rattle them. Humans loath to be ignored; they would rather be hated.’ She burst out laughing and exclaimed, ‘that’s great advice, even if did come from my father!’ I said ‘Thanks Amanda. That’s one of the best compliments anyone ever gave me.’ Lawrence had the opportunity to speak with Amanda about this matter when she was visiting Eleanor. She gave Lawrence a broader view of the situation.
    She said, “Dad gave me one of two of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. You know about that one.”
    “What was the other one, Amanda?”
    “Only Mom could equal Dad’s advice on gossip. My grandmother asked me not long ago, “Amanda did you know I’m living on borrowed time? Do you know one of the main reasons I’ve lived so long and seldom been sick? For some reason after what Brad and Amanda told me about his and Molm’s advice, it is more likely that Brad will see the wisdom of my desire for a bed. Lawrence been aware of Brad’s progressive heritage, he would have known he was home free with respect to his desire. When Brad came Lawrence elaborated on his grim home situation. He spoke of his affection and sexual attraction for Lilly.
    “I’ve no desire to harm their marriage and couldn’t if I did. Walt and Lilly are true soul mates, although their relationship is unconventional. One important reason I’ve acted on my feelings for Lilly is that Walt approves of it. I wish there were more men like him. I hope I can be that way if I ever find another soul mate to marry.” Brad listened carefully to Lawrence speak about his and Lilly’s passion for each other and his request that a bed be built into the wall. After a brief pause, Brad laughed in a mischievous, life affirming way.
    He looked at Lawrence, “Old Friend, I’d be happy to build you that structure. With your wife, I don’t know how you stand it. I can’t imagine you desiring her. Your first wife, Bea, was a real sweetheart. You sold yourself short by marrying too soon. You’re one of the most attractive, kind, and fun loving men in Midland. You’re generous to a fault. You deserve better, and I’m glad to be part of providing it. Your love nest poses no construction problems. We need to get a mounted deer head with large antlers to hide any means of releasing the bed. My hope is that once you and Lilly relate for a while, you’ll divorce that monster. You might find a woman who is as open minded as Walt and Lilly.” Lawrence looked at Brad teary eyed. That his friend who was so different from him in tastes, cultural background, and life style, could affirm this project and understood his need for it, touched him deeply.
    “My dear friend, thank you from the depths of my being. I believe the rebels, who refuse to attend church or have anything to do with organized religion, are the most spiritually developed humans. Your mother and father are. Like them, you manifest the important spiritual principles common to all religions: Love, forgiveness, judge not, and the rejection of greed. Your life is a statement of them; and you rarely darken the door of any of the sick churches here. If you weren’t a modest man who hates attention and one from New England, I would come from behind this desk and give you my biggest, best Southern Man hug. I do want to say that I love you deeply and unconditionally. Outside of my family, I can say this about one other man, Walt.
    “Come from around that desk and lay your best Southern Man hug on me.” Lawrence’s face lit up as he slipped from around the desk. The men hugged in a celebration of their friendship.
    “Thanks Brad, and you’re right I remarried too quickly. I thought the twins needed a mother. It is my hope that I can get up the nerve to end the marriage soon. It will be a nasty break up, Brad. I want it very much, but at the same time, I dread it like the plague. She lives up to all the epitaphs my family and friends have given her. But when we divorce, You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
    “I know dear friend, but you can depend that I’ll have your back then. If such a situation comes up again for you or for one who asks your advice, think of it this way. If you all are better mothers than the bags you’re marrying, for what do you need them? It is harmful for you to expose your fine children to her. Quality is more important than quantity in relationships. Children thrive more on benign neglect than on poisonous hags like Madam Coldfish.”
    Lawrence dumbstruck, said, “You’re right on target. I’ve never looked at it that way. I’m their father and mother. Thankfully in a couple of years they can be on their own. It is not pretty to think of something happening to me while they need parenting.”
    Before Brad left he said, “Thanks for the high praise. There are many wealthy people in this area. Your family is one of few who have no pretenses and believe in the moral equality of all humans. You support the causes that promote that equality. You don’t object to a progressive tax structure. Your total and heart felt support of public education is only too rare among the wealthy.
    My most valuable employee is a lush all weekend. He stays sober and does a great job for me all week. Justin, who works for me in the summer and many weekends all year, is a trustworthy person. The rest of the crew will be elsewhere while ‘Op eration Delicate’ is carried out by Wiley, Justin, and me.”
    They fitted the bed into the wall in two days. Once the deer head was in place, no one could perceive the bed. Larry and Lilly spent many happy times there. After the affair began, it became a topic of gossip among those persons who are always worried that someone somewhere might be having a good time. A group of such women went to the Methodist Church. They were incensed that Lilly sang in the choir. This group of prudes spent much time talking about the ‘wicked’ Lilly. The youngest of these gossipers were sisters and gossiped, Amanda thought, because they felt guilty that their dad owned the poolroom. They considered the business to be sinful, but never admitted it. One was a year younger and the other a year older than Amanda. They were cheerleaders with her. Amanda liked the girls, but cringed when they began their self righteous tirades. Amanda thought, someone has to provide a poolroom. It’s the only place the locals engage in male talk, eat, and drink. Something like a poolroom is going to exist. Karen and Jane’s father, a responsible man, might as well be the owner.
    Amanda and Delores were the only two young progressives in Midland, somewhat to the dismay of their parents, although both sets leaned in that direction. Delores was heavily influenced by the friend she loved and admired. Amanda had been a life style progressive since she was aware that there were differences. She accepted any life style as long as no one was hurt by it. Amanda tried to counteract the gossip that constantly occurred among the ‘holier-than-thou’ in Midland. Almost all of the gossip related to differences in life styles of which the gossipers disapproved. She let the big mouths know she thought gossiping was a disease of the dull-minded and shallow. She became a political progressive under the influence of her favorite teacher. She emerged from his social studies classes as a staunch all around progressive and social reformer.
    After Amanda went to the University her progressive beliefs and activities were confirmed by the curriculum and her professors. She had been a political progressive for a long time on some issues. Before her sophomore year she became a champion of gay rights, before these became a public issue. Her education began when she was in the seventh grade. Laura was dragging Amanda to church against her will by threatening to make her stay home at night all week if she did not comply. After a few weeks, Amanda wiggled out of this tyranny by saying she was going to the Methodist Church with Carolyn, her friend and neighbor. She led her mother to believe that she walked to her destination, but Amanda stopped a block away from their house in the elementary school halls, until she saw their car go by headed toward the Southside Baptist Church. Her mother played the piano for the ‘Rednecks’ in this church. Then, she walked up town to the drug store to enjoy a fountain Pepsi, and to see a girl friend. This other Baptist Church split off from the First Baptist Church. This came after a conflict over whether a minister’s tenure should be ended. The one’s for termination won. The losers founded the second church and hired the fired preacher.
    Before she decided how to get around her mother’s demand for obedience, she and several youths rode together to the socials after the evening services. One Sunday evening she was sitting in the back seat with a good friend, Ray Langley, a ninth grader. The social that night was held at the minister’s house across Ready Lake. On the way back, Ray surprised Amanda by grabbing and French kissing her before she kn ew what was happening. She was not afraid or even offended, but he was forcing himself on her. She wanted him to stop and took measures to ensure this. She grabbed one of his hands and clawed its top with her finger nails without pity. She broke the skin and drew blood. The boy’s hand was a mess. He looked at it with a sheepish grin. They ended by laughing at it with no negative effects on their friendship.

    When Ray was a sophomore, he became the band’s drum major. Most classmates thought he was excellent at this; that he had rhythm and style when he led the band. When he was a junior, Ray and a freshman boy, who was to be his successor, became close. The Band Director caught them in a minor erotic act. The boys had on all of their clothes. Thus, they were limited to kissing, embracing, and minor touching through clothing. The whole village, except for the Blakes and a few other progressives, were outraged. The hysteria was so great that Ray was run out of town. His mother sent him to Orlando where Ray’s aunt and uncle lived.
    Amanda stuck up for him. She told the story of his attraction for her. That proved he was not a homosexual; he was at worst bisexual. To some of the narrow minded villagers this was as bad as being gay. Amanda thought the boys should be treated like heterosexual couples. They might be reprimanded or perhaps given detention. But to run this intelligent, attractive, and kind young man out of town was to the Blakes and their few allies a hideous sin by and shame for the community.
    Amanda was strong on needing to stop discrimination against minorities. In childhood she became aware of the injustices committed against these groups. At age three she was aware that Afro-Americans were only allowed to live in the village limits if they were hired by a white man. The rest were confined to three ‘n.....’ quarters outside the village. Amanda went with Laura to pick up a black woman she hired to do some house work. Amanda was horrified when the black woman got in the back seat. She jumped over the front seat on the delighted black woman’s lap. Her parents were astonished, proud, and a little fearful about where her unconventional ways would take her.
    Amanda recalled when Brown V. Topeka was handed down by the High Court. The Blakes and a few others applauded the decision. Amanda was cursed by some of her ‘friends’ for telling them no race was better than any other. Later when she was in high school, Amanda enraged the ‘rednecks’ by telling them that, ‘with respect to the blacks and whites from the Deep South, a large portion of both races has some of the other race in their ancestry. One of the main reasons is that the white male plantation owners routinely raped their female slaves. A few red necks were offended enough they threatened to rape her. Amanda laughed at them with a ‘devil may care’ attitude.
    She told them of skills Walt had taught her and Delores. “Walt showed us a way to blind a rapist with our fingers, shove his nose into his face with our palms while putting him out of commission sexually.” This information intimidated them. They began to avoid the girls. This pleased the young women. With respect to her interactions with the few female bigots in the school, the following were typical, “Are you telling me I’m no better than a ‘n_____?’”, one asked Amanda.
    “Yes and I’d appreciate it if you called my friends of color by a proper name. You’re part Hispanic. Would you like to be called a ‘greaser’?”
    “You radical bitch, you’re sure to become a communist or worse. We know how weird Walt and Lilly are. He doesn’t care if she is having an affair with Lawrence. Those weird folks are your good friends.” Amanda was doubled over with laughter as Sally pranced away, incensed that her beliefs in racial superiority were challenged.
    “Thank you, Adolph. Shall I say Seig Heil the next time I see you?” As the two young women became close with Walt, the three were attracted by each others’ health, good looks, and intelligence. Walt loved Amanda’s tall slender body. He always went to the games when she played first string during her sophomore and junior years. She was the teams’ high scorer both years averaging between forty to fifty points a game. The women’s teams were eliminated after Amanda’s junior year for sexist reasons. The male coaches did not want the girls to have any gym time for practice.
    Amanda told anyone who insisted she was the most valuable player, an award she received as a sophomore, that the entire A-String were all the most valuable players. Unlike the larger communities’, the village’s A-team were beautiful women. Some fans thought Amanda was the most beautiful with her intense blue eyes and long, curly dark hair. Her figure was about as close to perfect as one gets.
    As one of her male friends said, “Woman, you have a fine form.” Delores was a beautiful woman. She had long, black, shiny hair. Her eyes, as black as her hair, sparkled with vitality. She was five feet seven inches tall and slender. Her smooth complexion was olive. Delores was not as graceful and well coordinated as Amanda so she could not make the basketball team. Her fun loving ways and her sense of humor compensated well. Neither had ever had a better friend. The two kept each other laughing.
    Walt, a fine looking man, was six feet four inches tall with a slender, firm body. With his black curly hair and dark complexion, his face was both beautiful and handsome. The mutual attraction to each other was not limited to good looks or good times. Both girls were curious about Walt and Lilly’s relationship and his general philosophy of life.
    Walt admired the young women for being as evolved as they were at eighteen and nineteen.Their open mindedness was rare, and added to their thirst for adventure, new experiences, and growth, meant there was never a dull moment when the two were around. Walt was impressed that they knew all our institutions needed reconstruction; that they were stale, arid, and begged for renewal. They took part in bringing these changes about when any opportunities presented themselves. Amanda participated in university groups who fought bigotry and advanced the women’s movement. All three worked to develop democratic structures and personalities. Walt wanted to spend some extended time with the two. When he talked to Brad, Walt learned they would be home that summer. He figured Amanda would be more intriguing now that she had spent a year in a new environment. Delores graduated and would have matured. In fall she was going to Florida State.
    Soon Walt came up with an idea. Summers the plant did not run much. The fruit was picked, shipped fresh, or processed. He would be home most days while Lilly would be at work. Their backyard bordered on Ready, the largest lake in the area with a circumference of eighteen miles. Except on the part across from the plant, it was not as good for swimming as Clinch. Ready’s ecology was altered because the fertilizer plant owners dumped their wastes there. The wastes were organic but on the negative side, they acted to fertilize the plant life around where it was dumped. The increased plant life could conceal the cotton mouth moccasins and alligators that inhabited the southern lakes. Walt decided he would ask Amanda and Delores if they would clear the weeds in the part of Ready bordering his yard. He would offer them each $100, lunch, snacks, and breaks for talking.
    Walt saw Amanda in late May. He told her of his offer. She accepted and said she was sure Delores wanted the job. Delores looked forward to spending time with Amanda and Walt. The young women were delighted with the chance of earning some money in a cool place, with delicious food and Walt’s stimulating and fun company. The two young women began planning a three day trip to Daytona Beach after they finished their weed pulling task. The two hundred dollars would pay all their expenses with some left.
    Walt had no trouble attracting women. There were more women pursuing him than he wanted and sex was about all there was to those relationships. Before coming up with the idea of hiring Amanda and Delores, he was thinking about traveling to new places. He was more than bored, itching to use his creativity if only in conversations with smart women. Walt had a feeling that men were lost without women, but the opposite was not true. Also, married men and single women lived longer than their counterparts suggesting the estate of marriage was more beneficial for males. Healthy women often wanted men but they did not need them. He wondered if feminists realized that to many progressive men this was the core meaning of their slogan, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” If an intelligent, strong, and beautiful woman chose a man it was out of desire, not need. This was a turn-on for a progressive man, like Walt, and part of his attraction for Amanda and Deloris.
    One afternoon Walt got off work early. He was reading some feminist literature and reflecting about some little known and repressed parts of history. He was thinking of some of the myths about women that had long existed. Where in the hell do these foolish myths come from? Like the one that most college women are pursuing their Mrs. Degrees, for example. What rubbish! It’s a man’s world still. My gender fosters those myths. Walt learned that during pre-civilized times when people had not connected sex and pregnancy, god was a woman!
    “I’m learning much of importance,” Walt said out loud. “Women could give birth to men, but not the reverse. That gave women an advantage in making social changes, and creating practical and beautiful arts during the Stone Age.” He read more and discovered that during these times the man took the woman’s name, came to live at her house, and had no authority over his offspring. The women’s oldest brother served as the father. Women invented both major agricultural trends: horticulture and animal husbandry. Those male historians don’t bother mentioning this in their scholarly works, Walt mused. It was probably through animal husbandry that the men learned they had a part in making babies. He sat for a time mulling over these previously repressed parts of history. Walt thought that it was women who emancipated the species from a life of wandering, hunting, and gathering. With the domestication of food producing plants and animals, humans could settle in one place. It was the female gender who laid the basis for civilization through their creations. Then we rotten males took advantage of their slightly smaller stature and the fact that pregnancy in its later stage is a relatively dependent condition, to tyrannize over them.
    Walt needed female companionship this summer to find out more. With Amanda and Delores he would get an exciting education. They were fascinating, intelligent, and neither of them seemed to fear anything. Amanda’s long and beautiful legs entered his awareness. Why did they suddenly pop into my mind? Admit it Walt, You’re obsessed with Amanda’s long legs. What red blooded heterosexual male wouldn’t be?
    The second and third weeks in June, Amanda and Delores went over to Walt’s house every weekday from nine to five. He dressed in a bathing suit or cut-offs. Sometimes he watched the young women work. Other times he joined the weed pulling. Around noon he began to prepare lunch. Sometimes he fixed cream cheese, pineapple, and pecan sandwiches or green and black olives with cream cheese for the same. Other times he would grill ground sirloin for hamburgers. Another staple for their lunches was Walt’s delicious ham salad which he put together for sandwiches. He made various kinds of salads: chicken with herbs, sweet onions, pickle relish, celery, dill pickles, hard cooked eggs, and olives; chef salads with hard boiled eggs, bacon or shrimp, cheese, and salad vegetables; and taco salads with guacamole. The snacks included cheese and crackers, carrot sticks, nuts, yogurt, cottage cheese, fruits, banana bread, and chocolate cake.
    Sometimes Walt asked the young women to stop working and sit and ‘rap’ with him. They confirmed his readings and intuitions concerning women’s relative independence from men and other aspects of the feminist literature he was studying. They gave him additional knowledge. For example, they introduced him to the term ‘herstory,’ which suggested history was mainly his story. The young women told him more about ‘herstory.’ It was time to retrieve ‘herstory’ about women and their accomplishments. He was impressed with their knowledge, for example, of women who achieved extraordinary things in previous centuries, such as serving as generals in the military. They told him of their experiences, hopes, and dreams concerning males. He told them more about Lilly and Larry, and about his girlfriends of whom he was presently cutting off with hopes of better quality relationships.The young women were not shocked at anything and made no judgments about him. Curiosity characterized their viewpoint. They told him about their desires to make love with men with whom there were intense mutual attractions. They did not realize yet that Walt was one of those men. They told him of the difficulties involved in obtaining safe and effective birth control and safe and affordable abortions. The pill was available then, but few doctors would give them to young women who had no marriage plans. Amanda had solved that problem by telling an doctor in Gainesville she soon had wedding plans. He gave her a twelve months prescription for birth control pills. Delores could do the same but she kept putting it off, as she did with other aspects of her sexual development.
    Walt said, “If birth control fails, there is no danger in a first trimester abortion, when the procedure is performed by a competent and ethical doctor. No woman has ever died from this procedure. It rarely involves pain other than minor cramping. Afterwards, you take it easy and abstain from having sex for ten days. By then you are as good as new. I assure you that the Hamilton Brothers, Senator Harris, or I would see that neither of you would be forced to bear a child. We can obtain a competent doctor; and we’d pay for the procedure. We have established connections with capable Cuban doctors in Miami. They are studying to get Florida Medical Licenses. Meanwhile, they perform safe, but illegal abortions and other such procedures to earn a living.”
    “That’s reassuring. We have talked about these subjects lots.”
    “Yes,” Delores said. “We agree that pregnancy, child birth, or marriage would be fates worse than death.”
    “How’d I know that you two wild things were going to say something like that?”
    “We plan to go to the university, travel, and do a bunch of other stuff. If we get married, it won’t be for a while.”
    Amanda agreed, “That’s for sure. We want to be thirty before we marry.”
    Walt said, “I wish all could learn as much. Our industrialized way of life keeps youngsters in prolonged adolescence. You all are adults in every way except you can’t get a job with a livable salary. This leads to helpless and dependent feelings, and those feelings foster resentment toward the adult world, like those in Lawrence’s nephew, Eddie. I don’t know if you have ever gone out with him. If you have, I’m sure you have felt some fright at some time in the evening.”
    Amanda said, “When I was a 9 grader and he in the 11, I went out with him several times. Terror would be a better description of what I felt in that 1954 Ford convertible. I found myself going 100 mph. I like Eddie, but I drive if we go in a car.”
    Meanwhile, Lawrence and Lilly pulled their cars down into the grove for camouflage. The afternoon was hot. The central air conditioning and heavy curtains on the office windows kept the oppressive heat out of the love nest. Lilly removed the deer head and pushed the button to release the bed. It was made up with clean flowered linens. Lilly had bought lingerie made of red satin and black lace. When she came into the room, Larry felt his passions increasing madly.
    “Wow Baby, that outfit is gorgeous. Come over to this bed now.” Lilly crawled in the bed. His arms embraced her entire body and his fingers traced her curves through the satin and lace on them. She sighed with pleasure as his hand rested on the inside of her thigh.
    He said, “I believe this is the softest spot on a woman’s body.” He could feel her strong feelings for him. “Damn, I’m amazed that you’re turned on to me so intensely. I’m more than fifteen years older than Walt, and I’m not as handsome as he is.”
    “Those are superficial things,” Lilly whispered. She rubbed her hands all over his chest and slipped his turquoise house coat off to give him a back massage. “You know I love Walt unconditionally. He’s my cosmic soul mate, but a woman can love more than one man. I truly love you too.”
    Women were mysteries to Larry not to be understood, but to be enjoyed and to generously be given pleasure. He felt they were superior to men in many ways. They could stand alone much easier than most men. Woman seemed to feel whole and complete in a way men could not and were more at home in their bodies. He pulled her on top of him. She was an assertive woman and enjoyed being on top. She also enjoyed variety. In a while she slid off him and pulled him on top. The couple made love for a long time that afternoon. They loved each other slowly as only mature people can. She had several intense orgasms and he had one.
    As they lay together, Larry said, “You’re a hot gal and I love it. I’m glad you have an unusual husband. I love him not only for sharing you with me, but for many reasons. I’ve expressed this to him.”
    “I know it made his day, and with the massive sexual misery all around us, anyone who cares enough to try and relieve it needs to be recognized and appreciated. How long have we had our beautiful love nest? When did that saint of relieving sexual misery, Brad, come up with this work of genius?”
    Larry answered, “It’s summer 1962. It’s been a little less than three years since he completed this masterpiece. Brad has never let me down. We’ve shared much together. He’s the second man outside my family I can say I truly love.”
    “Yes!” Lilly exclaimed. “Larry, I need your advice. Walt has become close friends with Amanda and her friend, Delores King. They are doing some work getting the weeds out of our part of the lake. Walt is turned on to Amanda big time, and Delores is sexy and beautiful to him. He’ll never come on to them as Amanda was nineteen in May.

    Delores will turn nineteen next March. They are sensitive young women and are not shy. If they sense how much he‘s turned to them and they share his feelings, either one or both of them could come on to him. I’m not concerned about Walt, but how about the young women? Can such young ones handle that sort of thing with a man twenty years their senior?”
    “Brad’s daughter could handle almost anything. Since Amanda is picky about her friends, I’m sure Delores is as strong as she is. Wouldn’t you think it would be better for them to be initiated into the mysteries of a complete sexual experience with Walt rather than my ‘shirt tailed’ nephew Eddie or some of his immature friends?”
    Lilly replied. “Yes and I won’t worry anymore. Maybe every girl should have a Walt.”
    “Yes and every boy, a Lilly.”
    “Thank you, Love, that’s one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.” Lilly peered through the curtains. She was shocked that the afternoon was nearly gone. “Oh gosh, Larry, its sunset again, and you must go or catch hell.”
    “These hours are too short,” Larry complained as he hurriedly dressed. He and Lilly kissed and he left.
    While Lilly and Larry were enjoying the wall bed, Amanda returned to Walt’s house. The girls had left early because Deloris had a dental appointment. Amanda had a strong urge to return to Walt’s house and talk about the feelings that she thought were happening between them. When Walt opened the door there she was.
    “Amanda! What a nice surprise.”
    “Hello Friend, I guess you didn’t expect to see me again so soon.”
    “I didn’t, but I’m delighted you’re here,” Walt said with a huge smile.
    “Good. Walt, I came back because it is becoming increasingly obvious to me that there are feelings and vibes between us.”
    “You feel them too? How wonderful! I can’t believe I’m that lucky. I’m totally turned on to you. I didn’t feel that I could initiate anything since I’m so much older and experienced. I needed to know you could handle the situation.”
    “If we act on these feelings we don’t have to worry about birth control. I’m not a virgin. I had a ‘hot’ affair with a rock guitarist at Florida this spring, shortly after I went on the pill. We ran away from the feelings. Neither of us knew very much. I’m grateful to have someone with experiences and sensitivities that Bruce could never have at his age. I’m ready for the kind of experience you bring to our encounter.” Amanda smiled joyfully at Walt. Walt smiled back warmly.
    He felt as though he was melting. He put his arm around Amanda and they walked together to a bedroom. They sat on the bed’s edge, kissing and caressing hungrily.

    “Amanda, you have the most beautiful breasts I’ve ever seen. You’re beautiful all over.”
    “Gosh thanks Walt, I always thought my breasts were too small, but if they aren’t to you, why should they be to me? That makes sense doesn’t it?”
    “You bet!” Walt gasped as he moved from caressing her breasts to undoing her cut-offs.” Amanda returned the favor by slipping his shorts off, after which they lay together on the bed. They caressed and kissed. Amanda’s feelings were strong. He felt good she was as turned on as he was.
    “Hey beautiful woman, are you sure you’ve only been with one ignorant guy?” Walt asked.
    “Thanks, Walt, you’re a sweetheart. You knew what I needed to hear.”
    “I’m glad because I’ve never been so turned on in my life, Manda, with the exception of a few times with Lilly.” She looked at him as he lay back in the bed. She could see that he was hard.
    “I’m getting on top. Is that okay with you?”
    “It sounds excellent to me.” They made love in that position for a while and changed to Walt being on top. Then they moved to the spoon position. They had powerful orgasms. Amanda had another during oral sex, her first experience with this, and loved it. Then they lay and talked for a while.
    In a half hour Amanda said, “I guess I’d better go. My mother thinks I went to some stores for a few items. It’s none of her business, but she’ll have supper on the table soon and if I’m not there she’ll gripe.”
    “Amanda, I’m glad that you came,” Walt said. “I’ve felt this way about you since you played basketball as a sophomore and junior in those sexy uniforms.”
    “They are sexy. We all looked good in them. Our bodies were exposed from just below our breasts to our waists. The hot pants bottoms fit as well as those tops. And the beautiful satin material of which they were made enhanced the whole picture. The women from the other teams had baggy bottoms, long loose tops, and were made of icky dull material. We wondered what great person got us those gorgeous uniforms.”
    “I don’t know either sweetheart, but every male thirteen and over is grateful.”
    As Amanda dressed, she added, “That is cool and confirming. You are quite good looking too, dear friend, and my feelings for you are strong. There’s something I want to ask you. Should we tell Delores about this? I sense you’re turned on to her and she needs this experience.”
    “Sure, Amanda darling, if she’s curious about it and senses something is different.”
    “That sounds fine.” They embraced and kissed. Amanda thought as she drove toward home, I’m glad I did that. It seemed like an urgent thing for both of us. I feel as if I’m properly initiated into Eros.
    The next morning when they when they were eating a snack, Delores sensed something was different in the atmosphere. She was far too sensitive not to feel a transformation had occurred. She hesitated momentarily lest she be wrong and look foolish.
    Delores asked, “Did I miss something? I feel something is transformed, and I’m the only one who doesn’t get it.”
    “Your feelings are correct. After we left our weeding and you went to your dentist, I returned to Walt’s house to confirm or disconfirm some erotic feelings I had been experiencing between us. I knew if my feelings were correct, I would get a proper initiation into Eros. That is something Bruce couldn’t do at his level of maturity. We acted on our feelings.”
    “It was beautiful, Delores,” Walt said. “I wish you had been there.”
    “Me too,” Amanda said.
    I didn’t realize you were turned on to me,” Deloris said. “I could tell that you were attracted to Amanda by the way you looked at her. I’m delighted that you all acted upon your feelings.” she hugged both of them.
    “It’s not too late for yours and Walt’s experience to happen. Maybe I should knock off early when you want this to happen. Just make your desires known.” Amanda suggested. Delores did not follow through on her desire to make love with Walt. Amanda and Walt did not want to push her, but they thought she could learn much about pleasure if she would drop off her inhibitions.
    Three years later in August l965, Lawrence had a fatal heart attack. This was less than a year before Walt died unexpectedly in his sleep at age forty-five. The cause was an aneurism in his brain. It ruptured and caused a deadly clot to form. Delores and Amanda talked after their friend’s death. Delores confided that then she had not understood the wisdom of taking advantage of every adventure which would promote her growth. She regretted not acting on the experiences Walt had offered her. Amanda confided she had gone back several times that summer and made love with him. They mourned Walt’s death for several months. He was a wonderful friend. The tragic experience helped them realize the fragility of life and, for Delores, the need to seize the day.

    He and Lilly had been working on the payroll. She had gone to the poolroom to pick up some burgers for them. He was dead when she came back. She nearly went into shock when she found him. For several minutes she wandered about aimlessly sobbing, but soon gathered the presence of mind to call Richard.
    Richard was devastated with sadness, but he was not as shocked as Lilly. Lawrence had told him about chest pains he had been having and Richard, with no success, had tried to get him to go to his doctor. He called Lawrence’s family, the Coldfish and the twins, who were living on their own and working. Then he called Eddie and Janice. He asked Janice to bring Rosemary with her after she contacted her husband and found a babysitter for the children. Richard could think of only two other persons Lawrence would want to be present. He called Brad and Walt and told them the sad news. He asked the two men to join the small group at the office.
    Lilly was still disoriented. She could not get the payroll together and the employees would be coming for their checks in less than two hours. Some parts of it had gotten separated from the main body including some of the checks. Everyone was looking. Brad noticed Eddie was getting close to the antlers on the wall. If he hit the button, looking for missing paper work, the Love Nest would come down. Lilly caught Brad’s eye. She had panicky look on her face. Brad smiled at her and shrugged his shoulders casually suggesting not worrying. His smile implied the moment of truth was near and that was excellent.
    Brad was thinking should Eddie accidently hit the button it would be a fitting final triumph for his friend. In about two minutes Eddie bumped the antlers enough that the button was activated. Out came the bed, complete with flowered sheets and matching comforter. Everyone there except for the twins, who rapidly put it together, knew what the situation meant. No one uttered a sound. Walt had a difficult time not breaking up with laughter. Instead, he focused on Brad.
    “What a man, what a friend, No wonder his daughter turns me on.” Walt whispered. Lilly nodded and giggled softly although she felt sad. She knew that laughter was the best medicine.
    Richard said, “I guess we’ve been found out. Lawrence and I were embarrassed to admit to Eddie a few years ago we began to need a nap to get us through some afternoons. I guess we didn’t want it to be rubbed in that we’re getting damned old. We had Brad build us this secret structure for naps.” It was Brad’s turn to stifle a laugh.
    Eddie replied, “Aw Dad, you know I didn’t care. And I certainly wouldn’t have kidded you about it. You and Uncle Lawrence worked hard all of your lives.” Eddie then muttered under his breath, “Quick thinking, Pa. I hope I can do as well if anything like this happens again and I’m in charge.”
    The widow attacked Eddie venomously, “You horrid brat. So many nights you took Lawrence away from me with your bad habits of drinking and speeding. Lawrence had to bail you out because your father wouldn’t have anything to do with you.” Wife Coldfish knew everything. She needed someone to dump on to avoid looking like a fool by acting on her compulsive need to curse Lilly, Walt, and Brad.
    Stifled giggles came from the group, except for Richard who stiffened his posture and said sternly, “Look here you rotten bitch, I was always willing to bail out Eddie. I was a fool for buying him that sports car until he grew up a bit. I grounded him with respect to the Thunderbird weeks ago. He will get it back when he grows up and demonstrates responsibility. Lawrence requested that I call him if he was home with you. He needed a good excuse to get away from the stress of your unpleasant and ill-tempered self.” Coldfish looked like a fool in spite of her best efforts to avoid it. She walked huffily out of the building peeling rubber as she left. Brad, Walt, and Lilly could not hold back laughter. Eddie looked perplexed.
    Richard laughed too and said, “Son, I’ll tell you about the skeletons in our closet. They aren’t bad. She is the only evil one. I think you guessed the truth though sometime ago.”
    “Yes Dad, I knew from the beginning,” responded Eddie. “I’m dying to know what Walt, Lilly, and Brad are laughing about.”
    Walt said, “Eddie, maybe we’re callous, but we can’t help feeling a little jolly that his undeserving bag of a wife had to endure seeing the bed come out of the wall. We’re all thinking this symbolizes a final and wonderfully humorous adieu for your magnificent uncle.”
    “Janice, you’re quite sensitive. Did you knew what this was about?”
    “Yes Dad, Eric did also. He is sensitive too,” Janice put her arm around her handsome young spouse. “Walt and Lilly, thank you for being the individuals you are, and making the last few years of my Uncle Lawrence’s life happy. He was a saint in his own way. And Mr. Blake, you know how we feel about you. You are as much as part of this as they are.” Eric had put his arms around her and smiled proudly as he looked at her pretty face. Richard beamed with pride, as he put his arms around his wife. The twins had joyful tears in their eyes. They loved their father. They looked at Brad, Lilly, and Walt for a moment. Suddenly each of them ran over and hugged each of them.
    “We tried to love that bag, but it wasn’t possible,” Leslie said as they hugged.

    Jonathan added, “We are thankful for Dad’s wonderful friends and that he lived to see us grow up. He never had to worry about leaving us with that wicked bitch.”
    Brad, a bit embarrassed by the hugs and attention, thought, I can tell Amanda where the ‘love meetings,’ took place. She was Lawrence’s and Lilly’s best champion. Laura will enjoy this story!

Not Again

Eric Burbridge

    The last thing I needed to see, a guy’s head turned inside out by a shotgun blast. But, the spaghetti with meat sauce I ate stayed put. My, off and on, partner ducked behind a cruiser and threw her guts up. “You okay, Milly?”
    “No, Meacham, I’m pregnant and it’s yours,” she tried to laugh and wiped her mouth.
    That was the least of my worries — we hadn’t slept together in a year. “Any sign of a weapon?”
    “None, I got uniforms looking. It had to be a double barrel.”
    “Who is he?” Dumb question since his pockets were inside out.
    “No ID, but there’s a lady screaming over there, she’ll know,” Milly said. “Lot of people around — must’ve been some party at that lounge.”
    “New ownership I heard, bigger crowds, but none of the usual shit...until now.” The crowd chatted amongst themselves in the usual manner, a few shocked, but most not. I tried to write on my wet notepad, but the rain wouldn’t cooperate.
    “Need paper, Reverend Detective Andrew Meacham?” I shot her a dirty look. “I thought you promised not to—”
    “I’m messing with you; you know that nobody heard me. I thought you went to the Ministry full time during your suspension.”
    “You care? We aren’t partners anymore.”
    “Yeah, and don’t make me mad, Meacham, we got work to do like it or not.”
    She was right; the boss punished me for taking a few days to get drunk. The best relief for stress. The uniforms checked the usual places. Nothing. No surprise. I scanned the crowd that shifted with the widening crime scene. I suggested more tape to keep prying eyes and ears at bay. For a second I thought I saw a familiar face.
    It couldn’t be. It was her!
    She wore the same baseball cap at a similar murder scene several months prior. Same height, build with big framed glasses.
    What was she doing here?
    She stepped back, turned and faded into the crowd and avoided the street lights and cameras. I lost sight of her, but anticipated where she’d be in a minute. “Be back in a minute, Milly.” I hurried to the end of the crowd. I’d lost her.
    We finished the preliminaries on the scene and headed back to the station. An hour worth of paperwork later I made a beeline home.


    The minute I stepped in my place I felt a presence, not a threatening one, but one I hoped wasn’t there. I hit the lights and there she was.
    Her oversized glasses and baseball cap on the table next to an empty wine bottle. My sister snored like a mule.
    Wake the hell up, Carole!” She sat straight up and rubbed her eyes.
    “Hello there, Reverend Detective brother of mine—”
    “Don’t call me that. Why did you leave the scene? And don’t tell me you did it.” The coat she wore had blood splattered on it. Jesus, what if she did with her crazy self? She was a chronic confessor. A serious illness and something my frienemies at the precinct love to tease me about. Did she go off her meds or what?
    “I need help...I been bad, brother detective.” I slipped on gloves and examined her coat. Her eyes were bucked, fear and confusion on her face. I took a deep breath. Now I had to deal with her insanity.
    “You shot that guy?”
    “He broke my heart, Andy.” She rubbed the sofa. “I love this leather and the TV is nice.”
    “Don’t you fade on me, Carole, you stay here. Where’s the weapon...the 9mm, where is it?”
    “No nine honey, a double barrel. He has no head.” Carole’s eyes rolled in her head like she could be having a seizure.
    That trick didn’t work. “Look you crazy fool, remember the last time you confessed? You almost got charged and if my boss hadn’t went the extra mile you’d be in jail for something you didn’t do. That’s the shit you probably need.”
    “You were doing so nice with your bad language, reverend detective, what happened?”
    “You!” I wanted to smack her, but my crazy little sister with the porno body that everybody wanted, which compounded her split personality needed prayer. What else could I do? I hugged her and prayed. She broke away and laughed.
    “Don’t do that...he deserved to die.” Carole grabbed her bloodied coat and headed for the door. “I’m turning myself in. Oh, I love the way you re-decorated and lost some weight, you don’t look good with a gut. Bye.”
     The door slammed. I was relieved for a second, just a second. I took the phone off the hook and turned off my cell. Soon my colleagues would call with news about Carole. Embarrassing. One of the many reasons why I kept a place on the lake front. Nice area since I spent the majority of my time in the world’s butthole. The university was down the street and why I decided to go study the bible. Strange, but it keeps me sane. They said I was called to the ministry.
    After a shower and a slice of two day old pizza, sitting on the balcony at 5 am made sense. This time I’ll call the boss. “No awol’s sir, but I’ll see you in a couple of weeks.” I’d done my twenty years and the minimum pension looked better and better. I felt better around church people. I’ll call my pastor later and ask for a job.

Sisters of Salome, art by Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz

Sisters of Salome, art by Edward Michael O’Durr Supranowicz

gun image copyright 1990-2017 Janet Kypers


Janet Kuypers

my mind’s been tainted
from shot gun blast to my soul
I need salvation

twitter 4 jk twitter 4 jk Visit the Kuypers Twitter page for short poems— join
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See YouTube video 2/19/17 of Janet Kuypers reading her haiku poem “violation” in the intro performance to “Kick Butt Poetry” in Austin (on a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).
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See YouTube video of Janet Kuypers joining people on stage and reading her 6 haiku poems “soul”, “eminence”, “oceans”, “violation”, “exterior” and “earth” in the intro performance 2/19/17 to “Kick Butt Poetry” in Austin (video filmed from a Canon Power Shot SX700 camera).

Read the Janet Kuypers bio.

They Had No Ox

Roy Haymond

    It was certainly no surprise to Aranya when she saw the man in the ornate oxcart as he came over the horizon. He looked soft and pudgy even from this distance, and he wore clothes that must have come from the city, complete with the funny, formal-looking hat.
    And it may have been the same man who had come the other two times she knew about. Her parents, of course, had said nothing to her about this, and she looked at them with the contempt that had grown from this whole advent of their lives.
    The material signs were very clear: they had had two oxen for a season; then they’d had one; this year they had tilled the fields without an ox. The crops were lean, with little grain materializing from the plants in the worn-out soil.
    When the crops did not pay, an ox was needed to pay the rent. But her family had no ox, and the rent was due.
    She had slowly come to realize that this had happened before. There was Ling, her older sister, one of only two people who’d ever really mattered to Aranya. It was Ling who had always, even in her earliest memories, been a source of comfort and security. When Aranya stumbled in the fields, it was Ling who picked her up; it was Ling who somehow managed to come up with sweetmeats, even in the long, dull times of deprivation. Distant from the parents who ignored her prattle, the staid couple she was never allowed to question, Aranya found Ling a beautiful beacon of warmth and belonging.
    Then, in Aranya’s eighth year, Ling was gone, just disappeared. Aranya had seen the oxcart, but had not realized that Ling was in it.
    This was hard to understand. There was no funeral, no mourning, and no weeping from the parents. They never even mentioned it.
    Aranya, risking a thrashing, asked her mother about Ling.
    “Ask not, Child. This does not concern thee. She is gone!”
    This lack of explanation caused Aranya much grief, even unto nightmares.
    Comfort in this age came with a friend in a nearby hovel. Morac was the same age as Aranya and the two often found themselves working together in the fields. When things were very busy, they still found time for child play, and when work was slight, the two invented their own little games.
    Then Morac left when Aranya was barely ten. Aranya watched as the oxcart carried her friend away. She managed to play a little with some of the other girls - it was not allowed that boys and girls should play together - but it was not the same as with the special friend who was Morac. For over a year, Aranya’s misery and loneliness were severe.
    And then Ling came for a visit!
    She was elaborately adorned, perfumed, urbane. She brought lavish gifts for her parents.
    This caused quite a stir. All manner of people, men and women, even children, came around just for a glimpse at her.
    But Aranya saw another side of the picture by watching the grimaces of her parents and by hearing their remarks, like: “She should never have come home! Can’t she imagine how this hurts the family?”
    Moreover, she noticed that Ling did not accompany them to the temple, no doubt because her parents did not want her to.
    Ling’s stay was very short, and Aranya knew it had been painful for her. For the second time in her life, she confronted her parents. They were seated at the kitchen table, no doubt discussing Ling, when Aranya entered uninvited.
    “I am hurt. Were you not glad to see Ling?”
    A long silence followed.
    Aranya spoke again, “Ling is my sister; I love her! Were you not glad to see her?”
    “Be quiet, Child; you offend!” her mother retorted.
    “But I must know! I had thought her dead, and she came back to us. Why did you treat her as one who is not of us?”
    The mother stood up. “Shut up, you little fool! You know not of what you speak!”
    Aranya was indignant and determined not leave this argument unfinished. She sat in a chair and stared alternately at the two of them.
    The father finally spoke. “Child, you know not of this world, of how we must live. And it is better that you do not know of some of these things before you are required to. Life here is very hard. Sometimes we must do what we would not. Ling is not with us; it cannot be helped. We are very poor; we did what we had to do.”
    “Father, I do not understand. You sent Ling away? This is because we are poor?”
    “Daughter, you know we have rent to pay; every year this hangs over us. We plant; we tend; then if the harvest is good, we pay the rent. If the harvest is very good, we buy an ox. If the harvest is bad, I sell the ox to pay the rent. We do what we must...”
    “...We had some good years. We paid the rent. We bought an ox, then another. Then crops failed. We sold an ox. Then we sold another. Still the crops failed. The landlord demanded payment. We had no ox. What were we to do? If we are put off this land where we were born, where are we to go? To beg in the cities? To starve in the woods? Oh, I hated what we had to do, but there was really no choice!”
    “That’s what happened to Ling? You sold her?”
    “Sold? It was her duty to go; by turning her over to the landlord’s agent, the rent was excused. When they took her away, we cried!”
    “But, Father, took her away to what? To where?”
    “We could not think of that; it was too painful. We just hoped for the best for her. Now, stop concerning yourself with her. You saw her; why worry about her? She is in another world now!”
    “But when she came, did you welcome her? No! It was as if you were ashamed of her!”
    “Of course, Daughter. The kind of life she leads now! No, she has no place with simple farm folk like us...”
    “What kind of life does she lead?”
    “She has men...but we can’t talk about that to you, child...”
    Aranya stared at her father, then left the room without saying anything more, her very heart filled with hatred for this couple who were her parents.
    Her mind was muddled. Having been kept from playing with boys and formally knowing so little about the male sex, the ‘she has men’ was something she had to ponder.
    Of course, Aranya knew that men, even boys, liked to play with girls. When she walked by men in the village, she was often lightly fondled. And the boys who worked in the fields, some almost grown men, were forever trying to corner her, or any other girl, for this kind of thing. All this had meant nothing really ominous to Aranya - men grabbed and played; that was just a way of life.
    But Ling and Morak were gone, and a strong suspicion grabbed Aranya: what men and boys did to girls - could this be the center of what had happened to her sister and her friend, the two who had meant most to her in her lifetime?
    Even friendless and alone, she felt driven to learn all she could about what men were about when they grabbed girls. This, she felt sure, was the mystery that had sent her two favorite people away.
    It was some months after the confrontation with her parents when she was able to get her brother, Fattan, alone. The boy, some two years her senior, was a sullen, aloof, unkempt lad who held his little sister in very low esteem. She accosted him in a thatch well away from their home, where he was hiding lest his father should give him some work to do.
    “Fattan, there are some things I would ask thee!”
    “Little cow, do not raise thy voice; if we are heard, surely some task for us will be found!”
    “I will not take much of your time, but I must know: what do men do with women?”
    “What a question! A man takes a woman so she will work in the fields and cook rice...”
    “Oh, that I know. But there is something else - like why do men grab at girls all the time? What are they after?”
    “A brazen one you are! You do not know? Really? You do not know? Ha!”
    “Would I ask if I knew? Get off thy throne and tell me!”
    “Ah, this is a lark! You do not know? Well, men take women to bed!”
    “Take women to bed? To do what?”
    “You are not just jesting? So that I tell you this so you can scream and tell that I have insulted, that I have been crass- and with mine own sister?”
    “Nay. This thing I do not know, and I feel I must!”
    Fattan looked all around to reassure himself that no one could be in observance.
    “Well, men enter women!”
    “Yes. Go inside.”
    “I do not understand!”
    “Do you want me to show you? And no screaming?”
    “Yes, please show me - I will not in any wise scream....”
    Fattan took her hand and led her further into the thicket and up a small hill. At a choice spot, he stopped and once again questioned her. “You agreed: no screaming? Anyway, from here, no one will hear thee.”
    He lifted his shift to his waist and exposed himself to her.
    “Here, silly one! This is what enters....”
    She stared in amazement, looking carefully at the instrument he exposed.
    “That? It enters? Enters where?”
    Without another word, he lifted her shift. “This is where entry is made, where babies come from...”
    She was more confused than ever when she left her brother in the thatch. Did this mean that Ling and Morac were sent away so they could make babies? If so, why didn’t Ling bring hers when she came for the visit?
    Because of her situation, it was more than difficult to get any more information on the matters that had her so troubled. However, an opportunity came with a maturational change in her growth: Aranya was twelve and developing. This meant she would now work in the fields with the older girls.
    Days went by as she made observations to determine which of the girls in the fields with her would be most likely to give her the most of the information she sought. She never really had to make this choice, though, because when she was taking a little respite from the labors, she was approached by one of the girls, a big, very ugly girl named Sarad. And from the very first, it seemed that this big girl knew much of the world, and also knew something of Aranya and her family.
    “You won’t be with us all that much longer, will you, little one?”
    “I know not what you mean. Why not?”
    “How old are you? Twelve? I thought as much. Ah, they will be after you before long. If not this year, then the next!”
    “Still I do not understand. Who will be after me? And why?”
    “You are too pretty to stay here. What? To become a woman of one of the farmers? Nay! You will become something else entirely.”
    Sarad looked her over carefully. “Good skin. Even teeth. Not bad bones. Hard to say which way you’ll go, but you won’t stay here. I can see that. And how I wish they’d come for me!”
    “Forgive me, Sarad, but I simply do not understand all of this. Could it be that I must go away to make babies?”
    “You are very ignorant, are you not? But, then, I suppose no one has ever talked to you about any of this, so how could you know? Well, you could possibly have babies, but that is not what they really want of you...”
    “You are right, Sarad; I am very ignorant. If they do not want me for babies, then what? Please tell me. I beg you.”
    The big girl mused for a moment, perhaps thinking she could get something in exchange for the information everybody else knew, then realizing that this child really had nothing to give in exchange.
    “They will come for you...take you somewhere, I’m not sure where...But they will look you over. A man came to my family once and saw me and said he would not take me...But they will take you. Now, the very plain ones become house servants - they may have babies, because the master of the house makes use of such a girl...But as I look at thee, I think it will not be thus: you will be given to a man as his mistress...”
    “A man who has a wife may keep another woman in a separate house - sometimes the wife even knows of this, I am told. He would have to be a rich man to have two houses...”
    “Like taking a second wife?”
    “That could be, but if he should tire of you, he would sell you to a brothel.”
    “Tell me what a brothel is.”
    “It is a place where women stay. Men come to use them, you know, in bed.”
    “You mean to enter them?”
    “Yes. The man goes to a brothel and pays money to spend a time with a woman. Little of the money goes to the woman, since she has been bought by the brothel. Your sister was here, wasn’t she? She had the bright clothes, was all painted...She must be in a brothel. Did she talk to you about it?”
    “I did not get to talk to parents did not allow it...”
    “I saw her; she was so beautiful! And she looks so well treated. Would that I could get into such a place...I’ll be taken by some old farmer when he becomes a widower...”
    The conversation ended and Aranya had much to ponder. The beautiful Ling had indeed been painted and was in bright clothes. Where was she? Could Sarad be correct, that Ling was in a place where men came to enter her? Did she make money doing this? Such could explain the gifts she had brought, but Aranya had a fierce disgust from the images of her sister’s being entered by men.
    It was many days before she was again alone with Sarac. By then some very definite lines of inquiry had formed in Aranya’s young mind.
    “Sarac, I mean not to offend: I am most grateful for all you told me that time. However, might I ask how you came to know these things?”
    “There was a woman. She slept in the woods, came out to beg for food. And men visited her.”
    “Did you know her? Was she an old woman?
    “She did not look as our women who grow old working in the field...But certainly not a young woman...”
    “And she told you these things?”
    “Yes. She told several of us all these things and more. She had been taken away by an agent many years ago...was a man’s mistress for a few years, until he sold her so he could get another young girl. Then she spent many more years in a brothel. Then they had no use for her - the men who come there only wanted younger women. Then, she said she tried to find work to feed herself, but nobody wanted her, not even as a servant, since it was clear she’d been in a brothel...So she came back here where her family was....”
    “And her family? Did they take her in?”
    “Nay. Her family lives some leagues away...they stoned her! She wandered in the woods...Some men brought her food if she would lie with them...and some of us brought her food if she would talk to us...What I told you is from what I heard from her!”
    “Could I speak to her?”
    “Ah, no, little one; she died some time ago...Some say she was killed by the wife of one of the men!”
    “I thank you for telling me all this, Sarac...I now know what must happen to me. I only wish I could find my sister. Nothing you have heard could help me find her, could it?”
    “I think not. The agent comes for the girl; she is taken somewhere so they can look at her and decide for what she may bring them most in monies. I have heard of a place in the city just beyond The Great River, a place that looks like a palace...where the women are very beautiful...Your sister could be there; she was indeed beautiful...”
    Aranya spent many more days in fields with Sarac, talked to her many times, but never got any more useful information. But she had enough to give herself a picture of what would unfold.
    And she had had no doubt about the purpose and the direction of the man in the oxcart from the moment she had seen him clear the horizon. Work stopped in the fields, and people slowly gathered in front of the house of Aranya’s parents.
    Her mother and father came in from the fields and stood with the small crowd, trying desperately to appear as if they knew not what all the ado was about.
    As the man drew very near, it was the mother who spoke to Aranya. “Daughter, you must leave us now. Thy belongings have been made ready. When the man gets here, you will go with him. He will take care of you.”
    Aranya stood there before the house and said nothing. The man stopped the oxcart near the house. He said nothing.
    The father entered the house and brought out Aranya’s few items of clothing wrapped in a cloth. These he put in the back of the oxcart.
    The mother pulled her aside. “Aranya, your sister should not have come here when she did; but, other than that, she has been a good daughter. She has sent us some of her earnings all these years. You must do the same, for, after all, we brought you into the world, and we have looked after you since you were born...”
    “Tell me, truly: would you not send me now, even if we had an ox to give for the rent?”
    “What, daughter? You are still talking this nonsense? We only do what we must...And, truly, it is best for you to get away from here now...”
    “Best for me? Best for Ling? Yes, I go now - I have no choice...And I promise I will never return to this place...nor can you expect to be receiving anything from matter what I earn!”
    She climbed into the cart without looking back at her parents or any of the crowd of watchers.
    The pudgy man in the dark city suit made a wide arc with the ox to turn the cart in the opposing direction. He had said nothing.
    She studied the man lightly, taking in his bloated features and his strange formal clothing.
    The only decision she had to make for herself was whether to approach him before or after the horizon - on how one gets to the city just beyond The Great River.

Split Rail Fence, art by David Michael Jackson

Split Rail Fence, art by David Michael Jackson

Driving By His House

Janet Kuypers
summer 1992

    I know it’s pretty pathetic of me, I don’t know what I’m trying to prove. I don’t even want to see him again. I don’t want to have to think about him, I don’t want to think about his big eyebrows or the fact that he hunched over a little when he walked or that he hurt me so much.

    I know it’s pretty pathetic of me, but sometimes when I’m driving I’ll take a little detour and drive by his house. I’ll just drive by, I won’t slow down, I won’t stop by, I won’t say hello, I won’t beat his head in, I won’t even cry. I’ll just drive by, see a few cars in the driveway, see no signs of life through the windows, and then I’ll just keep driving.

    I don’t know why I do it. He never sees me, and I never see him, although I thought I didn’t want to see him anyway. When I first met him I wasn’t afraid of him. Now I’m so afraid that I have to drive by his house every once in a while, just to remind myself of the fear. We all like the taste of fear, you know, the thought that there’s something out there stronger than us. The thought that there’s something out there we can beat, even if we have to fight to the death.

    But that can’t be it, no, it just can’t be, I don’t like this fear, I don’t like it. I don’t want to drive by, I want to be able to just go on with my life, to not think about it. I want to be strong again. I want to be strong.

    So today I did it again, I haven’t done it for a while, drive by his house, but I did it again today. When I turned on to his street I put on my sunglasses so that in case he saw me he couldn’t tell that I was looking. And then I picked up my car phone and acted like I was talking to someone.

    And I drove by, holding my car phone, talking to my imaginary friend, trying to unobviously glance at the house on my left. There’s a lamppost at the end of his driveway. I always noticed it, the lampshade was a huge glass ball, I always thought it was ugly. This time three cars were there. One of those could have been his. Through the front window, no people, no lights. I drive around a corner, take a turn and get back on the road I was supposed to be on.

    One day, when I’m driving by and I get that feeling again, that feeling like death, well then, I just might do it again.

the poetry audio CD set“HopeChest in the Attic”
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12/04/10 from the TV camera in Lake Villa at Swing State, live in her show the Stories of Women
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12/04/10 in Lake Villa at Swing State, live in her “Visual Nonsense” show the Stories of Women
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See YouTube video from 5/3/17 of Janet KuypersMay 2017 Book Release Reading at Half Price Books, where she said her haiku “uphill” then read her prose “Driving by his House” in “Hands that Hurt”, then her poems “Medication” and “Empty Chocolate Counter” in “Things Found in Books” (this video filmed from a Lumix camera).

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Lunchtime Poll Topic (commentaries on relevant topics)

Beyond Freedom and Dignity, is Denying You Yours


    Don’t compliment me. It’s soft soap. God knows, don’t compliment Others. Just spread your wampum. I’ll have you on your way, yelling cop, googling “the number to call for 911”, in the time it takes to boil an egg.
    I didn’t think it could get more exacting, than hippie outrage. The Robert Kleins of the world, seeing Nixon’s face in everything they didn’t like, to the point of always checking under their beds for him. It’s an obsession which lingered so long and with such bad craziness, it boggled the mind. Hunter S. Thompson’s Better Than Sex, ostensibly about the rise of William Jefferson Clinton, couldn’t go to press without a hurried knifing of Tricky Dick, who died after the fact of the finished manuscript! Geez...that’s some passion, uh? Some “sales manager in The Fan, murders the car door to prove product quality” PASSION. But at least it was fixed. “Here’s our short list of ιWe Hate’ and ιMust Go Away’.” Next to the twenty-something children, the Ragtime Cowboy Triggers or Social Justice Warriors, Klein and Carlin and every younger face at the Fillmore, were just friends I’ve had who made faces as they picked despised items out of their food. SJWs, the anti-Father Coughlin Father Coughlins, are Orwellian in their circle-slash. They’re at war with Eurasia, as they’ve always been at peace with Eastasia.
    I’m not on the side of anyone who says, “You can’t...!”, I think I’ve made that clear enough, but any animal that turns around and attacks the mirror, is a better PPV than Don King Productions is ever again going to see. The flatulent HBO Downtowners, brick wall comedians once cutting edge, are nettled, gritting teeth, how “it’s okay to make fun!” “this ιfeelings’ stuff, is stupid!”, canceling campus shows and the like, versus the (mostly) shavetail locksteppers with seventy-six words for groups where had been one, who not afraid to walk up to you and blat grad student “HUH?!”...though, doncha dare speak back, resistance is bigotry—you’ll be arrested. Most bettors, are rooting for the comedians in need of Viagra. I’m for the zombie-eyed, Zero Tolerance Haters Who Hate Hate. I’m not exactly a bedmate of either side. But youth always wins by playing for time, and hippie outrage, too, shall pass. Somewhere in the process, lines will be drawn, in chalk so unmistakeable, it should be 19th Century-toxic, and all who remain after what-was-always-hurtful-because-sarcasm-isn’t-funny-you-asses, are those who permit barely anything said or thought...and those who will say everything, what’s Your problem, and pull a gun if you embarrass them. I recently heard some yaddayadda, about millennials being “the most unbiased humans in history”, but the whole idea of Actual Trek’s IDIC, is that everything with everyone, everywhere, is allowed for...and that googolplex, even if you prefer Picard, infers inclusion of bias of every type and flavor, from something a person never knew about themselves, to individuals sitting in a darkened room even now, fixin’ to get ready. Which makes it sound like there are no such things as “millennials” as a group, except by year and order of birth. No, there’s an entity. There’s always an entity. Outliers are ever present, but like dry, dead skin. The formless, shapeless larger Thing of “group” and its groupthink, are in every loose association.
    I’m glad this tiger is savaging its own tail, that it’s just “correct”, and no quarter. I welcome the extremity of their position. It’s as honest as Eastwood in his prime. And I thank them for NOT wanting to fucking-talk it out or dialog or communicate, which to the old ι’’ja ever notice...?” Downtowners, is a horrific game change. It means the hatred of all opposing viewpoints, is out there in the open, undenied. No pretense remains. There’s no clear path to 1) let’s discuss this, 2) I make you look like a blubbering ass, then 3) you cave to my opinion, as winning an argument with tricks I learned well, is Truth. Not anymore. All the smoke and mirrors in the magician’s suitcase, every smile which is a smirk which is a sneer of “we’re all good people, right? People, just trying to figure it out, get by...”, is, with the SJW Movement (and I would call it such), burned like RPG books and figs at the end of a Chick tract no one remembers: “We hereby consign this filth of something barely understandable replacing ιSatan’, to the fires of public service announcement for their movement!” Ain’t nothin’ left, homes, but Hate, and Hate of Hate. Cue the next mass slaughter of Man by his brother. That’s pure, nonfriends, it’s fresh. It’s Captain America lecturing while he kicks the shit out of a foe, or 70’s commercial actors inhaling deodorant soap like addicts. Mugging smartass while appealing to a solidarity based in “human = same”, is going the way of the visionary’s speech.
    Jon Stewart should have seen this coming. If he did, he’s a worse gambler than me. Which is saying something.
    In 2004, I admired Stewart, for calling out Ted Koppel on what we now understand as centrism owned and logo branded by the corporate elite; Stewart’s brief statement, showed the “staged” quality of do-nothing discussion by comparison, and he was on target. The days of broad, general statements and sloganism made userfriendly, were rattling to their conclusion. I agreed then, and I do, now. Soft discussion, got to the heart of nothing, as it was surface level. It didn’t occur, 13 years ago, to look further into it. I’d known since the days of the anarchist-friends and “the arguments”, America’s last clasp of hands was that of railroad trust barons over a golden spike. Opposing viewpoints, do not converge. A little of this and a little of that, is silliness. Half-measures, never work. The Other, must be made to see. And as so many, now, are so aware, The Other is become Enemy, a priori. If not at the outset of discussion, by the first smoke break or third beer. One side, wants to school the other. The other, finds this asshole. The hatred of Subject, is to Object not only right out there, but palpable. It’s not enough they’re wrong, they lie, they make things up...They Must Degrade, as well. From there, if the profs of Tomorrow haven’t succumbed to annoyance, irritation, exasperation and(or) are not fit to be tied at the (pardon me) “wall” they’re encountering, the reluctant students threatened, dignity assaulted, will wring it out of them like it was the last fresh water on Earth. Again, to remind, my parents at breakfast? I told you, here and there, one would go silent, try it on for size, allow a fire blanket opposition by withholding response. It never worked, and you can say I’m demagogic because I come from passionate people...but, a joining of hands between Stay Where We Are and Move, Now!, needs more than silence. Silence, is its mortal Enemy. There has to be discussion. Obviously! But having taken a lifelong sample group, I can tell you No One with generational truths, traditions and current family economy riding on it, plus Equality as concept treated like Roman Catholicism treated eternal laws on whim, will champion The Other Side. And that’s where Jon Stewart lost me, in the years following. He thinks there are no sides. It’s clear he remembers the 60’s, far less than me, the TV kid. Vietnam was peanuts, compared to The War on Main Street.
    A poignant question to him on Larry King (ironically from my state), had Stewart rejecting the notion of commonly understood “entities” as such. In his mind, there is no “Hollywood” as an entity, no “Middle America”, etc. In years beyond this, having wrecked newsreporting by making it “funny” (and some people laugh at executions, Jon; ask your friend Bob Saget, about the deeper truths of human response), he has postulated louder than anyone else, the need for national dialog—you know, the one I’ve written at least 3 columns on before this, pointing out the “fairyland filled with wax lips”-quality to the concept? I could further point out that “Hands Across America” was proven from that pre-Internet day, to have never held a synchronous chain for one split second...or that there’s no such thing as a 350 million voice dialog, and that sides spoken for, choose champions, not Gandhis—kindly recall last year’s debates (was that Mom and Dad??). Notions as simple as “we are all Americans”, will now net you a respectable Thumbs Down percentage (possibly in your ear), as the definition of “American” is as spectrum as the mouths defining it. As for the broad, meaningless, faux-inclusiveness of Sociology 101, the “we all want what’s best for ourselves, our families and a happier, healthier, more productive and positive world for everyone”, word: It’s not just the Goth movement jeering that, and not just Jimbob and Becky Sue spitting on it. Reason? Your “happy” and my happy, are not remotely the same. No matter how slowly you build your nucleus in explaining to Others you view inherently as The Enemy—and if you have to convert oppositional thinking, it’s a Spy vs. Spy situation...the ones who don’t think like you, are, yes, THE ENEMY. You can kiss ιum’s feelings and coo bullshit, even tweak “Enemy” to “Needs Assistance From Good Friends Ice Cream Cake Human”...but to bring an individual, even one, from being in opposition, to fist bumping with your thought group, means making their belief structure and system in main go away, by supplanting it—I would say, usurping it—with your own. If you’re going to do it as in Cold War brainwashing, say that, and I’ll leave you alone. If by the current waterboarding, a goofy kind of brainwashing remake, say it, and fine, I’ll keep calm and believe in CEE. But persuasion as classroom/dialog/national discussion “okay, let’s begin by asking...”? Nope! Sorry!
    Though the barefoot toefishing of “ain’t broke/don’t fix” sounds awful, let’s apply it, here. Dialog? For what purpose? We’re all Americans, we’re all “one”, we’re all together, altogether (college band plays, cheerleaders flip)! Dialog is unnecessary, if we are all “together”. Deduction: We’re Not. “Together”, is not proximity, because if mere space is what’s meant, you’ve got ten seconds to get the Hell out of my driveway...and if “it’s sure crowded, here”, China has had the (rather brutal) answer, for decades. Overpopulation, doesn’t mean getting along and tickling feet. It means eliminating a fair portion of said population. These things used to be called plagues and wars. Pick one. Because any other solution, begins with that old documentary so rare no can afford a copy, anymore, re: one teacher’s experiment involving superiority. As has always been the case, Man takes away only the crying lesson. Never the Self lesson. I accept most would be a Good Samaritan, if they had the time...or knew the person(s) hurting (and liked them to begin with)...or it was a school/church project covered by the local paper, with fish fry to follow. Examples involving children three-score ago, are as bogus as the second “Bill and Ted” movie, when we reach secondary response. 21st Century adults, aren’t going to behave that way. Each to their issues, and with groupthink saluted high if a quorum is present, sure...but, then, everyone goes inside. With tech. Tech, is their friend. Tech shows them how to say ιwho’ they are, express ιwhat’ they are and hide as much as can from the rest. Everything’s gone indoors, as you know. We’ll never again see open, honest faces, nothing withheld. There’s no cracking that nut, unless you approach it with an axe borrowed from Kathy Bates...or trap it in its own basement...and you see we keep coming back to really scary stuff. That’s because We Are Not Together. And we’re not together, because we’re not “one”. What has failed over and over in the Eastern Hemisphere, is not about to work for a monied culture built on money. If the days of politicos with sleeves rolled up and judging the pie contest are kaput, the vague, mystical “one” as ploy to alter refusal, is a baby toy’s squeak.
    “We are all one”, is a platitude; it’s not even remotely true. And, it used to not be the argument as framed. I never had trouble with the “sameness/oneness/together” line, in its 1.0.
    1.0, as framed = We are all due every respect, every right, every freedom, every liberty, every opportunity, each and every as one another, no difference. YES.
    2.0, as framed = We are all “the same”, we are “one”, as in one big happy DNA schematic without cats, koalas or li-ah baby aliens from Close Encounters... being involved. NO.
    I admit, a catalyst portion of the ιNO’, is that the ιYES’, is impossible under some...actually almost all systems of government, and said YES cannot be achieved through dialog, through parlay, through reason or legislation, or God knows, Luuuuuvv, because of the NO. You can ram The Other down someone’s throat, and slit that throat if it protests—and if you weren’t hanging at the International Space Station the past two years, you know damned well, eradication of whole cities’ worth of the unregenerate, is what it would take—but it’s too late in a tech-soaked culture of selfselection, to even schedule the date of this neighbor’s-problem-is-You “talk”, as the unregenerate see the very invitation as a Trojan Horse. IOW, you’re lying. And don’t bother with the un-vetted sources, the sins of the past nine presidents or indeed of Rachel Cade...from “you’re lying”, it’s over, always walked back, reset kewpie dolls, to “you’re lying”. Think Abbot and Costello, e.g. “Third base!” A circular argument which can never break out of itself, keeps it 47% to 47%, Cold Civil War, Forever—if you’re lucky. It really doesn’t matter, if you could show your vision on the biggest Jumbotron in MLB. You made it, or your friends did, therefore it’s made up. It’s a lie. You’re lying. End result? The Above YES is never begun to be realized, no matter its Periodic Element weight in Truth, because the NO is never going to be conceded. Most every unregenerate, would rather burn in the version of Hell that has Bill Maher and buddies shitting pants the loudest. It’s all very Christopher Lloyd and Shatner, in Star Trek III.
    I’ve told you there can be only one, but it takes full accord, to keep society from chaos. America...the doomed, because of...well. People like me. And not like me. It is, however, a great time for sociopaths, nonfriends. And with every death or fifty, you begin to realize the dark side of “the sun will come out, tomorrow”. The most inhuman 99%, is that which gets up and goes to work the next day. Why, how dare they? A: Moral support as not truly invested beyond the philosophical, is nothing.
    Saying from afar, “I am invested”, is castles in the air. 99%, no matter who is in the casket, don’t give a flying. Only at most, for their September, 40-man roster. This one cares about those and those over there, care about him and him and her. The best and biggest, per any “team”, is by formula, nationalistic, indeed nativist, and OMG, the other team(s) find that very disturbing. But, there’s no chance for community accord un-forced, let alone national accord. It’s a numbers game, originating in “Hi, can I buy you a drink?” Translation, from the 10-minute CEE play, Here, the Fallen: “Too many, there are too many, and we are making too many more.” Therefore, at some point, except on Chomsky’s atomized level, who gives a shit? And why should they? Up! Ohp! You’re lying.
    The brass tacks of this, is a trust issue. That’s why the human race is doomed, and I need only point to simple divorce statistics before resting my case. If you need more, blame that ol’ Yes It Is Too An Entity, Hollywood, for showing us every baddie who the hero/victim was foolish enough to trust—if the hero wasn’t so box office-amazing, the Evil Genius wins. In The Long Ago, an anarchist friend, was rejective of the Roadrunner-Coyote cartoons, “because the genius always loses”. The eternal humiliation of Wile E. Coyote, then, was either a 180 on logic, or a degrading of those who actually think. And you’re frowning and grumbling, “but that’s a cartoon, it’s Not Real, things don’t actually fall that way!” Hey. You’re right. The genius who is out to get us, would succeed, because they “know”, and know how. And they aren’t going to goof. But, this is not WATCHMEN. Adrian Veidt as local or pinnacle of power, requires that 80’s “throw me (the MacGuffin I personally want), or we’ll all die!” And happy ending or sad, we know the next thousand frames. Arguments against this, all are rooted in “no one wants to feel bad, having to believe Others are”. That’s how we got government in the first place, how it got away with all it did and took. I keep hearing how “The People” are fed up with it, how frightened The Powers, are...I’ve heard that wheeze, since Abbie Hoffman. And Chomsky’s 398, and still breathfarting this, but all I see is the same world which is full of creatures who have to get up and eat. A voice 47% think of with homicidal anger, wanting to add any drudgery to Lenny Bruce’s “eat, sleep and crap”, is not going to get the devotion of the Hebrews crying to Moses, backed against the Red Sea. Until things are at that point, of course. Maher is bang-on, when he says, “people want magic”. Uh-huh! We sure do! And we aren’t going to receive it. Bet me, nonfriend. I’ll give you twice better than Vegas odds. And a field goal.
    It really doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn, if our world is dying, faster and faster each day (I personally believe yes, it is). If I don’t like you, don’t trust you, find your POV/worldview/Gestalt/quintessence sickmaking—if only You, the individual who is slyly converting!...then, let us die. I say that, more aware each day, that I’m genuinely about done, and Not Wanting To Be. Self and its holiness and what your IT knows, is greater than anything in all the world. Greater than any greater good. And if suddenly 40 years younger via a miracle unexplained, I would fight all the harder, and pray as though zealot at the Wailing Wall, for the darkness and death to shag its ass. That which is wrong, needs to stay out of my face. With the WWW, that is now impossible, and I live as a hermit, have since Clinton, so this is horse’s mouth-stuff. I cannot escape the cacophony. Nor can you. Thus, it needs to go away. Be erased from existence...but, not like that. Not with black uniforms involved, no barbed wire. The Problem is Man. That would be all of us, the sole ground upon which we meet, with no one’s solution anything but mystery meat and taint. Hence, we solve the problem by eliminating The Enemy. Like Karloff, as The Monster in tears, pulling the lever. Mutually Assured Destruction.
    If I wake up tomorrow after a lightning storm or radiation explosion overhead, having drunk bitter, odd-tasting water or repeated runic words on a blog, backwards, and I realize I am 17 and have all life before me with every second chance and possibility...this column remains Truth known as absorbed, and you don’t wanta know, the inexhaustible energy I’d have. Like Puck of Real World infamy cautioned the housemates, “You’ve been gettin’ a ι2’!” on the scale of CEE. For this beauty dreamed of, is fool’s gold, because suddenly having all hope, Now, would be like anyone, Ever, winning the Lottery. Nothing has changed, but for your riches. Everyone else, everything else, is exactly as it was, yesterday. It doesn’t matter those I love, those I want to protect, or those I want to throttle, whether brethren or UFC rivals, birds of a feather or demons in skin suits. Pure of heart as you believe yourself, or those I affirm as many did Buscaglia, in The Day. You’re the problem. You’ve gotta go away. A whole lotta someones, do.
    As went the barfly litany in days of “Us, or the Communists”, God’s gonna sort us out. Indeed, yes! After clearing the decks. That’d be God as The Holy Bomb, in the one Planet of the Apes movie I really, truly dug. Like imitating Nicholson, everyone can bellow a couple of Heston quotes from the first movie. No one likely recalls his last words as Taylor, at the end of the 2nd. ιTube it, ιflix it, nonfriends, find it however you can. Don’t waste time on anything else. Don’t waste time at all. Specifically, don’t waste your breath trying to talk to people, or say good things to them to get good things from them. You’re lying, and everyone knows it. And even if you’re not, all the Forrest Gump chocolates and sweet nothings, won’t sway I Don’t Like You. I know B.F. Skinner swore that shit works, but B.F. Skinner was a control freak.

Dusty Dog Reviews
The whole project is hip, anti-academic, the poetry of reluctant grown-ups, picking noses in church. An enjoyable romp! Though also serious.

Nick DiSpoldo, Small Press Review (on Children, Churches and Daddies, April 1997)
Children, Churches and Daddies is eclectic, alive and is as contemporary as tomorrow’s news.

Kenneth DiMaggio (on cc&d, April 2011)
CC&D continues to have an edge with intelligence. It seems like a lot of poetry and small press publications are getting more conservative or just playing it too academically safe. Once in awhile I come across a self-advertized journal on the edge, but the problem is that some of the work just tries to shock you for the hell of it, and only ends up embarrassing you the reader. CC&D has a nice balance; [the] publication takes risks, but can thankfully take them without the juvenile attempt to shock.

from Mike Brennan 12/07/11
I think you are one of the leaders in the indie presses right now and congrats on your dark greatness.

cc&d          cc&d

    Nick DiSpoldo, Small Press Review (on “Children, Churches and Daddies,” April 1997)

    Kuypers is the widely-published poet of particular perspectives and not a little existential rage, but she does not impose her personal or artistic agenda on her magazine. CC+D is a provocative potpourri of news stories, poetry, humor, art and the “dirty underwear” of politics.
    One piece in this issue is “Crazy,” an interview Kuypers conducted with “Madeline,” a murderess who was found insane, and is confined to West Virginia’s Arronsville Correctional Center. Madeline, whose elevator definitely doesn’t go to the top, killed her boyfriend during sex with an ice pick and a chef’s knife, far surpassing the butchery of Elena Bobbitt. Madeline, herself covered with blood, sat beside her lover’s remains for three days, talking to herself, and that is how the police found her. For effect, Kuypers publishes Madeline’s monologue in different-sized type, and the result is something between a sense of Dali’s surrealism and Kafka-like craziness.

Debra Purdy Kong, writer, British Columbia, Canada
I like the magazine a lot. I like the spacious lay-out and the different coloured pages and the variety of writer’s styles. Too many literary magazines read as if everyone graduated from the same course. We need to collect more voices like these and send them everywhere.

    Ed Hamilton, writer

    #85 (of Children, Churches and Daddies) turned out well. I really enjoyed the humor section, especially the test score answers. And, the cup-holder story is hilarious. I’m not a big fan of poetry - since much of it is so hard to decipher - but I was impressed by the work here, which tends toward the straightforward and unpretentious.
    As for the fiction, the piece by Anderson is quite perceptive: I liked the way the self-deluding situation of the character is gradually, subtly revealed. (Kuypers’) story is good too: the way it switches narrative perspective via the letter device is a nice touch.

Children, Churches and Daddies.
It speaks for itself.
Write to Scars Publications to submit poetry, prose and artwork to Children, Churches and Daddies literary magazine, or to inquire about having your own chapbook, and maybe a few reviews like these.

    Jim Maddocks, GLASGOW, via the Internet

    I’ll be totally honest, of the material in Issue (either 83 or 86 of Children, Churches and Daddies) the only ones I really took to were Kuypers’. TRYING was so simple but most truths are, aren’t they?

    Fithian Press, Santa Barbara, CA
    Indeed, there’s a healthy balance here between wit and dark vision, romance and reality, just as there’s a good balance between words and graphics. The work shows brave self-exploration, and serves as a reminder of mortality and the fragile beauty of friendship.

    C Ra McGuirt, Editor, The Penny Dreadful Review (on Children, Churches and Daddies)

    cc&d is obviously a labor of love ... I just have to smile when I go through it. (Janet Kuypers) uses her space and her poets to best effect, and the illos attest to her skill as a graphic artist.
    I really like (“Writing Your Name”). It’s one of those kind of things where your eye isn’t exactly pulled along, but falls effortlessly down the poem.
I liked “knowledge” for its mix of disgust and acceptance. Janet Kuypers does good little movies, by which I mean her stuff provokes moving imagery for me. Color, no dialogue; the voice of the poem is the narrator over the film.

    Children, Churches and Daddies no longer distributes free contributor’s copies of issues. In order to receive issues of Children, Churches and Daddies, contact Janet Kuypers at the cc&d e-mail addres. Free electronic subscriptions are available via email. All you need to do is email and ask to be added to the free cc+d electronic subscription mailing list. And you can still see issues every month at the Children, Churches and Daddies website, located at

    Mark Blickley, writer

    The precursor to the magazine title (Children, Churches and Daddies) is very moving. “Scars” is also an excellent prose poem. I never really thought about scars as being a form of nostalgia. But in the poem it also represents courage and warmth. I look forward to finishing her book.

    Gary, Editor, The Road Out of Town (on the Children, Churches and Daddies Web Site)

    I just checked out the site. It looks great.

    Dusty Dog Reviews: These poems document a very complicated internal response to the feminine side of social existence. And as the book proceeds the poems become increasingly psychologically complex and, ultimately, fascinating and genuinely rewarding.

    John Sweet, writer (on chapbook designs)

    Visuals were awesome. They’ve got a nice enigmatic quality to them. Front cover reminds me of the Roman sculptures of angels from way back when. Loved the staggered tire lettering, too. Way cool.

    (on “Hope Chest in the Attic”)
    Some excellent writing in “Hope Chest in the Attic.” I thought “Children, Churches and Daddies” and “The Room of the Rape” were particularly powerful pieces.

    Dusty Dog Reviews: She opens with a poem of her own devising, which has that wintry atmosphere demonstrated in the movie version of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. The atmosphere of wintry white and cold, gloriously murderous cold, stark raging cold, numbing and brutalizing cold, appears almost as a character who announces to his audience, “Wisdom occurs only after a laboriously magnificent disappointment.” Alas, that our Dusty Dog for mat cannot do justice to Ms. Kuypers’ very personal layering of her poem across the page.

    Cheryl Townsend, Editor, Impetus (on Children, Churches and Daddies)

    The new cc&d looks absolutely amazing. It’s a wonderful lay-out, looks really professional - all you need is the glossy pages. Truly impressive AND the calendar, too. Can’t wait to actually start reading all the stuff inside.. Wanted to just say, it looks good so far!!!

    You Have to be Published to be Appreciated.

    Do you want to be heard? Contact Children, Churches and Daddies about book or chapbook publishing. These reviews can be yours. Scars Publications, attention J. Kuypers. We’re only an e-mail away. Write to us.

    Brian B. Braddock, Writer (on 1996 Children, Churches and Daddies)

    I passed on a copy to my brother who is the director of the St. Camillus AIDS programs. We found (Children, Churches and Daddies’) obvious dedication along this line admirable.

    Mark Blickley, writer
    The precursor to the magazine title (Children, Churches and Daddies) is very moving. “Scars” is also an excellent prose poem. I never really thought about scars as being a form of nostalgia. But in the poem it also represents courage and warmth. I look forward to finishing her book.

    Brian B. Braddock, WrBrian B. Braddock, Writer (on 1996 Children, Churches and Daddies)

    Brian B. Braddock, WrI passed on a copy to my brother who is the director of the St. Camillus AIDS programs. We found (Children, Churches and Daddies’) obvious dedication along this line admirable.

    Dorrance Publishing Co., Pittsburgh, PA
    “Hope Chest in the Attic” captures the complexity of human nature and reveals startling yet profound discernments about the travesties that surge through the course of life. This collection of poetry, prose and artwork reflects sensitivity toward feminist issues concerning abuse, sexism and equality. It also probes the emotional torrent that people may experience as a reaction to the delicate topics of death, love and family.
    “Chain Smoking” depicts the emotional distress that afflicted a friend while he struggled to clarify his sexual ambiguity. Not only does this thought-provoking profile address the plight that homosexuals face in a homophobic society, it also characterizes the essence of friendship. “The room of the rape” is a passionate representation of the suffering rape victims experience. Vivid descriptions, rich symbolism, and candid expressions paint a shocking portrait of victory over the gripping fear that consumes the soul after a painful exploitation.

    want a review like this? contact scars about getting your own book published.

    Paul Weinman, Writer (on 1996 Children, Churches and Daddies)

    Wonderful new direction (Children, Churches and Daddies has) taken - great articles, etc. (especially those on AIDS). Great stories - all sorts of hot info!

the UN-religions, NON-family oriented literary and art magazine

    The magazine Children Churches and Daddies is Copyright © 1993 through 2017 Scars Publications and Design. The rights of the individual pieces remain with the authors. No material may be reprinted without express permission from the author.


    Okay, nilla wafer. Listen up and listen good. How to save your life. Submit, or I’ll have to kill you.
    Okay, it’s this simple: send me published or unpublished poetry, prose or art work (do not send originals), along with a bio, to us - then sit around and wait... Pretty soon you’ll hear from the happy people at cc&d that says (a) Your work sucks, or (b) This is fancy crap, and we’re gonna print it. It’s that simple!

    Okay, butt-munch. Tough guy. This is how to win the editors over.
    Hope Chest in the Attic is a 200 page, perfect-bound book of 13 years of poetry, prose and art by Janet Kuypers. It’s a really classy thing, if you know what I mean. We also have a few extra sopies of the 1999 book “Rinse and Repeat”, the 2001 book “Survive and Thrive”, the 2001 books “Torture and Triumph” and “(no so) Warm and Fuzzy”,which all have issues of cc&d crammed into one book. And you can have either one of these things at just five bucks a pop if you just contact us and tell us you saw this ad space. It’s an offer you can’t refuse...

    Carlton Press, New York, NY: HOPE CHEST IN THE ATTIC is a collection of well-fashioned, often elegant poems and short prose that deals in many instances, with the most mysterious and awesome of human experiences: love... Janet Kuypers draws from a vast range of experiences and transforms thoughts into lyrical and succinct verse... Recommended as poetic fare that will titillate the palate in its imagery and imaginative creations.

    Mark Blickley, writer: The precursor to the magazine title (Children, Churches and Daddies) is very moving. “Scars” is also an excellent prose poem. I never really thought about scars as being a form of nostalgia. But in the poem it also represents courage and warmth. I look forward to finishing the book.

    You Have to be Published to be Appreciated.
    Do you want to be heard? Contact Children, Churches and Daddies about book and chapbook publishing. These reviews can be yours. Scars Publications, attention J. Kuypers - you can write for yourself or you can write for an audience. It’s your call...


    Dorrance Publishing Co., Pittsburgh, PA: “Hope Chest in the Attic” captures the complexity of human nature and reveals startling yet profound discernments about the travesties that surge through the course of life. This collection of poetry, prose and artwork reflects sensitivity toward feminist issues concerning abuse, sexism and equality. It also probes the emotional torrent that people may experience as a reaction to the delicate topics of death, love and family. “Chain Smoking” depicts the emotional distress that afflicted a friend while he struggled to clarify his sexual ambiguity. Not only does this thought-provoking profile address the plight that homosexuals face in a homophobic society, it also characterizes the essence of friendship. “The room of the rape” is a passionate representation of the suffering rape victims experience. Vivid descriptions, rich symbolism, and candid expressions paint a shocking portrait of victory over the gripping fear that consumes the soul after a painful exploitation.


    Dusty Dog Reviews, CA (on knife): These poems document a very complicated internal response to the feminine side of social existence. And as the book proceeds the poems become increasingly psychologically complex and, ultimately, fascinating and genuinely rewarding.
Children, Churches and Daddies. It speaks for itself.


    Dusty Dog Reviews (on Without You): She open with a poem of her own devising, which has that wintry atmosphere demonstrated in the movie version of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. The atmosphere of wintry white and cold, gloriously murderous cold, stark raging cold, numbing and brutalizing cold, appears almost as a character who announces to his audience, “Wisdom occurs only after a laboriously magnificent disappointment.” Alas, that our Dusty Dog for mat cannot do justice to Ms. Kuypers’ very personal layering of her poem across the page.
    Children, Churches and Daddies. It speaks for itself.

    Debra Purdy Kong, writer, British Columbia, Canada (on Children, Churches and Daddies): I like the magazine a lot. I like the spacious lay-out and the different coloured pages and the variety of writer’s styles. Too many literary magazines read as if everyone graduated from the same course. We need to collect more voices like these and send them everywhere.

    Fithian Press, Santa Barbara, CA: Indeed, there’s a healthy balance here between wit and dark vision, romance and reality, just as there’s a good balance between words and graphics. The work shows brave self-exploration, and serves as a reminder of mortality and the fragile beauty of friendship.

Children, Churches and Daddies
the UN-religious, NON-family oriented literary and art magazine
Scars Publications and Design

Publishers/Designers Of
Children, Churches and Daddies magazine
cc+d Ezines
The Burning mini poem books
God Eyes mini poem books
The Poetry Wall Calendar
The Poetry Box
The Poetry Sampler
Mom’s Favorite Vase Newsletters
Reverberate Music Magazine
Down In The Dirt magazine
Freedom and Strength Press forum
plus assorted chapbooks and books
music, poetry compact discs
live performances of songs and readings

Sponsors Of
past editions:
Poetry Chapbook Contest, Poetry Book Contest
Prose Chapbook Contest, Prose Book Contest
Poetry Calendar Contest
current editions:
Editor’s Choice Award (writing and web sites)
Collection Volumes

Children, Churches and Daddies (founded 1993) has been written and researched by political groups and writers from the United States, Canada, England, India, Italy, Malta, Norway and Turkey. Regular features provide coverage of environmental, political and social issues (via news and philosophy) as well as fiction and poetry, and act as an information and education source. Children, Churches and Daddies is the leading magazine for this combination of information, education and entertainment.
Children, Churches and Daddies (ISSN 1068-5154) is published quarterly by Scars Publications and Design, attn: Janet Kuypers. Contact us via snail-mail or e-mail ( for subscription rates or prices for annual collection books.
To contributors: No racist, sexist or blatantly homophobic material. No originals; if mailed, include SASE & bio. Work sent on disks or through e-mail preferred. Previously published work accepted. Authors always retain rights to their own work. All magazine rights reserved. Reproduction of Children, Churches and Daddies without publisher permission is forbidden. Children, Churches and Daddies Copyright © 1993 through 2017 Scars Publications and Design, Children, Churches and Daddies, Janet Kuypers. All rights remain with the authors of the individual pieces. No material may be reprinted without express permission.

a Pick for the Future