You know how they say …

 

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Well, I say:

Keep

Qualm

and

write

poetry

because for me, many of the best poems stem from self-doubt, worry, and unease.

Here’s one I memorized in the 70’s because I loved Rod McKuen’s poetry.

Clouds are not
the cheeks of angels
you know
they’re only clouds.
Friendly sometimes,
but you can never be sure.
If I had longer arms
I’d push the clouds away
or make them hang
above the water
somewhere else,
but I’m just a man
who needs and wants,
mostly things he’ll never have.
Looking for that thing
that’s hardest to find…
himself.
I’ve been going
a long time now
along the way
I’ve learned some things.
You have to make the good times yourself
take the little times
and make them into big times
and save the times
that are alright
for the ones
that aren’t so good.
I’ve never been able
to push the clouds away
by myself.
Help me.
Please. 

Rod McKuen 1967

The Lone Deserter

The lone deserter travels on, through tapestry of green, paying no attention to the land he’s never seen.

Passion pocketed for later use, the milestones tucked away, with treasures from another life he once felt sure would stay.

Trying for clear passage, his back now all that shows, struggling to seek distance, from lovers, friends and foe.

We watch him trip and stumble, yet he holds his head erect, while trying to deny and mask the sadness we detect.

The ocean tide once friendly, the setting sky so gray, he separates his vision of the past now gone astray.

His shadow barely showing, horizon on attack, reminding us as we watch him go, of the power that we lack.

When will we get him back?

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by CD-W

photo credit

Mornin’ After the Beatin’

 

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Ike on left, grown Cono on right. (my great grandfather and my dad)

After Cono’s dad beats the tar out him the night before, Cono’s grandpa Ike (who witnessed the beating) shows up the next morning with an extra horse and a bit of wisdom. (Cono is ten at this point) No Hill for a Stepper– based on a true story.

 

  We keep riding until we get close to the stock pond. Ike mashes on one side of his nose and snorts out snot from the other.

            “Damn,” Ike says. “Those dandelion feathers Float up my nose ev’ry time this year. He nods his head toward the water. “That pond o’re yonder?” 

            “Yeah.”

            “That there’s yer Great Grandpa Dennis’ favorite spot. Used ta ride up on him sometimes, saw him sittin’ there starin’ at the water like he was waitin’ for it ta talk to him.”

            “Did it?” I ask.

            “Prob’ly. Guess that’s why he kept goin’ back to it.”

            “Maybe I should sit there sometime.”

            “Wouldn’t do no harm. A little piece’n quiet kin go a long way for a man.”

             I liked that he said that; like he can see the man in me.

            “Kin I ask ye somethin,’ Ike?”

            “Uh huh.”

            “That time P.V. Hail beat the tar outta ye on Main Street? Did ye wanna kill ‘em?”

            “P.V.? Nah. He was jes’t doin’ his job’s all.”

            “But it wadn’t right. He shouldn’t ‘a done that.”

            “Nah, wadn’t right. But some folks feel a little too big fer their own britches.”

            Ike pauses and says, “Besides, it shor’ wouldn’t ‘a been right fer me to kill him. That’s a whole nuther thing. He’s jes’t a piss ant’s all. Kinda like this here horse I’m ridin’.” He reaches down and gives P.A. a couple of pats on his neck.

            “Did ye feel sorry fer yerself?”

            “Fer what?”

            “That you’d been done wrong.”

            “Why a’course not. That’s called pity. Hell, pityin’ yerself don’t do no good. Nobody ever got anywhere by pityin’ themselves.”

            “That a fact?”

            “Which part?”

            “The part that ye really didn’t wanna kill him.”

            “Cono, if I tell ye a rooster wears a pistol…”

            “Jes’t look under its wing,” we finish together.

            “That’s right,” he says.

            “Yer a straight shooter, ain’t ye Ike?”

            “Only way to be.”

           I stare up in the cool and clear Texas sky and picture that rooster standing up on our fence post, his wing back like he’s ready to draw. “Cock-a-doodle doo, you sons ‘a bitches. Now get up!” Then I laugh.

            “What so funny?” says Ike.

            I tell him about the picture I’d put in my head and he says, “He’s prob’ly one’a P.V.s deputies.” And when he lets out his “hee hee hee” laugh, I laugh even harder.

            “Ike,” I say. “I believe what ye say, that a rooster’s under yer wing, when ye tell me he does.” Not only that, I’m thinking that rooster’s got a six-shooter under there ready to unload.

            “Let me tell ye a little somethin’ and I want ya ta listen up.” He pauses, clicking the left side of his cheek like he’s finding the right words and I wait. I can wait all day if need be just to hear what Ike has to say. “When it comes right down to it, yer your own best friend. Most the time, ye can’t trust anybody but yer own self.”

            I think I’ve done figured that out on my own. But I say what I mean. “I trust you though.”

            “Uh huh, but trustin’ yer own self’s even better.”

 

 

I’m Noi-vus!

 

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My third novel is finished. I love Emma June, Scooter, moonshine-maker Miss Helen. I love Emma June’s determination to find her mama and bring her back home. I love the heart-warming elements, the dialogue…

So why am I NOI-VUS?

Tomorrow I will send The Moonshine Thicket off to a literary agency, the owner  I met and spoke with several years ago.

This past October, I “attended” a webinar where she and one of her agents were the hosts. The perk of the webinar was being able to submit your query, synopsis, or first ten pages (a total of 10 pages).

The agent I was assigned to was more than encouraging in her review. She gave me hope.

Still, I’m pondering. Am I ready?

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