The Lucky Lad

adventures in dysthymia

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Babel, a poem


I have built, stone by stone,
word by rough-hewn word, my tower
to reach God. He hides behind
the sun. He writes upon the clouds

in runes a thousand tongues have
murmured without understanding.
Another inch, another word —
I seek him in this labor yet.

Come dwell a while in Babel; dwell
with me and we shall name the streets
anew each day. See them, laid
in line and page below us, confusion

singing among the empty houses.
Everyone has come to climb
the stair, look toward whatever heaven
they hope to hide within their hearts.

I extend my hand to him
once more and find myself, as ever,
lacking, my way grown longer but
no closer. Gaze upward, measure again.

My scaffolds must remain about me,
testimony to this toil,
blasphemy and poetry
working ever hand in hand,

until my hand might grasp the sky
and shake tomorrow loose. Give me
only a place to stand, a higher
place, a tower to reach God.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

Although labored over for a few days, I still consider this somewhat early-drafty.  Haven't posted much in a while, letting myself 'lay fallow,' so to speak, after finishing off the Donzalo novels. I'll be getting back into stuff soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

To Take Arms, a poem

To Take Arms

So, is it wrong to take
ones destiny into ones hands,
to make that leap into
the darkness on ones own terms?

I, too, might take arms
against tomorrow, against
insistent fate. Someday,
I may feel the need.

There come days when I
believe, and days I do
not. Which will this be?
Tomorrow speaks too loudly,

and if, in the end,
things have only what meaning
we give, what meaning have we?
Take arms, brother, take arms.

The last day of my life
I may regret all done
and undone. The next day,
I shall not care. Let fall

things as they will; in time,
everything and everyone
is forgotten. Let fall the darkness.
I shall know when to take arms.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Odds, a poem


I have seen the doors of destiny
open before me, seen the calm, cold stars
wink to life in the void. Hear their voices,

lifting songs that hold no key. Once I
learned such tunes, misunderstanding each
promise. Like that famous cat which is

alive and dead at once, these futures both
exist and don’t. Did I choose? Ask
the angels and the stars. Ask those beguiled

by the lurid signs along their roads.
Signs and wonders, portents of my fate,
point ever away from here. I’ve heard the whispers

of the hard-faced women on this street.
All the night, they whisper to each other,
laying odds. Which regret will I

ask to wear when they have done their weaving?
Tonight I count the stars. Their number must
add up to something, something I might believe.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

Being all poet-y and obscure

Monday, November 17, 2014

Concentrate, a poem


The smell of burnt oranges fills heaven,
rising with the caracara
from the prairie swamp. It is
a long, flat two-lane way from the coast

to Lake Okeechobee, broken only
by Immokalee, sleeping still
when I drove through. But the plants
run all night, up by the lake,

turning the golden fruit to juice,
concentrating Florida
for consumption. Pillar of smoke,
pillar of fire, lead me on,

though I know not why I was chosen,
no more than the high-humped Brahma cattle
that watch me pass, the red-wing singing
in the ditch. As time passes, unobserved,

all that is me is concentrated
here, on a road that leads
to dawn. Why question what may lie
beyond this smell of oranges?

Stephen Brooke ©2014

a route I frequently drove, once upon a time, across the empty country between Naples and the lake

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Socks, a poem


I won’t have sex in socks,
no matter how cold it may be;
I need my feet as naked
as the rest of me.
My toes might feel quite frigid,
yet they yearn to be free;
we shouldn’t have sex in socks,
I hope that you agree.

No, I won’t have sex in socks,
more blankets are the key;
pile them thick on the bed —
I think we need at least three.
Then, content in our cocoon,
snuggling cozily,
all my little piggies
will go ‘Whee! Whee! Whee!’

Stephen Brooke ©2014

just  nonsense

Monday, November 10, 2014

What Now?

Now that the ‘Donzalo’s Destiny’ saga is finished, it is time to tackle new writing projects (not to mention non-writing ones). Perhaps I’ll finally finish some illustrations for one of the children’s books.

I have started in on a new novel, which may or not lead to obsessive writing. Very different from the fantasy books I just completed, both in content and in style. I went with a method of short scenes and varied viewpoints in the Donzalo books whereas I intend to be quite mainstream in the new one, with a straight-forward first-person narrative.

The story should be pretty much mainstream as well. Not exactly a thriller nor a mystery but veering in that direction — have to keep the readers’ interest somehow as I sneak in those oh-so-important observations on the human condition and that kind of stuff. :) I am not working from outline and notes this time, either. Well, I do have notes, of course, but I’m still doing more of a make-it-up-as-I-go thing. That means my first draft will tend to be more, well, like a first draft.

Anyway, I just finished a good draft of the second chapter with a dead body, so I’ll have to see where that leads! One thing I do always have in my notes is a list of phrases and exchanges that I want to incorporate into the narrative at some point. I really do work from words to plot more than the other way around. I also have a completed later chapter which I originally wrote as a short story quite some time back (under the title ‘Surf’). That was sort of impetus for this intended novel.

It is also time to get into my previously published books, do revisions and edits, and get new editions up, including mobi (Kindle) format ebooks for Amazon. The children’s books are probably OK as are, but I definitely need to get back into the novels and poetry. THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE would be a good place to start, followed by the Donzalo books. Once the latter are revised, I intend to put out all four in a single volume. Print only, including, maybe, a hardcover edition. If one wishes ebook versions, they will have to be purchased separately.

Having mentioned the MIDDLE Young Adult novel, I will say that I might yet tackle a sequel to that book. But my interest is elsewhere for now, and the book has not sold well anyway. I look on it as my ‘practice’ novel, the one where I learned a great deal of craft. Not that I don’t consider it a reasonably successful attempt. Eventually, a sequel (sequels, more likely) to DONZALO should also appear. There is quite a lot to explore yet in that world and group of characters (and their descendants). Not to mention, the varied political and philosophical bits I threw in — though I’m not sure I can top the nihilistic, depressed sorcerer I used as the primary antagonist in the novels!

And, having now mentioned nihilism and depression, I return to the novel-in-progress, tentatively titled SHAPER. Depression, world-weariness, suicide, are going to be major concerns here. Yeah, it sounds dark and maybe unappealing. But it’s also going to be about surfing and love and sunshiny beaches.

* * *

On a completely unrelated note, my niece and acclaimed Americana artist Mean Mary James will be performing a couple shows here in the Florida Panhandle in the next few days, Thursday night at Topsail Hill State Park and Sunday afternoon (3 PM) at Roberts Hall in Lynn Haven. If you have a chance, get out and see her.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Hill-Farm Sketches, a poem

Hill-Farm Sketches

July was heat and thunder
with an ice-cold creek
flowing through the middle.

Each pine on sandstone hills
knew the soft caress
of a summer moon.

The oft repeated name
of the whip-poor-will
filled the shadowed hollows.

The dogs ate boiled potatoes
when our pockets were empty
but the garden was full.

I could never climb
high enough in the maple
to see all I desired.

The voice of the night
still whispers among the hills
but I can not hear the words.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

Memories  of a place I lived as a  kid. I could see adding more were I to get ambitious someday.

Fashion, a poem


It was with care I put
my happiness away, there
on the top shelf. Maybe

someday I can get it down,
unfold it, smooth the wrinkles
and see it still fits.

It used to be all the fashion.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

another little throwaway thought