Thursday, September 30, 2004

the latest quinzaine--

The truth was behind door three.
Aren't you glad you chose
cash instead?

Stephen Brooke ©2004

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Talk to me, you say, but all
that's ever done is drive away
those I loved. Talk to me.

No, I'll keep it to myself
this time. I'll keep my silent way;
walk with me if you will.

Allow my kiss to speak for me.

Stephen Brooke ©2004

Monday, September 27, 2004

Why God Created Children

To those of us who have children in our lives, whether they are our own, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or is something to make you chuckle. Whenever your children are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God's omnipotence did not extend to His own children.

After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve.

And the first thing he said was "DON'T!"

"Don't what?" Adam replied.

"Don't eat the forbidden fruit." God said.

"Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit? Hey Eve...We have forbidden fruit!!!!!"

"No Way!"

"Yes way!"

"Do NOT eat the fruit!" said God.


"Because I am your Father and I said so!" God replied, wondering why He hadn't stopped creation after making the elephants. A few minutes later, God saw His children having an apple break and He was ticked! "Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit?" God asked.

"Uh huh," Adam replied.

"Then why did you?" said the Father.

"I don't know," said Eve.

"She started it!" Adam said.

"Did not!"

"Did too!"


Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.

BUT THERE IS REASSURANCE IN THE STORY! If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself. If God had trouble raising children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you?

1. You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up.

2. Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children.

3. Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young.

4. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said.

5. The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own.

6. We childproofed our homes, but they are still getting in.

ADVICE FOR THE DAY: Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home one day.



Well, we have our power back here in my 'Big Bend' home. Less than one day. That's definitely better than Frances -- we took the direct hit this time but Jeanne was diminished by the time she reached us. I've felt some impact from all five (don't forget Bonnie) storms that have hit Florida this summer...packed up to evacuate on three of 'em but never had to, thank God, as I would have not only myself but my aged parents (90 and 85 ) to move as well.

Ah, what fun to feel this mobile home rock in the wind and watch the large, old oaks wave back and forth overhead! Fortunately, no heavy branches made contact with the roof. I will again have to remove some from the yard, as I did after Frances. Chain saw time -- I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

An older poem ~ I just heard that the Donal and Mad Max of whom I wrote here died recently within two days of each other. I missed them...and will all the more now.

Dogs and Poetry

All-day suckers, she called them;
one for each of her boys–
Donal, Mad Max, sleek Arrakis–
to gnaw when the long
Florida rains kept them indoors.

We were dogs and poetry,
she and I, dogs and poetry,
and I overlooked our mismatch
even as I did those marrow bones
scattered across her living room floor.

I’ve chewed the bones of us
long enough for all the flavor
to mix in uncertain memory
with the pleasures of some other time,
as her dogs have become my poetry.

It has stopped raining;
I want to run in the yard.

Stephen Brooke ©2002, 2004

This poem took first place in the 2003 Poetry in the Park competition in Jacksonville FL. It is also in my chapbook, Pieces of the Moon, with my pen and ink illustrations.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

"President Bush went out touting his economic record in Ohio last week. Now this is a state that lost 225,000 jobs since Bush took office. You know, if Bush wants to tout his record, he should do it somewhere where the Bush economy has actually created jobs, like India, or Thailand, or China."
-- Jay Leno

"President Bush has unveiled his first campaign commercial, highlighting all of his accomplishments in office. That's why it's a 60-second spot."
-- Jay Leno

"President Bush says he has just one question for the American voters, 'Is the rich person you're working for better off now than they were four years ago?'"
-- Jay Leno

"The election is in full-swing. Republicans have taken out round-the-clock ads promoting George Bush. Don't we already have that? It's called Fox News."
-- Craig Kilborn

"Kerry is well on his way to reaching his magic number of 2,162. That's the total number of delegates he needs to win the Democratic nomination. See for President Bush it's different, his magic number is 5. That's the number of Supreme Court justices needed to win."
-- Jay Leno

"There was a scare in Washington when a man climbed over the White House wall and was arrested. This marks the first time a person has gotten into the White House unlawfully since President Bush."
-- David Letterman

Bush admitted that his prewar intelligence wasn't what it should have been. We knew that when we elected him!"
-- Jay Leno

"A new poll says that if the election were held today, John Kerry would beat President Bush by a double digit margin. The White House is so worried about this, they're now thinking of moving up the capture of Osama Bin Laden
to next month."
-- Jay Leno

"The White House is now backtracking from its prediction that 2.6 million new jobs will be created in the U.S. this year. They say they were off by roughly 2.6 million jobs."
-- Jay Leno

"In Louisiana, President Bush met with over 15,000 National Guard troops. Here's the weird part, nobody remembers seeing him there."
-- Craig Kilborn

"President Bush said he was 'troubled' by gay people getting married in San Francisco. He said on important issues like this the people should make the decision, not judges. Unless, of course, we're choosing a president -- then he prefers judges."
-- Jay Leno

"The White House has now released military documents that they say prove George Bush met his requirements for the National Guard. Big deal, we've got documents that prove Al Gore won the election."
-- Jay Leno

"There was an embarrassing moment in the White House earlier today. They were looking around while searching for George Bush's military records. They actually found some old Al Gore ballots."
-- David Letterman

"The big story now is that President Bush is coming under attack for his service in the National Guard. The commanding officers can't remember seeing Bush between May and October of '72. President Bush said, 'Remember me? I'm the drunk guy.'"
-- Jay Leno

"On 'Meet the Press' yesterday President Bush was asked what he would do if he lost the election and Bush said, 'Phhh, you mean like last time?'"
-- Jay Leno

"This week, both John Kerry and Wesley Clark are making campaign appearances with the guys who saved their lives in Vietnam. Meanwhile President Bush is campaigning with a guy that once took a math test for him."
-- Conan O'Brien

"President Bush released his new $2.4 trillion federal budget. It has two parts: smoke and mirrors."
-- Jay Leno

"It's weird watching President Bush struggle with excuses for why we went to war. As he struggles, it reminds us all what a terrific liar Bill Clinton really was."
-- Craig Kilborn

"As you know President Bush gave his State of the Union Address, interrupted 70 times by applause and 45 times by really big words."
-- Jay Leno

"President Bush said that American workers will need new skills to get the new jobs in the 21st century. Some of the skills they're going to need are Spanish, Chinese, and Korean, because that's where the jobs went."
-- Jay Leno

"Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has written a book about his years with the Bush Administration. He said that President Bush, while at cabinet meetings, is disengaged; he's uninformed; distracted; he's passive; and the Democrats are saying to themselves, "How can we possibly beat this guy?"
-- David Letterman

The new Prime Minister of Spain has called the war in Iraq a disaster, and plans to bring his troops home as soon as possible. In fact, President Bush is so upset at Spain that he is now threatening to close down the border between Spain and the U.S.
-- Jay Leno

"Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has unveiled a new color-code system to warn the public about different states of danger. Red is the highest state of alert, and it means that Dick Cheney is about to eat a mozzarella stick."
-- Conan O'Brien

"Dick Cheney finally responded today to demands that he reveal the details of the Enron meetings. This is what he said: he met with unnamed people, from unspecified companies, for an indeterminate amount of time at an undisclosed location. Thank God he cleared that up."
-- Jay Leno

"Plans are being discussed as to who will replace Dick Cheney if he has to resign for health reasons. It's not easy for President Bush, he can't just name a replacement. He would first have to be confirmed by the oil, gas and power companies."
-- Jay Leno

"President Bush spoke briefly to reporters before playing a round of golf in Crawford, Texas, earlier today. This raises the question: "Shouldn't the guy who is really running the country and who has had, like, 20 heart attacks be taking the vacation?"
-- Craig Kilborn

"President Bush played golf yesterday, and I understand Vice President Dick Cheney also got in a couple of strokes."
-- Jay Leno

"While speaking to conservationists this week, Dick Cheney made it clear that he plans to deal with the rising gas prices by drilling in our federal wildlife refuge in Alaska. Cheney tried to sway his opponents, saying, 'Trust me, there's enough oil up there to last us the rest of my natural life.'"
-- Tina Fey, on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update"

Back in 2000, a Republican friend warned me that if I voted for Al Gore and he won, the stock market would tank, we'd lose millions of jobs, and our military would be totally overstretched. You know what? I did vote for Gore, he did win, and I'll be damned if all those things didn't come true!"
-- James Carville
a tanka~

a memory
sleeps at my side
each night

I whisper your name
expecting no answer

Stephen Brooke ©2004

Friday, September 17, 2004

Note: Adult material~


I truly can not choose the breast,
right or left, that I like best.
There they rest,
side by side;
must I run a lengthy test
ere I decide?

That's within my abilities.
I'll start with a simple squeeze,
if you please,
and from there
I may take further liberties
as I compare.

I'll take my time, no need for haste,
and not until my tongue has traced
each nipple graced
with your sweet wine
shall I take a fuller taste
of the divine.

But in the end, I am resigned--
I never will make up my mind,
for I find
that I am loathe
to choose, as we lie intertwined;
I like them both!

Stephen Brooke ©2004

Yeah, half-erotic, half-comic. Pretty normal for me...I can't help making jokes while making love.

A voice of Florida folk music lost to cancer

(from the St Pete Times)

By BETSY BOLGER-PAULET, Times Staff Writer Published September 17, 2004

Ann Thomas, an icon among followers of a local folk style called Florida Music, died shortly after midnight Thursday (Sept. 16, 2004) at her home in Lake Wales.The 58-year-old professional storyteller and master librarian waged a two-year battle against lymphoma, working almost to the end.In 2002, Mrs. Thomas, along with her singer-songwriter husband and musical partner, Frank Thomas, received the Jillian Prescott Inaugural History Award under the category of Florida balladeers. Word of her passing spread fast. By 4 a.m., fans and friends were streaming into the Thomas' modest cracker home among the oaks and orange groves of rural Lake Wales."She had a big heart, and she always sang from her heart. With her husband, Ann Thomas will go down in the annals of Florida culture," Stetson Kennedy, author and civil rights activist, said of his longtime friend.Ron Litschauer, a singer-songwriter and music producer from West Palm Beach and a friend since the late 1980s, recorded the Thomas' last project, Just Another Day in the Life of a Florida Cracker. He called her "a poet, a teacher, a mentor to just about everybody in the Florida folk community. It is a huge loss."Mary Anne Dinella, a member of the Southwind musical group and Mrs. Thomas' friend since 1975, remembered her sense of humor."She had that kind of lovable irascibility. And very frank. If you didn't want to know the answer, then you didn't want to ask Ann," she said.Mrs. Thomas' voice was a fixture on WMNF-88.5 FM, where she introduced a weekly radio program with these words: "Welcome to Songs of Florida, with your hosts Frank and Ann Thomas."The Thomases recorded the radio show, which introduced many Florida songwriters to the world, for 11 years in their back yard in the Tiger Creek Forest east of Lake Wales as WMNF producers worked under the shelter of the live oak hammock.In January 2002, Mrs. Thomas gave her last stage performance with her husband at the Pinellas Folk Festival.Her career was her work as the children's librarian at the Lake Wales Public Library.Born in Coral Gables, Mrs. Thomas grew up in Lakeland and spent most of her life in Florida.Ann and Frank Thomas met in 1978 at Carl Allen's Catfish Restaurant in Lake Wales. They married and adopted a son.She co-hosted the Gazebo Stage annually at the Florida Folk Festival, a venue that showcases Florida songwriters."We like to slip up on a folk's blind side and educate them a little - about Florida," she once said. "It's about dedication, about promoting Florida music and trying to preserve parts of the state that haven't already been wiped out by theme parks, strip centers, outlet stores."Mrs. Thomas prepared her own memorial service, scheduled at 2 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Marion Nelson Funeral Home, 454 South Buckmoore Road, Lake Wales. Donations may be made to the Lake Wales Public Library Association Children's Services, 290 Cypress Garden Lane, Lake Wales.

I never really got to know Ann -- she was already retreating from the public eye by the time I met Frank a couple years ago. ~SB

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

What kind of thinker are you? To find out, go here.

A bit to my surprise, I came out as a "musical thinker." In fact, I took the quiz twice to make sure!

Monday, September 13, 2004


Two AM,
five pickles
in a Krystal carton.
That's four burgers--
one had doubles.

Not that it matters,
I don't eat them anyway.
No more chili, but maybe
a refill on coffee.
De-caf, this time;

It is Two AM,
after all
(I said that, didn't I?),
and I've already had enough
to make my hands shake

and I've read all the paper
and there won't be another
for two hours
or so.
I could drive out I-40

toward Lebanon
(they really do have cedars there)
and catch a few hours sleep
in the rest area.
Try to catch a few hours

with parking lot lights
shining in my van windows
and my mind full
of the night
and tomorrow.

Stephen Brooke ©2004

A reminiscence of late nights in Nashville

Friday, September 10, 2004

What happens if you play blues music backwards?
Your wife returns to you, your dog comes back to life, and you get out of prison.

What does it say on a blues singer's tombstone?
"I didn't wake up this morning..."
For a plethora of musician jokes, try this site

Thursday, September 09, 2004

A Press Release:

Four poems by Stephen Brooke have been selected to appear in the upcoming Issue V of Songs of Innocence.

S of I is a literary print magazine with an emphasis on the Romantic Movement and style, that has published highly regarded Formalist poets such as Annie Finch in the past. The next edition should appear in late Autumn.

For more info on the publication, one can write:
Michael Pendragon, Editor
Pendragonian Publications
P O Box 719, Radio City Station
New York, NY 10101-0719

It's not the most prestigious of mags but a publishing credit is a publishing credit, especially in an honest-to-goodness print magazine. The poems are older pieces, not particularly close to my current style.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004


Magician, illusionist, what's up your sleeve?
You think you can fool me? You think I'll believe?
Magician, bedazzler, I know all the tricks;
I'm no simpleton, I'm no hick from the sticks.

I'll see through you yet, oh, I'll figure you out;
You want somthing from me-- of that I've no doubt!
Magician, concealer of rabbit and dove,
You won't fool me with the illusion called love.

Stephen Brooke ©2004

This is intended (obviously, I hope) quite tongue in cheek, though there are those who see ulterior motives in everything. It is also an exercise in triple meter.

The last bands of rain and wind from Frances are passing through this morning. She's someone else's problem now; fortunately, there was no real damage at our place, though a quite large oak limb is across the front lawn. I don't think I want to go through another storm like that here in a mobile home beneath old trees!

I watched 'Good Will Hunting' last night. Very good movie; maybe not great but very good and the sort that appeals to me. Enough so that I have a copy of the screen play...speaking of which, I think I will quote a few lines. This is from one of the scenes with Sean (Robin Williams) , the psychologist, speaking to Will (Ben Affleck -- who cowrote the script with Matt Damon on cross-country car trips) about his deceased wife (and falling in love with someone in general):

"People call these things imperfections, Will. It just who we are. And we get to choose who we're going to let into our own weird little worlds. You're not perfect. And let me save you the suspense-- this girl you met isn't, either. The question is whether you're perfect for each other."

Saturday, September 04, 2004

I make a poor yard-stick
but I've no other
to measure the universe:
it is bigger than me
and smaller than god.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

My Companion ~ part 2

So, you have returned, my old companion.
I thought you long gone. Once you spoke
to me in the sleepless dark, offering rest.

Once I listened; yes, I listened all
too eagerly. I'll walk with you again,
a mile or two; then with polite regret,

turn aside. Your house is not mine
nor can I enter the room you keep ready.

Stephen Brooke ©2004