Saturday, July 30, 2005


Y’know that Nietzsche quote,
the one that goes, what does
not kill me makes me stronger?
Crap, my friend, complete
crap. It wears you down;

each wound weakens a little
more until what didn’t
kill you right away
gets you in the end.
There is no armor; there is

no choice. If we can walk

away from love unhurt –
even love that is faded
like memories of childhood –
we lack a heart. Lack what
makes us, us. I’ll hold

the injured bird of my pain
and heal it; until the day
it can fly away,
I’ll hold it to my heart
for it is in healing,

not pain, that we grow stronger.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Friday, July 29, 2005


The stars were the lights
of a Las Vegas casino,
filling the desert night
with promise.

Should I have thrown
my last silver dollar down,
anted once again,
knowing I'd already lost?

And each star had
a shining name,
too far away
for us to read.

The world sagged
like a toasted marshmallow;
I had no chocolate
for s'mores.

Look, there are angels--
angels with fiery wings.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

bits and pieces of this came to me as I was falling asleep a couple nights ago -- not an uncommon occurence -- and it coalesced into these verses this afternoon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Had me an unexpected visitor last night -- a little possum found its way in through the cat door. Too dumb to figure out how to get back out so I had to open the front door and shoo it. Wish I'd thought to take a picture first!

I don't think a full-grown possum would fit through the cat's entry. It used to be a little wider but I had me a small raccoon come through a couple years back and nailed up some boards to prevent that. Since then, I've only had to worry about visiting kitties coming in for a free meal.

Y'know, I really oughtn't leave food out at night. I can fill their bowls in the morning; they're always waiting anyway. But then, I wouldn't get to enjoy all the wildlife!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Syrah, the rewrite~ as I noted (here and elsewhere), the poem needed more. So a couple lines have inserted themselves in the middle, providing a bridge between what were essentially two different lines of thought -- the jump was just a little too abrupt in the first version. It remains much the same, otherwise.


There is a bottle of Syrah,
breathing out its deep-red dreams
in the dark of the spare bedroom.
We should use it or it will spoil;

the wine, that is, though you are welcome
to the room as well. You know
that, right? Just chase the cats off the bed.
It would be good to have you here

a while, to share the evening, the wine.
I’ve never asked for more than this;
I have not sought you as a lover
nor seen you as a lover. Oh, maybe

in my own secret deep-red dreams
I have breathed you out, allowing
the bouquet to linger, fragile
as tomorrow morning's goodbyes.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Saturday, July 23, 2005


I know those good intentions
that line your road to hell;
you tarted up your hatred
and sent her out to sell
her body to the lusters
after a virgin whore.
They close their eyes and claim
they’ve not seen her before.

I know those good intentions,
I know you pray each night
and give thanks to your god
for telling you what’s right.
Tomorrow is an apple
that hangs in paradise;
Adam takes a bite
and Abel pays the price.

I know those good intentions –
they line your road to hell.
We’ve traveled it too often,
we know our way too well
to still mistake the flames
for the rising sun.
Forgive our good intentions,
Lord, when journey’s done.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Thursday, July 21, 2005

friends quinzaine~

I'm cultivating new friends.
Should I plant them all
in neat rows?
A little secret, known mostly by those who drop by Janis Ian's message board (the friendliest musician's MB I've ever found) occasionally: the Two-millionth visitor to Ms Ian's site will receive 'one of everything.' There are only a couple thousand to go -- of course, I intend to win but if by some fluke I don't, here's your opportunity. Take a pic (hit the print screen button and save it) to prove you're #2000000.

There is a bottle of Syrah,
breathing out its deep-red dreams
in the dark of the spare bedroom.
We should use it or it will spoil;

the wine, that is, though you are welcome
to the room as well. You know
that, right? Just chase the cats off the bed.
I did not seek you as a lover

nor see you as a lover. Oh, maybe
in my own secret deep-red dreams
I have breathed you out, allowing
the bouquet to linger, fragile

as tomorrow morning's goodbyes.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”
-- T.S. Eliot

“A poem should not mean
But be.”
-- Archibald MacLeish

“A poet's autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote.”
-- Yevgeny Yentushenko

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”
-- Percy Byshe Shelley (1792-1822)

“Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry.” -- Gustav Flaubert

"Poetry is what gets lost in translation."
-- Robert Frost

“A poet must leave traces of his passage, not proof.”
-- Rene Char

“A true poet does not bother to be poetical. Nor does a nursery gardener scent his roses.”
-- Jean Cocteau, French writer

"As the poet said, 'Only God can make a tree' -- probably because it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on."
-- Woody Allen

“A poem is true if it hangs together. Information points to something else. A poem points to nothing but itself.”
-- E.M. Forster

"A poem is never finished, only abandoned."
-- Paul Valery (1871-1945)

"Poetry is many things to many people. For me, poetry is an epistemological bridge over the chasm that separates an individual and a truth. Poetry is a a nomadic destination, always only an inspiration away. Poetry is exploratory, probing intuitions and conditions. Poetry is also the shell the inspiration leaves behind as an identity navigational device."
-- Albert Emerson Unaterra (1952-2002), American writer

"In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite."
-- Paul Dirac (1902-1984)

“A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.”
-- Wallace Stevens

“To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.”
-- Robert Frost, American poet

“Poetry is ordinary language raised to the nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.”
-- Paul Engle

“The poem... is a little myth of man's capacity of making life meaningful. And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see - it is, rather, a light by which we may see - and what we see is life.”
-- Robert Penn Warren, American poet

“You can tear a poem apart to see what makes it tick.... You're back with the mystery of having been moved by words. The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps... so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in.”
-- Dylan Thomas, Irish poet

"When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses."
-- John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-63), 35th US President

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
-- G.K. Chesterton

"A vein of poetry exists in the hearts of all men."
-- Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), British historian, essayist

"The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion, all in one."
-- John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

"The one man who should never attempt an explanation of a poem is its author. If the poem can be improved by it's author's explanations it never should have been published, and if the poem cannot be improved by its author's explanations the explanations are scarcely worth reading."
-- Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982), American poet
a little announcement, for anyone who might care: I have changed the name and URL of my store at LULU from 'Stephen Brooke' to 'Insolent Lad' in order to widen its scope a bit and bring it into line with my other sites. That's where I have my chapbook, Pieces of the Moon (which one can also get directly from me, naturally).

The new address:

It will take a while to track down all the links I've posted (lots of links being key to driving traffic) and change them. In the mean time, why don't y'all stop by and buy? :D

Saturday, July 16, 2005

My favorite summer drink:

Sometimes known as an orange fizz, sometimes called a nursery fizz, I like to think of it as sort of a non-alcohol mimosa (a shamosa?)...half orange juice, half ginger ale (usually diet Canada Dry, sometimes the cranberry version), and ice. Better than either ingredient by itself, refreshing, reasonably good for me.

Of course, there's always iced tea in the fridge too but, despite spending most of my life in the South, I just can't abide sweet tea. Even with lemon. Shoot, if I wanted lemonade I'd make it.

Speaking of drinks, I just bought a brand-new aloha shirt to add to my sizeable collection, covered with little martini glasses. Cooool! (and cheap...even cooler!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

You are a Black Coffee

At your best, you are: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you can get your hands on it

Your caffeine addiction level: high
Still no dial tone -- phones have been out since the big wind. It's a good thing I have a cable connection these days or I'd really be cut off, especially since I haven't bought me one of them new-fangled cell doohickeys yet. And, being proud of my cheap-skate reputation, probably won't.

Finally buckled down and designed the packaging for my friend Lynda's CD. Naturally, I need to phone her and get some particulars -- her computer has been broken for YEARS now so emailing is not an option. I wouldn't be surprised if she got more impact from Dennis there in Tuskegee than I did.

Tomorrow is the birthday of my friend and sometime musical partner, Karen Polka. I suppose I have to attend the party. And take a gift. My afore mentioned reputation won't help me there...have to buy something. Probably at the Wal-mart on my way up to Thomasville. Gee, you'd think just my presence (not presents) would be enough, wouldn't you?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Well, the water did come up higher this afternoon. The field across the road from me is quite flooded. If the batteries weren't dead (as usual) in my digital camera, I'd post a pic. This means it would be much worse downtown (if one can legitimately speak of 'downtown Steinhatchee') in that I'm a couple or four miles up the river.

But Dennis is waving goodbye. Waving the trees, that is. Time to grill some chicken, pour a glass of Pinot Grigio, and relax.

My bodhran is limp from the rain,
Its sound is thoroughly bad;
Instead of a sturdy thud,
My drumming is weak and sad.

Whatever can one do
When goat skin chooses to sag?
Playing a flabby bodhran
In this constant rain is a drag.

It's the same with everything else:
My guitar's too damp to tune it
And my allergies have me stopped up--
Don't ask for a song, I can't croon it!

Perhaps I would do better
To move to a different clime,
But how do the Irish play bodhran
In a land where it rains all the time?

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Still a-rainin' and a-blowin' here. The river only spilled over this morning down on some low sections of road near the mouth. I suppose it could be over its banks again at high tide this afternoon.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Violet's Polka

Someone has too much time on his hands.
Still looks pretty good here in Steinhatchee, Dennis-wise, as the storm continues tracking toward the western panhandle area. A couple of small outer rain bands passed through yesterday evening and it's been fairly quiet since. But now (about 10:30 AM) the wind is starting to pick up and radar shows major storm bands just south of us -- reckon we'll be feeling some weather shortly.

Wouldn't be surprised if there was some flooding tonight. High tide will be in the wee hours, the same time we're likely to get the most wind and storm surge. It shouldn't be major, though; the river might go over its banks...or it might not. Certainly nothing like what would happen if a major storm came ashore here. We got a taste of that with the so-called 'storm of the century' in March of '93. Ah, that was fun. I had four foot of water in the place I was staying then and pretty much lost everything I owned. Fortunately, I now live atop a hill and need only worry about my trailer blowing away or an oak tree falling on it.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Heard on the Weather Channel this morning: People are closing up their businesses and leaving the Keys.

I wonder if they left them under the mat or up on the transom?

Looks like Hurricane Dennis won't be too much of a menace to us on the penninsula if it keeps to its projected path. None the less, I've canceled my travel plans for this weekend and am sticking close to home, just in case. The storm could always veer a bit east when it gets up into the Gulf...

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I drank from the half-full glass
until it was empty, utterly
empty, and my asking
no longer refilled it.

No, not half-way, not even
a quarter -- whatever pitcher
held our future had been carried
to some other table

where some other couple
drank deeply and thanked
a tired waitress.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Monday, July 04, 2005

Things I learned this weekend...

1) Smoked oysters stirred into garlic and onion spaghetti sauce and simmered a few minutes makes for a surprisingly tasty pasta dish.

2) If pug dogs are claimed as musicians, certain state officials will allow them into buildings usually off limits to individuals of the canine persuasion. (thanks Wendy)

3) Pug dogs make very undependable musicians.

4) Never trust a clear blue summer sky in Florida and wander off for 15 minutes. Everything will be soaked with rain when one returns.

5) The making of peach lemonade is a carefully guarded secret in Morven GA.

6) No matter how large ones van is, there is never enough room for all the junk one wants to take along.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Off for a weekend of camping and goofing off. See y'all next week. Be careful on the roads if you travel!

Last week, my niece Mary James did a couple songs at the Bluebird Cafe (in Nashville for those who don't know 'bout the Bluebird). One can see a video of the evening at Eye Centric -- it does require registration but that's all. Her brother Frank and his girlfriend Julie (the three are know collectively as Jamestown) are backing her up.

The archived show is from June 20 and their set starts at about 39 minutes in, if you want to skip the lesser talents!