Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A couple or three folks who read here might already know that I'm shutting down my Yahoo writing group and probably cancelling plans for the magazine. Hey, the core at the Peripheral Vision group -- Bob, Beth, Sherrie (when she isn't busy on a novel), and myself all read each others' blogs anyway. I figure it's time for me to move on from the online groups thing, though I'll stay in a few select writing groups and (of course) all my music news ones.

I've been lowering my online presence for a while, anyway; I'm out and about more since I've ceased being a caregiver. I expect to perform more, attend more festivals, and hope to do more recording work. In general, get my butt in gear and out of this chair! :)
Once again going up to Tuskegee to take in the Golden Voices Choir in their traditional Christmas Concert ( on Dec 4). It's become a bit of a tradition for me, this being my fifth year. My friend Lynda Garcia will be accompanying the choir, as usual, and performing a solo piece on the keyboard.

I first met LG face-to-face there, four years ago, when I attended for the first time. We had corresponded for a while; we ran into each other online just a couple weeks after I went through my breakup with the woman I thought the 'love of my life' and I was hurting -- she was there as a friend then and is there as a friend now, and for that I am grateful.

I will be recording the concert this time, as I did last year. Not sure whether I'll be using the new Mac-based system or just my little Fostex portable recorder. I'm eager to try out the new equipment but maybe I'd better do that in the studio first!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Hermit Card
You are the Hermit card. The Hermit has chosen a
solitary spiritual path. He shines light on his
inner self and, by this means, gains wisdom.
The Hermit's home is the natural world and it
is by being in tune with that world that he
learns the laws of nature and learn how they
operate within himself. His path is a lonely
one as he lives in silence and has for
companionship only his own internal rhythms.
But those crossing his path are touched by his
light and wisdom. Though often alone, he
manages nevertheless to instruct those who meet
him and guides those who chose to follow him on
a path towards enlightenment. Image from The
Aleister Crowley Tarot deck.

Which Tarot Card Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Where the fish form
a stinking silver mat
that bumps against
the shoreline, crabs feast,

not knowing – for crabs
are not knowing creatures –
that they too die, poisoned
by the rust-red sea.

I’ve seen it before;
I know the Gulf, grew up
on these sands. I know
I will see it again.

Nature’s cycle: the red tide
must come on a summer wind,
when phosphorescent waves
tumble into the night,

when monsoon and heat
sets a kettle boiling
out there. It’s been happening
since there were seas.

I’ve seen it before;
but have we now,
with our cities, our waste,
tipped this balance too far?

My eyes are full
of the acrid breeze,
the wheeling glutton gulls.
On the deserted beach

and out along the limestone
groin, more dead fish
rise and fall with the gentle
swells of summer.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

I don't do much of this sort of thing. Memories from my younger days, I suppose, have welled up in this one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

One Thousand and One

One thousand and one things
to do today; one thousand
and one and not one of them

names the rising sun.
No, not one is worth
the baptism of dawn.

Bring me tomorrow in
a tall glass and I
shall toast the memories

that were my comrades;
all one thousand and one
and not one worth the keeping.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Okay, I have to get the depressing stuff out of system occasionally. Maybe by tomorrow I'll be jumping with Joy. Unless she has a date to jump with someone else.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A work in progress...

...that would be me. For a guy who used to be Mr Buffed -- I wrote training articles for body building mags, for Pete's sake -- I have fallen further and further out of shape over the past five years. This last year, as the load on my daily life got heavier, I hardly worked out at all.

But I've closed one book and opened another...and there I am on the first page, starting to get the old Steve (but not too old, ha ha) back. It's about time.

In other news, my niece Mary James wowed 'em at The Dixie last weekend at the inaugural Huntingdon Hoedown and will be back next month on the 17th. There is the scent of a recording contract in the air (I won't mention the name but it's the label started by a major country and bluegrass star). We'll see how that goes.
The government today announced that it is changing its emblem from an Eagle to a Condom because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance: A condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed.
(I've read this one a couple places lately; thought I'd pass it along as well)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

...the thing that lies behind all great careers, from Shakespeare's to Abraham Lincoln's, and as far back as there are books to read—the sense that life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat, and that the redeeming things are not "happiness and pleasure" but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle. ~F. Scott Fitzgerald

Friday, November 18, 2005


Yeah, I’m patient, the guy who gets
to the center of the Tootsie-Roll Pop
without biting. Take your time;

I wait.

I wait for the chewy center
of us.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Once I was Bill Gates’ friend
But PC troubles never mend;
It seems that we are left to fend
Off bug and virus, without end!

And then I asked myself just why
I would persist and I would try.
Mac, you have become my guy;
You are the Apple of my eye!


Friday, November 11, 2005

Now, here I'd always assumed my Brooke family ancestors were English but I've been doing some research and lo, they actually came from Ulster. I'm semi-Irish and never knew!

Oh, yeah, they were English transplants originally but they were established long enough to even have a clan tartan (over there to the left). It looks nice -- couldn't have designed a better one myself.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Some Thoughts on Religion

I hear a lot of criticism of 'organized religion' from people who have a wide range of personal beliefs. It seems a bit of an ingrained attitude in our culture. Even among those who belong to churches!

However, in a world where everything is organized -- government, business, even crime -- it seems to me that religion must also be organized to survive, and to be a force (preferably for good!) in society. It's no surprise that totalitarian governments want to control or destroy religion, and see it as a threat to their own authority. I suspect that 'Western Civilization' would be rather different if the Roman church hadn't asserted its independence early on and remained a counter-balance to secular power.

Of course, religions are made up of humans, with all their natural failings, so there is bound to be abuse. Heirarchies, once established, tend to perpetuate and defend their existence. Still...overall, I think organized religion has done far more good than evil, when it truly is an independent force. When it has become an arm of government, it's a whole 'nother bag of peanuts.

So, what is an independent-minded-but-religious individual to do? Join a church (or equivalent), knowing that there is strength in numbers and hoping to influence its direction? Or follow ones own path, separately? I myself have vacillated between these two choices for a long time. Ha, maybe that in itself is the best choice!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


I will give your name to a Bedouin tribe
so they may carry it into the desert,
write it on the sands for God to read.

An unbelieving wind sweeps clean my world.
I have felt its lies; I’ve whispered them
to the evening star, and watched her fade.

I will set your name upon some ship
that sails westward into faceless night;
there I’ll find you, written upon the waters.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

not particularly about anyone or anything. or maybe about everyone and everything.


The wine was bad. Not gone-sour bad
nor oxidized bad but simply cheap-swill bad.
I love good wine; I’ll tolerate bad wine.

My reflection floated in the glass.
Floating somewhere in the back of my mind
was the question whether I would be

educating yet another love
in the ways of the vine. God knows, there was
little else I could teach anyone.

She leaned over to kiss and refill me.

Stephen Brooke ©2005

again, not really about anyone in particular, just a scenario.
I want to thank all my friends who read here for the kind words and sympathy on the passing of my father. My life has revolved around his care so long I hardly know what to do with myself now!

But, as one door closes, another opens and it's time to move along in my life journey, time to refocus on my career, time to start performing more, time to travel, time for all the projects and plans I've left on the back burner.