adventures in dysthymia

Thursday, December 28, 2006

a candle
hollowed by flame ~
burning still

the heart becomes
a lantern

Stephen Brooke (c)2006

in the form of a tanka

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Your Rising Sign is Pisces

Dreaming and introspective, you're often lost in your thoughts.
Which is okay by you... you're inner world is pretty darn awesome.

And while you are inwardly confident, sometimes you seem a bit unsure.
People often handle you more delicately than they need to.

You love luxury, and even if you're a bit broke, you want things to look "rich."
Mysterious and demure, you keep secrets about yourself to remain an enigma.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

ON A NIGHT

On a still and starry night,
was a baby born;
and the shepherds sought his light,
the light of a new morn.

On a starry night, and cold,
they rose and left their sheep;
Was it only to behold
a little child, asleep?

On a night when simple men
knelt at a simple birth,
was swept away all that had been;
the breath of life filled earth.

On a night, a wondrous night,
when the angels sang,
the stars shone in their glory bright
and the heavens rang.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

yep, a Christmas poem...or maybe a song?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mockingbird

The mockingbird greets the chill
gray dawn of December.

Feathers fluffed, he seems twice
the bird he was last summer.

How have I so dwindled
from the man I then was?

Stephen Brooke ©2006

a piece somewhat in the form of a sijo...no, not kosher, er, korean, in terms of syllable count but, as with haiku, I think english language sijo may be better going a bit shorter.

Well, it's been quite a long time since I've posted here. Visits may well continue to be sporadic, at best. I'm settling into the Peanut Road house somewhat, lots to do yet on it (years worth of remodeling, I reckon) and lots of other work as well. I've been on the road quite a bit and expect that to continue. Maybe even increase!

Friday, October 27, 2006

NEST

Gather the unspoken words;
send them all to my heart.

There, they may hide themselves,
birds that need fly no further.

Let them rest, one season of storm;
Spring will call each to its home.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

in the form of a sijo (more or less)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

ONLINE LOVER

I fell in love with her
before we ever met;
that’s the way things happen
on the internet.
When she posted pictures,
I was truly sold,
even if that photo
was all of ten years old.

My imagination
started to grow active;
with each passing daydream,
she seemed more attractive.
I knew I had to meet her,
I knew I had to go,
even if she lived
far off in Idaho.

I’ve found an online lover,
what a gem to discover!
Though she lives far away,
I’ll meet her some day!
I’ve found an online lover!

I bought a one-way ticket,
sold my single-wide,
just so I could meet her
and make her my bride.
She showed up at the airport,
her young’ns all in tow;
she must’ve had a dozen
lined up in a row.

My enthusiasm
soon began to lag;
the children were all monsters,
my true love was a hag!
She liked to chew tobacco,
spent my money non-stop,
and her jealous ex
was a large and angry cop.

I lost my online lover;
I judged her by her cover!
She lives far away
and I hope that she will stay!
I lost my online lover!

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Yeah, another silly song from Steve.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

PAPER CHAMPION

It’s all quite well to be writer
but I’d rather be a fighter,
lay out opponents with my left hook
instead of sparring with a book.

I’ve tried to shuffle like Ali
but shuffling papers is it for me;
and though my jabs are with a pen,
I hope a punch lands now and then!

Oh, perhaps it’s just as well
that I chose not to answer the bell;
an author deals with black and white
while one is black and blue, post-fight.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

I coulda been a contender...

monastery

I abide
in a monastery
of the heart

my vow kept
by silence

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

DEFENSE

I have been angry –
angry with my god
and with myself.

And anger has been
my two-edged sword,
defending me,

cutting me apart.
Shall I lay down
the weapon I forged

in darkness?
Shall I make war
no more upon god

and self? My soul
is without defense:
do as you will.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

a bit of revisiting of older themes and forms for me

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

GENESIS

I was temptation, the very fruit
your father had forbidden you.
Who, then, played the snake in Eden?
Single minded, simple minded,
I could not see that, also, was I,
hissing songs only I understood.

Once, swift angels of your gate
knew me as friend; they have flown
away with all my keys, no longer
bearing swords nor baring teeth.
What need when I exiled myself
so thoroughly from Paradise?

I shall remain a wanderer,
driven from the gates of dawn,
the rising sun of your farewell kiss.
This garden, grown as guarded as I,
is closed to me and to my heart’s
children for all their generations.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Sunday, October 08, 2006

FIVE FAIRY TALES
or, All About Princes

I. Wands

It's too late, you know;
everyone's gone home
and your coach is a pumpkin.
The prince slipped out with both
your step-sisters, saying
he digs girls with big feet.
Magic wands don't do
the job anymore, kid.

II. Kiss

Think, before you kiss
that sleeper awake, young prince.
Think of happiness.
Might not she be better so
than married to the first
guy who wandered in?
Most times, it's wise to let
sleeping princesses lie.

III. Hair

Your mom had a thing
for fresh produce. Is
that why you have such

a healthy head of hair?
Nothing like a good
start, despite what witches

and towers bring later. Let it
down and catch a prince.

IV. Apple

So you choked on another
one, did you? Nothing
to say other than

there are a lot of poison
apples out there this year.
Sleep on and I will be

all seven dwarfs until
your next prince rides by.

V. Straw

Maybe that little guy
would make a good father
to your first born. Did you

consider that? Better
than your husband with
his greedy spinning wheels.

Growing up a prince
is overrated, anyway.

Stephen Brooke © 2003, 2006

The first two of these were written three years ago and have been posted before, the other three just recently. Maybe I'll have more in another three years.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A pair of lightweight poems:

YOUR SONGS

I could write a tune
and use your name
but I never liked
those songs built
on girls’ names, Diana
or Suzanne.

Maybe Michelle’s okay
but I don’t
sing well in French, not
that it stopped Paul.
Anyway, all my songs
are about you

and I couldn’t go
calling them all
by the same name,
now could I?
Not unless I used
numbers, too.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

I really don't like songs based on girls' names! :)

JOURNEY

Where do you travel, this fine day?
I but seek to find my way.

May I journey by your side?
As you wish; the road is wide.

Would you let me take your hand?
You may ask but not demand.

Then, if I kissed you, would you cry?
To find out you need but try.

Will you love me if I love you?
Only if you love me true.

And if false my love should be?
I would surely set you free.

But if I should beg your pardon?
Once betrayed, my heart must harden.

What if my pleas were filled with passion?
Oh, but that is all the fashion.

If I love you will you love me?
Your love must be as deep as the sea.

What must I give to prove my love?
Give yourself; it is enough.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

I just came across the 'Pregunta' form, these rhymed question/answer couplets and had to attempt it.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

TWO QUINZAINES

Your dreams were never my dreams.
Why then do you still
fill my nights?

* * *

I entered you completely.
Can I ever find
me again?

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

DRIVE

Each day you travel further
down that road from me;
with every mile I’m fading,
a rear-view memory.
You passed a sign that pointed
your way to what might be;
that far horizon promised
it would set you free.

In the end you’re only looking
to survive,
and there’s nothing left to do
but drive.

Across the desert distance
I can hear the song –
your radio turned high,
your engine running strong.
Each elusive echo
tells our story wrong;
yesterday is dust
and the road is long.

In the end there’s nothing left
but to survive,
nothing left for you
but to drive.

I say I still believe
though faith left long ago;
I know I’ve lost forever
but can not let it show.
I wonder how far down
this highway you will go;
should I ask the wind
how long it’s going to blow?

Stephen Brooke ©2006

A song lyric I've been tinkering with off-n-on for a while. Probaby about as far as it's going to go for now.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

THE BEACH ~ WINTER

Gray solitude – the wind sprayed
its name across the walls of winter,
those crumbling ice-water arcades

where I played pinball with my soul.
It should have been a summer dalliance,
not that storm-filled affair;

the sea is a gentle lover then.
She must grow cold, grow volatile,
humbling we who paid her court

and paid her toll. Each summer lover
fell away till I remained –
I in her gray solitude.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

one beach poem deserves another and, yes, it's 'about' surfing, at least superficially

Saturday, September 23, 2006

THE BEACH ~ SUMMER

Those were summer nights on the beach –
the stars would crowd the sky, the phosphorescent waves
tumbled, faded about the piles of the pier.

I remember the pier, its floating lights,
and I remember distant lightning over the Gulf
and the lightning of Fourth of July fireworks.

Has it grown too late to spread a blanket
on the sugar sand, to play my guitar
once more, softly, for the night?

For the night and for you – ah, youth
was never that sweet yet I remember
the way a summer night should be.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

It's definitely been a while since I've written much here. Still busy moving to the new house; I expect it will be another three or four weeks before I'm able to load up a big rental truck and move all my furniture over. Lots of repair work and cleanup to do first. And I doubt we'll be completely finished with the move and getting the Steinhatchee property on the market for a good while yet. I do still intend to have Thanksgiving dinner at Peanut Road...and maybe a house warming party before then!

Friday, September 01, 2006

NEVER ASKED

I’m no rain man but I do
have these intermittent showers;
I’m no super man but I do
have my share of secret powers.

Never asked but always knew
this dream vanishes with dawn.
Never will ask more from you;
drink my shadow till it’s gone.

I’m no madman but I do
swim the sea of my obsessions;
I’m no highwayman but I do
rob you of your heart’s possessions.

Never asked to start anew,
hero of a losing game.
Never will ask what is true;
your face wears another name.

I’m no craftsman but I do
sell this work of mine with pride;
I’m no holy man but I do
see the angel at my side.

Never asked when we were through,
only that you drink my toast.
Never will ask more from you;
let my shadow be no ghost.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

As much a song as a poem, perhaps.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The average male orgasm lasts 6 seconds. Women get 23 seconds. Which means if women were really interested in equality, they'd make sure we have four orgasms for every one of theirs.

I ask my poems to sing.
Why must they also
tell bad jokes?

Stephen Brooke ©2006

the return of the quinzaine

Monday, August 21, 2006

IN MY GARDEN (Busy Bee A-Buzzin’)

There’s a busy bee a-buzzin’ in my garden.
Hear the busy bee a-buzzin’ in my garden.
She gathers nectar there
And takes it home to share.
There’s a busy bee a-buzzin’ in my garden!

There’s a butterfly a-flutter in my garden.
See the butterfly a-flutter in my garden.
Her wings are painted bright,
They sparkle in the light.
There’s a butterfly a-flutter
And a busy bee a-buzzin’ in my garden!

There’s a little cricket creakin’ in my garden.
Hear the little cricket creakin’ in my garden.
He sings his happy song,
Then he hops along.
There’s a little cricket creakin’
And a butterfly a-flutter
And a busy bee a-buzzin’ in my garden!

There’s a sneaky snail a-snackin’ on my garden.
See the sneaky snail a-snackin’ on my garden.
He’s quite snug in his shell,
it fits him very well!
There’s a sneaky snail a-snackin’
And a little cricket creakin’
And a butterfly a-flutter
And a busy bee a-buzzin’ in my garden!

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Notes toward a children's song. I have enough of these to do an album or at least an EP...Steve, kiddy entertainer?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

AT LAST!

So here's The Really Big News from Steve: It's official, I'm moving! The offer has been accepted on that big ol' house near Graceville FL, it passed the termite inspection, and closing is set for the end of this month. There's going to be a lot of work getting the place nice to live and work in, but it should be worth it. Large rooms with high ceilings! Auditory heaven! Room to spread out, lots of natural light for painting, an acre and a third to grow things on. Yes, I will have a garden!

And the location is pretty good. An hour to the beaches (I'm on the coast here but there aren't any beaches, just mud flats) and venues at Panama City, no further from Tallahassee than I am now, barely 2o minutes to the sizable city of Dothan AL, and (best of all) I'm cutting 175 miles off of my trips to Tuskegee (and other points north).

For those who wonder just where (and what) the heck Graceville is, it's a small town in the Florida Panhandle, near the Alabama border, about 8 miles or so north of Chipley (birthplace of Florida folk music legend, Will McLean). Just a bit off US 231, the major highway running from Panama up through Montgomery, Graceville is home of the Baptist College of Florida -- the main industry there, along with processing peanuts.

Unlike my current location, the house on Peanut Road will not be a good place for any sort of art gallery. But it is quiet and roomy so it will work admirably as a studio location, both art and recording. In fact, the only real drawback I can find is that there is no cable or high-speed internet! I can live with that. I will miss being able to travel easily into penninsular Florida, to Tampa Bay, to Dade City...my face may be missing at some of the festivals I have attended regularly in the past. But I'm sure there will be new opportunities coming with a new location.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Divorce Cake!

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Classic IQ Test (from Tickle)

Congratulations, Steve!
Your IQ score is 140

This number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions you answered correctly on the Classic IQ Test relative to others.

Your Intellectual Type is Visionary Philosopher. This means you are highly intelligent and have a powerful mix of skills and insight that can be applied in a variety of different ways. Like Plato, your exceptional math and verbal skills make you very adept at explaining things to others — and at anticipating and predicting patterns.

Gosh! I is rilly smart!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gosh, it's been more than just a little while since I posted anything here. I've been engrossed in the search for a new home and it looks like that search may be reaching its end...well, I hope so, anyway!

I'm off tomorrow to give the house I found near Graceville FL a closer inspection and then -- unless I find a major problem -- to submit a written offer. We've already an informal understanding on the price; had to bring it down considerably because the place will need a new well drilled. With any luck, I will be moving.

Yesterday, I took a jaunt through southern Alabama to look at some other properties before committing to one. There is some pretty country up there but this house seems the best and most practical deal. So, we'll see how it goes. More Steve News later...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

COIN-TOSS

Everyone deserves
a second chance but I
have never asked for one,
never would ask for one.

Come. Let us tell
the full moon of our regrets;
let us sing until
morning learns the tune.

Then, what is, will be;
each decision sleeps
off its drunken coin-toss
and wakes with no regrets.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

SLIPPING

My finite mind
cannot hold
the boundless me
I enfold;
I am of heaven
and of hell,
yet captive to
this mortal spell.

Slipping sideways
into you,
somewhere, sometime,
I break through
the borderlines
of false and true,
love and hate,
old and new.

Eternity
fades to night
from the moment’s
feeble light;
my shadow falls
here and there,
I walk in faith
and in despair.

Slipping sideways,
seek anew
somewhere, sometime
to break through
the borderlines
of false and true,
love and hate,
me and you.

Forever turns
an endless wheel;
what might be
is made real.
Variations
on a theme,
we are adrift
in God’s dream.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

A ditty inspired by quantum mechanics. Yes, really. Unfortunately, Blogger won't let me format this properly on the page.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Busy weekend coming: Thursday is the birthday of my musical partner-in-crime, Karen Polka. The birthday bash and barbecue is Saturday (the 15th) and I'll be providing tents, tables, PA system and general support. Ha, sounds like I'll be in need of support myself. There will be a gaggle of musicians showing up, of all stripes -- blues, bluegrass, rock and of course a few of us old folkies. Hey, if any of my friends who might read this think they'll be near Thomasville GA, let me know and I'll see about getting you an invite too.

Then, early Tuesday morning, I'm off to the Florida Panhandle to look at property. Yep, it looks like I might finally be moving; it's pretty much a now-or-never situation. I'm hoping to be somewhere close to US 231, which runs from Panama Beach up to Dothan, Montgomery and points north in Alabama. It's the route I usually use to travel north, whether to Tuskegee, Nashville, or somewhere else. Right now, I have my eye on a good piece of land near Graceville FL.

Anyway, I'll be camping at Florida Caverns State Park near Marianna on Tues and Wed night. This will be a great opportunity to see if my allergies are better over there! I'm certainly hoping so.

A little bit more on my recent entry about auditioning notation software: I had to take advantage of a great deal ($54) on Finale Print Music when I upgraded my Power Tracks. No, it certainly doesn't measure up to the full Finale program but it can fill a temporary need and eventually, when or if I need it, I can upgrade. I will continue to compose primarily in Power Tracks and send the midis over to PM for tweaking and printing.

And I can now exchange Finale files with Lynda or any other users, which is nice.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I've been back a while from my little jaunt north. Not to the North -- went no further than Tennessee. Did some visiting, saw some sights, laid down some tracks at the Artists and Vagrants Studio (my niece and nephew's place). That was mostly to check out how the studio space and equipment performed and to do sort of a dry run on having musicians come in and use the facility. They can play with those scratch tracks if they wish but I'll probably produce my own album here. If I ever get around to it.

They're using Pro Tools at A&V (the LE version, not the high-end stuff) which is okay but I've decided against following that route...even though it would make it easier to share tracks between our studios (in my case, I use the word studio in a very loose sense). I've been auditioning various software approaches and have made some choices. I want midi and audio to work from the same interface. It would be nice to be able to compose in the program in which I record; I can do that quite readily in my old cheapo standby, Power Tracks, which is why I've just upgraded it and will continue to utilize it at least for some of my work. Eventually, I may want something that integrates video and 5.1 sound as well. I've pretty much settled on Adobe's Audition -- I have an older version and may, in time, go for the upgrade there.

On my way back to Steinhatchee, I stopped off in Tuskegee to visit my Lynda. It had been too long since we've managed to get together! I do not intend to let it go so long again...and, who knows, I might just be moving closer to her. And I have to get her recorded again one of these days!

FULCRUM

I have teetered on the chair of your
words with rope chafing its reminder
along my tightened jaw. What good is holding
balance another breath? What point is there

in all this strength? Ah, to swing free of life!

Swing high, swing low, come for to carry
me beyond the river, carry me off the edge
of tomorrow. I’ve looked over Jordan
once or twice, or is it Styx? No matter;

the other side is darker than starless night.

I’ll not find my way across like this,
poised on the unsteady fulcrum of desire
and of death. I wait, teetering,
teetering, for you to carry me home.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm not going to be around much this coming week -- I'll be leaving on Tuesday (early, most likely) for a journey through Alabama and Tennessee. Some time on Saturday, I should return. I'll try to take some pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I put up a few of this year's Fla Folk Festival at Flicker. Nothing special but at least they're better than the snaps I've been taking with disposable cameras the last couple years. I promise to use the 35mm more; in the mean time, I'll probably post some of the older pics there. When I get around to it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Swingin' by the Suwannee, part 2

I finished this song (more or less), wrote some music, changed some words (including on to by in the title) and did a rough midi of it. I do the midi arrangements more to help me work out the tune and maybe print out a lead sheet than anything else -- they certainly aren't intended for any commercial application, though I have done more polished midis to use as backing tracks in the past.

Anyway, here's a link if anyone cares: http://insolentlad.com/music/swingswanee.mid

Saturday, June 17, 2006

SWINGIN’ ON THE SUWANNEE

Swingin’ on the Suwannee
‘neath a Southern moon;
I’ll hold you in the shadows
where magnolias bloom.
Sweet summer scent of jasmine
dances on the air;
The stars sing lullabies,
there’s music everywhere.

Fireflies hang lanterns
to light our Southern ball;
If I took you in my arms,
would you mind at all?
A kiss among the shadows,
a promise of more soon,
swingin’ on the Suwannee
‘neath a Southern moon.

Hear the cricket chorus,
bull frogs boomin’ bass;
I know that song they’re singin’,
a song of my birthplace.
I’ll hold you in the shadows,
swayin’ to their tune,
swingin’ on the Suwannee
‘neath a Southern moon.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

At the moment, a poem (more-or-less). More'n likely to morph into a song lyric eventually, with the probable addition of a 'chorus.' Which may not be strictly necessary but probably would help, especially since this is somewhat patterned after the classic songwriting of the first half of the Twentieth Century.

Friday, June 16, 2006

You Communicate With Your Body

This isn't as bad as it sounds, it just means that you're a "touchy-feely" person.
You need a lot of affection in your life. And for you, this means both giving and receiving little touches.
Warm hearted, you bond with people easily. In fact, you often feel a little sad when you're not in the company of others.
A little moody, you tend to be controlled by your emotions. But a bit hug always comforts you!

NEED

some need and some need
to be needed
some will plead
but go unheeded

some need to bleed
for others’ sins
to intercede
make losses wins

so it begins
and ends
we all need
we all need

some need and some need
to be needed
all the fears breed
unimpeded

and as their need
grows in the dark
it plants the seed
leaves the mark

so we embark
follow our arc
we all need
we all need

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Possibly a song lyric or notes toward one...but I'm not really motivated to write music (or, ideally, a killer riff) for it.

SAINT

Patient I must be,
so patient I will be.
I’ll wear this virtue like
a saint, if saint you seek.

Saint I can be as long
as need be and I
can wait until that day
you can wait no longer.

I must now to my prayers.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Composition and Notation Software

I've been taking some notation software for a test drive lately, downloading demos of three varieties of Finale and also Sibelius. I've always used the inexpensive recording and midi program Power Tracks (from PG Music) for working out compositions and arrangements; I like its notation-oriented interface. However, it is not a professional notation program and will only provide a fairly simple two-stave printout.

So the number-one requirement I had was that the programs would import midi files more-or-less intact that I had created in Power Tracks. Second, they should also be easily editable. And third -- and least important to me -- it would be nice if the software was good for composing 'from scratch.'

The first I tried was a rather simplified version of Finale called 'Print Music.' This particular program can be found for under $60 at some vendors. But I'm not sure it would be $60 well spent. If the music were already totally worked out, whether on paper or as midi, I could see transferring it to PM for a nice professional-appearing printout. All the Finale versions were so-so in opening midi files in their original form but this one did not make it particularly easy to edit them.

The next step up from Finale, Allegro, didn't really seem to offer much advantage over the PM version. I wouldn't recommend it at all. If one just wants to print music, go with the cheaper software. Otherwise, definitely go for the full-featured version, Finale 2006. Easier to edit -- though not particularly intuitive -- and with more tools. Honestly though, I don't know if would want to compose in it.

Sibelius is somewhat better in that respect. Easier to work with initially and translates midi a little better. Maybe does things a little too well on its own, in that one might want a little more control...2006 and Sibelius are both nice (and expensive!) but I would be inclined to go with the Finale product due to its editing options. But I might be inclined to compose somewhere else.

Which brings up Logic! For serious composition, that's probably the way to go and it has a perfectly good built-in notation component. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be trying it out anytime soon. Partly because it's Mac-only (yes, I have a Mac but I don't know if want to walk only that road). Partly because I've invested in other recording programs and am still fond of Power Tracks, despite its relative simplicity.

And of course there's the fact that Finale is somewhat the standard and my friend Lynda uses it. Being able to exchange files with others is nice. It would also be nice if she could get me the academic discount!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

STEINHATCHEE

verse 1
From the shadowed shallow waters
of San Pedro Bay,
Through the swamps, the dark Steinhatchee
makes its winding way
Under ground and over falls,
the pools where children play,
The river finds its way down to
the Gulf at Deadman Bay.

refrain
Steinhatchee, Steinhatchee,
eagles in the air;
Hear the crested woodpecker play
distant drums somewhere.
Steinhatchee, Steinhatchee,
where the cormorants dive;
Carry me down to the Gulf:
it’s good to be alive

verse 2
Now ‘hatchee’ is the word for river,
you probably all know,
But the reason for the ‘steen’
was forgotten long ago.
Odds are that it must mean something,
at least I reckon so;
I’m sure the river doesn’t care –
it’s just gonna flow.

verse 3
An island in the river is
my kind of neighborhood;
In the shade of a live oak tree,
I’d be there if I could.
Pull a catfish from the water,
find some firewood;
Fry it up with hush-puppies:
is anything that good?

verse 4
Drift lazily down through the flats,
past palmetto and pine,
Between high rocky banks grown thick
with tangled muscadine.
Remember one quite simple rule
and you’ll fit in just fine:
Please make sure, whatever you do,
that you say steen, not stine!

Stephen Brooke ©2006

A song lyric...actually, a complete song now as I've done the music too. Every now and again I attempt a 'Florida song.' The results are usually not good. This one is a bit plodding; I can't really get a lot of enthusiasm up for this sort of subject matter so let's just think of it as an exercise.

Possible origins of the name Steinhatchee: It could be named after the Osteen family, which has been numerous around those parts for a very long time. It could come from a Creek word that means ‘person,’ which would make Steinhatchee translate more-or-less to ‘Man River.’ On a map from the 1830s it is labeled as the ‘Esteen-hatchee.’

A note: my pics of the Florida Folk Festival are out of the camera but I haven't been near anywhere to drop off the film yet. Another disadvantage of living way out in the sticks! When I get 'em developed I'll post some (assuming they're decent) and maybe write some about the weekend.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

BIRTHDAY BLUES

This is my sweetie’s birthday but she is far away
It is my sweetie’s birthday but she’s much too far away
I wish that I could sing my Happy Birthday song today

We live too far apart, only see her now and then
Live way too far apart, only see her now and then
Someday I’ll be with her and my misery will end

This is my sweetie’s birthday, gonna call her on the phone
It is my sweetie’s birthday, have to call her on the phone
If I hear that busy signal I will feel so all alone

She lives in Alabama, three-hundred miles from me
Way off in Alabama, three-hundred miles from me
Can you tell me why things have to be the way they have to be?

This is my sweetie’s birthday but she is far away
It is my sweetie’s birthday but she’s much too far away
I wish that I could sing my Happy Birthday song today

Happy Birthday to you....

Stephen Brooke ©2006

A blues...yes, it is Lynda's birthday and, no, I'm not seeing her, but this was mostly just an excuse to write a tongue-in-cheek I'm-so-sad blues song.

Monday, June 05, 2006

For my myriad fans, a snap of Steve playing at White Springs Fla.

piece in the form of a tanka

last night
I made believe
I held you

my arms are empty
today

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Friday, June 02, 2006

Ordering a pizza in the Year 2010...

could this be in our future?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

THIS THING

This thing
you want from me –
I used to have it,
would share it
for the asking.

Then I gave it
and it was never returned.
This thing
you want from me –
I don’t have it now.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

This seemed such a throw-away that it sat for a couple weeks before I finally decided to post it.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

ramblin' on...

Okay, so Barry Bonds tied up Babe Ruth's home run record yesterday and will no doubt surpass it shortly. I reckon Hank Aaron's record is safe from BB, however. Someone will break it someday. Anyway, the whole steroids thing keeps popping up.

Now Steve knows from steroids. I hung around enough gyms in my earlier days to know how prevalent their use was and probably still is. Did Barry use roids? Oh, probably, though the regimen I've seen described sounds pretty amateurish compared to some of the 'stacks' the bodybuilders and power-lifters utilize(d). Still, it undoubtedly gave him a little extra strength...but hitting homers is more a matter of skill than strength. Did hitting a little further give him more balls that went over the wall? Sure, a few.

Here's the thing -- lots of guys in baseball (and other sports) use or have used steroids. Until fairly recently it was more-or-less legal. So Barry was facing other players, including pitchers, who had enhanced their performances. It all equals out. For health reasons, I suppose it is best that steroids are against the rules now but I don't think they have mattered that much.

Certainly not enough for Congress to be wasting time investigating them.

Well, on the subject of baseball and testosterone, I was reading about the fact that coaches and scouts have long recognized that guys with long ring fingers, in proportion to their 'pointers', made good pitchers. It was theorized that it gave a better grip...nope. We know now that it is related to spacial skills.

A direct relationship has been shown between the length of the ring finger and the amount of testosterone to which a fetus is exposed while in the womb. Early exposure to the 'male' hormone (a misnomer since woman have it too, just less) has a variety of effects, some good (well, sorta) like right-brainedness and spacial and math abilities and some not so good (like a tendency toward depression and even autism). Yes, Steve has a long ring finger. Y'know, I never paid any attention before but now I find myself looking at peoples hands! :D

Other news: next weekend is the Florida Folk Festival, once again! My sixth time going (only as a spectator -- maybe I'll perform one of these years?). The head-liner is Rosanne Cash this year. Three days, a dozen stages and workshops going all at once. I hope to make all three days but, for the first time, may not manage it. We'll see. I'll definitely be there on Saturday, with friends. For more on the festival: http://www.floridastateparks.org/folkfest/

Saturday, May 20, 2006

You Are Indigo

Of all the shades of blue, you are the most funky, unique, and independent.
Expressing yourself and taking a leap of faith has always been easy for you.

You Are a Hunter Soul

You are driven and ambitious - totally self motiviated to succeed
Actively working to acheive what you want, you are skillful in many areas.
You are a natural predator with strong instincts ... and more than a little demanding.
You are creative, energetic, and an extremely powerful force.

An outdoors person, you like animals and relate to them better than people.
You tend to have an explosive personality, but also a good sense of humor.
People sometimes see you as arrogant or a know it all.
You tend to be a bit of a loner, though you hate to be alone.

Souls you are most compatible with: Seeker Soul and Peacemaker Soul

Friday, May 19, 2006

MY MOJO'S MISSIN’

Somethin’ crazy is goin’ on
Woke up this mornin’, my mojo was gone
Ain’t gettin’ no love, ain’t gettin’ no kissin’
Ever since my mojo went missin’

Nobody respects me any more
Folks see me comin’ and they shut the door
My dog don’t mind and my woman won’t listen
Ever since my mojo went missin’

I keep on thinkin’ how things used to be
Before my mojo deserted me
Spend all day just reminiscin’
Ever since my mojo went missin’

Wake up in the darkness, waitin’ for the dawn
That’s how it is when your mojo’s gone
Ain’t gettin’ no love, ain’t gettin’ no kissin’
Ever since my mojo went missin’

Stephen Brooke ©2006

A silly bit of what is probably a song lyric. I found it partly written in some papers from last year and decided to finish it off. Just long enough, I think; any more would be overkill.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Doctor Who and the Tape Recorder

A quick check around the net shows that I'm far from the only one who noticed the anachronistic use of a tape recorder by WW2 British troops on last night's episode. 'Course, the fans over in England had already seen the episode a while back so they've had time to discuss it. I probably wouldn't have paid much attention to something like this in the old Doctor shows, which didn't have the production quality of these new episodes. I guess I expect more!

The tape recorder, as we know it now, was pretty much developed by the Germans during the war and was part of the technology 'liberated' by the Allies. The British soldiers could have used a wire recorder, one of the ancestors of the tape machine, but I guess the producers couldn't find one or didn't know about the mistake or maybe just didn't care.

But, oddly, I do care. Science Fiction has to be accurate in the details if one expects the viewer (or reader) to accept the rest of the story. It needs a foundation of realism on which to construct its fantasies.

Friday, May 12, 2006

a sijo:

Our highways crossed as we traveled toward the dawn.

Did you glance into your mirror and see me as I paused?

These what-ifs and might-have-beens overflow my box of dreams.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Jack LaLanne -- the post a couple back, with the quote by Jack, got me to thinking about him. I watched LaLanne's exercise show on television as I was growing up and it did make an impression on me. I count Jack as one of my personal heroes.

Yes, he's a great example of a guy who over-achieved, over-compensated. A little guy and kind of sickly as a kid. Should be noted that a lot of successful bodybuilders are on the short side; that may be because they're trying to compensate but it's also true that the ideal body shape for the sport, the full-bore mesomorph, tends to be short. Which is why when a relatively tall guy like Arnold comes along he can dominate his runty competitors!

But I digress...years of hanging around gyms makes me think I'm an authority. Anyway, I've no doubt that Jack was compensating for his earlier existence as a wimp kid by becoming a bodybuilder and showman. I recognize some of that in myself.

Oh, another aside -- every now and again, someone talks about guys trying to compensate for a lack of endowment by indulging in sundry macho activities, whether jumping out of planes or driving SUVs or chasing women. I don't buy it; our personalities are pretty much set well before we hit puberty and notice such things. I didn't box or bodybuild or ride rather large waves due to what lives in my pants; I did it because of what lives in my head.

And I strongly suspect it was the same with Jack. Some of us will always feel the need to prove ourselves. Anything wrong with that? It's how things get done.

THE CONSTANT STAR

On this voyage from nowhere
to nowhere, I’ll fix the stars,
draw my charted sky
with you the constant north.

No wind blows more darkly
than yesterday’s, when phantom
sails slipped the horizon.
In folly, have I pursued

such prizes, sought the siren
on her shore, dallied
over long in nameless
ports beyond the night.

Set the course, my star,
and I shall know your light;
it will shine a path
across the seas of my life.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

I've held the opening metaphor for weeks, waiting for the rest of poem to appear.

Jack LaLanne, at age 91, on the secret of his longevity:

"Clean thoughts and dirty girls."

(think I'll have to give that a try...)

Sunday, May 07, 2006

I wrote myself a letter.
When will I ever
answer it?

another quinzaine

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

We’re ships that pass in the night.
If we collided
would we sink?


a quinzaine. haven't written one in quite some time. who knows if I will again any time soon?!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

You Are Smokin' Hot

You're a terrible flirt, a sharp dresser, and a party animal.
Of course, you're totally sizzling too. And for you, being hot just comes naturally.
Are You Hot?

I'm actually a little surprised...

We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of a lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times to overlook our short sight and timidity. - rejection slip from a Chinese journal

my kind of rejection slip!

PORTRAYAL

An actor has written all my poems.
I hired him some time back
to portray me, to stand on stage
with a suitcase of my passions,

presenting them one-by-one
to an unsuspecting audience.
How they applaud him! If only I
could slip this reticence and join

my creation before the crowd,
take our bows together and then
tell him ‘Good job but your services
are no longer necessary.’

Stephen Brooke ©2006

This piece was actually inspired by the remarks I made about my previous poem, over in my 360 blog. Got my train of thought rolling and I rode it to the end. A quick piece, unlike the previous two, and likely to see rewriting down the line...if I think it's worth it when I take another look someday.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

WRAPPINGS

My prayer, many the restless
night, is to sleep
and not wake. The sun
is only God’s latest taunt;
the morning, His brightly wrapped
package of despair.

How many empty boxes
have I opened before?
Now the ribbons are pressed
between my pages, the papers
carefully folded. And why
not? They’re all I have.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Monday, April 24, 2006

TARNISHED

Each day, the blind man walks
his remembered path,
turning as he has ever

turned, pausing where he
paused before. Those stars
that guided him now move

in darkened mirrors, in nameless
constellations, lost
promises of night.

And all his mirrors sing
their tarnished prophecies
into a dream of dawn.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Yeah, I finally wrote something. 'Bout time.

Sunday, April 23, 2006







What 80's Butt Rocker Are You?




You are Slash, the top hat wearing searing axeman for Guns n Roses. A self-taught guitarist who makes such a beautiful noise with a Gibson Les Paul, that it makes Les Paul himself gently weep! You are the epitome of cool. You follow no style other than your own. You are quiet & somewhat reserved, but when you do have something to say it is always profound in that Silent Bob sort of way, making everyone around you pay attention. You are very opinionated, but respectful of others. You have strong convictions and are unbendable when it comes to standing up for what you believe in. You would rather do nothing at all than be forced into doing something that you don't have your heart in 100%, even if there could be great rewards in it for you. You are sensitive about many things, and take other people's feelings into consideration (most of the time). You try not to bring a lot of attention to yourself because you prefer your privacy, so you often wear your hair down long and pull a hat down on your head to cover most of your face. However this has become your signature style and makes you even more recognizable. Coming from biracial parentage, you carry somewhat of a duality about you. That is reflected in all things that you create, and the many different types of things that interest you. It also reflects in your personality - while you are quiet and reserved most of the time, you have another side in you that likes to let loose and party down when you feel the need. When you are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, you can be qute short-tempered and mean, so you try your best to avoid using such substances. Your addictive personality makes that a difficult thing to maintain, but you're strong willed and most of the time you do ok.
Take this quiz!








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Friday, April 21, 2006

You Are Noon

You are upbeat, ambitious, and never at loss for energy.
You have a lot that drives you in life. The desire to be the best, and a secret hope of fame and power.
And while you definitely have a Type A personality, you are still fun to be around.
You have a ton of charisma and a genuine interest in others. You are adored by many.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


First the tell us that beer is health food...now
this! Could life get any better?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Greed:Very Low

Gluttony:Very Low

Wrath:Medium

Sloth:Low

Envy:Very Low

Lust:Medium

Pride:Low



Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

Okay, I have a bit of a temper and like girls...so what else is new?

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Your Theme Song is Back in Black by AC/DC

"Back in black, I hit the sack,
I've been too long, I'm glad to be back"

Things sometimes get really crazy for you, and sometimes you have to get away from all the chaos.
But each time you stage your comeback, it's even better than the last!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The My Space Poem

Just because you know me on My Space
Doesn’t mean you’re welcome at my place;
So you’re one of my four-hundred friends
But being on the list is where it ends!

Leave me a comment, maybe two,
I’ll send a bulletin only to you,
Yes, and every one else, but don’t be jealous
When it comes to adding friends I’m zealous!

Believe me when I say you’re like a brother;
You know that you’re not just another
Of my five-hundred (sure I added a few)
Really close friends (both old and new)

at My Space!

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

'Mean' Mary James (my niece), with the able assistance of her brother Frank, has a new CD coming out in the next week or so. This one veers toward the Americana/Old Timey side of the musical highway. In anticipation of the release, they have thoroughly redesigned the James and James/Wildwood site and published a brand-new Mean Mary site.

Check 'em both out, if you will. And don't miss the pics of Frank's acting career in Planet of the Apes (as a gorilla) and Star Trek (I think he was a Bajoran). They're on the MM site.

Monday, April 03, 2006

DRAINED

I’m the boy scout of pain,
always prepared;
waiting for the rain
like I never cared.
I let the daylight wane
as you stood and stared;
let you hope in vain
that I wanted all we shared.

Let it go, let it go,
it’s the only thing I know.

Made my last decision,
signed my devil’s deal;
sold away each vision
that you tried to steal.
Made a fresh incision
to let the others heal –
drained of your derision,
drained of all I feel.

Let it go, let it go,
it’s the only thing I know.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Possibly notes toward a song...the kind of song I don't do anymore, of course. Title could (should?) change.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

At last....

Google Romance brings the ultimate dating service!

Friday, March 31, 2006

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Further proof of global warming

Saturday, March 18, 2006


If email had existed in the days of the Roman Empire...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Steve is Grass Green

Down to earth and a bit of a hippie, you are very into nature and the outdoors.
You accept the world and people as they are. You don't try to change things.
You are also very comfortable with yourself, flaws and all.
Optimistic about the future, you feel like life is always getting better.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

MARRIAGE SEMINAR

While attending a Marriage Seminar dealing with communication , Tom and his wife Grace listened to the instructor, "It is essential that husbands and wives know each other's likes and dislikes."

He addressed the man, "Can you name your wife's favorite flower?"

Tom leaned over, touched his wife's arm gently and whispered, "It's Pillsbury, isn't it?

The Penguin Cam!

Guaranteed to waste more of your online time!

FESTIVAL WINE

(verse 1)
We have the night and we have a song,
So I reckon this is where we belong;
And when we’re playing around the campfires,
A little festival wine inspires.
Oh, no, it isn’t quite strictly permitted,
But it won’t matter if you're keen-witted;
There’s nothing better to get you loose –
Just disguise it as cranberry juice.

(chorus)
Festival wine, festival wine,
A glass or three would go down fine.
Don’t mind that bug swimming in your mug,
Just take a big glug of festival wine!
Festival wine, festival wine,
That’s an offer I’ll never decline
Fill me up another paper cup
And I’ll drink more of that festival wine.

(verse 2)
Anyone who knows me well
Knows my fondness for Zinfandel;
But I would never turn away
A bottle of that sweet Rose’.
Make it red, make it white,
I’ll sit by the fire and share it all night.
Mine is yours and yours is mine;
We’re gonna share some festival wine!

(repeat chorus)
Yes, fill me up another paper cup
And I’ll drink a toast of festival wine!

Stephen Brooke ©2006

A song lyric, still a tad rough maybe, inspired by the past weekend. Music is a lot rougher at this point!

Monday, March 13, 2006

REFLECTIONS

Reflections: I have held
you to me as a mirror,
each love letter filled

with myself and to
myself, and now it is
myself, only, I hold.

Reflections: no comfort lies
across the river of thought,
nor in the mirrors of home.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Back from my weekend at the Will McLean Festival. I'll probably write about that at the MySpace blog, it being music-related and all. Ideas for at least a couple songs bouncing around in my head; if nothing else, attending these folk fests definitely gets the songwriting juices flowing. I made need more paper towels to sop 'em up.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

STACKS

Speak riddles. I shall seek
what answers you need,
bring stacks of words
that might make sense

if that one in the middle
were moved but then
the whole thing would
fall and I’d never get

them in order again.
No matter. Let me scribble
pictures of my soul,
shingle your roof

with post-it notes.
The rain will sing you
to sleep in the arms
of my words.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Saturday, March 04, 2006

You Are Krusty the Clown

You were the class clown as a kid, and you still entertain people.

From faking your own death to getting a wacky boob job, you'll do anything for a laugh.

You will be remembered for: your face being everywhere, from cereal to home pregnancy tests

Your life philosophy: "I heartily endorse this event or product."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

CONTESTS

Poetry competitions. Art shows. Song writing contests.

I have a wall of ribbons from art shows. They never helped me sell a single painting. Another wall is covered with framed awards from poetry competitions. Legitimate contests, not those 'buy our anthology' scams. I doubt they ever did a thing to gain me greater recognition as a writer.

And I've entered a few song writing competitions over the years. Never any success but I doubt that I have the 'write stuff' to win there. Not that it matters.

Oh, contests are alright. I have friends who have won song writing competitions and that's great. I don't think it did that much for their careers, however.

Success stands on two legs -- art and commerce. The first, artistic success, can be measured by reviews and opinions but, ultimately, ones personal opinion is what counts. If one is happy with what one has created, that is success. But it is lopsided.

The commercial aspect is the other leg, the one that gives balance. That does not necessarily mean making a lot of money. Or any, for that matter! It means being heard, being published. It means that someone out there cares about one's art. Enough to come to one's gigs, to buy the book or the recording.

Though I never made but a few dollars from it, one of the biggest boosts to my ego was having one of my songs covered as an album cut a few years back. That meant more than any award I could ever receive. Selling a painting feels better than having a ribbon stuck on it. Having a poem in magazine is greater praise than a certificate on my wall.

Will I continue to enter competitions? Maybe. If there's much in the way of an entry fee, it's probably money poorly invested. Think of all the stamps one could buy for submissions to magazines! Think of the gas money one could use to get to that open mike! Get your voice heard and let the rest follow from that.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

You Are a Coy Flirt

You may not seem like you're flirting, but you know exactly what you're doing.
You draw people in, very calculatingly, without them even knowing.
Subtle and understated, you know how to best leverage your sex appeal.
A sexy enigma, you easily become an object of obsession.


I didn't look much like the girl in the picture that came with this test so I deleted it!

TRIP

As ribbons of light
chase ribbons of wave
to the horizon, we whisper.
Outa control. Maybe up
at Canaveral it’s surfable.
A Sixty-two Corvair
on A-1-A,
a winter morning,
a winter swell;
a monster swell and we
are not the kids to attempt
the ride. No, not at Shark Pit.
We can see surfers there,
a few specks in the valley
of the swell, from atop
Sebastian bridge. We know
that even the paddle out
would be too much for us.
Head north. North past
the joggers waking themselves
in the wind. North past
Patrick, where no one is practicing
landings this morning.
At least it’s still offshore,
my brother mutters
and we nod but maybe
we’d just as soon the wind
came around and broke the back
of this swell, made it unrideable,
and we could sit in the Krystal
eating breakfast chili and taking
comfort in coffee. Canaveral.
Jetty Park. Last chance –
we can’t drive any further
along the coast and, hey,
it’s not bad! My new Rick
should handle these just fine
and Pat has his magic board
and so what if half the kids
in Cocoa are out in it?
So what if my morning classes
are a hundred miles in my past?
It’s Nineteen and Sixty-nine
and any trip is good.
Any trip at all.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The 'official' response of the Sex Pistols to their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is at their website. Y'gotta love these guys. 'Course, they won't love y'back.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


SPONGEBACK MOUNTAIN

see the movie!

Friday, February 24, 2006

The name of the rose
Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose. You are a mystery novel dealing with theology, especially with catholic vs liberal issues.

You search wisdom and knowledge endlessly, feeling that learning is essential in life.


Which literature classic are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

SPLINTER

A splinter of God
might be named today
or Elizabeth.

When it dies
it forgets its name.
Who were you?

we ask. Weren’t
you God, last week?
If a rainbow’s

seven colors
refract through the facets
of memory,

shall we call
this splinter yesterday?
Do not speak

that name quite yet;
wait until I too
forget and may

be forgotten.
Until our fire turns
to splintered stars.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Well, after posting something like Moccasin Snake, I had to reassert my esoteric artsy side, no?

you are Hank Williams!
Hank Williams... you're fucked up on drinks, pills

and a broken heart. You'll die young and

wild, but influence more people than you

could ever imagine. If it wasn't for you,

rock n roll would be nothing more than benign

and insipid.


Which fucked-up genius composer are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

MOCASSIN SNAKE

Down in the swamps where I was reared
There was only one creature I truly feared;
Not the bull gator nor the panther nor the bear,
But the beady-eyed mocassin slithering there.

Down in the cypress where I dwell,
We know the cottonmouth by his smell;
Stench like a cucumber turning rotten
Get a whiff once and it’s not forgotten.

Cottonmouth mocassin could be anywhere,
In the dark, dark water or his muddy lair;
By a pool where the matted moss overhangs,
Death is waiting in his fangs.

Down in the swamps where I grew up
It was hard for a boy to have a pup;
The mocassin would strike and the gator would chomp
Any little dog in the Big Cypress Swamp.

Down in the cypress where I live
The swamp has a lot of good to give;
There’s peace and plenty but make no mistake,
we fear the bite of the mocassin snake.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

I don't quite know what got into me...I hear a lot of song lyrics of this ilk from my Fellow Floridian Folkies and generally turn up my nose at 'em. This is something I composed while on the road -- probably shoulda been paying attention to the Interstate traffic instead of having my head fulla words!

Monday, February 20, 2006

THE PURPLE SLUGGER

One can create a personal Superhero at the hero machine. What with baseball season almost upon us, I decided to go with the Slugger. (Watched my first games over the weekend -- college but I like that just as well as pro)

Thanks to Miss Nordette for the link.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

LOW EXPECTATIONS

You never broke my heart
though you sprained it pretty good;
I’m getting by apart
but I’d change that if I could.
Maybe I should start
seeking new relations
but I keep living with
these low expectations.

The edge of your knife
divides me in two,
numb to the strife
you’ve put me through.
I’m living my life
without sensations,
I’m living my life with
low expectations.

The scene of my crime
is an empty stage;
I play this pantomime
with a mannered rage.
I waste all my time,
lacking inspiration;
I keep living with
these low expectations.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

With a bit of development, I suppose I could turn this into a song. Don't know that I'm particularly motivated to do that. And if were a song it should probably be sung by a twenty-something emo guy! It's not 'serious' poetry by any means.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Steinhatchee

So here I am 'on the shores of Deadman Bay' which is a fancy way of saying I live in Steinhatchee FL. It's not a bad place to live; there are better, there are worse.

One of the good things about it is that I'm only a half-days drive from a whole bunch of cities where I can shop, perform, whatever. One of the bad things is that I'm a half-days drive from pretty much anywhere I can shop, perform, etc.

Well, not necessarily a half-day, but the nearest City of Significance is Gainesville at about an hour and a half. Two hours to Tallahassee or Thomasville, two and a half to Jacksonville, three and a half to Tampa, four to Panama. I don't know...is it better to be within striking range of a bunch of places or close to one metropolitan area?

And then there is the Woman Question. During the past five years the closest person I've dated was 60 miles away. Some were waaaay further. But they were all worth it. Yep, even the ones I saw only once. Even the ones who broke my heart.

POPEYE

My girlfriends keep dumping me
for boring guys. It seems the very
things that first attract them, first
interest them, must drive them

away, in time. But, like Popeye,
I yam what I yam. Even
sung asleep by these siren ports,
even if I pretend otherwise,

I’ll never be otherwise;
I’ll always be leaving me sweetie
for the sea. Olive, you’re better
off with Bluto. I’m outa spinach.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

This is one of those poems that started with an interesting phrase and eventually took a left turn into something else entirely.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

DOVE

The heart is a dove;
throw it to the sky,
let it fly home
on eager wings.

It remembers the way.
Tomorrow, you may
find it asleep
in a nest of dream.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Almost slips into greeting card territory, doesn't it? I think it works though.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

BOW AND ARROW

When Cupid draws his little bow
and, laughing, lets his arrow go,
the sensible will run and hide
yet fools like I oft times abide.

And then I spout these words of love,
as though inspired from above,
but every line is still cliche,
like candy on Saint Valentine’s day.

It can’t be helped, those chestnuts come;
‘twould be better were I dumb!
I lose what modest wit I claimed,
when Cupid’s arrow is well aimed.

So should I babble, remember this:
naught shuts me up quite like a kiss

Stephen Brooke ©2006

a bit of silly pastiche for the season

Saturday, February 11, 2006




Your Candy Heart Says "Get Real"



You're a bit of a cynic when it comes to love.

You don't lose your head, and hardly anyone penetrates your heart.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: is all about the person you're seeing (with no mentions of v-day!)

Your flirting style: honest and even slightly sarcastic

What turns you off: romantic expectations and "greeting card" holidays

Why you're hot: you don't just play hard to get - you are hard to get

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

THE COUNTER-PUNCHER

It’s the jab that sets it all up,
pop-pop, wait for the mistake.
Wait for that off-balance second
and you come in with a hook
to the ribs and a shoulder and clinch.

Counter-punch. Take his power
and whack him upside the head
with it. Life’s a dirty fight, kid;
don’t let ‘em tell you otherwise
and don’t be afraid to step on some toes.

Heart? Sure, you need heart
but all your fire won’t stop
an ice-water punch. I’ve seen
a thousand losers with heart,
seen them go down and stay down.

Getting lucky has never
been a matter of luck.
Wait for the moment. Wait
like a lover for that goodnight kiss.
It will come for the counter-puncher.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

I consider this to still be very rough.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Big Five Test Results
Extroversion (30%) low which suggests you are very reclusive, quiet, unassertive, and private.
Accommodation (54%) medium which suggests you are moderately kind natured, trusting, and helpful while still maintaining your own interests.
Orderliness (66%) moderately high which suggests you are, at times, overly organized, neat, structured and restrained at the expense too often of flexibility, variety, spontaneity, and fun.
Emotional Stability (36%) moderately low which suggests you are worrying, insecure, emotional, and anxious.
Inquisitiveness (62%) moderately high which suggests you are intellectual, curious, imaginative but possibly not very practical.
Take Free Big Five Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Monday, February 06, 2006

Online Poetry

So, it's going on five years almost since I first posted a poem online. That was at a Yahoo group I left long ago, searching for better places to read and be read. Honestly, there aren't many out there.

I've come across a handful of writers during this time that I felt were pretty decent. I've come across literally thousands who were truly abysmal. But hey, that's okay. Mostly they just want to express their feelings and don't really care about craft. Though of course the more craft one learns, the better one can express oneself. I hope I have learned some craft myself.

Where can a poet go online? Most of the writing groups at Yahoo, MSN, etc are not going to do much for you, I'm afraid, other than provide an impetus to write more. For some, unfortunately, that means only turning out greater quantities of drivel. I do think a discerning writer can learn from reading bad poetry and recognizing what is wrong with it, but that will only take one so far. Ultimately, one needs to be exposed to 'the right stuff.'

I've tried some of the dedicated writers sites, such as Authors Den. Basically, a rip-off I'd say. The folks there are a bit more serious about their writing, true, but it's mostly ego-feeding. This is not meant to denigrate anyone there or at similar sites; there certainly are some good writers who use them. But no one is going to learn much there nor get recognition by anyone more than the other members...and there are better and cheaper ways to network.

I don't belong to many online writing groups anymore. I don't expect anything from the ones where I do post other than to keep in touch with a few fellow poets whose work I like. The blogs where I post -- basically I put my first draft poetry up in a couple of them, this one and my one at 360 -- have some readership, but I've certainly no illusions about them having any great popularity. Shoot, I put the poems up as much to archive them as anything else.

No, at this point my focus has to be wider. It has to be magazine submissions. It has to be readings and competitions. It has to be finishing my second novel! But I am grateful for what being online has done for me. I've become a very different -- and better -- poet than I was five years ago. And I've met some pretty gals in the process!

Football?

What? They played football yesterday? Okay, I guess even I'm not isolated enough not to be aware of the Superduper Bowl, though I didn't even know who was playing until a couple days before. I'm just not a football person; for me the SB is mostly a reminder that Spring Training is almost here!

So what did I watch yesterday afternoon? Why, the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet, of course! Much more entertaining. The kittens at half-time put on a great show too.

And when did anyone ever get to see a referee at a football game clean up after one of the players had an 'accident?' :D