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!

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.

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


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

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


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


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


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.

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


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


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


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!

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

Sunday, February 05, 2006

White Springs

It was nice to get out and play last night -- I should more frequently! My friend/musical partner Karen and I went up (or down, for her) to White Springs and performed as 'Shadows on the Swanee.' We even managed to muddle through three songs without a major disaster!

Big crowd, the biggest I've ever seen there. Seems there was a write-up in some newspaper or another that drew folks in. That's all to the good; hope some of 'em come back! Plenty of talented people there, banjoist/dulcimerist Mary Cox serving as MC, the lovely Lucinda Gail Makley Maynard (Bettina Makley's big sis), and of course Scottish folk singer Jack Beck who now resides in White Springs with his folklorist wife Wendy Welch (director of the Florida Folk Festival and one of the nicest people you'd ever hope to meet). Loads of others, too. Great to see so many talented folks.

Reckon I (or we) will be back for more!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


We’ve seen the setting sun before.
Let it go; this night, too,
will pass across the painted
horizons of our memory.

But listen! The morning star may whisper
our names, even as she fades.
Then leave your heart open
to the dawn, to the wounds of my kisses

and the healing of my embrace.
The glare of day hides every scar,
every star we know
must live in our remembered sky.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


I never met Bukowski but I know
this guy who knew him when and name-drops Hank
every now and again. He knew a lot
of famous dead guys back then, back in the Sixties,

and was kind of famous himself for a week
or two. I don’t know if he’ll ever live
that down but he keeps trying, looking for
the next comeback, getting straight for a while,

throwing away his damaged dream when doubt
taps him on the shoulder. But, hey, maybe
this time it will work; we do get older
and a little wiser, after all.

Older – there’s the word we both fear now,
the has-been, the never-was. Better than being
dead, though, even dead and famous. Bukowski
will never write another poem.

Stephen Brooke ©2006

Yeah, that's a real person I reference here, though I took out a poetic license. Very much doubt he ever reads any of my stuff.