Monday’s Rune: It’s Him Again

Howdy, Y’all

My peeps hang out at the VA clinic in Austin.
I know none of them. Prolly agree with very few about a lot of things. It’s okay.

It took six months to get two appointments coordinated
(it’s a long drive), but I like it here (not sure why).

(Almost) all the paid staff and volunteers seem nice
and tolerant (from what I’ve seen, they need to be).

Eye exam. Will I see an optimistic optometrist
or a pessimistic ophthalmologist? New script
and my cataract is ready for R&R (remove and replace).

The drop dead gorgeous (and friendly) young lady in the glasses shop said I looked like Bryan Cranston (showed me an old pic of him) from Breaking Bad.
Go ahead, make an old vet smile, and feel good.

Couple years back a dude came in, sat down to wait,
pulled out his gun and blew his brains out. Yikes!
I guess he wasn’t there to get new glasses.
Some of us got some serious shitty problems.

Later, about half-past noon I got some new hearing aids.
Rechargeables because I drain batteries binge watching House on TV
streaming on Bluetooth. Thank you. I like them.

I am a veteran eligible for most VA services, either alive or dead.
I’m a vet but no old fart hats for me.
I’m neither proud (okay, a bit) nor ashamed of that fact.
Like being old, bald, male, or a Texas Aggie,
it’s just who and what I am. No changes.

Look both ways and see it all.
Mind the gaps, some of us need more help than others.


Ten years my junior, and this pic of Cranston’s character (Walter White) is old.

Friday Fictioneers for January 13th, 2023

Our mysterious and mischievous Mistress, Rochelle, passionate for the pool (she could swim circles around most of us), has bestowed upon us a Friday the 13th photo by Fleur Lind. We are to be magically inspired and motivated to write a story of fewer than 101 words (unlike Dalmatians or Arabian Nights).

To help enlighten you as you steer your story to the inlinkz squares, click on Fleur’s photo to be driven to Rochelle’s blog where it’s all mapped out for us. It’s fun. Try it. Then join the pack as we read and hopefully comment on as many stories as we like.


Genre: Narrative Poetry
Title: A Verse of Light
Word Count: 100


Driving, my twisted mind a malaise of anger
lost in sorrow that love controls,
I think of her and of him.

That Sting song played,
“I’m so happy that I can’t stop crying
… I’m laughing through my tears”
The blood red sky, like love. The clouds cheering,
“Something about the universe and how it’s all connected”

I saw light coming. I heard,
“Everybody’s got to leave the darkness sometime”

As I drove into the light, I felt the pain leaving me.
“I’m so happy that I can’t stop crying
I’m laughing through my tears” And the pain is gone.


Look both ways.
At times, let the future heal the past.
Mind the gaps, some pain remains.

Click on the crash to read other (more uplifting) stories.


I have no idea why I like this old Sting song so much.


Friday Fictioneers for November 25th, 2022

For Thanksgiving Eve this year, Boss Rochelle, our lovely, multi-talented, family oriented, and artistically gifted literary ladyship guide has gone redux to prompt us all with a pic from the awesome Brit, Sandra Crook. Sandra’s photo has many prompting options, but I was mused into a musical mood.

Click on Sandra’s photographic prompt to jump off into Rochelle’s blog page from where you may climb back up with your own story based upon whatever inspiration you received.

PHOTO PROMPT (redux) © Sandra Crook

Genre: Parodic Musical Fiction
Title: Toy’s Lament
Word Count: 100

“Toy! Hey, Toy. What y’all doin’? Where’s that devil woman yer in lust with?”

Toy sang out, “She gone, Mick. Done left me in Spartanburg. Oh, Lawdy, Ima gunna buy a ticket till it run out of track.”

He pulled his guitar up and sang, “Gonna climb that highest mountain. Gonna jump right off. Ain’t nobody gunna know. That woman, Lawdy. What she done to me. Can’t ya see, Mick?”

I said, “Yer too stoned to climb up there. I’m sorry. We told ya she’s a black-hearted woman, man.”

Toy yelled, “Mean ol’ woman’s with Marshall. Never told me goodbye!”


Look both ways in love and lust.
Mind the gaps for tips, trips, and occasional slips.

Click on the Lovers Leap pic to find more stories based upon Sandra’s Photo.

My story is based on the early 70’s southern/country rock song lyrics, Can’t You See, by the Marshall Tucker Band, written by Toy Caldwell. Other allusions: Mick (Jones) from the band Foreigner (Cold as Ice) and Black-Hearted Woman by the Allman Brothers Band.

The original song by the original band.

Sammi’s Weekender #271 (sibilance)

Click the graphic for more 28-word takes on the prompt word at Sammi’s blog.


The young, attractive, angry suicide survivor glanced at her phone before reciting

an angry poem in contralto voice which obscured nervousness,

each sibilant rapidly voiced in pitiful pain.

As you look into their eyes, look both ways when they tell their story.
Mind the gaps for hidden meanings in of the human condition.

Sammi’s Weekender #250 (mannequin)

Click the WWP prompt graphic to open Sammi’s blog and read more writings of poetry or prose.

No, no, no.

She didn’t know,
she couldn’t see my loss,
drained of outward expression,
emotionally spent, I sat — still,
a heartless, brainless mannequin,
my skin ripped by her words.
I was not, as she accused,
an automaton. I loved her.

My brain and heart were not sapped,
but hope seemed impossible.
Suicide seemed the only answer,
an escape from daily pain, the way home,
to bring order to irreversible chaos.

My mind: bleak, grim, sullen:
I walked to window,
I cried, broken, never again to be me.

Look both ways.
Reality isn’t always as it seems.
Mind the gaps, nothing is perfect.
Into every life, some sadness, some love, some hope, some loss.

Friday Fictioneers: January 14, 2022

Once again, the lovely Mistress of Fiction, Rochelle, has orchestrated the launch of a photo prompt to inspire my story telling muse into a frenzy of guns and guitars, of love recalled, of romantic tension.

Click on the Bradly Harris photo to jet on over to Rochelle’s place for the big picture. My one-hundred-word micro-story, inspired by an old Abba song, follows.

PHOTO PROMPT © Bradley Harris


Genre: Literary Fiction
Title: Better Worlds
Word Count: 100

Maria whispered, “Do you remember, Fernando, when we last stood here? That night, long ago; a night of guns and guitars, of dreams and distant drums, of freedom, love, and fear?”

“Oh, Maria. We were so young and full of life. Revolution held many promises for a better world. I deeply miss it all: the guns, cannons, and cries of our love for liberty; for our people. I miss us, then. I want to go back. To that night, to make those feelings forever.”

“No regrets, Fernando. Let’s return to that night.”

Holding hands, they took their final steps back.


Look both ways, back to that night.
Seek the love of hopeless romantics, the glamor of disco days,
and never let your memories die.
Mind the gaps while turning pages in the book of life.


Click on Che to read more stories from the same picture prompt.



Enjoy this rendition of ‘Fernando’ by Cher and Andy Garcia from the movie, Mama Mia.

Friday Fictioneers 9/18/2020 (Poetry: Joe’s plan)

Thanks to Rochelle @ Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple for providing another Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. Her weekly challenge is for us to write a story of 100 words or less based on a photo prompt (thanks to Roger Bultot).

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Genre: Narrative poetry
Title: Joe’s Plan
Word count: 96


Joe was okay for 96;
a walker, a bag, and caths.
not bad. no cancer.
she was long gone.
he felt guilty and missed her.

Joe had a plan.
one night, after the poker game,
the pain was too much.
at the hospital er, shingles, they said,
was not deadly.

Joe’s plan,
that night in his bathtub
he used his .38 Special
to join with her,
just past the veil.

Joe’s girlfriend found him, cops came,
hazmet cleaned up. some family members
dealt with his stuff. all they ever wanted
was joe’s money. now it’s finished.


Look both ways and wonder why, but death awaits all.
Mind the gaps and keep your powder dry.

Click for link.

Poetry: A Blaze of Glory

Warned ya: F-word used cuz I do.

A Blaze of Glory

I should be dead.
Hush! Be quiet.
Listen to me.

I shudda been dead years ago.
Every rock wall or cliff I ever saw
was for climbin’ up or down
got kinda hairy sometimes, ripped pants,
scrapes, scratches, and snakes
got bee stung once.

Every train was our ride, tracks for playing
and high trestles for wide river crossings.
A train’s comin’?
I knew two guys who
killed themselves
jumpin’ off a them bridges.

Every roof was to be jumped from
after a building’s been climbed, got
wrenched, twisted, and sprained —
never broken.

Me and Jimmy swam
in that filthy, dirty, Susquehanna
in our bathing suits, which means naked.

We climbed up shit.
Like towers, bridges, trees, buildings.
Shinnied up rusty poles. If we fell,
we’d die. Motivation!
If a train came, we’d die.

Fucking people jumped
from there
into the river
to kill their selves.
My uncle did – Dad’s brother,
Was his name? James maybe,
Something. Yes it was James. Same as Dad’s dad.
His sons said he was trying to save a dog.
Uncle Jimmy weren’t savin’ no fucking dog,
But glorious if he had.

We poached – fish. Got shot at!
Fuckers missed us – on purpose likely.
When you get shot at,
you hear the bullets buzz past.
Crack, crack,
We left — pronto.
Fish were prolly scared anyway.

It was fun to be
scared. And nothing
scared us more than
But Jimmy and me – we
would live forever.

Then Jimmy died
after heart surgery.
Took him off a machine that
for him – how fucking

I’ll die too.
Too fucking late for
Or is it?

Tom died too. Jumped
off a tower. ‘chute didn’t open.
BASErs say gear malfunction.
Midnight. New Year’s Eve.
BASE jump. Glorious.

Jack died of fucking cancer.
He knew. He called me cuz
he knew. I knew too. When his
wife called to tell me. I
fucking couldn’t talk – I
went totally fucking Dumb.

Give me the Light Brigade.
Fuck pas. Gimme a rifle,
a cause, a revolution, a reason.

Teach me how to
die. All the lessons of
life – not one teaches
me how to die.

Love hard, live fast,
die old. But die for a reason.
If yer gunna die, have a cause.

¡viva la revolución!
Aces’n eights ain’t my hand.
I’m not motherfucking dead yet.

There’s more.
More to tell, more to do.

I toast my comrades: to their glory. Salute!

(Bill Reynolds, © 14 May 2018)

In life, there is a reason for each season. Look both ways and mind the gaps.

NOTES: While I think a poem should stand on its own without gloss, my editorial reconsiderations include these.

If you like, read the Charge of The Light Brigade (esp. last stanza) by clicking here.

Pas is physician assisted suicide.

Fernando is the song by ABBA, click here to listen.


Promised – Never Again

PSoon, he’d wake up, but he would not remember. He’d not recall where he’d been, what he’d done, how he got home, or anything that happened. He felt fear—the familiar fear of the blackout. He should know. He’d been there only a few hours earlier. Everyone else would know. Hell yes! They’d remember. When he blacked out like this, he couldn’t recall events from the night before. Even when people would tell him and show him proof, he could recall none of it. He woke up sick – partly due to the effects of the alcohol, but mostly because of the fear, the inevitable embarrassment, and the disgust he felt toward himself. It happened many times before. Slowly, as his eyes opened, he turned his head to see if she was there in the bed. She was not. He would face that guilt soon enough.

After waiting up past two that morning, Mary had little sleep. His drinking had taken its toll on her, as it had on every part of their lives. Everyone who knew him was affected in one way or another by his drinking and dangerous behavior. She worried constantly. He was groggy, but could hear that she was on the phone and had been for a while. She was sobbing and crying. She felt trapped. He felt guilt and shame. She was talking to someone who cared about him. It was never going to get better. It had been getting progressively worse for years. What would happen next? She heard him up and moving, so she quickly ended her call. She tried to prepare for the next emotional event.

desperationNo one wants to look that bad. Sam was disheveled, pale, red-eyed, much older than his 43 years, and generally unhealthy. He also smelled awful. He reeked of stale alcohol, smoke, urine, and vomit—the scene was sad and disgusting. This was a miserable couple. After years of marriage, the only things these two people now-shared were an old love, a constant desperation, and the children. Their mutual love was hidden deep, possibly buried, maybe dead. They both wondered how this was going to end. For Mary, it wouldn’t be soon enough. She forced herself to look at him. He saw that she’d been crying a long time. Tears were still on her face; new ones arising. He poured coffee and tried to look straight at her, like everything was fine.

“I am so sorry, Baby. I don’t know what happened.” Mary’s disgusted stare sent a cold, piercing chill through him, “God dammit, Sam! Do you remember anything? How can you keep doing this? I’ve no idea where you were, who you were with, or what you did—and you don’t either. I am sure you woke the kids. This has to stop, one way or another.” He’d heard it all before.

promise broken“I am so sorry, Mary. I promise it’ll not happen again. All I have to do is not drink. I can do it. I will start back with AA again. It’ll be ok.” She looked at him for a few seconds and then put her face into her folded arms on the table. After a few minutes, she looked up again and said, “Look, you obviously can’t stop. If you could, you would’ve. You can’t or you won’t. Either way, the outcome’s the same. You’re gunna die, or go to prison, or to some institution. You’ve been to rehab. Sam, you’re an embarrassment to your family, to me, to your kids…shit! How you keep getting jobs after being fired so often—I have no idea, but this can’t go on. Sam, you need to move out of the house and stay out.”

She’d said similar things before, but this time he knew she meant it. He knew she was right—he’d lost control. The doctor told them both; if Sam didn’t stop drinking, his liver couldn’t take the damage. He would die. And that process would be ugly and an unpleasant death. His desperation was overwhelming. He felt hopelessness. The promises of AA hadn’t worked. His reputation was that of a town drunk. He had apologized many times to many people. But he knew that while he was always sincere; he would fail and it would all happen again. He sat and thought for a while. The doctor’s words were in his head repeating like a dreaded song. He couldn’t get them to stop.

Sam felt weak and useless. He was thinking of his relationships: his parents, his wife and children, his few remaining friends. It was only a matter of time before he would get fired again. He could make promises and provide written guarantees; sometimes he could stop drinking for days or weeks. One time, he was dry for over a month. But he always found a way back to his only true love: alcohol.

Promise blog addictionAfter about an hour he picked up the phone and called his mother. He knew by her tone that it was she who Mary had been talking with when he woke up. He asked to talk with his father, but that relationship had become so strained that his father would no longer speak to him.

He heard the garage door close as Mary drove off with the kids. He was to pack and leave that afternoon. His suitcase was on the bed and he was going through draws and packing when he saw the gun. He picked it up to pack it. Mary always hated it. Sam looked at it for a minute. He was crying as he loaded it.

The neighbors heard the shot, but it seemed that no one was home. When EMS arrived, it was over. Sam was dead. His body was taken directly to the funeral home. Mary was hysterical, but she still tried to comfort the children. As she sat there trying to figure out what happened, she recalled what Sam had said earlier that morning, “I promise. It won’t happen again.”