Thursday, December 24, 2009

Word Definitions, Examples, Pronunciations and Etymology on Wordnik

Word Definitions, Examples, Pronunciations and Etymology on WordnikMentioned in the latest issue (Jan-Feb., 2010) of Poets and Writers.


[“People who do not know what to do with their time
and they will ache to infect you with this from a distance..”
-Charles Bukowski, The Telephone.]

When I hear the ring
I break a cold sweat.
My stomach tumbles around.
There is always someone out there
That wants to steal time
or piss their neuroses on you.

“Hello. Yes. What’s up?”
And they tell me,
and tell me again
to be sure I heard
and react in a way
expected of me.

They would like to come over.
They would like to meet for coffee.
They want a face to face.

I have to pretend I’m interested if
they tell me about their flu symptoms
or spongy prostate.

The phone is for emergencies and making appointments.

I use it twice a year to make a dental appointment.
I use it once a month to call my money man.
I use it once a month to check a bank balance.
I may call an old friend on Thanksgiving.

The phone is for emergencies.
I my carry it in the car if I go out of town.

The phone is for emergencies.
If I feel like my heart is exploding,
I can call the medics.

People ache for me to call. I have to say no.
I learned how to say no from my old boss.
He told me one day, I have to learn how to say no.
He asked “do you want to know how?”
He looked me square in the eye, and shook his head.
“No. No.”
It was easy. It was simple.

Early Release

It was December of 2050. Nick had just returned to work from the lab. This time he asked for the music nanoseed.

Planted in his brain with a couple of whiffs of a solution containing nanobots, Nick now had ten million compositions available to his senses via the self-assembled device, smaller than a grain of sand, now building itself, autonomously, in his brain. He had saved for three months, and had accumulated enough credits to buy the service.

He could close his eyes, concentrate on a genre of music, and it would “play” in his head. He could stop, pause, continue, repeat.raise and lower the volume – just by concentrating a little harder than usual.

The year before, he got the video chip, and all the films and news he wanted was available to him, any time, anywhere. People had always kidded about getting a TV chip planted in the brain, but it had come to reality about fifteen years ago.

He actually preferred the music device. He always loved music, and when he was in his first year of college, at eleven, he played a little saxophone and a couple other retro, wind and reed instruments.

Today, at work, while decompiling some algorithms for the department, he chose to listen to some old music that they played during Christmas time in the United States. He had heard of the Chipmunk song – a novelty song people played during this time of year. It began playing immediately. He didn’t have to concentrate very hard at all. It played, then started again. He hadn’t thought of it repeating at all, and it played a third and forth time.

It was a little disconcerting, since decompiling complex programs written in superTech code demanding concentration, even for a fellow of Nick’s abilities. It played seven or eight more times, and it seemed to be getting a little faster and a little louder. He struck the side of his temple a few times with the hard palm of his hand. Nothing. He didn’t think it would work, but he tried again. Nothing.

After a couple of hours of the din in his head, he used his mobile to make a priority video call to the lab. They were not answering. He called the company that made the nanobots. They were not answering. There was no voice message, nor were the calls forwarded to a central service.

He concentrated on silence, then tried a simple piano piece. One of Chopin’s Nocturnes. Nothing. Still the incessant, high-pitched voice of Alvin the Chipmunk. This went on for twenty more days. They tried everything, but to operate at this time would paralyze or render him organically or virtually deaf, if it worked.

Nick put in a request for “early release”, as it was called. He took the black pill, and the music stopped.

T. Pitre
Xmas eve, 2009

Get the song that drove Nick insane, here:

Stories In Flight | FlickrPoet

Stories In Flight | FlickrPoet Search for pictures for your poems.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Dog Exercising Machine

Age and bad knees dictate
That I am inside the cab of the truck
with a long, green leash
as Katie runs close by
every morning,
in rain, snow and sunshine.

For seven years
she has run in earnest,
her tongue along her cheek,
ears scanning, sweeping
and swivel left and right
listening for something ahead
or behind
as she gallops, trots,
saunters or paces
at my side.

Her strong back legs -
the rounded, hard, muscle under
the shiny, black coat
push her along.
Now, ears are back over her head -
the leathery tips almost touching
as her back legs –
like a rabbit or race horse
work in time
driving her faster.

Sometimes in the dark,
sometimes, just as the sun is coming up,
but always in the morning,
when the smells
of the deer and elk
are still fresh in the grass
and the berry bushes
conceal a quail
along the fence.

I love to see her run. I love to hear her run.
I can hear the jangle jangle of her tags on her collar --
her ears flap against her head.
her breathing
a snort or puff
as her strong, wide paws hit their mark
ker-plop, ker-plop.
Nails dig into the ground
little tufts of grass and dirt, flying.

When the snow is here
her feet beat their rhythm
in the icy stuff.
Crunch, crunch, crunch,
the first marks in the snow
-- the marks, in line with the truck's tracks,
still there
the next morning
on her run.

I wonder
how all those legs and feet work
in synchronization
as she concentrates on her task
or has her eye
on something ahead
that she has got to get to

Friday, December 11, 2009

Breakfast at The Café

I live in a little town where the
average age is pushing
or pushed past sixty.

This morning, at my yearly, self-imposed,
over a big steak
"no blood, please",
I read the papers and overheard:
“I can't breathe through my nose !”
Their conversation segued
to a friend that had
his jaw bone scraped
because his screw-in tooth
didn't take
after the implant.

The four,
bent over their eggs and noodles,
pondered how much
air should they put in the Posturepedic
for a good night's sleep,
then they realized they
had ordered
stir fry
for breakfast
and this was disconcerting

The littlest, frailest lady
Said she missed a question on the
driver's test because she didn't notice
the picutre of the tiny hand sticking out the window
indicating a right turn.
This woman drives
a three ton SUV through town, with a
pet Llapso tucked under her chin
as she maneuvers through mid-day traffic
with a double latte in her good hand.

Yesterday, I ate my soup
as some geezer described his eye surgery and the
story about a friend that
had his eye removed
while they scraped
cancer out of the void.

I wished for the days that
people kept their intimacies
to themselves, or excused themselves
if they belched or made wind
fiercely enough to make
the silverware on my table rattle.

I scraped more lean
meat from the bone
and finished my meal.

Six Orange Cats

I was sitting under the bridge that ran over the creek.
A bag flew over my head
and splashed in the water.

I heard squeaks from the burlap bag.
I ran into the water,pulled it out,
and took it to the bank to open it.
Out spilled a bunch of wet little creatures,
helpless and tiny and clinging to each other.

I read in the paper later that week
that a man was killed when a burlap bag blew up from his rusty floorboards and tangled in his feet when he tried to brake for a curve on 101.
His old pickup went straight through the rail into the ice cold lake.

Six orange kittens sit on the sill of the front window,
licking their paws after their meal.
They seemed to know about the story in the paper.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

After the Days of Whiteness

After the soft, white blanket
lifted from
the ground
in my little town,
green bolder,
birds happier -

Little, blue-headed birds,
big, sharp-beaked birds
flecked bodies
like banty chickens.

Fat starlings
eating yellow apples.
Pecking the soft insides
clicking -
as they
do their work.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sharkbite Bob

Sharkbite Bob told the pretty girls
in southern California
he lost his leg to a shark
off the port side of his sailboat
while swimming with otters.

Part Comanche,
a fearless man
shy of 66 inches
in his tan Timberlands.
Sharkbite lost his leg
to thrombosis.
He was a long-distance truck driver.

Early one Sunday last year,
he lost his life to exiles
of the Soda Butte wolf pack
in Yellowstone.

His bones gnawed by bears,
they found his camera
and some aluminum pipe
– his left leg.

The last picture
recovered from his camera
was the hungry pack surrounding him
as he stood on a log in the park.

Crowded together
jowl to jowl
muzzles wrinkled,
canines dripping with saliva
eyes aglow
in the red light of
the morning hunt.

Monday, December 7, 2009


I sing and the woods sing.
Flower-cups, a slumbering alder,
each soft corner of the grass.
On the horizon, on the calm green water
in rows - as the poet may direct
morning shadows
and blue herons.

I dipped the pencil,
masquerading as a plume,
into the cool ink
while my muse, the Greek Goddess
lies in wait.

I gauge distance from that time
of sour thoughts
and tremble to feel
fragments scatter and cut like glass.

a brilliant blue flash.
I struggle with these uninvited guests -
snarling monsters
fangs behind the fog.
Black devils and wolves!

Now words bathe my paper
where the stars might sleep,
lines emerge from a jaded belly
some swirl and bounce
others clutch and clench.
I hold fast the leash
of musty dogs.
Snares are laid,
traps baited.
Words lusty.
Some seduce,
some the demon hides

Yes! This tune has promise.
I hum above the fray.
Wounds hidden.
Scars painted gaudy colors.
Devils dispelled.

How many times must
I travel this road
or is it best to wander?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dirty Dancing


I was the first to dance the waltz in our family.
I recently had fallen in love.
How else was I to dance with the voluptuous
of our limbs
and the close compressure
on the body
of my beloved?

To waltz with your eyes closed in a crowded ballroom ,
you must be in a trance only love can induce.
The colorful and flowing ball gowns!
I in my tails,
a bit tipsy from the champagne poured freely.
Beautiful music!
Strong melodies.
Shostakovich, Litz, and Stauss.

Step-step-close. Step-step-close. Step-step-close.

The following day, The London Times wrote:
"We remarked with pain that the indecent foreign dance called the Waltz
was introduced - we believe for the first time.
We had believed that last obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses.
We feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion."

Step-step-close. Step-step-close. Step-step-close.


Elvis died thirty years ago, yesterday.
In Tennessee, my lady friend from New Jersey succumbed to the Memphis heat
and died in a old canvas Army tent while camping near the Heartbreak Hotel.

She was found surrounded with stuffed animals and her portable phonograph plugged into the Bronco so she could play the 45’s she brought along in plastic milk crates. Hound Dog was still spinning on the tiny turntable when they found her.

I had visited with her for a while in her tent, played some tunes for her, fooled around a bit, but left to cool down in a downtown theater in Memphis. While I watched a bad mid-day matinée, I recalled the summer of '58, when I bleached my hair, put on my starched, black and white striped shirt, and posed for a photo with dad, by the side of the pool.

Elvis and I had some things in common.
We both liked peanut butter and bananas
and shooting pistols indoors.

We both liked the same type of
lean and long-haired ladies,
and we both played the guitar
just good enough – just cool enough
to get by
with the same type of ladies.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Noah's wife got him up early.
He was instructed to make a big boat.
He forgot the number of cubits.
He had misplaced half his tools.

His wife asked him
who was going to pay for the lumber
and who was going to sweep up
all the shit
if they floated around for a year
with a boat full of animals.

God called on Naamah, Noah's wife,
to save the plants.
She collected -
putting everything in the cabin.

Noah's sons and daughter in laws
didn't lift a finger on board.
Noah was sorry he volunteered.

It took Noah
120 years to finish.
His wife nagged him
the whole time.