»Posted by on Oct 17, 2019 in Everything Else | 0 comments

Haiku by Madeline

Butterfly wings flap

Touch base on zinnia sweets

Spirits soar, hope sprouts 🌼

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»Posted by on Oct 15, 2019 in Everything Else | 0 comments

Happy To announce I will be published in an upcoming book The Poetic Bond IX out November 2019. This book is part of a wonderful international anthology series put together by Editor Trevor Maynard. My writing has also appeared in 2 other Poetry books, 4 Haiku Journals, Newsday, Woman’s Day magazine, Great South Bay magazine, 50 plus lifestyles, the Brooklyn library blog and elsewhere. My writing style varies from down to earth to sometimes dreamy, but always from the heart.💕

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»Posted by on Apr 20, 2019 in Everything Else | Comments Off on

                 DEPTH CHARGES 

By:  Sterling T. Hard 

Among the many diversions we had as kids, one could only happen once a year…..in the late spring.  Nature, specifically hot sun, played a vital role. 

During the summer and on through the winter, farmers filled up small ponds on the mountain side behind our house with the contents of outhouse pits hauled  “coolie style” in two, five gallon buckets suspended from each end of a pole balanced across the farmer’s shoulders.  

(Just an etymological aside: the Chinese word 苦 力 (pinyin: kǔlì) literally means “bitterly hard (use of) strength” …citation: wikipedia.org..) 

The farmers negotiated steep uphill rocky paths rarely more than a foot wide, carrying in excess of 70 pounds of “ripe” human excrement to be used as fertilizer to be ladled on the rows of crops to be grown next season. 

In the hot spring sun the smelly soup in the ponds developed a crust which looked pretty much what you would imagine it to look like…overdone bread pudding. 

Now Robert Wright had a strange fascination with depth charges…..and when you heaved a sizable rock high into the air and it came plummeting down to break the surface, the “sploosh” produced a geyser which would satisfy the most jaded naval “war gamers”. 

But kids tend to be competitive, and so the rocks got bigger to produce larger depth charge geysers.  There were a limited number of ponds, with a finite amount of serviceable crust, so the depth charge projectile size escalated rapidly. 

Robert had “lost” the war last spring and wasn’t about to lose again.  So this particular hot spring afternoon, he picked up the biggest possible rock he could, struggled to the edge of a pond and was only able to lean over to roll the small “boulder” off his shoulder. 

It was the biggest alright, but the putrid geyser caught him full in the face! 

With a crazed yelp he fell back clawing the crap off his face. He tried to open his eyes, but within seconds the toxic slurry had swollen his eyelids shut.  “I can’t see!!” he bellowed. 

Suddenly the immediate possibility of permanent blindness crashed through our shock. 

He started wailing desperately.  I slung him onto my back and started down the mountain at a dead run. 

Cold fear and racing adrenalin only slightly dulled the pain of my bleeding feet.  I had long since shredded and lost my thin rubber shoes when I stopped momentarily, gasping for air, to check on Robert.  His hands clapped against his face didn’t stifle the pitiable crying, I’m blind, I’m blind, I can’t see!! 

I boosted him onto my back again, stumbling and tripping, driven by the panic of the crisis, past dumbfounded onlookers as we approached the house.   

Exhausted, I dumped Robert on the ground and started hammering for all I was worth on the gate. 

Helpless laughter?…had Robert lost his mind?  I turned, astounded to see him clutching his stomach, bent over…..LAUGHING….hysterically! 

“Robert, you OK?….can you see?” 

Paroxysms of cackling laughter erupted from Robert.  “OH, OH, I could see again; by the time we were half way down the mountain…my tears had washed my eyes out.” 

His eyelids were red and swollen, but I could see that his eyes WERE clear. 

“Why didn’t you stop me?” 

“Oh, I was having too much fun riding you down, and besides, I’ve never seen you so scared.” 

Momentary relief turned to fury, as I flailed and pummeled him, intent on doing serious bodily harm.  But I was too spent from the harrowing charge down the mountain to do any real damage….besides; all it did was to make him laugh harder!

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»Posted by on Apr 19, 2019 in Everything Else | Comments Off on

                 DEPTH CHARGES 

By:  Sterling T. Hard 

Among the many diversions we had as kids, one could only happen once a year…..in the late spring.  Nature, specifically hot sun, played a vital role. 

During the summer and on through the winter, farmers filled up small ponds on the mountain side behind our house with the contents of outhouse pits hauled  “coolie style” in two, five gallon buckets suspended from each end of a pole balanced across the farmer’s shoulders.  

(Just an etymological aside: the Chinese word 苦 力 (pinyin: kǔlì) literally means “bitterly hard (use of) strength” …citation: wikipedia.org..) 

The farmers negotiated steep uphill rocky paths rarely more than a foot wide, carrying in excess of 70 pounds of “ripe” human excrement to be used as fertilizer to be ladled on the rows of crops to be grown next season. 

In the hot spring sun the smelly soup in the ponds developed a crust which looked pretty much what you would imagine it to look like…overdone bread pudding. 

Now Robert Wright had a strange fascination with depth charges…..and when you heaved a sizable rock high into the air and it came plummeting down to break the surface, the “sploosh” produced a geyser which would satisfy the most jaded naval “war gamers”. 

But kids tend to be competitive, and so the rocks got bigger to produce larger depth charge geysers.  There were a limited number of ponds, with a finite amount of serviceable crust, so the depth charge projectile size escalated rapidly. 

Robert had “lost” the war last spring and wasn’t about to lose again.  So this particular hot spring afternoon, he picked up the biggest possible rock he could, struggled to the edge of a pond and was only able to lean over to roll the small “boulder” off his shoulder. 

It was the biggest alright, but the putrid geyser caught him full in the face! 

With a crazed yelp he fell back clawing the crap off his face. He tried to open his eyes, but within seconds the toxic slurry had swollen his eyelids shut.  “I can’t see!!” he bellowed. 

Suddenly the immediate possibility of permanent blindness crashed through our shock. 

He started wailing desperately.  I slung him onto my back and started down the mountain at a dead run. 

Cold fear and racing adrenalin only slightly dulled the pain of my bleeding feet.  I had long since shredded and lost my thin rubber shoes when I stopped momentarily, gasping for air, to check on Robert.  His hands clapped against his face didn’t stifle the pitiable crying, I’m blind, I’m blind, I can’t see!! 

I boosted him onto my back again, stumbling and tripping, driven by the panic of the crisis, past dumbfounded onlookers as we approached the house.   

Exhausted, I dumped Robert on the ground and started hammering for all I was worth on the gate. 

Helpless laughter?…had Robert lost his mind?  I turned, astounded to see him clutching his stomach, bent over…..LAUGHING….hysterically! 

“Robert, you OK?….can you see?” 

Paroxysms of cackling laughter erupted from Robert.  “OH, OH, I could see again; by the time we were half way down the mountain…my tears had washed my eyes out.” 

His eyelids were red and swollen, but I could see that his eyes WERE clear. 

“Why didn’t you stop me?” 

“Oh, I was having too much fun riding you down, and besides, I’ve never seen you so scared.” 

Momentary relief turned to fury, as I flailed and pummeled him, intent on doing serious bodily harm.  But I was too spent from the harrowing charge down the mountain to do any real damage….besides; all it did was to make him laugh harder!

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The Fifth Friday

»Posted by on Apr 17, 2019 in Shameless Self-Promotion, Sharing With Friends | Comments Off on The Fifth Friday

The fifth Friday of the year meant nothing to anyone other than Dillon. He’d designated it as his right of passage day. He never assigned an actual date, other than the fifth Friday, and he never explained what event had happened or what he’d achieved on that momentous day.

Everyone who knew Dillon simply accepted that each year, on the fifth Friday, Dillon would be unavailable.

What constituted unavailability depended on who you were and what your relationship to Dillon was. In most cases, and to the average person, Dillon seemed to simply be non-existent on that day. It was almost as if there never had been a person named Dillon.

When his friends discussed the phenomenon of his sudden non-existence and equally sudden reappearance words like alien abduction, ectoplasmic dissolution and the fourth dimension always creeped into the conversation.

 Once, one of Dillon’s friends suggested that, perhaps, Dillon wasn’t mortal, but rather an alien himself transplanted from his own planet to spy on the earthlings and once a year he’d have to return to make a report.

Another friend suggested that, since the disappearance on the fifth Friday began when they were all in high school, maybe Dillon had a relative who was mentoring him in some special way. That idea, obviously, was met with derision by the remainder of the group of friends.

But the relative idea seemed to stick. It was thought, in fact, that Dillon could possibly have a wealthy relative who required a day each year of family time to keep Dillon in the will.

Twelve years of fifth Friday disappearances had elapsed. On the thirteenth Dillon not only didn’t disappear, but he called each of his friends and asked them to meet him at the local bowling alley.

Not only was everyone shocked to hear Dillon’s voice on the phone, but the idea of meeting at a bowling alley seemed to everyone to surpass all levels of credulity.

They all did, however, assemble as a group as requested.

Upon arrival they discovered an empty bowling alley except for Dillon and one other person who seemed to be very young and very old at the same time.

Dillon asked all to take seats, but did not introduce the other person, who remained standing to the side of the alley as Dillon picked up a bowling ball and guided it along the path until it hit the pins in a perfect strike.

Everyone remained silent and watched as Dillon repeated the feat twenty-three consecutive times without pause.

As he prepared for the twenty-fourth time Dillon turned to the unknown person, they nodded to each other, then Dillon threw the ball down the lane.

All eyes were riveted on the ball as it repeated the perfect strike. Everyone was so focused that they noticed nothing else. But, once accomplished, Dillon turned to his friends and acknowledged their applause.

At that point there was a sudden, and unusual, sense that the other person was gone.

Everyone, but Dillon, looked around the now empty space that only minutes ago had been occupied.

Dillon joined his friends and accepted their congratulations, but offered neither explanations nor acknowledgements of any other person there that day.

In future years, on the fifth Friday of the year, Dillon always invited his friends to the bowling alley for a friendly game, but never disappeared again.

The End

4/16/19

www.brucelevine.com

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A Perfect Sleep

»Posted by on Apr 16, 2019 in Shameless Self-Promotion, Sharing With Friends | Comments Off on A Perfect Sleep

“See the joy of getting up early,” she said, pointing to the clock. “It’s only eight-thirty…”

“There’s no joy in getting up early,” he answered, sarcastically. “Nine-thirty is normal, ten is better.”

She laughed because she knew he meant it. He never liked to get up earlier than ten o’clock if possible and only got up earlier when he had to. There was even a period that, for ten years, he had to get up at six and he did that, but only because he absolutely had to.

They were both night people. His idea of the perfect go to sleep time was between two and five a.m. He’d actually told her of a period that he’d slept from five a.m. until one p.m. every day and he loved it; he thought that was the only perfect sleeping period of his life.

She watched him working at his computer, struggling to keep the blood flowing through his veins at what he thought was an ungodly hour.

It wasn’t that she loved being up early, but she felt like she was getting so much more done when she did. And today she seemed to be doing that. She’d already finished most of her morning To Do checklist and was on to the next project.

They both had extensive To Do lists daily and they tried to get through everything, but usually ended up carrying things over to the next day. Not because of any lack of effort to complete the list, but because there never did seem to be enough time in one day to complete everything they wanted to do.

Maybe she’s right, he thought as he checked another thing off his list as done. Maybe he would finish everything today – it would be a first… Maybe getting up early was a good idea even though it wasn’t intentional, even today. Today their dog had awakened them earlier than usual. No particular reason it seemed.

He sipped his coffee and wondered if he should go back to bed for a little while. No, he decided, that would defeat the whole purpose of getting up with their dog and starting the day. He’d actually thought of going back earlier and resisted.

The clock chimed nine.

He sat, focusing on his To Do list. He wondered whether completing it was worth feeling his eyes heavy with the desire to be in bed, still sleeping. If he had allowed himself the perfect sleep he would be getting up in about a half hour anyway.

He picked up a pencil and started to write at the bottom of the list – SLEEP…

Now all he had to do was get through everything above that single word and then he could check off the final item for the day.

He’d gotten up early today and was getting a lot done and he was glad about that, but it was not a perfect sleep day.

Maybe tomorrow…

The End

4/16/19

www.brucelevine.com

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07485W4Q1

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A Second Chance

»Posted by on Apr 16, 2019 in Shameless Self-Promotion, Sharing With Friends | Comments Off on A Second Chance

Once in a lifetime
If you’re lucky
You get a second chance
At love
How it happens
Why it happens
No one knows
But the powers up
Above
Life’s twists and turns
Run parallel in the universe
Fate and destiny hold hands
To bring loved ones together
Dearly departed team up
In Heaven
Guiding what appears
Happenstance
Improbable
Impossible
And yet volatile passions
Transcend eternity
Until the ultimate moment
Of consummation
A deep breath
Of longing
Brought together
Like lightning
Illuminating the sky
In a flash of brilliance
That will last forever
Towering over
Time and space
No longer a momentary
Ember
But
Transformed into a glowing
Fireball that consumes
Every fiber of the
Lover’s beings
Granting them love
And happiness
And an ending that will last
Forever

http://www.leaves-of-ink.com/2019/04/a-second-chance.html

www.brucelevine.co

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07485W4Q1

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