Interracial Relationships

17 Aug



Interracial Relationships

by L. Stewart Marsden


I am an older white male (mid-sixties) who lives in the foothills of North Carolina, the United States.

I am a college graduate.

I am a writer. Poetry, short stories, plays, and a would-be novelist.

I play the guitar and harmonica.

I am an amateur actor — a thespian.

I like to think I can sing.

I like to draw cartoons and silly things.

I have a sense of humor — and am an advocate of puns.

I have five children and three grandchildren.

I am, ostensibly, retired (depending on whom you ask).

I live in an apartment complex.

I drive a Honda hybrid.

I have a drop-kick dog.

I’m a Duke basketball fan.

I’m overweight, and have launched a walking program to get rid of my barrel belly.

I’m balding, and sport a scraggly white beard.

I’m law-abiding, have served on a jury, and hate taxes.

I believe I am responsible for my own actions, and the consequences of those actions.

I believe in God, but am not a churchgoer.

I am heterosexual.

I am single.

If you are a non white, is there anything above that you can relate to? Is there anything that would deter you from at least considering a friendship with me?

I’ve just started a friendship via Facebook and email and WordPress with an African resident of Togo.

David lives in the capital city of Lomé, where he is pursuing writing, acting and comedy. He speaks French. That’s about all I know of him at this juncture.

He was the 800th visitor to my writing website, and I decided to send him a copy of Through the Glass Darkly.

I am looking with great anticipation learning more about David’s life, and sharing mine with him.

David, by the way, is black.

So why, I asked myself today, is it that I can make friends with a black man halfway across the world, and yet have virtually no black friends here in the neighborhood, city or state where I live?

Yes, I’m reclusive.

Yes, there are stereotypes of various ethnicities and cultures that I wrestle with.

If you are a non white, help me dialogue about just what it is I’m missing. I honestly don’t want to go down the last quarter or less of my life without closing what I think is a serious gap in my life.

When I lived in New York City years ago, I became a professional Scouter for the Greater New York Boy Scout Council.

In that capacity, my closest peer friends were from Puerto Rico and the Philippines. My area coordinator was black, and my council chief executive was black.

The latter two were distanced from me due, I think, to rank. Still . . .

The guy from Puerto Rico and I got along famously. He was always asking me to say something in Southern (I’m from North Carolina), and he would belly-laugh at my witticisms. Juan, from the Philippines, was a bit more reserved, but still approachable.

Of course, NYC is more metropolitan — more of a jumble of races and culture (the old metaphor was ‘fruit salad’).

It seems to me that the distance between races — in spite of all the laws and legislation that the government has enacted — has not decreased, but increased.

And I think sadly on King’s “I have a dream” speech, and wonder have I stepped on its potential to become reality through my own life?

In a course I took to become certified as a lateral entry teacher, one course instructor flatly said that all whites are prejudiced and bigoted.

I can’t argue with her, as I would invariably fall into those positions by virtue of disagreeing with her.

Whites wonder will they ever be released from the curse of being descendants of the South, where slavery and Jim Crow and segregation have occupied most of the history of southern blacks?

We wonder at the anger we sense from our black neighbors. The distrust. Perhaps it’s merely guilt on our part, and the anger isn’t there at all. I don’t think so.

But, you tell me.

The roots of racism and bigotry are long and deep. Are they too deeply rooted to ever rot and disintegrate?

Please, tell me what you think?

My dad thought that this separation would exist until the whole of mankind is one indiscernible color and race. A uni-race.

You have to then think that any difference is bad, and uni-this and uni-that — gender and sexuality and political affiliations — are the ultimate dystopic answer to all difference dilemmas.

But, please tell me.

Why is it I can establish contact more easily with a black man from Togo than I can a black man from across the street?

Update on Stinky and the Night Mare project

12 Aug

For the latest on how the Stinky and the Night Mare project is going, click here.

RIP, Robin

12 Aug

RIP, Robin

by L. Stewart Marsden


We have this tendency in the US to slam on our brakes over newsworthy events that rise to headlines and main stories in the media.

Babies left in hot cars by careless parents, guardians or caregivers.

Never again, we say, as if the mere thought or statement will stop it from happening again.

Campus shootings, or bullet rampages in public arenas where random lives are lost to those with severe emotional problems.

Never again, we say.

Police brutality, or profiling that results in a body on the street in the heat of the moment.

Never again, we say.

And Robin Williams adds his name to a growing list of celebrities for whom life has lost its allure and satisfaction. A victim of his own quiet containment of things too overpowering for him to face by himself?

Is this kaleidoscope of tragedy the makeup of daily life?

It’s certainly part of it. And, it has been going on since the beginning of time.

The difference?

Facebook. Twitter. Cable and satellite TV and a myriad of other electronic conveyances of events that, one hundred years ago (perhaps less) would have taken quite some time to travel the globe.

Here’s a small listing of those who attained fame of some sorts as a result of their profession/work/positions (no earlier than the 20th century) and then killed themself, compliments of Wikipedia:

  • Charles Boyer, famous French actor
    Freddy Prinze, comedian
    Earnest Hemingway, author
    Kurt Cobain, musician
    Don Cornelius, emcee of the television dance show, Soul Train
    Richard Farnsworth, actor
    Abbie Hoffman, political and social activist
    Jeret Peterson, American skier, Olympic medalist
    Junior Seau, NFL football player
    Bob Welch, musician and former member of Fleetwood Mac
    Lee Thompson Young, actor

We use words like shocking, and stunning. The world seems to swoon in unison over suicides, untimely deaths (that is a matter of debate), tragic events and accidents and more.

What ends up headlines is but a small percentage of the total of such happenings across the world in remote and isolated places, that will never get this kind of attention — or reaction, for that matter.

I personally enjoyed the work of Robin Williams, as did most who saw him perform. He was a rarity in talent and comic explosiveness.

But I didn’t know him. I didn’t know anything beyond his work, a handful of interviews on late-night television or the various entertainment television magazines.

He was younger than I by just shy of two years. That much hit close to home.

Yes, it’s news.

But, I don’t know what to do with it. Williams was here, and now he’s gone. What am I to do with that?

Perhaps — just perhaps — we want everyone to go on and live forever. We want our stars and those we admire to have never-ending fairytale lives because we certainly don’t. Not at our level.

So when a person like Robin Williams seems to throw it all away — the fame and the money and the talent — that we don’t have, we wonder at a personal level how can that be?

For the curious, here’s a link to that list of famous people who committed suicide. Most I’ve never heard of. Some, like Cleopatra and Hannibal and Socrates (albeit this one is debatable), happened long before the advent of instant, or even quasi-instant, communications.

Wonder how their contemporaries reacted? Wonder if the forums were filled with people who were shocked and surprised.

Or, did life just go on?

For a related poem, Life is Good, Death is Bad


New Dawning

30 Jul




New dawning

by L. Stewart Marsden


Something dawned on me today,
early in the bathroom morn,
while I was brushing, brushing, brushing
my teeth, teeth, teeth:
that I was not as bad as I believed,
which was — I say — hard to conceive,
since throughout my life I was deceived
to think myself
not quite,
less right,
off site,
and leaning just a bit in the wrong direction.

So, by my “erroneous selection” I selected to
decrease the number of those who saw me inept,
those who detected my failings and flaws,
and who “never” and “nahed” me down to my knees,
whom I could never and nahed ever please –
those infinite heights of high expectations,
where I floundered and pawed
with no realization –

Not that I did a single one bad –
but left, with whatever dignity I had
and planted that
where no one could disturb it,
and it grew
deep rooted to the earth and
now it has sprung to reveal
its sweet flower,
and I,
brushing teeth
in this early morn hour
have discovered
a new self-respect
that not very long ago
you would never detect.

There it is: so fragile and gentle,
seeking sunlight and moisture
and rich fertilizer;
I’ll nurture it
tender it
and watch it grow strong;

as I realize the truth of its truth –
and never,
no never
will I be ever that wrong.


Copyright © by L. Stewart Marsden, 30 July, 2014

Henny Penny and the last corn pone

29 Jul

Henny Penny and the last corn pone

by L. Stewart Marsden


So Penny Henny had a hankerin’ for scratch corn pone, and sallied forth into the barnyard.

“Who-all would like some homemade corn pone?”

“Why, I sure would,” said Johnny Jack-ass.

“Wee-wee-wee would,” said the muddy pigs.

The sheep, after asking each other, “Would ewe? Would ewe?” replied “Ya-a-a-a-us!” they bleated.

“Well then, who will help me plow the field?” asked Henny.

“Well, I don’t believe so,” said Johnny Jack-ass. “That’s a bit like work!”

“Wee-wee-wee won’t,” said the muddy pigs.

“Na-a-a-a-a-t us!” the sheep shouted.

“Then I’ll just have to do it myself,” said Henny. And she did.

“Who will help me hoe the rows?” asked Henny sometime later.

“Nope,” said Johnny Jack-ass. “My favorite TV shows are comin’ on!”

“Wee-wee-wee won’t either,” said the muddy pigs.

“Na-a-a-a-a-t us!” the sheep shouted.

“Then I’ll just have to do it myself,” said Henny. And she did.

After a bit, the persistent Henny came back to the barn yard to ask,

“Who will help me plant the seed?”

“Nah. My back pain has flared up again,” said Johnny.

“Wee-wee-we’re too tired from sleeping in the mud,” grunted the pigs.

“Baaaack off, Henny!” said the sheep.

“Then I’ll do it myself,” she said.

And she did.

Well, Henny Penny hoed and weeded and watered the rows of her cornfield, and, over time, cornstalks peeked through the soil and grew in the warm sun over the next weeks. All the while she gave her farm friends the opportunity to help every step of the way. And every step of the way, her farm friends refused to help.

The corn grew and grew and grew, all while Henny Penny tended her crop.

Finally, sprouting golden tassels, the fat ears of corn were ready to pick.

“Who will help me pick the corn?” she asked of the barnyard animals.

“Oh, Henny! I am allergic to cornfields,” said Johnny Jack-ass.

“Wee-wee-we’re too too short to help,” oinked the pigs.

“We can’t be baaaaa-thered,” the sheep said.

“Then I’ll do it myself,” she said, sadly shaking her feathery head.

And she did.

And she dried the corn.

And she shucked the corn.

And she ground the corn.

And she mixed the cornmeal into a fine batter, of which she made the most scrumptious corn pone ever! Ohhh, the wonderful aroma of that corn pone wafted throughout the whole barnyard.

One by one, Johnny Jack-ass, the muddy pigs, and the mewling sheep stepped forward, their noses perked up into the air, sucking in all the wonderful aroma.

“Hello, Johnny Jack-ass. Why are you here?”

“Why, I’m here to help eat the corn pone, of course.”

“And why are you here, pigs?” she asked.

“Wee-wee-we’re hungry and want to help eat the corn pone,” they squeeled.

“And, you ewes? Why are you here?” she asked the sheep.

“To chew-chew-chew the pone,” baaed the ewes.

“Well, guys — surprising as this might be to you all, none of you is going to get a crumb of my delicious homemade corn pone,” said Henny Penny.

“WHAT!!!” the animals screamed in shock.

“You heard me. I plowed the land; I hoed the rows; I planted the seed; I weeded and watered and did everything necessary for the corn to grow nice and high. THEN, I picked and dried the corn, shucked it, and ground it for corn meal. THEN I mixed it with the ingredients and baked the corn pone. YOU . . .. did NOTHING!”


So loud was their verbal displeasure that the ruckus awoke the farmer, who came out of the farmhouse to see what the matter was.

He listened to Henny Penny, and he listened to Johnny Jack-ass, the muddy pigs, and the sheep.

He looked at the cornfield, and the corn meal, and the corn pone — which he sampled.

Then he took his tractor and scooped up nearly 60 percent of all the results of Henny Penny’s efforts, and took that pile of food and distributed it between the jack-ass, the pigs, and the sheep.

“On this farm,” he said, looking at Henny Penny very sternly, “it is one for all, and all for one.”

He then turned and walked with resolution to the farmhouse, slamming the screened door behind him.

Stunned, Henny Penny turned back to what she had left from her efforts.

Time passed.

Winter came and the jack-ass, the pigs and the sheep had eaten all of their shares of the corn pone. Henny, who had carefully parceled out her food, had enough to last her until spring.

When spring came, Henny stayed in the chicken coop.

When summer came, Henny stayed in the chicken coop.

“Hey, Penny!” called Johnny Jack-ass into the chicken coop. “Aren’t you going to plant corn this year?”

“Yeah!” grunted the pigs.

“Yeah!” said the sheep.


“Why not?” they asked.

“I’m going to be satisfied with the chicken feed the farmer hands out,” she said.

“Makes sense,” said Johnny.

“Yup,” said the pigs.

“I agree,” said the sheep.

And there was no corn pone to be had on the farm from that time forward.

Why I no longer show who is following my blog

21 Jul

Why I no longer post who is following my blog


I really enjoy knowing that people out there in Blogland like and follow my work. It is gratifying, boosts my aging ego and encourages me to continue adding to my repertoire of writing.

What I don’t care for are the now multiple business blogs that like or follow my blog in hopes to pick up a customer.

When a person follows my blog, I make it a point to visit that blog site to thank that person for deciding my work is valuable enough to them that they want to get notifications of my uploads.

I know everything I write is not for everyone. Not even for me. For example, I’m not too keen on posting this particular blog.

What prompted this post is that I received a notification of a follow from a blog site that contains explicit pornography.

I just recently posted a piece my 9-year-old granddaughter wrote. If I publicized those that follow me, and she were to go onto my site and inadvertently click on that site’s symbol — WHOA! Papa Skip! What’s this?

I also had a teacher who wanted to use my poem “The first step” as part of the graduation ceremonies for her GED class. She wanted to post a link to my blog on her own teacher’s website.

Again — WHOA! Etc.

Unless you can tell me differently, there is no way to block someone or some company from following you. And if you use the widget that lists those that follow your blog, there’s a good chance that follower could appear on your front page. And if it appears on your front page, it’s tantamount to an endorsement by you.

So, if you are using the widget that displays followers, you might want to make sure that you are okay with the content of that follower’s blog, because it could work its way to your home page, and you would be endorsing that site.

To all the folk that have followed my work — or are not businesses or not explicit pornographic sites — thanks for the follow, but understand why I’m not opting to display the icons of followers.

I can’t do anything about those who “like” my work — but do wish I could. My granddaughter, you know.

No offense to those businesses and porno blogs meant.

SM (which does not stand for “sadomasochist”)



I did  comment on the pornographic site and requested that they unfriend me, and explained why. Within a few minutes they complied.

Caught in the middle

21 Jul






Caught in the middle

by L. Stewart Marsden


She felt the monstrous manimal
bear down upon her spot –
encircled by the trembling ground
realizing she was caught
she quickly popped inside her shell
retracting head and feet,
and as the beast roared overhead,
withheld final relief until the last
when she was barely nicked,
sent spinning to her back
and finally stopped,
upside down,
in the middle of the track,
and manimals — all size and shape –
zoomed close on either side
and roared their roars
and spat their fumes
while she had no place where she could hide;
but taking toll she did decide
to wait it out until the dark
when manimals would be far less
and she could then resume progress
across the blackened trail.

She had heard her father’s father rail
about the monstrous beasts,
of the long and longer passed down tales
over his and his father’s life;
how the manimals became such dangerous foe
which their fartherest fathers did never know;
who were free from concern and could easily go
anywhere with no fear of attack or surprise,
and could live their long lives in relative peace
and think of only the basics of life
with no worry or mulling or thoughts of strife.

She ignored the passed-down stories
and set her nose and feet west
where she heard from the birds
that the succulents grow best;
and she now had a mother’s urge
surpassing all her reason,
to journey to a place where
she could find a sweet creek
shadowed by a tall willow
and soft, sunned sand
that had grown through the years
from the rock and the pebbles
and provided the perfect new home
for her not-yet-born urchlings
who’d feed upon moss
and juicy large leaflets
and grubs and cocoons
and soft pulpy roots
from sunup to noon –
then lay on a rock with the hot sun above,
lingering lazily with no care or no –


A manimal stirred her awake from her reveried thoughts
and she protruded her head, and angled aright,
and realized the day had sunk low into night and that
now was the time — the moment had come
to get out of the middle
and move on to the home she had dreamed of before –
and nothing could stop her, not manimals nor
the fear of the future
for nothing could hurt her — only herself
if she stayed in the middle
stuck there, afraid,
so she valiantly, courageously, determinedly made
the very first step in the dark of that night
to carry her from an existence of fright
to that place by the creek
where she and her urchlings could thrive –
and more than exist –
and more than survive.


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 21 July, 2014


Life is good; Death is bad

19 Jul




Life is good; Death is bad

by L. Stewart Marsden


Life is good,
and so it is
for those precious few
who land in time and place –
selected to enjoy the best
of wine and food and song
and nothing wrong can be
detected in their rich, full lives.

Death is bad
for in its silencing of those that
have been dealt
that full, full hand
of Aces, Kings and Queens,
it intervenes their pleasure quests
and lowers them into a place
much less than best or good.

And then the mass
who have, alas not benefitted
from a life of good,
who would rather say
that life is bad,
and had a different sway on death –
when breathing out that last life’s breath:
Death is good.


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 19 July, 2014

Poorly-drawn self sketches: Difficulty reading the bathroom scales

18 Jul




Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 18 July, 2014

Wanted: Eyes

18 Jul






I’ve completed several rewrites of ACT ONE, and the rough draft of ACT TWO of the play I’m working on, The Last Stand.

The play is an adaptation of Boule de Suif, a short story written by Guy de Maupassant. Maupassant was considered one of the best French story writers of his day, and wrote similarly to his American counterpart, William Sidney Porter, who was better known as O’Henry.

Maupassant set the story in the 1870’s, during the invasion of Prussia. I have elected to relocate the story to December of 1864, in Savannah prior to the arrival of General William T. Sherman on his famous March to the Sea military campaign during the Civil War.

If you are willing to read and comment, I’ll gladly send you a copy of each act.

I advise that you read the original short story, which is available in English (or French) online. Just Google Boule de Suif.

If interested, please email me at skipmars at g mail dot com. (Can you figure that out?)

Or, comment below.




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