New Split Rock upload: The Mind Collective

26 Aug

A new section has been uploaded to Split Rock.

New post to Split Rock

22 Aug

A new section, The Visit, has been added to the story, Split Rock.

A new story: Split Rock

16 Aug


New addition to the story …

Originally posted on Writing Odds n Ends:

Split Rock

By L. Stewart Marsden

Dylan Thompson sprayed the dish soap from the last plate and fitted it into the plastic drainer, which was full of dinner dishes.

“I still don’t see why your dad can’t spring for a decent dishwasher,” he slung towards Demi Fische with a grin. “I mean, it’s not like he can’t afford it.”

“He always insists we learn what it was like to grow up in the pre-war years, when conveniences hadn’t overtaken personal industry,” she tossed back, leaning into him and pecking at his neck. “It’s like that commercial, he made his money the old-fashioned way — he earned it,” and laughed.

“Yeah, but sometimes a person likes to enjoy money the old-fashioned way — by buying the latest and greatest!” and snapped at her behind with his dish towel.

“You two need to keep it at an acceptable level. The wedding isn’t…

View original 4,768 more words

I like my poetry brooding

16 Aug

I like my poetry brooding

By L. Stewart Marsden


I like my poetry brooding


edgy and complex

challenging and in-your-face

the kind that prods and vexes

me to think beyond the shallow bays

far out beyond

where hidden reefs lay wait to snag

to grab

to sink my simple boat

within their coral clutches.


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden

Sometimes the writing process is danged fun!

15 Aug

By L. Stewart Marsden

This might be somewhat repetitious from an earlier post, but different enough so I’m okay writing and posting along the same ground.

Last night I had Writer’s Insomnia. That happens when an idea gets stuck in the gears of your brain and everything basically shuts down except the idea. Like a song you can’t eject.

So all through the night, rrr — rrr — rrr it went, clanging loudly and frequently. No tossing nor turning, no arm flinging nor leg exposing offered relief. Rrr — rrr — rrr.

Finally dawn crept through my bedroom window, and I wearily got up and showered. As I began to give off more acceptable odors, and when my teeth and mouth had been scrubbed afresh with baking soda-containing toothpaste, I turned my attention to the task.

Illustrating a story.

I should tell you that drawing is not my forte. I’m no competition for those who have the talent to look, perceive, and then translate to paper, canvass, marble, steel or whatever in wonderful artistic strokes of genius. I’m more autistic than artistic in that regard.

Here’s the storyline: a pet lion eats everyone in the family, then burps them up again to resume status quo.

I heard that story umpteen times as a camp counselor at a YMCA camp located not far from Roaring Gap, NC. Herbert Burped left us all in stitches whenever it was told. As you might guess, the punchline was roared out by everyone at the story’s end!

Several days ago the story came back to my memory, so I googled it. What came up was a grandmother somewhere in the northeast repeating a similar story on YouTube. It was cute, I’ll grant you — but not the same as the story I heard years ago. Apparently, Herbert got around.

I set about working on stick figure drawings. You know the kind … those decals on the back windows of minivans that tell everyone how many people are in your family. May as well post them on Facebook. I googled stick figure drawings and found ample examples of the yukky drawings. Also found some stick figures that were better suited to porn sites. Amazing what you can find online!

Here’s the process I went through, illustrated with pictures I snapped along the way:

  1. I have a roll of newspaper print paper, about 20 inches wide, which I rolled out and began early sketches in pencil. Studies, I guess you might say.


2. I retraced the pencil sketches with a fine-point marker …


3. I jury-rigged a back-light so I could retrace each of my characters on a separate cell … I used to do this kind of thing when I was a kid. Then, I would tape the drawing to a window pane that was sunlit. Same results.

jury-rigged backlighting

4. Now I could trace each character to a separate sheet of paper …

voila - ready for tracing

5. Let the tracing begin …


6. Once my individual character sheets were complete, I scanned them into my computer …


7. And saved them to an external hard drive …


8. Now the fun begins … I pulled each jpg into Photoshop Elements and manipulated them, inverting each …


… until:



Kind of a lugubrious process, I know. But I don’t own Illustrator or Photoshop, and can’t do this onscreen. For those of you who have that skill, I am envious. But, for the vast majority of us, this works pretty well.

As I worked on each character, I mentally developed a back-story that was more adult in nature. If this becomes, as my intention is, a children’s book, then these stories will not be part of the work. Duh, yeah!

The story begins,

Once there was a Daddy, a Mudder, a Sistah, a Brudder, a Dog, a Cat, a Boid, a Fish, and Hoiburt, the Pet Lion.

Here are the adult back-stories:

The Daddy

The Daddy is king of his castle, lord of his wife and kids, and all he surveys. In reality, he is subservient to everyone. No one understands him, except for the really-buff guy he accidentally met on Facebook. The Daddy is questioning much about his life, and is ready to meet his online friend at the local bar and spa.

Copyright, Lawrence S. Marsden, August, 2015

Copyright, Lawrence S. Marsden, August, 2015

The Mudder

The Mudder (mother) is a compliant female who is a people-pleezer — especially in regards to her place in the home and the church. Secretly she harbors anger and suppressed emotions, wanting to “fly away” at the first opportunity — but she dares not. She is secretly in a Facebook relationship with a guy whose profile pictures make her swoon. She knows this will probably remain a fantasy.

The Mudder

The Sistah

The Sistah (sister), while hoping to inherit her mother’s great physical looks, also disdains Mudder on account of what she calls “hypocrisy!” Under a pseudonym, Sistah is posing as the hunk of a man her mother is in a secret relationship with on Facebook.

The Sistah

The Brudder

The Brudder (brother), aka “Scooter,” is an avid skateboarder, which everyone knows is a gateway activity to cocaine and heroin abuse. He is pro-legalization of marijuana as a recreational drug, and has Rand Paul in 2016 stickers all over his Plan B skateboard.

The Brudder

The Dog

Fido (not his real name) is a rescued dog. Actually, a family down the block forgot to spay their female ho-dog, who did it with every dog within a three mile radius when she was in heat. Fido was the runt as well as the ugliest, and the owners put him in a cardboard box when he was six week’s old which they left on the doorstep of our favorite happy family. The Daddy said “No #%&@-way, but the Mudder, the Sistah and the Brudder prevailed.

The Dog

The Cat

The Cat, aka, The Cat, is content to live off of the family and contribute nothing to the upkeep and running of the home. A one-time feral, he quickly figured out it is much easier to let someone feed, groom, and take care of your medical needs than to fend for yourself out there among the crazies.

The Cat

The Boid

The Boid — aka, Caruso — livens the house with his beautiful arias. He especially-loves to sing from Madam Butterfly. He read Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” and put it down halfway through and has never resumed reading it. He is certain Angelou never hung around in a bird cage before.

The Boid

The Fish

Cicero is the 4th generation (well, the fifth survivor) of predecessors who were overfed and died, underfed and died, strangled in untreated water that had too much chlorine, or somehow got minced away by the garbage grinder when Brudder cleaned out the fish bowl like his mother told him to do. His motto is Fish who live in glass bowls should not do so sandwiched between a cat and a lion.

The Fish

And last, but definitely not least, is Hoiburt, the Pet Lion

Cecil — uh, I meant Hoiburt — came to our favorite family as a gift of a great uncle of Daddy’s who illegally buys and sells exotic animals on the black market. As he grew into adulthood, Hoiburt was treated like a little lamb, and fed straw, grass, and oats. You know … lamb stuff. And he had been content with that diet until one day he sneaked into the kitchen and ate the roast chicken that Mudder had left out to cool before serving it for dinner. That took place just before our little story begins.


Thus Phase One of this project is somewhat complete, and the next phases begin: fleshing out the illustrations for the entire story, formatting the book for submission to a publisher, and then submitting it.

Let’s arbitrarily target November or December to begin submitting it.

A very, very, VERY enjoyable journey thus far. Now, I hope I can get some much-needed shuteye tonight!

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 15 August, 2015

Tweaking the work

12 Aug


One of the great pleasures of being a writer is going back and rereading, then reworking something “finished” sometime ago.

Not sure a sculptor nor a painter has that freedom.

Of course, when a work appears in print, it’s a bit more difficult to accomplish. But on the internet? If it weren’t for the easy of editing online I might not publish anything at all.

This online writing studio is like the artist’s studio in that work is in process. I’ve a friend who is becoming a master in what he calls plastic, metal and glass. He uses clay to sculpt a range of beautiful flowers — and was on a rhododendron tear years back. He would lay down layer upon layer of glazes of varying color, fire the work and then carve and gently sand through those layers, revealing the layered colors.

Once he was done with a work, that was it. He could only start again if he didn’t like something.

david statueImagine Michelangelo finishing his great piece David and standing back, only to think, “You know, I shouldda made his manhood a bit bigger …”

I get to go back and tweak my writing (not to be confused with twerking my writing). Change a word or a phrase. Delete whole passages. Add entirely new material. I’m doing that now with my very first book, Through the Glass Darkly, a compilation of short stories I wrote over about a two-year period of time. I’m editing like mad, enlisting others to give me the benefit of their eyes and opinions, deleting stories, adding stories.

I just finished doing that with one of my favorite poems, I’m Sick Today, inspired I'm Sick Todaywhen my youngest was bed-bound with a fever and sore throat.

I guess the challenge is when do you know something is finished? Theoretically, you don’t. Like this life we sail through, the seas and weather change daily — sometimes from moment to moment.

So I’ll continue to review and tweak. And, if you point something out to me about my work that I was myopic about, I’ll think about your input and probably respond by tweaking some more.

Emily Bronte, et. al., wrote her manuscripts by hand. I’m sure to go back and rewrite was a bona fide pain in the arse. Not so bad these days with our technology.

That is one thing I am glad to have access to as a writer. I can go back and tweak to my little heart’s content.


A Response to a Letter to the Editor concerning the Confederate flag

6 Aug

Sometimes a letter to the editor begs a response, especially from a curmudgeon . . .

Letter to the Editor: ‘Symbol of the South’
Hickory Daily Record
Posted: Tuesday, August 4, 2015 6:58 pm

The Confederate flag is the symbol of the South, and most who live in the South are proud to be a part of the genteel southern culture.

In 1861, the South seceded from the Union, and the “War for Southern Independence” or the “War of Northern Aggression” began over state rights. The “rebel flag,” more accurately known as the “Confederate flag,” was used by the South as a symbol of their country, the Confederate States of America (CSA).

The Confederate flag as we know it today is not the traditional Confederate flag of the CSA, which was known as the “Stars and Bars,” but rather is the battle flag of the army of North Virginia. Our modern Confederate flag was designed by William Porcher Miles, and was first used in December 1861.

The Confederate flag is an emblem of our way. It is a symbol of the way of life for which our ancestors stood, a way of life which they passed down from generation to generation, a legacy of love and never-ending devotion our Southern heritage.

Some people try to make the Confederate flag a token of white supremacy. Southern pride is not about racism. Those who use the Confederate flag to stand for racism are inflicting as much harm on the legacy of the South as those who are trying to ban it and are an embarrassment to all Southerners.

“A house divided within itself cannot stand,” so I’m asking all Southerners, regardless of race, to unite and fight for the South today as we know it. Together, let’s “salute the Confederate flag with affection, reverence, and undying remembrance.”

Connelly Springs


Ms. Compton,

I was born and reared in High Point, a once-quaint southern town not far from here. I grew up in an era many of my generation and I refer to as the “good old days,” when life was easier, safer, and less fraught with the fears and foibles of this modern era. We played outside until all hours. We rode our bikes throughout the town. We respected our teachers and our elders.

I also attended one of the foremost prep schools in the South, located in the heart of Virginia. It is approaching its 120th anniversary, and is steeped in tradition as well as the culture of the privileged.

In your call to honor all things good about the South, and especially to venerate the Confederate flag, you used phrases like “genteel Southern culture;” and “Southern pride;” “legacy of love” and more. You also used “state’s rights” and “the South today as we know it,” (which seems to me slightly contradictory). I am positive that you know exactly what you mean by those terms, but to tell the truth, their meaning and inferences escape me.

In the book, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 20: Social Class, edited by Larry J. Griffin, Peggy G. Hargis, Charles Reagan Wilson, I found the following description of the Southern lady:

The ideal of “southern lady” was a public persona. Appearance mattered, and a lady must look her best in all situations. Not only must she be modestly attired and well coiffed, above all she must exhibit impeccable manners. She sat up straight and kept her knees primly together. She walked daintily, taking small, unhurried, steps, and walked most confidently when on the arm of a man … She listened attentively, complimented frequently, and never interrupted … Her purpose was to put others at ease and build up social connections.

I’ve lived brief spells in New York City as well as Portland, Oregon. While in NYC, I experienced the abruptness of its citizens, and in Portland, the overwhelming tendencies in favor of political correctness as well as secularism. Those exposures made me want to sing, “Oh I wish I were in the land of …

The sweetness, kindness and genteel attitudes of many southerners is frankly what those who immigrate here from the north and west and other various places find wonderful.
But you know, not everyone who lived and grew up in the south found it so.

The South at the time of secession was largely agrarian. Farming inventions were not being used on the tobacco and cotton plantations. Human flesh and blood was cheap, and enabled a few privileged Southerners to profit from the sweat of others.

By the way, the New Encyclopedia had this to say about those women not so fortunate in birth and status:

The upper classes characterized white working-class women as “crackers,” “hillbillies,” and (in more modern versions) “redneck mothers” or “trailer-park trash,” and black women as “Jezebel,” the seductress, or the servile “mammy.” Latinas were stereotyped as “either the innocent, passive, virginal Madonna [as played by Natalie Wood as Maria in “West Side Story”], or as the hot-blooded, fiery, sexy spitfire or whore, [as played by Rita Moreno as Anita]. All were judged against the ideal of the gracious, graceful, fashionably dressed, and well-mannered southern lady.

I’m not going to join you in saluting the Confederate flag with affection, reverence or undying remembrance. I’d like to think the South has learned much from a hard history. I’d like to think the South, with its dependence on ingenuity, hard work and commitments to family, state and union, has arisen a new being.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m willing to bet that the unbalanced numbers of people moving TO the South compared to those moving AWAY from the South bespeaks much more about a different kind of pride all can share. These are people who are not buying southern plantations, and not employing the free labor of others to realize gain. They are people who probably do value a state’s right to govern and operate unimpeded by the federal government.

So, I guess I’m asking — what’s your point? If it means a return to how women in the South used to behave and carry themselves, then I’m all for it!

L. Stewart Marsden, Hickory, NC

A new story: Split Rock

2 Aug

Split Rock

By L. Stewart Marsden


Dylan Thompson sprayed the dish soap from the last plate and fitted it into the plastic drainer, which was full of dinner dishes.

“I still don’t see why your dad can’t spring for a decent dishwasher,” he slung towards Demi Fische with a grin. “I mean, it’s not like he can’t afford it.”

“He always insists we learn what it was like to grow up in the pre-war years, when conveniences hadn’t overtaken personal industry,” she tossed back, leaning into him and pecking at his neck. “It’s like that commercial, he made his money the old-fashioned way — he earned it,” and laughed.

“Yeah, but sometimes a person likes to enjoy money the old-fashioned way — by buying the latest and greatest!” and snapped at her behind with his dish towel.

“You two need to keep it at an acceptable level. The wedding isn’t for a few days yet,” cautioned Marylou Fische. “Dylan, take a beer to Arthur down at the rock.” She handed him two long-necked Budweisers.

Dylan took the beer handoff, glad to get out of the kitchen after the hearty meal. He marched out of the kitchen, throwing a “See ya, ladies!” over his shoulder, then carefully picked his way down the steps and onto a pebbled pathway. It was twilight, and a waning moon rose out of the far side of the lake, reflecting its golden image on Lake Willoughby.

Arthur was relaxing in one of the two weathered Adirondack chairs positioned at the edge of Split Rock. He lovingly nursed one of his favorite cigars — illegally imported from Cuba — the blue smoke dissipating in the moonlight above his head as he puffed.

“Marylou said I should come down and bring you a beer,” Dylan said, as he neared the chairs.

Arthur turned. It was difficult to see his face and his reaction. Even in daylight, he was a difficult read.

“Ah! Dylan! Marylou read my mind — which for a husband, is a dangerous thing!” he chuckled. “Something you’ll soon find out, my boy. Have a seat.”

Dylan handed Arthur one of the beers, and carefully sat down in the empty Adirondack. Neither man spoke, but looked out over the moonlit lake and above, where the Milky Way was beginning to show its splendor.

“My northern kingdom,” said Arthur, finally breaking the silence. “All I survey is mine. Not in reality, of course, but in my mind,” he spoke softly. “You have to think it to claim it, you know.”

Dylan remained silent. The week had been almost more than he could bear. The Fische family overwhelmed him from the start. When he and Demi decided to make living together an “honest” arrangement, he felt a great sigh of relief from her family’s side. Yet at the same time, he sensed their concern.

“I want you to know it was me who advised Demi to retain her maiden name,” Arthur broke the silence. “And me who encouraged the pre-nup.”

“Yeah. I figured as much. She’s pretty much a papa’s girl.”

“Hope you don’t mind. Nothing personal, mind you. You’re a great catch, Dylan. An up-and-coming architect. Someone with a future ahead of himself. It’s not like you need her wealth, right?”


“Right. So, barring anything unexpected, I expect the two of you will make me the proud grandfather of a half-dozen boys.”


“Three, then. To make up for my shortfalls.”

“I wouldn’t label three daughters as shortfalls, Arthur.”

“No? Then you don’t know the angst of wanting your line to continue. Namesakes. Very important to me. Maybe it’s the French influence, I don’t know. But I was so anxious to have boys. Three girls and no boys was a bit disappointing.”

“You sound like Henry VIII.”

“Or King Louis — any of the important monarchs who despaired of having sons.”

“Henry had bastard sons, right?”

“Why the hell would I want bastard? I work with too many of them as it is. No, I’m no heathen! My religious heritage is true — it goes back to Old France. I want true descendants. Namesakes. Why go to all this trouble through all these years to earn what I have? To piss it all away?”

“Yes. Sorry. I didn’t mean any — “

“Of course not. You are a good man, Dylan. Just give me a few grandsons. That’s all I ask. That’s not too terribly much, is it?”

“No, Arthur.”

“Call me Papi.”


The air chilled as the moon gradually rose over the lake. The two men sat quietly in the Adirondacks. Lake Willoughby lapped the shore somewhere in the dark, not too far from where they sat. It was a mixture of serenity and thought. Thought that slipped down the face of the Split Rock along the cleaved crack in the huge boulder. Dylan could see one top edge of the crack highlighted by moonlight. He watched and wondered what creatures were hidden in its gaping wound, deep down in the divided stone.

“What do you think split the rock?” he finally ventured.

Arthur puffed and formed rings of smoke.

“Someone got angry,” he ventured. “Maybe Mount Pisgah there. Maybe the rock said something or did something foolish, and the mountain smashed it, cracking it for the ages.”

The lake lapped. The moon crept upward. The far stars of the Milky Way throbbed with invitation.

“One day, Dylan … one day you, too, will understand the importance of a son who shares your name.”

It struck Dylan odd Arthur would say such a thing, especially since he had insisted Becky write into the pre-nup that any male offspring would have the last name Fische instead of Dylan’s last name of Thompson. Females would acquire Dylan’s last name.

But Dylan adored Demi, and she adored Papi. He would do nothing to upset that apple cart.

Papi was, after all, worth nearly a quarter billion dollars.



The Clan

The Hamlins were Bostonians. Foster Hamlin was an insurance salesman, and did quite well, working above and beyond his peers to establish himself financially as well as socially. His wife bore him six children, five daughters and one son. To his great pride three of the six aspired to a life of service to the Holy Catholic Church.

Two daughters became nuns. Suzie specialized in medical administration, and her younger sister Sally, was inclined to work with the helpless. Suzie climbed the medical ladder to eventually become Head Medical Administrator for the largest Catholic hospital in Nashville. Sally, on the other hand, served in Central America, where she was part of an order of nuns dedicated to the poor. Tragically, four of its members were kidnapped, raped and brutally murdered in El Salvador. Sally left the order and never returned to church work. She moved to DC and worked in the streets among the poor, and earned a meager living translating for various government agencies. She also never married.

Kip, the lone son, entered the priesthood after completing a business degree at Holy Cross. He was the athlete of the family, and attained reasonable respect for his prowess during college. His calling led him to Brazil, where after decades of work among o povo he relied on his sister Sally to help translate Portuguese back into English when he said Mass in the states during his brief vacations.

The three remaining daughters, Marylou, Nanette and Jemma, all married and raised children.

Marylou Hamlin met Arthur Fische in church. Fische had migrated from Canada after the war, and was newly hired by an American magnate whose headquarters were in Boston. Marylou sensed immediately that Arthur was destined for a great financial future, and set to reeling him in. Arthur was a willing capture, and welcomed the homespun atmosphere of the Hamlin home, plus their religious dedication.

The two were the first to marry.

Jemma surprised her sisters by going to the altar next with a Navy officer who aspired to a law degree and the ease of a life among the privileged and elite. Bobby Moynan exercised the art of verbosity to an elevated tier, and prided himself the center and life of any and all parties to which he was invited, and many to which he was not. Jemma spawned four children, three boys and one daughter.

Nanette was the dark horse in the paddock. She consternated her parents at will, first rejecting the Church as hypocritical and suppressive, then dove into social work with a driven vengeance, hopeful to upturn society from capitalism to socialism. She smoked cigarettes and drank in bars with a variety of consorts — none of whom lived up to her parents’ hopes and expectations. To turn the screw more painfully, she eloped with a common boat hand whose job was the stuff of drudgery aboard a tugboat that guided ships in and out of Boston Harbor. Willy O’Connor eventually passed his captain’s internship and exams to stand behind the helm of his own tug. But he never was able to match the delicate tongue of his wife’s siblings and other family members. Yet with all of his offensive natures, Willy provided amply for the family, allowing Nanette the freedom to be ply her activism. They eventually bought and renovated a brownstone in one of the older, seedier neighborhoods of Boston. Other adventurers followed suit, and the area became, much to Nanette’s disgust, a yuppie environment. The O’Connors produced one child, Elaine.

All were of above intelligence.



Lake Willoughby


Lake Willoughby is located in the Northeast Kingdom of  Vermont, in the town of Westmore in Orleans County. The lake is shard-like in shape — rather like a stone the ancients might use for a spear or club. The southernmost tip of the lake is squeezed between Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor. The lake runs lengthwise slightly west of north, and is about five miles from toe to top. It is a mile in width towards the middle of its length.

And the water is bone-chilling cold and clear. Dimple-skinned bathers can find shells and crustacean remains along the bottom of its spring-fed waters.

Foster Hamlin loved the lake and the refuge it offered from his Bostonian world. He convinced his wife years before to invest in property on the eastside of Willoughby, and built a modest three-bedroom cabin where he would take his family for summer retreats.

The world of Willoughby so excited Hamlin’s first son-in-law, Arthur, that as soon as he was able — which didn’t take too long — he bought up five acres due west of the Hamlin cabin. That purchase contained Split Rock and a subtle bay. Over the years, Arthur’s Northeast Kingdom castle grew by the efforts of his own hands — plus with the help of local teenage boys whom he paid handsomely for their toil.

He grew his cabin into a five bedroom abode, with wraparound porches that tiered down the steep embankment to the lake’s edge. He added a boathouse, just at the edge of the bay, where he could store his outboard boat. His girls jealously watched as the local teen boys were the focus of Arthur’s obsession and attention. He was their adopted rich relative, and bade them call him Uncle Arthur. They, in turn, were his surrogate sons. He took them under his hairy arm and taught them water skiing, motorboat driving, and when he constructed a workshop, instructed them in woodworking.

With all of this, Arthur was not satisfied with his lake property. It had no good access, but a rough and rocky road of over a half mile from the nearest paved road to serve as his driveway. The Hamlin’s cottage, which they named Box 90 due to its address, was within twenty feet of the road that ran the eastern side of the lake.

He would, he decided, have Box 90 eventually, and at some point begin to pick up more property along the eastern shoreline.  The kingdom must grow, he mused, and you have to think it to claim it. His favorite maxim.

At the death of Cynthia Hamlin, nearly ten years after Foster’s tragic heart attack, the Hamlin clan gathered and almost unanimously gave Box 90 to Jemma, who was recently divorced from Bobby, who had tired of her and fatherhood. Neither the ex-Sister Sally, Suzie nor Kip wanted the property. Nanette and her husband had built a cabin along a nearby lake, not wanting to be too terribly close to — well, Arthur. Who in fact was steamed that his wife Marylou was not more adamant in claiming the title to Box 90 for herself (and him). They, after all, had the means to keep Box 90 up, and were more than willing to allow family to come up and stay whenever. The rest of the family was not so convinced. So Jemma, who all knew would be rigorous in maintaining the aging cabin, and who would definitely give everyone in the family access to it, reluctantly took the deed.

Thus began the first small schism among the Hamlin clan. Perhaps, as some would suggest later, the first Split in the Rock.



The Wedding Party


As far as the expectations of a Fische-funded wedding, Dylan and Demi’s affair was, to say the least, subdued. They were fine with that, given they had lived together for nearly seven years without benefit of the “I dos” in a Catholic family that tended to count every sin.

“It will be at Willoughby,” commanded Arthur when the couple approached him.

“Family and close friends only,” Marylou added, “with your sisters as bridesmaids. Kip will marry you.”

Adele’s husband, Keenan, was tapped as Best Man, and the only groomsman. Again, no complaints from the couple-to-be.

Still, Arthur wrote out a sumptuous check, providing rooms at the WillowVale Inn for Fische relatives and friends. He also rented out the Willoughby Chapel, a small stone space adequate — barely — for the attendees.

And Willoughby Hall, which renovation he had underwritten years before with the thought of wedding receptions. There a stringed quartet would provide the appropriate after-setting for the second of his daughters to marry.  The open two-story hall was well-windowed on one side, providing a spectacular view of the lake from its mountain slope site. One end of the hall was a wall of stonework, with a huge hearth where winter fires blazed. The other end was a kitchen separated by a long pass-through counter. The hall was actually more like a rustic camp mess hall. Rustic wood slabbed tables and benches took up half of the space near the kitchen.

Hence the clan gathered for two weeks at Willoughby, the first week designated for re-acquaintancing and rehashing old memories. Distant family members flew into Boston and drove rentals up, arriving that Thursday or Friday. The Fische clan arrived a week prior to that. The O’Connors came up early as well, but remained secluded at their cabin, avoiding the hob-knobbing until the very last possible moment. The exception was Elaine, who was closer in age and friendliness to her Fische cousins.

The weekend was filled with various festivities around the wedding. The wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner were on Friday. Arthur splurged and held the dinner at WillowVale, pretty much the only inn close enough for guests to liberally libate and then return to their rooms or cabins safely.

The cuisine was salad, sourdough bread, surf and turf, and plenty of red wine.

The early-morning hike planned to the top of Morrow Mountain was voluntary — although a must for family and family wanabes. Bag lunches were packed by the Perkins, who also rented out cabins on the east side of the lake, not far from their maple sugar curing operation, which Bill Perkins called The Sugar Shack.

Wanabes to the Fische arm of the Hamlin Clan — besides Dylan Thompson, who was ready to close the deal — was a rough-hewn Coloradan who had been dragged to the wedding by Janette, who had moved out west to try her frontier spirit. Through his own family, Brendan Holloway was financially comfortable, and had launched a fishing operation where he led customers onto remote rivers near Aspen for fly fishing ventures. He had that Robert Redford look, and swaggered in an exaggerated manly fashion. He spoke seldom, which led to the impression when he did speak, it was to say something worthwhile. A few of the more astute attributed his lack of involvement in conversation to the fear others would discover how little he had to say. Janette and Brandon seemed to continually engage in a who-can-ignore-the-other competition. But the sex was hot and their astrological signs were compatible, so the inevitable seemed likely.

The ex-nun, nun and priest held reign at Box 90, and Kip fell into his accustomed role of being served upon hand and foot by his literal sisters.

Jemma vacated the cozy cabin and rented one of the Perkins largest houses — The Linden — which bordered a large grassy open area around which were several smaller cabins. The Linden had once been a very rustic inn, but could no longer meet code for that purpose. The structure leaned slightly to the south, and floorboards creaked in response to very little weight. A narrow and precipitous stairway led the second floor, where were located five various-sized bedrooms and a small bathroom with shower stall.

Here gathered Jemma with her four fledglings, who were in various states of adulthood, and who flew or drove in from New York, Boston, Buffalo and Raleigh. The senior Moynan child, Caldwell, personified intellectual aloofness. In his own right, he was clearly heads above anyone in the area of mental capability. And like most of his ilk, he desperately lacked social skills. He had graduated Princeton with high marks, then traveled west to Stanford for his Masters in biochemistry. IBM snapped him up and began moving him about the country.

Daniel was the youngest and most dashing Moynan product. He had crushed his studies in chemistry at Gettysburg College, and was gradually progressing in both rank and income as a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company.

“I’m a drug pusher,” he laughed.

Patricia Moynan headed down south after high school to matriculate at Duke University. Once graduated, she further pursued a nursing degree from UNC.

“Oil and vinegar do mix,” she would correct others.

Her ambition was to become a midwife, which seemed to confuse nearly anyone she told.

“I’ll be a certified midwife. I’ll actually deliver babies in the hospital.” To that end her nursing specialty was labor and delivery, in which she had worked in Raleigh for going on ten years.

Along with Patty to meet the family was Stuart Lynch and his two children, Gray and Lilah. Patty had met Stuart when they were cast the opposite leading roles in a community theater play. What transpired between the two would probably have been predictable. Stage attraction led to stronger feelings.

But Stuart was an outlier in terms of Patty’s preferred husband criteria, the first being that he had been married and was divorced. A big check in the con column. And, he had children.

Patty, on the other hand, had played the role of the social butterfly, skipping from one relationship to the next with no finality. Either things ended badly, or things dragged on with no ceremonies in sight. And she was in her thirties! She hated to say it, but the proverbial clock ticked in her mind at an increasing rate.

“He’s divorced,” she told her mother over the phone, announcing not only the previously unknown relationship, but her intent to marry Stuart as well. It was like two splashes of cold water Jemma had to bear. She knew better than to counsel against the plans. Perhaps when the beau and his children came to Willoughby and met everyone, perhaps he would think better.

The last of the Moynan kids to arrive was Bobby, Junior. Bobby worked in banking in Midtown Manhattan. He had graduated with a degree in music from Cornell, but soon realized his trumpet was not going to pay the rent, and he had higher aspirations … as did all the young bucks Manny Hanny took on when Bobby first went to work. The problem was Bobby was part of the herd, and not a rising star. Within a matter of months his disgruntled colleagues infected his attitude, and Bobby began bending his elbow in commiseration with them at local bars after work. And then at lunch. Then one of his cohorts introduced Bobby to the white powder. And soon the white powder became Bobby’s sole desire. Which he hid for months and months, dropping out of sight of his family and remaining incommunicado. But the wedding of his cousin meant a command performance. He dared not disappoint his mother on that score.

When he slipped into Westmore late that Friday night Bobby eluded everyone, and selected a room for himself and locked himself in for the night.

Jemma heard him come in and followed, jiggling the doorknob to find herself locked out.

“Bobby, are you in there?”

“Yeah, Mom. I’m not feeling too well right now. I think I’ve caught something. And the long drive from Manhattan, you know.”

She persisted.

“I want to see you’re okay, Bobby. Open the door.”

A long silence was finally interrupted by him unlocking the door and cracking it open just enough to satisfy his mother.

“Honest, Mom, I just need to sleep it off. I’ll be up for breakfast in the morning — I promise.”

His face was dark against the backlighting from his bedroom lamp.

“Let me come in and see you better, Bobby,” Jemma insisted, and pushed against the door. Bobby gave way reluctantly. She stepped in and he backed up and collapsed on the bed, barely able to sit up. The shaded table lamp cast a yellow pall on her son, and he smiled weakly at her.

“Oh my god, Bobby! What have you done to yourself?”



Pandemonium Avoided


Bobby sat sheepishly as his mother rushed to his side and grabbed his hands. He was deathly pale, thin, and covered with scratch and pick marks all over his arms, neck and face. When the other children came in to see what Jemma had screamed about, they were as shocked.

“He’s got AIDs!” was the reaction of his sister Patty. She had some training on signs of drug abuse, and was horrified when she saw her brother for the first time at the lake.

Jemma wanted to rush him back down to New York to have him admitted in a hospital. Caldwell prevailed with a calmer response.

“Let’s not get caught up in so much todo that it detracts from the wedding. We’ll clean Bobby up and keep him under wraps and out of sight for the weekend. Mom, you and Patty can work on covering up all the marks. What the hell are they, anyway?”

“I scratch myself when I’m coming down from a rush,” Bobby explained.

“Bobby — you do understand you need to lay low, right?” Danny quizzed his brother. Bobby nodded.

“I don’t know what’s got into you, Bobby,” Jemma moaned, cupping his face with her hands.

“Well I think you should take him to a hospital now,” declared Patty matter-of-factly. “Who cares about the wedding when our own brother could be dying?”

“I’m not dying.”

“You look like death,” she responded.

“Mom can take Bobby back Sunday if she has to,” rejoined Caldwell. “In the meantime, we need to keep this little revelation to ourselves, if that’s even possible …” he said, staring at Patty.

“What? I can keep a secret!”

“Look, I’ll drive Bobby back to New York after the wedding and get him to a hospital,” Daniel jumped in. “I know a lot of the docs at St. Luke’s. I’ll take him there and they can refer him if necessary. Mom should stay at Willoughby. We can say both Bobby and I had to get back to work. We can leave right after the wedding.”

And so a major incident that could have rippled through the Hamlin clan was avoided.

Jemma and Patty successfully covered Bobby’s sores on his neck and face with makeup. He wore long-sleeved shirts in the meantime, covering his arms. Daniel went through Bobby’s luggage for any cocaine, and flushed several small packets down the rusty pipes of The Linden, hoping the septic lines could handle the drugs.

“Hey, if I have a snort or two, I’ll be a lot calmer and more normal!” he argued as Daniel dumped the powder.

“Bullshit!” Daniel replied.

Bobby turned to glasses of red wine for the remainder of his stay, which helped disguise his panic over the loss of the cocaine. And everyone was drinking, so nobody noticed Bobby. Something he had become used to over the years.

All eyes and attention were on Demi, who was in the family spotlight and finally had the undivided focus of her father.


The Best-laid Plans


As with all weddings, none go off without a hitch. And so the nuptials of Demi Fische and Dylan Thompson were no different.

Because of her excellent singing voice — and the fact she had studied voice for a very brief moment at the North Carolina School of the Arts — Marylou asked Patty if she would honor Demi and the Fische family by singing at the wedding. This was months before the event. The problem was Patty had found Jesus (which was anomaly for the Catholic family … they never knew you could lose him), and because Demi had lived with Dylan without the benefit of marriage, Patty could not acquiesce in good conscience. It seemed to many in the family Patty’s “good conscience” was more than a bit arbitrary as well as hypocritical. Patty, you see, had slipped in and out of sin in a variety of ways since she first reached puberty. In fact, the very evening before the wedding, she and her previously-married beau slipped off in his car and parked in the chapel lot to steam up the windows for an hour or so. No one knew that tidbit, though.

In lieu of her refusal, Patty’s harmonious brothers quickly threw together a medley of Neil Diamond love songs, haplessly accompanied on the chapel organ by a local hire. Music was also provided by the string quartet that later played the reception.

One aisle split the small chapel space, down which Demi proudly walked arm-in-arm with Arthur, who had stuffed himself into a tux, but refused to wear shoes, preferring sandals.

As they passed Patty and Stuart, she elbowed him in the side and said in a whisper loud enough to be heard in the next two rows.

“Can you wear white?” she quipped.

Her brother Daniel burst out “Hooty-hoot!” from the row behind, and a few scowling faces — namely those of Jemma as well as Marylou — turned his way.

Kip held reign at the altar, going through the various rituals of Communion and the lah-dee-dah scriptures in Latin (he was old-school). When he tried to speak English, he stumbled, forgetting certain words. Sally shouted out from her pew various translations, and the congregants rumbled with good-humored responses here and there.

“What aconteceu? —he said, looking toward his sister.

“Happened!” she said loudly.

“Ah! Happened in Cana 2,000 anos ago, happens today at every wedding festa: that which makes your wedding full and profundamente verdadeira?”

“Uh — profoundly true!”

“Yes — profoundly true will be the presence of the Lord who reveals himself and gives his grace. It is his presence that offers the ‘good wine’, he is the secret to full joy, that which truly warms the heart.

É bom that your wedding is simple to make what is truly important stand out. Algumas pessoas are more concerned with the detalhes exteriores?”

“Everyone knows this — the banquet, the photographs, the clothes, the flowers …  yadda-yadda,” explained Sally with large waves of her arms and hands.

“Yes,” Kip broke in, asserting his position. “These are important for a celebration, but only if they point to the real reason for your joy: the Lord’s blessing on your love.”

The vows were quick and clean. Demi had trouble slipping the ring on Dylan’s finger, which she later joked was due to his fear of losing his freedom.

“Is Demi putting on some pounds, or is that a surprise?” Daniel leaned over the back of the pew and whispered to Patty. She spurted out a loud “Ha!” and again incurred hard looks.

“I guess she really shouldn’t wear white!” she slung back over her shoulders when no one was looking.


Demi and Daniel received Kip’s  blessing (and the Pope’s and the Lord’s — in that order) for a long and fruitful marriage.

“Yeah, well the blossom’s been pollinated already, it looks like!” Daniel grinned. “No problem with the fruitful part.”

The organist dramatically struck a chord, at which point the new couple turned around to face the congregation, and Adele stepped forward to hand Demi a bouquet of flowers with a nod and a smile.

They marched quickly down the aisle and out the chapel to the quartet playing Pachelbel’s – Canon in D Major. Before anyone else exited, the bride and groom were whisked away by an awaiting limousine.


The Visit


Everyone at the Split Rock cabin was asleep when the screen door was gently knocked, as if to quietly rouse more than to startle anyone awake.

Benji, the gray-muzzled pet Beagle lifted his head from his cushy floor pad and conjured up a weak and wary growl, but his arthritic joints kept him from anything more than a slow padding to the door to inspect.

“Hi, Benji!” said Millard Stark, the deputy sheriff assigned to the Lake Willoughby area. Stark opened the screen door and squatted down to pet Benji, who immediately plopped down and rolled over, exposing his large belly. Stark scratched the dog, causing one leg to involuntarily jerk.

Stark stood and peered into the dark living room, but remained at the threshold of the door. He knocked again on the frame, a little louder this time.

“Anybody awake?” he yoo-hooed, still more on the gentle, silent side.

He knocked again.

From within a door opened, and the sound of slippered feet grew louder as Marylou shuffled out of her bedroom to the door. She was less than awake when she walked into the early morning light that spilled through the door. Seeing Stark, she pulled her robe together at the front and managed a smile.

“Millard … what’re you doing here this early? Well, what’re you doing here at all?” she managed.

“Yes, I’m sorry, Marylou,” he replied sheepishly. “I wanted to wait until a bit more decent hour to come by, but Franklin said I should come on.”

“What time is it?”

“About 9.”

“I’m sorry … come on in,” and Marylou ushered Stark into the cabin and led him down a hallway to the kitchen. “You want a cup of coffee?”

“Well — sure. That’d be nice.”

“We were up late last night. The wedding and all.”

“Yeah. I heard. I hope it all went well.”

“As well as can be expected.”

“Are the newlyweds still here?”

“Oh no,” she answered, filling the coffee carafe with water and getting the coffee make set up to run. “No, they took off right after the I do’s and drove down to New York. Caught a plane to Paris late last night. I imagine they’re at their hotel and sleeping off jet lag.”

“Wow! Paris! Nice honeymoon!”

“Arthur and I wanted them to have something to remember. I mean, they’ve basically been husband and wife for the last three years.”

“Well, I …” Stark stammered in embarrassment.

“No need to mince words, right?”

“I guess.”

“Have a seat.”

Stark pulled out one of the many hand-crafted chairs that nestled around the big oaken table.

The coffee maker began to steam and hiss as water dripped blackish into the glass carafe.

“So what brings you here this morning?” Marylou asked as she sat at the table.

“Well, I need to talk to Arthur.”

“Secret? Can’t tell me?”

“Not really.”

“Should I be concerned?”

“I just need to talk to Arthur, that’s all.”

“Okay,” she said, standing up and getting a ceramic mug. “How do you like your poison?”

“Black is fine.”

She poured filled the mug and placed it on the table for Stark.

“I’ll go wake Arthur up. Be a minute.”




The phone at Box 90 rang loudly. Suzie rose from the breakfast table to grab it before it rang again.

Kip remained at the table reading a New York Times, which he had bought at Perkins small grocery store. Sally was diligently working on cutting photos from magazines and pasting them to small index cards. She had a dozen or more flat-nibbed markers in different colors, which she used to create calligraphy messages that she gave out to various people.

“Hello?” Suzie said crisply. “Oh, hi!”

Immediately a voice on the other end unleashed a long monologue, to which Suzie only grunted and nodded in response.

“What — ?” she finally gasped, catching the attention of her brother and sister.

“What is it, Suz?” Kip asked, putting his newspaper down. “Something happen to Demi and Dylan?”

Sometime during the night before, after the fourth or fifth bottle of burgundy had been uncorked, worrisome conversation about plane hijackings and other terrorist activities filtered in and dominated for all-too long.

Suzie looked over at Kip and motioned “no,” but her eyes and face expressed something dire had happened.

“Oh, jeesh!” said, as though coming up for air after being submerged for a prolonged time. “Look — I don’t want you to worry, Honey! We’re on our way over, and we’ll let Jemma and the others — what? Of course they should know! Why shouldn’t they know?”

More talking on the other end of the phone.

“Then I’ll tell her to keep it to herself. She will do that. What about Nanette? Oh, good. And she’s coming over now? Good. Please … don’t go crazy over this. We’ll figure it out. I promise! It’s all very fishy to me, if you know what I mean. Yes, I do. Okay, let me go. We’ll be over there soon.”

Suzie cradled the receiver and turned to Kip and Sally, whose intent curiosity was written on their faces.

“What is it?” asked Sally.

“Arthur,” she responded slowly, letting the phone conversation simmer.

“Is he all right?” Kip urged. “Is it a heart attack or something? Stroke?”

“No, it’s not. Arthur’s been arrested.”


The Mind Collective


Fische cabin at Split Rock was abuzz with what was left of the wedding party. Daniel and Bobby, Junior had already left together on the nearly six-hour drive back to Manhattan. Demi and Dylan were probably sunbathing on a beach in Costa Rico. Everyone else was gathered with the exception of Marylou, Kip and Suzie.

“When do you think Mom and them will be back?” piped Adele, looking more like a frantic chicken awaiting the ax to come down on her neck.

“It’s going to be awhile,” Nanette replied in a soothing tone, gently touching Adele’s arm. “He’s got to be processed and then appear before the magistrate. Like as not that won’t happen until tomorrow. Remember, everything shuts down up here on Sunday.”

“Why didn’t you go to Newport, Nan?” asked Caldwell, tipping a coffee cup to his lips. “Seems to me with your background in social work, you’d know the process.”

“Well, for one, I wasn’t asked. Marylou has already contacted a lawyer. No doubt he will meet them in Newport and get things rolling.”

Patricia stepped into the conversation.

“Does anyone know what he’s been charged with?”

Jemma glared at her daughter and motioned her to be quiet, pressing her index finger to her lips.

“What? This is a secret? In this family? All I want to know is what Arthur’s been charged with — if anything?”

“This is a family matter, Patty,” Adele shot back.

I’m family …” Patty countered.

Sally ahemed. “Yes, Sweety,” she said to Adele, “Patty is only concerned. We are all concerned.” Sally was ever the peacemaker in the family, and hated conflict of any sort.

“I guess we’ll find out when they get back, then,” Caldwell stated. “I heard someone say they took Arthur’s computer?”

“Look — the worst thing we can do is speculate,” Nanette declared.

As if on cue, the kitchen phone interrupted with a loud ring. Everyone hesitated, looking about as if to caste lots on who should answer it. Nanette finally grabbed the receiver before it could sound again.


A voice could be heard indistinctly on from the receiver.

“Yeah. Everyone’s here. What’s going on?”

The family members began to slowly mill towards Nanette, each straining to hear the muffled voice. The in-laws and the yet-to-bes stayed on the perimeter of the group, mindful of their places.

“You’re kidding! All three of them?”

More talking on the other end as Nanette listened intently, staring down and nodding slowly. From time to time she slowly shook her head, as if in disbelief.

“Will he be released, then?”

More talking.

“That’s incredible! This is a nightmare!”

All eyes opened large.

“So how is Marylou taking all of this?”

More talk.

“No, everyone is still here. Well, Daniel and Bobby left for New York this morning. What should we do about letting Demi and Dylan — no, yes, I agree. This would ruin their honeymoon. You’re right.”

More talk.

“Okay. I will. What’s Suzie think?”


“Right. Well, you never know … God! What the hell is this world coming to? Yeah, Kip, we’ll maintain the fort.”

She hung up and put both hands to her face and issued a loud sigh.

“Nan, what did Kip have to say?” Jemma asked. Nanette drew her hands down her face, and shook her head.

“Arthur is being charged with multiple counts of child molestation and having child porn on his computer.”

“What?” the group reverberated.

“More charges are likely depending on further investigation,” she muttered with a wry expression.

“Mom, who the hell brought these charges?” Elaine interrupted.

Nanette smiled. “The boys.”

“What boys?”

“The boys he has been spending most of his time with over the years up here. You know, his surrogate sons.”

The statement began to seep into the minds of the family. Nearly one-by-one, each nodded slowly as they remembered countless activities Arthur shared with the local boys. Nearly each face drained of color as that “aha” moment — that abysmal realization — became very plausible. And in their imaginings, nearly each had to strain to block out the odious mental pictures of Arthur with his cache of lost boys.

“Why did they wait so long before saying anything?” Jemma interrupted everyone’s thoughts. “I mean, if these allegations are true, why not tell someone?”

“It’s the same reason boys who were molested in the church didn’t say anything. They were too young. The priests threatened them … or convinced them what they were doing was okay,” Nanette explained.

“Ahhh!” blurted Sally, covering her ears with her hands. “The Arthur I know would never do that kind of thing!”

“If this is true,” Nanette rejoined, “this is not the Arthur any of us knows. Is it possible? To quote you, Sal, everything is possible.”

Janette slammed her hand on the kitchen table.

“Goddamn it! Papi is not capable of this! I’ll tell you what it is — it’s a handful of very jealous locals who are trying to get money out of him! That’s what this is all about! Gold diggers.”

“I think you’re right, Janette,” Jemma enjoined. “There’s not much love lost up here where Arthur’s concerned.”

“He may be a pompous ass, but he’s not an ass-pumper,” Caldwell blurted out, thinking his statement would be understood. It wasn’t, and he received looks of incredulity from the group.

“Caldwell!” Jemma corrected him.

“Sorry! You know what I mean … Arthur is more than proud about his success. Jeesh, that’s right, right Adele?”

“Why shouldn’t he be?” she shot back, not appeased.

“Look, everyone — again all this discussion and anger is not going to get us anywhere. It certainly doesn’t help Arthur. I’m going to ask everyone to hold whatever you think to yourself. After all, we don’t know everything. Am I right?” implored Sally again.

As if totally ignoring his aunt, Caldwell intejected, “Christ-almighty!”


“The goddamn waterpark in Florida! He took those kids down to Florida to work in the park, and gave them a place to stay at his house!”




Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden

National Do-Not-Call Registry App

1 Aug


Thought about this today. We’ll soon be in that time span when all sorts of interruptions will take place due to the ramped up political campaigning. It’s just a story. Unless, of course, YOU’RE the genius working on that Do Not Call app!

Originally posted on Writing Odds n Ends:

National Do-Not-Call Registry App
by L. Stewart Marsden

Six p.m. . . .
Time to eat . . .
And just as I’m starting
to take my seat
the telephone
hanging on the wall
starts to ring.
“It’s dinner time . . . now who would call?”

I ask,
and a thin, nasally voice
jumps into her scripted task.

“Mrs. Mellow?”
“Mister. I’m Barry. She’s Marcia.”
“I’m sorry to call at this time . . . ”
“Then, why didja?”
“I’m sorry?”
“You said that already.”
“I’m with WPYA”
“WPYA — we protect your ass-ets?”
“You don’t know?”
“Know what?”
“What you do.”
“Oh! And we’re calling to offer you –”
“Don’t want any.”
“Want any what?”
“You don’t know? Damn, you’re dumb!”
“We’re offering free –”
“Here it comes . . . ”
“Here comes what?’
“Again, you don’t know? And for Godsake don’t say ‘Don’t know…

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That lion there

31 Jul


In memory of Cecil, now deceased.

Originally posted on Writing Odds n Ends:

That lion there

by L. Stewart Marsden

That lion there,
the one with splotchy, mangy hair
who lies in shade far from his lair
and pants last labored breaths of air —

He once was bold and fierce and strong
and where he walked the wary throng
of meaty prey gave way and long they
watched lest he should charge their way.

He once was young, a cub just born
who clung to mother’s teats and wore no
caution nor no wisdom yet —
essentials that would help him get to lionhood.

And if he could, that lion there
would soon return to those times where
his strength and youth were fresh and fair
and he could do whatever he would damn well do.

Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 25 March, 2014

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