Saturday, January 7, 2023

A Solemn Event by Karen Sorce

It was a solemn event, but one that mostly went unnoticed by other people.

She stood, holding in one hand something that had been important once upon a time. The other hand held the cold, metal railing.

For a long time, she was a statue, could’ve been sculpted in marble, a beautiful angel.

A chilling breeze came up, blowing her coat’s hood down, pushing strands of blond hair around her face. She ignored them. Ignored everyone and everything. Except for her thoughts.

If anyone had approached her, they might have been able to see the tears.

It was the wrong time of year for picnics and romps across the grass and over the rocks, through the trees. A few hearty parents and children were there, couples huddled together in some places. People were still walking, passing her by on Central Park’s famous Bow Bridge.

She could’ve told them about the history of it, built in 1862, a romantic meeting spot, a place where couples got engaged. Views of the Fifth Avenue skyline. It had been a special place for her, too…once.

She never felt unsafe there, walking miles through the park, watching the birds, breathing in the scents of the trees and grass that was hard to find in the City. The sounds of horses’ hooves as they clomped along, pulling carriages with tourists doing the traditional ride. She always felt bad for the horses. Felt it was somewhat of an abuse of the beasts, though most were certainly well cared for. Just like people.

The traffic on the Bow Bridge quieted. She held her hand out over the water, opened it.

She wasn’t sure which thing hit the water and disappeared first – her wedding band. Or her single tear.


Chestnuts By Terry Le Feber

What a delicious time of year to have a murder. The family all gathered around the roaring fireplace, Christmas Tree ablaze in lights and shiny decorations, wassail bowl filled in anticipation, when suddenly, mean old Chet falls dead, face down, into the roaring fire. 

The flames are so intense and large as if sent by the Devil himself. Before anyone can reach him, Chet’s clothes are aflame.


John and Jake, Chet’s two sons, grab his ankles and drag the corpse off the pyre and roll it up in a Persian carpet, extinguishing the flames.


Flames safely out, John rolls the smoking Chet onto his back and everyone stares down at the crispy critter who once was a father, husband, grandfather and the biggest philanderer within a five county radius.


Karen screams and points. “Oh my god! Look at his pants! Look at his crotch!”


“Hmmm,” says Bill, Karen’s latest heart throb. “Well, yes. It would appear he has now been cooked. As one might say, as the song goes, ‘Chet’s nuts roasted on an open fire’. Eh?”


Karen is now laughing uncontrollably and proclaiming, “The old bastard finally got it in the end. Right where he oughta… in old the storage locker!”


Bill, John and Jake quickly look down at their zippers, collectively vowing to keep their equipment ‘in the storage locker’.


Karen doesn’t care about Bill and the contents of his storage locker. She’s going dump him after New Year’s and head south and find a certain Cabana Boy. Why not? She inherits dear old Chet’s estate, or will, after her two brothers expire.


Later, the police come. As this was a death with the body being badly damaged, the coroner orders an autopsy and inquest.  Only then did it come out that old Chet had been murdered with a thin spiked cylindrical weapon. Possibly a woman’s hatpin?  But, no one present at Chet’s roasting was known to use or have such a device.


Karen had dumped her hatpin collection years ago. But, she did save one piece for a possible special occasion. The special occasion had now come and gone, taking Chet and his nuts with it. And, no one would ever find that special hatpin.


Saturday, January 8, 2022

Mourning those I never met but still miss: A heartfelt thank you. By Linda McIlveen

The streets were desolate. True, in these times of a never ending pandemic, of violence, and natural disasters I'd expected less traffic but this was different. All the store fronts were empty, the side walks and crossings devoid of pedestrians and no vehicles in the street.

This had to be a dream or a nightmare? Could, as some speculated, the world always have been a virtual projection, one that had suddenly been switched off by its creator, signaling game over?

I began to fear there was no one or nothing left except me, but then I spotted it. A bus sat at the corner painted in psychedelic hues that reminded me of the 1960s tie dyed shirts.

Those times weren’t easy on the world either. There was war, civil unrest, and confusion. My own life hadn’t exactly been idyllic. There was the battle for life my body had come close to losing in its early stages, not taking in enough of what it needed to sustain itself.

The sometimes even fiercer struggle to find love and acceptance in a world I never could totally understand and never really understood me. There were a few people who tried, others who didn’t make an effort and those who were out and out cruel to one that was so different.

At some point it became easier just to pretend that the majority of my actual existence could simply be erased by disappearing into the alternate realities of the mind.

My imagination was one of the few strengths I possessed, and the music, books, and television shows, I’d surrounded myself with in reality provided the fuel to add to it and sustain it.

My feet began moving toward that one spot of bright color in the other wise beige barrenness.

Part of me feared getting on that bus but something told me I had to because there was something I had to accomplish, a debt that needed repaying. It didn’t matter that very few would get why I felt I owed it.

As I approached, the door opened. Putting aside my nervousness I climbed aboard. The driver was dressed more like a chauffeur in a black uniform and hat. He kept his head turned, and did not acknowledge my presence. There was a passenger in the seat directly behind him but he was holding up a newspaper in a way that kept me from getting a proper glimpse of him.

Being ignored still stung a little but I'd kind of become used to it through the years and much preferred it over being berated for simply existing as had happened more than once.

I frowned as I wondered whether the imaginary universe where I’d always felt accepted was closing its doors in my face. I mean many of the people who had populated it had passed away in the real world, maybe they could no longer exist here either.

Tears began to fall but then I heard a familiar British accented voice say, “Hey now! Don’t cry love. I’m still around for you. As long as you’re alive and have your memories, I’ll always be here, when needed.”

I looked up and there he was looking exactly like he had when my five year old self had first laid eyes on him. He had long dark hair and kind chocolate colored eyes. He was kind of short, and over the years as I’d grown in height, I’d come to prefer to add taller guys to my very nice to look at gallery. It didn’t matter. He was still my first celebrity crush, Davy Jones of the Monkees.

At that tender age I didn’t really know what physical attraction was or what adult relationships entailed. I only knew when he smiled he made me smile, and hearing him speak and sing so soft and gentle calmed my fears.

Whenever I turned on the TV on Saturday mornings, he and his three mates would make me laugh so hard, I’d forget the mean faces, the sting of the ruler against my bare back, and the taunting words of my teacher who’d punished me just for laughing.

They reminded me that being happy was not only not wrong but wonderful. During the rest of the week I had their records to sing to and that always made me feel better no matter what bad thing had happened at school.

That made me want to live in a world where they were actually a part of my life. I even remember putting on my communion dress and veil and pretending I was marrying Davy, at age seven, even though I knew I was way too little.

He patted the seat next to him. I moved forward and did as he indicated. “So talk to me,” he said. “You’ve listened to our music on and off over the years but you’ve really been thinking about us again a lot over the past few. Why?”

“Remember the song you and Peter did the duet on, “Shades of Gray?”

“Yes, it was a beautiful one.”

“After the World Trade Center was hit, that song came into my head and I needed to hear it again. Especially that line, “We had never lived without or tasted fear.” It described exactly what I was feeling. The terror, the doubt, and confusion. The people who wrote that song for you in the sixties and you guys who performed it must have felt much the same way back then as we did on 9/11, and like the way we feel again now.

You all experienced those dark times but you not only survived but found a way to remember the joys of singing and laughter and shared it with the rest of us.

“Like a sad lonely little girl?”

“Yes. It reconnected me to the Monkees music and reminded me how much you guys meant to me, and how much I owed you. Then you died, then Peter, and a few weeks ago Mike too. Three of the four of you are gone and I never got to say thank you, because I didn’t ever get to meet you,” I said.

“You’re telling me now, and you also told them.” The bus driver turned around and I saw he was Mike Nesmith. The man with the paper lowered it and grinned. It was Peter Tork.

“But you’re not real,” I protested.

“Hey, the critics claimed we weren’t a real band but we were. You know why because when we played and sang we played with love, and when all of you fans watched our show, bought our records, came to see us, and still remember us after 57 years, you returned that love. Love is always real, man!” Mike said.

“And it never dies! Plus there’s still Micky in your verse,” Peter added.

“They're right you know, love, and remember what I said we are always in your heart and mind ready to cheer you up, and despite that “Don’t Listen to Linda,” song I once sang. We will always listen to you,” Davy said.

“Love you guys!”

“Love you too.”

With that I was back in the actual world with all its problems but even though there was darkness and gray there was light too. “Alexa, play Laugh by the Monkees. I said. Davy’s voice filled the room with song. I smiled knowing as long as I live I'll remember those four talented guys who taught me never to be ashamed of that joyous sound. To Davy, Peter, Mike and Micky, thanks guys for being there then and now.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

VAN GOGH by Karen Sorce

I think I know why Van Gogh painted

Driven mad

By sky blue brush strokes

Fields of golden wheat

And faces needing 

Relief spread across a canvas

Desire in those colors he carried

No comfort found

But still – 

The trying

A precious thing to get it right

And try again

If he could only know

The madness gave us so much more

Than Vincent’s pain

His mangled ear

Starry nights and sunflowers

Wild strokes of iris petal purples

Delicate almond blossoms

Letters to Theo of hopes and dreams

Expressed and understood

By those who follow in

The passion of his paints

In our own mad desires

Brush in hand


* original art and poetry by Karen Sorce

A WALK by Terry Le Febre

I’m in a garden. A garden like I’ve never seen before. A garden filled with reds, blues, whites, lavenders. So many hues. Such an abundance. And all these fragrances. Deliciously overwhelming. I never to want leave.

Slowly I walk through the wondrous landscape, seeing and hearing all the little birds with their various melodies. Here and there, monarch butterflies flit about. Bees buzzing, hop from flower to flower, making magic. 

I sit down under an arboretum’s latticed dome to rest, contemplate, and absorb all that is around me. I’m in Heaven.

After what seems a wonderful term in Eternity, I arise and walk from the lattice’s respite to follow the path to even more gardens. But…

What happened to all the loveliness? It’s gone. I’m in the pale of night, in an eerie purplish blue fog, on a bridge arching over a wide river. In the distance, I see blurry yellow lights from lampposts. It’s warm as a soft summer’s eve should be. I’m not afraid. Perhaps perplexed? Then curious. What happened to my wondrous garden of flowers? I’ve gone from a summer’s afternoon to eventide in a blink. How so, I ask? I contemplate the slow moving water as the purple-blue mist softly envelopes me and the sky above, which I cannot see. As before, I enjoy the warmth of heavenly bliss and do not wish to leave.

A warm wind pushes the haze away and takes me to where I already thought I was. Above me is Heaven with swirls of light. There are stars, planets, cosmic bursts, streaks of white, traces of blues. But, the stars! I am within the most beautiful of starry nights.

I question the “why” of all this. So much beauty. So many changes. Changes so diverse. Changes so beautiful, and I at the center of it all. Who, what, made this happen? Happen to me? Who or what is so powerful, so understanding, so wonderful, as to select me to enjoy so much in so short a time? Surely, I am dreaming?

No. Not dreaming. Just a person. A person living in the moments of great mens’ imaginations, creativity and love.

Slowly I close my copy of the Collected Works of the Impressionists Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh. My favorite artists.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

WHO AM I? by Dennis Lutz


I am a veteran with good memories of my time in the Army

Yet I feel uncomfortable when talking about it.

I have gone to war, proud to have served my country.

I have questioned war, those that clamor for it have never been in it.

I helped raise a family, I have known and still know love.

I have led soldiers in war and in peace.  I have run businesses.

My life has been driven by events, requirements, people and due outs.

What happened to my world?

Where is my path now?  Where are my milestones?

When did politics get so extreme?

I am out of place, out of time and out of shape.  What happened to my waist?

How has life moved on and I have not.  

What happened to my passion, my drive.  Where is my memory?  Names of my grandchildren escape me.  How can that be?

My muscles are sore now, and I tire more easily.  How will I look with a cane?

My grandchildren wear me out now.  They are so innocent.

Will I be remembered when I fade away?

As I take my walk, the wind blows across my face.  I like wind.

I wave and say hi to my fellow walkers who are out and about.  We all smile, all lost in our own questions.  COVID sucks.  Must maintain our social distancing.

Who am I?  A speck in time or an eternal spirit.  The eternal spirit appeals to me, but today my body aches.  I am a senior citizen, needing a nap.



© Dennis Lutz, January 2021

Material may be reprinted or distributed only with author permission


Thursday, November 19, 2020

IN QUARANTINE by Mimi Benson


The rain came hard this morning 


Leaving one stream flowing down my window.


It captures me.


This is my river, wide enough for two boats to pass


Deep enough for a ship carrying cargo and music


A quartet from Chicago


Jazz from Basin Street.



At my back, the room has stayed the same for days


For weeks, for quiet months


But my river, with its beginning and end, keeps rolling


And I’ll sit on the boat deck, hearing the music


All the way to New Orleans.