Side Effects Of Mediocre Poetry

A project I worked on for one of my anthropology classes has provided me with a great deal of material, some comic, some not so much. Ever since I scrapped the Drunken Poet’s Campout story last week, I have been unable to shake the ring and rhyme that has infected the muse attempting to safeguard my sanity during the conflict inducing, merry making season that is upon us. So, this week’s Friday Fictioneer prompt seems a good reason to share some of my research on the history of human conflict.

How humans express what matters most to us is an important area of study for anthropologists. Art, in its many forms, attempts to help us understand ourselves as well as the rise and fall of civilizations throughout recorded time. I use writing and photography to make sense of the world around me, since Apple has pretty much ruined music for me.

Many art forms have been used to commemorate the conquests of great civilizations, dance, painting, photography, poetry. Cultural artifacts curated in museums around the globe, where acts of treachery and bravery are on display for all the world to see, give us a magnificent pictorial record of humanity’s triumphs and tragedies. The ancient war depiction at the Karnak Hypostyle Hall is the standard by which war scene art is measured.

The horrors of war are at our fingertips. So, why do we continue to ignore the warning signs? I don’t have an answer. I can only guess it has something to do with mediocre poetry.

Wrong All Along

Greedy and Stingy sittin’ on the sea


First came land

Then came chattel

Then came tribes with a sabre rattle

See what I mean? That is enough to instigate a playground scuffle.

King Alfred’s ships fighting marauding Vikings: Battle of Ashdown 8th January 871 AD in the Danish Wars: picture by Harry Payne


Thanks to Rochelle, who rallies the troops, and her childhood pal Lucy for this inspirational prompt. More Fictioneers are here. For my 100 word story, look out below!

Copyright Lucy Fridkin


The commander commands, “Pillage the village! Plunder the town! Turn the world upside down!” Teams move out from the shoreline.

Beyond the buildings and parking lots there are miles of unexploited territory. Orders are to fill ’em full o’ lead and kill ’em good-n-dead. Players are motivated to show what they’re made of. They gouge the stoney ground and feed their bloody lust. They crush the citizens into dust.

It matters not the weapons at their disposal. They simply use what’s on hand for the grand proposal, until vulture and vermin victory spied. The battle is over and everyone died.


Interesting Links:

Credit: Bayeux Tapestry animation by David Newton
Music and sound design by Marc Sylvan



Blogger We Barely Knew Ye

Joy, excitement, hilarity, absurdity, outrage, of the many shades of expression, there is none more commonly shared by bloggers than the rant; even unintentional ones. Sometimes a post takes on a life of its own through the comments of readers and before you know it, you’ve got yourself a full-blown rant-a-palooza. Bloggers who can incite a riot and create a diversion are some of my favorites.

Of course, bloggers who make us laugh out loud top my list of must reads. Others simply make us smile knowingly. They say the very thing we are thinking or capture nature in all her splendor with exemplary skill. They show us the shadow and light our souls crave. The fleeting moments their art reveals bring us to our knees. We are humbled by whispers of angels, “Sleep well until tomorrow,” they seem to say across the cloud swept vista as the sun slips silently to the other side of the world where a brand new day is about to begin.


My heart has been touched by friends I have made through this blog. It has been my privilege to get to know those of you who stop by regularly, and though some days my posts are pedestrian, my frustrations all too common, I think this blogging thing has improved my writing. Some days when I can’t find the words, I think about chucking it all. On those days, I am reminded that we all laugh and cry, complain, console, and rant. I am reminded that each of us, for better or worse, experiences life on our own terms, or if we don’t, we should. There will always be someone who says it better, someone who makes me wish I were a better writer, of this I am certain. Bloggers are dependable like that.

The anniversary of is coming up in a couple of weeks and I am starting to think about how to celebrate as I begin my third year on WP. I thought about hosting a progressive post party, you know, like a progressive dinner party only with posts written by followers about what you enjoy most about Then I thought maybe that would seem conceited. Last year I celebrated my followers with the video montage recycled at the top of this post, you know, because I love them so much. Followers, not video montages. Now though, there are over a thousand of you, and I don’t have that kind of time. Plus, I don’t believe all of you are human so…

Got ideas? Tell me what you think.


This blogger does NOT endorse ads below this post.

About Bad Stuff

We don’t want to look too closely at bad stuff.  We might see something we don’t want to see. Certainly we don’t want to talk about bad stuff. Someone might say something that makes us think, hey! I resemble that remark. Why ruin a perfectly good delusion? Now, of course I am not suggesting that anyone who reads this blog is a bad person. On the contrary, my human readers are awesome. So awesome, in fact, I keep writing just for the chance to experience your awesomeness.

Every day I read and write. A majority of this is for school. All of it is good, but some of it is bad stuff. What the heck does that mean? Well, it means learning is good, even when it is about bad stuff. The reason I think it is important to learn about bad stuff is so we can tell the difference between bad stuff and good stuff. You may be asking who am I to say what is bad and what is good? I’d like to propose that what is bad and what is good is not as important as the difference between the two. How can we tell the difference? By learning as much as we can about as much as we can? By paying attention to what has already been learned and reported by thoughtful people? By getting picture in picture so we can watch CNN and Fox News simultaneously?

I am not the devil’s advocate.

When we look at human behaviors, we can see which behaviors lead to positive outcomes. Reading is a behavior that leads to a positive outcome. Well, that is unless we read something that makes us sad. When we become sad, we might withdraw from our friends and family. We might stop showing up for work. We might sit for hours staring at the walls, eating only Doritos. Don’t get me wrong, I think Doritos are good, but sitting alone day after day, eating bags of them is bad. How can it be that ingesting something good can lead to something bad?

That is an example of too much of a good thing.

What if we read something that makes us angry? Is getting angry bad or is it good? My favorite answer is, it depends. It depends? On what does it depend? The argument goes… Anger is bad. Everyone knows it. Anger leads to violence, and we know for sure that violence is bad. There is nothing worse. Yet, humans often turn to violence as a way of getting what we want, and isn’t getting what we want good?

Once again, it depends.

So, I think it is the difference between what is bad and what is good that is more important. What is the difference? The difference between what is bad and what is good is our response, and it is our response that makes all the difference.

You may be thinking I am just messing with you. I’m not. I promise. I will try to prove it.

Much of what I read makes me sad and angry. Not the same kind of angry as texters behind the wheel of their mobile phones, but the kind of angry that prompts me to investigate what I can do, if anything, to change a situation. Obviously I have no control over bad stuff going on in the world. I do have the ability to exercise control over my response to bad stuff. Which as I said, I think is more important than what is bad and what is good. But before any of us can decide how to respond to bad stuff, we must look at the bad stuff and we must talk about it.  Where do we find bad stuff? Cable news? Google? Social media? Do we know bad stuff when we see it? Do we recognize it because it makes us sad or angry or even afraid? What do we do when we are sad or angry or afraid? Withdraw? Lash out? What if we took our collective knowledge from the research data over the last bazillion years about bad stuff, bad stuff that anyone with a heartbeat could recognize, you know, bad stuff like poverty, fear, and ignorance, and what if we decided to respond in a way that made a difference?

***Philip Zimbardo’s presentation contains images which may make viewers sad or angry.

Art Credit: M.C. Escher

I’m NOT Exaggerating


There are 10 bazillion reasons to live every day in a state of wonder at the human condition. We, each and every one of us, have the capacity for greatness. Untapped potential, undiscovered abilities, unimagined possibilities are waiting to be revealed, if only we would stop thrashing about until we’re too exhausted to recognize them.

Given a choice, we wouldn’t forfeit our future, allowing our own voice to be silenced, drowned out, shut up, but it’s easy to see why some people decide to check out. Faced with a choice that seems only the lesser of two evils, a person in crisis can become inert, unable to navigate the present. They surrender to the phantom whispers that beckon from the shadows of the past. Alone in a room full of strangers, they slip into a corner and let the world pass by. No one is to blame. Tempest-tossed, the soul seeks refuge. We make believe we are safe, that we’ll be immune if we immerse ourselves in any number of activities to avoid plunging to depths where no one will find us.

1-photo (8)

Suffering has been written, sung, painted and sculpted. It’s woven into the fabric of our lives. I personally rebel against the idea of being a victim of it. The truth is, none of us gets out of this world alive. Better to leave it all on the field than to suffer in silence. Want, need, desire, dog-eat-dog greedy hunger all clamoring for our attention leave us with no time for introspection. Will, pride, and stubborn arrogance force their way to the head of the line, demanding to have their say. It’s enough to make a person scream.

The Scream - Edvard Munch
The Scream – Edvard Munch

it matters not the hour, the age

chaos distracts the power, the rage

counted in heartbeats

life steps onto the stage

innocence breaks away

fear constructs a wall

fire consumes the page

sweetness takes a curtain call

With Love, 

**credit Michael Gard Sculpture


I’ll Write ‘Til The Coffee Runs Out


The deals I make with myself occasionally cause me to achieve a desired result. For the most part though, I am a surprise achiever. Meaning that accomplishing a goal rarely happens the way I expect. Sometimes it isn’t even the goal I expect, but for whatever reason – clean living, appeasing the gods of suburbia, unredeemed karma from a previous lifetime of self-sacrifice – favorable winds eventually blow the tumbleweeds out of my mind and I get something done.

My loyal follower reminds me each morning not to stay hold up inside all day and that is usually when the mental “let’s make a deal” begins. I’ll write ‘til the coffee runs out. Until it runs out of what, I don’t say. Until it runs out my ears perhaps. Before I know it, it’s early afternoon. This signals three things: It’s time to check in with my legs that have been asleep since I poured my last cup of coffee, I’m hungry, and the dialing for dinner dilemma ensues. This is what happened during my last mad dash toward the finish line. Only this doesn’t feel like a mad dash. It feels more like staggering blind-folded out of a mud pit, balancing a birdcage on my head.

So, here’s the deal. I’ll write ‘til the coffee runs out or I’m ready to pick off my characters one by one with an elephant rifle, whichever comes first. Mine is not a tortured soul, destined for disaster. Nor humors seeking discharge from their greedy master. This is no existence so desperately fated. The wing-ed beast inside my breast is merely caffeinated. 

Woolf, Plath and Hemingway never had it so good.